Best Video Editing 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.

At Top Ten Reviews we’ve researched and tested the best video editing software for 14 years. Over the past year, our team of expert reviewers spent more than 155 hours making dozens of videos to evaluate, compare and rate each product. We evaluated, compared and rated each program. In the end, we picked CyberLink PowerDirector as the top choice. Its full array of tools will satisfy both the novice user and the veteran editor. It’s packed with many of the same tools found in professional video editing software. And its 99-track timeline gives you the flexibility to complete complex projects.   

Best Overall
Cyberlink PowerDirector
This program offers every tool and feature we consider important in video editing. From simple functions like trimming and cropping footage to advanced tools for 3D and action cameras, this program has everything you need.
View on Cyberlink
$69.99@Cyberlink
Best Overall
Cyberlink PowerDirector
Best Value
VideoPad
If you need a basic program for basic projects, this application might suit your needs. It’s somewhat antiquated and difficult to learn, but it has some great tools for a much lower price.
View on NCH Software
Best for Beginners
Wondershare Filmora
If you’re not a video editor, or have limited experience, this product is specifically tailored for you. It has simplified the video editing process to the point where anyone can use it, regardless of skill level.
View on Wondershare
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Price
Test Results
Basic Tools
Advanced Tools
Export & Production
Help & Support
Usability Score
Output Quality
Time to Edit Test Project (minutes)
Time to Export Test Project (seconds)
Timeline
Storyboard
Video Tracks
Audio Tracks
Titles & Credits
Effects & Transitions
Themes and Templates
Automatic Video Creator
Slideshow Creator
Audio Mixer
Video Stabilizer
4K Compatibility
Chroma Key
Multi-Cam Module
3D Editing
Action Cam Module
360° Editing
Masking Tools
Motion Tracking
Surround Sound
Closed Captions
Export Format
Social Sharing Choices
Device Optimization Choices
Menu Creator
DVD Authoring
Blu-ray Authoring
Online Technical Support
Video Editing Community
Free Tutorials Available
Knowledgebase or FAQs
$69.99 Cyberlink
9.6 9.1 10 10 10 9 10
A
A
29
25
100
100
14
6
25
$69.99 CJ
9.1 10 7.5 10 8.4 8.1 10
B-
A-
35
119
99
99
-
-
12
3
10
$63.99 Corel
8.7 9.4 7.3 8.8 8.9 8.3 10
B
A-
63
90
21*
9
$
12
4
15
$
$99.95 CJ
8.6 9.4 9.4 8.8 5.8 7.4 10
A
A-
34
35
24
24
-
-
-
-
-
21
4
19
$
$99.99 Amazon
8.4 9.1 8 9.7 5.8 8 10
A-
B
41
39
-
102
102
-
-
-
-
-
10
3
12
$59.99 CJ
8.3 9.4 7.5 8.4 6.5 8.7 10
B
A-
47
123
-
200
200
-
-
-
-
-
21
3
2
$69.95 CJ
7.8 8.5 7.3 8.1 6.9 7.4 7.5
B
B+
49
67
Unlimited
Unlimited
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
17
5
29
-
-
$59.00 Regnow
7.3 8.8 3.1 8.8 5.3 10 10
C
C-
75
125
Unlimited*
Unlimited
-
-
-
-
-
-
10
8
72
$39.99 Wondershare
7 8.5 8.2 6.9 3.7 4.5 10
A
B-
33
38
2*
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
12
3
12
-
-
$49.95 Cleverbridge toptenreviews
6.7 8.1 4 9.4 2.1 7.4 10
C-
C-
33
50
Unlimited
Unlimited
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
11
0
0
Best Overall
PowerDirector has consistently topped our video editing charts for more than a decade. Every iteration of the software gets progressively better and more advanced.
Cyberlink is often the first to roll out new and innovative tools and features. For example, it pioneered multi-cam functionality for consumer-level software. That technology was previously only found in professional programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. Cyberlink’s basics are also top-notch. This program has a 99-track timeline, which gives nearly unlimited versatility. You can make simple videos quickly but also delve deeply into complex projects. You may never edit a feature film with this software, but it is more than capable of that task. In our ease-of-use tests, PowerDirector earned an A. Our reviewers noted that the interface is intuitive, the tools are accessible, and even the most advanced features are simple to learn. You can unlock the fullest potential of the program easily if you learn how to use the tools properly.
Pros
  • Easy to learn, regardless of skill level
  • Has every video editing tool we look for
  • Outstanding exported video quality
Cons
  • Cannot export into the MOV file format
  • Requires time to learn how to use
  • No Mac version of the software
$69.99Cyberlink
Read the full review
Best Value
If you want a functional video editing program at a fraction of the price, consider VideoPad. This software has many of the tools we look for in the best video editing software.
You’ll find the familiar timeline/storyboard workflow, along with other basic tools such as titles and credits, effects and transitions, and a chroma-key (green screen). It also has some, but not all, of the advanced tools you need to make an outstanding video. You’ll get a video stabilizer to smooth out shaky footage, 4K compatibility for footage from the newest cameras, 3D editing, motion tracking and more. These are all great tools, and it’s a great bang for your buck. But there are some significant trade-offs. For example, there are no themes or templates. So, you’ll need to build every project from scratch – not very appealing to beginners. It also lacks an automatic video creator and slideshow creator, which are also great for novices. This program lacks multi-cam and 360-degree editing features that you would find on more expensive programs. If you want the newest, greatest effects and tools, this is not the program for you. In addition, the program’s interface is in bad need of a face-lift, and has been for years. It’s kind of hard to get around, and it will require working through a few projects before you can use it effectively.
Pros
  • Unlimited video/audio editing tracks.
  • Compatible with the ultra-high-definition 4K video resolution.
  • Price-to-feature ratio best of all the applications we reviewed.
Cons
  • Antiquated interface makes it more difficult to use.
  • Lacks advanced features like multi-cam and action-cam modules.
  • Exported videos sometimes have imperfections like pixelation and motion blur.
$69.95NCH Software
Read the full review
Best for Beginners
Video editing is a difficult, time-consuming process that can take a while to learn. Wondershare understands this and, to fill the need for editing software for everyone, created Filmora, the video editing program for non-video-editors.
The whole experience is geared around making it as easy as possible to turn your project into reality. There are two modes in this program: Easy and Full Feature. Easy mode guides you through the video editing process step by step. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the process. You can create some fine videos in this mode, but to really take advantage of Filmora’s wide toolset, you need to use the Full Feature Mode. This mode gives you access to tools from basic trimming and cropping to advanced features like picture-in-picture editing, audio mixer, chroma-key, split screen, video stabilization and much more. Filmora excels at teaching users to use these tools, and anyone with the patience to learn will find it useful. Filmora also has some of the best sharing options of the programs we reviewed. When you’re done with your project, you can export it to a file, upload it to YouTube (or other video-sharing site) or even burn a DVD.
Pros
  • Geared specifically for beginners and non-editors.
  • Has a dedicated action-cam module.
  • Available for both PC and Mac.
Cons
  • No 3-D or 360-degree video editing.
  • No disc menu creator.
  • Only one main video editing track.
$39.99Wondershare
Read the full review
Best Intro to Adobe
If you’re planning on eventually moving into professional video editing software, Adobe Premiere Elements is worth considering.
It’s the stripped-down version of Adobe Premiere, an industry-standard editing program used to create movies, TV shows, music videos, commercials and online video content from major brands. Although the workflow is much different than Premiere, Elements give you a taste of the tools used by professionals in a user-friendly way. It has three modules to make videos: Quick, which is great for making short videos quickly. Guided, which teaches you the ins and outs of the program, and Expert, which removes all the training wheels and lets you delve deep into your creative ventures. All projects made with Elements can be exported for transfer into the professional Premiere application.
Pros
  • It offers multiple ways to learn how to edit video.
Cons
  • Not many sharing options when compared to other video editing programs we reviewed.
$99.99Amazon
Read the full review
Most Dynamic Timeline
One of the most unique features we encountered in our review of the best video editing programs is MAGIX’s timeline. MAGIX calls this “object-based editing.” It allows you to put any type of media on any of its 200 editing tracks.
Other video editing applications have dedicated tracks for video, audio, images, effects, etc. Object based editing makes the program more dynamic and easier to manage tracks. This program also employs proxy editing, in which the program creates lower-resolution copies of videos to use during the editing process. This cuts down on the time it takes to import, render and preview projects before you export them. When you’re done, it uses the original source files to export the final project.
Pros
  • You can put any type of media on any editing track.
Cons
  • Downloading and installing the entire effects library takes a long time.
US$69.99Magix.com
Read the full review

Adobe Premiere Rush

First Impressions: In late 2018, Adobe announced a new video editor to their Creative Cloud Suite: Adobe Premiere Rush CC.
We took a quick tour through the application and our initial reaction is that it is a great solution for those editors who want more functionality than Adobe Premiere Elements but aren’t quite ready to jump into Premiere Pro. The first time you launch the program, you have the option of taking a step-by-step tutorial of each tool. It’s a straightforward process to import and sort footage and other media, and Adobe provides a good amount of sample media in the program. There are basic tools like trimming and cropping footage as well as adding titles and transitions. There’s also some basic audio tools that adjust volume, reduce background noise and assign channels to each audio track. One big downside is you only get one video track to work with. More complex projects usually require at least two or three tracks to get the best result. Nevertheless, for quick, small projects, this may fit your needs. Because this program is part of the Creative Cloud suite, you cannot buy it outright. You must pay a $9.99 fee each month, which comes to about $120 a year. If you like to get all your updates in real time this is fine, but if you choose to cancel your subscription, you may lose access to your projects.
Pros
  • Great for quick projects.
Cons
  • It requires a monthly subscription.
US$120Adobe

Why Trust Us? 

We have been reviewing video editing software since Top Ten Reviews launched in 2003. We have watched these programs grow from simple timeline editing to include tools that were only dreamed about for programs at the consumer level. Every year, our expert reviewers gather all the best software and use each program to create dozens of videos. The reviewers who evaluate video editing software all have a background in media production, particularly video. They have used the programs they review in a professional environment and in their personal lives. Their reviews and evaluations are informed not only by the hard data they collected but by years of personal experience using these types of applications. 

We also reached out to professionals who use video editing software on a regular basis and asked what aspects are most important to look for in consumer-level programs. Drew Tyler, instructor of digital media at Weber State University, told us there are two primary questions to answer: “Does it fit your eco system?” and “How much do you want to grow into the software?”

Tyler explained that the software you buy should complement the hardware you use, as well as the type of project you’re working on. “You want to have software that will work well with your phone, digital camera, action cam or whatever you’re shooting on. If you plan on shooting on a lot of different devices, you want a program that’s compatible with a lot of different formats.”

He went on to say that your end goal should also play a big part in your decision, advising that if you’ll edit video infrequently, you should get simpler software. “If it’s a one-off project, the fewer whistles the better,” Tyler said.  He called out Adobe Premiere Elements and Wondershare Filmora as good choices because they have easy-to-understand workflows for non-editors.

For those who plan to edit more regularly, CyberLink PowerDirector is a good choice. “Cyberlink gives you room to grow, which is key for people who do this often,” Tyler stated.

We also spoke with Richard Dutcher, an independent filmmaker and director of eight feature films including “Brigham City,” “Falling," "God's Army” and “Evil Angel.” He told us that the time you spend learning a new program is at a premium. “I like things that are intuitive and with the fastest learning curve. The less time spent becoming familiar and proficient the better. The sooner I can get to work and putting the film together – that’s the most important thing to me.”

After making his first two feature films, Dutcher started editing his projects himself rather than hiring a trained editor. And he recommends that independent directors do the same. “When I’m shooting a film, the reason I choose particular shots and what to do with the camera is because the film is already taking shape in my head.” Dutcher continued, “No editor will see the film exactly as you see it. And some editors don’t understand what’s a good a performance and what isn’t, and they don’t understand what’s a good shot and what’s a good edit. That’s just the simple truth of it.”

Additionally, he told us how editing his own films has helped during the production phase of a film. “When I walk away from a scene, I know that I have what it takes to make that actor’s performance really shine. I wouldn’t trust any editor at this point to put that all together,” Dutcher said.  He emphasized that since editing is such an important part of the filmmaking process, you should be as involved as possible. “I’ve learned so many things through the editing process that informed the way I direct that I’d never give it up,” said Dutcher.

When asked if he had any advice for newbie editors learning the software, he recommended third-party resources. “Classes are great if they’re available and affordable,” Dutcher said. He also advised new video editors to “buy the manuals that are not published by the software companies, such as 'Final Cut Pro for Dummies,' because they’re written by actual users, and written in language that’s more accessible.”

Additionally, we spoke with Greg Andersen of South Weber, Utah. He has been working in the video media industry for 20 years. In that time, he’s produced and edited video for projects ranging from television shows to video reviews, a daily tech news show, independent films, commercials and freelance projects.

We asked him what new developments in video editing software he finds to be useful in his work. He emphasized the rise of multi-cam editing features, which save a lot of time with freelance projects. “The thing with any video production standpoint, like any business, time is money,” Andersen said.

“Specifically, with weddings when you’re filming a bride and a groom giving their vows, the last thing they want to see is a video camera guy running to the left and right,” explained Andersen.

Andersen continued to express the importance of saving time by using multi-cam editing features. “You can dump multiple files at the same time, and through sound matching they can pull those together and layer them right on top of each other and have them ready to go for you. So, you don’t have to try to sync things yourself. And that’s invaluable,” said Andersen.

We also reached out to Brandon Young, video producer for Harmons Grocery. He currently produces much of the company’s video content as well as its photography. He’s also worked for various corporations producing video content.

We asked him about the most significant change he’s seen in digital video editing since he started. “Not having to render anymore has sped up the process. That’s actually allowed more content to get made. You can edit one project after another without losing any time. In old versions, you’d have to wait several hours before you can finish anything,” Young said. He added, “A lot of times I would let it render overnight. I wouldn’t even play the footage back, just edit as much as I can and let it render at night, and it would take all night, depending on the project.”

When we asked what the most important factors are in choosing a video editing program, Young said, “The biggest thing as far as software is concerned is what type of plug-in support is there. If there are no plugins, what type of effects and things you can do in the program?” He cited effects, color correction and multi-cam functionality as particularly helpful.

We also asked Young what he thinks newbies should do to grow their video editing skills. “Outside of the software stuff is watch content and watch how it’s done. That’s the biggest thing. As far as software is concerned, experiment, mess around with it. It may turn out to be garbage, but just get the basics figured out,” Young said.

How We Tested 

We put all the video editing applications we reviewed through a battery of tests to determine which one was the best.

Ease of Use
We evaluated each program’s interface and workflow to see how intuitive they are. We tracked the number of clicks it takes to access and use common tools. If a tool is difficult to find, awkwardly implemented or counterintuitive, it can slow down your edits. We quickly discovered that the more accessible everything is, the better the editing experience will be. We gave each program an A to F grade based on this evaluation. 

Timing
We used each program to create a test project, using identical elements for each one. We timed how long it took each program to import our test video files. Then we timed how long it took us to make our test video. We finally recorded the time it took each program to export the final video. A program that performs even marginally faster can save you dozens of hours.

Quality
We created, exported and reviewed all of the results. We watched every video we made, looking for imperfections in the video and audio. Flaws such as pixelation, compression artifact, motion blur and more were present in most of the videos we examined, but they varied greatly depending on which program we used. Each program was given an A to F quality grade based on this evaluation.

What to Look For 

The best video editing applications are simple to use and offer robust video tool sets. As you search for the right software for your projects, think about the basic and advanced tools each program offers, its export and production options, and the help and support the company provides.

Basic Tools 
All the video editing programs we reviewed can help you blend your footage, audio clips and images to create new and unique videos. They also all offer basic nonlinear video editing tools. Timelines, storyboards, transitions, titles and audio editing are all common fare for the products we reviewed. These applications also have video effect libraries. The number of available effects varies from program to program; however, a library with more than 500 effects is usually sufficient for any non-professional project.

The truth is, you’ll get roughly the same results from all the programs we reviewed when you just use their basic tools to edit your footage. As such, it’s most important to focus on usability.

Simple video editor programs have an easy or basic mode for beginners. This is distinct from the familiar timeline and storyboard modes and often reduces editing to its most basic concepts and tools. Some applications make the process even easier by scanning your media and creating a video with it automatically. The best video editing programs let you manipulate the automatically generated video after it has been compiled.

Easy-to-use applications also come with basic themes and templates you can use for both simple and advanced projects. You can add your footage to these templates and customize them with themes that are appropriate for a child's birthday party, a vacation highlight reel or even a mock movie trailer starring you, your family and your friends.

Advanced Tools to Look For
Once you’ve cut your teeth with the basic video editing tools, you can move on to using the more powerful ones. The best editing software is compatible with all the latest video and audio technology on the market today. For example, they can import, edit and export at ultra-high-definition 4K resolution. This makes your videos crisp, clear and enjoyable on today’s large ultra-HD televisions.

Another advanced tool worth noting is a multi-cam editor, which combines videos of the same event taken at multiple angles on different cameras. It even automatically syncs them so you can smoothly switch angles.

The best video editing applications have tools that allow you to capture, edit and produce videos recorded by action cams like GoPros and Drift Innovation’s Ghost-S. These tools are generally as good as or better than the ones in the software that comes bundled with the cameras themselves. You can use them to stabilize shaky video, correct fish-eye distortion, enhance color, and pan and zoom around your footage. They can even slow down and reverse the video.

Even though 360-degree video is in its infancy, there are a few consumer-level cameras that can capture video in this advanced format. The best video editing software helps you build a compelling story out of your 360-degree footage that makes your audience feel like they are standing in the middle of it all.

Export & Production
The best video editing programs for Windows make it easy to export your film as popular file formats such as MP4, MOV, AVI and WMV. Normally, the software has presets for each format. Some programs we reviewed allow you to export into less common formats. While this is useful in some cases, the most popular formats will usually meet your needs.

In addition, all the video creation software we tested can optimize your videos to share on sites like YouTube and Facebook. However, the best applications let you upload your finished videos to social media directly from their export menus.

Since people now watch, store and share videos on tablets and smartphones, it's important for video editing programs to be able to export to these devices. Nearly all the products we reviewed can do so to some degree, but the best ones have companion mobile apps you can sync with their desktop counterparts, which makes transferring faster and more secure.

Disc authoring tools are another essential feature to consider if you intend to distribute DVDs or Blu-ray discs of your videos. Authoring options can be quite extensive; for example, you may be able to insert chapter markers, build disc menus and include extra features, just like in Hollywood-produced movies. The best video editor programs have a lot of authoring tools.

How Much Does Video Editing Software Cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $35 to $100 on consumer-level video editing software. But keep in mind that you don’t always get the best product for the highest price. Additionally, several of the programs we looked at have lower- and higher-priced versions, so you can get what you need and not pay for what you don’t.

Help & Support
Even though these programs make the task much easier, video editing is difficult and time consuming. There may be times when you need help, especially if you have limited experience. This help can come in the form contacting the software developer by online chat, reading FAQs and knowledgebase articles on its website, or watching free tutorials.

The most useful tool a manufacturer can provide is a community dedicated to video editing. These are places where editors can share, learn and collaborate. The value of these online communities is significant, especially for editors refining their skills.

Free vs Paid Video Editing Software
There are some free video editing solutions out there. Programs such as Windows Movie Maker and VSDC are free downloads, and iMovie comes preloaded on every new Macintosh computer. Even our best value pick, Video Pad, has a free option. While these products may be good for small projects, you don’t get the advanced tools necessary to really make your projects shine.

Before you go the freeware route, we suggest downloading the free trials of the programs we’ve reviewed to see if they’re worth paying for. Nearly every program we tested has a free trial that lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 days. You’ll have some limitations, but you’ll probably come away with the information you need to know if you want to shell out the cash for a more versatile program.

iMovie Review
Despite their reputation as multimedia machines, Mac computers have fewer video editing software options than their Windows counterparts – especially on the consumer level. Only three of the programs we tested – Adobe Premiere Elements, Wondershare Filmora and VideoPad – are available for Mac. While these are all solid programs, they don’t have the versatility or flexibility of programs like PowerDirector and VideoStudio.

This lack of choices is largely due to the inclusion of iMovie, which comes installed on every Mac. It makes little sense to pay for a video editing program when you have a free one already on your computer.


iMovie is intuitive and user-friendly and can handle small, simple projects. It has all the basic tools we look for, including those for cutting, cropping and arranging video, audio and images. It also has a decent selection of organizational tools and a healthy library of backgrounds, transitions, filters and effects. Further, there are quite a few music selections and sound effects. Plus, it syncs with your iTunes library, so you can bring any music you own into your projects. It also comes with tools like a chroma key (green screen), video stabilizer and background noise reduction.

Probably the most frustrating tools to deal with are those for text and images – you don’t have nearly as much control as you do with programs like PowerDirector. The audio tools aren’t great either. Adjusting the volume and reducing background noise is about as good as it gets.


One major thing iMovie has going for it is it's basically a watered-down version of Final Cut Pro X. The interface and workflow are so similar that it’s the perfect training ground for editors interested in eventually moving onto professional video editing software. iMovie projects are 100 percent compatible with Final Cut, so you can start a project in iMovie, then move it into Final Cut if you need something more advanced.

iMovie is probably the best free video editing program on the market. It’s a good program in its own right, but much of its popularity comes from a lack of other options. It’s great for small projects and as training wheels for Final Cut Pro.

How Do These Compare with Video Editing Software Used in Hollywood?

All the movies, television shows, music videos, commercials and more that you see in mainstream media are almost exclusively made with professional video editing software. Programs such as Avid Media ComposerFinal Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro are considered the industry standard.

The programs we highlight here are consumer-level programs, meaning they’re meant for non-professionals. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve professional-level results with them. Consumer-level programs today are as powerful as professional video editing software from just a few years ago – in some cases even more powerful.

Every year programs such as CyberLink PowerDirectorMagix Movie Edit Pro Plus and Pinnacle Studio add more tools and features that were previously only available in professional products. Examples of this include multi-cam editing, 3D and 360-degree tools, masking, motion tracking, color correction and many more.

Granted, you probably won’t be able to create the next Avengers sequel on your laptop. But there’s certainly nothing stopping you from editing a feature-length film, commercial, web series or documentary with it.

Best Video Editing Software for iPhone

Every new iPhone comes with the iMovie app preinstalled. This is a great option for most Apple users because it complements the software's desktop version very well. The workflow is almost identical, and it allows you to sync your projects via iCloud, meaning you can start a project on your computer and continue it on your phone later with all your changes intact. The iMovie app is the best for those who live entirely within the Apple ecosystem.

Outside of iMovie, there are a few other video editors you can download from the Apple App Store. Options include the mobile version of Adobe Premiere Rush, which has many of the same advantages as iMovie but with the benefit of being compatible Windows computers and Android devices.

You can also download a handy app called Splice. This program includes the familiar array of features, including those for trimming, cropping and adding simple effects. However, it also has some unique features – for example, it can sync a video to a musical beat automatically. In addition, unlike Adobe Rush and iMovie, it has a more traditional timeline that allows you to work with multiple tracks, making it a bit more versatile.

Best Video Editing Software for Chromebook

Our top choice for Windows video editing software, PowerDirector, has an Chromebook-compatible app. It’s a watered-down version of the main program, but it has much of the same functionality and works well. Probably the biggest hurdle is adjusting to using a mobile app on a laptop. The app is free to download and use, so there are ads and in-app purchase offers.

The app's multitrack timeline is done well, considering it is meant to be used on a smartphone or tablet. The program also includes more than 50 effects and transitions and customizable titles as well as tools that adjust picture values like contrast, saturation and brightness. As an added convenience, you can post your videos to YouTube and Facebook directly from within the app.

If you allow the program to connect to your Google account, you can automatically use media you’ve stored in the cloud. So, if you take a lot of video with your phone that syncs to the cloud, it will be ready to go on your Chromebook without having to manually import it – a huge convenience.

What Is the Easiest Video Editing Software for Windows?

When we tested the best video editing software for Windows, we evaluated each program's interface and workflow, then assigned it a letter grade for ease of use. Three programs topped that list: Cyberlink PowerDirector, Pinnacle Studio and Wondershare Filmora.  

These programs are all quite intuitive, especially if you have some experience with video editing. PowerDirector’s setup is similar to those of professional programs, but it also has useful tools for novices such as a storyboard mode and automatic video creators. It’s a great place to create and learn without paying for the software the pros use.

Pinnacle Studio is very similar but has a few extra options. The most pronounced difference is it combines the timeline and storyboard. Additionally, it allows you to make basic edits to the audio directly from the timeline without opening a special audio window.

Wondershare Filmora is our pick for the best video editing software for beginners because it is the only program designed specifically for non-editors. The workflow is radically different because it’s designed to get you through your project as quickly and easily as possible. If you’re brand new to video editing and don’t need many advanced tools, Filmora is an excellent choice.

What Editing Software Do Most YouTubers Use?

If you want to start your own YouTube channel, it’s natural to wonder what editing software your favorite personality uses. Because video making technique is unique to each YouTuber, there’s no one program that dominates the platform.

Sometimes YouTubers make videos about their creative processes and tell you what software they happen to use. The programs they mention run the gamut from free software like iMovie to the consumer-grade programs we reviewed here and professional video editing software like Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X.

Picking the best editing software for your channel is simply a matter of trial and error. You should try all the applications you can until you find one that works for you. Nearly all the programs we reviewed have free trials, and we recommend downloading them and using them through their entire trial periods. Then you can purchase the one that best fits your editing style.

This choice largely depends on your skill level, the kind of channel you’re starting and how much you have to spend. If you intend to go pro, it’s probably best to start with a consumer-level program like PowerDirector to learn the ropes and then move on to a program like Premiere Pro for the long haul.

How Do You Start Editing Videos?

If you want to get into video editing but don’t know where to begin, it’s best to start small. Wondershare Filmora is our pick for people who are non-editors. It’s a great program if you want to learn the basics or make simple projects that don’t require a lot of skill.

If you have some experience editing other things like audio and photography, or just want to jump in the deep end, you can start with more advanced products like our top pick, PowerDirector. It has several modes that make editing easier, and a full set of tutorials on how to use each tool in full-feature mode.

You can also study video editing by watching any of the nearly countless videos on the subject that are available free on YouTube. There are books on how to edit for specific media types and platforms. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you have access to a master class for the professional video editing software, Premiere Pro.

Best Video Editing Software for GoPros

If you have a GoPro or another action cam, you know that it takes special software to handle the large, highly detailed footage they capture. Action cam creators usually have their own software, like Quick, which is made by GoPro. These are fine programs that allow you to import, edit and enhance your action cam footage. However, they don’t have many of the advanced features you find in the video editing software we reviewed.

Our top choice for this category, PowerDirector, has an integrated action cam module. It allows you to import footage from your action cam, apply lens correction, stabilize footage and adjust white balance and color. There are also some action cam effects like timeshift and freeze frame which are very useful. And because it’s integrated directly into PowerDirector, you don’t have to use multiple programs to incorporate action cam footage into your project.

Other video editing software developers offer programs exclusively devoted to action cams. For example, Magix, which makes Movie Edit Pro Plus, also makes Fastcut. This allows you to streamline projects made primarily with action cam footage. Fastcut has some great features, like templates for quick projects and a beat detector to help you line up your footage with audio to help enhance your action cam project.

Can I Edit Videos on YouTube?

YouTube recently rolled out its new video editor. It’s a useful tool for creators who want to make quick edits to videos they’ve already uploaded. This is convenient because if there’s a mistake in your video or something that you just want to clip out, you don’t have to re-edit, export and upload a new version. This not only saves you time but also lets you retain all the views and likes your video already garnered, which you would lose by uploading a re-edited version.

The tools in YouTube’s video editor are as basic as you can get. You can trim away unwanted footage, blur faces as well as end screens, and add links to your other videos. Unfortunately, that is where the editing features end. While these are useful features, they’re no substitute for the programs we’ve reviewed in this category.

We spoke with Mike Klein, of Ogden Utah who runs Gaming Mike’s Channel where he streams video games live on YouTube. These streams can last up to three hours or more. For his subscribers that can’t watch live, he uses YouTube’s video editor to make bite-size highlight reels of his longer videos. 

“The new Creator Studio beta version is very nice,” said Klein. “I still have to use the old version to trim a stream and save as a new video, then I fine-trim in the new editor. I don’t do anything other than trim, though. iMovie is good for transitions and more editing stuff.”

One of the things you can’t edit in YouTube’s editor is photo slideshows. This type of video is great for sharing family moments, vacation pictures and video presentations that require the display of lots of photos. 

If you want to make a video like this for YouTube, we recommend Movavi Slideshow Maker. This software is primarily for making slideshows of your photos. It’s also the easiest slideshow maker we reviewed. Its minimalist interface makes it intuitive to navigate and arrange your photos, music and other objects for your video.

Movavi is also a very basic video editor. You can add your own videos to your slideshow and even record them from your webcam. In addition, you can record your voice directly within the program, which is great for narration. And when you’re done, the program makes it very easy to upload to YouTube directly from the software interface.