12 Best Free Screen Recorder Software for Recording and Streaming in 2018

Lauren Fram
Lauren Fram  |  August 27, 2018

Screens are a huge part of our lives. From mobile phones to work computers to televisions, screens are (sometimes unfortunately) everywhere.

Our screens hold so much information, but sometimes we want to share that information with others quickly and easily. Whether it be for work or entertainment, screen recording software can prove invaluable.

For many organizations, screen recording software can improve customer service by allowing sales representatives to create software product demos and enabling customer service representatives to create tutorials and other learning resources. Many learning management systems have some kind of screen recording capabilities, though screen recording software helps users create content for their knowledge management software platforms or help desk software tools.

While there are many business applications for screen recording software, it also allows individuals to record and stream content such as video games, live coding and live drawing. Platforms like the live video hosting site Twitch (which receives more than 100 million monthly unique users consuming content from 2.2 million monthly broadcasters) have risen to become media powerhouses.

The top streamers have millions of subscribers and thousands of simultaneous viewers. The top streamer, Ninja, pulls 80,000-plus average viewers and has almost 9 million followers. The remaining top-five streamers (shroud, DrDisRespectLIVE, loltyler1 and LIRIK) each have between 1 and 4 million followers. Currently, the top-streamed games are Fortnite, League of Legends, PUBGg and Dota 2, each of which have tens of thousands of players streaming the game (Fortnite has an average of 144,000 streamers).

Luckily for those looking to explore screen recording — either for business or entertainment — it’s not as intimidating as it might seem. There are many free screen recording tools available to try out. Like free screen capture software, many have editing and audio mixing features to make it easy to create polished content.

We’ve compiled a list of free products that work well for streaming and another list of free products ideal for business use. Regardless of your needs, you can find something to help you start creating content.


Best free screen recorder software

The lists we’ve outlined here include any screen recorder solution with an available free offering. It should be noted that this does not include products that are only free on a temporary basis, such as limited trial versions for new users. They may only support one user or one project, but they’re truly free offerings. Scaling, however, will often require full investments.

These products alone have well over 50 validated user reviews on G2 Crowd as of June 28, 2018, and only represent a small portion of the 40-plus screen recording software offerings listed on our platform. Whenever possible, the products are ranked by user satisfaction score.

Free screen recording products for streaming

Streaming may seem easy to set up, but it actually requires a lot of equipment. In addition to screen recording software, streamers will need a microphone, a capture card to record footage from consoles, a webcam if they wish to include a facecam, some kind of video editing software (many free video editing software tools are on the market) and some kind of audio editing software software. (A computer is an obvious must.)

Some free screen recorders include video and audio editing capabilities, but that may be more common in paid versions of these products. Many screen recorders also support sharing video to platforms such as YouTube, so you don’t necessarily need to worry about live streaming content if you’d rather create something more polished.

1. ShareX Screen Recorder

 ShareX free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of ShareX

ShareX is a free and open-source screen recording software that can easily upload to a variety of image and video websites. ShareX also can  capture customized regions of a screen and provides a variety of annotation tools. ShareX is only available for Windows.

Free option:

  • ShareX

Paid option:

  • N/A

Features:

  • Capture or record a screen or a region of a screen
  • Annotate recordings and screen captures
  • Upload files to a wide variety of destinations
  • Productivity tools

2. OBS Studio

OBS Studio free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of OBS Studio

OBS Studio is a free and open-source platform for video recording and streaming. With a robust set of features, many professional streamers such as Ninja, Summit1g, PewDiePie and shroud use OBS Studio in their setups.

Free option:

  • OBS Studio

Paid option:

  • N/A

Features:

  • Real-time video and audio capturing
  • Unlimited scenes
  • Audio mixer
  • Modular UI
  • Broad configuration options
  • Transitions

3. Bandicam Screen Recording

 Bandicam free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of Bandicam

Bandicam is a free screen recorder tool that can support HD recording of games and other media. Users can record either their computer screens or an external source, such as a game console, as well as add webcam overlays perfect for VODs.

Free option:

  • Bandicam

Paid option:

  • Lifetime license: $39 for one PC

Features:

  • Select area to record
  • Real-time drawing
  • Add webcam overlay
  • Audio mixing
  • Add logos to videos
  • Mouse effects and animation

4. FBX free game recorder

FBX free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of FBX

FBX is a free game recorder that allows users to record commentary and insert webcam footage. Streamers can capture HD video up to 120FPS and easily create highlight clips and screen captures. Currently, FBX does not support streaming, but they are committed to adding streaming capabilities. FBX is only available for Windows.

Free option:

  • FBX

Paid option:

  • N/A

Features:

  • Hardware acceleration on NVidia and AMD cards as well as Intel CPUs
  • Screen and webcam recording for video and audio
  • HD capabilities
  • Capture screenshots
  • Save a clip using hotkeys

5. ApowerREC

 ApowerREC free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of ApowerREC

ApowerREC is a screen recorder and editor that also allows users to record webcam footage and schedule recordings. ApowerREC can also live stream videos, making it ideal for YouTubers. By simultaneously recording audio and video, users can easily create and edit content for uploading. Footage can also be recorded on mobile devices.

Free option:

  • ApowerREC

Paid option:

  • N/A

Features:

  • Record screen or webcam footage
  • Record audio
  • Edit videos with annotations and effects
  • Convert videos to a variety of file types
  • Take screenshots
  • Record PCs and mobile devices
  • Upload to a variety of video sites

6. XSplit Broadcaster

 features-img-5

Image courtesy of XSplit Broadcaster

XSplit Broadcaster is a free live streaming and recording software that can stream or upload directly to Twitch, YouTube or Facebook. Users can capture a screen, game or webcam and create effects, macros or other annotations. XSplit also offers a dedicated game recorder that is free as well.

Free option:

  • XSplit Broadcaster

Paid option:

  • Lifetime premium license: $199
  • 36-month premium license: $4.17/month
  • 12-month premium license: $5.00/month
  • 3-month premium license: $8.32/month

Features:

  • Supports all capture cards
  • Display webcam and remove background using green screen
  • Professional after effects
  • A variety of plugins and integrations
  • Built-in editor and uploader
  • Chat and follower notifications

Free screen recording products for business

Screen recorders that cater to businesses are often lightweight and may even be cloud based. The equipment requirements are typically just a microphone or webcam, which is much simpler than those for streaming software.

Depending on the nature of the project, users might not even need that much since some screen recorders can support the addition of text. However, some users may want to utilize their screen recorder with a web conferencing software to conduct live product demos or webinars.

1. Screencastify

 Screencastify free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of Screencastify

Screencastify is a free screen recorder extension for Google Chrome. Users can record their entire desktop, a single application or just their webcam. With the ability to embed webcam images anywhere in the recording, users can easily create tutorials and other learning content.

Free option:

  • Lite

Paid option:

  • Premium: $24/user/year

Features:

  • Multiple recording options: entire desktop, application, current browser tab or webcam
  • Embed webcam and narrate with a microphone
  • Offline recording
  • Annotation tools
  • Cropping and trimming tools
  • Export directly to YouTube
  • Export as gifs

2. iSpring Free Cam

video-editor

Image courtesy of iSpring Free Cam

iSpring Free Cam is a free screen recording and editing tool specifically designed for creating video lessons and eLearning presentations. Users can customize their recording area, record voiceovers and edit their presentations. With sharing features, users can upload directly to YouTube or save as video.

Free option:

  • Basic

Paid option:

  • Pro: $197 for a lifetime license

Features:

  • Customizable recording areas
  • Record voiceover and/or system sounds
  • Highlight the mouse cursor
  • Video editing
  • Audio mixing
  • Direct uploading to YouTube

 3. Flashback Express Recorder

Flashback Express free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of Flashback Express

Flashback Express is a free screen recorder that can capture screens, from webcams and sounds. Users can enhance recordings with annotations, text, images and effects as well as add commentary and music. Flashback Express is ideal for product demos and tutorials.

Free option:

  • Flashback Express

Paid option:

  • Flashback Pro: $49 for an individual lifetime license, $99 for a business lifetime license

Features:

  • Screen recording
  • Webcam and mic recording
  • No recording time limits
  • Multi-monitor recording
  • Scheduled recording

4. TinyTake

TinyTake free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of TinyTake

TinyTake is a free tool for screen capture, video recording and sharing. Users can also annotate their screen captures and easily share online. Videos of up to 120 minutes can be recorded or captured from a webcam. While not ideal for streaming, TinyTake is perfect for creating learning materials and product demos.

Free option:

  • Basic

Paid option:

  • 1-Week Pass: $9.95
  • Standard: $29.95/year
  • Plus: $59.95/year
  • Jumbo: $99.95/year
  • Business: $199.95/year

Features:

  • Capture screenshots of a screen or from a webcam
  • Annotate or blur images or video
  • Capture videos from a screen or webcam up to 120 minutes
  • Share files online or via email
  • Directly upload to YouTube

5. Icecream Screen Recorder

Icecream Screen Recorder free screen recorder blog

Image courtesy of Icecream Screen Recorder

Icecream Screen Recorder is a free tool for screen recording that allows users to easily select a recording area, add webcam footage and draw on the video as it is being recorded. Users also can add in step markers so their video tutorial is clear and easy to follow.

Free option:

  • Screen Recorder

Paid option:

  • Screen Recorder PRO: $29.95 lifetime license

Features:

  • Area selection
  • Drawing panel
  • Project history
  • Add watermark
  • Add webcam
  • Zoom in while recording
  • Record around the mouse cursor
  • Step tool
  • Audio mixing
  • Hotkeys
  • Scheduled screen recordings

6. Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast-o-matic free screen recorder software

Image courtesy of Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast-O-Matic is a screen recording tool that can capture either screen or webcam footage and add audio. Users can record part of their screen and insert additional audio or video to create product demos, training courses and more.

Free option:

  • Screen-O-Matic

Paid option:

  • Deluxe: $1.50/month for individuals, $9.50/month for teams
  • Premier: $4.00/month for individuals, $17.50/month for teams

Features:

  • Record screen and/or webcam
  • Record window or full screen
  • Zoom in while recording
  • Trim recordings
  • Captions
  • Publish to YouTube

Next steps for selecting the best free screen recorder software

Screen recorders can be used for a variety of reasons, and powerful ones don’t necessarily need to be expensive. Whether you use your screen recorder for business or entertainment, there’s no reason not to give a free one a try.

In many ways, it’s a great way to learn basic video editing and sound mixing skills. Depending on your use case, you may also be interested in free music making software to use along side a free screen recording software.

* Please note: Reviews may have been edited for spelling and grammar.

Lauren Fram
Author

Lauren Fram

Having lived on both the East and West Coasts, Lauren has settled in the happy medium of the Midwest. After nearly 13 years in Chicago, she has fully co-opted the Midwestern habit of saying "oop" when nearly bumping into things. In her free time she enjoys games of all sorts, and is particularly fond of board games and tabletop RPGs.