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5 Best Free Screen Recorders of 2021

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Yesterday I published an article called Screen Recording Made Easy with RecordCast. In the past I also published How to Record Your Screen with OBS Studio and Create Your Next Video Project with Flexclip – What It Is and How to to Get Started. All of this got me thinking. What are the best screen recorders for users to choose from? Whatever your reason for wanting to record your screen, here is a list of some of the best to choose from.

Criteria

The criteria that I am going with to choose the screen recorders for this article are pretty simple.

 

  • Must be free to use.
  • Needs to work and produce quality videos.
  • Must be somewhat user friendly.

 

All of the recorders listed here would be a good choice. The free version should take care of serving your recording needs. Though some of them are pretty limited in some aspects in their free version, if you decide to upgrade to a paid subscription you will definitely enjoy their advanced features.

The 5 Best Screen Recorders of 2021

5. CamStudio

 

 

CamStudio is an open source screen recorder that runs on Windows. It is popular, it works, and it’s easy to use. Unfortunately it does have some limitations as you will see below.

 

Pros:

  • It is open source.
  • There is no limit on how long your recording can be.
  • An easy to use interface.
  • Extensions are available.
  • It supports subtitles.

 

Cons:

  • No editing capabilities.
  • Output formats are limited to SWF and AVI.
  • It only runs on Windows.

 

Bottom Line

If you want to create a recording CamStudio will do that for you. The video can be as long as you want and you can add subtitles as well. It is also very easy to use. Unfortunately your output is limited to SWF and AVI formats so if you want an MP4 or WebM file you will have to convert it. Add to that it isn’t portable, you can only use it on Windows.

 

4. FlexClip

 

 

I have already done a review on FlexClip. It is a free to low cost screen recorder that makes screen recording pretty easy.

 

Pros:

  • It is very easy to use.
  • Ability to do basic edits.
  • It is completely cross-platform.

 

Cons:

  • Limited to 480p SD downloads.
  • You can only use one stock video per project.
  • Videos are limited to 1 minute in length.
  • A limit to having up to 12 projects.
  • A FlexClip intro to your videos.

 

Bottom Line

Though the free version of Flexclip is easy to use, it is also pretty limited. The paid versions are low priced and feature packed. To be honest, I really want to rank Flexclip higher because their low cost paid plan is loaded with features. But as I said earlier, we are only considering free screen recorders in this article.

 

3. Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder

 

 

Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder is a great choice to capture what’s happening on your screen.

 

Pros:

  • Drawing tools.
  • Support for many file formats.
  • Easy to use.
  • No limit on recording length.
  • You can make annotations while recording.
  • It is very easy to save and share your videos.
  • Allows you to hide desktop icons, taskbar, etc.

 

Cons:

  • It can only be run on Windows and Mac. It isn’t compatible with Linux, Android, or iOS.
  • There is an Apowersoft watermark on your video.
  • You need to sign up for an account to get rid of the watermark and gain access to more features.
  • A browser plugin is required.

 

Bottom Line

Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder is free and easy to use. It will work great for many types of recording projects. Unfortunately you can’t use it on Linux, Android, or iOS so it isn’t portable across platforms. Also, you have to sign up for an account with them to get rid of their watermark and unlock more features. I do like the fact that there is no limit to how long your videos can be. Overall I would say this is a good video recorder that will work for many of you.

 

2. RecordCast

 

 

I recently wrote a review on RecordCast. It is a free web based screen recorder.

 

Pros:

  • The interface is extremely easy to navigate and use.
  • There is nothing to download or install. Everything is done in your web browser.
  • It has a built in video editor.
  • There are a massive amount of edits that you can apply to your video.
  • It is extremely feature rich.

 

Cons:

  • To save and download your video you need to sign up for an account.
  • Downloads are limited to 480P SD.
  • Video length is limited to 5 minutes.
  • If you want to record system audio you will need to use RecordCast in Google Chrome on Windows.

 

Bottom Line

To be honest with you, RecordCast and OBS Studio are my two top screen recorders. I’ll get more into that in a moment. When it comes to RecordCast. I grew to really like and enjoy it pretty quickly after starting to test it. It is impressively easy to use and works extremely well.

 

1. OBS Studio

 

 

I had already written an article on how to use OBS Studio in 2020. OBS stands for Open Broadcaster Software. It is a powerful screen recorder that also allows you to livestream, comes with several plugins, and is open source.

 

Pros:

  • It has an audio mixer.
  • It it excellent at streaming.
  • Very feature rich.
  • t works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

 

Cons:

  • There is a small learning curve as you get to know the interface.
  • No mobile app.

 

Bottom Line

OBS Studio is an extremely powerful free and open source screen recorder/streaming appliction. Once you learn how to use it you will have precise control over your recording project. There is a small learning curve but once you are used to the interface you will have no problem with recording and streaming.

 

Verdict

First I will give you my picks of the best of the bunch and then I will give you some advice. The top two screen recorders that I would pick are RecordCast and OBS Studio. RecordCast is a top pic because of its utter simplicity. I know that the free version has some definite limitations but it will work well for most users. And if you want to record longer videos or want more advanced features going pro is extremely inexpensive. OBS Studio takes the top spot because of it’s advanced functionality, impressive feature set, streaming capability, and it is open source.

Now for some advice. If you only need to do basic screen recording go with RecordCast. It is extremely easy to use and there is no need to install extra software on your system. If you like RecordCast upgrade to a monthly or yearly subscription. It only costs $5.99 a month or $47.88 a year. If on the other hand you want to record videos longer than 30 minutes or want to do livestreams go with OBS Studio. Once you are used to the interface you will be impressed with the control that it gives you and the advanced features.

I hope that this list helped some of you. Try the screen recorders listed here and see which one meets your needs. Do you already use one? If so let me know down in the comments. Also let me know if there is one that I should have included but missed.

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