The best free streaming software in 2022: stream games like the pros

Creatives with a limited budget will love the best streaming software. You can add custom logos to your streams and audio mixes, giving your productions serious professional polish.

It can be difficult to choose the right streaming software for you. The streaming market is expanding rapidly, so there are many great options available – all promising faster setup times, easier access, and better performance.

There are some key considerations to make when choosing streaming software.

First, think about what you are going to stream. Many streaming software is geared towards gamers, but there are still other options if you don’t plan to stream a gamestream. You should also check the supported platforms and input sources as well as user support.

Check out the supported games for your preferred streaming app – Some apps allow you to record everything, while others let you pick from a list.

We have reviewed the top streaming software tools for free – assessing their accessibility, performance, and ensuring that they are truly free to users. There are no hidden fees or subscriptions.

1. OBS Studio

The best streaming software for free


Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux Today’s Top Deals

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There are many reasons to buy

+Completely Free+Twitch YouTube Mixer, Mixer, and More

Avoidable reasons

-Simple learning curve

OBS Studio is an open-source streaming app that runs on Windows, Macs, and Linux. You can broadcast live, or record and publish later. OBS Studio has many tools that will help you create an amazing experience for your viewers. It is built around scenes that you can populate with different input sources, such as a microphone or webcam. It’s easy to switch between scenes and apply transitions automatically.


Although it offers a lot of flexibility, it isn’t the most user-friendly piece of software. We praised it in an earlier review as the “most powerful free screen recorder and streaming software available for gamers” with all you need to get professional results. Although it may take some time to get used to the interface, it is well worth the effort.

We have not been able to change our minds. We felt OBS Studio was still a great streaming tool but it had some issues and an interface that is confusing to new users. We thought it had many tools that could help you create great content.

OBS Studio is at least free. This makes it worth considering when you set up your streaming studio. It is possible that you will love what it can do for you.

2. Streamlabs OBS

Best for streaming app for beginners


Windows operating system Today’s Top Deals

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There are many reasons to buy

+Auto optimization+Simple and easy to use

Avoidable reasons

-No studio mode

Streamlabs OBS has been ranked as one of the best OBS Studio alternatives. It’s built on the same foundations as the best streaming software. It has a user-friendly interface that is more intuitive than the powerful tool.

The program, like its more advanced counterparts, is free and open-source. This means that there are many community contributions but not real support.

Streamlabs claims to improve performance through automatic optimization. However, the difference in our tests was negligible.

Streamlabs has a simpler interface than OBS Studio and is a great choice for first-time streamers as well as beginners. If you are already comfortable using OBS Studio, switching to Streamlabs is not an option.

It will be interesting to see how the streaming tool evolves in the future. For the moment, there is little to no difference.

3. Nvidia Shadowplay

Ideal for basic streaming


Windows operating system Today’s Top Deals

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+Little impact upon performance

Avoidable reasons

Better for streaming than recording – No picture-in-picture

Nvidia Shadowplay, a free streaming software tool that allows you to play video games, is a great choice.

It may already be familiar to you, as it comes with a GeForce graphics card. It has a significant advantage over streaming software in that it encodes in GPUs rather than CPUs, which means it has minimal impact on performance.

Shadowplay is, however, far less flexible than OBS Studio. Shadowplay does not have overlays or multi-source scenes. It is just a game.

It is perfect for streaming only gameplay. OBS Studio is a better choice if you are looking to create something more complex. OBS Studio allows you to set OBS Studio to use Nvidia’s NVENC encryption.

Shadowplay’s screen grab and video recording tools are great, but streaming is not its forte.

4. Xsplit Gamecaster

Best for games


Windows operating system Today’s Top Deals

There are many reasons to buy

+Facebook. Twitch. Mixer. YouTube

Avoidable reasons

-Higher resolutions are watermarked-Chroma Keying is a paid extra

Xsplit Gamecaster doesn’t look like any other streaming software. This is a cut-down, free version of the premium Xsplit Broadcaster.

Gamecaster’s sleeker design allows it to benefit from premium online support. A paywall prevents some features from being available. It’s a good streaming service for basic streams but it has some limitations.

Gamecaster is a simpler interface than Xsplit, which has a paid alternative. It allows streaming to Twitch and Mixer as well as YouTube, YouTube, and Facebook. We found it extremely easy to use. To stream, simply open your game and use a keyboard shortcut.

The main problem is that streams above 720p will have an Xsplit Watermark. This is not ideal if your stream needs to look professional.

Although it is included in most of the top streaming software programs for free, you will need to pay for more advanced tools like chroma keying (greenscreen), in-game Twitch chat and console support via a capture card.

A separate license is required for commercial use.

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How to select the best streaming software free for you

Start with the content you want to stream when deciding on which streaming software you should use. Streaming games has become hugely popular. Many of the most popular streaming apps, such as OBS Studio, Xsplit Gamecaster and Nvidia Shadowplay are centered on gamers.

Next, select the level of production that you would like. Shadowplay is great for getting your gamestream running but does not offer many other features. OBS Studio is a professional-grade streaming software, but it comes with a steeper learning curve. You’ll quickly outgrow basic streaming software if you are looking for flashy streams that grab attention.

Your experience level is important. Try Streamlabs OBS, a free streaming tool that you have never used before. This is a great way to get started with streaming. It also covers the basics and allows you to master advanced tools.

Be subjective. Choose the streaming app that is most comfortable for you. It should be one that suits your unique creative flow.

How to test the best streaming software free of charge

We want to find the best streaming software, just like our readers. So we test each one, judging it against the same criteria that users really care about.

It should be free. There shouldn’t be any hidden fees or credit card details. This is the first thing we look at. The best streaming software for free in our roundup will not cost you a dime.

Easy to use is the best feature of free streaming software. The interface should be intuitive and easy to use. OBS Studio and other advanced streaming apps should also be easily accessible and easy to use.

We value performance and want streaming tools that work across all devices without stuttering, interfering with capture.

It is crucial to consider the intent of the user. Streaming tools can be designed for many different audiences and uses. We check that the tool meets the needs and expectations of its target audience. The Streamlabs OBS streaming tool is excellent for beginners but not for professional productions. Both are great in their own ways.

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