The best video editing software 2018

Choose the right piece of video editing software and you can turn long, frustrating hours sat in front of your computer into a pain-free task with coherent movies, dynamic short films and sharable videos as a result.

Click through to page two for our newly updated list of the best free video editing software if you're not ready to commit to a paid option just yet.

The video editors we've recommended in this buying guide are jam-packed full of features to turn your footage into celluloid gold. whether you're using one of the 5 best laptops for video editing or another device, we've picked the best options to suit you. You'll find the best video editing software for Windows PCs, Mac and Android devices. 

We also have a cheap option if you're on a budget, but still want something more capable than the free software. And there are brilliant choices for beginners and experienced video editors alike. Read on to discover the best video editing software for your needs.

Adobe is an instantly recognisable name to most, and its Premiere Elements 15 program is a great choice for both beginners and experienced editors. It isn't as complex as the more heavyweight Premiere Pro video editor (listed below), which is best suited to full-time video editing professionals. But Adobe Premiere Elements is packed with excellent features, such as face detection, audio effects and bundled soundtracks. And it's friendly to use, too.

Whether you're an editing newbie or a pro, automated functions – such as motion tracking and smart toning – will make your life a lot easier. And the same can be said of the video stabilisation option and simplicity of editing. 

Premiere Elements 15 comes with all the video effects you’d expect in a consumer video editor: transitions, chroma-keying, opacity and so on. The media library is also intelligently organised, with smart searches making it easy to find finished and draft files

Read more about Adobe Premiere Elements on TechRadar

Crank things up a notch to Adobe Premiere Pro CC and get an all-singing all-dancing video editor that's used by multitudes of industry professionals. And it's easy to see why it's so popular for Windows 10 users – it can handle an uncapped amount of video tracks, which can be imported from pretty much any source you can think of: files, tapes, cameras of all standards, and even VR. 

The automatic sync is a gem 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.

Read TechRadar's Adobe Premiere Pro CC review

What Adobe Premiere Pro is to Windows PCs, is to Mac users. It's the best video editing software for Mac. And, as you would suspect with Apple software, the must-have editor is consummately easy to use and comes packed with enough features to warrant the admittedly high price tag. We like the grouping tools, effect options and the simplistic way you can add and edit audio.

If you're already entwined in Apple's ecosystem, you'll appreciate how Final Cut cleverly coordinates with your Photos or iTunes collections.

If you think that trying to edit video on your smartphone or tablet is a pointless exercise, will make you think again. Available for Android devices, iPhones and iPads, we've highlighted this option as the best video editing software for Android because it goes way above and beyond what you'd expect from a mobile app. 

It packs the ability to edit multiple layers, add handwriting and text annotations, experiment with up to four audio tracks and precisely edit at a frame and sub-frame level.

We could go on with a looooong list of features, but at this price it won't hurt the wallet just to download the video editing app and give it a try.

offers a great way into video editing for novices. It's brilliantly easy to get going with straight away, thanks to its intuitive interface, but you won't find it wanting for features. 

There's multi-cam editing, 4K video support, 360-degrees VR video support, a music library and loads of effects, to name but a few. Not bad at all for the price.

The more you use VideoStudio Ultimate, the more you'll notice and make use of its little features and flourishes. It's a great option for beginners, and still a pretty good option for more experienced video editors, too.

This one isn't for the faint of heart. CyberLink PowerDirector is a serious bit of software for serious video editors: this is excellent video editing software that delivers professional and high-quality features, without a Hollywood budget.

Get cracking on the 100-track timeline and you'll soon find yourself making the most of multitudes of stabilisation and video correction tools, professional effects, multi-cam editing, motion tracking and surprisingly easy trimming.

There's 360-degree video editing as well, together with support for all the file standards and formats you can imagine. And if you're finding it all a bit of a struggle, then there are plenty of video tutorials to help to get you sorted.

Download CyberLink PowerDirector 15

Next page: The best free video editing software

Amazingly, some of the best free video editing software is almost the same as that used by professionals working on big budget Hollywood productions. In most cases, there’s a paid-for version with more features (click back to page one to read our pick of the best paid video editing software), but the free versions we’re going to show you have the majority of the functionality intact. 

In the case of Lightworks, for example, the main restriction is the output format, but VSDC and the amazing DaVinci Resolve let you export your creations in a wide range of formats.

The range and power of the features available in these free video editing software options is remarkable; if you have the talent there’s nothing to stop you putting together a technically accomplished production.

If your needs are simpler and you just want easy-to-use software that sits between Windows Movie Maker and a top-end professional package, then there’s a free video software download for you here as well.

DaVinci Resolve is a professional video editing package that is used on big-budget film and TV productions, and is especially powerful for colour correction and audio – so if those are priorities in your project then this could be the software for you.

As well as traditional colour features such as curve editors and primary colour wheels, there are some incredible features such as facial recognition and tracking, so you can adjust skin tones, eye and lip colour. Audio is the other area of specialism: DaVinci Resolve includes Fairlight audio, which is a suite of high-end audio editing tools that enable you to mix and master up to 1,000 channels.

It’s amazing that this software is available with nearly all the features present in the free version. If you’re looking for the best free video editing software for Windows or Mac, this could be it.

Lightworks is another professional video editing suite used by people working on major Hollywood productions including Shutter Island, Pulp Fiction, 28 Days Later, The Wolf of Wall Street and Mission Impossible, so it’s exciting that there’s a free version that makes it accessible to everyone.

Amazingly, in the free version you get nearly all the features; the main restriction for the free license version is the output formats – you can only export a web compatible file at 720p. If you want to export a few projects into a different format fairly cheaply, you can buy a one-month licence for £14.99.

Lightworks is undoubtedly some of the best free video editing software for Windows 10. What you’re getting is a fast and very powerful editor with a superbly designed timeline. It does everything you can imagine a big production needs it to, with great hardware and video format support, and powerful project sharing so many people can work together easily.

It's a powerful piece of kit for a freebie, handling video capture and advanced editing with ease. The timeline enables a high degree of control so you can trim and mix together your audio and video clips exactly how you want them. 

Because it's a slimmed-down version of a professional suite, you may find that the interface isn't the easiest to navigate. But there are plenty of good tutorial videos that will get you up and running pretty quickly – and you won't have to pay a penny, as long as your projects are non-commercial.

Read TechRadar's Lightworks review

Lightworks and DaVinci Resolve are ideal if you’re making a slick-looking film, but if you’re making a presentation and want to add text, lines, charts and other special effects to it, VSDC might be the free video editor for you.

It includes Instagram-style filters, lots of special effects including colour correction and blurring, and there’s a mask tool so you can apply effects to part of the video (for obscuring faces, for example).

There’s a video stabiliser to help remove camera shake from footage taken with GoPros or drones, and also a powerful chart tool for adding graphs to presentations.

Unlike Lightworks, the free version of VSDC will export to a range of different formats including AVI and MPG. If you’re unsure about formats, you can even tailor the output so that it works well on particular devices for playback. It supports most video formats, so you shouldn’t have any trouble importing your clips, and there’s a built-in DVD burner.

Read TechRadar's VSDC review

No list of the best free video editors would be complete without a mention of Hitfilm Express. It’s capable of producing feature films or music videos with 3D effects, but it’s also good for making videos for YouTube, as direct uploading is built in.

The free version of Hitfilm Express contains everything you need to make a professional-quality production, but in some cases you’ll benefit from expanding its capabilities by purchasing some of the add-on features. 

Add-on packs range in price from £8.85 to £44.25, so you can pay for only the features you need and tailor the software to your needs for a reasonable price. 

Read TechRadar's HitFilm Express review

Not every project requires a cutting edge, professional-level package, and there’s no point putting the time in to learn powerful software that you’re never going to use again. Shotcut is for you if you’ve outgrown Movie Maker and want to go to the next level, but don’t need the complexity of some of the other packages on this list.

Its interface is uncomplicated and approachable, and you can even customise it to match your needs via dockable and undockable panels. It supports a huge range of formats so you’re unlikely to run into trouble in that department, and there’s a rich assortment of filters and quite advanced special effects that are easy to manage and apply. 

This is one of the best free video editors that will do everything required for most projects.

Read TechRadar's Shotcut review

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