What to Look For in Video Converter Software
Video converters do much more than swap the format of a file. They can help you enhance, optimize, edit, and compress videos to fit your needs. Here are some tools you’ll find in video converter apps.
- Output formats: The best converters have a wide variety of file types for you to export your videos. From standard formats like MP4, MOV, and AVI to lesser-used ones like MXF, OGV, and 3GP, the more formats a program can convert into, the more versatile they’ll be.
- Editing tools: Sometimes, you want to change more than just a video’s format. All the apps in this article contain at least some editing features like trimming, cropping, and adding effects. Built-in editors also allow you to change the speed of a video, add watermarks and subtitles, and adjust the picture values of a video like brightness, hue, and saturation.
- Optimization profiles: Simply flipping the format of a video is often only half of what you need. Every device, sharing platform, and media player has unique video settings for optimal playback. The best video format converters contain a library of optimization profiles to tailor your videos perfectly for the device or platform you’ll use them on.
- Download online video: You won’t always have the videos you want to convert on your computer’s hard drive. An online video downloader is a fantastic tool for those occasions because it allows you to grab any video from sites like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and many more. Just be sure not to violate copyright law when downloading or distributing someone else’s content.
- Screen recorder: If you’ve ever wanted to capture what’s happening on your screen in real-time, choose a video converter that includes recording tools that save the action on your screen as it happens. It’s a helpful feature for capturing live events like video game streams, online meetings, and even yourself with the help of a webcam and microphone.
- compressor: Video files can get big fast. And if you convert a lot, storage space on your hard drive fills up quickly. An integrated compressor helps you shrink those files to a manageable size to save space or to fit the maximum file size limit of sharing sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Disc Burner: Physical media isn’t dead; even DVDs still have their place in our tech lives. So, whether you want to watch your videos on your physical media player, hand a copy off to a friend, or have a backup just in case, choosing a program with a disc burner is a good idea.
- Free trial: No matter how good a program looks on paper, it’s still best to try it out before you pay for it. All the programs featured below have free trial versions that you can download to see if it fits your needs.
- Free version: If you don’t intend to use your video converter very often or only for its most basic functions, paying for one might not be the best choice. A couple of programs on this list have sister programs with truncated tool sets that you can use for free.
Best Overall: Wondershare UniConverter
- ✓ All the converter tools you need
- ✓ Comprehensive optimization profile library
- ✓ Powerful editing tools
- ✗ No free version
- ✗ Editing tools divided into multiple modules
Of all the programs considered for this article, Wondershare UniConverter has the most video conversion tools. Each feature is top-notch, from the converter and compressor to the screen recorder and video editor. You’d be hard-pressed to find a video converter that does more or performs better than UniConverter.
The star of the show, of course, is the file converter. UniConverter can convert your videos into 26 different formats and your audio files into 13 file types. Additionally, the program contains hundreds of device optimization profiles for manufacturers ranging from Apple and Samsung to Google and Sony. The device lists are up-to-date with the latest smartphones, tablets, SmartTVs, and gaming consoles. The program also features profiles for video editing programs like iMovie and Final Cut, plus the ability to tailor your conversions for upload to sites like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Instagram.
Uniconveter’s built-in video editor allows you to make simple changes to your videos, like trimming, cropping, and adding effects. The editor also has tools to add watermarks and subtitles, as well as to adjust audio volume and enhance voice recording quality. The program offers additional add-on tools like a video stabilizer, subtitle editor, background remover, and more. The only problem with the editor is that it separates each editing tool into its own module, and it can get frustrating to switch windows for intricate editing jobs.
The converter and editor alone would make UniConverter worthy of consideration. But the rest of the feature set packs an even more powerful punch: The compressor helps you manage the file size of your videos, the merger tool lets you combine two or more videos with ease, and the screen recorder enables you to capture the action on your computer, and the DVD burner allows you to create physical copies of your video library.
Unfortunately, Wondershare doesn’t offer a free version of UniConverter. It would be nice to see a scaled-back offering for people who don’t need every tool packed into the app.
Best Value: Aimersoft Video Converter Ultimate
- ✓ Simple interface
- ✓ Extensive conversion tools
- ✓ Inexpensive
- ✗ Optimization profiles out of date
- ✗ No Windows 11 support
Aimersoft Video Converter Ultimate is a fantastic program for those who value simplicity. It has most of the tools we look for in this category, such as comprehensive format compatibility, a video compressor, a library of optimization profiles, a video downloader, a DVD burner, and more. And they’re all laid out in a way that enables even the least tech-savvy user to operate them with few problems. And it comes at a significantly cheaper price tag than UniConverter.
Additionally, this program has features you might not find in the competition. The Toolbox module contains an image converter, GIF maker, CD burner, DVD copier, and a video caster to play converted videos on your SmartTV. All these tools make Aimersoft Video Converter one of the most versatile media production programs you can buy.
The extensive feature set of Aimersoft Video Converter Ultimate gives UniConverter a run for its money. It may have taken the top spot in this article if not for one glaring flaw. Its device optimization profiles haven’t been updated in about five years. For example, the latest iPhone profile is for the iPhone X, and we’re about to see the iPhone 14 come out soon. Additionally, this program isn’t compatible with Windows 11, leaving millions of potential users out in the cold.
Like UniConverter, this program has no free counterpart. However, if you don’t need everything the program offers, you may want to consider Video Converter Ultimate’s sister program: Aimersoft Video Converter. It has the same simple layout as Video Converter Ultimate but only features the converter and downloader modules, and it costs about $20 less, providing an even deeper discount against UniConverter.
Best Editing Tools: Movavi Video Converter Premium
- ✓ Easy to use
- ✓ Includes essential conversion tools
- ✓ Superior video editing module
- ✗ Lacks screen recorder and video downloader
- ✗ Dated device optimization profiles
While it doesn’t have everything that the video converters from Wondershare and Aimersoft do, Movavi Video Converter Premium contains enough features to satisfy most users. It has an extensive list of compatible export formats, a healthy selection of device optimization profiles, a file compressor, and a simple (if cluttered) user interface. It’s the natural choice for those who don’t need or want the massive toolsets in the above programs.
But, note what this program doesn’t have before you open your wallet. Movavi Video Converter Premium has no screen recorder, online video downloader, or disc burner, not to mention all the extra bells and whistles featured in Wondershare and Aimersoft’s offerings. Additionally, it suffers from out-of-date device optimizer options, though not nearly as bad as Aimersoft. The most recent iPhone profile is for the iPhone 11, which isn’t too concerning by comparison, but it’s still time for an update.
What makes this program stand out above the competition is its video editor. And it’s not because it has more or better tools than the rest; they’re actually about the same. It’s because they house all the editing tools in a single module. Other video converters separate tools like trimming, cropping and adding effects into different windows. This separation forces you to switch editing modules constantly if your video requires multiple changes. Movavi has each tool lined up in the top ribbon, making it easy to toggle between them as you edit your video.
This video converter has a free version available. Unfortunately, it ends up being useless, and not because it lacks the requisite conversion tools. The problem is that it exports your videos with a large watermark that is essentially an advertisement for the paid version with no way to get rid of it.
Best Free Version: Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate
- ✓ Includes basic conversion tools
- ✓ Fun slideshow and collage creators
- ✓ Outstanding free offering
- ✗ Fewer advanced tools
- ✗ Expensive for what you get
Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate contains many of the features found in the best video converter software. Basics like a wide variety of export formats, an up-to-date optimization profile selection, video editing tools, a file compressor, and more are present and perform adequately. But it also has two unique features: an MV (video slideshow) and a video collage creator. These tools compile your favorite clips into a themed video that you can enjoy on your own, show to others in person, or share online. There are dozens of themes to choose from, and it’s a lot of fun when you dig into your video library for those videos you never thought you’d put to good use.
However, the program is missing several of the tools that make the other products in this article so versatile. For example, Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate doesn’t have a screen recorder, video downloader, or a disc burner, to say nothing of the vast selection of additional tools found in UniConverter and Aimersoft Video Converter Ultimate. If these are the tools you’re looking for, Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate isn’t for you. And since it falls in the price range as UniConverter, you might be better served getting that unless the slideshow and collage creators are what interests you.
However, the free version of this software stands out among the other brands. Unlike Movavi’s free offering, this converter doesn’t leave a watermark on your converted videos. Just a short bumper on the beginning and end of each video stating that it was made with Aiseesoft Free Video Converter. For Mac users, another free application, Aiseesoft Video Converter, is available in the Mac App Store. And it doesn’t leave any branding on your videos.