20 best software for editing videos for YouTube

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

March 16, 2022

The quality of YouTube videos is getting better every year. If you want to upload high-quality videos that will generate more views, then you’ll need superb video editing software. This list of the best YouTube video makers is comprehensive and has software for any budget or experience level.

Quick summary

  • Editor’s choice: Movavi Video Editor Plus
  • An all-in-one video editor with a broad range of features.

  • Best for YouTube video chapters: YouTube Editor
  • Chapters can help viewers find the information they want quickly.

  • Best free editor for Mac users: iMovie
  • If you want a simple, free video editor on Mac, this is the one.

  • Professional-grade free editor: Lightworks
  • Lightworks offers professional-grade editing tools at no cost!

  • Best keyframe editing: Pinnacle Studio
  • With keyframe editing, you can manipulate any frame as you see fit.

  • Animated YouTube video editor: Blender
  • If you want to create and edit 3D animated videos, choose Blender.

  • Best support community: Shotcut
  • Shotcut has a great community if you have questions.

  • Bang-for-your-buck editor: VSDC Video Editor
  • Lots of pro features in both the free and low-cost pro versions.

  • Best color grading: DaVinci Resolve
  • With DaVinci, you’ll get perfect colorization in every video.

  • Cost-efficient upgrades: HitFilm Express
  • HitFilm has a lot for free, but it’s cheap to add more effects.

  • Best transitions: OpenShot
  • It doesn’t have many effects, but OpenShot has cool transitions.

  • Magnetic timeline editor: Final Cut Pro
  • With magnetic timelines, you’ll never overwrite another clip.

  • Best tutorials: VideoProc Vlogger
  • The program is easy to learn with all the tutorials available.

  • Best exporting options: VideoPad Video Editor
  • VideoPad’s export options easily beat a lot of their competition.

  • Best titling tools: MAGIX Movie Edit Pro
  • The most comprehensive set of title templates available today.

  • Best for the basic user: AVS Video Editor
  • If you need no-frills editing, this is the video maker for you.

  • Editor’s special nomination and runner-up: Fastreel
  • A broad range of editing tools not found in other online editors.

  • Best AI video maker: Magisto
  • Just sit back and watch as the AI does everything for you.

  • Best free online video maker: Clipchamp
  • Quick, easy video making with no need to download software.

  • Nice selection of transitions: Kapwing
  • This online editor offers a wide range of transitions and titles.

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Best YouTube video-editing software in 2022

Movavi Video Editor Plus offers straightforward, simple editing with a solid mix of professional tools. If you’re looking for the best YouTube video maker, then you may just stop here. The program is responsive, intuitive, and gives YouTube content creators the flexibility they need to create high-quality videos in full HD.

While there is a wide range of features in the program, the key reason Movavi Video Editor Plus makes it as our Editor’s Choice is its sleek and complete interface. The development team clearly did their research and listened to customer feedback. Every tool within the program is clearly labeled, and buttons exist in sensible locations with little clutter.

Beginning your editing process is easy, as you can upload files quickly through drag-and-drop. Plus, it supports a wide variety of common file formats that Movavi’s development team updates consistently.

Besides the interface, the program boasts a comprehensive selection of features that will allow you to post professional-quality videos on YouTube. There are tons of transitions and filters and a host of advanced tools that allow you to adjust things like colorization, speed, stabilization, chroma keys, and audio levels. There are also plenty of effects like picture-in-picture and other animations.

With the ease of use and advanced features, this is easily one of the best video makers for YouTube.

What are its best features?

  • The interface is straightforward and uncomplicated
  • Picture-in-picture and motion tracking tools
  • Loads of transition effects that include sound

What could be improved?

  • Lack of more trimming features and pre-trimming
  • A rather slow rendering process

YouTube Editor is part of YouTube Studio, which is their free online video-editing platform. The program is very basic and offers users the ability to insert clips and make basic cuts and trims. If your video doesn’t need much work, it’s a solid free option.

Much like other editors, the program uses timeline editing that allows you to drop and drag clips and make cuts with ease. You can also add background music to your videos. However, aside from fading in and out, there are no advanced audio-editing features.

The only advanced video-editing feature within the program is a blur function. This allows you to create an oval or rectangle blur shape over something like a face or brand that you don’t want to be shown in a video. Its functionality tool isn’t the most accurate one available, but you can work with it to get it to track movement. Just know that you won’t be able to blur and apply cuts or trims in the same editing session. You must render one and then do the other.

Ideally, you’ll use this editor for two things: trimming or cutting a video after you’ve already uploaded it and adding chapters to your YouTube video.

What are its best features?

  • You don’t have to take down a YouTube video to make edits and lose likes and comments
  • It’s easy to insert a clip into the timeline
  • Adding chapters to your YouTube uploads

What could be improved?

  • The rendering time definitely needs to get faster
  • Lack of more advanced features

iMovie is the video-editing software offered by Apple on any Mac computer. The program has excellent features and an easy-to-use interface that’s perfect for beginners. Overall, it’s one of the best free video makers for YouTube.

With iMovie, you can edit up to two video tracks at a time, so it’s definitely not a professional-level program. But that doesn’t matter for most YouTube uploads as the majority don’t need cinematic quality layering.

Where the program shines is in its mix of features. iMovie allows users to insert narration and soundtracks into videos with ease and make fine-tuning adjustments to audio. You can adjust both speed and color grades of any clip and insert a variety of other effects like green screen and themes.

It also has some excellent tools to help you keep your clips and other media organized as you work. Overall, the program lacks a lot of the more advanced features from professional programs. But if you’re a beginner who wants to learn basic YouTube video editing and then move up to Final Cut Pro, this is a great start.

What are its best features?

  • The interface is masterful in its simplicity
  • For a free program, it has a wide range of audio tools
  • Users can color-match clips throughout the video

What could be improved?

  • No ability to edit over two tracks at a time
  • Lack of more controls in the interface

Windows users can definitely benefit from using Lightworks for YouTube videos as long as they’re willing to put in the time to learn the interface. Lightworks is a professional-grade video-editing program used on many Hollywood productions, like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The King’s Speech.” But it’s also great for YouTube videos.

The program is packed with professional-grade features, most of which are available in the free version too. In the timeline, it’s easy to drop and drag clips and make cuts. There are also a lot of fine-tuning controls to get very precise with your editing. You can also export and upload directly to YouTube from the interface.

But the interface is where the program lacks in some ways. It’s packed with dropdown menus that make it somewhat difficult to navigate when editing. And while there are plenty of beginner tutorial videos available, there aren’t many advanced tutorials or a help option within the program. But once you get it down, the program is fantastic.

Just know that the free version limits exporting to 720p. If you want HD videos on your YouTube channel for free, you’ll need to use a different program. Also, the free version is only for non-commercial users. If your channel is making money, you’ll need to opt for the paid version.

What are its best features?

  • A free version that is comparable to the pro version in features
  • Support for Linux along with Windows and Mac
  • Direct exporting to YouTube

What could be improved?

  • The interface could be a little easier for beginners
  • No ability to export in HD in the free version

With version 25 available, Pinnacle continues to set a higher standard with each iteration of their software. It’s faster, more powerful, and allows users to create professional-grade videos with a variety of effects and other features.

When you open the program, you can tell it’s made for professional editors. The interface is sleek and easy to use. But beginners will need some time to learn everything to use the program at full capacity.

With Pinnacle, you can do things many other standard YouTube video makers can’t. It allows you to do multicam editing, motion tracking, animated GIFs, stop-motion video, and tracked masking. In fact, it has over 2,000 effects, which is probably more than you’ll ever use.

There’s also keyframe editing functions that allow you to adjust or manipulate effects within each individual frame. Add the audio, export, and sharing features, and you have a brilliant choice for a YouTube video maker.

What are its best features?

  • The keyframe editing features are unsurpassed
  • Multicam editing functionality
  • The titles editor is one of the best on the market

What could be improved?

  • The motion tracking feature needs a little work
  • The system requirements are a little high

Blender is free, open-source software that’s actually geared towards 3D animation and modeling. The program was developed in the Netherlands in 2007 to allow anyone to create 3D-based projects. However, the software includes a video editor, which has great functionality for anyone looking to post a video on YouTube.

With Blender, you have up to 32 slots or tracks to add in clips, audio, images, other media, and any effects or masks. The timeline works like most other editors so it’s easy to insert anything you want and trim and cut as you please. Blender comes with colorization tools, filters, and title and text effects.

It may take you a beat to learn the full functionality of the video editor, but for a free program it’s great for those starting with YouTube video creation.

What are its best features?

  • Offering up to 32 tracks for any type of media on your timeline
  • Offering a plethora of audio-editing tools, including waveform visualization
  • A live preview

What could be improved?

  • The video editor could include a lot more advanced tools
  • The interface could be easier to learn and use

If you’re completely new to the world of video editing and want to get started on YouTube, Shotcut is a solid choice. This program is one of the most easy-to-use on the market and would serve as an excellent starter video-editing software – it’s free.

As open-source software, Shotcut has consistent upgrades from the developers based on suggestions from the community and their own personal use. That being said, the interface is a little cluttered in terms of finding features and functions. But it’s customizable as you can move its pre-made editing panels around as you see fit. You can even create floating windows and add panels into the foreground for more available tools.

Speaking of tools, Shotcut has a diverse collection of professional-grade tools available in a free program. You can cut and trim videos with ease, but where it shines is its color grading, effects, keyframing, and transitions. There are also solid audio-editing tools available to get your sound just right.

When you’re ready to export, the program offers an array of formats. Though, you’ll want to stick to the common ones accepted by YouTube.

What are its best features?

  • Compatibility with Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Lots of support and tutorials from the online community
  • Support for a variety of video formats

What could be improved?

  • The interface could use a little polishing
  • Lack of thumbnail previews for transitions and effects

If you’re looking for a powerful free video editor with a wide range of tools, VSDC Video Editor is a wise choice. The program can help you to create high-quality videos with ease for uploading on YouTube.

It supports all the most common video, audio, and codec formats available, so you won’t have any issues uploading clips and exporting them in accepted YouTube formats. Green screen video makers can rejoice as VSDC has a powerful chroma keying feature to remove backgrounds.

The program also comes equipped with standard audio- and video-editing tools along with a range of advanced effects and colorization tools. Plus, its easy interface is extremely easy to learn.

What are its best features?

  • Motion tracking for videos and text animations
  • An AI Art Generator that creates fantastic images
  • Picture-in-picture features along with great colorization tools

What could be improved?

  • No ability to preview videos in full screen
  • Some functions are in submenus and a little hard to find

If you want a professional-grade editor for free, then look no further than DaVinci Resolve. This program has a collection of tools and features on which many people spend a lot of money, but DaVinci offers most of the best features for free.

With DaVinci, you get a full program perfect for professional timeline editing. It allows you to integrate a medley of effects into your video. And with every version, the developers make the program even better.

You’ll be able to cut and clip your video quickly, and there are a lot of features for adjusting audio, correcting colorization, and inserting fluid transitions. DaVinci isn’t the easiest to learn, but the interface is intuitive and well laid out. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create YouTube videos in no time.

What are its best features?

  • The color grading tool is top-notch
  • Though difficult to learn, the interface is clean and very well designed
  • No need to download other programs for graphics or audio; it’s all in one spot

What could be improved?

  • It could be easier for beginners to learn and use the program
  • No ability to integrate with some other programs or applications

It feels like HitFilm shouldn’t be free, but it is. The program comes with tons of tools and features that anyone who wants to make videos for YouTube will love. And you can also purchase even more features at a low cost. But overall, you can create YouTube videos easily without the extra frills.

HitFilm offers many of the features included in professional-level editors like Adobe Premiere. You can easily organize your files and pre-trim clips before putting them on the timeline. The software has lots of keyboard shortcuts to speed up your editing process.

On the timeline, you can insert an unlimited number of tracks, and it’s easy to adjust and mix audio tracks. HitFilm gives you access to over 400 different presets and effects along with transitions and a superb titling tool.

If you’re looking for free professional video-editing software, this is a splendid choice – as long as your system can handle it.

What are its best features?

  • Excellent controls for text
  • An unlimited number of video and audio tracks
  • The selection tools are intuitive and very helpful

What could be improved?

  • No way to lower the system requirements without compromising the software
  • Lack of a better customer support system

OpenShot is a free video editor available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It’s a wonderful program for any budding YouTube creator who needs standard video-editing software for cheap and comes with a variety of features.

The interface is clean and easy-to-use and allows users to move panes and customize the screen how they see fit. It also has several keyboard shortcuts that make the editing process go that much faster.

The program works with a wide selection of video and audio formats. And while it doesn’t have much in the way of effects, it has some intriguing transitions that will make your YouTube videos pop.

What are its best features?

  • Cross-platform functionality – Mac, Linux, and Windows
  • The interface is spotless and logically laid out
  • Unlimited tracks available on the timeline

What could be improved?

  • No ability to edit titles after adding them to the timeline
  • Lack of templates

If you’re an Apple user who wants advanced features beyond iMovie, Final Cut Pro is your answer. It’s a program used by professional editors on commercials, movies, TV shows, and, of course, YouTube videos.

This software is smooth in its functionality and comes packed with tons of effects, transitions, and other features. Many editors work with the program for years and still don’t learn all the functions it has.

Final Cut Pro doesn’t work like many other editing programs on this list. Instead of using more traditional timelines, Apple developers opted for a magnetic timeline. So when you move your clips into it, the program automatically moves other clips out of the way. You can still move connected clips together, but this helps you to never overwrite another clip.

Outside of the timeline, Final Cut Pro has a wide range of professional effects and transitions available. You can also edit multicam footage, 360-degree videos, and even 4k videos. You’ll also be able to organize, label, and tag your files like no other program on this list. That’s great for YouTubers who want to integrate SEO into their video tags.

What are its best features?

  • The program runs quickly
  • You won’t find better organizational tools on this list
  • Support for multicam editing

What could be improved?

  • It’s not available for other OSs outside of Mac
  • Insufficient compression of exported video files

VideoProc Vlogger is free software with none of the freemium catches you find with many other video editors. There are no watermarks or add-ons with the software. You download a free program, and it does everything that a video editor should do. And while the title implies that it’s for Vloggers, it can work just as well as a YouTube video maker.

The interface might seem a little intimidating when you first look at it. But it’s actually very intuitive. And with a couple of tutorial videos, you’ll be making videos in no time.

VideoProc Vlogger comes with a mix of features that rivals any professional video-editing software. You get around 50 effects, over 60 transitions, chroma keying, text overlay, picture-in-picture, and tons of other goodies. The program also has some AI video fixes for red-eye and audio/video synchronization. It’s definitely one of the top free programs available.

What are its best features?

  • The interface is a little cluttered, but it's still very easy to learn and use
  • Tutorials for everything in the program
  • Over 60 transition presets

What could be improved?

  • The rendering speed could use an upgrade
  • Lack of more overlays and audio functions

If you’re a beginner video creator looking to make videos for YouTube, then VideoPad should be on your list of potential picks. The program is definitely for a novice or consumer-level editors, but it can definitely work as a superb YouTube video maker.

The program doesn’t take much to run, so even lower-end computers can handle the software. And it comes with a mixture of transitions, filters, and other effects to make your videos shine.

VideoPad allows you to adjust the colorization of your videos and has all the audio-editing tools basic users need to create a nice soundtrack. There’s also stabilization functions in case your video is a little shaky.

There are more feature-rich programs on this list. But if you need a cost-efficient YouTube video maker, VideoPad is a great option that the developers constantly update.

What are its best features?

  • The interface is very easy to learn
  • Tons of export formats and you can upload directly to YouTube
  • 360-degree video editing

What could be improved?

  • Lack of some Windows version features in the Mac version
  • The closed captioning feature doesn’t work properly

MAGIX has been in the video- and audio-editing game for decades. Both novice and professional editors alike widely use their programs, and their Movie Edit Pro is a top selection as a YouTube video maker.

With Movie Edit Pro, you get a host of professional features that allow you to cut clips and add transitions and effects with ease. The program has an easy-to-use interface that only gets better as you learn all the shortcuts.

Most impressive is its wide range of titling templates and tools, which is high on the list of importance for many YouTube video creators.

What are its best features?

  • The titling templates beat out all programs on this list
  • Superb audio-editing functions for a video-editing program
  • Multicam editing

What could be improved?

  • Lack of tools to help with importing and organization
  • Rendering could be sped up significantly

If you’re looking for the most basic video-making program for beginners, AVS should be your top choice. From the moment you start the program, it walks you through how to use everything with prompts and tutorials.

With AVS, you can import and export files in an assortment of formats and process in resolutions up to DCI 4k. It also comes with tools to cut and trim footage and features that allow you to remove shakiness from videos and insert backgrounds on green screens.

The interface is so simple, even your grandmother wouldn’t get lost using the program. It only allows you to edit one track at a time, which could be a deal-breaker for many YouTubers. But if your videos aren’t complex, this is a perfect low-cost solution.

What are its best features?

  • A wide range of effects for one-track editing
  • Interfaces don’t get simpler than this one
  • Tons of tutorials available

What could be improved?

  • No ability to edit more than one track
  • Lack of some more advanced features

Best online YouTube video editors

Fastreel is the best-of-the-best for online video-editing programs. If you want to make YouTube videos and don’t want to load up your hard drive with bulky video-editing software, this is your pick.

With Fastreel, you can create professional-looking videos with ease, from anywhere and with any computer connected to the Internet. The program comes loaded with templates and tools, so you can cut, trim, speed up, slow down, add transitions, and more. It even has advanced tools for creating stop-motion videos and slideshows.

Fastreel is the perfect program to make YouTube videos as you can export in MP4 and get your video uploaded quickly and conveniently.

What are its best features?

  • The interface is labeled well and it’s extremely easy to use
  • Advanced tools you won’t find in other online editing software like looping and speed changes
  • Nice selection of templates if you don’t want to edit from scratch

What could be improved?

  • A watermark in the free version
  • Users can experience difficulties when working with slower connection speeds

If you’re looking to add style to your videos instead of all-out editing, Magisto could be a good option. Instead of giving you an ability to make videos yourself, Magisto allows you to upload videos, images, and audio into their AI program. From there, the software will automatically create a video based on a specific theme.

No matter what pricing tier you choose, Magisto maxes out videos at 10 minutes. But as YouTubers rarely watch videos longer than that, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, you don’t get full editing features with this program. You upload the images, clips, and select audio, and it integrates everything into a stylized video.

What are its best features?

  • The program is completely plug and play, so you don’t have to do much
  • Tons of themes to choose from
  • Saving lots of time

What could be improved?

  • Lack of editing features outside of the AI
  • A limited video length

If you need quick access to a free online video editor for YouTube videos, Clipchamp is a swell choice. There’s no software to download, and the program has support for a variety of common formats for audio or video.

The interface is simple and easy to learn for beginners and professionals. And it comes with all the standard features you’d expect from any video maker, like resizing, cropping, rotation, flipping, and clipping. It’s also possible to insert fades for video or audio files on the timeline, and you can choose from dozens of filters to give your videos a unique look.

The free version only exports in 480p, but the higher pricing tiers are inexpensive if you need higher quality.

What are its best features?

  • Online software, so there’s nothing to download
  • Support for a wide range of formats
  • An unlimited number of video exports at the free pricing tier

What could be improved?

  • The export process is a bit slow
  • A watermark on stock videos

Kapwing is another online video editor that offers a glorious mix of features and functionality. The program works through timeline editing like most other editors. There, you have the standard functions like cutting and trimming. But Kapwing also offers a nice selection of transitions, and you can also overlay text and images and create subtitles.

The program offers some great audio-mixing tools for an online editor, and it has a nice selection of effects that will make your YouTube videos shine. Both Unsplash and Giphy integrate with the program, so you can access a motley of stock images and video.

It doesn’t have the professional tools like some of the desktop programs on this list – or Fastreel – but Kapwing can definitely help you create quality YouTube videos for your channel.

What are its best features?

  • Integrating with Giphy, Unsplash, and Pexels to offer loads of stock images/footage
  • No watermarks on videos under 5 minutes on the free tier
  • The organizational tools are extraordinary for an online program

What could be improved?

  • The rendering process should be updated as reviewers have complained about losing text
  • The upload size of the free tier is a bit small – at 250 MB

Summary

With this list of the best YouTube video makers, hopefully, you now know which programs would work best for your needs. There are a lot of free options on this list and others that offer free trials, so don’t be afraid to explore and see which one you like best. In no time, you’ll be uploading your high-quality videos to YouTube.

Nataly Bogorad

Nataly Bogorad is a content creator and a chief editor. With qualifications in English and American studies and art criticism, she specializes in writing SEO-optimized and user-friendly content. Nataly graduated from Universität Kassel with a bachelor of arts degree and worked as a project assistant for Regionalmanagement Nordhessen GmbH.