Video editing software: best tools in 2021

Video editing software

The best and top-notch video editing software for Mac, Windows, iPhone, and Android, both paid-for & free.
Well, finding the best video editing software is crucial, whether you are a YouTuber, an amateur, or a professional video editor. But with such a massive range of confusingly titled software out there, it can be tricky or challenging to work out the best to buy.

So, I have brought together the very best and highly-rated video editing software available today in one handy article to help you out. Each contains something different to offer, so I have included all the info you need to choose the best for your purposes.

This list includes video editing software for Mac, Windows, Android, & iOS, so don’t anxious about whatever equipment you’re using; you will be able to find the right tool for you.

In brief: Best 3 best video editing software deals

1. Premiere Pro: the top video editing software overall

Adobe’s Premiere Pro is the top-rated video editing software overall. It is available for both Mac & PC users; this industry-standard software provides everything you required for professional video editing.

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2. Adobe Premiere Elements: the great options for beginners

New to video editing? Adobe Premiere Elements, a simplified version of Premiere Pro, is the perfect place to get started. It contains less of a learning curve than the latter, and it is cheaper, but still, you can create very professional results.

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3. Final Cut Pro X: the perfect choice for Mac users

If you are an Apple user, Final Cut Pro is the excellent video editing software for you. Closely matching the feature-packed, industry-ready toolset of Premiere, Final Cut Pro is a robust pick for professional video editors working today.

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In full: The top video editing software (paid-for)

1. Final Cut Pro X

The perfect video editing software for Mac users.

Platform: Mac | Key features: Multi-cam editing, intelligent color balancing | Free trial: 90-day (limited time offer) | Best for Video editing professionals, video editing students

Versatile & powerful editing
Brilliant interface
Makes sense for Apple users

US$299.99 View at Apple

Apple’s Apple Final Cut Pro X is a competent and highly respected tool for professional video editing. The primary thing that counts against it is, it’s not available for Windows. On the upside, it’s subscription-free. So if you do not want a Creative Cloud subscription, Final Cut Pro X allows you to pay once and once only.

With features including 360° video, HDR, and advanced tools for color correction, Final Cut Pro X is optimized to get the most out of your Mac and integrates well with the relevant parts of Apple’s ecosystem, like your Photos or iTunes collections. It is also surprisingly easy-to-use, despite being so robust and feature-rich. Additionally, professional video editors particularly love its innovative Magnetic Timeline, grouping tools, a wide range of effects, useful organizational features, and the straightforward ways to add and edit audio.

Moreover, in the latest version (Final Cut Pro 10.5.1), released in December, there is an option to export for YouTube & share on Facebook. Besides, one other important thing to mention is the generous 90-day trial period, which compares favorably with the one-week trial offered by Premiere Pro.

2. Vimeo Create

Web-based editor for social media videos.

Platform: Browser | Key features: Templates, intuitive interface, stock content | Free trial: 30 days | Best for Beginners

Excellent templates
Ample stock content
Limited use cases
Needs membership

The YouTube competitor Vimeo puts a great emphasis on targeting creative professionals. So it is not surprising that Vimeo Create, its app aimed at businesses wanting to produce professional-looking social media videos, is pretty impressive & thought through.

Aimed at people with absolutely no video editing software experience, Vimeo can use and customize pre-prepared video templates, along with millions of stock video clips, photos, & commercially licensed music tracks available to use just for free. There are numerous built-in styles that you can apply to your video at just the click of a mouse. Overall, it makes it simple to produce videos for various aspect ratios (e.g., horizontal, square, and vertical) to suit different social platforms. Additionally, the app is web-based, so there is nothing you need to download.

Apart from that, Vimeo Create lacks the advanced and rich features expected from a full-service video editing program. But what it’s designed for, it does great.

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3. Adobe Premiere Rush

The best video editing software for working on the go.

Platform: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android | Key features: 4K support, In-app motion graphics | Free trial: Free starter plan | Perfect for Enthusiasts (Premiere Rush alone), professionals (with Premiere Pro)

All can be done in the app.

Excellent for sound editing
Ideal if you already know Adobe
Do not rely on the limited free plan.

Adobe Premiere Rush CC

Adobe Premiere Pro & Premiere Rush CC

Wondering about video editing software you can use on the move? Then consider that Adobe also provides an app for iOS & Android called Adobe Premiere Rush. It makes all the most essential bits of Premiere Pro available on your phone or tablet.

One of the excellent video editing apps around, Premiere Rush features a simplified version of the Premiere Pro interface, with large icons & panels that are easier to tap on a small touchscreen. You can edit four video tracks and three audio tracks. And while there are not many more features available than on its desktop cousins, all the basics are available, like adding videos to the timeline through drag-&-drop and mixing in background music.

Besides, Premiere Rush can be used as an app in its own right, but most professionals will use it in conjunction with Premiere Pro. For example, when you are on the train, you could make some extra edits to the footage you are previously worked on at the studio on your desktop PC, using Premiere Pro.

Alternatively, if you are just a casual YouTuber who wants to make simple edits to your clips, Premiere Rush is also suitable for that. As it is for making social media video clips: the app contains export options optimized for Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, etc. Like all Adobe software, new features are included in the Dec 2020 release like pan and zoom enhancements & new transitions in the new Effects panel.

Furthermore, you can get Premiere Rush as part of the Creative Cloud or subscribe to Premiere Rush alone. There is a free starter plan that includes access to the app, unlimited free exports on Premiere Rush mobile, 2GB of cloud storage, and three exported projects on Premiere Rush desktop. That free version solely makes it among the top-rated software for editing videos for YouTube.

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4. Adobe Premiere Pro

The best video editing software overall.

Platform: Windows & Mac | Key features: Multi-cam editing, 3D editing | Free trial: Yes | Best for Video editing students, Video editing professionals
Excellent automatic functions
An industry-standard video editing tool
Free trial available

Premiere Pro CC Single App

Premiere Pro CC All Apps

Adobe Premiere Pro CC is an industry standard tool used by top professionals on everything from YouTube videos, ads, and short movies to broadcast TV & movies.

Its main competitor is Final Cut Pro, which closely matches features & sophistication. But as the latter is merely available for Mac, it makes the cross-platform Premiere Pro our pick for the top video editing software overall.

Furthermore, another thing Premiere Pro has going for it is being part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Well, if you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, you will be able to use it seamlessly with most of that more expansive suite of software.

What if you’re a Mac user and not a Creative Cloud subscriber? Even though Premiere Pro is still worth considering. It supports 4K, 8K, & VR formats. Its trimming and editing tools provide you with a high degree of precision & control; you can work on an uncapped number of video tracks, which can be easily imported from any source you can think of; automatic sync makes it effortless to handle multi-angle shots. It boasts customizable keyboard shortcuts and some best options for remote team collaboration.

Like all Creative Cloud software, Premiere Pro is continually updated, & subscribers get all updates for free. For instance, with the December 2020 release (14.7), you can quickly export your video directly from within the header bar, using famous or frequently used export settings.

Moreover, you can subscribe to Premiere Pro alone, but you will save money overall by subscribing to Creative Cloud if you use more than one of Adobe’s apps. You can take out a 7-day trial to make sure you like it before committing.

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5. Filmora

Low-cost video editing software for enthusiasts.

Platform: Mac, Windows | Key features: 4K support, built-in effects, & titles | Free trial: Free version available | Best for Enthusiasts

Reasonable price
4K support
Free version to try

Filmora Annual

Filmora Lifetime

Filmora Unlimited

Wondershare’s Filmora is a robust video editing tool for fans or those just getting started with editing, for a surprisingly low price. It contains an intuitive UI that’s easy-to-use, whatever your level of familiarity with video editing.

There are many handy built-in titles, effects, and filters designed for YouTubers and like and a library of royalty-free sound effects & music to impact your videos. You even get the ability to record your media straight within the tool. The most current version, Filmora X, brought a flurry of extra features, including motion Tracking, color matching, & a keyboard shortcuts editor.

Moreover, the free version includes all the same features & tools as the paid tool, but all your videos have a brand watermark. If you wish them gone, you can select between paying for an Annual plan & taking out a Lifetime plan for a one-off fee. Alternatively, an unlimited plan includes unlimited downloads from a stock library and new effects each month.

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The top free video editing software

Are you wondering about free video editing software? In most cases, you will not get the range of professional features you would end with paid-for software, but the free tools I have listed below are surprisingly capable. And if you have the talent, there is nothing to stop you from putting together a technically accomplished production. Alternatively, if you have simple requirements and want easy-to-use video editing software for amateur or hobbyist projects, I have you covered here.

6. Lightworks

The free version of this Hollywood-grade tool is surprisingly robust.

Platform: Linux, Windows, Mac OS X | Key features: Almost any format imported natively; outputs directly to Vimeo/YouTube; Multicam editing; project sharing for groups | Best for Professionals & enthusiasts

Extremely robust
Good set of tutorial videos
Restricted format output
Challenging to master

Lightworks Pro Yearly

Lightworks Pro Monthly

Lightworks Pro Outright

LWKS Lightworks is another professional video editing suite that’s been used on major Hollywood productions. And in the free version, you get nearly all the features. The vital restriction is that you can only export a web-compatible file at 720p. That said, if you want to export some projects into a different format relatively cheaply, you can buy a 1-month license for a relatively small fee.

Lightworks is undoubtedly among the best free video editing software for Windows 10. It handles video capture & advanced editing with ease, and its timeline gives you a high degree of control over how you trim and mix your audio and video clips. On the downside, the interface is not the easiest to navigate. But at least there are ample good tutorial videos to help you get you up and running, and it remains free as long as your projects are non-commercial.

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7. DaVinci Resolve

The perfect free video editing software for color correction & audio features.

Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux | Key features: Fairlight audio tools, Great color-correction, compatible with Fairlight consoles, multi-user collaboration | Best for Professionals & enthusiasts

Exceptional color correction
Robust audio post-production
Good for collaborative working
More suited to finishing footage

DaVinci Resolve 15

DaVinci Resolve is the best free video editing tool that combines professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects, & audio post-production into one space. It’s regularly used on big-budget movies TV productions and has particularly powerful color correction & audio capabilities.

Besides traditional color features like curve editors and primary color wheels, there is also facial recognition and tracking so that you can adjust skin tones, lip color, and eyes. For audio, DaVinci Resolve uses Fairlight, a suite of high-end editing tools that allow you to mix and master up to 1,000 channels.

It is quite incredible that this software is available with nearly all the free version features. If you’re wondering about the best free video editing software for Windows or Mac, this could be it.

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