The Best Video Encoding Software

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

April 8, 2021

As our digital world is constantly advancing, complimentary programs like video encoder software have to keep up. Digitally speaking, nothing is worse when a freeware video encoder is clunky, clumsy, and poorly converted. If a video has lags and hiccups, it destroys the integrity of the video’s message, which can have detrimental effects, especially if the video is for commercial purposes. This blog will explore the best video encoders on the market, including your ideal options for a free video encoder download.

Need more clarification about your next freeware video encoder, what exactly video encoder software does? Basically, a video is adjusted for encoded output in order to align with the different specifications and formats for playback as well as recording. Essentially, videos are massive collections of images, and encoding them ensures they aren’t saved and transferred as individual files and instead are presented as one fluid video. Without a paid or free video encoder, video files would be massive and trying to watch a video would be like using the internet in the 1990s, which was, for those of us that remember, exasperatingly slow.

Whether you’re looking to digitize your DVD collection, save all those home movies, or even trying to use more sophisticated editing techniques for filmmaking work, you have a vast pool to choose from when trying to find the best video encoder software. However, because the market is so large, it’s essential to do your research as a wise consumer so that you not only find the right software for your encoding needs but also don’t waste a great deal of time and money trying to use programs that just aren’t the right fit. Simple interfaces can be appealing, but beginners need instruction and guidance, so the more green you are with video encoder software, the more necessary it is to spend a little bit more and select a user-friendly program.

Navigating the world of video encoders can be confusing and overwhelming, but we’ve narrowed down some of the strongest choices in the field.

Software

Compatibility

Impressive Features

Level

Movavi Video ConverterWindows, MacEasy to compress files thanks to a boosted conversion speed. Animated arrows make educational videos extra easy to use.Beginner to Experienced
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.Beginner
NCH PrismWindowsAs a universal video converter, it supports all formats and allows the user to compress multiple videos at once.Beginner to Experienced
DivX ConverterWindows, MacDrag and drop technology enables users to encode videos with ease.Beginner
FFMPEGWindows, Mac, LinuxOne of the quickest visual and audio converters that also allows you to stream music and video.Experienced
VideoProcWindows, MacOffers a full graphics processing unit that allows users to edit and transcode with ease; users can even edit background noise.Beginner
PermuteMacConvert any media file with ease using the drag-and-drop interface.Beginner
HandBrakeWindowsAn utterly open-source video transcoder, one of the original programs for copying DVDs to data storage devices.Beginner to experienced
Freemake Video ConverterWindowsUsers find it to be intuitive, and most formats are available, which makes the process easier.Beginner to experienced
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.Beginner
Any Video ConverterWindows, MacThirty-times faster speed than other converters.Somewhat experienced
Format FactoryWindowsA free service for the conversion of most kinds of video, pictures, and audio. Also comes with Mux and Audio Joiner features.Beginner to somewhat experienced
DVD VideoSoftWindowsEasy to use for both Macs and PCs, users can convert video files to MP4, MP3, AVI, MOV, MPEG for most multimedia devices.Beginner to experienced
MPEG StreamclipWindows, MacQuickly export converted videos to QuickTime, AVI, DV, and MPEG-4 files with higher quality.Experienced
AVS Video ConverterWindowsWatch videos with subtitles.Any level

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: $39.95 USD

Compatibility: MP4, M4V, AVI, WMV, MOV, WMA, MP3, etc.

Best for: somewhat experienced users looking to convert any video, including DVDs, as well as record and edit original video.

Pros:

  • Compatibility with 200+ video formats
  • One of the fastest video-encoding software options, up to 30x faster than other converters
  • Homemade and commercial DVDs are supported

Cons:

  • Advertisements for the pro version after every download
  • Some video formats can take a lot longer to download
  • Can leave users vulnerable to viruses

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.

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.

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 MPEG transport streams, QuickTime, and iPod formats.

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

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

How to Сhoose 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 software is the best choice for your needs:

  • Am I streaming or editing videos?
  • Is the encoder compatible with the platform I use to stream?
  • 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.

Nataly Bogorad

Nataly Bogorad is a seasoned content creator and web text editor with 7 years of experience in commercial writing and website UX. In 2012, she graduated from Universität Kassel with a bachelor of arts degree in English and American studies and art criticism. At the same time, Nataly had worked as a project assistant for Regionalmanagement Nordhessen GmbH where she wrote and managed the content of the company website. An advanced speaker of English and German, she specializes in writing SEO-optimized and user-friendly content.

* 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.

Any Video Converter: A program for a more experienced user to edit or convert videos, both commercially and privately made.

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 streaming real-time videos, which can be broadcast 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.