Soda PDF Presents: Best Screen Capture Software of 2020 (Gaming, Windows, Mac, FREE)
Welcome to our best screen capture software review of 2020.
Why did we make this entire blog dedicated to the best screen recorders? Because we’re GEEKS! Duh!
Just kidding…seriously, we use screen capture tools almost every day around the office. And from our experience, these programs ARE NOT ALL EQUAL.
So in this review, we’ll cover everything you need to know before you spend money on anything. Including our picks for the best tools of 2020 based on our experience!
- What to look for in a screen recorder – including what to NOT look for
- A key difference between screen recorders
- Our choices for the 5 best based on category
Let’s record some screens!
What to Look for in a Screen Recorder (READ THIS FIRST!)
Not all screen capture tools are created equal.
Read that again, and take it to heart.
We found out the hard way after buying a $200 piece of software only to find out that it:
- Didn’t have ANY export options
- Didn’t allow for annotation
- Was so hard to use we needed tutorials just to send basic videos to the team down the hall
We’ll never make that mistake again.
Here’s what to look for:
- Streamlined UX: You want a simple interface with an intuitive workflow. Click -> record -> send -> DONE. And all without wasting 6 hours talking to support.
- Several recording options: Recording your whole screen is cool but you need a program that lets you record windows or portions of the screen too.
- Includes system and microphone audio: Audio is insanely important. For pro-level recordings, you’ll need an external mic. Your software must support this or the resulting audio will be terrible.
What’s the difference between a desktop app and web-based screen recorder?
You really need to put some thought into this one first before buying.
A desktop app works solely on the device it’s installed on. That means you have to be there physically to use it. While an online screen recorder works in your web browser, meaning you can use it anywhere at any time.
Obviously, that makes things way more flexible and convenient. However, you suffer a huge downgrade in features. Desktop apps usually come with far more editing features, which makes them essential for professional-grade work.
The 5 Best Screen Capture Apps by Category
- The Best of the Best: Camtasia (Windows, Mac, iOS) – The industry standard. For high-quality video and audio, and high-end editing. If you’re doing serious business, there’s no other option.
- The Best for Gamers: OBS: Open Broadcast Software – This is THE tool used by gamers everywhere. Free, open source, sponsored by Twitch_this is hands down the best screen recording software for gamers.
- The Best Online Screen Recorder: Snagit – Quickly capture your screen, add instructions, and send to your coworkers. The library of templates makes this the best tool for everyday office work.
- The Best FREE Screen Capture App: Apowersoft – The leading name in mobile screen recording, and over a dozen other pieces of software too. Record, enrich, and deliver high-quality videos plus gain access to 12+ MORE tools in the same bundle.
- The Best Screen Capture Software for Mac: Movavi – Super easy, operates with a familiar interface, built to run on Mac (Better speed). This is the software you need if you’re a Mac user.
#1) Camtasia (Windows, Mac, iOS)
Camtasia is hands down the best screen capture software of 2020, and has been the leading name in the industry for years.
This is the closest thing to recording your screen in a Hollywood studio as it gets. There’s a very good chance that every digital course, high-end explainer video, and Fortune-500 company training module you’ve ever seen was recorded with Camtasia.
That’s how good it is.
No other video capture software makes it this easy to record, edit, and export, and it does it all with enough special effects to let you make the next Avatar (Just don’t take 15 years to make it).
You can even add interactive quizzes to videos (Now do you see why course creators love it?).
After you record, you can add text, transitions, and other video video effects like zoom and pan.
Not a tech-wizard? Don’t worry. Check out how simple the editing “Timeline” is:
Of course, you pay for what you get. It’s not cheap. And if you want to use all of the high-end features, there’s a big learning curve. Luckily there’s an entire library of tutorials to help you learn.
BONUS: Adding closed captions is so easy in Camtasia. It actually LOOPS THE AUDIO so you don’t have to keep rewinding every time you type!
Price: Starting at $249.
- Unrivaled functionality
- Extremely easy to use
- The go-to software for major digital courses
- Interactive quizzes
- It’s expensive
#2) Open Broadcast System Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux)
OBS studio is a high-performing, real-time audio/video capture tool that lets you create stunning scenes from multiple sources like window captures, images, text, your browser, and webcams.
You know what that means? It’s tailor made for gamers to capture EPIC footage of their gameplay for YouTube, Twitch, or just for friends (If you have any…).
The Settings panel is so easy even a total beginner can navigate it. And it’s very intuitive to tweak nearly every setting imaginable on your recording.
It doesn’t have nearly as many editing features as other software, but it totally makes up for it with streaming options and configurations. It’s the only program on our list that lets you set up “studios”, pre-recorded audio/video settings for quick transfers between comfortable settings.
The best part? It’s integrated with nearly every live streaming platform you could possibly imagine. Including:
- Sermon Audio
And it’s all set up in a single click. If you’re a gamer, get this.
By the way, it’s FREE.
- Set up for live streaming
- Heavy platform integrations
- High-performing real-time audio-video from your browser
- Studio functions lets you set pre-recorded audio/video settings
- Not many editing options
Snagit is a simple, powerful web-based screen capture app that’s our favorite for quick tutorial vids around the office.
We wouldn’t want to make a professional digital course with this software, but it’s PERFECT for making quick videos, drawing over images, in-house tutorials (To train new staff), and creating graphics.
The real reason Snagit is perfect for the office though are its integrations with all of the programs you dread firing up on Monday morning:
- Google Drive
Snagit lets you capture your screen, a portion of it, or a window, and it also lets you take a scrolling screenshot (PERFECT for long chat messages).
Another awesome feature…
Snagit comes with pre-made templates for easy documentation. And it even lets you create GIFs!
Price: Starting from $49.95.
- Integrations for easy sharing
- Draw on images for tutorials
- Fast, simple, and easy way to make quick explainer vids for the office
- Not as heavy on features
#4) Apowersoft (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS)
Apowersoft is the best screen recording tool for mobile that we tested.
If you need to capture quick video on your iPhone or Android, don’t rely on the built-in recorder. This kind of software is perfect for agile companies that rely heavily on mobile apps.
Any time you have messages or documents that need a quick explaining, fire up the app, record your screen, and send a quick video. The quality is great and there are a ton of easy editing options.
The Apowersoft model is a little confusing at first, though. Let us explain.
One subscription gives you access to every tool in the Apowersoft catalog, 8 of which capture your screen in one way or another. The subscription gives you access to some awesome software like:
- An audio streamer
- A video converter
- A mirror streaming
- A data rescue program
And the features for iPhone and Android screen recording aren’t available on any other apps. Apowersoft comes with:
- Bit-rate throttling
- Framerate selection
- Resolution control
And recording is as easy as one click:
The Unlimited Suite comes with software that lets you cast your phone onto a computer, which is great if you want to teach new team members how to use a mobile and desktop app at the same time.
In case you aren’t familiar with setting up mobile recording, it all works through AirPlay:
- Perfect for mobile
- Features designed for phone recording
- Access to the entire Apowersoft suite
- We don’t like paying for programs we won’t use
#5) Movavi (Mac)
Simple, fast, and built for Mac, Movavi is the best screen capture tool for Mac by a mile.
It’s so simple that we spent exactly 0 time learning how to use it. Just download -> record -> enjoy.
As far as features, let’s start with out favorite: SCHEDULED RECORDINGS!
Need to film an inconveniently-timed webinar?
Set the capture area and audio, and the program automatically starts recording, even if you’re AFK (That means away from keyboard for people born before 1983).
Then, after you record, you can schedule the program to shut down your computer so it’s not up all night.
Above average resolution, scheduled recordings, designed for Mac for improved speeds_Movavi is great. And at only $39.95, it’s a lot cheaper than some of the other tools on the list.
Price: $39.95 or $55.95 with the video editor.
- Scheduled recordings for late-night recordings (Helps with global business)
- Good resolution
- Great value for price
- Simple interface
- Not many editing features compared to other programs
The best screen capture tool is Camtasia, but you probably don’t need a Hollywood-studio’s worth of features to get the job done. Any of these screen capture software will do just fine.
And if you’re interested in a tool that can help turn any screenshot, screen capture, or image into a saveable, shareable, markupable PDF, then you should definitely try Soda PDF FOR FREE today.
And unlike these tools, Soda PDF works on mobile AND desktop, so it will literally follow you everywhere for the rest of your LIFE.
Excited? You should be.
Best Software for Modifying PDFs?
Finally, we have one last software suggestion for you to start 2020 in style. Ever wished you could edit a published portable document format, or PDF for short?
Well, with Soda PDF, you can! Edit, create, merge, compress and modify your personal or office files to and from the PDF format with our Soda PDF software.
Available as a desktop application or through your web browser, discover Soda PDF and get access to our features to improve your documents one (or multiple) files at a time.
Get a taste for Soda PDF by downloading our desktop app for FREE, or test out one of our features with our online tools today!