The best tool for video editing depends on a lot of factors: your technical ability and desire to learn, your budget, and the complexity of what you're hoping to accomplish. There's no one-size-fits-all video editor, but that's ok—the field is flooded with good options.
In fact, some of the best video editing software is completely free, even if you're looking for more advanced features. And premium options tend to come with free trials, so you can be sure they're a fit for your project before you commit.
I've used all sorts of video editing apps in the past for quickly throwing together personal projects, and I've done product reviews of lots of the professional options over the years. For this article, I looked at over 60 video editors and tested all the top contenders. Based on my experiences with the apps, these are my picks for the best video editing software across Windows, Mac, and the web.
The best video editing software
Adobe Premiere Pro for the best professional video editor overall
DaVinci Resolve for the best free video editor on Windows and Mac
Final Cut Pro for Mac users who need a professional tool set
Clipchamp for quick web-based edits
Adobe Premiere Rush for near-instant results on desktop and mobile
Luxea Pro for Windows users looking for a mid-range option
Wondershare Filmora for easy-to-use video effects and fixes
iMovie for Mac users looking for a polished freebie
What makes the best video editing software?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
At the very least, a video editor needs to be compatible with your source material and allow you to make basic edits. (Some video editors will even perform these basic edits for you, allowing you to adjust things after the fact.) But a lot of video editing demands more advanced features. So as I tested, I looked at a variety of criteria to be sure I was selecting the best video editing software for a wide range of users:
Basic editing. Every video editor needs a simple, easy-to-use interface for composing a simple edit. This includes easy ingesting of content, the ability to quickly access tools like splice or turn off snapping, and ideally the ability to customize the interface.
Advanced editing. While not all editing jobs need advanced tools, certain projects require things like chroma keying (green screen), object tracking, video stabilization and lens correction, multi-camera editing for quickly switching between perspectives, and color adjustment. I kept my eye out for and played around with these advanced features as I was testing each video editor.
Efficiency. Video editing can be a resource-intensive task, so performance matters. Being able to adjust preview quality or easily create proxy files for fast editing is important. Similarly, I was looking for a range of options when it comes to exporting. And easy integration with other platforms was a huge plus.
Tutorials and assistance. The more advanced a video editor becomes, the more you'll need to tinker and learn. Good help content and video tutorials are important, but so is a healthy community producing YouTube videos, forum posts, and blog articles to help you learn quickly by doing.
Extras. It's not unusual to find integrations with stock video and music tools, additional downloadable templates and graphics, or other extra features that enhance the editing experience, like audio mastering and motion graphics interfaces, video converters, and tools for organizing footage. When available, I tested these extras to see if they added value to the app.
I tested each video editor using a selection of 4K HDR clips of varying length and subject matter. I did basic edits with each app and put more advanced features through their paces. Finally, I exported projects in a variety of formats and to a number of different platforms—you don't want to get all the way through an incredible edit just to find out you can't export how you need to.
What about AI video editors?
There's a growing number of AI video apps designed to create videos from scratch. They're impressive, and there are editing features included, but they're not what you need if you're looking for a true video editor.
So while some of my picks here do make use of similar technologies, it's not the focus of this roundup. If you're looking for text-to-video generators or related tools, take a look at Zapier's picks for the best AI video generators.
The best video editing software at a glance
A professional suite of video editing tools
Everything you could possibly need in a video editor
$20.99/month, billed annually
A free, cross-platform option
Cut or Edit: two different workflows for editing
Generous free option available; $295 for Studio edition
Apple users who want a pro-level editor
Highly optimized for Apple silicon-powered Macs
Web-based edits from anywhere
Convenient web-based editing plus a ton of integrations and other features
Free plan available; $11.99/month to remove watermark and export above 1080p
Fast edits on mobile and desktop
Select your clips in order, then hit Create, and Premiere Rush will edit them together in seconds
Free plan available; $9.99/month Adobe Express plan to uncap exports and access all features
Windows users on a budget
A very simple and effective interface that makes the app highly accessible
$49.99/year; lifetime license available for $99.99
Plenty of AI-powered tools for improving footage
$29.99/quarter for cross-platform plan or $79.99 single-platform lifetime purchase
A free option for Apple users
Simple to use and deeply integrated with Apple's ecosystem
Free on macOS, iOS, iPadOS
Best professional video editing software for cross-platform video editing
Adobe Premiere Pro (Windows, Mac)
Premiere Pro pros:
One of the most powerful video editors on the market
Includes AI-powered tools like color match, audio enhancement, and text-based editing
Integrates with Adobe's other apps
Premiere Pro cons:
Expensive and requires a monthly or annual subscription
A complex tool to master
Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry-standard video editing tool from a company that specializes in creative applications like Photoshop and After Effects. It's a highly versatile tool that includes everything for crafting basic edits to more advanced tasks like color grading, chroma keying, and object-tracking.
The basic editing tools are fairly straightforward, and Premiere Pro manages to maintain a clean and uncluttered interface. This makes learning to perform simple edits relatively easy, and Adobe includes a useful in-app tutorial that walks you through the process when you first install it.
Having said that, many of the more complex functions do require some digging. For example, you can apply object tracking to your clips automatically or manually. Going the automatic route lets Premiere Pro analyze and generate keyframes that you can tidy up later. To do this, you'll need to learn how to create a new sequence from a clip and draw a mask. Other forms of tracking involve customizing the interface to show the tools you'll need to use. (If you don't know what any of this means, you almost definitely don't need Premiere Pro.)
The good news: Premiere Pro's popularity means that there's plenty of help at hand. Adobe includes training materials and an exhaustive manual, or you can learn as you go by searching for videos and articles whenever you run into trouble.
Premiere Pro is powerful and exhaustive, but that's reflected in the price and subscription model. If you don't need everything that Adobe provides, you'll be better off opting for something cheaper instead.
Adobe Premiere Pro price: $20.99/month (billed annually) or $31.49/month (billed monthly); 7-day free trial available.
If you use Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, you can automate your video production workflows by connecting Adobe to Zapier. Automatically upload files to Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, send notifications when assets are ready, and create tasks based on new elements.
Best free video editing software across platforms
DaVinci Resolve (Windows, Mac)
DaVinci Resolve pros:
A professional-level video editing app without the price tag to match
A complete set of editing, color grading, audio mastering, and visual effects tools
An upgrade path for those who need more features
DaVinci Resolve cons:
The app has its own way of doing things that may require some adjustment
Some aspects of the app are particularly complex
DaVinci Resolve might just be the best deal in video editing. The base version is completely free to use and includes a staggering number of professional-level features. Not only is DaVinci Resolve a world-class video editor, but it also includes dedicated workspaces for color grading, audio mastering, visual effects, and motion graphics.
These various workspaces are separated into tabs that run along the bottom of the page. This allows you to dip into some of the more advanced features, like creating motion graphics in the Fusion interface, or to ignore them completely until you're comfortable with the basics. It's also a great way to work on several things at once and get everything done within a single application.
One thing that can trip up new users is that DaVinci Resolve includes two editing workflows: Cut and Edit. They're both suitable for adding clips to a timeline and completing an edit, but Cut is primarily focused on speed and user-friendliness (it includes all the basic tools you need to trim and make basic adjustments), while Edit is there if you need the wider range of tools commonly associated with a more standard editing experience.
Since DaVinci Resolve has exploded in popularity due to its attractive price tag, there are a huge number of resources available to walk you through some of the more complex features. You'll need these to learn how to use chroma key, sync audio and video tracks, and make the most of the editor's impressive multi-camera editing workflows.
The free version of DaVinci Resolve is able to edit and output 8-bit video at Ultra HD (3840x2160) resolution with a frame rate of up to 60 frames per second. Beyond that, you'll need to upgrade to the $295 Studio version, which includes full HDR support, a huge number of effects, and more.
DaVinci Resolve price: Free for the standard version; $295 for DaVinci Resolve Studio (often included with Blackmagic Design hardware purchases).
Best Mac video editing software
Final Cut Pro (Mac, iPad)
Final Cut Pro pros:
Highly optimized for Apple hardware
Powerful yet minimalist interface emphasizes content
Final Cut Pro cons:
Expensive (and visual effects and video encoding are separate purchases)
Limited to Mac
Final Cut Pro is only available to Mac users (barring the cheaper and less productive iPad version that launched in early 2023). This limits its appeal somewhat, but if you use a Mac and you're looking for a professional video editor with a price tag to match, it should probably be the first editor you consider.
Unlike Adobe's meager week-long trial, Apple gives you a full 90 days to decide whether or not Final Cut Pro is worth the $299 price tag. One thing that's bound to impact your decision is just how well Apple's high-end video editor runs on the latest Mac models. Final Cut Pro is highly optimized for Apple hardware.
The result is a video editor that outperformed pretty much everything else on this list (outside of iMovie, which is effectively Final Cut Pro's younger sibling). Rolling your mouse over footage lets you smoothly and easily preview a clip before deciding to add it to your timeline. And if you're a prolific iPhone videographer, you'll love the way the app integrates with your iCloud Photo Library to boot.
Notably, Final Cut Pro now includes support for the iPhone's Cinematic mode, where focus and aperture can be adjusted using keyframes after a video has been shot. The app also includes the full gamut of professional features, from chroma keying to object detection, color grading, HDR support, and a range of tools for creating graphics and titles.
On top of Final Cut Pro, you can get more professional results with add-on apps like Motion and Compressor. These $49.99 upgrades function as standalone apps but integrate into the Final Cut Pro workflow for even more options when it comes to titles, graphics, and content delivery.
Final Cut Pro price: $299 outright which includes new updates; 90-day free trial available.
Best online video editor
Clipchamp (Chromium-based browsers, Windows 11)
A web-based video editor that you can access anywhere
Simple interface with speedy performance
Includes bonus content, templates, and stock footage
Requires a fast internet connection for best results
Free tier is limited to 1080p export
Clipchamp, owned by Microsoft, is a web-based video editor that runs in a browser on just about any platform. It's also available as a standalone offline progressive web app (PWA) for Windows 11. If you're not installing it locally, you'll need to access it using a Chromium-based browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
The best video editors are usually desktop apps, but Clipchamp is an impressive exception. You'll need a fast internet connection to make the most of it, but the editor performed well on my M1 Max MacBook Pro test machine. Uploading and processing media takes longer than it would on a local video editor, but once Clipchamp has cached your footage, the editor is very usable.
At the heart of Clipchamp is an approachable user interface that uses a familiar drag-and-drop timeline. You can add transitions, titles, and even stock media using the categories to the left of the screen, or make changes to media in the timeline by selecting it and using the various toggles to the right of the editor interface.
Use templates to quickly design content for platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and export your creation to YouTube, TikTok, or cloud storage providers like Google Drive. There's a lot of content available for free, plus you can use an AI video composer to take control of your edit.
Clipchamp price: Free tier available, with exports up to 1080p and no watermarks, $11.99/month to remove limits and access more content.
Best video editor for fast edits on desktop and mobile
Adobe Premiere Rush (Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android)
Adobe Premiere Rush pros:
Edit clips together almost instantly, and make quick adjustments and edits in the simple timeline
Share directly to your platform of choice
Adobe Premiere Rush cons:
Requires a subscription to access all features
Limited control and a lack of advanced editing features
I didn't expect much from Adobe Premiere Rush, but I'm happy to say I was wrong. This is quite possibly the fastest way to perform quick video edits, whether you're using a Windows or Mac desktop or a mobile platform. All you need to do is select your videos in the order you want to see them appear, set an aspect ratio, and click Create.
From here, Rush will place your videos onto a timeline quicker than you can drag and drop. You can tweak the project by clicking and dragging an individual clip's start and end points, and Rush will adjust the rest of the timeline to avoid putting any unsightly gaps in your footage. Add more clips by clicking and dragging onto the project and selecting whether the new clip should go before or after the current clip.
On the right side of the app, you'll find bins of effects that you can drag onto your footage, transitions that you can position between clips, plus graphics like titles and overlays. You can make quick adjustments to a clip's speed or audio settings, or make changes to a clip by adjusting its position and color properties.
There's a distinct lack of more advanced tools like chroma keying or object tracking, but that's partly the point. The free version of Rush allows you to export at up to 1080p, with limitations on some features (like Adobe's Auto Reframe, a tool that's great for vertical video creators). There are no watermarks to contend with, and you can upload directly to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Behance, or locally.
Adobe Premiere Rush price: Free version available; $9.99/month Adobe Express plan required for all features and higher than 1080p video export.
Best Windows video editor for a mid-range option
Luxea Pro (Windows)
Luxea Pro pros:
An easy-to-use mid-range video editor
Some more advanced effects like chroma keying and keyframe editing
The ability to pay for a lifetime license for the current version
Luxea Pro cons:
Lacks high-end features
Some of the included graphics and effects are less than great
Not everyone needs a pro-level video editor, but sometimes the free options just don't cut it. That's where mid-range options like Luxea Pro come in. It's an easy-to-use video editor that's aimed at beginners and intermediate users who don't need the depth offered by pricier tools but who want more features than you'd normally get in a freebie.
Tying everything together is a modern interface that provides relatively quick and easy access to everything you need. You'll find your media pool, transitions, titles, filters, and more all listed in the main toolbar at the top of the page—drag and drop into your timeline or over a clip to apply them. You can also double-click on a clip to make quick changes to speed, opacity, or audio settings and apply keyframe-based transformations.
Luxea includes a few more advanced tools, like an easy chroma key effect (just select your color and adjust the threshold). Beyond that, there aren't too many advanced effects, and there's no object tracking, but you can apply a mosaic or isolate colors within your edit with relative ease. There are simple tools for recording voiceovers, making freeze frames, and essential tools like markers and an audio level monitor.
You'll also find additional free downloads to add graphics, titles, and more to the editor. They aren't great quality, but there are a few useful inclusions, like social media icons and festive additions.
Luxea Pro price: $49.99/year or $99.99 for a lifetime license for the current version.
Best beginner video editor for effects and extras
Wondershare Filmora (Windows, Mac)
Wondershare Filmora pros:
Easy-to-use video editor with great built-in effects
You can buy it outright
Wondershare Filmora cons:
Heavy focus on templates and social (not suitable for everyone)
Lifetime license includes limited access to AI features
Wondershare by Filmora is a video editing package that isn't short on features. At its heart is an easy-to-use video editor with a familiar interface that makes it easy to produce simple video projects. Drag and drop clips into the timeline, then apply transformations using the inspector pane that shows up whenever a clip is selected.
The app is packed full of extras like transitions, titles, stickers, templates, and video effects that can also be dropped into your project. There are so many that Filmora has a Trending section to find some of the best ones, or you can search by description or use the Find Similar button that appears on each item.
Filmora packages many of its tools to make them as easy as possible to use. When you launch the app, you can choose from tools like Instant Mode, which guides you through the process of selecting a template, adding media, and producing something in just a few clicks.
Wondershare also includes a screen recorder, AI-powered tools like text-to-video and text-based video editing, and an auto-reframe tool for working with aspect ratios that don't match your source video. The app will also appeal to anyone making heavy use of social media, given its huge array of templates, effects, and tools for speeding up social media workflows. And it includes direct upload to YouTube and TikTok (among local export and Vimeo uploads).
Filmora Wondershare price: $29.99/quarter for cross-platform plan or $79.99 lifetime purchase (single OS purchase only).
Best free video editor for Apple users
iMovie (Mac, iPhone, iPad)
Highly optimized for Apple hardware and deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem
Simple to use
Some unnecessary restrictions (like no vertical video editing)
It's hard to complain about what Apple includes with iMovie for free. The app is available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, though it's the desktop app that reigns supreme in terms of overall features and ease of use.
It emphasizes simplicity over all else, which means it's hard to get tripped up like you would in a more complex editor. Resembling a vastly simplified Final Cut Pro, iMovie deeply integrates with your iCloud Photo Library, so you can easily preview and then drag and drop clips into the timeline. Transitions, titles, and backgrounds are all high quality, with sharp-looking animations and typography that can help elevate clips beyond those made in other free editors.
There are a handful of advanced features to play with, too. Apple includes chroma key and video stabilization features, on top of filters that transform the look of your video in real time. Performance is a real highlight, as is the case in Final Cut Pro, since Apple carefully optimizes iMovie for its limited range of hardware.
iCloud integration lets you sync project files between devices, perfect for starting an edit on your iPhone and tidying it up on your Mac later. Finishing an edit means rendering a local file or uploading directly to YouTube or Facebook. And just like with GarageBand, there are a limited number of sound effects and music files you can use to spruce up any videos you create.
iMovie price: Free
What's the best video editing software?
As my selection of apps demonstrates, there's no one perfect approach to video editing. Your budget will heavily influence your available choices, which is what makes DaVinci Resolve such an easy recommendation. If you're willing to put some time into learning how to use it, the payoff will be worth it for all but the most demanding of tasks.
If money is no object, Adobe Premiere Pro also comes with a hearty recommendation. It's an industry-standard video editing suite, and there's very little it can't do. The same is true of Final Cut Pro for Mac users who'd find value in such a highly optimized tool.
For everyone else, mid-range editors like Filmora and Luxea occupy a middle ground. These offerings take the sting out of video editing at the cost of raw power. Adobe Premiere Rush and Clipchamp have compelling free plans that are easy to recommend for fast edits. And if you have a Mac, iMovie is already installed and great for quick projects (as long as you're editing in 16:9 widescreen).