11 Best Screen Recorder Software In 2021 (Free And Paid)

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If you’re teaching online by creating video content as material, such as screencasts, then you really do need to invest in a decent screen recorder software.

Screen recorder software are those that record your computer screen, or desktop, and most can also record audio and a webcam at the same time.

What to look for in a screen recorder software?

When browsing the software listed below, be sure to consider the following…

  • Price
  • Screen recording size
  • Video restrictions
  • Video editing capabilities


Screen recorder software can be free or paid.

Usually, free varieties come with a lot of restrictions on functionality and final video outputs; whereas, paid software generally don’t have such restrictions.

I started out using a free software before upgrading to a more premium one after I started earning some money through my side hustle. This reinvestment was one of the best decisions I have made as an online educator.

Screen recording size

Screen recorders can record your whole desktop and some can even record a custom window on your desktop.

Having the ability to change the size of the recording window is very handy. Instead of capturing dead space on your desktop, you can capture just the parts that matter.

As well as cleaner looking videos, I find this feature also reduces the time spent editing the video.

Video restrictions

Usually, free screen recorders come with some restrictions. Mainly you want to look for restrictions on video recording time and the presence of watermarks.

It is no good using software that limits your recording time to say 10 minutes if you need a 20-minute video. While there are ways around this (ie record multiple shorter videos), it will just result in more time spent editing.

Also, some software place watermarks, usually the company’s name or logo, over the final rendered video. This just looks unprofessional and isn’t great for your brand awareness.

Video editing capabilities

If you’re after a no fluff, standard screen recorder software – then great. All of the software listed below can do that.

However, this means you will undoubtedly need a separate video editor to polish your video.

There are some screen recorders listed below that also have built-in video editing capabilities – they are the complete package.

I recommend checking out these as you can do all of your recording and editing in one place – this is so much easier!

Best paid screen recorder software

Below is a list of the best premium screen recorder software I recommend getting.

Yes, these require some investment, but most come with a superior set of features compared with free software.

1. Camtasia (#1 recommended)

Camtasia, in my option, is the best screen recorder software – hands down!

Camtasia homepage

Camtasia goes above and beyond what is expected for a screen recorder software – it’s a recorder and video editor in one.

You can read all about the features and my thoughts in my detailed Camtasia review, but here is a flavor of what to expect.

You start by using their intuitive screen recorder. You have the option to create a custom capture window or record the whole screen – all in HD I may add!

Audio and video, such as webcams, can also be recorded at the same time as the screen.

Videos can then be edited and tweaked directly within Camtasia, so there is no need to use a separate video editor.

You can easily add transitions, behaviors, cursor effects, audio effects and visual effects.

As an online educator, the annotations feature and the pan/zoom features are a great way to focus the viewer’s attention to certain aspects on screen.

A downside to Camtasia is that the one-time fee does not include future upgrades to new versions of the software. To get this, you need to purchase an annual maintenance licence.

If you’re thinking about getting Camtasia, be sure to try it out before you buy with their 30-day free trial.

2. Snagit

Snagit is a stripped back version of Camtasia that focusses more on screen recording.

Snagit homepage

If you want the same powerful screen recording capabilities of Camtasia, but don’t want all the bells and whistles of the video editing features, then consider Snagit.

Snagit is designed from the same team that make Camtasia – TechSmith – but it’s aimed at those who want to quickly capture screen recordings.

The good news is that Snagit is considerably cheaper than Camtasia, with an individual licence costing just $49.95. There are also discounts for those in education.

If interested, I recommend grabbing the 15-day completely free trial of Snagit, which doesn’t have any restrictions on functionality.

3. Create

Create is very similar to Camtasia, but is a much cheaper alternative.

Create homepage

If you like the look of Camtasia but don’t have the money to purchase it, then check out Create.

With Create you can record your desktop (and/or webcam) and audio and edit the project directly inside the software.

You can record your whole desktop or set a custom recording window.

Unlike Camtasia that charges a maintenance fee to receive ongoing software updates, Create is a one-time fee with future updates included.

There is no trial for Create, but they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee should you find it isn’t the software for you.

4. ScreenFlow

ScreenFlow is a popular screen recorder and video editor among MacOS users.

ScreenFlow homepage

If you have a Windows or Linux machine, then don’t look at ScreenFlow – it is only for MacOS.

ScreenFlow have an unrestricted, unlimited free trial so you can have a good test of the software before you decide to purchase. The only drawback to the free trial is that there is a watermark over any exported videos.

A nice feature included in ScreenFlow is the ability to record your iPhone or iPad screen.

As well as recording device screens, you can record multiple monitors at the same time. This is something that is hard to find in most screen recorder software.

Best free screen recorder software

If you’re struggling to afford a premium screen recorder software, then take a look at the free options below.

Some of the entries below are completely free to use, while some are freemium, meaning they have a basic free version that can be upgraded for a fee.

1. OBS Studio

If you don’t want to spend a penny, then go for OBS Studio.

OBS Studio homepage

OBS Studio is a big hit with video game streamers, but it is also a powerful screen recorder software.

Before converting to Camtasia, I used OBS Studio to record my videos.

The software is very flexible in that you can create multiple ‘scenes’. A scene is something that OBS Studio can record. This can be your whole desktop, or a program window or a webcam, for example.

Files can then be saved for future editing. Yep, no editing capabilities are available in OBS Studio – it is a simple screen recorder.

Within OBS Studio there are a lot of video and audio capture settings that can be finely tuned. This can be quite overwhelming for beginners to set up.

But, once you are up and running, OBS Studio is a great screen recorder software.

2. Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast-O-Matic has a Free plan as well as inexpensive premium plans that give you additional features.

Screencast-O-Matic homepage

The great thing about Screencast-O-Matic is there there is a limited Free plan available.

With the Free plan, you get access to nine recording features including the ability to record your screen and/or webcam with the options for full or window screen capture.

The downside to the Free plan is that you can only record videos up to 15 minutes long and there is a watermark over the video.

If you want unrestricted video recordings with no watermark then you need to upgrade to the Deluxe or Premier plans. Prices are super cheap and start at just $1.50 per month (annual billing)!

As well as enhanced video recording capabilities, the premium plans give you access to video editing tools.

3. Bandicam Screen Recorder

Bandicam is a simple screen recorder that has a Free (limited) and Premium plan.

Bandicam homepage

What’s nice about Bandicam is it’s really simple, no complex interface or bloated design.

The Free version of Bandicam allows you to record up to 10 minutes of video with a watermark included.

If you want to record an unlimited amount of video without any watermarks, then you need to purchase a Bandicam licence.

The cost of a Bandicam licence is a one-off fee of $39.

A cool feature included in Bandicam, which is especially useful for online educators, is their live annotation tool. With this tool you can draw and outline in your video in real time.

It should be noted that Bandicam is only available for Windows operating systems.

4. ScreenRec

ScreenRec is a completely free screen recorder software with no restrictions on video length or watermark applied!

ScreenRec homepage

When it comes to a free screen recorder software, ScreenRec is right up there among the best.

There is no recording limit with ScreenRec as long as you create a (free) cloud account. Otherwise, without a cloud account, videos will be restricted to 5-minutes long.

The free cloud account also gives you 2 GB of space to host your video files. Files are also saved locally, so you can keep them on your computer.

5. Loom

Loom is a freemium screen recorder that can come in the form of a Chrome extension or a standalone desktop app.

Loom homepage

What’s nice about Loom is that there is a Chrome extension. So, you can record your screen and webcam, screen online or webcam online directly from your Chrome explorer.

There is also a desktop app for recording HD quality videos (paid plan) and using the recording tools.

With the free account (Basic), you can record as many videos as you like, but you can only access 25 of these. The video quality is also not in HD and you cannot use custom recording dimensions.

By upgrading to a paid plan, which starts at $8 per month (annual billing), you can unlimited access to your videos as well as HD recording and custom recording dimensions (only for MacOS users for now) included.

There is a 14-day free trial (no payment details required) on Loom’s Pro plan so you can test it out yourself at no cost.

6. Free Cam

Free Cam, as the name suggests, is a completely free and unrestricted screen recorder for Windows machines.

Free Cam homepage

If you don’t want to spend any money and want a screen recording software with no watermark and no recording time restrictions then consider Free Cam.

With Free Cam you can select a custom recording area, record audio (but not a webcam) and highlight your mouse’s movements.

There is also a simple video editor included where you can trim unwanted sections of video and adjust the audio.

A few downsides to Free Cam is that video files are saved as a WMV, instead of the popular MP4, format. Also, videos are saved in 720p quality, which despite being classed as HD quality, is a lower resolution to the much-preferred 1080p.

Given that Free Cam is completely free and unrestricted, these slight niggles are insignificant to what you get in return.

7. Icecream Screen Recorder

The Icecream Screen Recorder is a freemium recorder with a range of features included.

Icecream Screen Recorder homepage

There are two plans for the Icecream Screen Recorder: Free or PRO.

The Free plan comes with the expected limitations that most free screen recorders have including a restricted time limit (5 mins), watermark and a single output video format (WEBM).

By upgrading to their PRO plan, for a one-time fee of $29.95, you get no limits on record time, no watermark and a variety or video output capabilities (including MP4 and MOV).

The core features of the Icecream Screen recorder include a custom size recording window, ability to add annotations and record your webcam.

Wrapping up

Now you have a list of, what I believe to be, the best screen recorder software that are available – free and paid.

If you can afford it, I totally recommend Camtasia. You get a very flexible screen recorder and editing software all in one package.

Otherwise, start by using one of the free options listed and then reinvest some side hustle earnings into a premium software to get more features.

This is exactly what I did. I started creating screencasts for my YouTube channel with OBS Studio (I also used the free plan of DaVinci Resolve to edit the videos), and then used some YouTube monetization earnings to purchase Camtasia.

Do you use a screen recorder software that is not listed? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Further reading on SideHustleTeach.com

If you want to learn why I’m a big fan of Camtasia, then check out my ultimate review. Camtasia too expensive for you? Then check out my list of best Camtasia alternatives.

Photo of author

Steven Bradburn

A former scientist turned side-hustling blogger who enjoys writing about online marketing. Be sure to drop me a comment to say hi!

9 thoughts on “11 Best Screen Recorder Software In 2021 (Free And Paid)”

  1. Thank you for your information.
    It helps me to find out various screen recorder software. Actually, I’ve been using Bandicam to record my game. I like this software cuz it has easy interface.

    • Thanks Jessiee,
      I’m glad you found these useful. Bandicam is certainly a good choice for gamers. OBS Studio seems to be another popular choice in this area.
      All the best,

  2. If you have money, no other screen recorder can give you better experience than Camtasia. But, if you don’t have money and want to enjoy free unlimited screen recording without watermark and time restrictions, OBS and ScreeRec are safer options.

  3. Thank you Steven for your unbiased article. I kept on using Bandicam till mid of 2020 but had to leave it because it forces huge watermark on recorded videos. I believe, it is not good for free users. Now using ScreenRec as an alternative to Bandicam, and quite satisfied with it. Now, there are no time restrictions and there are no messy watermarks on my videos.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. While all the tools you mentioned in this list get the job done, I think ScreenRec deserves a mention here too. It’s the lightest screen recording tool I have used thus far and never lags when recording in any situation. It also provides 2 GB of free cloud storage for universal sharing.

  5. Thanks for sharing the list. I found ScreenRec to be the best of the lot as it not only is free, it doesn’t force any annoying watermarks and is a very light tool.


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