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9 Best Free Video Editing Software for Windows PC in 2022

Last Updated on Apr. 27, 2022 – by David Morgan
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Best Free Video Editing Software for PC

The rise of social media giants like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram has made one thing clear; videos dominate today’s digital world. Influencers, businesses, movie stars, and basically everyone with a camera phone are now creating videos for their followers or their friends.

Visual content like videos ranges vastly based on the audience you’re trying to target. One key ingredient which is essential to all content creators: A video editing software.

Once an elusive art form with advanced tools only available to industry professionals, video editing is now easier, quicker, and more accessible to the masses. Consequently, if you’re in the market for a video editor you’ll find a plethora of paid or free options to choose from.

A free video editing software, however, can be hit-or-miss. Some offer only basic-level features, some are too glitchy or clunky, while others may even provide an experience better than some paid counterparts.

If you're in the market for a video editing software, it can be tough to find a solution that suits your needs.

Whether you’re a beginner wanting to test the waters before you invest in expensive software, or you want to utilize studio-quality tools and effects without paying for pricey programs like Premiere Pro; There’s a free video editing software in this list that’s right for you.

Continue reading to learn about the pros and cons of each to determine which free video editing software is best for you.


Top 3 Free Video Editing Software Snapshot

PowerDirector Logo

1. Best Overall: PowerDirector

Designed for beginners and professionals alike, PowerDirector is the best free video editing software in the market. It’s easy to learn and features tons of effects that will enable you to create studio-quality edits in no time. Detailed Review >

DaVinci Resolve Logo

2. Best for Experts and Professionals: DaVinci Resolve

Industry standard software that combines editing, color correction, visual effects, motion graphics and audio post production all in one. Recommended for experts. Detailed Review >

Movie Maker Online Logo

3. Best for Online Users: Movie Maker Online

A simple editor that works online without software download and installation. Lacks advanced features. Best for simple edits and quick adjustments. No editing experience needed. Detailed Review >

What Is a Video Editing Software?

Simply put, a video editor is a digital program used to manipulate and combine video clips after you’re done shooting. It can be used to perform simple tasks like adding transitions in between your clips or more advanced ones like adding blockbuster special effects. The best free video editing software will allow you to add text, images, sound design, color correct, and more to your videos.

Overall The 9 Best Free Video Editors on PC

1. Best Overall: PowerDirector

PowerDirector Essential

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

User Friendliness: 10/10
Advanced Features: 9/10
Easy to Learn: 10/10

PowerDirector ranks as our best free video editing software overall because it is an excellent choice for editors of all skill levels. We found its interface to be intuitive and the design straightforward which will make it easy for beginners to create video content, while its robust advanced features and hardware acceleration will satisfy even the most experienced editors.

Dive right in with its easy-to-use tools, effects, transitions, and titles without paying for the advanced features or needing any prior video editing experience. The free version of PowerDirector will suit all your everyday video editing needs.

PowerDirector is a long-time winner of the prestigious PC Magazine Editors' Choice award and is highly recommended by Techradar Pro. It includes professional and AI-powered tools to turn your videos into Hollywood-quality masterpieces.

Pros
  • User-Friendly for all experience levels, beginner to professional
  • Numerous compositing tools (chroma key, masking, blending, etc.)
  • Multiple AI Tools (sky replacement, motion tracking, audio enhancement, etc.)
  • Plug-ins including screen recording and video collage design
Cons
  • Limited free export formats
  • Free version lacks permission to use Shutterstock and iStock built-in libraries

Download our pick for the best free video editing software below:

2. Best for Experts: DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve Interface

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, CentOS

User Friendliness: 6/10
Advanced Features: 10/10
Easy to Learn: 2/10

DaVinci Resolve is one of the most advanced free video editing software on this list, and it is hard to believe it is completely free. While it can be overwhelming and intimidating for those without previous editing experience, if you have a deep understanding of editing and need a powerful program, Resolve is your best option.

Overall DaVinci Resolve is a clean, intuitive program that you would never guess is free. It offers a wide range of advanced features, including intelligent color-correction tools that let you edit skin tones, eye color, and lip color at the touch of a button. It also offers the ability to produce high-quality visual effects and audio-editing capabilities.

If you’re creating a feature documentary, narrative film, TV commercial, or show, there’s absolutely no reason not to go with the free video editor DaVinci Resolve over a paid software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Avid. If you’re only looking to cut together home movies this is not the editor for you.

Pros
  • Professional non-linear editing
  • AI based magic mask
  • Audio engine with support for 2,000 tracks
  • Cinema quality visual effects and broadcast level motion graphics
Cons
  • Requires expert level knowledge and experience
  • Requires a powerful machine to run smoothly

3. Best for Online Use: Movie Maker Online

Movie Maker Online Interface

Compatibility: Any modern OS with web browser

User Friendliness: 9/10
Advanced Features: 1/10
Easy to Learn: 10/10

Based on our review, Movie Maker Online is the most accessible tool for free online video editing. No online editor will be able to compete with the best free video editing software installed on a PC since it can't be as feature-rich or fast. But if you only need to make minor edits and don't need any advanced features, an online tool can be the right option.

Movie Maker Online is incredibly useful if you are looking to make a simple video without having to download software. Upload your videos directly on the site, make all your edits, and download the finished video.

Movie Maker is also the best video editor for low-performance laptops, as it doesn't have a RAM requirement or a specific operating system to run. One big downside is the free Movie Maker Online does completely lack advanced editing.

Pros
  • Free music collection
  • Free stock photos
  • Slideshow maker
Cons
  • Lacks advanced editing
  • Internet connection required

4. Best for Professionals: Lightworks

Lightworks Interface

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

User Friendliness: 7/10
Advanced Features: 7/10
Easy to Learn: 6/10

We found Lightworks to be the most accessible free video editing software for professionals. While DaVinci can be intimidating for intermediate users, Lightworks is more inviting. So if you're looking to take your first step into professional editing, look no further.

It has been around for years, and the professional edition was used to edit box office hits like Pulp Fiction, 28 Days Later, and Congo. If you're willing to put in the work to learn this free video editing software, it's a great choice.

The workspace is split into four main tabs – log, edit, VFX, and audio. One thing to note is that the free version of Lightworks only allows videos to be exported in up to 720p, while Pro can export in a broader range of formats and resolutions. Pro also includes some additional features and plug-ins.

Pros
  • Established 30-year reputation
  • Used to create Hollywood feature films
  • Automatic QC
Cons
  • Not beginner friendly
  • Lacks effect tools

5. Best for Intermediate Users: Shotcut

Shotcut Interface

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

User Friendliness: 5/10
Advanced Features: 8/10
Easy to Learn: 5/10

If you’re not a professional but looking to move beyond iMovie and other basic free video editing software, then we recommend Shotcut as an excellent option. With a typical drag and drop audio and video file manager, plus the ability to export 4k video, any video editor with some experience should find it easy-to-use.

It is an excellent next step if you have moved on from a basic level free video editing software like Movie Maker Online. It is ideal for intermediate users who are not yet ready to make the jump to a professional-level video editing software.

This program is open source, so once you download it, you will have access to all its features and can customize your interface to your liking. It may take a little bit of time to get started but it’s worth the effort once you’re up and running.

Shotcut also offers advanced effects and filters that will help you produce a high-quality video for free.

Pros
  • Open-source, customizable editor
  • Includes advanced effects
  • Pitch compensation for video speed changes
Cons
  • Not beginner friendly
  • Unusual interface that takes time to learn

6. Best for Presentations: VSDC

VSDC Interface

Compatibility: Windows

User Friendliness: 5/10
Advanced Features: 7/10
Easy to Learn: 7/10

If you are looking for a good solution to create business presentations VSDC is a great option. It is a relatively easy-to-use software with all the basic tools you will need to create engaging video content.

This program offers advanced editing features, such as color blending and masked effects, that you wouldn't expect from a free video editing software of its kind.

Though VSDC is more suitable for creating presentations, the casual video editor will find its features sufficient to make fun videos. This includes fun projects like family video greeting cards.

Plus, working with charts and creating videos for specific multimedia devices is easy with VSDC.

Pros
  • Motion tracking
  • Easy export to social networks
  • Subpixel accuracy
Cons
  • Unpolished interface
  • Too many features are hidden in submenus

7. Best for Beginners: VideoPad

VideoPad Interface

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

User Friendliness: 6/10
Advanced Features: 4/10
Easy to Learn: 8/10

If you are just starting your video editing journey and want a very basic free video editing software, VideoPad is a good option. Where PowerDirector is loaded with features, VideoPad is comparatively scaled back. It is a great place to start but eventually, you may outgrow it and want to upgrade.

Beginner video editors will be able to familiarize themselves with its editing tools without spending anything. It features a variety of pre-made transitions and sound effects, along with a few advanced features such as camera shake reduction tools, within a familiar and easy-to-learn platform.

The program offers everything you need to create a clean, simple video without much expertise. It performs most of the fundamental functions you can expect in a free video editing software but doesn’t go too far beyond that.

Please note that VideoPad as a free video editing software is available for non-commercial use only.

Pros
  • Simple platform
  • Pre-made transitions
  • Exports directly to YouTube and social media
Cons
  • Limited advanced features
  • UI looks a little outdated

8. Best for Beginners with Advanced Features: Openshot

Openshot Interface

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

User Friendliness: 6/10
Advanced Features: 7/10
Easy to Learn: 7/10

Openshot is a bit more complicated than VideoPad but still easy for beginners. With this free video editing software, you will have access to more advanced video editing tools and a little more room to grow.

The program is open source, so anyone can use and adapt the program to meet their needs.

Beginners will find the built-in templates, real-time previews, and advanced timeline features helpful to learn the ropes of editing, while intermediate users will appreciate the unlimited layering options.

We would not recommend Openshot for professionals as we did find some features don’t work as expected which may frustrate those on a tight deadline.

Pros
  • Unlimited layers
  • Open-source
  • Nice-looking interface
Cons
  • Few video tutorials
  • Some features don’t work making editing frustrating

9. Best for Advanced Hobbyist: Hitfilm Express

Hitfilm Express Interface

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

User Friendliness: 4/10
Advanced Features: 9/10
Easy to Learn: 4/10

HitFilm Express is not a professional tool, so it won't be used to edit the next Marvel movie, but if you want to create Hollywood-style visual effects, we found it to be one of the best options. It's packed with VFX tools. Unfortunately, its difficulty falls somewhere between DaVinci Resolve and Lightworks, so be prepared to invest time learning the software.

It offers all of the basic features that editing enthusiasts will need in a free video editing software. The option to add on more features starts at $9 and you can pay-per feature from there on. 

If you’re an advanced hobbyist excited by visual effects this might be a good choice for you. The software includes one of the biggest free VFX toolkits on the market. This free video editing software includes color adjustments, keying effects, lens flares, and lightswords.

For being a non-professional video editor, HitFilm Express does offer a few surprising features like Unified 3D Space and a puppet tool.

Pros
  • Customizable user interface
  • Professional tools
  • Direct uploading to YouTube
Cons
  • Complicated interface that takes time to learn
  • Advanced but not enough for professionals

Best Free Video Editing Software Comparison Chart

Software PowerDirector DaVinci Resolve Movie Maker Online Lightworks Shotcut VSDC VideoPad Openshot Hitfilm Express
OS Windows, macOS Windows, macOS, CentOS Web browser Windows, macOS Windows, macOS, Linux Windows Windows, macOS Windows, macOS Windows, macOS
Beginner-friendly Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No
Editing Interfaces Storyboard, Timeline, and Slideshow Interfaces Timeline Web browser Timeline Timeline Timeline Timeline Timeline Timeline
Titles and Transitions Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wide Variety of Visual Effect Capabilities Yes Yes Minimal Yes Yes Yes Minimal Yes Yes
Audio and Color Correction Tools Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free Download
Free Download
Secure Download
Download Download Download Download Download Download Download Download

PowerDirector vs

OS

Windows, macOS

-

Beginner-friendly

Yes

-

Editing Interfaces

Storyboard, Timeline, and Slideshow Interfaces

-

Titles and Transitions

Yes

-

Wide Variety of Visual Effect Capabilities

Yes

-

Audio and Color Correction Tools

Yes

-


How to Edit a Video

Up next we’ll show you how to make some basic edits using our recommended choice for best free video editing software, PowerDirector. Download it for free below and follow along.


  1. First, import your media files by selecting Import Media Folder and choose the correct folder on your desktop. Then, click Select Folder.
  2. PowerDirector - Import Videos
  3. Once your files are in the media library, start putting your video together by adding images, videos, or music to the appropriate timeline. To add a video file to the video timeline, select it in the Media Library and then drag and drop it to the video timeline.
  4. You can split and trim clips using the Video Timeline Slider. Move the slider where you want to split the clip, then click the cutter icon. For a more in-depth look at splitting and trimming clips, click here.
  5. PowerDirector - Split and Trim Clip
  6. To add transitions in-between clips, go to the Transition Room then click and drag a transition.
  7. PowerDirector - Add a Transition

    For more information on adding transitions, click here.

  8. To add title text to your video, click on the Title Room, then click and drag a template to the title track on the video timeline. Click the Designer button then enter the text you want to use. Click here for a more in-depth look at adding text and titles to your video.
  9. PowerDirector - Add Text
  10. To add music, go to the Media Library Window and select Media Content, then Background Music. Choose the appropriate music track and drag it to the audio track section on the editing timeline. Check out a tutorial on adding and editing music here.
  11. PowerDirector - Add Music to You Video
  12. Once you’re done making all edits, you’re ready to produce and save the video. Click Produce to export your video. Select the format you want and an output folder where the video file will be saved. Then hit Start.

Download the Best Free Video Editing Software for Windows PC

Dozens of free video editing software options exist on the market today, but not all of them offer the same features and high-quality results. With the help of this guide, hopefully you’ve been able to narrow down your search. And since these programs are free, you can try all the ones that suit your needs and level of expertise.

If you still are unsure which software to try, you should download our top pick for best overall editor, PowerDirector. It is the only free video editing software on this list that works well for novice, intermediate, and advanced editors. It’s the perfect program to start on and develop your skills.

Download PowerDirector and become an expert-level video editor in no time.

Best Free Video Editing Software FAQ

What is the best free video editing software for beginners?

The best free video editing software options for beginners are built on easy-to-use platforms that allow users to learn quickly. PowerDirector has the most intuitive platform and offers dozens of tutorials to help beginners learn the ropes.


Does Windows 10 have a free video editor?

Yes, Windows 10 comes with a basic video editor that allows you to trim video clips, add text and music, overlay effects, and incorporate 3D objects. Type “video editor” into your Windows search bar to open the program.


Does Windows 10 have a movie maker?

Though Windows once came with a built-in movie maker, this program is no longer available for download. Instead, you can edit movies through the Windows Photos app, Movie Maker Online, or any of the Windows-compatible programs above.


Does Mac have a free video editor?

Yes, Macs come with iMovie, a basic video editor. However, the video editors on this list do have more features and tools which is why iMovie isn’t listed among them.


What is the best free video editing software for Mac?

The best free video editing software that doesn’t break the bank and lets you create pro-level videos.

  1. PowerDirector
  2. iMovie
  3. DaVinci Resolve
  4. Lightworks
  5. Shotcut
  6. Movie Maker Online
  7. Openshot
  8. Hitfilm Express
Check out our in-depth review of the Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac in 2022.


Is free editing software good enough for my videos?

Absolutely. Free editing software have cut home movies to feature films for years. They may not have all the bells and whistles as a paid software but if you are looking for the basics of what you need to cut together videos you can’t go wrong with free.

That said, sometimes spending a little money can give you a more complete and easier experience. For example, upgrading PowerDirector to a subscription, which is still one of the cheapest options, will give you access to lots of creative design packs and templates to make video creation easier.


Should I pay for a video editor to get better results?

This depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are going to be editing YouTube videos on the regular it is advisable to invest in a premium video editor. This will help you get the most out of your hardware, speed up the editing process, and create higher-quality cuts and video effects.

But just because you are going to buy a video editor doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Avoid professional industry video editors like Final Cut and Adobe Premiere Pro who are charging high prices thanks to their name recognition.


What video editing software features should I look out for?

This is dependent on what kind of projects you intend on editing. For example, if you are cutting together family videos you aren’t going to need visual effects but you will want easy-to-use tools for splicing clips together. Meanwhile, if you want to create short films or YouTube videos you might want an editor that has stylized transitions and special effects.

Here are a few things to look out for regards of the type of projects:

  • What format and resolution does the video editor support?
  • Does it support the format your camera shoots?
  • Does it export directly to places like social media you want to share your videos to?
  • Are there any visual effects you want to create and does it have the tools to create them? For example, chroma key for green screen videos.
  • Are there any features that make the editing process easier like smart tools or simple editing modes?


How do I choose a video editor?

Below are six important factors to consider when comparing video editing software for PC and mobile.

  1. Budget and price
  2. Learning curve/ease of use
  3. Video format support and Multi-GPGPU acceleration
  4. Advanced editing tools
  5. Special effects, music, and other perks
  6. Quality customer support

How can I edit videos quickly and easily?

My favorite tips for editing videos faster, no matter your skill or editing experience.

  • Use at least 2 monitors for larger workspace
  • Create keyboard shortcuts for repetitive tasks
  • Edit in Stages, starting backwards
  • Edit the B-Roll in a separate timeline
  • Take advantage of free stock video and music
  • If you use music throughout, pick the track first and edit to it’s tempo
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