12 Best Screen Recorders for Laptops

Paula Beaton Edited by Paula Beaton

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Ever wanted to record what’s happening on your laptop screen? You can with a screen recorder for a laptop – and we’ll help you find the best screen recorder software for your needs.

Program

Best for

Download

Those looking for a feature-packed program with a free version.

Gamers and videographers looking to record and stream videos.

Recording training sessions or meetings in the workplace.

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Best laptop screen recorder software

Best for: Anybody looking for a free laptop screen video recorder that’s packed with features, easy to use, and versatile.

OS: Windows, Mac

Price: Free trial or from $42.95 for a one-year license for one Windows PC or Mac.

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars, 49 reviews

Movavi Screen Recorder is one of the best screen recorders for laptops. It’s packed with screen recording features and built-in editing options and allows you to capture your entire screen or just a part of it. It’s easy to take and save screenshots and record video with your webcam or sound from your microphone.

Pros:

  • Simple to master

  • Capture screen, webcam, and microphone

  • Free version with no time limits

Cons:

  • Free version watermarks output videos

Key features:

  • Simple editing tools

  • Schedule recordings

  • Capture your webcam

  • Record audio only

  • Draw on videos

Best for: Those looking for a laptop screen recorder for free who don’t want to download and install software on their PC.

OS: Windows 10 only (already built in)

Price: Free

Rating: N/A (built into Windows)

Windows Game Bar is a screen recording feature that’s built into Windows 10. It’s easy to activate it from your settings menu, and you can use keyboard shortcuts to start and stop recording your screen. It’s a very basic screen recorder, but it’s free and easy to use.

Pros:

  • Built into Windows – no need to download

  • Free to use

  • Easy to get started

Cons:

  • No additional features, just screen recording and screenshots

Key features:

  • Basic screen recording

  • Take screenshots

  • Sharing widgets

Get Windows Game Bar

Best for: Bandicam is great for organizations or individuals looking for free screen recording software that allows them to record short (under 10 minutes) videos.

OS: Windows Vista, 7/8/10/11 (64-bit)

Price: Free version (with watermarks) or purchase from $39.95 for a lifetime license for one PC.

Capterra rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars, 48 reviews

Bandicam is laptop recording software for Windows devices. As well as recording your entire screen, you can record certain areas, add a webcam overlay, or draw on videos while they’re being recorded. Recordings can be saved as AVI or MP4 video files or still images.

Pros:

  • Add own logo to recording

  • Add mouse effects/animations while recording

  • Record games

  • Choice of the free or full version

Cons:

  • The free version has a 10-minute recording limit

  • Videos are watermarked with the free version

Key features:

  • Screen, webcam, or game recording

  • Schedule recording

  • Chroma key for webcam overlay

  • Add mouse click effects and animation

  • Real-time drawing on videos or screenshots

Get Bandicam

Best for: Screen Grabber Pro is great for anyone looking for a free screen recorder that’s easy to use and allows quick sharing of videos to various sites.

OS: Windows and Mac

Price: Free version or purchase from $29.95 for a one-year license for two computers or $39.95 for a lifetime license for two computers.

Rating: 4.2 of 5 stars, 192 reviews

AceThinker Screen Grabber Pro is a free laptop screen video recorder that’s simple to use. Available for Mac and Windows, you can record your entire screen or a specific area and record audio both from your computer itself and an external microphone.

Pros:

  • Easy to use

  • Upload video to YouTube, Google Drive, or Dropbox

  • Free version available

  • Available for Windows and Mac

Cons:

  • Adds a watermark in the free version

Key features:

  • Multiple recording modes

  • Different audio input

  • Annotate in real time

  • Add webcam overlay

  • Schedule recording

Get AceThinker Screen Grabber Pro

Best for: Individuals and small businesses looking for a free laptop recorder with additional features.

OS: Windows and Mac

Price: Free

G2 rating: 4 out of 5 stars, 24 reviews

Icecream Screen Recorder is a free way to record video on a laptop screen on Mac or PC. Select certain areas to record, add your own watermark, or record via your laptop webcam. There’s a Pro version available, too, with additional features.

Pros:

  • Can take screenshots

  • Lets you record selected parts of the screen

  • Audio recording

  • Save screenshots and send via Skype or email

Cons:

  • Some features only available in the Windows version

Key features:

  • Laptop screen recorder with audio only if needed

  • Record all or part of your screen

  • Annotate recordings or screenshots

  • Record games, live webinars, or streaming videos

  • Easily share recordings to Google Drive, Dropbox, and YouTube

Get Icecream Screen Recorder

Best for: Windows users looking for a free, compact solution for video recording that’s simple to use.

OS: Windows only

Price: Free

Rating: N/A

DVDVideoSoft Free Screen Video Recorder is a compact app for Windows that’s packed with features. Record your screen and speech from your laptop mic or an external microphone. The software also lets you save screen captures and resize, rotate, and crop images taken.

Pros:

  • Capture multiple windows

  • Save screen captures to edit, share, or print

  • Save your recordings in MP4 format

Cons:

  • No Mac version – only available for Windows

Key features:

  • Free download

  • Save captures to file, clipboard, or print them out

  • Set a program to run at Windows start-up

  • Record from full screen or a window

  • Capture screenshots

Get DVDVideoSoft Free Screen Video Recorder

Open-source video recorder for laptop software

Best for: Professional videographers or gamers looking to live stream and record video on laptop screens.

OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

Price: Free

Capterra rating: 4.7 of 5 stars, 694 reviews

OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio) is one of the best screen recorders for laptops. It's free, open-source, and also supports live streaming. With its powerful API, it’s packed with features and allows you to capture your entire screen, browser windows, still images, webcam recordings, and more.

Pros:

  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux

  • Free

  • Modular ‘Dock’ UI that’s easy to set up to suit your needs

Cons:

  • There’s a steep learning curve as it’s designed for professionals

  • It can frequently crash on lower-spec machines

Key features:

  • Modular ‘Dock’ UI

  • Unlimited number of scenes

  • Intuitive audio mixer

  • Wide array of settings and configurations

  • Studio Mode to preview scenes

Get OBS

Best for: Anybody looking for a free laptop screen recorder that’s simple to use to create AVI videos.

OS: Windows only

Price: Free

Capterra rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

CamStudio is a free, open-source laptop screen video recorder. You can record all or part of your screen as well as audio, but videos can only be saved in AVI format. There’s a handy built-in help file if you get stuck using the software.

Pros:

  • Free to use

  • Lets you add captions to recorded videos

Cons:

  • Can only save videos in AVI format

  • The installer may install unwanted programs on your computer

  • Windows only

Key features:

  • Add high-quality, anti-aliased screen captions

  • Video Annotation feature

  • Record all or part of the screen

  • Lossless Codec for crystal clear results

  • Reduce or increase video quality

Get CamStudio

Best for: Those already using VLC as their media player, or anybody looking for a quick and easy solution for screen recording.

OS: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, iOS, Android

Price: Free

G2 rating: 4.5 of 5 stars, 517 reviews

VLC is one of the most popular media players around, but it can also be used as a laptop screen video recorder. If you already use VLC as your media player, it’s easy to set it up to record your screen, but it doesn’t have any advanced features.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up

  • Choice of desired frame rate

  • Great if you already use VLC for playing media

Cons:

  • Only saves files in MP4 format

Key features:

  • Free download

  • Choose desired frame rate

  • Includes VLC Media Player

  • Save files in MP4 format

  • Easy setup

Get VLC

Online laptop screen recorder with audio software

Best for: Anybody looking for a free online solution to record meetings or training sessions.

OS: Supports Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera browsers

Price: Free

Trustpilot rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars, 467 reviews

If you’re wondering how to record a laptop screen with audio, Screencapture is the free online solution you need. There’s no software to download, and you can save your videos in HD quality – you can also record your webcam.

Pros:

  • Free, and no software to download

  • Record voice and computer system sounds

  • Option to add or remove a watermark

Cons:

  • Watermarks in the trial version

Key features:

  • Fast video saving in HD

  • Screen and/or webcam recording

  • Record voice and/or computer system sounds

  • High privacy

Go to Screencapture Free Online Screen Recorder

Best for: Anyone looking for a free, fully-featured screen recording tool that allows you to edit, annotate, and share recordings easily.

OS: Works in most browsers

Price: Free

TechRadar rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder is a free online tool that’s easy to use. You’ll need to install the browser extension, but then you can start to record video on your laptop screen in a few clicks. You can also record webcam and audio and annotate your videos in real-time.

Pros:

  • No time limits

  • Real-time editing and annotation

  • Easy to share to YouTube or other sites

  • Handy user guide to help you get started

Cons:

  • Requires browser plugin

  • Not suitable for recording games

Key features:

  • Real-time annotation

  • Flexible one-click recording

  • Wide range of output formats

  • Insert webcam in recording

  • Easy online uploading to YouTube and other sites

Go to Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder

Best for: Educators and professionals creating how-to videos, lessons, and presentations.

OS: Works in most browsers

Price: Free

G2 rating: 4 out of 5 stars, 84 reviews

Panopto Express is a free online screen recorder that makes it easy to record anything on your computer screen. There are no recording limits, and you can easily share your recordings through Panopto, Google Classroom, or YouTube.

Pros:

  • No software to download or install

  • No recording limits

  • Record webcam using SmartCam technology

  • Capture multiple sources simultaneously

Cons:

  • Can be a bit clunky to use

  • UI is very basic

  • Can only download recordings in MP4 format

Key features:

  • Simple one-click recording

  • Choice of recording quality options

  • Add backgrounds to recording

  • Picture in picture or tile layout

  • Record audio only

Go to Panopto Express

How to screen-record on a laptop

If you’re wondering how to screen record on a laptop using Movavi Screen Recorder, here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1. Download and install the software

Download the software. Then double-click the file to install it on your computer.

Step 2. Launch the software

Open Movavi Screen Recorder by double-clicking the icon in your Start Menu or on your desktop.

Step 3. Set up recording parameters

Adjust your recording settings to suit and set up the screen capture area by clicking the Video Camera icon in the right-hand menu and following the on-screen prompts.

Step 4. Capture audio and video

Hit the red REC button to start recording audio and video. Tap the Stop button in the bottom right or hit F10 to stop recording.

Step 5. Edit

Simple editing tools make it easy to edit your recording.

Step 6. Save your recording

Your file will automatically be saved to Videos > Movavi, but you can change this in the settings.

How to choose a screen recorder for your laptop?

Here are some important things to consider when choosing the best screen recorder for a laptop:

Compatibility: Don’t forget to check that the laptop screen recording software you’re planning to use is compatible with your OS (or if you’re using an online recorder, that it works in your browser).

Supported formats: Look for recorders that support a wide variety of output formats. Some free software may only support very specific formats that may not meet your needs.

Usability: Always check to ensure the software you choose suits your experience level. It can be tempting to opt for feature-packed apps aimed at professionals, but if you’re new to screen recording software then this could be complicated.

Free trial: Wherever possible, try to choose software that offers a free trial or a free version before purchasing, so you can ensure it’s right for your needs.

User reviews: We’d always recommend checking out user reviews and rating for any software before purchase. This will allow you to see whether other users are enjoying using the software, and will also fill you in on any issues or problems you might expect to experience.

Support: Finally, always check to see what support is available in case you run into any problems – for example online, email, or live chat support.

Summary

Hopefully, this article has helped you consider what to look for in a video recorder for a laptop. Now you have several great options to consider. Check out the free versions and see what works best for you.

Paula Beaton

Paula is a seasoned content creator, copywriter, and editor, with more than 8 years of experience writing for tech and travel brands such as Thomas Cook, Skyscanner, Eltima Software, and DigitalTrends.com, as well as many others. She studied fiction editing with Liminal Pages in 2016 and launched her fiction editing business the same year, working with publishers in the UK and US and authors from around the world across a range of genres, from sci-fi and fantasy to thrillers and crime fiction. Today she writes regularly for DigitalTrends.com and Skyscanner's blog. She's also passionate about film photography and enjoys gaming.

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Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record from your screen

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Movavi Screen Recorder does not allow capture of copy-protected video and audio streams.

Frequently asked questions

How do you record your laptop screen?

One of the easiest ways to record video on a laptop screen is to use Game Bar, which is already installed with Windows 10. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Click Start > Settings > Gaming > Game Bar.

  2. Toggle the top button On to activate Game Bar.

  3. Click Capture in the left-hand menu to see where your screen capture will be stored by default.

  4. Click to toggle the Background Recording button On and adjust the max recording length to suit.

  5. Adjust your audio settings. We recommend turning on the Record Audio toggle and checking the box next to turn the mic on by default when you record.

  6. If recording training videos, you may want to turn on Capture mouse cursor movements.

  7. Use keyboard shortcuts Win + G to display Game Bar and Win + Alt + R to start and stop recording.

If this all seems a bit complicated and you’re looking for a simpler video capture alternative, give Movavi Screen Recorder a go!

What are the best laptop screen recorders?

There are plenty of great, easy-to-use laptop screen recorders out there packed with features, but here are some of the best screen recorders for laptops, in no specific order.

  • Movavi Screen Recorder

  • Windows Game Bar

  • Bandicam

  • AceThinker

  • Icecream Screen Recorder

  • DVDVideoSoft Free Screen Video Recorder

  • OBS

  • CamStudio

  • VLC

  • Screencapture Free Online Screen Recorder

  • Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder

  • Panopto Express

Does Windows 10 have a built-in screen recorder?

Yes, it does. Windows Game Bar comes built into Windows 10 and can be activated by following our step-by-step guide in the first FAQ above. It doesn’t have any advanced features, but it’s a quick and easy way to record video on your laptop screen if you’re using a Windows laptop.

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