If you want to edit a video, whether you’re making a meme or crafting an independent documentary film for a college course, you have dozens of different editing softwares to choose from, all with their own advantages and drawbacks.
On the one hand, the flourishing video editing market is terrific for creators: no matter what tools, devices, and platforms you prefer to use, you can find a software suited to your needs. On the other hand, there are so many different video editing options with complex pricing systems and product offerings that it’s tough to tell what will work best for your video projects.
In this article, I'll give you a summary of the most popular and trusted video editing platforms on the market, with everything you need to know about their pricing and product offerings. Let’s get started in alphabetical order:
• Adobe Premiere
• DaVinci Resolve
• Final Cut Pro
Note: All prices listed are for annual subscriptions – this is how most video editors display their pricing models. If you intend to use an editor for short-term projects, you may pay a higher monthly rate.
- No free version
- $20.99/month for Premiere only
- $39.99 for Adobe Creative Cloud – popular software bundle
- High-powered desktop editing experience
- Supports professional editing needs, but comes with steep learning curve
- Best for: Video professionals, feature-length projects, motion graphics
Among the most popular professional-level video editing softwares, Premiere provides one of the more manageable learning curves, but it still takes a serious commitment to learn the ropes. Premiere is best for long-term professional video editing, production, and design needs, since the Adobe Creative Cloud apps work well in conjunction. For dedicated professional video editors who have more time to spend per project, the more economical option may be a one-time payment for a software like Final Cut Pro.
- Free version provides 50 music tracks, 30 colors, 3 fonts, 720p resolution, unlimited video exports, burned-in watermark
- $15/month plan removes watermark, increases resolution to 1080p, adds more colors, fonts, stock photos, videos, music
- $39/month plan includes 3 accounts, increased stock libraries, font uploads
- Best for: short-form social video, short branded content
If you have a simple video idea and don't want to learn complex editing processes or need a highly polished end result, Animoto is a reliable choice. But if you desire a decent degree of design control, including colors and fonts, and need non-watermarked content, the free Animoto platform won't cut it. The $15/month paid version, though, will work well for rapid-fire workflows that use consistent branding or template-based visuals.
- Free version includes most video editing tools, many templates for quick edits, 5GB cloud storage
- $12.99/month Pro plan unlocks Pro templates, image background removal, and increases cloud storage to 100GB
- Top-notch design capabilities, limited video editing capabilities
- Best for: social video ads, video invitations, intro clips
Canva is best known as an online, collaborative design studio, but they have increased focus on video editing over the past few years and their video editing tools are enough to make beautiful content very quickly. Canva's editor lacks a timeline interface and relies heavily on templates, so it's best used for shorter clips needing only a few edits. The $13/month Canva Pro plan refines the quick & convenient editing experience with tons of stock assets, premium templates, and greater cloud storage.
- Free version with no watermark and 480p resolution limit
- $6/month plan unlocks cloud storage, increases resolution limit to 720p
- $13/month plan unlocks more stock audio, increases resolution limit to 1080p
- $27/month plan unlocks more stock video, picture in picture capability
- Best for: slideshows, family videos, short school projects
ClipChamp doesn't have any specific content focus, but it provides a fair number of features that are intuitive for anyone to use, even if they're completely new to video editing. While their UI is very easy to learn, most of the features that make ClipChamp highly useful are severely limited in the free version, especially by the 480p quality limit. There are real upsides for small video projects, though: no watermark on any content and an inexpensive $6/month option.
- Entire desktop app is free to download
- $295 DaVinci Resolve Studio provides neural engine, more 3D tools, HDR color correction
- Very steep learning curve – made for professional-level use
- Best for: feature-length projects, precise color correction, complex audio edits, professional portfolio work
DaVinci Resolve is a truly unique professional video editing option, and it's surprising that the software isn't more well-known. It provides a tremendous degree of firepower and precision for free, and is compatible on any computer. Even when compared with other desktop apps, though, DaVinci Resolve's tools will prove difficult to learn for beginners. If you're interested in gaining high-level video editing skills, but you don't want to commit to an expensive program, DaVinci Resolve is a terrific product, but be prepared for a long learning process.
- Free to download app and edit 3 hours of watermarked video
- $12/month plan unlocks unlimited watermark-free videos, more transcriptions time per month
- $24/month plan unlocks high-level smart editing features like Overdub
- Best for: podcasts, interviews, stream VODs, vlogs
Most popular among podcast creators and centered around audio, speech, and transcription, Descript is perfect for smooth, reliable edits of longer-form content with lots of speech. Its main claim to fame is that it allows you to edit video by simply editing transcribed text. The main drawback is that the free version is more like a free trial – you can really only use it for a couple video projects before you run into permanent limits.
Final Cut Pro
- One option: $299.99 one-time cost
- Only available on Apple computers
- Great for professional-level edits, but comes with a more manageable learning curve than some desktop apps
- Best for: feature-length projects, motion graphics, video presentations
In many ways, there is little to say about Final Cut Pro. If you're highly serious about video editing on an Apple computer and require powerful editing features and professional stability, the $300 one-time price tag and steep learning curve are easily worth it. On the other hand, if you need to create polished videos quickly and without hefty time investment or fine-tuned detail, there are far more convenient options on this list.
- Free version with burned-in watermark, 720p resolution limit, 1GB storage
- $15/month plan removes watermark, increases stock library, unlocks 1080p resolution limit and 10GB storage, 60 videos per month
- $30/month plan unlocks more stock content, unlimited videos per month
- All plans have 15-minute video length limit
- Best for: branded content marketing, simple tutorials, short product features
InVideo finds itself a bit lost in the mix on this list – it includes tons of appealing video templates and provides a fairly intuitive interface. But some aspects of the editing experience, like popup messages and hard-to-find tools, slow the process down for simple, quick edits. Like many other web-based options, all content is branded with the InVideo watermark in the free plan. And for longer-form edits like YouTube vlog content, InVideo is not the right tool: all exports are limited to 15 minutes, even in the $30/month option.
- Free plan with no watermark and all video & audio editing features, stock libraries, 4K exports, with 7-minute export limit & 2-day cloud storage
- $17/month Pro plan unlocks 1 hour exports, unlimited cloud storage
- Best for: school projects, social marketing, vlogs, collaborative workflows
For casual and professional uses, Kapwing provides a lot of value for free: all tools, including auto-subtitling & translation, HD exports, green screen editing, real-time collaboration, and stock libraries, are available in the free version, with no watermark. The free version is not ideal for high export volume, though, with limits of 7 minutes per video, 3 hours of exports per month, and 2 days of cloud storage for all content. The $17/month Pro plan is better for higher-demand workflows, increasing the export limit to 1 hour, with unlimited exports and cloud storage.
- Free plan includes watermark, 2GB storage, 10 minute export limit, 720p resolution
- $15/month plan unlocks 25 minute exports, 20GB cloud storage, 1080p resolution, no watermark
- $24/month plan unlocks 2 hour exports, 100GB cloud storage, 4K resolution
- Best for: slideshows, tutorial videos, vlogs
Veed.io is another entry with a sleek, easy-to-learn interface held back by a burned-in watermark on all videos made in its free plan. The other limits placed on free users aren't overly restrictive, though: 10 minute exports, 2GB cloud storage, and 720p quality. With the $15/month plan, these limits are expanded to 25 minutes for exports, 20GB could storage, and 1080p video quality. A third $24/month plan raises these limits even further, while adding an auto-translate feature to subtitles.
The competitive video editing software market is great for all sorts of content creators, and I hope this article helped you decide which product is best for you! For more tips and tutorials on making great video content in 2021, check out the Kapwing YouTube channel, or look through some related articles on video editing softwares: