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The best free video converters for your PC in 2021

A man video editing on his computer in an office
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you need a free video converter, you have quite a few options at your fingertips. There’s one for just about every use, no matter if you’re trying to keep your entire video collection in one format, change a video’s format to something more shareable, or shrink the size of your file to something a little more manageable.

There is one free converter that rises above the rest, by the name of Any Video Converter Free, that can convert videos from your laptop or desktop to whatever format you need, as well as allowing you to get and save videos from the most in demand video hosting sites.

Of course, you should keep in mind that downloading anything from YouTube is against its terms of service as well as potential copyright infringement. With that said, if you know the video is in public domain or you have permission from the copyright holder, take a look at our YouTube downloader for PC list for help. And, if you’re looking to get audio files, consider the best free YouTube to MP3 converters

  • We've also featured a guide to the best laptops
WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe
Best video converter

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is the best software for converting videos from one format to another, available right now. It isn't free but it's capable of handling virtually any format, and uses hardware acceleration to process files as quickly as possible. It can also handle videos from sites including YouTube as well as DVD and Blu-Ray discs.

(Image credit: AVC)

1. Any Video Converter Free

A free video converter that converts files from your PC or the web

Operating system: Windows; macOS
Reasons to buy
+Converts videos hosted online+Bonus filters and effects+Excellent format support+For Windows and macOS

For something with an excellent selection of supported file formats, Any Video Converter Free certainly doesn't disappoint.

Hands down the best free video converter right now, it handles online as well as offline files, meaning that if you like the look of some videos on YouTube, you can quickly and easily convert them into a format suitable for offline viewing on your mobile without worrying about your data allowance.

It’s not just for YouTube, either; you can also download and convert videos from Facebook, Vimeo, Metacafe and more, and Any Video Converter Free also features the option to rip audio from CDs and DVDs.

You'll find support for all of the video formats you can shake a stick at, including ready made profiles for different devices, and editing options such as trimming, cropping and rotating allow for basic cleanup tasks. If you want to get creative, you can experiment with video effects to achieve a unique look as well.

If you need more options, Developer Anvsoft also offers a premium video converter, Any Video Converter Ultimate, which can remove DRM protection, convert videos in batches and burn videos to disc.

(Image credit: Freemake)

2. Freemake Video Converter

A free video converter that's quick, flexible and easy to use

Operating system: Windows
Reasons to buy
+Excellent format support+Built-in editing tools+Converts videos hosted online
Reasons to avoid
-Some features must be unlocked

Freemake has built up something of a name for itself for producing powerful yet easy to use software, and making it available free of charge. Freemake Video Converter is no exception, continuing the company's enviable track record.

The free video converter can not only convert files from your hard drive to almost any format, it can also be used to download and convert online videos from the likes of YouTube.

With simple editing tools to trim unwanted footage, the ability to add subtitles, and convert to and from DVD, Freemake Video Converter has all of your everyday conversion needs covered – and more.

When you first install Freemake Video Converter, some features (including converting YouTube videos) will be locked. After three days you'll receive a free Web Pack as a gift, which will lift this restriction. Look out for a notification in the System Tray telling you when the Web Pack is available.

(Image credit: Wonderfox)

3. Free HD Video Converter Factory

A video converter and editor in one convenient free package

Operating system: Windows
Reasons to buy
+Takes seconds to master+Built-in editing tools+Ready-made device profiles
Reasons to avoid
-No 1080p support

Free HD Video Converter Factory prides itself on being so easy to use that its website features a 10-second guide to getting started. This might seem like an exaggeration, but it's actually true. You can drag and drop a video onto the program interface, or use the selection menu, select the format or destination device and hit the Run button. That really is all there is to it. 

This is the best free video converter for you, if you value simplicity and seamlessness. And, you'll be pleased to know that the software's convenience doesn't come at the expense of features. While you can start the conversion process in a matter of seconds, you may wish to spend a little more time customizing the output.

Cutting, cropping and impressive special effects are all on hand to give your videos the look you want, and the way destination formats are presented is highly intuitive.

Beginners can select a profile tailored to a specific playback device, while more advanced users can make a manual selection and customize things further.

(Image credit: The HandBrake Team; Shutterstock)

4. HandBrake

A powerful video converter for Windows, Linux and macOS

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux
Reasons to buy
+Advanced control options+Quick presets+Excellent format support
Reasons to avoid
-Utilitarian design

HandBrake is a free video converter that's well known to Mac users, but less famous in the world of Windows. It is worth noting that this is still something of an experimental program and it hasn't even reached version 1.0 in its Windows incarnation, but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked.

Available for Mac, Windows and Linux, Handbrake is a great choice for anyone who works on multiple platforms, but is also great for anyone who is dedicated to Windows. 

A slight word of warning: the other programs featured in this roundup have very approachable interfaces, but the same cannot really be said of HandBrake. The program is powerful, but utilitarian.

There are a lot of features that allow for precise control of video conversion, including cropping, advanced filtering and frame rate adjustment, as well as presets for those who just want quick results. Handbrake may take a while to get used to, but the output is worth it.

(Image credit: DVDVideoSoft)

5. Free Video Converter

Easy for new users to grasp, with handy batch video conversion

Operating system: Windows
Reasons to buy
+Batch conversion+Clear interface+Fast processing
Reasons to avoid
-Converted videos are watermarked

DVDVideoSoft is known for its superb free media software that performs exactly as advertised, and Free Video Converter is no exception. Among the best free video converters with an interface that’s clean and uncluttered, it can convert batches of videos with ease.

Free Video Converter has a small set of output options (MP4, AVI, MPEG and MP3 are available, plus an option optimized for iOS devices), but that might be plenty if you're not used to working with video files, and the likes of Handbrake or MediaCoder look excessively complicated.

There's a choice of quality settings, and you can merge several clips into a single file while they're converted.

It's a shame that videos converted with Free Video Converter are watermarked. The mark isn't terribly intrusive, but it prevents this otherwise excellent software ranking higher in this list.

Daryl Baxter

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app or one that's about to launch, drop him a line.