Creating a video by recording your computer screen has become a popular way of sharing information in a wide variety of situations.
Online course creators as well as Youtube creators increasingly use screen recording videos to share their knowledge. They have also become quite popular in internal communication and customer support functions.
And to help you create screencast videos, there are several screen recording software.
The good thing is that you don’t need to buy a paid tool necessarily as there are several free options out there that can be more than adequate for your purpose.
In this guide, I have compiled a list of the best free screen recording software in the market and by the end, you’ll be able to choose the right screen recorder for you.
Let’s get started.
1. Apowersoft Screen Recorder
Apowersoft Screen Recorder is a free online screen recorder that works on both Windows and Mac. And it comes with all the essential screen recording features you are likely to need.
With Apowersoft Screen Recorder, you can record your entire screen or a part of your screen. You can record audio from a microphone or capture your system audio or both at the same time. And you can also combine a webcam feed with your screen recording.
For enhancing your video, you can use its drawing toolbar and add colors, shapes or draw on the screen in real-time. Plus, you can even add text or highlight a part of your screen.
Once you have recorded your video with the tool, it gives you the option to export your videos in multiple formats, including MP4, WMV, AVI, FLV, and MPEG.
Moreover, you can save your video to your local hard drive, or you can upload to places like Youtube, Vimeo, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. directly.
A big part of Apowersoft’s appeal lies in the fact that it doesn’t limit the length of videos you can record with it. Plus, it doesn’t place any watermark in your screen recordings.
However, one major drawback of the tool is that the free version doesn’t give any real post-recording editing options. For that, you’ll have to buy ApowerEdit separately which costs $39.95/year.
RecordCast is a completely free to use screen recording tool. The good thing is that it is a web-based solution and it works for both Windows and Mac.
To begin with, RecordCast comes with all the standard recording features like webcam overlay, partial screen recording, simultaneous audio capture from the microphone and system.
On top of that, it gives you several useful video enhancement features to make your screen recordings more engaging. For instance, you can add text, different annotations, effects, and even a background image to your videos.
Moreover, it comes with a built-in video editor that allows you to trim or split your video recordings, add audio tracks. And you can even import external videos and merge them with your screen recording with its video editor.
Once your video is ready, you can export it in MP4 format or download it as a WEBM file.
Finally, the software lets you record videos for upto 30 minutes, which should be adequate for most creators, and it doesn’t place any watermark on videos as well.
Screencast-O-Matic is one of the best screen recording software in the market that comes with a free plan.
And like other similar tools, it allows you to record your entire screen, a specific screen area or window and lets you insert your webcam feed into the recording as well.
Screencast-O-Matic’s free plan also doesn’t offer any real editing or video enhancement features, apart from the ability to trim your video recording.
Moreover, its free plan limits your recordings to 15 mins in length and places a watermark in your videos. So, as you can imagine, you can only create simple videos with its free plan.
However, it does offer one useful feature — it automatically adds captions to your videos.
Now, once you have created your video with Screencast-o-Matic, you can save it in MP4, FLV, or AVI format. The tool also offers free cloud space where you can upload your video after recording.
And you can also upload your video to Google Drive or Youtube or share your video on Facebook and Twitter directly from the tool.
That being said, the tool offers far more capabilities, including advanced video editing and enhancement features on its paid plan, which costs less than $20/year, making it one of the most affordable paid screen recording tools.
If you would like to explore the software in more detail, read our full Screencast-O-Matic review.
Vmaker is another screen recording software that comes with a free plan and is available for Windows and Mac. And it comes with most of the essential screen recording features that you’d expect from a screen recording tool apart from several useful video editing features.
For instance, Vmaker allows you to trim, crop, zoom in/out and rotate your videos. Plus, it lets you remove audio and even comes with an in-built noise cancellation feature.
Another useful feature offered by Vmaker is its do not disturb feature that blocks notifications on your screen while recording.
Vmaker allows you to export your video in MP4 format, and it even gives you free cloud storage space of upto 15 GB.
Most importantly, it doesn’t restrict the length of videos or place any watermark in them.
However, the free version of Vmaker doesn’t offer any screen annotation features, and you’d have to be on their paid plan to add annotations to your videos, so the free version is only good for creating simple screencast videos.
5. OBS Studio
OBS Studio is an open-source software available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. And the software stands out from other options on this list as it comes with advanced screen recording capabilities.
Essentially, it allows you to configure and add video enhancement effects, even before you begin recording your videos.
So with OBS Studio, you can change your screencast video’s background, add transition effects, and text with predefined settings.
And you can create videos that consist of several layers, including different images, browser windows, webcam feed, and you can seamlessly switch between these layers while recording.
OBS Studio also allows you to record your screen partially and capture audio from your microphone and system simultaneously.
Moreover, the software comes with a pre-built audio mixer, which helps you create smooth audio while combining different audio streams. And when it comes to export options, it lets you create videos in FLV and MKV format.
Another thing that makes OBS Studio unique is that it enables you to live-stream your videos on places like Youtube, Twitch, or Facebook Live. And this makes it a great option for live webinars or live streaming of video games.
At the same time, OBS Studio doesn’t offer any post-recording video editing capabilities, so you’ll need to rely entirely on its predefined settings and that’s why I recommend using it only for live recording.
AceThinker is another web-based free screen recording software that is quite popular among creators.
It comes with all the basic screen recording features like partial screen capturing, webcam recording, etc. And it gives you a drawing toolbar to add annotations like shapes, icons, text, and colors in real-time to your videos.
Moreover, it lets you record videos of any length and without any watermark.
The tool supports several video formats like AVI, MOV, WMV, FLV, MP4 for your output video files and allows you to upload your videos to both video hosting platforms (e.g. Youtube and Vimeo) as well as cloud drives (e.g. Google Drive and Dropbox).
At the same time, it doesn’t offer any post-recording video editing capabilities, and the annotation options can only be used while you are recording the video.
Overall, the software is quite easy to use, so if you need to create long-form videos with basic annotations, it can be a really good choice.
Bandicam is another popular screen recording software that offers a free plan. But unlike other options on this list, Bandicam is only available for Windows.
To begin with, Bandicam comes with all the standard recording features like webcam overlay, partial screen recording, etc.
On top of that, it gives you several useful video enhancement features to make your screen recordings more engaging.
For instance, you can add arrows, boxes, text, and draw on your screen while recording. Plus, you can add mouse click effects and your logo within your videos.
Moreover, it also lets you record your video in high-definition mode, making it suitable for recording video game streams. And when it comes to export options, Bandicam allows you to create your final video in AVI and MP4 format.
Finally, the software lets you record videos upto any length and without any watermark.
Available on both Windows and Mac, ActivePresenter by Atomi Systems offers one of the most powerful free screen recorders in the market.
The software gives you all the basic screen recording features, along with advanced video editing capabilities.
With its screen recording tool, you can record your screen or an area on your screen, add a webcam feed, and record audio from your microphone and system simultaneously.
To make your videos more engaging, you can add annotations like shapes, images, or gesture effects to your screen recording. Moreover, you can add animation effects and zoom into a part of the screen.
When it comes to video editing, ActivePresenter offers multi-track editing capability, so you can record and edit different video/audio streams separately and combine them later.
It allows you to cut, crop, and merge your video files. Plus, you can change sound volume and speed up or slow down your videos. And you can also hide sensitive information by blurring specific parts within your video.
The tool allows you to export your videos in multiple formats such as MP4, AVI, WMV, WebM, and MKV.
And just like Apowersoft Screen Recorder, it doesn’t restrict the length of videos you can create with it and doesn’t place any watermark within recordings.
Simply based on features, ActivePresenter stands out among all the free screen recorders out there.
However, the free version of the software can only be used for personal & non-commercial purposes and you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version ($199) in all likelihood.
Picking the Best Free Screen Recording Software – Final Verdict
In this guide, we have covered some of the most popular free screen recording software in the market, and I hope you were able to pick the right one for your business.
In my view, Apowersoft is overall the most balanced free screen recorder out there. The free tool offers all the essential screen recording and video enhancement features and it doesn’t restrict the length of videos you can create.
While the free version doesn’t let you edit your videos, you can buy ApowerEdit ($39.95/y) which comes with a full suite of video editing tools.
Another screen recording software worth considering is RecordCast. It is completely free to use and comes with all the screen recording tools and several useful video enhancement and editing features.
I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to suggest another free tool to add to this list, please let me know in the comments below.
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