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The best online video editors: no download required

Photography of laptop showing Kapwing, one of the best online video editors
(Image credit: Jon Stapley)

The best online video editors are an ideal solution if you have some simple video editing tasks and are short of hard drive space. When we think of video editing, we think of big and powerful computers, with industrial-sized fans roaring away in a desperate attempt to keep the inner workings cool. But time and tech marches on, and now it’s possible to edit, render and share video entirely online, with something as slimline as a Chromebook.

Now, here’s an important caveat. If you’re serious about video editing, you will have an easier time using one of the best editing computers and the best editing software. If you’re handling longform content and high-resolution video, these are a must – the tools we’ve included in this guide don’t even offer an option to render in anything higher than 4K. What we’ve collated here are ideal tools for more casual work, for cutting together quick clips for social media or similar tasks. If you just need a quick video editor that doesn’t require downloading and installing a huge piece of software, these are a great bet.

All the options we’ve included here offer a free tier, and then subscription tiers with more advanced features and functionality. If you’re dead set on not spending any money, check out our guide to the best free video editing software where we have a lot more options for the zero-budget crowd, and we also have a guide to the best video editing apps on mobile. For now though, let’s get stuck into the best online video editors.

The best online video editors

Adobe CC Express logo on gradient background

(Image credit: Adobe/Future)
The best simple online video editor, especially if you already use Adobe

Specifications

Key features: Music library, voiceover record function, widescreen and square format
Price: Free / $9.99 per month
Watermark: No

Reasons to buy

+
Included in many CC subscriptions
+
Very easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite limited functionality
-
Can’t move music on timeline

If you already have an Adobe subscription of some kind, then there’s a good chance you can already access Creative Cloud Express’s video editor and start creating projects right away, as it’s thrown into a lot of subscription packages. If not, you can sign up for free – though paying monthly for a premium upgrade gets you a lot of handy features like 100GB of storage, compared to 2GB in the free tier, which you’ll chew through in no time if you’re making videos.

The browser-based video editor itself is basic, but pretty functional. As we noted in our review of CC Express, it’s hardly going to challenge any serious video editing software, but if you just need to string a few clips together with a little text and music, it’s about as easy as it gets. The drag and drop interface is immediately comprehensible, and there’s a handy library of stock music, with the additional option to upload your own. Also, there’s a one-click option to record voiceover and lay it over a clip. It’s a little annoying that you can’t move your music track around on the timeline though – your options for it are basically just on or off. 

Our Adobe Creative Cloud Express review goes into more detail.

Clipchamp logo on gradient background

(Image credit: Clipchamp/Future)

02. Clipchamp

Microsoft’s own video editor provides a comprehensive online option

Specifications

Key features: Music library, effects library, stock video library, in-editor video recording
Price: Free / $6-$39 per month
Watermark: No

Reasons to buy

+
Very easy to use
+
Big stock library

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be glitchy
-
Chromium browsers only

ClipChamp was acquired by Microsoft in 2021, and since then the tech giant has expanded the utility of the free version of the editor, to the point where it’s a compelling choice for anyone looking to quickly cut something together. The interface is a simple drag-and-drop, with a toolbar on the left-hand side that gives you access to a big library of stock assets – everything from music to video clips, GIFs and images. Free users will have the familiar Canva experience of needing to navigate around the premium-only assets, but there’s still a lot to choose from. You can also use your computer’s camera/mic to record your own clips right into the timeline, if you want.

Clipchamp only works in Chromium-based browsers – you’ll be fine with Chrome and Microsoft Edge, and probably okay with Opera or Brave, but Firefox die-hards will have to look elsewhere. Also, it’s worth noting that the editor is a tiny bit glitchy – I infrequently encountered a bug where all my clips would randomly be replaced with a black screen, though it was always fixable with a quick refresh. File exports on the free tier max out at 720p – if you want Full HD, you’ll need to sign up for one of the premium options. 

Veed logo on gradient background

(Image credit: Veed/Future)

03. Veed

An easy-to-use online editor – but the free tier has harsh limits

Specifications

Key features: Subtitle generator, in-editor video recording, drawing tool
Price: Free / $12-30 per month
Watermark: Yes, with free version

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to add subtitles
+
Works in most browsers

Reasons to avoid

-
No audio library
-
Quite limited free tier

Veed is another easy-to-use video editor. Sign up for free and you can get started immediately, with an intuitive drag-and-drop timeline. It works in most browsers, including Firefox, and offers a fair few useful features, including a well-engineered subtitle generator. You can add subtitles via text-to-speech, type them in manually and place each line on the timeline, or upload an existing subtitle file like an SRT. 

Unlike CC Express and Clipchamp, there’s no on-hand music library. There’s plenty of royalty-free music kicking around the internet, so this isn’t a huge deal as you can upload your own (though it’s worth noting that I did have a little trouble with Veed’s audio uploader, which kept rejecting my MP3 files for no reason I could discern). 

There are some significant limits on the free tier of Veed. You can only upload clips up to 250MB in size, you’re limited to an export length of 10 minutes, and you have to have the veed.io watermark. Upgrading to the Basic tier clears a lot of these inconveniences out of the way, but if you’re prepared to pay $12 or so per month then you can get the much more fully featured Adobe Premiere Rush.

Kapwing logo on gradient background

(Image credit: Kapwing/Future)

04. Kapwing

The fastest way to edit a video in your browser

Specifications

Key features: Text effects and animations, automatic cloud backup, real-time collaboration tools, automatic background removal
Price: Free / $16-24 per month
Watermark: Yes for guest users

Reasons to buy

+
Super-quick to get started
+
Useful file-management system

Reasons to avoid

-
Some features hard to figure out
-
Infrequent technical glitches

Kapwing is the quickest way to get stuck right into editing video – unlike the other options, it doesn’t even demand an email address up front, and just lets you get stuck right into the editing interface. Although, signing in does have a fair few benefits – you can remove the fairly unappealing Kapwing watermark, for one. The interface does take a little figuring out, with little in the way of on-screen prompts or tutorials, but the basics of dragging and dropping clips onto the timeline are super obvious and easy.

I found Kapwing to be a little glitchy here and there, occasionally requiring a browser refresh to get it back into action, but it never got to the point where it was properly irritating. This is a really solid in-browser video editor that really underscores how you don’t need a bleeding-edge computer to edit video – it really can be as quick as this.

Wave.videp logo on gradient background

(Image credit: Wave.video/Future)

05. Wave.video

A good online video editor for marketers, as long as you pay

Specifications

Key features: Large library of stock video, shot layout templates, auto-resizing for different video formats
Price: Free / $16-60 per month
Watermark: No

Reasons to buy

+
Huge stock asset library
+
Handy thumbnail maker
+
Cool shot layout options

Reasons to avoid

-
15sec limit for free users!

Wave.video is an online video editor that’s pitched pretty directly at businesses and marketers. It’s got loads of features designed to take the pain out of video creation, with a huge library of free stock footage you can quickly search through for clips to stick on the timeline. There are also a number of cool layout templates that let you place multiple shots alongside each other in collage, and a useful thumbnail creator for YouTube.

So why doesn’t it place higher on our list? Well, while Wave.video does offer a free tier, it’s severely hobbled by a 15-second export limit. If you want to make a clip longer than that – and you presumably do – you need to pay. The fact that other entries on this list offer much more functionality before asking you to open your wallet does make Wave.video harder to recommend to just anyone – but for businesses that have budgeted for a video creation tool, it’s definitely worth a look. 

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Jon is a freelance writer and journalist who covers photography, art, technology, and the intersection of all three. When he's not scouting out news on the latest gadgets, he likes to play around with film cameras that were manufactured before he was born. To that end, he never goes anywhere without his Olympus XA2, loaded with a fresh roll of Kodak (Gold 200 is the best, since you asked). Jon is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq, and has also written for in Digital Camera World, Black + White Photography Magazine, Photomonitor, Outdoor Photography, Shortlist and probably a few others he's forgetting.