The 5 Best Free Screen Recorders

Capture iOS, Android, Windows, Mac or Linux screens

best screen recorders
Getty Images (RUNSTUDIO #846014616)

While some operating systems offer basic screen recording functionality by default, others require third-party apps in order to capture video of your computer or mobile device. Also, the native screen recorders that some platforms provide aren't always powerful or diverse enough to meet your specific needs.

In cases such as these, there is almost always an app available that can provide the screen recording features that you're looking for, no matter if you're trying to capture live game action or create technical troubleshooting videos. We've listed some of the best free screen recorders below.

OBS Studio
Screenshot from Windows

Perhaps the cream of the crop when it comes to free screen recorders, OBS Studio is the preference for many hardcore gamers for good reason. This open source software is ideal for both video recording and live streaming, letting you record from multiple sources including external microphones, webcams, etc.

Image masking, color collection and many other visual filters are provided along with a high-grade audio mixer also with advanced filtering that can be applied to each individual source. OBS Studio allows you to integrate other video and images into your recording, as well as capture user-defined sections of your screen along with live gameplay footage.

In addition to allowing recording in multiple formats, OBS Studio also supports on-the-fly mixing during a live stream and works seamlessly with Twitch, DailyMotion, YouTube Gaming, Facebook Live, Smashcast and more.

While OBS Studio does have a bit of a steep learning curve, there are active forums and community-created tutorials available on the developer's website so you'll never be without an answer for too long.

Compatible with:

  • Linux
  • macOS
  • Windows
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FlashBack Express
Screenshot from Windows

FlashBack Express is the free version of a paid application which includes enough features to be a pretty useful tool without having to spend any money. Its intuitive interface makes basic screen recording a simple task, and the free version does not impose any recording length limitations or stamp any watermarks on your finished product.

You can define FPS for your recording, an excellent tool for gamers in particular, and schedule recording to take place at a specific date and time. FlashBack Express can also be set up to start recording as soon as a designated application is launched, a very useful feature that ensures a complete capture. The software allows you to easily mix in commentary and webcam cameos into your recorded video, and even permits multi-screen recording.

With that said, there are several useful features only available in the paid version, which will cost you $49 for home use and $99 if you plan to create recordings for business purposes. One important distinction is that you can only save recordings in the WMV format or upload them to YouTube in FlashBack Express, while purchasing a license allows you to save files as MP4, AVI, Flash, QuickTime, GIF and standalone EXE. Spending the money also unlocks frame-by-frame editing, smoothing out erratic cursor movements, the ability to blur out sensitive information, picture-in-picture and more. From a security perspective, password-protected recordings can be created in the paid version.

Compatible with:

  • Windows
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TinyTake
MangoApps Inc.

A more basic screen recorder when compared to others on this list, TinyTake is ideal for those looking for a simple, short recording of their on-screen actions or of a particular application. While not ideal for intensive recordings such as gameplay, this software handles basic screencast capturing quite well.

There is a 5-minute recording limit in the free version, but cloud storage and an Online Gallery provides up to 2 GB worth of space to both store and share your recorded clips. This time limit and the amount of cloud storage are increased exponentially with a license purchase, however.

The free application is ad-driven and designated for personal use only, while commercial users and folks looking to utilize some of TinyTake's advanced functionality will have to purchase the premium version. There are multiple license levels available, with the costs varying depending on your specific needs.

Purchasing a license also opens up other features including the ability to add annotations to your videos and upload directly from TinyTake to YouTube.

Compatible with:

  • macOS
  • Windows
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Icecream Screen Recorder
Icecream Apps

With support for over 50 different languages, an integrated drawing panel that lets you add annotations, arrows, outlines and other shapes and figures into your video, webcam integration and more, Icecream Screen Recorder is an unheralded but interesting option when it comes to screen recording apps. It also includes the ability to drag-and-drop to select specific parts of the screen that you'd like to record as well as quality level adjustments, a feature that comes in handy when bandwidth and file sizes need to be considered.

Icecream Screen Recorder offers a lot more, as well, but unfortunately it comes with a price tag attached. For example, to lift the 5-minute recording limitation you'll need to hand over $29.95 for the Pro edition. While the free version only offers one output video format (WEBM) and video codec (VP8), Icecream Pro supports AVI, MP4 and MOV recordings as well as H264 and MPEG4 codecs.

Other Pro-only features include custom watermarks, scheduled recordings, hotkeys, live zoom and trim functionality.

Compatible with:

  • macOS
  • Windows
More »
DU Recorder
DU Group

The mobile platform's premier screen recording option, DU Recorder works on Android 5.x or higher without the need to root your device. Ad-free and with no significant limitations, the oft-updated app supports over 20 languages and boasts well over 10 million installs from the Google Play Store.

DU Recorder creates high-quality recordings of your mobile games, video calls and other apps with HD support, decent selection of frame rates, bit rates and resolutions. It has the ability to record external sound as part of your video and even includes motion-sensing, which halts recording whenever you shake your phone or tablet. DU's brush tool allows you to draw on-screen and integrate your etchings as part of the recording.

Its live feature lets you stream your Android screen directly to Facebook and the app's video editing tools allow for a great deal of flexibility. You can trim parts of your video, merge multiple records into one, add background music and subtitles, rotate, crop and convert videos to GIF format -- all at no charge.

Compatible with:

  • Android

If you aren't satisfied with DU Recorder for any reason, other honorable mentions on the Android platform are AZ Screen Recorder and Mobizen Screen Recorder. More »

iPad, iPhone and iPod touch Apps

iOS Screen Recorders
Getty Images (Caiaimage/Martin Barraud #562872373)

You may have noticed that none of the above apps support the iOS platform, the reason being that any screen recording apps that exist for these devices are not approved by Apple and therefore not available in the App Store. What this means is that they only run on jailbroken devices, hence the reason we have not included them in this list.

The good news, however, is that you can record your screen without jailbreaking your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Step-by-step details on how to do so can be found in the following article: How to Record Your Screen on Any Device.

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