Best Video Capture Software of 2018

J.D. Chadwick ·
Multimedia & Home Improvement Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

Movavi Screen Capture is a first-rate video capture software application that can help you prepare exceptionally well-edited videos with great sound, special effects, titles, transitions, your own narrative and much more. Despite the sophisticated things you can do with its multiple tools, this software is remarkably easy to use. We spent more than 40 hours testing video capture software to find the best products on the market this year, and Movavi Screen Capture has the best set of editing tools of all the products we tested, allowing to do such things as fix colors and improve audio quality. Whether you're a veteran of creating videos or just starting, this moderately priced software is a good choice. 

Best Overall Video Capture Software
Movavi Screen Capture
Our tests showed Movavi Screen Capture to be remarkable video capture software, designed with multiple tools to help you create professional-looking videos.
View on Movavi
Best Budget Video Capture Software
Smartpixel Pro
The very inexpensive Smartpixel Pro video capture software does not come with lots of extras, but you can capture video easily, do some editing and turn out a respectable result.
View on SmartPixel
Best Video Capture Software for Beginners
Debut Video Capture
Debut Video Capture is easy for anyone to learn, and it is equipped with great video capture capabilities. You must download a free extra application to edit, but this is still a breeze for beginners.
View on NCH Software
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Capture Tools
Editing Tools
Output
Help & Support
Capture from Stream
Capture from Webcam
Capture VoIP Calls
Ease of Use
Schedule Recording
Record Video Games
Capture Audio
Hot Key Controls
Capture from Mobile Device
Capture Screen
Add Titles
Add Media
Pan & Zoom
Add Annotations
Adjust Audio
Timeline Editing
Device Optimization Choices
Audio Output Formats
Upload Directly to Internet
Video Output Formats
Quality Score
Live Chat
Phone
FAQ or Knowledgebase
Email
Tutorials
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Best Overall Video Capture Software
You can create, edit and share polished and professional-looking videos with Movavi Screen Capture, which we found to be the best video capture software we tested. With it you can record your whole screen, a section of it or a portion of a window or application.
You can also capture audio, either separately or at the same time, and you can make audio-only productions such as podcasts and audiobooks. Movavi Screen Capture is designed with excellent built-in editing tools that are among the best and most comprehensive of all the video capture software we tested. You can do things like pan and zoom across video footage, add titles, captions and transitions, put in special effects and filters, turn movement into slow motion, stabilize the video and adjust colors. Unlike with most other video capture applications, you can also improve the sound. Another benefit is that you can add other items from your computer to your video, such as putting outside video or sound into the original video and then editing that material until it's polished to your satisfaction. Although you can optimize your video to upload to the internet, you cannot use this program to do the uploading. Instead, you must upload it manually, which is an unusual flaw in an otherwise first-rate application. And although Movavi has excellent customer support in most areas, it usually takes 48 hours to get a response to an email, which is a long time if you need a quick answer. Happily, you have access to a fine FAQs section, phone support and live chat for speedier help.
Pros
  • This software can automatically optimize video for different mobile devices.
  • You can prepare your video to play on more than 150 devices.
  • You can export video to 11 video formats.
Cons
  • You can’t use the program to easily upload videos to social media sites.
  • You must manually upload any video material to the internet.
  • The customer support team typically takes 48 hours to respond to emails.
$59.95Movavi
Read the full review
Best Budget Video Capture Software
If you don't want to invest a lot of money but still want a good video capture program, Smartpixel Pro is a good choice. It costs a pittance compared to some of our top-rated software, and you get easy-to-learn recording capabilities and decent, but limited, editing features.
It's easy to work with this software's recording function since it is so intuitive, and you can program useful hotkeys, which are just shortcuts on your keyboard that let you start, stop or pause what you're doing. You can also take still screenshots and mark certain moments in the recording. You can add voice-over if you want since this software also comes with a webcam option that employs your computer's integrated webcam to capture your face while you make a recording. You can add your commentary to your video as you record it if you attach a microphone, or you can use your computer's microphone. You get some video editing tools with this software, but they are not as intuitive as higher-priced video capture software. You can add special effects and sounds from a library, get rid of unwanted footage and sounds, and add media. However, you cannot pan and zoom to parts of your recording nor can you alter the sound. In the end, you get respectable but not perfect videos. You'll see some flaws in the video, which detracts a bit from the viewing experience, but doesn't ruin it. For a low price, you get plenty to work with.
Pros
  • This software is easy to learn.
  • It is very inexpensive compared to other video capture software.
  • It offers tremendous ease of use while working with your video.
Cons
  • You cannot pan and zoom with this program.
  • You can't adjust audio.
  • The finished product is good, but might contain some flaws.
$15.90SmartPixel
Read the full review
Best Video Capture Software for Beginners
The easy-to-use Debut Video Capture lets you capture video either through streaming content, including Hulu and YouTube, or from footage you obtain with a webcam or a VHS recorder or DVD player. With this software, you can record audio, either using a microphone for your own voice or speakers to capture what's streaming on your screen.
One feature Debut offers that many higher-priced applications don't is the scheduled recording option where you choose what you want to record and its source, the sound source, date, and start and end times. Debut is remarkably easy to use, even for someone who's never used software like this before. The functions are clearly labeled and the toolbar shows you what there is to work with. Unfortunately, Debut Video Capture does not give you editing capabilities. You can make up for that by downloading its companion program, Videopad, which is free, and using that to edit your video. The result is a good video, but certainly not one that is perfect. Our testing showed such flaws as pixelation and some shakiness in the video, so the final video – while quite watchable – is acceptable, but not flawless.
Pros
  • This program is very easy to use.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • The software lets you schedule recordings.
Cons
  • You must download a free sister program to do any editing.
  • Adding the editing program is an extra step.
  • The final video will have some flaws.
$24.99NCH Software
Read the full review
Best for Professionals
Camtasia has been the industry standard for video capture software for over a decade. And with good reason – it has an exhaustive array of capturing, editing tools along with an easy-to-use interface. It also produces the highest quality videos of every program we tested.
This program can capture your entire screen, certain windows or just selected areas. Additionally, you have the option to use your webcam to capture your face while you record. Which is great if you’re making an instructional video or other presentation. When you’re done recording, you can not only make basic edits and enhancements, but also add your own audio, outside media and insert titles, annotations and other text into your project. It really has everything you need.
Pros
  • It has a full array of capturing and editing tools.
Cons
  • Scheduling an automatic recording requires more digging than we’d like.
US$249TechSmith
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Best for Occasional Users
Snagit is made by the same company as Camtasia: Tech Smith. So, it’s no surprise that it is an outstanding program, and a great choice for those who only record their screens occasionally.
The program is mainly geared toward taking and editing screenshots rather than video, nevertheless, the video tools will get the job done for smaller tasks. One of the most useful features in this program is the ability to take scrolling screen shots of websites you visit. This is great for projects that require you to show a webpage in its entirety. The video capture and editing tools are basic, only allowing you to trim away unwanted footage. If you need a more robust array of video editing tools, you should upgrade to Camtasia.
Pros
  • Excellent screen shot abilities, including taking scrolling screenshots of websites.
Cons
  • Limited video editing abilities.
US$49.95TechSmith
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

We have been researching and testing video capture software since 2010, with hundreds of hours devoted to searching for and evaluating the best programs. We looked for a range of capabilities in the products we investigated, from those easily used by beginners to more sophisticated applications. We also looked at what each could do and price ranges to suit all pocketbooks.

We scoured company websites, contacted manufacturers with questions, looked at anything new on the marketing horizon, and conducted tests ourselves to make sure we thoroughly understood the merits and drawbacks of the models we ultimately reviewed.

How We Tested

We spent more than 40 hours testing video capture software, which combined with our other research, led to our scoring and ranking for the 10 best products on the market. Our first goal was to find software that is easy to use, even for people who have little or no experience when it comes to creating digital videos. We looked at each application's features, interface, stability, workflow and other characteristics that can make all the difference between a terrific experience and a disaster. We gave low scores to products that were difficult to use.

There is no point in using any video capture software if the result turns out badly. We prepared a test project and used it for each of the software products we had chosen for testing, checking in particular the quality of the final video. We looked for anything that could detract from the viewing experience and graded the products accordingly.

We examined how much customer support you can expect and how easy, or difficult, it is to get in contact with the software publisher if you run into a problem. All the information we learned, particularly from our testing, helped us produce a numerically ranked lineup of best video capture software.

Sound is a big part of the video viewing experience, so it's best to seek out an application that lets you record and improve it.

Things to Look for in Video Capture Software Visual & Audio Capture Tools

Our testing showed the best video capture software lets you record in a variety of ways, including the whole screen of your computer, portions of it, different windows or applications. In addition, the software's recording function lets you capture other things including video games and streaming content, and in some cases, VoIP calls from programs such as Skype. It also helps if your video capture software lets you record your face, especially if you want to be seen via a picture-within-picture fashion on the final video as a narrator or commentator while other material also is being displayed on the video.

We especially liked software that records sounds from a microphone or your computer. Having both of these capabilities gives you considerable opportunities for creativity as you add your commentary or sound effects to what's visible on the final video.

Editing Tools
The best video capture software permits you to edit the original content so you can get rid of footage you don't want, add special effects and do much more. The more editing tools available on an application, the better since it lets you make the finished video free of unwanted material or sounds and makes it look more professional.

Output
Excellent video capture software offers multiple video formats. We found some software that provides just one format, while others offer more than 10. In this case, the more, the better. You also will no doubt appreciate the top-notch software that lets you optimize video to be played back on various kinds of mobile devices. If someone is going to watch your video on a tablet or smartphone, it's great to be able to prepare your content so it shows up well on those devices. 

How Much Does Video Capture Software Cost?
Video capture software can cost anywhere from $15 to $300. Obviously, there’s going to be a huge difference depending on how much you pay. Keep in mind that the more expensive products are geared toward professionals. If you only need basic features, a product that costs less than $60 should fill all your needs nicely.