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Best screen recorders in 2021: for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS

Best screen recorders
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best screen recorders will provide and easy way to not only record video and images on your computer screen, but also provide a way to manipulate and edit the file after.

Screen recording has become an increasing common activity in business, not least for online training and education purposes. It can also be needed for capturing assets for use with presentation software such as PowerPoint, where video formats are supported.

However, screen recording is also becoming commonly used with collaboration software such as productivity suites and video conferencing, to help communicate information directly to multiple users.

Either way, video has become such a standardized media for use on the internet that a lot of business apps now support it, such as for adding video as well as images or text in note-taking software.

While both paid for video editing software and free versions will often include a screen capture function, sometimes a dedicated package like that is overkill for when you need something simpler.

Altogether, there are so many reasons for wanting to take a screen recording or screen capture that sometimes it can be confusing as to which software to use to best achieve this, especially if you're using multiple devices with different operating systems.

We've therefore listed what we think are the best screen recorders for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.


(Image credit: TechSmith)

1. Camtasia

Long-standing software for professionals

Reasons to buy
+Packed with video editing features+Tackles any recording task with ease
Reasons to avoid
-Options overload for many users

Camtasia (Windows, macOS) has been in the screen recording game longer than most, and offers more features than most too – as well as capturing what's on screen with aplomb, this fully fledged video editing solution can also add plenty of extras and edits on top too.

Whatever you want to record, from games to PowerPoints, Camtasia can take it all in its stride – with or without audio, with or without a webcam feed, and so on. Annotations, extra media files, transitions, titles and more can then all be dropped in with your footage.

Despite all its features, the software never feels too complex, thanks to an intuitive timeline interface. On the downside, it is expensive, but you can test it out for 30 days for free. For something cheaper and simpler, try SnagIt screen capture software from the same developer studio.


(Image credit: OBS)

2. OBS Studio

The leading free screen recorder

Reasons to buy
+Handles multiple audio and video files well+Won't cost you anything to use
Reasons to avoid
-Not that easy to pick up from scratch

People who don't want to pay for their screen recorder tools tend to flock to OBS Studio (Windows, macOS), and with good reason: it lets you effortlessly blend different sources and audio tracks together, packing in features you'd usually have to spend heavily to get.

Built with gamers in mind, live streaming options feature prominently, but you can just as easily save your recordings to disk. On top of that you get advanced features like noise reduction (for your voiceovers) and the ability to set transitions between your scenes.

All of this is overkill if you just want to record a quick clip – and to the complete beginner, OBS Studio perhaps isn't the best of the options listed here – but you get a pile of fine screen recording and live streaming features for free, and that's difficult to argue with.


(Image credit: Icecream)

3. Icecream Screen Recorder

Does the basics, and does them well

Reasons to buy
+Swift and simple screen recording engine+Zoom and annotation tools included
Reasons to avoid
-Sparse interface isn't always intuitive

Not everyone wants the hefty feature sets of the likes of Camtasia or OBS Studio, and Icecream Screen Recorder (Windows, macOS) is a more compact and friendly alternative. Fire it up, click the record button, select the part of the screen to record, and you're off.

Choosing your recording area and saving your footage couldn't really be any easier, though it's not the most precise tool we've ever come across. The program lets you draw on your footage, add a webcam feed, zoom while recording, and choose your final video quality.

Upgrade to the Pro version of the software and you can break through the five-minute time limit, as well as select from more output formats, convert between formats, add watermarks, and schedule screen recordings – features which can all come in handy.


(Image credit: TinyTake)

4. TinyTake

Screen recording made simple

Reasons to buy
+Couldn't be easier to get going+Easy sharing to other platforms
Reasons to avoid
-No advanced source selection tools

Continuing the theme of smaller, simpler screen recorders, we present TinyTake (Windows, macOS). It has all the features you're likely to need, none of the fluff you don't, and is particularly good when it comes to sharing captured videos and photos with other people.

As for the main capturing process itself, once you've created an account (which isn't optional), you can be recording your computer screen in a couple of clicks. Drag out the area you want to record, click the start button, and TinyTake effortlessly handles the rest.

And that really is all there is to it – if you want to add annotations, or record anything longer than five minutes, you'll need to upgrade to the paid-for version of TinyTake. For simple screen recording and easy sharing to places like YouTube, though, it's ideal.


(Image credit: telesctream)

5. ScreenFlow

One of the best options for Macs

Reasons to buy
+Comes with a fully featured video editor+Combine several audio and video sources
Reasons to avoid
-Not quite as advanced as some other options

Apple macOS actually comes with some screen recording tools built in – more on that in a moment – but ScreenFlow (macOS) is a serious upgrade on what Apple's desktop software can do on its own, plus it adds a pile of handy features and extra video editing tools.

For example, you can crop, pan, and zoom around different parts of your video recording, as well as add annotations and callouts on top of the footage you've captured. It's a fully featured and intuitive video editor as well as a comprehensive tool for screen recording.

As for the actual capturing bit, it couldn't be any easier to use: pick your video source(s), pick your audio source(s), and away you go. Footage from your webcam can be easily added into your main video, and the whole process is slick and streamlined throughout. A free trial is available.


(Image credit: Screencastify)

6. Screencastify

Straightforward Chrome extension

Reasons to buy
+Works right inside your browser+Combine screen and webcam feeds
Reasons to avoid
-Limited in terms of capture options

If you don't want to install extra software on your computer (well, apart from a browser extension), Screencastify for Chrome is one of the best options. To use the extension without a watermark and for more than 10 minutes at a time, a paid upgrade is required.

Just because the program is an add-on for your browser doesn't mean you're restricted to recording browser windows, although you can do that if you want. Screencastify is able to record in full-screen mode as well, and supports audio from your system or a microphone.

The extension is even smart enough to embed a feed from your webcam as well, so you've got lots of flexibility, even if you don't get quite as many bells and whistles as you do with other programs. On-screen drawings and annotations are supported in Screencastify too.


(Image credit: Google Play )

7. AZ Screen Recorder

Comprehensive Android screen recording

Reasons to buy
+Support for timelapses and more+No noticeable effect on performance
Reasons to avoid
-May not work at higher-res on older devices

AZ Screen Recorder for Android is one of the top choices for Google's mobile operating system, bringing with it easy-to-use controls, plenty of recording options, and even a lightweight video editor if you want to trim down your recordings before sharing them.

Everything is handled with a little pop-up window that disappears when you start recording. You have the option to illustrate screen touches, and include microphone audio capture too, depending on what you need from your Android screen recording.

Delve into the settings and you can adjust the video recording resolution, frame rate and orientation, and even add a timelapse effect if necessary. It's got just about everything you could want from a screen recorder tool on an Android device.


(Image credit: Record It!)

8. Record It!

The popular recorder for Apple mobiles devices

Reasons to buy
+Free to use+Includes editor+Cheap upgrade

Record it! is a screen recorder specifically for iOS devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and it's available as an free download from the iTunes appstore.

The app is surprisingly good for what you get. As well as recording the whole screen, it can also use the Facetime camera to record your face for reaction videos. Additionally there is a video editing option, and sharing available via AirDrop and Open In.

It's more ideally suited to iOS 12 or higher for full one-touch functionality, and the video editor comes with a small but decent range of features such as the ability to trim your video, add filters, adjust playback speed, change the background, and rotate the image.

Recordings are filed within the app for easy access, but as well as being available to save in your camera roll, there's also an easy export option for uploading to YouTube.

While the main app is free, there is a pro version available as an in-app upgrade which allows sharing of videos more than 3 minutes long.