What to Look for in Video Converter Software
Video converters do much more than just swap the format of a file. They can help you enhance, optimize, edit and compress videos to meet your needs. Here are some tools you can find in video converter apps.
- Output formats: The best converters have a wide variety of file types that allow you to export your videos. From standard formats such as MP4, MOV, and AVI to lesser-used formats such as MXF, OGV, and 3GP, the more formats a program can convert, the more versatile they will be.
- Editing Tools: Sometimes you want to do more than just resize a video. All apps in this article include at least some editing features like cropping, cropping, and adding effects. Built-in editors also allow you to change the speed of a video, add watermarks and subtitles, and adjust a video’s image values such as brightness, hue, and saturation.
- Optimization profiles: Simply reversing 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 viewing. The best video format converters contain a library of optimization profiles to perfectly tailor your videos to the device or platform you plan to use them on.
- Download Online Video: You don’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 as it allows you to grab any video from sites like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and many more. Just be careful not to violate copyright law when you download or distribute someone else’s content.
- Screen recorder: If you’ve always wanted to capture what’s happening on your screen in real time, choose a video converter with recording tools that save the action on your screen as it happens. It is a useful feature for capturing live events such as video game streams, online meetings and even yourself using a webcam and microphone.
- Compressor: Video files can grow large quickly. And if you convert a lot, the storage space on your hard drive will quickly fill up. An integrated compressor helps you shrink those files to a manageable size to save space or meet the file size limits of sharing sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Disc Burner: Physical media are not dead; even DVDs still have their place in our tech life. So whether you want to watch your videos on your physical media player, give a copy to a friend, or have a backup just in case, choosing a program with a disc burner is a good idea.
- Free trial period: No matter how good a program looks on paper, it’s best to try it out before paying for it. All of the programs below have free trials that you can download to see if they fit your needs.
- Free version: If you plan on using your video converter infrequently or only for the most basic functions, paying for a video converter may not be the best choice. Several of the programs on this list have sister programs with abbreviated toolsets that you can use for free.
Best Overall: Wondershare UniConverter
- All the conversion tools you need
- Extensive optimization profile library
- Powerful editing tools
- No free version
- Editing tools divided into multiple modules
Of all the programs that qualify for this article, Wondershare UniConverter has the most video conversion tools. Every feature is top notch, from the converter and compressor to the screen recorder and video editor. It would be hard to find a video converter that does more or outperforms UniConverter.
The star of the show is, of course, the file converter. UniConverter can convert your videos to 26 different formats and your audio files to 13 file types. In addition, the program includes 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 game consoles. The program also includes profiles for video editing programs such as iMovie and Final Cut, plus the ability to adjust your conversions for uploading to sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Instagram.
Uniconveter’s built-in video editor allows you to make simple changes to your videos, such as trimming, cropping and adding effects. The editor also has tools to add watermarks and subtitles, as well as adjust audio volume and improve voice recording quality. The program provides additional add-on tools such as 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 be frustrating to switch windows for complicated editing tasks.
The converter and editor alone would make UniConverter worth considering. But the rest of the feature set is even more powerful: the compressor lets you manage the file size of your videos, the merge tool makes it easy to combine two or more videos, and the screen recorder lets you capture the action on your computer and the DVD player. burner allows you to make physical copies of your video library.
Unfortunately, Wondershare does not provide a free version of UniConverter. It would be nice to see a reduced offering for people who don’t need all the tools in the app.
Best Value: Aimersoft Video Converter Ultimate
- Simple interface
- Extensive conversion tools
- Optimization profiles obsolete
- 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 extensive format compatibility, a video compressor, a library of optimization profiles, a video downloader, a DVD burner and more. And they are all laid out in such a way that even the least tech-savvy user can operate them with few problems. And it has a significantly cheaper price tag than UniConverter.
In addition, this program has features that you may 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 comprehensive feature set of Aimersoft Video Converter Ultimate gives UniConverter value for money. It may have taken first place in this article, if not for one glaring mistake. The device optimization profiles have not been updated for about five years. For example, the latest iPhone profile is for the iPhone X and we are about to see the iPhone 14 coming out soon. In addition, this program is not 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 can consider Video Converter Ultimate’s sister program, Aimersoft Video Converter. It has the same simple layout as Video Converter Ultimate, but only includes the converter and downloader modules, and it costs about $20 less, offering an even bigger discount over UniConverter.
Best Editing Tools: Movavi Video Converter Premium
- Easy to use
- Includes essential conversion tools
- Superior video editing module
- Missing screen recorder and video downloader
- Outdated Device Optimization Profiles
Although it does not have everything that Wondershare and Aimersoft video converters have, Movavi Video Converter Premium includes 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 is the natural choice for those who don’t need or want the huge toolsets in the above programs.
But pay attention to what this program does not have before opening your wallet. Movavi Video Converter Premium doesn’t have a screen recorder, online video downloader, or disc burner, not to mention all the extra bells and whistles in Wondershare and Aimersoft’s offerings. In addition, it suffers from outdated device optimization options, although not nearly as bad as Aimersoft. The most recent iPhone profile is for the iPhone 11, which isn’t too worrying in comparison, but it’s still time for an update.
What sets this program apart from the competition is its video editor. And it’s not because it has more or better tools than the rest; they are actually about the same. That’s because they house all the editing tools in one module. Other video converters separate tools like trimming, cropping and adding effects to different windows. This separation forces you to constantly switch editing modules if your video requires multiple changes. Movavi has lined up each tool in the top ribbon, making it easy to switch between them while editing your video.
This video converter has a free version available. Unfortunately, it eventually becomes useless, and not because it lacks the required conversion tools. The problem is that it exports your videos with a big watermark which 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 & Collage Makers
- Excellent free offer
- Less advanced tools
- Expensive for what you get
Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate includes many of the features found in the best video conversion software. Basics such as a wide range of export formats, an up-to-date optimization profile selection, video editing tools, a file compressor and more are there and working properly. But it also has two unique features: an MV (video slideshow) and a video collage maker. These tools compile your favorite clips into a themed video that you can watch alone, show in person, or share online. There are dozens of themes to choose from, and it’s a lot of fun diving into your video library for those videos you never thought you’d put to good use.
However, the program lacks some of the tools that make the other products in this article so versatile. For example, Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate does not have a screen recorder, video downloader, or a disc burner, not to mention the vast selection of additional tools found in UniConverter and Aimersoft Video Converter Ultimate. If these are the tools you are looking for, Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate is not for you. And since it falls in the price range as UniConverter, unless the slideshow and collage makers interest you, it might be better to get that.
However, the free version of this software stands out among the other brands. Unlike Movavi’s free offering, this converter will not leave any watermark on your converted videos. Just a short bumper at the beginning and end of each video stating that it was created with Aiseesoft Free Video Converter. For Mac users, there is another free application, Aiseesoft Video Converter, available on the Mac App Store. And it leaves no branding on your videos.