The 5 Best Free Screen Recorders

Capture 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 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 usually 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. Here are 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 a good reason. This open source software is ideal for both video recording and live streaming, letting you record from multiple sources including external microphones and webcams.

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 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, and Smashcast.

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

OBS Studio is compatible with:

  • Linux
  • macOS
  • Windows
FlashBack Express
Screenshot from Windows

FlashBack Express is the free version of a paid application that includes enough features to be a useful tool. 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 frames per second (FPS) for your recording, which makes it 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 useful feature that ensures a complete capture. The software allows you to mix commentary and webcam cameos into your recorded video and permits multiscreen recording.

With that said, several useful features are only available in the paid version. One important distinction is that you can only save recordings in the WMV format or upload them to YouTube in FlashBack Express. Purchasing a license allows you to save files in  MP4, AVI, Flash, QuickTime, GIF, and stand-alone EXE formats. Spending the money 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
MangoApps Inc.

TinyTake is a screen recorder that is more basic than others on this list. However, it is ideal for individuals who are looking for a simple, short recording of their on-screen actions or a particular application. While not ideal for intensive recordings such as gameplay, this software handles basic screencast capturing well.

There is a 5-minute recording limit in the free version, but cloud storage and an Online Gallery provide up to 2GB 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 have to purchase the premium version. There are multiple license levels available with costs that vary 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.

TinyTake is compatible with:

  • macOS
  • Windows
Icecream Screen Recorder
Icecream Apps

With support for more than 50 languages, an integrated drawing panel that lets you add annotations, arrows, outlines, and other shapes and figures to your video and webcam integration, Icecream Screen Recorder is an unheralded but interesting option when it comes to screen recording apps. It 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 additional features and capabilities come with a price tag attached. For example, to lift the 5-minute recording limitation, you need to upgrade to the Pro edition. 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
  • Windows
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 more than 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 and a decent selection of frame rates, bit rates, and resolutions. It can record external sound as part of your 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 lets you stream your Android screen directly to Facebook, and the app's video editing tools allow for a lot 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.

DU Recorder is 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.

iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch Apps

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

None of the free apps in this article support the iOS platform because Apple has not approved them, and they are not available in the App Store

However, you can record your iOS device screen without jailbreaking your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch using the QuickTime Player app that comes on every iOS device.