Our Top Picks

Adobe Premiere Pro Logo
Adobe Premiere Pro
4.7
  • 30-day free trial
  • Available bundle with other Adobe applications
  • Familiar interface
Best All-Purpose Option
Visit Adobe Premiere Pro
From Acrobat to Photoshop to Premiere Pro, Adobe is the name most people think of when they think of professional editing and productivity tools. While you’ll have to spend a little more to access this service, it’s still a good deal for serious editors who want to get the most out of their editing platform. Considering the classic interface, powerful range of features, and helpful integrations with other Adobe applications, Premiere Pro is the best all-purpose video editing software in 2021.

The July 2021 release of Adobe Premiere Pro introduced several helpful features including speech to text, automatic captioning from transcripts, and support for Apple M1 devices. There were also releases in March, April, and May of 2021 along with a quick bug fix that was put out in August. In short, you can rely on Adobe to continue updating Adobe Premiere Pro for the next few years (and likely beyond).

Adobe is currently offering a 30-day free trial of the Premiere Pro platform when you add Adobe Stock to your cart. From there, standalone subscriptions to Premiere Pro cost $20.99 per month, putting it relatively close to some popular alternatives like Filmora9 ($19.99 per month) and Lightworks ($23.99 per month). You can also get access to the entire suite of Adobe applications including Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, and After Effects in a bundled plan for $52.99 per month.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 30-day free trial
  • Available bundle with other Adobe applications
  • Familiar interface

Cons

  • No free option

What Customers Are Saying

Premiere Pro is one of the most respected video editing services out there, and its reputation is backed up by incredibly positive user reviews. Customers are particularly happy with the close connections to other Adobe tools, making it easy to manage even complicated projects from within the Adobe creative suite.

Summary

Adobe Premiere Pro Logo
Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Starting Price
    • $20.99/month
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free trial
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    Knowledge Base
    Phone Support
    Chat
  • Business Features
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.7
Corel VideoStudio Logo
Corel VideoStudio
4.0
  • 30-day free trial
  • Excellent stop-motion tools
  • Dedicated business and educational solutions
Best for Stop Motion Production
Visit Corel VideoStudio
While Corel VideoStudio doesn’t offer the flexibility of a platform like Adobe Premiere Pro, it provides one of the best toolkits when it comes to stop-motion content. Corel’s application supports digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera connections and makes it easy to control the shot through their computer, making the recording process substantially more efficient. Users can also edit a variety of settings like image duration, resolution, and auto-capture at preset intervals. Corel offers more than just stop motion, but it stands out from the competition for that specific use case.

Corel also provides dedicated solutions for businesses and schools to help them produce demos, sales videos, training videos, e-learning videos, and other forms of content. These services come with optional onboarding and support services to streamline your implementation. Additionally, the VideoStudio Ultimate 2021 update made the platform even more flexible with augmented reality (AR) stickers, new transition effects, and a wide range of performance-related optimizations.

VideoStudio is available in two tiers: Pro and Ultimate. Pro is listed at $79.99, but it’s often discounted to $39.99. Similarly, the Ultimate plan is regularly dropped from $99.99 to $49.99. While most of the features are identical across both subscriptions, there are a few key differences to be aware of. For example, Ultimate comes with color grading, enhanced video masking, additional templates, and premium effect plugins from NewBlue and proDAD. A 30-day free trial is available for both plans.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 30-day free trial
  • Excellent stop-motion tools
  • Dedicated business and educational solutions

Cons

  • No free option

What Customers Are Saying

Both consumers and professional reviewers have high praise for Corel VideoStudio, highlighting its ease of use for users who are new to editing. A small percentage of reviews mention performance issues, particularly on devices with limited RAM.

Summary

Corel VideoStudio Logo
Corel VideoStudio
  • Starting Price
    • One time payment: $99.99
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day free trial
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    Knowledge Base
    Phone Support
    Chat
  • Business Features
    No
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.0
CyberLink PowerDirector Logo
CyberLink PowerDirector
4.4
  • Chromebook subscriptions
  • Highly rated app on Google Play
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Best for Chromebook
Visit CyberLink PowerDirector
CyberLink PowerDirector is a video editing tool with clients available for Mac, Windows, and even Chromebooks. Organizations that use Chromebooks (minimum of 10) can contact the CyberLink sales team to work out a custom solution to meet their needs. PowerDirector is one of the most popular video editors on the Google Play Store, with more than 1.5 million reviews and a 4.5-star average. It’s the best way for organizations to add video editing to their collection of Chromebooks.

The PowerDirector client comes with basic editing tools plus specific modules for video collages, title sequences, and other specific types of content. It supports green screens and a long list of special effects, enabling users to produce more professional videos. Subscriptions also come with a library of stock assets to help you find the ideal media for your project. The platform receives multiple monthly updates with features ranging from new assets and sound effects to video stabilization and audio editing tools.

Unfortunately, PowerDirector’s pricing is overly confusing and somewhat counterintuitive. It offers two tiers of lifetime licenses for $99.99 and $139.99, but there are also annual subscriptions from $4.33 per month to $12.50 per month when paid annually. Furthermore, the premium plans come with unique features that aren’t available with lifetime licenses. Check out the PowerDirector website to find the option that’s right for your needs.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Chromebook subscriptions
  • Highly rated app on Google Play
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Strange pricing structure

What Customers Are Saying

While CyberLink PowerDirector has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, a significant number of Google Play users report performance issues when using the platform on devices with limited specs. Remember that you can cancel your purchase within 30-days if you encounter any technical issues.

Summary

CyberLink PowerDirector Logo
CyberLink PowerDirector
  • Starting Price
    • PowerDirector 365: $4.33/month
    • Director Suite 365: $8.08/month
    • PowerDirector 365 Business: $12.50/month
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free trial
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    Knowledge Base
    Phone Support
    Chat
  • Business Features
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.4
DaVinci Resolve Logo
DaVinci Resolve
4.7
  • Versatile free option
  • Supports Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Studio upgrade adds extra features for $295
Best Free Option for Windows and Linux
Visit DaVinci Resolve
While some Mac users may prefer the simplicity of Apple’s iMovie, DaVinci Resolve 17 stands apart from the competition when it comes to free video editing on Windows and Linux. While DaVinci Resolve also offers a free plan, the free tier still comes with a solid set of basic editing features. It also includes other functions like color coding, motion graphic, and audio editing, making it the best overall free option — at least for users on Windows or Linux.

DaVinci Resolve 17 entered public beta in November 2020 and made several new additions, including high dynamic range (HDR) grading and an artificial intelligence (AI)-based magic mask. The main barrier for some users will likely be the complicated interface that packs in so many different functions. It’s an especially intimidating application compared to alternatives like iMovie that provide a more approachable design for beginners.

DaVinci Resolve Studio adds tools like stereoscopic 3D, HDR scopes, and the DaVinci Neural Engine for $295, but you can still perform most editing functions without spending any money. DaVinci Resolve Studio is distributed through resellers like Adorama and B&H video rather than by the developer itself.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Versatile free option
  • Supports Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Studio upgrade adds extra features for $295

Cons

  • Complicated interface

What Customers Are Saying

As a comprehensive solution, the main complaint users have about DaVinci Resolve is simply that it can be difficult to learn. Several customers noted that there are helpful instructional videos on YouTube explaining almost every feature of the DaVinci Resolve platform.

Summary

DaVinci Resolve Logo
DaVinci Resolve
  • Starting Price
    • One time payment: $357.01
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Version Available
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    FAQs/Forum
    Knowledge Base
    Phone Support
  • Business Features
    No
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.7
Final Cut Pro Logo
Final Cut Pro
4.4
  • Intuitive interface
  • Generous 90-day free trial
  • Library of third-party plugins
Best Professional Editing Software on Mac
Visit Final Cut Pro
iMovie is the most popular editing platform on Mac and iOS, but it’s a better choice for relatively small projects. Meanwhile, Final Cut Pro comes with full-service video editing features for Mac users who need access to a more powerful toolkit. With features like multicam editing, HDR, 360-degree footage, and incredible performance on recent Mac hardware, professional editors with Apple devices should consider upgrading from iMovie to Final Cut Pro for more robust projects.

If you need more features, you can extend the platform’s functionality with third-party plugins for everything from extra transitions and effects to green screens and smoothing of skin tones. Keep in mind that you can also integrate Final Cut Pro with other Apple creative applications like Logic Pro, Compressor, and Motion.

Furthermore, Final Cut Pro offers the best free trial we’ve seen from any editing platform, with a full 90 days available at no charge. From there, Final Cut Pro licenses are currently available on Mac devices for a one-time charge of $299.99 — that’s more than most other platforms charge, but you’ll also gain a lifetime license instead of paying a monthly or annual fee for ongoing access.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Intuitive interface
  • Generous 90-day free trial
  • Library of third-party plugins

Cons

  • Licenses cost $299.99

What Customers Are Saying

Final Cut Pro is a substantial investment for editors who are using a free platform like iMovie, but customers who need to edit more complicated projects are happy with the platform’s features and usability. Most users also report that they were able to grow accustomed to the application in a relatively short period of time.

Summary

Final Cut Pro Logo
Final Cut Pro
  • Starting Price
    • One time payment: $299.99
  • Free Trial/Demo
    90-day Free trial
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    Phone Support
  • Business Features
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.4
IMovie Logo
iMovie
4.4
  • Completely free
  • Decent range of editing features
  • Familiar to anyone who has used other Apple programs
Best Free Option for Mac and iOS Users
Visit iMovie
While Apple iMovie can’t match the advanced features of a comprehensive solution like Adobe Premiere Pro, it’s still a relatively robust option and one of the more powerful free video editors out there. It’s available for free with all Mac and iOS devices, and it comes with more than enough for most enthusiasts and entry-level video editors. The immediately recognizable design also makes it uniquely easy to use for those who are already accustomed to other tools from Apple.

The key limitations of a free platform like iMovie have to do with advanced features like motion tracking, 360-degree editing, and multicam editing. However, iMovie’s simple and beautiful interface is also part of what sets it apart from other services. Cropping, rotating, enhancing, applying green screens, and more functions are easy to perform within the iMovie interface — even if you’ve never used it before.

As an entry-level application, iMovie is totally free to use and there are no add-ons or anything else that would cost you money. Of course, you’ll only be able to access the platform on an Apple device, so it isn’t a practical choice for users of Windows, Linux, Android, and other competing operating systems. Mac users who need a more complete platform should take a look at Final Cut Pro.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Completely free
  • Decent range of editing features
  • Familiar to anyone who has used other Apple programs

Cons

  • Only available for Mac and iOS

What Customers Are Saying

As with other Apple tools, the most popular element of iMovie is its clean, intuitive interface that anyone can learn quickly. While everyone’s experience is different, most novice users will find iMovie much easier to get started with compared to more complex platforms such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s own Final Cut Pro.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Free
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    Phone Support
  • Business Features
    No
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.4
Lumen5 Logo
Lumen5
4.7
  • Create professional marketing content
  • Build videos directly from articles and blog posts
  • Easy to use
Best for Marketing Videos
Visit Lumen5
While most video editing platforms target professional editors and home enthusiasts, Lumen5 is a great program for digital marketing. It’s designed specifically to help users turn blog posts or other forms of text content into professional marketing videos. Lumen5 also comes with a deep collection of video templates that you can customize to match your brand’s logo and colors. With the perfect features for brand-related content, it’s the best editing platform for marketing videos in 2021.

After uploading your content, Lumen5’s AI-powered platform will create a storyboard to match the article or blog post. You can even use an RSS feed to have Lumen5 produce new video templates automatically as you publish new content on your website or blog. From there, it’s easy to personalize the video with your branding and make other adjustments through the drag-and-drop interface.

Best of all, Lumen5 offers a free Community option for unlimited videos at 720p. However, that subscription comes with a Lumen5 watermark in all content, limiting the professionalism of your content. You can remove that watermark for $15 per month and access additional features in the Premium ($79 per month) or Business ($199 per month) plans. There are also custom enterprise solutions available for larger organizations.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Create professional marketing content
  • Build videos directly from articles and blog posts
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Free plan comes with a Lumen5 watermark

What Customers Are Saying

While Lumen5 doesn’t match the powerful editing features of a professional platform like Adobe Premiere Pro, customers are happy with its marketing-centric toolkit. Most users report being able to put together high-quality videos from their existing content in a fraction of the time they would spend on another platform.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Creator: $11/month
    • Premium: $59/month
    • Business: $$149/month
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Version Available
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    Knowledge Base
    Phone Support
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Chat
  • Business Features
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.7
Nero Platinum Logo
Nero Platinum
4.5
  • 4K editing
  • Burn content to disk through Nero Burning ROM
  • Lifetime license available
Best for Burning CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays
Visit Nero Platinum
Nero Platinum is a Windows-based creative suite that comes with video editing as well as backups, audio file conversion, and a duplicate photo manager among other tools. The Nero Burning ROM is an incredibly handy tool that enables users to burn content to a CD, DVD, and Blu-ray discs — including content created within the Nero Video editing program. If you’re looking for a combination video editor plus disc burner, it’s tough to imagine anything better than Nero Platinum.

The Nero editor itself provides 4K editing with a deep library of templates and one-click movies and slideshows from image collections. Users can also add music and a variety of visual effects to their content. However, the platform is missing some of the more tools offered by competitors like 3D transitions, reliable green screen processing, and a fully modern interface. While Nero works well enough, the design is surprisingly outdated compared to most alternatives.

A standard license for the Nero Video application comes in at $59.95, but we found it available for 20% off, and most other users seem to have the same experience. Meanwhile, you can also gain access to the entire Nero Platinum Suite for a yearly fee of $59.95 (currently discounted to $47.95) or a one-time payment of $109.95 (normally $149.95) for a lifetime license. Remember that you’ll need Nero Platinum (or at least Nero Burning ROM) to burn your content to a disk.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 4K editing
  • Burn content to disk through Nero Burning ROM
  • Lifetime license available

Cons

  • Dated interface

What Customers Are Saying

Nero is one of the most popular ways to burn images and videos to a disk, but reviews are more mixed for the video editor itself. While most customers are satisfied with its features for basic projects, many users note that its editing tools are more limited than high-end competitors like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro.

Summary

Nero Platinum Logo
Nero Platinum
  • Starting Price
    • One time payment: $47.95
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free trial/ Demo
  • Support
    Chat
  • Business Features
    No
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.5
Shotcut Logo
Shotcut
4.4
  • Totally free
  • Open-source software
  • Receives regular updates
Best Open-source Option
Visit Shotcut
There are a few free video editing platforms on this list, but open-source video editing software is extremely hard to find. Shotcut is a surprisingly robust option with clients available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it’s a great way to support open-source software without sacrificing much in the way of functionality. While Shotcut doesn’t quite match the impressive features of professional applications like Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, it stands up to most of the free video editors currently available in 2021.

We were also pleasantly surprised to see that even though Shotcut is totally free and open-source, it still received several updates in 2021. With releases in May, June, August, and September, it’s clear that the team is dedicated to continually improving the platform. The September 2021 update fixed numerous lingering bugs, added a new video filter, and introduced some performance optimizations.

Shotcut doesn’t cost anything to use. As open-source software, it can also be freely modified and added to fit your needs. The platform currently supports plugins for external filters, enabling users to add their own filters seamlessly to the application instead of being limited to the base library.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Totally free
  • Open-source software
  • Receives regular updates

Cons

  • Limited editing features compared to more robust applications

What Customers Are Saying

Some users note that Shotcut is missing multicam editing and other tools that are available with premium competitors. On the other hand, most editors are satisfied with the range of features that are available with a platform that’s completely free to use.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Version Available
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    FAQs/Forum
    Knowledge Base
    Chat
  • Business Features
    No
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.4
VideoPad Logo
VideoPad
4.3
  • Easy to set up
  • Free version available
  • Volume discounts for purchases of five or more licenses
Easiest to Set Up
Visit VideoPad
If you’re a professional with ongoing editing needs, you’re probably leaning toward a high-end platform like Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro. However, some users only need a video editing application for a quick project here and there. If that’s you, VideoPad is a great option due to its exceptionally fast and simple setup process. Windows and Mac users can simply go to the VideoPad website, download the application, and get to work — you don’t even need to create an account. While it’s more limited in features compared to those alternatives, it’s the perfect choice for getting started (and finished) quickly.

VideoPad comes with everything you would expect from a basic video editing platform including transitions, audio mixing, intro and outro templates, color and visual effects, and more. You can burn the finished product to a DVD or export it to YouTube, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or other platforms.

You can download the VideoPad Mac or Windows client at no charge as long as you’re not using it for commercial purposes. However, there is also a more fully-featured home option available for $60 (currently discounted to $39.95). This tier comes with two audio tracks and is missing support for external plugins, but those features are included in the Master edition (usually $99, currently discounted to $69.95).

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Free version available
  • Volume discounts for purchases of five or more licenses

Cons

  • Limited to basic editing tools

What Customers Are Saying

VideoPad users are happy with the platform’s easy setup process and a solid set of features for a free video editor. They also appreciate being able to seamlessly move their content onto DVDs as well as a long list of digital platforms like YouTube and Dropbox.

Summary

VideoPad Logo
VideoPad
  • Starting Price
    • One time payment: $60.00
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Version Available
  • Support
    Email/Help Desk
    FAQs/Forum
    Knowledge Base
  • Business Features
    No
Ratings
  • User Review Score: 4.3

How We Chose the Best Video Editing Software

If you’re interested in editing videos, you can choose from dozens and dozens of platforms that offer a wide range of editing tools. While the video editing market is healthier than ever, the sheer number of options can also make it difficult to narrow down your decision.

The most important factors for you will depend on your needs, but we focused on a few key features when evaluating the top video editing software available in 2021.

Pricing and Value

Like with anything else, you expect to get a reliable and robust product anytime you spend money on a video editor. Keep in mind that the industry covers everyone from home enthusiasts to professional editors — unsurprisingly, that also means that there’s an application out there at nearly every price point.

To help as many readers as possible, we’ve highlighted some great budget options as well as some more powerful alternatives. In some cases, those alternatives cost significantly more money. Whether or not the benefits are worth the extra cash ultimately comes down to your budget and what you’re seeking.

Features

Every video editing platform is different, and we’ve made an effort to cover the most fully featured services currently available. We’ve also noted some of the more unique tools for specific niches and types of projects.

For example, Corel VideoStudio offers a built-in DSLR interface that makes it incredibly easy to put together stop-motion videos. It might not be the right option for every project, but it’s a great choice for users who are interested in stop-motion.

Ease of Use

However, features alone aren’t enough to determine the quality of a video editing platform. Some services are significantly easier to get the hang of than others, and that’s an especially important consideration for users who don’t have as much editing experience.

Adobe Premiere Pro, for example, was our overall pick as the best all-purpose video editor available in 2021. However, it comes with a high degree of complexity relative to some of the more limited alternatives like iMovie and VSDC.