The Best Video Encoding Software in 2021

Edited by Ben Jacklin

October 8, 2021

What should you look for in video encoder software? Let’s explore the best video encoding software and see how they compare – so you can make the best choice, whether you’re digitizing your DVD library, converting videos for your preferred video sharing platform, or anything else.

Software

Compatibility

Impressive Features

Download

Movavi Video ConverterWindows, MacEasy to compress files thanks to a boosted conversion speed. Animated arrows make educational videos extra easy to use.
VLCWindows, Mac, LinuxThis is a video encoder software free download, not-for-profit project that includes subtitle synchronization and many video and audio filters with no spyware or advertisements.
NCH PrismWindowsAs a universal video converter, it supports all formats and allows the user to compress multiple videos at once.
DivX ConverterWindows, MacDrag and drop technology enables users to encode videos with ease.
FFmpegWindows, Mac, LinuxOne of the quickest visual and audio converters that also allows you to stream music and video.
VideoProcWindows, MacOffers a full graphics processing unit that allows users to edit and transcode with ease; users can even edit background noise.
PermuteMacConvert any media file with ease using the drag-and-drop interface.
HandBrakeWindowsAn utterly open-source video transcoder, one of the original programs for copying DVDs to data storage devices.
Freemake Video ConverterWindowsUsers find it to be intuitive, and most formats are available, which makes the process easier.
Koyote Free Video ConverterWindowsA user-friendly dashboard that allows users to convert their video with a few clicks, also available in a variety of languages, making it internationally accessible.
Miro Video ConverterWindows, MacThirty-times faster speed than other converters.
Format FactoryWindowsA free service for the conversion of most kinds of video, pictures, and audio. Also comes with Mux and Audio Joiner features.
DVD VideoSoftWindowsEasy to use for both Macs and PCs, users can convert video files to MP4, MP3, AVI, MOV, MPEG for most multimedia devices.
MPEG StreamclipWindows, MacQuickly export converted videos to QuickTime, AVI, DV, and MPEG-4 files with higher quality.
AVS Video ConverterWindowsWatch videos with subtitles.
MacX Video Converter ProWindows, MacSaving videos from 1000+ sites.

List of the best video encoders

Price: Free, with a premium option for a one-off cost of approximately $54.95

Compatibility: Processor: Intel, AMD, or a compatible CPU at 1 GHz or newer. OS: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000 (either 32-bit or 64-bit) RAM: at least 256 Mb for XP and 2000, 512 Mb for Vista, 1 Gb for 10, 8, 7. Display: 1024 x 768 resolution with 32-bit colors, or better.

Best for: Movavi is sleek, modern, and easy to use with effective and intuitive editing tools, especially its stabilizing feature. It’s a perfect option for any skill level, especially for a beginner, but skilled users also credit it as professional video encoding software.

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5, 3 reviews

Movavi Video Converter is a free-download video encoding, compression, and conversion platform. Along with allowing users to convert videos to more than 180 formats, it also includes features to add subtitles and perform a few other video editing tasks, such as trimming and merging videos.

Pros:

  • Easy to download
  • Many free animations
  • Easily rotate or stabilize video

Cons:

  • Video output is watermarked
  • Only half the video is saved until the full version is purchased
  • The professional version is more complicated and suited for advanced users

Price: This is free video-encoding software.

Compatibility: ASF, AVI, FLAC, FLV,[e] Fraps,[e] Matroska, MP4, MPJPEG, MPEG-2 (ES, MP3), Ogg, PS, PVA, QuickTime File Format, TS, WAV, WebM

Best for: individuals looking for an affordable, or in this case, free, video encoder.

CNET rating: 4.6 out of 5, 37 reviews

VLC is an open-source freeware media player. Along with playing audio and video files, VLC also includes features to convert videos to different formats and do some limited editing. While it is fairly robust for a media player, VLC is not very intuitive and doesn’t include much support or documentation if users run into issues.

Pros:

  • Plays any format
  • Speedy encoding
  • Child-lock function

Cons:

  • Less than stellar playback quality
  • Can’t use it to manage the music library
  • Sometimes unstable interface

Price: Includes a free version with fewer features as well as a variety of bundles available, starting from $2.99 USD/month.

Compatibility: Supports all video formats so long as it possesses a DirectShow codec.

Best for: a beginner interested in compressing videos that also allows users to compress a number of videos at once.

CNET rating: 3.3 out of 5, 147 reviews

NCH Prism is a free video encoding software for MacOS X. Along with the full paid version, there is also a free version with limited conversion formats and fewer encoding formats than the full version. Because it’s very user-friendly, NCH Prism is popular with newer users, but some users have reported issues with audio syncing and stabilization.

Pros:

  • Plays any format
  • Simple interface
  • Free introductory version

Cons:

  • User issues converting DVD to MP4
  • Sound can be out of sync
  • Stabilization issues with video

Price: Includes video encoder software with a free download as well as a Pro version that costs approximately $30 USD.

Compatibility: DivX 3, 4, 5, 6 (. divx, . avi), XviD (. avi, . divx), all AVI files (. avi), H. 264, DivX Plus (. mkv), MPEG-1 (. mpg, . mpe, . mpeg, . m1v), MPEG-2 (. vob, . ts, . m2v), WMV (. wmv ) and AVCHD Camera Files (. mts, . m2ts)

Best for: any skill set interested in compressing long videos with excellent sound quality.

CNET rating: 3.6 out of 5, 1,660 reviews

DivX Converter is a free-download video encoding software with graded pricing for users who need multiple licenses. It’s available for both Mac and PC, and gives users the ability to backup DVDs and convert videos for multiple platforms. Licensing starts at $19.99 for 2-10 users.

Pros:

  • Easy to use editing tools
  • Good HD quality
  • Lots of instructional support

Cons:

  • Leaves users vulnerable to viruses
  • Codec issues
  • Compatibility issues with Catalina

Price: Offering video encoder software with a free download

Compatibility: x86 (IA-32 and x86-64), PPC (PowerPC), ARM, DEC Alpha, SPARC, and MIPS

Best for: experienced user looking for a simple interface with countless editing features.

G2 rating: 4.6 out of 5, 19 reviews

FFmpeg is a video encoding software that’s free. It prides itself on being a complete solution for recording and converting audio and video across platforms. It’s not the easiest or most intuitive platform around, and can be confusing for newer users, but it is 100% free, which can be attractive to users accustomed to working with freeware.

Pros:

  • Plays any format
  • Simple interface but endless possibilities within the multimedia framework
  • Open-source tool

Cons:

  • Not for beginners
  • Instructions can be highly detailed and confusing
  • Downloads take time

Price: $29.95 USD/Year

Compatibility: This Windows video encoder works with Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10 or later (32-bit and 64-bit versions supported), Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, macOS Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina (10.15), Big Sur

Best for: beginners.

Trustpilot rating: 4.1 out of 5, 208 reviews

VideoProc is a Windows-compatible video converter and editor with a free download and either paid or free options. It supports most popular file formats, and many users find it intuitive and user-friendly. The free version does have limited capabilities, and some users have reported slow download speeds.

Pros:

  • Stable software
  • User-friendly
  • Process and edit large videos

Cons:

  • The free version has limited tools
  • Downloads can be slow

Price: $35 USD

Compatibility: Almost all video formats, including MP4, MOV, MKV, AVI, WMV, MP3, WAV

Best for: beginners.

MacUpdate rating: 3.3 out of 5, 43 reviews

Permute is a free-download media converter with capabilities to convert audio and video files for multiple platforms and formats. It offers a free download and trial period, but is not Windows compatible and requires MacOS X 10.12 or higher.

Pros:

  • Easy to use drag-and-drop interface
  • Scheduled conversions
  • Ability to attach images together to make PDFs

Cons:

  • Newest version requires macOS 10.12
  • Stabilization issues

Price: This is a free video encoder for Windows and other platforms.

Compatibility: Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon X2, or better.

Best for: users looking for video conversion from any format to any format.

CNET rating: 3.5 out of 5, 155 reviews

HandBrake is an open-source tool for converting videos into multiple formats. It’s fairly intuitive, and users may choose between versions for Mac, (10.11 or higher), Windows, or Linux. If you’re looking for features like clip merging and basic editing tools, though, you won’t find them with HandBrake.

Pros:

  • Multiplatform flexibility
  • Supports CFR and VFR
  • User-friendly

Cons:

  • Can’t combine multiple video clips into one
  • Better for short videos, not long (lagging)
  • Live preview stops at four minutes

Price: Free

Compatibility: Able to access most video, audio, and image formats. Outputs include AVI, MP4, WMV, Matroska, FLV, SWF, 3GP, DVD, Blu-ray, MPEG, and MP3.

Best for: users looking for a video encoder for free that can convert any video format without registration.

CNET rating: 4 out of 5, 864 reviews

Freemake Video Converter is a freeware tool for converting videos to AVI, MP4, MPEG, DVD, Blu-ray, and others. It boasts support for more than 500 formats, and users may also opt to download videos with Freemake Video Downloader, though copyrighted YouTube videos are not supported for download.

Pros:

  • Plays any video format
  • Simple interface but endless possibilities within the multimedia framework
  • Open-source tool

Cons:

  • Possibility of virus download
  • Instructions can be highly detailed and confusing
  • Downloads take time

Price: Free

Compatibility: Ability to convert MPEG-4, AVI, MP4, 3GP, DVD, FLV, WMV formats, website compatible formats, Android devices, or iOS.

Best for: users who may not speak English looking for some video encoder software for free.

Soft112 rating: 3.1 out of 5, 5 reviews

Koyote Free Video Converter is a free open-source platform for converting videos across multiple platforms. Users report fast conversion speeds, and you can extract audio from video files into MP3 and other formats. Users enjoy the software’s fast download speeds and accessibility across platforms, but many people don’t appreciate that you must have antivirus software installed on your computer before you can download it.

Pros:

  • Dozens of languages available
  • Speedy downloads
  • Files converted are accessible for almost any portable device

Cons:

  • Small video window
  • Must have antivirus software previously installed

Price: Free

Compatibility: AVI, MP4, H264, MOV, WMV, XVID, Theora, MKV, FLV

Best for: converting videos to the right sizes and file formats for specific mobile devices and video publishing platforms.

MacUpdate rating: 3.4 out of 5, 15 reviews

Miro Video Converter is freeware with versions available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It specializes in converting video files to formats for specific hardware, such as Android or Apple phones, PSP, and Kindle Fire. Users report some of the fastest encoding speeds on the market, but you cannot change the output resolution, which is a problem for many users who want a little more control over their conversions.

Pros:

  • One of the fastest video-encoding software options available
  • 100% free
  • HTML5 compliant
  • Supports most common file formats

Cons:

  • No control over output resolution
  • No editing capabilities

Price: You can access this video encoder software with a free download.

Compatibility: MP3/WMA/AMR/OGG/AAC/WAV. All to JPG/BMP/PNG/TIF/ICO/GIF/TGA

Best for: a more experienced user wanting free video-encoding software to convert most kinds of video, pictures, and audio.

CNET rating: 3.7 out of 5, 341 reviews

Format Factory is a free-download video converter. It also includes features to cut, join, split, and mix videos, as well as a tool to remove logos. A screen recorder, video player, and downloader are included in the full version, as well.

Pros:

  • Comes with Mux and Audio Joiner features
  • Simple interface
  • Offers a wide range of features and editing tools

Cons:

  • Can only be downloaded from the website, opening up the potential for viruses
  • Some files seem randomly unsupported
  • Doesn’t support downloading multiple files at once

Price: You can get this video-encoding software for free.

Compatibility: MP4, M4V, AVI, MOV, MKV, WMV, 3GP, FLV, IVF, DIV, DIVX, MPG, MPEG, MPE, WEBM, ASF, QT, MTS, M2T, M2TS, MOD, TOD, VRO, DAT, 3GP2, 3GPP, 3G2, DVR-MS, F4V, AMV, RM, RMM, RV, RMVB, OGV, TS, any 4K video, etc.

Best for: beginners and experienced users looking to convert and/or download YouTube videos to many other formats.

Trustpilot rating: 2.3 out of 5, 16 reviews

DVD VideoSoft is a free video encoder software for Windows 10. PC users can convert and compress videos to multiple formats with a free download. However, DVD VideoSoft is not compatible with MacOS or Linux.

Pros:

  • Super-fast video download
  • Ability to access and store information from YouTube
  • Easily edit videos

Cons:

  • An inconsistent interface that lags
  • Formats for conversion somewhat limited
  • Bloatware included in the toolbar

Price: Available for free

Compatibility: MPEG, VOB, PS, M2P, MOD, VRO, DAT, MOV, DV, AVI, MP4, TS, M2T, MMV, REC, VID, AUD, AVR, VDR, PVR, TP0, TOD, M2V, M1V, MPV, AIFF, M1A, MP2, MPA, AC3

Best for: A more experienced user who wants their video encoder program to convert, edit or watch videos, including QuickTime, and iPod formats.

CNET rating: 3.4 out of 5, 13 reviews

MPEG Streamclip is both a video converter and video player for Mac or Windows. Among others, its supported input formats include MPEG, MOV, PS, VOB, M2V, VID, REC, and AVI.

Pros:

  • Many video editing options
  • Free
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • Not for beginners
  • Difficult to separate audio and video
  • No recent updates

Price: Starting at $39.99 USD

Compatibility: AVI, MPEG, WMV, MP4, MKV, FLV, OGG, etc.

Best for: Experienced users

CNET rating: 2.8 out of 5, 195 reviews

AVS Video Converter is free-download video conversion software for Windows. While the download is free, pricing starts at $39.99 after the initial trial. Compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, AVS Video Converter is a versatile option for Windows users but not a good one for Mac users.

Pros:

  • Can play videos of almost any file extension and create personal playlists
  • Ability to watch videos with subtitles
  • Take screenshots

Cons:

  • Several free tools now cost extra
  • Highly technical interface
  • Videos sometimes lag

Price: Starts at $59.95 for a three-month subscription on one computer

Compatibility: AV1, HEVC, MP4, MOV, HEVC, H.264, MPEG4, AVI, WMV, FLV, MKV, MTS, M2TS, TS, AVCHD, MOD, and others

Best for: Converting videos on Mac to MP4 format so that users can play them no iPads, iPhones, PSPs, and other devices.

Trustpilot rating: 4.8 out of 5, 120 reviews

MacX Free MP4 Video Converter is a free-download video encoder software and converter tool for Mac. After the initial trial, users may purchase a subscription to the full version of the software. Pricing increases with number of users, and some features are reserved for the premium version at $229.95 for a lifetime bundle.

Pros:

  • Fast conversion speeds
  • Video download capabilities
  • Lossless compression for large files

Cons:

  • Limitations on trial version
  • Cannot download all online videos
  • Limited editing features

How to choose video encoder software

The fact that the online world is flooded with the best free video encoder options, as well as paid ones, is a blessing, but that makes it even more confusing for consumers. The variety of choices is dizzying, to say the least, so it boils down to what exactly you’re planning to use this software for. The most important thing to remember is that an encoder translates and communicates whatever media you’ve chosen, including images, audio, and video, into whatever output is desired.

There are a number of questions to consider that can help you navigate which video encoder to download:

  • Do I need it for editing?
  • Is the encoder compatible with the platform I use?
  • Do I have a budget for the cost of some software, or do I need a free video encoder?
  • What level of quality does the edited video need?
  • Do I need a lot of tools for video editing?
  • Do I want to include subtitles?
  • Do I need to stabilize the video?
  • Is my video long or short?
  • Do I want to include synced sound?
  • Is my system vulnerable to viruses? Software that is often free or does not require registration can be rife with viruses that are spread upon download of your newly edited or compressed file.

If you’re still confused or overwhelmed about all the video encoder software options, consider a software program that offers, at minimum, the following characteristics:

  • User-friendly with lots of guidance for beginners (including detailed instruction manuals that are easy to navigate)
  • Reviews on other platforms, as well as on the company website, that assert that the software provides quality output in the form of video, audio, or images
  • The effective speed of conversion and download
  • A variety of output formats, with 4K being a true bonus
  • Compatibility with a wide variety of operating systems
  • Affordable
  • Malware- and adware-free
  • Minimal ads
  • A level of registration required (often linked with fewer virus-infected programs)

This may not be the absolute best video-encoding software, but it will ensure that it meets the vast majority of baseline needs.

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specialises in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.

* The free version of Movavi Video Editor has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length. Learn more

Frequently asked questions

What is a video encoder?

At its core, a video encoder, in the form of software or hardware, decompresses and compresses digital videos. It takes both digital video and analog video and converts them into a different digital format, making it compatible with the majority of web players and other mobile devices.

What is the best video-encoding software?

When it comes to selecting the best video encoder software, it’s really about what your needs are. Here are some of the programs that we consider the best ones.

Movavi: Easy to download and user-friendly with a free trial period.

NCH Prism: Free non-commercial version with the ability to quickly compress multiple videos at the same time.

HandBrake: Free platform with an accessible interface and multiplatform flexibility.

Freemake Video Converter: Easy to use and free-of-charge platform that’s effective for converting any video type.

Miro Video Converter: A free, open-source solution for beginners.

DVD VideoSoft: Beginners and experienced users alike can convert and/or download YouTube videos to many other formats.

Format Factory: Free and easily downloadable from the website that supports the conversion of most audio, picture, and video formats.

What is the difference between a video encoder and a video decoder?

Video encoder software can come in a number of forms, including a basic video encoder for free as well as professional video-encoding software.

At its core, video-encoding software translates or decompresses a video of any format and converts it to a raw format, which is the form it needs to be in to be edited and viewed on a number of media plays as well as mobile devices. There is also live encoding, which includes the strategy of compressing bigger raw audio and video files in an effort to reduce the amount of network bandwidth they use. Video compression is essential because it enables the possibility of broadcasting videos across networks like the internet and social media.

A video decoder is fundamentally the opposite of a video encoder. A decoder takes translated or encoded and compressed files and returns them to their original, raw format. This raw video data is integral to the editing process, and it is uneditable if it isn’t in this format.

Are video encoders safe?

Yes. A video encoder or converter is a safe tool to use when converting or compressing video files. You should, however, always ensure that you are downloading trusted software with no hidden malware.

What is the best video encoder software for Windows 10?

For the best video encoder for Windows 10, we recommend trying out one of the following:

  • Movavi Video Converter
  • Miro Video Converter
  • DVD VideoSoft