The best video editing software for YouTube provides powerful tools and an interface that doesn’t get in the way of your creativity. Whether you’re producing unboxing videos, product reviews, sketch comedy routines, short films, or news reports, solid editing transforms raw footage into content that gets the views and Likes.
There was a time when high-end, professional editing software cost too much for home users, but today pretty much any YouTuber has access to systems with enough power to cut the next blockbuster series or viral hit.
Best for beginners (Windows): NCH VideoPad
Best for beginners (macOS): Apple iMovie
Best editor for Mac: Adobe Premiere Pro
Best video editor for PC: Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 17
Best for mobile devices: Adobe Premiere Rush
How we selected the best video editing software for YouTube
In picking our best video editing software for YouTube, we looked at 10 of the top products and evaluated their editing tools, titling and graphics options, how the software handles audio, and selections of transitions and effects. We also paid close attention to the types of files they can import and play, as well as the video formats and resolutions that they output. We looked specifically at each software’s limitations to decide if they were deal-breakers, and, finally, we assessed ease of use. The best software in the world doesn’t do anyone any good if no one can figure out how to use it.
Our evaluations come from direct testing by professional editors, as well as conversations with other industry professionals. We also looked at reviews left by typical users to get an idea of how editors of different experience levels feel about the software.
In testing the software, we treated them as if using them on professional projects, often importing footage shot for TV shows and movies. These were cut into sequences, trailers, and other short videos. We didn’t skimp on titles or effects, and we exported our files using YouTube’s suggested parameters, as well as settings for higher-end delivery.
Things to consider before picking the best video editing software for YouTube
Any video editing software can deliver professional results, but that doesn’t mean every program is right for every editor. Here are some important questions to think about before making a purchase.
Are you a beginner?
If you’ve never edited video before, consider starting with software that leaves off or hides more advanced features so you can focus on the basics. Great content doesn’t require 100 layers of video and an endless supply of effects. After all, many Hollywood classics were cut with what was essentially a razor blade!
Mac or PC?
Make sure the software is compatible with your computer. Thankfully, many of the best programs run on both Mac and Windows machines. Of course, there are exceptions such as Final Cut and iMovie, which only works on Macs.
Want to edit on your mobile device?
With a modern smartphone, whether iPhone or Android, it’s easy to shoot spectacular 4K video and then upload it directly to YouTube. So why bounce it out to a desktop just to edit when plenty of apps turn your device into an all-in-one production studio? If you create content from the field, editing apps are lifesavers.
How fancy are your YouTube videos?
Experienced editors can take advantage of the multiple layers, complex effects and transitions, powerful compositing tools, titling and graphics, and advanced output options found in professional editing software. If that’s you, the basic programs will leave you wanting or cost you extra cash when you have to send it out for advanced work.
What’s your budget?
Most editing software requires some sort of payment to unlock all the features or remove watermarks. Tiered subscription models help protect your wallet by only making you pay for features you’ll actually use. And the free options are great for trying before you buy.
The best video editing software for YouTube: Reviews & Recommendations
Best video editing software for YouTube beginners (Windows): NCH VideoPad