Last year we posted what was, at the time, the top ten screen recording software for Windows. We decided to re-evaluate this list and take into consideration the different software updates that have been made recently. We also found that many people had suggestions for other programs to be considered for the list so we took a look at those.
Before we begin, let’s revisit the rules of our evaluations. We’re considering software that meets the following criteria:
- Record picture-in-picture to capture video from screen and webcam
- Edit and annotate a video after it has been filmed
- Export videos in commonly used file types
So without further ado, let’s jump in.
#10 – Screencast-o-Matic
We decided to move this one down the list a little because of the extreme limits of its free version.
- Post to YouTube, save to your computer, or get it hosted on their free server.
- Up to 1080p
- As far as frame rate goes, Screencast-o-Matic states “The Recorder will capture at the highest framerate possible. There isn’t currently a setting to customize the framerate setting.” They have several “tutorials” showing how to adjust the framerate after it is recorded, but that often isn’t helping the whole issue. And what determines “highest framerate possible”? We don’t know.
- Free version limits you to 15 minutes of recording time.
#9 – ezvid
ezvid will stay on our list because it meets our three criteria for a quality screen recorder. However, it has a very strong negative group of users who are upset about the more nitty gritty parts of the software.
- Here you can quickly create a video and upload it to YouTube. Their site brags that you can do it in minutes.
- There are a lot of very quick edits you can make to your video without having to tool around in the editor.
- Very large piece of software which makes many of its users upset considering how laggy and glitchy it can be.
- Many users complain that there is default music placed on EVERY video you create that you must then go and remove. What is even worse is that often this music gets flagged by YouTube as being copyrighted.
- You can only upload your finished videos to YouTube or their wiki site. If you want to download your finished file to your computer you’ll need to download it from YouTube.
#8 – ApowerSoft
New to our list is the ApowerSoft software suite. They have both the recorder, and the editor, and meet the other requirements to be on this list.
- The software is free to download.
- The interface is very simple.
- The free download version gives you a limited recording time, requiring you to purchase a subscription to continue.
- The simple interface may be too simple, limiting creativity.
- Subscriptions are about $7.00 a month, or $40.00 a year, or $80.00 for a “lifetime” account.
#7 – ShowMore
ShowMore is a lightweight recorder and editor made by ApowerSoft but not a part of the software suite mentioned above. The software is free and records at a fair quality with higher frame rates, but the editor is extremely weak.
- Free to download and use with no watermarks
- Real-time stickers and text implementation
- Minimal support
- Terrible editor only allowing you to change the length of your recordings
New to our list is the capturing software ChrisPC Screen Recorder. Easy to use and boasting a high quality free version, this is a great option to consider.
- The free version allows you to record your screen and audio, or to separate them and only record one or the other. You can also take screenshots.
- Plenty of options in size, frame rate, and other quality related choices.
- You can only export to MP4.
- The free version has many limiters.
- The editor is pretty weak with no timeline, just single video adjustments.
- I did cheat a bit with this one because it doesn’t have a webcam option, but I figured that the huge amount of video options could make up for it.
With lots of free features, this screen recorder is great for making tutorial videos, recording webinars, or recording Skype conversations.
- Lots of ways to annotate your videos.
- You can capture multiple screens
- To record more than 10 minutes at a time you have to buy the full version.
- There isn’t a way to set your frame rate, and a lot of the time you’ll end up with a non-standard frame rate when you bring it into another editor.
- It exports only to WebM, but you can bring other files into the editor if you want.
#4 – ActivePresenter 6
Like many recording software, ActivePresenter has different levels of quality based on your payment selection. You’ll get most of the features in the free version but you miss out on the ability to export to HTML5 unless you pay for a $300 license, which could be a game changer if you’re producing for eLearning courses.
- Some pretty cool features such as automatic smart annotation and smart capture.
- You get quite a few useful editing tools such as cursor path.
- Watermarking on the free version, so even if you get all of the features you want, you’re stuck with the watermark.
- Even with all these features, the editor feels cluncky.
#3 – Smartpixel
The more we’ve looked at Smartpixel the better it looks. Our previous list rated it poorly based primarily on the fact that the free version places some strong limiters on the software. However, if you pay the $70 for the lifetime license, this software could work for you long term.
- Designed primarily for gaming on both PC and on Android, Smartpixel brags about not being very intensive on your CPU so that you can route that computer power where it’s needed.
- The editor is very intuitive with subtitles easy to add.
- You can select from it’s preset frame rates, or customize your own as you wish.
- If you want to run the free version only then you’ll run into a watermark on all your projects, as well as be stuck with a standard lower frame rate.
#2 – iSpring Free Cam
Just like it says, iSpring’s screen recording software is free free free. This alone secures it the 2nd place on the list.
- You get 100% of the features for free.
- A surprisingly large amount of audio editing capabilities for free software
- You can only export as WMV, or directly to YouTube, and only at 15fps
#1 – Camtasia
Last year Camtasia took this same spot on the list, and it continues to hold the first place spot for several reasons.
- Newest update to Camtasia 9 allows for 64-bit processors, and is ready for up to 4k video.
- Cross platform compatibility from PC to Mac (as long as they’re both on the newest versions).
- Loads of effects ranging from green screen processing, to text animations and behaviors, to pre-built assets.
- Cost of the full version is $200, but only $100 if you’re upgrading from an older version.
- Demo version puts their watermark on your videos.
In an effort to make your search easier, we’ve made this chart that compares features from all of the top ten. Let us know if you know of other screen recorders that belong on our list.