Streamlabs vs. OBS Studio

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Ben Jacklin Edited by Ben Jacklin

Trying to decide between Streamlabs vs. OBS Studio for your next screen-recording project? These two popular apps both have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s walk through all the info you’ll need to make a decision about the best screen recorder for your needs.

Comparison parameter

Streamlabs

OBS Studio

Performance

Outperforms OBS Studio on more powerful computers

Performs consistently on high- and low-end computers

CPU usage

Uses more CPU resources

Uses less processing power

Pricing

$0–149/year

Free

View all features

As you start to consider whether to choose OBS vs. Streamlabs, OBS stands out in a few different ways. First, it’s a free, open-source platform with capabilities to record your screen and stream live videos. It’s popular with many video streamers because it can capture and record multiple scenes (or screens) at the same time. So, whether you’re creating a presentation or tutorial, or you’re streaming gameplay on Twitch, OBS Studio lets you choose multiple windows, applications, or screen areas to record at once. This feature also works across multiple monitors or displays, and you can record footage from your webcam and add it as an overlay in your video as well. The biggest weakness with this software, though, is that it’s not very intuitive. Some users have reported difficulty with finding and using some of the OBS Studio’s most useful features.

Price: Free

Key features

  • Unlimited recording time

  • Simultaneous screen recordings across displays

  • Highly customizable interface

Pros

  • 100% free with no watermark

  • High-definition export video formats

  • Multiple interface configuration options

Cons

  • Incompatible with older versions of Windows

  • Unintuitive user interface


Performance

To properly compare Streamlabs OBS vs. OBS Studio, we need to dive a little deeper into OBS Studio’s performance. One of the perks of this software is that it is relatively lightweight. While it may lack some editing features, it does have livestreaming capabilities. Furthermore, without using a lot of processing power, it allows users to stream in HD, which is a big factor for a lot of users.

But is OBS better than Streamlabs? That depends a lot on which features you value most. For example, OBS does not include additional functionalities, like video-editing tools or the ability to change the background on your screen recordings. You can record multiple scenes, and you can do it live without a lot of lags. But, if you want to do much more than that, OBS may not be the right option for you.

Video and audio quality

One big advantage of OBS Studio is the ability to export HD videos for free. However, while this software gives you numerous file formats to choose from, and you can export files as high as 4K resolution, it doesn’t include much in the way of audio optimization. The internal audio capture is good, and you can capture quality audio from a good microphone as well. However, you may find OBS lacking in terms of audio-mixing capabilities.

Features

OBS Studio is not the most robust screen recorder and screencaster available today. However, it does allow users to record multiple scenes and/or applications at the same time. Along with unlimited recording time and the high level of customizability in OBS Studio’s user interface, it can work as a very functional livestream broadcasting tool for users that don’t need to accept payments or donations. With that in mind, we should note that OBS Studio has a fairly steep learning curve, especially for newer users. Once you get used to it and find all of its features, you may love it, but it could take some time to get there.

Which is better, OBS or Streamlabs? Let’s take a closer look at Streamlabs as we continue comparing the two platforms. Streamlabs’ developers market it as an all-in-one livestreaming program. This means that Streamlabs can not only record your screen and webcam footage, but it can also broadcast streaming video to multiple platforms, including Facebook Live, Twitch, and YouTube. 

Price: $149/year (free version available)

Key features

  • Test feature for troubleshooting before going live

  • Free integrated themes and overlays for easy customization

  • Built-in chat platform

Pros

  • Comprehensive dashboard with events, view times, and analytics

  • Built-in feature to easily accept donations or payments

  • Automated spam filter in chat feature

Cons

  • Uses significant processing power

  • Requires paid subscription for premium features


Performance

Performance is a big factor for users deciding between OBS Studio vs. Streamlabs OBS. Is Streamlabs better than OBS? That may depend on your computer and a few other factors. If you have a powerful desktop or laptop, with a fast CPU, you may not notice the amount of processing power that Streamlabs uses. If you’re working with an older computer, Streamlabs may be too resource-heavy to run properly without lag. 

Video and audio quality

Because Streamlabs is based on OBS Studio, it’s not surprising that it has similar video quality. Users can export up to 4K quality videos in multiple formats, just like OBS. The difference between the two platforms is apparent in Streamlabs’ audio capabilities, though. In addition to high-quality video outputs, Streamlabs also includes an audio mixer that allows you to customize and optimize your audio output as well.  

Features

Streamlabs includes all the features available for OBS Studio, and a few more. Along with unlimited recording time, multi-scene recording, and a high level of customizability, Streamlabs includes several other built-in features that make life easy for streamers. For example, if you want to monetize your livestream or run an online charity drive, Streamlabs has a built-in payment feature. Likewise, Streamlabs includes a chat platform, which is a key element of almost every livestream.

And, if you’re a first-time streamer, Streamlabs’ test feature is a must-have. It allows you to run a test of your stream before you go live. You can use this feature to see what your screencast will look and sound like before starting the show. You can then make adjustments and ensure that everything is running properly when you do go live.

OBS vs. Streamlabs OBS: Which one to choose

Still wondering, “Should I use Streamlabs or OBS Studio?” Now that you have a better idea of the difference between OBS and Streamlabs, you can choose the best one for your needs. While both programs have their strengths and weaknesses, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs for your screen-recording or streaming goals. We recommend taking these factors into consideration as you make your decision:

  • CPU usage. Overall, Streamlabs is a more customizable and powerful tool. With that said, if you have a slightly older computer or run multiple programs at once, you might need a screen recorder that uses less CPU power. In that case, OBS Studio or another option might be the best pick.

  • Pricing. OBS Studio is freeware. It provides users with open broadcaster software at no cost. Streamlabs is free to use, but you can’t get all the premium features without a paid subscription, which can be pricey at $149/year. If you have a small budget, you might want to go with OBS.

  • Features and tools. Streamlabs has a few more features than OBS Studio, but it also lacks some features that many streamers and video creators appreciate. If you just need to record your screen, you can do it for free with OBS. However, you’ll need a third-party editing program if you need to enhance your videos after you finish recording. Another platform might be a better choice if that’s the case.

Which is better: OBS or Streamlabs?

Now you should have all the info you need to decide between OBS and Streamlabs. While Streamlabs is based on OBS and outperforms it in some aspects, Streamlabs is also more resource-intensive than OBS. With the right software, you should be able to record your screen, make basic edits to your videos, capture webcam footage, and broadcast livestreams – all without using a separate platform.


Frequently asked questions

Does OBS own Streamlabs?

No, OBS does not own Streamlabs. Streamlabs’ developers were inspired by OBS Studio and set out to develop software based on it. Because OBS Studio is open-source freeware, Streamlabs’ developers were able to use the source code and make improvements on it to create Streamlabs.

Does Streamlabs use more processing power (CPU) than OBS?

Yes, Streamlabs uses more CPU resources than OBS Studio. However, it’s important to note that Streamlabs includes more features and capabilities than OBS Studio. Users with less powerful computers can often avoid lag and other issues by using fewer plugins and running fewer processes simultaneously.

Is Streamlabs free?

Yes, the basic version of Streamlabs is free. However, to access premium features and themes, users must purchase a paid subscription at $19/month or $149/year.

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