June 3, 2022

Best OBS Alternatives

18 min

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Need an OBS alternative to make recordings?
Try Movavi Screen Recorder!

  • Easy to set up and run
  • Grabs system sound and mic
  • Has built-in editing tools

If you are looking for similar software to OBS for recording or streaming your screen activity or both, read on. There are plenty of screen recorders available. In this guide, we have narrowed down the best OBS alternatives for all your recording and streaming needs.

Program

Best for

Download

Movavi Screen RecorderRecording video tutorials
BandicamRecording screen or external video
Streamlabs DesktopFree streaming
Gecata by MovaviEasy game recording and streaming
Icecream Screen RecorderOnline teaching
Screencast-O-MaticFree screen recordings
FlashBack ExpressFree screen recordings
ActivePresenterRecording educational content
Xbox Game BarRecording gaming video clips
XSplit BroadcasterLive video production
WirecastProfessional live streaming
NVIDIA ShadowPlayNVIDIA ShadowPlay Professional live streaming
Lightstream StudioOnline live streaming
vMixLive streaming and recording
PRISM Live StudioLive streaming with added effects

Best OBS Studio alternatives: recording tools

OS: Windows and Mac

Price: $57.95

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5, 47 reviews

Movavi Screen Recorder is software similar to OBS – it lets you record and share screen activities, online calls, video tutorials, and more. It has a wealth of features to let you record only what you want, from your screen to your webcam output or audio only. As well as simple editing tools, it lets you draw on videos during the recording process and schedule recordings. You can try Movavi Screen Recorder for free before you buy, and there’s an affordable one-time fee if you decide to purchase the software.

Features

  • Keyboard sharing
  • Webcam output capture
  • Audio only recording
  • Captures online calls and other screen activities
  • Create screencasts
  • Free minor updates
  • Supports a wide range of formats

Pros

  • There are versions for Windows and Mac
  • The editing tools are simple to use
  • Minor updates are free
  • You can choose to record audio only or both screen and audio
  • Recording scheduling makes it easy to plan online tutorials or classes
  • You can share your keyboard and mouse clicks with viewers
  • It’s possible to capture your webcam output without recording the screen

Cons

  • There is no free version
  • It may take a little while to learn your way around the program

Verdict. Movavi Screen Recorder is ideal for teachers, students, gamers, remote workers, or anybody who wants to grab record video tutorials, online calls, and other screen activities.

Bandicam

OS: Windows only

Price: $39.95 for 1 PC, $59.96 for 2 PCs

Software Advice rating: 4.36 out of 5, 47 reviews

Bandicam is a lightweight screen recorder for Windows that lets you record anything on your PC screen. It’s a lower resource option than some other video capture programs. Notable features include scheduled recording and real-time drawing. It’s free to download and use the unregistered version of Bandicam, but the unregistered version does have a recording time limit of 10 minutes per file, and videos are watermarked.

To learn more about Bandicam, check out our review of the program.

Read the Bandicam review

Features

  • Webcam overlay
  • Chroma Key for webcam overlay
  • Mouse effects
  • Mix your own voice

Pros

  • It’s affordable for use on a couple of PCs
  • It has a high compression rate and keeps the video quality as close to the original as possible
  • It’s lightweight
  • You can save your screen recordings in a variety of formats such as MP4 or AVI
  • You can record external video devices like a smartphone or webcam
  • It allows you to record games with 4K UHD video

Cons

  • The price of the software increases the more PCs you want to use it on
  • It’s for Windows only
  • For editing, you’ll need to purchase the Bandicut Package

Verdict. Bandicam is ideal for professional or personal use and will best suit those looking for a screen recorder that can record anything, including external video devices – particularly gamers and teachers, or those on a budget.

Download Bandicam

Icecream Screen Recorder

OS: Windows, Mac, Android

Price: free version, the pro version costs $29.95

Capterra rating: 4.4 out of 5, 20 reviews

Icecream Screen Recorder is a free screen recording program that’s easy to use and lets you record any part of your screen or save it as a screenshot. You can even record streaming videos and live webinars, record your screen with webcam overlay, or record your system audio and microphone. There’s a free version available that has a 5 minute recording time limit and watermarks on all videos, or you can upgrade to Pro, which lifts limits on video recording times.

Features

  • Add your own watermark
  • Record full-screen 3D games
  • Annotate feature lets you add shapes, arrows, and text
  • Record full screen or a specific area
  • Share to Dropbox, Google Drive, and YouTube
  • Trim recordings
  • Scheduled screen recording

Pros

  • It works with Windows, Mac, and Android
  • Pro is an affordable price
  • You can schedule recordings
  • You can easily trim and annotate recordings
  • The simple interface makes it easy to use
  • You can record all or part of your screen

Cons

  • It supports only a few video formats across both the free and Pro versions (AVI, MP4, MOV, and WebM)
  • The audio can become distorted when editing videos

Verdict. Icecream Screen Recorder is a good OBS alternative for a Mac and Windows for individuals and small businesses and will be particularly useful for educators teaching online.

Download Icecream Screen Recorder

Screencast-O-Matic

OS: Windows, Mac, Android, Chromebook

Price: there’s a free version. Deluxe costs from $1.65/month, billed yearly. Premier costs from $4/month billed yearly. Team plans are available for 10 computers or more from $9.50/month.

PCMag rating: 4 out of 5

Screencast-O-Matic is screen recording software that lets you create and share screencast videos. With features like a stock and sound effects library and a range of video editing tools, it’s easy to create videos – and you can also easily markup screenshots with text, arrows, highlights, and more. There’s a free version – although some features such as video hosting and video editing tools aren’t available in the free version – and you can choose from two paid plans if you decide to upgrade.

To learn more about Screencast-O-Matic, check out our review of the program.

Read the Screencast-O-Matic review

Features

  • Video hosting
  • Custom video player and thumbnails
  • Green screen filters
  • Record computer audio only
  • Easy sharing

Pros

  • It works across Windows, Mac, Android, and Chromebooks
  • It’s easy to use
  • Editing is fast and responsive
  • It’s simple to share videos on YouTube and other sites
  • You get a branded, ad-free site and video hosting plus a custom video player with the Premium version

Cons

  • It can be slow and clunky
  • The library could use more content
  • There’s a wide range of editing tools, so it takes time to learn

Verdict. Screencast-O-Matic is a good OBS alternative for a Chromebook. It’s suitable for everyone, from individuals looking for free video recording software to professionals and companies who want to host videos on their own site or upload to YouTube and other sharing sites.

Download Screencast-O-Matic

FlashBack Express

OS: Windows only

Price: the Express version is free. Pro costs $49 for 1 PC and $74 for two PCs, with licenses available for up to 20 PCs.

TechRadar rating: 5 out of 5

FlashBack Express is a free screen recorder for Windows that has a full editing suite. You can easily capture all or part of your screen, or use multi-device capture to capture multiple screens across your devices. Recordings can be saved in a wide variety of formats and you can edit your videos using the included tools. If you want to try the Pro version, you can do so free for 10 days.

Features

  • Easy sharing to YouTube
  • Schedule recordings
  • Multiple screens simultaneous recording
  • Multi-track full editing suite
  • Add audio commentary

Pros

  • Recordings can be scheduled
  • Free tech support is offered
  • There are no watermarks on videos
  • There are no time limits on video length

Cons

  • To save recordings in formats other than MP4, AVI, or WMV, you’ll need to upgrade to Pro
  • The full editing suite and video effects are only available in the Pro version

Verdict. FlashBack Express is a good choice for those looking for a lightweight screen recorder with basic editing features, including individuals, gamers, and professionals searching for a free program.

Download FlashBack Express

ActivePresenter

OS: Windows and Mac

Price: free edition, the standard edition costs $199 per license and the pro edition costs $399 per license

Capterra rating: 4.7 out of 5, 28 reviews

ActivePresenter is an all-in-one screen recorder, video editor, and eLearning authoring software. It offers audio and video editing tools as well as the option to export to video or HTML5. There’s a free version that has all features enabled but has a watermark on created content, or you can upgrade to the Standard or Pro edition.

Features

  • Smart capture
  • Full motion recording
  • Dark mode
  • Green screen effect
  • Webcam recording

Pros

  • It’s better for eLearning than some other software, with plenty of tools for authors and educators
  • There are excellent editing tools
  • It’s user-friendly and easy to get started
  • You can export to a range of formats

Cons

  • The video editor can be a little confusing to use at first
  • It doesn’t offer as many video effects as some other software
  • Exporting videos can be slow

Verdict. ActivePresenter is aimed at educators, online video marketers, and training agencies. Its free version is ideal for those on a budget who are just getting started creating content.

Download ActivePresenter

Xbox Game Bar

OS: Windows

Price: free

PCMag rating: 3.5 out of 5

Xbox Game Bar is a gaming screen recording that comes built-in to Windows 10. It is very easy to use and can record up to 2 hours of gameplay.

Features

  • Designed for gamers to record video gaming clips
  • Record up to 2 hours of screen activity

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Good quality videos

Cons

  • Not many recording features

Verdict. A good choice for games wanting a free, user-friendly video clip recording solution.

Download Xbox Game Bar

Best streaming alternatives to OBS Studio

Streamlabs Desktop

OS: Windows only

Price: free version. No pricing information is provided on the Prime version – you’ll need to contact Streamlabs for more information.

Trustpilot rating: 4.4 out of 5, 1419 reviews

Streamlabs Desktop is free live streaming and recording software that’s open-source and available on GitHub. Users can also choose to upgrade to Prime, which offers a custom tips page and the ability to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously. It’s easy to broadcast your live stream to YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch – and you can control your live broadcasts remotely with the iOS and Android apps. It’s not the most lightweight app and can be quite resource-intensive to run, so might not be suitable for all machines.

Features

  • Layout editor to personalize an interface
  • Selective recording
  • Replay buffer to save live stream replays
  • Dynamic in-game overlay
  • iOS and Android apps

Pros

  • There’s an incredible range of features
  • The dynamic in-game overlay lets you chat and view recent events on one screen
  • Selective recording lets you choose the source for your recorded videos or live streams

Cons

  • Features like pro themes and simultaneous streaming to multiple platforms are only available if you upgrade to Prime
  • There’s no price on their site for Prime, so you’ll need to contact support to find out more.
  • Getting started can be a steep learning curve for beginners

Verdict. Streamlabs Desktop is a good alternative to OBS Studio for those looking for free streaming software – but it’s also an excellent choice for streamers looking for advanced features like simultaneous streams and pro themes to boost their business.

Download Streamlabs Desktop

OS: Windows

Price: $35.95

Steam rating: 400 mostly positive reviews

Gecata by Movavi lets you record and stream simultaneously. It is easy-to-use – use hotkeys to control your recording without leaving the game. Additionally, you can overlay your webcam video to your recordings. The program’s lightweight design means it works well even for low-end PCs.

Features

  • Records while you stream
  • Webcam overlay
  • Multiple audio options

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Very easy to use, which makes it perfect for beginners
  • Hotkeys to control the recording
  • Supports all popular games

Cons

  • Occasional crashes

Verdict. An excellent choice for gamers who want to record and stream simultaneously.

XSplit Broadcaster

OS: Windows only

Price: free version. Premium costs $24.95 for three months, $59.95 for 12 months, $149.95 for 36 months, or $199 for a lifetime license.

Capterra rating: 4.1 out of 5, 50 reviews

XSplit Broadcaster is live streaming and recording software that’s designed for game developers and content creators. There’s a free version, or you can upgrade to Premium. With features like simple drag and drop editing, unlimited scenes, and video production features like Chroma Key and Express Video editor, it’s easy to create professional videos. There’s a free version, or you can upgrade to Premium for additional features like unlimited scenes, local streaming, and the preview editor.

To learn more about the app and its differences from OBS Studio, check out our article:

Read the XSplit vs. OBS review

Features

  • Upload multiple media files to YouTube quickly
  • Local streaming
  • Stream & record in 4K 60fps and beyond
  • Projector mode
  • Engagement tools like YouTube Super Chat and Twitch Cheers alert
  • Stream management features like scene preview editor and scene and source transitions

Pros

  • It’s easy and intuitive to use
  • You can stream up to 720p at 30fps without a watermark and up to 1080p at 30fps with a watermark in the free version
  • There’s 24/7 support and lifetime updates
  • Choose from a range of licenses, from 3 months to a lifetime license
  • Engagement tools help you reach your audience

Cons

  • You’re limited in streaming quality and fps with the free version
  • It can be quite resource-intensive, which can slow down games and cause lag
  • There’s a lack of customization options

Verdict. XSplit Broadcaster is suitable for game developers and content creators looking for free streaming and broadcasting software. The Premium version is ideal for those who are growing their audience and want access to additional features and engagement tools.

Download XSplit Broadcaster

Wirecast

OS: Mac and Windows

Price: free trial, Studio costs $599, and Pro costs $799

G2 rating: 4.4 out of 5, 32 reviews

Wirecast is professional live event streaming, broadcasting, and producing software aimed at professionals in the education, entertainment, sports, and religious industries. There’s a fully functional free trial and you can choose to purchase either the Studio or the Pro version. It’s possible to stream and record simultaneously and with social media integration and live viewer counts, audience engagement is a breeze. There are also over 100 built-in graphics and titles and a stock media library with over 500,000 assets.

Features

  • Unlimited sources
  • Unlimited destinations including Facebook Live, Twitch, and YouTube
  • ISO recording
  • Professional audio
  • Expanded output options
  • Chroma Key, QR codes, and Playlists

Pros

  • The free fully functional trial isn’t time-limited
  • There is a choice of two versions to purchase
  • There are plenty of tools for audience engagement
  • There’s a huge library of assets and built-in graphics and titles
  • You can stream to multiple platforms simultaneously
  • It offers a wide range of capture, production, and streaming tools for pros
  • It works with Windows and Mac (originally Mac OS X)

Cons

  • The free trial doesn’t allow ISO recording and it adds audio and video watermarks
  • The interface isn’t that user-friendly and there can be a learning curve

Verdict. Professional users live streaming in the sports, entertainment, education, or religious industries will get the most use out of Wirecast.

Download Wirecast

NVIDIA ShadowPlay

OS: Windows

Price: free

PCWorld rating: 3.5 out of 5

NVIDIA Shadowplay allows you to both record and stream your gameplay, but not simultaneously. Easily streams without affecting your system’s performance, making it a great OBS Studio alternative.

To learn more about the program and its differences from OBS Studio, check out our article:

Read the ShadowPlay vs. OBS review

Features

  • Take, share, and save screenshots of your favorite streaming moments
  • Instant replay that records the last 5 minutes of your game
  • Live streaming to Facebook Live, YouTube, and Twitch

Pros

  • Easy-to-use
  • Free
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Only functions with NVIDIA graphics card
  • Mixed performance
  • Can’t record and stream simultaneously

Verdict. Well-suited for gamers who are looking for software like OBS for live streaming but prefer a more user-friendly, lightweight option.

Download NVIDIA ShadowPlay

Lightstream Studio

OS: cloud-based – access from PC or laptop browser or the browser on your mobile device

Price: free 7-day trial. Plans start at $7/month for the Gamer plan and $20/month for the Creator plan. Plans are priced based on maximum streaming resolution.

Cuspera rating: 4 out of 5, 43 reviews

Lightstream Studio gives you a complete creative suite right in your browser, with no software to download. Enjoy unlimited streaming hours, cloud sync and storage, and a simple drag-n-drop editor for layout and design control, as well as disconnect protection and the option to remote control your streams from your phone. There’s a free 7-day trial and a choice of two plans. Every plan includes unlimited streaming hours, cloud sync and storage, Auto Live, and Disconnect Protection, and plans are priced according to maximum streaming resolutions.

Features

  • Live chat support
  • Auto Live
  • Third-party integration
  • Remote guests
  • Cloud capture for console streams
  • Branded overlay and interactive widgets

Pros

  • There’s no need to download any software as you access the program through your browser
  • You can control your broadcast from your desktop or the mobile browser on your phone
  • You can capture and stream from your Xbox or PlayStation
  • It’s easy to stream to your favorite platforms like YouTube and Twitch

Cons

  • Plans increase in price depending on the streaming resolution
  • The cheapest two plans only provide 720p resolution – you’ll need to upgrade to the most expensive plan for 1080p
  • The plans can be expensive depending on your maximum streaming resolution
  • You need to be connected to the internet to access the software, as it’s cloud-based

Verdict. Lightstream Studio is an excellent, affordable option for console gamers who are looking for programs like OBS to live stream or anyone who prefers cloud-based streaming rather than having to download and install software.

Lightstream Studio

vMix

OS: Windows

Price: to be confirmed directly with vMix

G2 rating: 4.2 out of 5, 23 reviews

vMix lets you use multiple inputs, like cameras, audio, and mixed media to record and stream simultaneously.

Features

  • Live video mixing effects and filters
  • Overlay
  • Live streaming and recording

Pros

  • Good customer support
  • Cost-effective

Cons

  • The steep learning curve to get started if you are a tech beginner
  • Uses a lot of bandwidth
  • Can’t stream to more than 3 different streaming services at the same time

Verdict. A great option if you are looking to live stream and record simultaneously.

Download vMix

PRISM Live Studio

OS: Windows

Price: free

This live broadcasting application is easy-to-use thanks to its intuitive interface and allows you to add text, media, and facial effects to your video stream.

Features

  • Live filters and effects
  • Easy live streaming to Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook Live

Pros

  • Free
  • Easily hide the watermark
  • Free live filters and effects
  • Editing tools

Cons

  • Needs a good connection to avoid lags
  • Problems and bugs following updates

Verdict. A great option if you are looking for apps like OBS but prefer a more intuitive interface and minimal CPU usage.

Download PRISM Live Studio

Summary

When choosing the right screen recording and streaming solution, there are a few criteria to consider:

  • User-friendliness: check that you can easily master the software and get the most out of it.
  • Features: make sure that the software has all the features you need for the project you are working on.
  • Pricing: decide on a budget and compare the different software options.
  • CPU usage: check to see if the software will negatively impact your system performance.
  • User feedback: browse user reviews and ratings online.
  • Customer support: verify the level of customer and technical support available.

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specializes 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.

Frequently asked questions

Is Streamlabs OBS better than OBS?

Streamlabs OBS is basically very similar to OBS – but it’s an updated version with additional functionality. The software is free to use and easy to install and provides an enhanced user experience. It’s only available for Windows, but you can find Streamlabs OBS Mac on Bootcamp. Both OBS and Streamlabs OBS are free and open-source, so you can always try both to see which you prefer.

What software do most streamers use?

While most streamers use OBS Studio, it is sometimes difficult to use. If you need a more user-friendly option, the best OBS alternative is XSplit or Gecata by Movavi.

Which is better OBS or XSplit?

Both OBS and Xsplit are excellent recording and live streaming solutions. Ultimately, you will need to choose based on your priorities. OBS comes out on top in terms of performance, customization options, and its free. But XSplit offers higher quality audio and video, is more user-friendly and has more features. To learn more, follow the link below.

Can you record on Streamlabs without streaming?

Yes, and it’s easy to do. When you open Streamlabs, you will see two buttons: the Go Live button and the Rec button. You’ll want to click on the Rec button to record your screen without streaming. Your recording will be saved to your Videos folder, which you can find by typing "Videos" into the Windows search box at the bottom left of your screen.