Best Free Audio-Video Format Conversion Program

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There are many different audio and video formats out there, and most devices (such as the iPod) and programs (such as Windows Media Player) are only compatible with a few specific formats. An AVI or WMV movie will not play on an iPod, for example, without being converted into an MP4 file first.

There are quite a few programs that will do this for free, with more popping up all the time.  They tend to fall into a few general categories:

  • If you want to convert audio & video easily, with a polished interface, support for virtually all file types including online video websites, and an integrated precision video editor, I recommend that you try our Top Pick.
  • If you want to convert without fiddling with any settings, using as few clicks as possible, try our Device-Specific Picks, which are especially suited to quickly setting up a conversion for a portable device.
  • If you want to have control over basic settings (such as framerate, frame size, and bitrate), yet still experience a quick, low-frustration conversion where most of the guesswork is done for you and you don't need to be an expert to get the job done, try our General Converter Picks.  Our Top Pick is in this category.
  • If you want complete control over every detail of your conversion task, where you have the ability to fine-tune your output using settings that most of us, including the Reviewer, don't even understand, then you may be interested in looking at our Custom-Oriented Picks.
  • If you only want to convert audio files, yet you want more audio-specific functionality, then try our Audio-Only Picks.
  • And lastly, if you're looking to convert a wide range of file types, from video to audio to documents to images, and you want to do it on the fly, you might want to check out an Online Conversion Website service.  There are sometimes file-size restrictions with these services, but they offer the convenience of being accessible from any browser.

While some are better than others overall, which one is best for you will depend on what sort of program you need.

Note:  If you want to rip video directly from a DVD, click here to view the Best Free DVD Ripper page..


Device-Specific Picks

Pazera Video Converters Suite Pazera Converter Screenshot is really a package of several separate device converters with a common launcher. Each converter is powerful, with several presets for device, custom tweaking/profiles, multiple-file support, all in a simple text-based interface. If you don't mind the launcher, you could effectively use it as a hybrid converter.


Miro ImageFor even easier device conversion, there is Miro Video Converter. With just a dozen device presets and support for only one file at a time, it may not be the best choice for power users. However, its simple interface is 'newbie-proof', and conversion quality is on a par with other programs.


Also recommended:

  • XMedia Recode: Like Miro but with a less polished UI.  It supports multiple simultaneous files and more devices.
  • DVDVideoSoft Free: Pazera without custom tweaks; has neat tricks like Youtube downloading and video tweaking. This product is bundled with OpenCandy. See this article for more information. It will also attempt to install a toolbar which you may not want.
  • Handbrake:  A long-time favorite of mine, when I need to convert from just about any format to a nice, no-nonsense iPod/iPhone compatible video (encoded in H.264).  It has a queue, and supports multiple Apple presets including Apple TV.

General Converter Picks

Freemake Video Converter is the new Top Pick.  The interface is about as polished as it gets, and the code behind the interface is stable, flexible, and powerful.  Using Freemake is a linear, seamless experience with no frustration.

What I do find frustrating, however, is that the developer has now added OpenCandy to their installer.  For more information about this bundled software, I recommend you read this article.  Please see the last paragraph of this review for information on how you can opt out of this.

Now, back to the awesome stuff.  With Freemake, you can convert most any format of video or audio with this handy piece of freeware, along with DVD's, photos, and even web embedded media from sites like YouTube, Google, and Vimeo.  There are lots of presets and quite a few options, giving the software best-in-class capabilities.  The visual cues are easy to follow, pretty much guiding you from start to finish on any conversion task and providing a more user-friendly experience than most other software.

This software can make use of DXVA and CUDA (two methods of hardware accelerated encoding) to boost speeds.  I was only able to use DXVA on my test computer, so you may get faster encodes with your machine.  On my laptop, I had an NVidia card, and Freemake actually displayed a message recommending that I update my video card drivers to make use of CUDA acceleration.  Freemake took 39 minutes to produce its output using an Auto Bitrate setting, with a two-pass encode.  It took under 15 minutes to do a one-pass encode.  Handbrake took 33 minutes using a Constant Quality RF:20 setting.  The quality of all three test encodes was excellent, with no apparent difference from the original.  You won't find advanced encoding settings anywhere in this interface, so if you're looking to fine-tune your output, I recommend moving on to something like Handbrake, Format Factory, or FFCoder.

I would have loved to give this software 10/10 stars, however there was one negative aspect to Freemake Video Converter: the bundled Freemake Toolbar and OpenCandy softwares.  The toolbar is set to install by default unless you choose otherwise on the first page of the install wizard.  To their credit, the Privacy Policies and/or EULA's are easily available for all bundled software. OpenCandy, on the other hand, does not have a checkbox to toggle its install.  Instead, you'll have to roll up your sleeves and install from the command-line if you want to opt out of it.  Here's how:  Hit Start, then 'Run' the install file with the /nocandy switch.  It will still show you the EULA for it, however there will be an option at the very end of the install to 'not install' the software OpenCandy recommends for you.  Even without the /nocandy switch, you can still uncheck the box, but for some reason the switch will trade in the check-box for 2 separate radio button choices (Yes or No).  It's a lot to worry about and go through, but this software really is top-notch in most other ways.

Although their website defaults to an "online installer", they do host offline installers, available here.


When iWisoft Free Video Converter starts, it automatically launches your browser for an upgrade check and displays a web page, which I found annoying.  Aside from this, I didn't find much else to complain about.  Its interface is extremely clean, well organized, and easy to use. It has a complete and well-organized collection of presets, and supports making and saving basic tweaks, too. It even has a few pleasant surprises, such as a basic built-in editing suite, with features like cropping, splitting, joining, and watermarking.  In short, this program is an outstanding choice for most device conversions.


FormatFactory ScreenShotAnother excellent choice (especially for old phones and DVD ripping) is Format Factory. It has presets for over 100 devices, converts to and from dozens of formats, and allows for advanced tweaking and custom profiles. On the downside, the sidebar-and-popup interface does not provide a linear experience.  You'll find that you can not drag'n'drop into the windows that look like you should be able to, and you have to open & close a couple of windows in order to end up back at the starting screen, where you finally get to hit START.  This being said, once you learn the interface, you'll find it responsive, stable, and easy to drill down to the exact settings you are looking for. Overall, this program is a good choice for power or device users who find iwiSoft lacking.

NOTE:  When installing Format Factory, watch out for the bundled toolbar.  It is installed by default if you don't uncheck the box on the first screen of the installer package.

A portable version of this software is also available at LiberKey, which is a superb portable application manager.



Also recommended:

  • Ultimate Video Converter: Only handles single files, but simplest converter with both iPod and custom settings
  • SGI's Video Converter: More cluttered than the top two, but has "flatter" interface and more conversion options for power users.
  • YouTube Downloader HD:  This program is a gem in the world of YouTube ripping.  It allows you to copy/paste a YouTube link, choose your video quality, and download it to your computer for future viewing.  In the latest version, you can now choose to have it automatically convert the .FLV file to an iPod/iPhone compatible .MP4 file, or an XViD .AVI for playback on many devices.

Custom-Oriented Picks

If you need to make complex, custom jobs, FFCoder is the standout choice for its coherence. Like most programs in this review, it has an excellent device preset list, the ability to convert multiple files at once, and a simple, sleek interface. Where FFCoder stands out is its support of highly advanced configuration for each of the dozens of video formats and codecs, down to lighting and rendering settings. Despite a few dependencies (listed below) and a steep learning curve for any tweaks past the presets, this is the best converter for almost any power user, device owner or not.

One of my favorite FFCoder features is the Directory Watch.  You can setup FFCoder so that it monitors a folder for files matching a filename pattern, which will be automatically converted using the selected settings.  It can be a bit confusing to set up, however I found I got the best results when setting the wildcard filename pattern to something other than *.* (such as *.avi).

There were two things I didn't like about FFCoder.  The first is that is always creates Start Menu entries in the Administrator account, regardless of which non-admin account is being used to install it.  This is fairly minor though, contrasted with all the powerful features.  The second drawback is that it seems to be less stable on 64-bit Windows systems every now and again.  I ran into .DLL errors and missing presets, which strangely were intermittent problems.  I've spoken with the author and it looks like many of these bugs will be worked out in the next release.


Also recommended:

  • SUPER:  Great for small, obscure tweaks. Has a simple but annoying interface. This program is bundled with OpenCandy. See this article for more information.
  • XVID4PSP: Supports very many tweaks. Impossibly fragmented interface. Solid AviSynth support.

Audio-Only Picks

Pazera Free Audio Extractor is the audio-only program in the above-mentioned Pazera Video Converters Suite. It supports both video and audio input and output to many formats, and is slightly simpler than some of its sibling programs. Otherwise, it is perfectly identical.



Online Conversion Websites

Video to Mp3 I was asked to checkout a web site converter for Youtube and Dailymotion videos. This site is set up to convert video to four set formats Mp3(128 kbt/s & 256 kbit/s ), flv, mp4 and 3gp.

This is a wonderful idea, but does it work lets see....

I started the test with an Mp3 convert and WOW finished in a matter of seconds and my result was ready to download. Ok lets check out some of these other bad boy options. Next I selected the Mp4 option and clicked the convert button and nothing. EMMM I thought well it is a video conversion so it will take more time. I waited until the next day nothing. After a full 24 hours still nothing. I reloaded the page and recopied the URL started a new convert. After 6 hours nothing and then my browser crashed ooops. I started a third again after 24 hours nothing. I am not saying it wont work for you as different configurations of bandwidth, browsers etc may be different but don't get your hopes up.

Next up the flv now I was thinking that a lot of Youtube video is in format flv so this should be quick but again after 3 days and 3 tests I had 0 results. At least this time my browser did not crash lol. So without much Enthusiasm I tried the 3gp option and hey what you know it worked first time and quite quickly about 30 minutes.

Having said all this if anyone wants a Youtube video in basic no frills mp3 audio from a Youtube video then this is a viable option and simple to use just copy and paste a Youtube URL into box, choice format and click convert and when it is ready download finished product, easy.



Zamzar is an excellent website when you're on the run.  It doesn't allow you to customize the encoding settings, however it makes up for that somewhat with its portability and flexibility.  If you have a browser with internet access, you have Zamzar.  If you have any file, you can convert it to any other type of file in the same class.  For example, you can convert video files, audio files, photos (ex: .JPG to .PNG), archives (ex: .RAR to .ZIP), documents (ex: .PDF to .DOC), and eBooks (ex: .LIT to .EPUB).  You can even paste a URL (ex: YouTube) and it'll download the embedded video for you and convert it.  Once the conversion is done, they email you a link to download the finished product.

This email-based file retrieval can be either a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.  It's more fuss than there really needs to be in the process, however it gives you the flexibility of converting a Youtube video from a computer where you can't download the content, such as when at work behind a proxy or at a public library.  When you get home, you can then download the finished conversion immediately using the email link.  I first used Zamzar over a year ago, and to this day I have never received unsolicited email from them.

There is a 100MB file limit for free use, but you can upgrade that to 200MB and get about 5GB of online storage if you want to pay their fairly steep monthly prices.  For most users, the free services are more than adequate.



Tested and not recommended:

To Be Reviewed:

  • Avanti
  • DVDVideoSoft (re-review)
  • Miksoft Mobile Media Converter
  • Mediacoder
  • Motion Man by Blink Solution
  • MeGUI
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

Quick Selection Guide

Freemake Video Converter
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Great interface, very flexible, support for almost every type of conversion, easy to use
Bundled toolbar (you can opt out, but it's a multi-click process) Bundled OpenCandy
1.21 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP/Vista/7, .NET Framework
Pazera Video Converters Suite
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Excellent presets, easy to use, custom profiles
Looks intimidating, separate programs for each output type, no advanced tweaks. Contains unwanted bundled components. Take care to avoid these during the install process.
21.3 MB
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Miro Video Converter
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Brutally easy-to-use device conversion
Only one file at a time, no profile or generic tweaking, only MP4
425.09 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows and Mac OSX
iWisoft Free Video Converter
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Simple polished interface, file and preset editing allowed, many device presets
Checks for updates and launches the browser on startup, requires Windows Media Player
8.7 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.

Portable version available here.

Format Factory
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Stable with many device presets. Supports all video file formats. Rips DVD's & Music CD's. Very powerful software.
Installer is bundled with a toolbar (you are able to opt out), interface is non-linear and somewhat confusing.
58.88 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 and 8 (NET Framework)
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Solid preset list, highly advanced tweaks, sleek interface
Dependencies, no installer
38 MB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/7
Pazera Free Audio Extractor
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Great presets, supports many input and output formats, easy to use, custom profiles
No advanced tweaks. Contains unwanted bundled components. Take care to avoid these during the install process.
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Cross-platform, simple interface, good presets, complete features, video quality is excellent, DVD ripping, subtitle support
No preview window in the Windows version, slow encoding (based on settings chosen), output formats limited to MPEG-4 and H.264
13.63 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
MacOS 32/64-bit, Windows XP/Vista/7 32-bit, Fedora 15 32/64-bit, Ubuntu


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free audio converter, free video converter, best audio video converter, top audio video conversion program, free av converter, free av conversion.

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by DrBaker on 22. January 2012 - 3:37  (87571)

Super is actually listen above (just a one-liner which briefly describes it as a less recommended alternative, mostly if you need to do something very specific as it's got a lot of options.)
It's bundled with OpenCandy, which isn't too good for impressing frequenters of this site.

by João Marques (not verified) on 4. January 2012 - 23:36  (86568)

I use Any Video Converter Free and i find it very good. Converts many formats (including rmvb) an also allow to insert subtitles in the movie.

by DrBaker on 22. January 2012 - 3:50  (87574)

As I mentioned above, I do not recommend this software,

by rich (not verified) on 4. January 2012 - 21:52  (86562)

@DrBaker, I enjoyed your paragraph about zamzar, partly because your description--including the statement about email--is so similar to what I write to friends who ask about downloading video or audio from youtube. I'd suggest that you add an explanation to that email statement, as to why they have your email address: that zamzar sends you an email containing the link to your download (unlike most other websites in this category, which give you your download link online while you wait). This has its own pros & cons: to me, the two main advantages are that I don't have to monitor the site's progress or even keep my PC running while they process my request, and I could make the request from any computer--including one on which I can't receive the download (such as at a library)--and get the download later (within the 24-hour limit) from my PC; and the two main disadvantages for are that I have to do more work to get the download (going to my email to get the link), and I might not get the download as quickly. A friend told me that zamzar's main disadvantage for him was the initial confusion as to which link in the email was the download link, but that was a one-time issue.

by DrBaker on 8. January 2012 - 3:00  (86792)

Thanks for the great tip about public computers and downloading later on from home. I've added this to the review.

by Steeleye (not verified) on 4. January 2012 - 13:11  (86533)

FFCoder crashed repeatedly on my 64-bit Win7 machine.

by supanut on 4. January 2012 - 9:26  (86519)

The current version of Freemake Video Converter includes an unwanted toolbar, and a Firefox and Chrome plugin.

by George.J on 5. January 2012 - 13:18  (86599)

You have to deselect them if you don't want them.

by steveorg on 2. January 2012 - 17:39  (86422)

All I wanted was a WMA to MP3 converter that can handle directories and a list of conversions. I couldn't figure out how to do that with iWisoft Free Video Converter, Pazera Free Audio Extractor doesn't support WMA (WMA not on the website list of formats) and Zamzar is not appropriate for bulk conversions.

From the Tested and not recommended list, I tried Koyote Soft mp3 wma Converter, which was described as clunky. I thought that the interface was simple and straightforward, with just a bit of clunkiness on one of the file selection methods. Based on my limited experience, it also seemed reasonably fast. The only drawback is that the default is to also install searchqu, but that can be deselected.

by Anupam on 4. January 2012 - 13:23  (86535)

You can try audio converters, specifically for audio conversion. Some of them are :

MediaHuman Audio Converter :

Helium Audio Converter :

I don't seem them mentioned in the article. Dr.Baker, please consider them for the review :).

BTW, Freemake also has an audio converter.

by jacekpazera (not verified) on 4. January 2012 - 0:37  (86503)

Pazera Free Audio Extractor supports WMA.
Quote from, "The most important features" section:

Audio conversion: WAV, MP3, AC3, AAC, M4A, MPC, MPA, MP2, WMA, FLAC, SHN, APE, OGG, WV, AMR to MP3, AAC, AC3, WMA, FLAC, OGG Vorbis, OGG FLAC or WAV.

by George.J on 31. December 2011 - 17:22  (86282)

Released in 2010 Freemake Video Converter has had big updates in this year and won many accolades and awards.

by DrBaker on 2. January 2012 - 4:50  (86382)

Thank you George. Indeed you are correct! I have a review of Freemake's software which is nearly ready to post :)

by Steeleye (not verified) on 4. January 2012 - 13:16  (86534)

I hope your review points out that it's necessary to select "Custom Install" in order to avoid the foistware.

by George.J on 2. January 2012 - 7:14  (86387)

Great to hear :)...Waiting forward for it..

by Gary Gooch (not verified) on 30. December 2011 - 23:25  (86247)

The article is great, and I really like the iWisoft converter. However, my video camera (and my TV set) have a 16/9 format, and the converter squishes the picture to a 4/3 format. I haven't been able to find anything that would change that.

Is there a way?


by Nico.K (not verified) on 21. January 2012 - 11:19  (87534)

Have the same issue. I have DVD from a DVR which is 768x576 but iWisoft see it as 352x576. And there is no way to correct it. not even with crop.

by DrBaker on 2. January 2012 - 4:58  (86384)

1. What resolution and format is your source video?
2. Do you know if the black bars above and below the video are encoded right into the video file?
3. What target format were you trying to convert it TO?
4. Did you try selecting a preset, such as "Common Video -> AVI (DivX)" and then choosing "Auto" in the SIZE field?

If you are dealing with any type of unique source format, you may need to experiment with the CROP settings you can find if you click on the EDIT button after adding a video file to your project in iWisoft. There you can set some custom Top/Bottom cropping to compensate.

Generally, though, it's simpler than that and related to standard encoding settings.

by chiqgarcia (not verified) on 27. December 2011 - 19:24  (86086)

there's like a million converters out there, but none of them do half of what I want. I would really like to see a transcoder/converter that would convert:
1. many files to many files - single format (the usual batch processing).
2. one file to many files - different formats.
3. many files to many files - different formats.

hope this makes sense.

#1 would be great if you want all your downloaded movies from, errr, torrents to conform to one width (e.g. resized to 352) while maintaining aspect ratio, one codec (xvid), one video bitrate (800 kbps) etc etc.

#2 would be great if you made a video which will then be converted to many files (one for youtube, one for archiving, one for dvd burning, one for your personal media player etc etc).

#3 would be very convenient if each file could be assigned a different preset. mediacoder lets you do this in one go.

plus, of course, the option to rename the resulting files according to the preset used (e.g. suffix: _xvid).

i just wish these programmers take a good look at irfanview's (image viewer/editor) interface for batch processing.

yeah, i'm probably asking too much.

by DrBaker on 2. January 2012 - 4:48  (86381)

Great suggestions! I wonder if you could accomplish most of this by running multiple instances of FFCoder, with Directory Watch enabled on each one with different conversion settings...?

You might have to use folder names instead of file suffixes to identify different versions...

Try it out and let us know!

by alangee (not verified) on 26. December 2011 - 5:37  (85999)

Thank you for all the info you provided. I downloaded iWisoft and it's great. Prior to finding your site I had been struggling with other converters with little success and was ready to return my Canon video cam thinking it wasn't worth the hassle. Well thanks to you I'm keeping the Canon. Thanks again.

by hangdawg on 24. December 2011 - 18:30  (85912)

could you take a look at this

seems very good i found after trying iWisoft Free Video Converter it was good to but i didn't like that it always took you to the iWisoft Free Video Converter

website thanks

by SamG (not verified) on 23. December 2011 - 13:54  (85807)

Lastnight installed iWiconverter to produce .mp4 files. The majority of those were converted .mp2 from Utube .mpeg or .flv but some were .vob. Anyvideo wouldn't handle it and produced a 320X240 video size which was at a low frame rate. Like 20fps. Imtoo HD free video converter wouldn't create files longer than 3 minutes. Powerdirector 10 only wanted to burn dvd files to disc. Couldn't find any conversion there. In converting iWisoft performed well at near default settings. Smooth synced framerate. At least 600X400 resolution. Although with one downside, it took considerable time to process the files. Thank you Gizmo for pointing me in the right direction in my time of desperation. The Viore 19" lcd/dvd/sd player only plays .mp4 files.

by Falls PC on 21. December 2011 - 9:58  (85578)

Pazera Free Audio Extractor should be removed, they do not let you finish the installation unless you allow them to install the adware

by Anupam on 21. December 2011 - 10:56  (85585)

Not true. The screen to install extra software comes towards the end of installation, and you can decline it, and the Pazera software is still installed on the system.

But yes, before the installation begins, the setup does download an install manager for the extra software, and there is no way to stop that. So, yes, I will consider this as an adware program, and if the editor feels, he can remove it.

A workaround for this, is to download and use the portable version, which is available from the same site. I use the portable versions only of Pazera software, and they are devoid of such extras.

by DrBaker on 2. January 2012 - 4:36  (86378)

Thanks for that tip. I'll definitely include that information about the portable version above. I can confirm, in the meantime, that indeed you are able to decline the "Babylon 9" extra software without affecting Pazera itself. I chose to decline the extra software, and there were no extra files left behind. As a matter of fact, there was only 1 shared library installed aside from the files inside the Program Files, Start Menu entries, and Desktop shortcut.

I don't consider this software to be "adware" however if there were more alternatives to choose from in this category, I would definitely dock some points off and be less likely to recommend this software because of this.

by Anupam on 4. January 2012 - 13:32  (86537)

It should be considered as adware I think, because it includes third-party software now. More so, because it straight away downloads the installer for that program, and that cannot be opted out. I felt it was quite intrusive, and annoying. Bundling is OK, but users should have clear options to opt out of the third party programs, and installers should not just auto-start downloading by themselves. Not good IMO.

But, Pazera's software have been there for a long time, and are quite popular. I wouldn't like them to be left out because of this.

I think portable version would be a better choice.

In any case, people should be made aware of the bundled installer with the setup version.

by mikedutch on 17. December 2011 - 13:44  (84890)

Any freeware that converts a ripped BD disc into various video formats?

For example, I'd like to input the BDMV folder with the index.bdmv and STREAM folder (with .m2ts files) and get a .mov file as output.

iWisoft Free Video Converter hangs when adding a large number of m2ts files such as after ripping a BD.

by mikedutch on 17. December 2011 - 17:45  (85194)

RipBot264 does the trick! Suggest adding to your review.

by DrBaker on 2. January 2012 - 4:25  (86376)

Thanks for the recommendation. At first glance the software looks quite capable. I'd like to test it out myself and perhaps add it to this page or another page more oriented to DVD Ripping.

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