Best Free Screen Recorders

Capture Android, Windows, Mac, or Linux

man holding microphone and laptop at business meeting

RUNSTUDIO / Getty Images

Recording your computer screen is easy, and there are many ways to do it. Some operating systems screen-capture a computer or mobile device by default, but others require third-party apps. Whether you want to capture live game action or create how-to videos for a software program, these programs will do the job. Here are the five best free screen recorders.

01
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OBS Studio

OBS Studio
What We Like
  • Real-time streaming, video capture, and mixing.

  • Free, open-source software.

  • Streamlined Settings panel.

  • Lots of customization possibilities.

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced functions are difficult to use.

  • Not much documentation.

  • Troubleshooting is difficult.

  • Doesn't work with Windows XP.

The cream of the crop of free screen recorders, OBS Studio is the preferred screen-capture program for many gamers. This open source software is ideal for both video recording and live streaming, and it records from multiple sources including external microphones and webcams.

Image masking, color collection, and other visual filters are provided. There's also a high-grade audio mixer with advanced filtering that can be applied to each audio source. OBS Studio integrates other video and images into your recording. You can also capture certain sections of the screen alongside live gameplay footage.

OBS records in multiple formats and supports on-the-fly mixing during live streams. It works seamlessly with Twitch, DailyMotion, YouTube Gaming, Facebook Live, and Smashcast.

While OBS Studio has a steep learning curve, there are active forums and community-created tutorials on the developer's website, so it's easy to find answers to your questions.

OBS Studio is compatible with Linux, macOS, and Windows.

02
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FlashBack Express

FlashBack Express
What We Like
  • Captures anywhere on a PC screen.

  • Adds webcam footage and audio to screen recordings.

  • No watermarks.

  • No limit on length

What We Don't Like
  • Limited editing tools.

  • Slow editing process.

  • No frame-by-frame editing in the Express version.

FlashBack Express is the free version of FlashBack, a paid application designed with streamers and YouTubers in mind. Its interface makes basic screen recording a simple task, and the free version doesn't impose any length limits or stamp finished projects with watermarks.

You can define frames per second (FPS) for your recording, which makes it an excellent tool for gamers, and you can schedule recordings to take place at a specified date and time. FlashBack Express can also be set up to start recording as soon as a designated application is launched, a useful feature that ensures a complete capture. The software can also mix commentary and webcam cameos into your recorded video, and allows for multiscreen recording.

Several useful features are only available in the paid version. In the free version, for example, recordings can be saved in WMV, MP4, or WMV file formats. Purchase a license to save files in all formats. The paid version of FlashBack also unlocks frame-by-frame editing, smoothing out erratic cursor movements, the ability to blur sensitive information, picture-in-picture, and more. From a security perspective, password-protected recordings can be created in the paid version.

FlashBack Express is compatible with Windows.

03
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TinyTake

TinyTake

MangoApps Inc.

What We Like
  • Free plan for personal use (plus paid commercial plans).

  • Easily captures and annotates videos.

  • Direct uploads to YouTube.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version limited to 5-minute recording limit.

  • Ad-supported.

TinyTake is a basic screen recorder. It's ideal for a simple, short recording of your screen activity. While not ideal for intensive recordings like gameplay, TinyTake can easily handle basic screen-casting.

The free version has a 5-minute recording limit, but cloud storage and an Online Gallery provide up to 2 GB worth of space to store and share your clips. The paid version offers increasing amounts of storage space based on the price of the chosen subscription, with up to 1 TB of space for the Jumbo plan ($99.95/Yr).

The free application is ad-driven and designated for personal use only, while commercial or more advanced users will have to purchase the premium version. There are multiple license levels available with costs that vary depending on your specific needs.

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

TinyTake is compatible with macOS and Windows.

04
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Icecream Screen Recorder

Icecream Screen Recorder
What We Like
  • Records screen and webcam.

  • Drawing panel for annotating video.

  • Zoom feature while recording.

  • Simple interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version limited to 5 minutes of video.

  • No editing tools.

  • Records at 30 frames per second.

Icecream Screen Recorder is a unique screen recording option that has features to draw annotations, arrows, outlines, and other shapes and figures directly onto a video. You select specific parts of the screen to record and can adjust video quality on the fly. This comes in handy when you need to factor bandwidth or file sizes into your recordings.

More advanced features come with a price tag. To lift the five-minute recording limit, upgrade to the Pro version. While the free version offers only one output video format (WEBM) and video codec (VP8), Icecream Pro supports AVI, MP4, and MOV recordings, as well as H.264 and MPEG-4 codecs.

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

Icecream Screen Recorder is compatible with macOS and Windows.

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DU Recorder

DU Recorder
What We Like
  • Livestream the screen to YouTube and Facebook.

  • Record screen videos.

  • No ads or time limits.

  • High-quality stream.

What We Don't Like
  • No annotation capabilities.

  • Lacks game recording features.

  • Limited editing tools.

The mobile platform premier screen recording option, DU Recorder, works on Android 5.0 and higher. Ad-free and with no significant limitations, the app has millions of downloads from the Google Play Store.

DU Recorder creates high-quality recordings of mobile games, video calls, and other apps with HD support and a decent selection of frame rates, bit rates, and resolutions. It can record external sound as part of a video and 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 streams your Android screen directly to Facebook, and the app's video editing tools allow for a lot of flexibility. 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.

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

DU Recorder is compatible with Android and iOS.