The best free video converters for 2020

It seems like there are as many video file formats as there are devices to play them on. Flash Video, MKV, MOV, AVI, MPEG. And even if your desktop can read them, chances are, your mobile device cannot. But regardless of how obsolete the file format might be, there’s still a way that you can convert it into a more versatile and usable format. 

The best video converters, like Prism Video Converter, are able to handle a variety of different file formats, and make the conversion process seamless and quick for users rather than frustrating and time-consuming. We’ve rounded them up below. 

Any Video Converter (Windows/MacOS)

Any Video Converter (AVC) is a fantastic piece of freeware that can handle conversions to everything from DivX and MPEG4 to VOB and more than 60 other input formats (including 4K) — all within an attractive and minimalist interface. The software also features user-defined video outputs, as well as batch processing for converting multiple files simultaneously, and saves all converted video to a pre-designated folder for quick access and organization.

AVC can directly extract and convert audio from any given video into a limited number of formats, including MP3, AAC, WAVE, and others. Plus, the program allows you to download and convert YouTube and Google videos — though these are our preferred methods.

HandBrake (Windows/MacOS)

2016-05-06

HandBrake seemed to be on its last legs back in 2006 when the software’s initial creator, Eric Petit, dropped off the face of the Earth. However, its software development carried on with the help of a few ambitious folks who were driven to update and revise the existing software for a changing world.

The open-source video converter now boasts one of the most expansive software packages for ripping and converting video files for playback on a number of popular devices, including iPhones, smart TVs, and tablets. The interface is sleek and well-designed, with plenty of menu tabs for advanced features, all housed within a traditional UI that anyone familiar with Windows or MacOS will be able to understand.

HandBrake can’t be topped when it comes to converting files to MP4 or MKV format, but, unfortunately, it also isn’t for those unwilling to learn the software.

Prism Video Converter (Windows/MacOS)

Prism is a converter and video editor that’s a great choice if you don’t really have a video editor at the moment, but still need to make changes to the video clip that you’re converting. The interface isn’t especially simple, but it follows a familiar formula and is easy to pick up quickly, with large buttons for the various functions: Add your video file, and you can get to work. The converter works with all common video formats and any format that uses the DirectShow codec, plus device-specific formats for smartphones, etc. Extra capabilities include adjust filters, brightness, contrast, and rotation, as well as create text overlays, watermarks, and other important features that you might need.

Note that the free download for Prism includes all features, but the more advanced video editing features will stop after a few days unless you buy the full edition. The converter abilities, however, are free forever.

DivX Video Converter (Windows/MacOS)

DivX video converter has a lot of useful, built-in options for inputs and outputs, along with editing tools for tweaking the videos you’re looking to convert. Although the software is a little pushy in trying to drive you toward upgrading to the premium version, the free one works rather well. The interface is clean and gives you deep options for outputs.

When adding files, you can do so from a local drive, or import them directly from Blu-ray discs. The software also supports Google Drive and Dropbox, for those looking to edit files that are stored remotely. An assortment of output profiles provide a number of pre-defined options, and you can further customize the resulting file if you prefer — there are options for selecting the resolution, altering the aspect ratio, and changing the bit rate, among others.

Cloud Convert (web-based)

Downloading applications and programs can be a hassle—and it can take up valuable space and time. If you don’t want to deal with a download, then Cloud Convert is an excellent web-based solution that supports 218 various formats including PDF to MP4. It’s also super easy to use, which is always a plus with any program. 

With Cloud Convert, you can complete both batch converting and folder monitoring. The API also lets you apply these functions to other applications that you might already have. 

The entire conversion process takes place in the cloud, and output settings — like aspect ratio, codec, bit rate, and resolution — can also be tweaked from the app’s web interface prior to conversion. When you’re done, you’ll automatically get an email from Cloud Convert, and the converted file should end up in your Dropbox or Google Drive.

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