Recording software is one of the most critical tools in the toolbox of content creators. The ability to record and edit your video into a finished product that you can share with your audience is essential for any streamer who wants to grow an online audience. However, when you’re just starting, it can be difficult to afford expensive recording software packages. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best free recording software programs for Windows, so you can determine which option is best for your needs.

There are several recording options available, but some of them offer more functionality than others. This article will go over the most popular screen recording software applications available and some of the key advantages of each.

1. Streamlabs Desktop

Streamlabs Desktop is very easy to jump into as a new streamer. The user interface is designed to be as user-friendly as possible. Because Streamlabs is built on top of OBS, all of the features from OBS are included in Streamlabs. This means it is excellent for beginners and advanced users alike.

Both recording software comes with advanced settings to adjust the output resolution of your recorded video, file format, bitrate, and more; However, Streamlabs comes with a few extra features that outdo the competition.


Recently we announced Streamlabs Highlighter, a free video editing tool in Streamlabs Desktop. Highlighter is the perfect tool to record, edit, and upload videos directly to YouTube without ever leaving Streamlabs Desktop. Highlighter is easy to use and requires no knowledge of video editing software. It comes with 12 different transitions that you can play between clips and allows you to upload your own music. 

Selective Recording

Streamlabs also includes Selective Recording, which allows you to stream and record two different video outputs simultaneously. This means that the sources your live stream viewers see can be removed from a recorded video. Similarly, you can add extra sources to a recorded video without them appearing on your live stream.

Want to learn how to record your screen using Streamlabs Desktop? Click here to learn how to get the best recording settings possible.

2. OBS Studio

OBS, like Streamlabs Desktop, is a free, open-source software program. It is a dependable program that can be used for live streaming and has game capture capabilities.

OBS is highly customizable, and it even includes plug-in and extension support if you need more functionality. While it can be intimidating for new creators, if you are willing to do some extra research and learn how to use it properly, it can be a great choice.

3. NVIDIA Shadow Play

This is a helpful feature from NVIDIA that allows you to capture and record your screen. You can also use the Instant Replay feature to record up to 20 minutes of gameplay with the press of a hotkey. To use this feature, you must have an NVIDIA graphics card in the 600 series or higher. Finally, you must also download the NVIDIA GeForce Experience.

While there aren’t as many customizable options as Streamlabs or OBS, if you’re looking for a straightforward tool to capture content quickly and easily, you might want to consider this one.

4. Bandicam

Brandicam is great at recording high-quality video, up to 4K UHD Video up to 480 FPS Video. You can even specify which part of the screen you want to record.

Unfortunately, the free version has a few limitations, such as a ten-minute record limit and a watermark that can only be removed after you pay.

5. Gamecaster

Gamecaster does a lot of the setup for you, which can be great for new streamers, but if you’re looking for advanced functionality, there are some restrictions. The good thing is that you can choose whether or not you mainly plan to stream or record, and it will walk you through the setup process to ensure you capture the content you want to record.

The UI can be a little clunky at times, and there are a few recording settings that are unavailable in other streaming software like OBS and Streamlabs, but for someone looking for a good balance of quality and ease-of-use, Gamecaster is a solid choice.

6. Fraps

Fraps is an older screen recording software that is still widely used by creators today. The software is dependable, simple to use, and includes features such as the ability to hide your mouse.

Unfortunately, you must pay to use it without a watermark, and the free version only allows you to record for 30 seconds per recording. However, if you only want to record highlights, this software is adequate.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. Remember to follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

About Streamlabs

Founded on the belief that we want to help creators make a living do what they love, Streamlabs provides a robust suite of features to help creators better engage with their fans, grow audiences, and improve monetization. Building on this mission, Streamlabs is expanding its product with 1) Melon, our browser-based streaming studio, 2) Willow, an all-in-one bio link tool, 3) Oslo, a video review and collaboration tool, and 4) Lucra, a live streaming platform for ticketed events.

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