Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.The Rundown
Best Overall: Adobe Premiere Pro CC at Adobe
"Comprehensive and powerful, plus it integrates with Adobe's cloud platform, Creative Cloud."
Best for Mac: Final Cut Pro X at iTunes
"Integrates well with Apple's hardware and other software, and runs beautifully on Mac computers."
Best for Beginners: Adobe Premiere Elements at Best Buy
"Perfect for beginners who may not be as experienced in video editing."
Best Budget: CyberLink PowerDirector at CyberLink
"Clean and intuitive, but offers access to plenty of powerful tools."
Best Free for Windows: Lightworks at Lightworks
"Known for its intuitive and easy-to-use interface, plus it has great timeline editing tools."
Best Free for Mac: iMovie at iTunes
"The overall interface is very well-designed and super easy to use."
Best Free for Pro Users: DaVinci Resolve at Blackmagic Design
"Offers a range of professional-level tools and remains totally free for basic use."
Best for Special Effects: HitFilm Pro at FxHome
"It's got a good list of tools for basic video editing, and has a customizable interface."
Best Overall: Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Courtesy of Adobe4.4Buy on Adobe
Adobe Premiere Pro is largely considered to be the best video editing software out there, and for good reason. It's comprehensive and powerful, plus it integrates with Adobe's cloud platform, Creative Cloud, meaning users get timely updates to their software, access to cloud storage, and more. It's all very intuitive and easy to use.
Of course, perhaps the main reason for many to subscribe to Creative Cloud is to use Premiere Pro — the software is considered the standard, thanks to features like its huge range of organizational tools, good speed, the fact that it supports unlimited video tracks, excellent video stabilization features, and more. Safe to say, whether you're editing GoPro footage, or footage from a cinema-level camera, Adobe Premiere Pro CC is the way to go, despite the fact that it is a little pricey. Adobe Premiere Pro CC is available on both Windows and macOS.Adobe Premiere Pro CC 13.1.2 Review
Best for Mac: Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro X4.2Buy on Apple
Mac users who want a powerful video editing tool may want to consider Apple's own Final Cut Pro for their video editing needs. There are plenty of reasons to go for Final Cut Pro X over other options, namely the fact that it integrates well with Apple's hardware and other software, and runs beautifully on Mac computers.
There are a ton of unique features, including a magnetic, trackless timeline, excellent organizational tools, and support for 360-degree video and HDR. It's also a great option for those that have a MacBook Pro with a touch bar because it actually has tools that are compatible with this hardware. Unfortunately, the software is a little pricey compared to some others, but if you have the money to spend, it's an excellent option.Final Cut Pro X 10.4.6 Review
Best for Beginners: Adobe Premiere Elements
Adobe Premiere ElementsBuy on Best BuyBuy on B&H Photo VideoBuy on Office Depot
Adobe Premiere Pro is considered to be the standard in video editing, but many may not want or need to subscribe to such high-level software. For those people, there's a less expensive — but still very comprehensive — version of the software. It's called Adobe Premiere Elements, and it's perfect for beginners who may not be as experienced in video editing.
Perhaps the best thing about Adobe Premiere Elements is the fact that it has such a clean interface, and has some more complex features that you can dig into if you want. Notably, the software boasts a number of video effects, plus it has some excellent audio editing features, which is important to consider for any good video. The software isn't overly limiting either. You'll still get unlimited video tracks, motion tracking, and support for 4K video. Adobe Premiere Elements is available on both Windows and macOS.
Best Budget: CyberLink PowerDirector
CyberLink PowerDirectorBuy on Cyberlink.com
If you're looking for a comprehensive and high-quality video editing software and don't want to spend too much cash, then CyberLink PowerDirector may be the software for you. As you would expect from a video editing software in 2019, the interface of PowerDirector is clean and intuitive, but it offers access to plenty of powerful tools. This includes a range of video effects that are available within the software.
On top of the nice interface, CyberLink PowerDirector offers features like multi-cam editing, the ability to edit both 3D and 4K video, and motion tracking. Unfortunately, PowerDirector is only available for Windows, so Mac users will need to look at other options on the list.
Best Free for Windows: Lightworks
LightworksBuy on Lwks.com
Not everyone wants to spend money on their video editing software, but thankfully there's still some decent free software out there. If you're a Windows user, then we think the best free video editing software for you is Lightworks. Lightworks is known for its intuitive and easy-to-use interface, plus it has great timeline editing tools, which is always handy in video editing software.
Apart from those editing tools, Lightworks also allows you to quickly and easily export your video to services like YouTube and Vimeo, and it can handle 4K video editing. Of course, perhaps the best thing about it is that it's free. You'll get a seven-day trial of the software, after which you can register for free to keep using it or upgrade to a “Pro” license to get access to all of the editing tools and export formats.
Best Free for Mac: iMovie
Courtesy of AppleBuy on Apple
Apple users have their own free video editing software: iMovie. iMovie is built by Apple, and can be downloaded straight from the Mac App Store. iMovie has a lot of great features going for it, namely the fact that the overall interface is very well-designed and super easy to use. In other words, if you're new to video editing and have a Mac, then iMovie is an excellent option.
While iMovie is free, it does offer some pretty nice advanced features. For example, it has cool color matching features, which helps make for more consistent looks. On top of that, it has a number of awesome audio tools, which helps ensure that your video not only looks good but sounds good, too.
Best Free for Pro Users: DaVinci Resolve
DaVinci ResolveBuy on Blackmagicdesign.com
Are you an experienced video editor looking for a free program with more advanced features? DaVinci Resolve offers a range of professional-level tools and remains totally free for basic use, which makes it an excellent choice for those that want something a little more complex.
There are a number of things that make DaVinci Resolve so great. As mentioned, there are hundreds of tools, effects, and features to comb through, along with good color features, special effects, and more. The only downside is that it can be pretty complicated to use, so if you're new to video editing it's probably worth sticking with something a little more basic. DaVinci Resolve is compatible with both Windows and macOS operating systems.
Best for Special Effects: HitFilm Pro
HitFilm ProBuy on Fxhome.com
For some, special effects are an important component in creating a video that's ready to upload or release. If this is part of your editing style, software like HitFilm Pro may well be the way to go.
There are a few reasons HitFilm Pro is such great video editing software. For starters, it's got a good list of tools for basic video editing, and has a customizable interface, meaning you can tweak it to your needs. Where HitFilm Pro really shines, however, is in special effects — it boasts hundreds of effects and presets to dig into, including effects in 3D. HitFilm Pro is available for both Windows and macOS.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular GoPro editing software on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 10 different software overall, screened options from 9 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 3 of the software themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.