Screen recorders are essential to operating effectively in the high-tech business landscape that we now operate in. Screen recorders make international corporations more efficient and help amateur content creators build their brand. They’re so useful, in fact, that just about every software development company has created a version of their own.
The paid, free, and cheap options are seemingly endless. But nobody wants to take the time to learn how to use a screen recording program only to discover that the one that they chose isn’t quite up to the task. Today, in an effort to save you time and money, we’re going to take a look at the 10 best screen recording programs on the market right now.
What Is Screen Recording?
The term “screen recording” is fairly on the nose. After all, it’s used to describe any act of recording one’s computer screen. More specifically, screen recording programs are applications that grant the user the ability to record a monitor’s output effectively creating a video to be used later.
Sadly, you can’t just hit a red circle on your desktop and start recording your screen. You’ll need to download a program to do that. Screen recording programs are all different, though most include basic abilities that let you cut and paste elements, edit on the fly, and adjust the frame of the video.1
Benefits of Screen Recording
Screen recorders may seem simple enough, but this simplistic application can allow you to complete some fairly complex tasks. They’re put to use every day, all over the world to:
- Record meetings;
- Create marketing videos;
- Livestream content;
- Record and broadcast educational videos, and;
- Create tutorials.
On the web, video content is king. Now do you see why the market for screen recording software is big? Lots of competition means lots of options — and reasonable prices.
Top 5 Paid Screen Recording Programs
If you have the budget and the needs, investing in a paid screen recording program may be the way to go. Paid applications usually offer a wide range of features like editing tools and the ability to draw on videos. On top of these features, most of them include advanced recording settings, sharing options, and create high quality recordings.
Be careful though, as some of these applications are quite expensive.
At $299, Camtasia is easily one of the most expensive screen recording programs on the market today. But it made today’s list due to its vast collection of intuitive features.
Camtasia is a pro-grade tool that allows you to record from your webcam, mix audio and video, add captions and quizzes, and edit. That’s in addition to the program’s easy-to-navigate screen recording features.
While Camtasia isn’t ideal for everyone, it’s a quality program.2
Screencast-O-Matic can be accessed for free. However, the program adds a watermark to all content created with its free version. As such, paying for premium access may not be a bad idea.
Screencast-O-Matic is undoubtedly one of the best screen recording programs on the market today. It’s easy to use, comes with a fully loaded library of stock media, and includes a suite of editing tools.
At $4 a month, the cost is more than reasonable for users that plan on doing a lot of recording.3
Game streamers praise Filmora Scrn for its ability to record one’s screen at 60 fps on Mac and 120 fps on PC. Better yet, it can even produce 4K video content.
At $79.99 for a lifetime license, Filmora Scrn can be considered a real bargain. However, you’ll need a powerful machine to run the recorder alongside a game. Plus, the program has been known to lag. Thankfully, you can try the program out for free before you commit to it.4
Bandicam is another favorite of the gaming community. That’s because the powerful program is capable of capturing 4K videos at a frame rate of 120 fps. From tabs, to windows, to programs, to entire screens, the program can be used to record just about anything you want.
Even better, it’s just $39.99. However, it’s only available to Windows users.5
Rounding out our list of paid screen recorders is the popular, browser-based program AceThinker.
With this program, you can fine-tune your screen capture parameters to ensure you’re only recording the right sections. AceThinker also exports directly to your cloud service of choice and across multiple file formats.
Most of AceThinker’s features are free to use across both Mac and Windows. The program’s PRO version paywalls a number of important features behind a one-time fee of $39.95.6
Top 5 Free Screen Recording Programs
If you lack the funds to invest in a monthly subscription fee or are just hoping to put together a one-time video, consider a free screen recording program. Though free recorders may offer basic functionality, don’t be surprised if it won’t let you edit videos or export in 4K.
Regardless, the following free programs offer a low-risk alternative to spending hundreds of your hard earned dollars on software that you may not need.
Open Broadcaster Software
Open Broadcaster Software, OBS for short, is a free desktop application that lets you record high definition videos of your screen without any real limitations. Available on Mac, Linux, and Windows, OBS can help you livestream your content to Mixer, Twitch, or YouTube.
While OBS isn’t the easiest program to use, customizable hotkeys help the workflow for those planning to use the software long term.7
Free Cam is incredibly easy to use and lets you upload high-quality videos directly to YouTube. Plus, the program doesn’t bombard you with ads, force you to work within arbitrary time limits, or add a tacky watermark.
Free Cam does have its limitations though. You can only export videos as WMV files and it won’t record your webcam.
Either way, Free Cam is a fantastic free option for those that want to quickly record their screen.8
Free Screen Video Recorder
We clearly aren’t handing out awards to programs with the most creative names. Free Screen Video Recorder from DVDVideoSoft lets you:
- Capture multiple windows,
- Resize, crop, and rotate output images, and;
- Record your screen.
There are ads and it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to use. But, Free Screen Video Recorder’s reliability has led it to be downloaded over 40 million times.9
Screencastify is a great resource for anyone looking to capture a quick video. It’s a browser based program, which means you won’t have to wait around while it installs. Using it is as simple as adding the Screencastify extension to Google Chrome.
Though there are paid elements, the extension’s free functions should include everything you need to record, edit, and save a quick video.10
You won’t find any ads here. The powerful open-source screen recorder ShareX is available for Windows users who aren’t afraid of a steep learning curve. In addition to screen recording, ShareX can be used to import existing media and share content across most online platforms.
ShareX is a bit complicated, and doesn’t offer webcam recording nor does it include video editing tools. Still, ShareX is a fantastic free tool designed with the professional user in mind.11
Anyone looking for a competent screen recorder for PC, Mac, or Linux are in good hands now. From comprehensive professional software suites to free and simple-to-use screen recorders, the internet has you covered.
And if you didn’t find what you were looking for here, know that there are countless other options available. The perfect screen recording program for you might be a single online search away.