The best screen recorders - Free and paid
Updated: September 29th 2021
A screen recorder is a useful software if you need to record tutorials, but if you love watching movies and series from video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others, they can be recorded for personal use. Then you will not need an Internet connection to watch your beloved videos.
We have looked for the best screen recorders and in this article, you'll learn about their features, advantages, and disadvantages.
The best Screen Recorders For A Windows or MAC Device
1. Audials Movie
The screen recorder Audials Movie comes up with anything you will need to record videos from streaming services or from any web source where you can watch videos.
To screen record specific video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video, hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, you can click the recording tile that you will see when you open the Video Streaming menu item in Audials. For example, to start the Netflix video stream recording, click the NETFLIX tile. Then you can choose the settings that you need for the video:
- Enable 1080p: If you record Netflix, you can activate the 1080p (Full HD) resolution. This option is only available for this streaming service.
- Subtitle recording: Subtitles are available for Netflix, Amazon Video, Disney Plus.
- High Speed Recording at up to 2x: Available for Netflix, Amazon Video, hulu, Disney Plus
- GPU Encoding: That will help you to maximize your graphics card's performance to provide you with the best possible video quality. It is available for all sources recorded with the recording tiles.
A further useful thing is the batch recording of Audials Movie: With this feature, you can screen record several movies from Netflix or Amazon Video overnight automatically one after another.
The Audials Movie screen recorder simultaneously is a powerful tag manager. It searches the appropriate tags like name, cover picture, genre etc. for movies and series from Disney Plus, Netflix and Amazon Video. It means that when screen capturing is finished, you will not need to search for tags or to sort the video into the correct genre. If you do not like the video tags, you will be able to change them easily. Videos can be put into another genre by drag & drop.
If you have a streaming service that is not available as a recording tile in Audials Movie, click the Other Source / Screen recording button and choose Screen recording. This is a universal screen recording method for various sources.
You can directly screen record in the file format you need, for example MP4, MKV, AVI, WMV or choose one of the profiles that are required for specific tablets and smartphones (for example Amazon, Microsoft, LG, Samsung, Apple, Sony are available). Like this, you will be able to play back your videos on other devices.
In case you need a video in a different format, you can convert it with the video converter. Video sequences that are not needed can be removed with the video cutter. Easily remove black bars with the video cropper.
Audials Movie works for Windows with the Chrome, Firefox and Edge browsers only. You will need to install Parallels in order to use Audials Movie on Mac.
- save Netflix videos in Full HD (1080p)
- record in up to 2x speed
- GPU encoding available
- various file formats
- works for Chrome, Firefox, Edge
- built-in universal screen recorder
- video converter included
- record several movies automatically
- intelligent tag manager
- video cutter and cropper
- does not support the Opera browser (but only Chrome, Firefox and Edge)
- only available for Windows and Apple (via Parallels)
2. iSpring Suite
With iSpring Suite you can create online courses. Besides creating presentations and quizzes, an easy-to-use screen recorder is included to record screencasts and tutorials. This screen recorder also can be used to screen record video streams.
However, if you are not interested in eLearning, iSpring Suite is not a good choice for you because it is expensive ($770 minimum). You can add voiceovers and edit the video, but this is not a reason to buy a screen recorder for Netflix & Co. video stream capturing. You will only get the basic things like choosing the screen area and the resolution and only one recording format is available (MP4). So if you need other formats someday, you will have to look a for a video converter software.
- video editor
- only "basic" screen recording features
- only MP4 format available
ActivePresenter by Atomi Systems is also an eLearning software for screen recording, webcam recording, video editing and creating quizzes. Screen recording can be started after mouse clicks or after pressing key. You can save the video as MP4, AVI, WMV, WebM or MKV format.
To start screen recording, just click Record Video. A new window will show up where you can check the settings like framerate, codec etc.
Generally, ActivePresenter is not a good choice either for those who just need a screen recorder for recording Disney, Netflix etc. because it costs minimum $199. Many features are included but they are interesting for those who really need a video editing and eLearning software.
- video editor
- many formats available
- only "basic" screen recording features
4. Wondershare UniConverter
The Wondershare UniConverter is useful if you are interested in editing your videos after you have screen recorded them on Windows PCs or Macs. To start screen recording, open the Screen Recorder menu item and then click the camera icon. Now you can choose the storage, the recording format, the frame rate and the screen size. When you are done with the settings, click the Rec button. You can start and end a recording manually. Or you can preconfigure the duration of your screen recording and start manually. Alternatively, you can schedule an automatic screen recording by choosing when it will start and end.
The UniConverter also has a built-in converter in case you have recorded in the wrong file format. A video editor is included so that you can trim your videos or add watermarks and effects. Furthermore, you can merge several videos.
The main disadvantage of a "basic" screen recorder is that it only records in 1x speed and that it cannot offer you additional features that make screen recording more comfortable. You can record in MP4, FLV, and AVI. If you need a different video format, you will have to convert the video with the converter. Furthermore, the quality of your video directly depends on the size of your screen.
With Bandicam you can record anything that is shown on your screen, including video streams, but also tutorials and games: If needed, you can record the mouse cursor movements and clicks. Bandicam has even a separate menu item for recording computer games.
To start screen recording, click the upper left tile showing the PC screen and choose whether you want to record the full screen or a part of it as shown in the screenhot. Then open the Video menu item to set the recording format, codec, frame rate, quality etc. If all settings are fine, you will be able to click the Rec button.
Bandicam has some limitations as it only records in AVI and MP4. So you will need an additional converter if you need different formats. Furthermore, Bandicam does not work for the Edge browser.
Bandicam can be compared to Wondershare UniConverter as it is designed for various purposes, not just for recording video streams. Thus, Bandicam and UniConverter have some pros and cons in common: Additional features like highspeed recording are not available and the resolution of the video will depend on the size of your screen.
- special menu item for screen recording games
- records mouse cursor and mouse clicks for tutorials
- scheduled recording
- records anything that is shown on your screen
- records only in MP4 or AVI file formats
- does not work with the Edge browser
- highspeed not available
- resolution depends on screen size
6. Camtasia by TechSmith
The Camtasia screen recorder by TechSmith is a very simple software to screen record and edit videos. You can save them as AVI, WMV or MPEG-1. To start capturing, you just need to click the record button.
A problem with trying the demo version is that you can start screen recording. After you are done with it, a full-screen Camtasia window will open where you can edit your videos and you will be asked to sign or to enter a software key to continue using Camtasia. So if you want to check whether Camtasia will work on your PC, you will have to sign in.
- simple to use
- demo features very limited
- trial version only for 30 days, signing in required
Zappy by Zapier
Zappy is a screen recorder for Mac that will enable you to screen record videos and to edit them, for example add texts and arrows and create GIFs. You have the option to save your video recordings in a cloud and to easily share them with others.
With the cheapest subscription ($19,99 per month) you can record maximum 20 videos. An unlimited amount is available if you pay $49,99 per month.
- easy to use
- only available for Mac
- number of screen recordings is limited, depending on subscription
The best screen recorders you can get for free
You do not need to spend money to get a screen recorder. Here we will present you two tools that you can use when your budget is low.
1. Screencast-O-Matic Free Screen Recorder
With the Free Screen Recorder by Screencast-O-Matic, you can screen record any area of your PC screen in 720p and record audio and the webcam. It works both on Windows and Mac devices. However, your videos must not be longer than 15 minutes. A video cutter is included.
It is worth mentioning how this screen recorder is used, it is rather unusual: Visit the Free Screen Recorder page and click the Launch Free Recorder button. An installer will be downloaded and then the Free Screen Recorder will start. If you want to start the tool the next time, you will see that the installer does not open a software but again the Free Screen Recorder website page where you have to click again the Launch Free Recorder button. That will happen any time you will start the tool.
The usage sounds easy, but it seems that the Free Screen Recorder does not work on certain PCs.
- record anything on your screen
- available for free
- easy usage
- works on Windows and Mac
- does not work on certain PCs
- strange way to launch the tool (from the manufacturer's website)
- your video must not be longer than 15 minutes
2. SCRE.IO Screen Recorder
SCRE.IO is a free Chrome browser extention with an intuitive user interface that can record from your screen in 1080p. You can record the screen and/or your audio. According to the manufacturer, recording screen and camera simultaneously will be provided soon. The video is saved in the WebM format only. So if you need a different video format, you will have to look for a video converter.
As many other screen recorders, this one also offers you the basic features so that accelerated recording, editing tags, batch recording etc. are not available.
Annotation: If 1080p is available, it does not necessarily mean that you can record, for example, Netflix in this resolution because this video streaming service normally can be played back in 720p.
- intuitive user interface
- records the screen, audio, and webcam
- resolution up to 1080p
- only WebM format available
- no additional features
At a Glance: Direct Comparison of the best screen recorder tools
Here you will have an overview of all tools that have been mentioned in this article:
|Audials Movie||iSpring||Atomi Systems||UniConverter||Bandicam||Camtasia||Zappy||Screencast-O-Matic||SCRE.IO|
** per month
If you urgently need a screen recorder and it is not important for you to get videos in high quality, then iSpring Suite, ActivePresenter, Wondershare UniConverter, Bandicam, Screencast-O-Matic, and SCRE.IO will be appropriate. However, if you are interested in screen recording video streams in high quality, to record several movies automatically one after another or screen record in highspeed, then Audials Movie is highly recommended because it has all these features to make screen recording as comfortable as possible.
Try the Audials Movie demo for free
Videos from Netflix™, Amazon Prime Video™ hulu™, Disney Plus™, and HBO Max™ are copyrighted. Any redistribution of them without the consent of the copyright owners may be a violation of the law in most countries, including the USA. Audials AG is not affiliated with Netflix™, Amazon Prime Video™ hulu™, Disney Plus™, and HBO Max™ nor the company that owns the trademark rights to Amazon Prime Video™ hulu™, Disney Plus™, and HBO Max™. This page is provided for compatibility purposes only, and in no case should be considered an endorsement of Audials Software products by any associated 3rd party.