Give your footage a professional look by using the best video editing software available today.ideaRanker.com
The best video editing software is a must for professional video editors and filmmakers but also for YouTubers and anyone who wants to make home movies or videos for social media. The choice of software might not always be the same since not everyone will need as many features, so we’ve put together a guide to the best video editing software for different uses and budgets, having had hands-on experience with each and every product.
Our own reviewers have tested these tools through several hours of editing working on their own projects in order to see how they measure up. For each one, we’ve outlined its pros and cons and considered who it will be useful for. Some of these tools require a subscription, while others charge a one-off fee – and many offer free trials, so you can test them before you commit. We’ll start with quick links to our top three choices and then move on to fuller details on all of our selections.
We’ve included video editing tools available for Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone and Android and some that work across all platforms. If you’re only interested in mobile apps, make sure you take a look at the best video editing apps. Once you’ve found the best video editing software for your needs, it’s time to check out hardware. See our guides to the best monitors for video editing, the best laptops for video editing and the best tablets for video editing for that.
The best video editing software: top 3
Adobe’s Premiere Pro is the best video editing software for working video editors, YouTubers and creative pros. The industry-standard tool works on both PC and Mac, and a seven-day free trial is available.
CyberLink PowerDirector 365 is an affordable, subscription-free option for non-pros with some experience of video editing. It offers an array of video editing tools, plus access to the Shutterstock library.
For beginners, Adobe Premiere Pro is overkill. Instead, start with Adobe Premiere Elements, a simplified version of the software that’s also cheaper, subscription-free, and comes with a generous 30-day free trial.
The best video editing software for professionals
- Platform: Windows, Mac
- Key features: Multi-cam editing, 3D editing
- Free trial: 7 days
- Best for: Video editing professionals, video editing students
Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the two industry-standard tools for video editing today. The other is Final Cut Pro (number 5 on our list), but Final Cut Pro is available only for Mac. Since Premiere Pro works on both Windows and Mac, we rate it as the better pick as the best video editing software overall.
Premiere Pro is routinely used by professional video editors to create everything from YouTube videos to Hollywood movies, such as 2021 Oscar nominee Mank. It’s also commonly used in the workflow of designers, animators and VFX artists, and having extensively tested it ourselves, we can see why. When we reviewed the software, we found the interface easy to use, and found it enhanced our productivity by dividing everything into different workspaces, such editing, effects, and audio. Each workspace helps manage a specific task, minimising distraction – we found this to be true when testing it out on both Mac and PC.
The software supports 4K, 8K and VR formats. Its trimming and editing tools give you a high degree of precision and control. You can work on an unlimited number of video tracks (though we fired up four 4K videos in our testing), which can be imported from pretty much any source. In our own review, we found the automatic sync to work like a dream when you have multi-angle shots, and it’s hard to fault the fine-tuning tools that really make your video stand out from the crowd. Plus you get customisable keyboard shortcuts and great collaboration features.
Like all Creative Cloud software, Premiere Pro is constantly being updated, and subscribers get all updates for free. The latest update in February 2022 (version 22.2) introduces Remix, for retiming music to match video content, as well as an offline Speech to Text function.
The best video editing software for experienced non-pros
- Platform: Windows, Mac
- Key features: Multi-cam editing, 360-degree video, motion tracking, AI tools
- Free trial: 30 days
- Best for: Experienced non-professionals
If you’re not working as a full-time video editor, Premiere Pro may be overkill and you’ll probably be better opting for a middleweight tool. Based on our review, we rate CyberLink PowerDirector 365 as the best video editing software for non-pros who have some experience of editing video.
Again it’s available for Windows and Mac, and while PowerDirector 365 isn’t as powerful and feature-rich as Premiere Pro, it’s not so far off. Meanwhile, its cost, either as a one-off purchase or a monthly or annual subscription, is much more affordable. Get cracking on the 100-track timeline and you’ll soon find yourself making the most of lots of stabilisation and video correction tools, professional effects, multi-cam editing, motion tracking and surprisingly easy trimming.
There’s 360-degree video editing, together with support for all the file standards and formats you can imagine. Then there’s slideshows, screen recording, DVD menus, object design tools and more. When we got our hands on it, we were impressed by the free and unlimited access to an extensive, royalty-free library of content from Shutterstock.
The latest version, released in December 2021, lets you add text or graphics that automatically follow the motion of any object, and introduces three AI-driven features: AI Audio Denise, AI Video Denise and AI Reverb. With all these sophisticated features, Power Director 365 can still be quite a learning curve for beginners, for whom we’d recommend Premiere Elements (next on our list). When it came to exporting our test piece, we loved the simplicity of clicking the Produce button, but also liked the many other, more complex options available too.
The best video editing software for beginners
- Platform: Windows, Mac
- Key features: Video stabilisation, face detection, automatic motion tracking
- Free trial: 30 days
- Best for: Video editing beginners and enthusiasts
If you don’t need to edit video for work and just want to play around with personal video footage as a hobby, the two tools listed above are far more complex than what you need. Similarly, if you’d like to get into video editing but are completely new to it, they offer quite an intimidating learning curve will be a bit intimidating. Instead, we recommend Adobe’s Premiere Elements, which is the best video editing software we’ve tested that suits beginners and casual users.
As the name suggests, Premiere Elements is a simplified version of Premiere Pro (number one on our list). It’s cheaper and easier to learn, but it still has a lot of useful, high-end features including face detection, audio effects and bundled soundtracks. Its interface is very simple and visual, and you get all the video effects you need, including transitions, chroma-keying and opacity. In our review, we found it possible to develop a fast workflow by using features like its smart search functionality, video stabilisation options, and automated functions like motion tracking and smart toning.
The latest version, Premiere Elements 2022, was released last October, and includes a number of cool new features. You can now edit and export video in social-friendly formats. There’s also a new auto-reframing tool that lets you select a subject and then focuses on it throughout your video; a new easy-to-use video compression feature based on sliders; and the ability to view animated GIFs within the interface.