Try as I might, sometimes I can’t avoid surfing the Twitterverse after a newsworthy moment to see the reactions.
Thousands of memes, GIFs and snippets from around the world churned out in a matter of seconds ... “What wizardry is this?” I often ask myself.
It takes a certain spark of creativity and motivation (not to mention free time) to generate this endless content waterfall. But it also takes the right tools. Modern screen recording software empowers anyone and everyone to turn what’s happening on the computer screen into entertaining or informational content to be shared how the user sees fit. And the possibilities extend far past learning how to take a screenshot on Windows, a Mac, or your Android phone. Not to mention the possibilities that come from meme template creation for the masses.
Here is the list of the best free screen capture software in 2018:
|Product||Reviews||Star Rating||Users||Video Recording|
|Droplr||366||4.5||Unlimited||Not in free version|
|Screencastify||10||4.8||Unlimited||10-minute limit, 50 videos/month|
|Open Broadcaster Software||7||4.6||Unlimited||Unlimited|
Professionals can take advantage of this technology in a variety of ways. Screen and video capture tools are terrific for making process tutorials, resolving IT dilemmas and injecting meetings with relevant visual aids. (You can also share embarrassing email exchanges with colleagues … but I didn’t tell you that.) Whatever your end goals are, these solutions can quickly become invaluable tools for your business. Best yet, you can nab some of the best-reviewed products in the space without spending a dime.
Free solutions can be an excellent point of entry for small teams or independent contractors wondering how screen capture platforms can benefit their mission. Despite the common stigma, free software doesn’t always come at the expense of quality. Some of the products in this space with zero-cost offerings stand toe-to-toe within the field, according to feedback from verified reviewers on G2.
Using reviews from real users, our list of free screen and video capture software is ordered by highest user satisfaction as of May 29, 2018.
The best free screen capture software
The list we’ve outlined here includes any screen capture solution with some free offering. This does not include products that are free temporarily or offer free trials. 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 more than 700 validated user reviews on G2 and only represent a portion of the 30-plus screen and video capture software offerings listed on our platform. The products are ranked by user satisfaction score as of May 29, 2018, and must have at least five reviews.
1. CloudApp Screen Recorder
Image courtesy of CloudApp
CloudApp is the second-most reviewed product in this category with more than 300 reviews. It is used by more than two million people, according to the CloudApp website, with clients that include Uber, Facebook and Airbnb. The self-described “visual communication tools” offered by CloudApp can help streamline multiple avenues of dialogue within your organization.
Features available across all CloudApp user plans are screenshot, annotation/drawing and full text search functionalities. Video and webcam recording, as well as GIF capture, can be performed in 15-second increments within the free version, with increased capabilities for paid users. The platform’s myriad other features, along with its allotment for each level of membership, are detailed on the CloudApp pricing page.
The free version of CloudApp gives individual users access to the tool’s “pro” features for 14 days, after which they can utilize a limited version indefinitely. The Pro Plan starts at $8 per month for individual users (with an annual agreement) and $9 per user per month for teams (with an annual agreement). Larger teams can benefit from advanced security and other additional features for $17 per user per month (annual agreement).
What users say
“I have used SO many screen capture apps and this is the best among all the free ones I have tried. It annotates easily and even allows me to move arrows around as well as text. It captures easily with a hotkey. It captures video easily and uses a microphone to record along with the screencapture. It stores my captures for later retrieval and sharing. I struggle to think of something it can't do well!”
— CloudApp review from Joseph D.
2. Droplr Video Capture
Image courtesy of Droplr
Founded in 2012, Oregon-based Droplr has since earned the trust of mammoth brands such as Intel, Target and Pixar. The simple app allows users to easily capture screenshots and generate shareable links for the containing content; you can also upload external files and turn them into shareable links just as well.
Droplr desktop software is offered for both Mac and Windows users — read about different releases here — and the vendor offers a Chrome extension to assist with browser-based screen grabs. The free offering goes by the name “Droplr Lite” and comes packaged with the core toolset of screenshot capture and sharing, instant share URLs and Slack integration.
The Pro version expands the functionality with video capture, notes/annotations, full file history and other features. Droplr Pro is available for $3 per user per month, billed annually. Droplr Enterprise, the product’s largest offering, is marketed as a powerful, cloud-based collaboration solution for content-driven teams, with added security and user access features to ensure content stays safe and in the right hands. For a pricing quote on Droplr Enterprise, inquire with the vendor.
What users say
“Droplr is fast, simple and easy to use. The shortcut and snipping tools are very useful for a production environment where information, images and files have to be shared. It's also great that Droplr has the annotation option for taken screenshots, as well as the new addition of the blur tool. This is great when trying to hide some information such as sensitive data from certain clients.”
— Droplr review from Kacper J.
3. Greenshot Screen Capture
Image courtesy of Greenshot
Greenshot is a modest tool with a glowing reputation among G2 users — it’s currently averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars after 70 reviews, showing that it’s not to be taken lightly. This free, open-source and lightweight software provides Windows users with an easy way to create screenshots from specific regions or entire desktop windows, including full scrolling websites viewed in Internet Explorer. Once files are generated, users can “annotate, highlight or obfuscate parts of the screenshot” with handy tools and then export, print, email or upload the finished project without breaking a sweat.
To keep Greenshot free and readily available, while tweaking and improving it along the way, the development team invites members to donate through the Greenshot website. One of these crowdfunded improvements was an OSX release of the software, made available in early 2017. Unlike the free, all-inclusive Windows version, Greenshot for Mac is closed source and costs $1.99 in the Mac App Store.
What users say
“Greenshot is an easy-to-use screenshot tool that also allows for simple annotating (drawing) on the screenshot. There are many ways to customize the tool. Drawing arrows, text, boxes, etc. are all very easy. After you are done, you can easily copy to clipboard or send to Outlook or several other tools. Also nice that this is a free open-source tool so you don’t have to worry about a license if you want to share it with a friend.”
— Greenshot review from Alan J.
Image courtesy of Loom
Built specially for Google Chrome, Loom leans into the “video” aspect of screen and video capture, with a quick “click, record and share” solution for video capture. Loom boasts a customer portfolio with members in 170 countries and brands such as Google and Dropbox.
In addition to grabbing video clips from web streams or video conferences, users can conveniently save and share personal webcam recordings to be used as training materials or meeting contributions. It also can be used as a helpful personal reference tool for professionals in any context. The full Loom extension is completely free and currently rated 5.0/5.0 stars in the Chrome Store (and a not-too-shabby 4.8 stars on G2).
What users say
“I love how Loom provides an easy way to capture video of my screen. It's perfect for quickly capturing a workflow within my company's product and allows me to connect with customers over email in a whole new way! Loom is great for speeding up your email replies while still keeping them in-depth and thorough. Gone are the days of sending multiple screenshots to try and direct a customer through a unique set of steps. It adds a personal touch to every support interaction and is a must for any support team!”
— Loom review from Dillon G.
Image courtesy of Screencastify
Much like Loom, Screencastify is a dedicated Chrome extension for recording content viewed within the browser. The small Chicago-based team launched the product in 2013 and claims to the be the first of its kind available in the Chrome Web Store. Just recently, the self-proclaimed “mother of all screencasting extensions” was released with a major UI update to reduce clutter and provide a smoother, cleaner experience.
Screencastify provides fast and reliable recording for browser tabs, desktop activity and webcams. In addition to its application in a professional setting, Screencastify promotes itself as a great tool for teachers to create more personalized learning experiences, with tools for structuring video lessons or lectures in an easy-to-use dashboard.
The “Lite” version of Screencastify is free forever, with some basic limitations such as 10-minute video length limits and a max of 50 videos per month, as well as a watermark on video files. The software’s premium offering allows for unlimited videos and recording lengths, increased exporting and editing options, and finished files free of the Screencastify watermark.
What users say
“As a G Suite and Chrome browser user, it took me about a minute to set up and start recording. The product is FREE (with limitations) but I am considering [upgrading] since the product is a lot cheaper than competing products. The user interface is very intuitive and easy to use.”
— Screencastify review from Tomi B.
Image courtesy of ShareX
The long list of options and tools in this free, open-source productivity tool is displayed in full on the ShareX homepage. In active development since 2007, this software is one of the most tenured in the screen capture category, and its 4.8 star rating after 28 reviews on G2 proves that is has the goods to back up its decade-plus run.
Complementing its complete screen capture and recording capabilities is a bevy of practical editing and uploading tools. ShareX also supports more than 80 destinations where users can deploy their captured and finalized content files. Much like Greenshot earlier on this list, ShareX encourages donations to keep the software up and running for new users around the world.
What users say
“The best thing about ShareX is the open-ended versatility the program offers over the competition. In addition to taking screenshots of any windows, and any size, that functionality is enhanced by being able to screen record in that same manner. On top of that, you have the option to export your media in multiple video formats, including export as GIF. ShareX also comes with a built-in color picker, OCR, auto-upload to a source of your choice and other tools to better convenience your line of work, or your computer experience.”
— ShareX review from Leo H.
7. Open Broadcaster Software
Image courtesy of Open Broadcaster Software
In addition to reliable, high-quality video captures, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) provides the necessary tools for live streaming one’s video content. This is an increasingly relevant function for vloggers, YouTube channel operators and game streamers on platforms such as Twitch.
OBS Studio — the current supported release of the software — is free and open source, available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Files can be manipulated as desired by the user with a deep set of mixing and configuration tools included with the standard download. The OBS website also hosts a community forum with general guides and discussions on various topics.
What users say
“Completely intuitive and user-friendly. OBS is a fantastic utility for any screen capture needs, whether for crafting tutorials, recording webcam or external camera video with overlay, multi-source recording or capture. Scene management/profiles are life-saving. Plugins, tools and scripts add a ton of utility. OBS also has excellent guides available in the website forum, an incredibly helpful community on a whole.”
— Open Broadcaster Software review from Jaime K.
Next steps for selecting the best free screen capture software
Visit our Screen Capture Software category to find more free or commercial options and determine the desktop media capture solution to fit your company’s needs. Reviews can be tailored to view specific ratings, company sizes, user roles, user industries and additional categories to help determine which product will work best for your unique business
Want more free tools? Check out our list of the best free office software.
* Please note: Reviews may have been edited for spelling and grammar.