Best Free Audio-Video Format Conversion Program


Other Language?
  Read this article in Spanish
In a Hurry?
  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

There are many different audio and video formats out there, and most devices (such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones, etc.) 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 iPhone, 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 DVDs to general video formats, click here to view the Best Free DVD Ripper page..


Device-Specific Picks

Pazera Free Audio Video Pack Pazera Converter Screenshot (former Pazera Video Converters Suite) is really a package of several separate 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 Image

For 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:

  • 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.
  • WinX Video Converter: More up-to-date than iWisoft. Support converting videos to 100+ devices including newest iPhone 6/Plus, S5, HTC, PS4 with many preset profiles. Adjustable video audio parameters. Clean and simple. Please note though on the top there's YouTube URL entry, it is just an upgrading recommendation which can be skipped easily. This freeware doesn't support converting YouTube videos.

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.


FormatFactory ScreenShot Another 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:

  • 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:

  • XVID4PSP: Supports very many tweaks. Impossibly fragmented interface. Solid AviSynth support.
  • MediaCoder: Great for tech obsessive because of the tons of customizable features to convert from and to video audio formats. Support MP4, AVI, MP3, WMA, WAV, etc. and allow to adjust parameters. But if you're not familiar with the jargon and just want a hassle-free, simple-to-use free video converter, you may turn to others.

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:

  • MPEG Streamclip: very powerful for MP4, but single-file, ugly/laggy, has dependencies
  • Avidemux: great video editor, lousy video converter

To Be Reviewed:

  • Miksoft Mobile Media Converter
  • 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.

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.
52.0 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
16.0 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.

Pazera Free Audio Video Pack

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.
69.8 MB
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
XP/2003/Vista/2008/Win7/Win8 / Linux (under Wine)

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
12.9 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows and Mac OSX

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Arata. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here..

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

Back to the top of the article.


Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 4.1 (172 votes)


Thanks for pointing out Zamzar website , I can see that being really useful .

Sorry but what "unwanted bundled components" come with Pazera? I've used this software for years and wasn't even aware that there's an installer version of it.

It's also had its first update in some time as well, as of a couple of weeks ago.

I use Freemake and I like it because it's reliable, versatile and easy to use. But those considering it should know that, in addition to the OpenCandy issue discussed in the review, since version 4.0.4, "For promotional reasons an additional video frame with Freemake logo is added at the end of the videos longer than 5 minutes unless Freemake Gold Pack is activated." You can check Freemake's Change Log to verify this for yourself.

In other words, it will watermark the last few seconds of your conversion unless you buy the Gold Pack.

I can live with it, but perhaps not everyone will feel that way.

I have had Freemake v 3.2.1 for a while. I noticed the log entry you mentioned about the logo and some other comments so am trying to decide if I want to upgrade. As for the logo, if you have any other editing software, I assume it could be trimmed off the end.

BTW, Thanks to Arata for maintaining this section.

I will try out your suggestion about the editing software later and update this comment. 

Thanks and nice meeting you here, webguy. :)

VidCoder should be on the list for Windows machines, based on Handbrake its a much better version, runs batch processing really well which Handbrake itself seems to constantly struggle with, comes as a portable version also, only requires .net 4 to be installed.
Download directly from the Microsoft Codeplex opensource project site.

re: Format Factory

As of their latest version 3.1.1., it does no good to opt out of the bundled crapware. You get it anyway, including the Ask Toolbar.

Normally, WinPatrol can stop such unwanted installations. But even rejecting them upon WinPatrol warnings did not stop the crapware from being installed.

Fans of Format Factory should definitely install and learn to use Revo Uninstaller before downloading/installing any Format Factory update.
Then leave time to delete anything that was installed without permission.

It's bad enough to bundle crapware with opt-outs you have to look carefully for -- but far worse to offer opt-outs that are designed to ignore your response...all the while seeking "donations" and paid upgrades.

Under the circumstances, I think this site should reduce the star-rating and overall ranking of Format Factory, regardless of its other attributes.

You are correct ... thanks for bring it to my attention. I have reached out to the author to see if they will fix this issue.

The link you have for Super to Afterdawn is not the current version and only downloads a downloader. You can get the full installer directly. This download also triggered none of the crap, though ESET still warned me.

Afterdawn does however have a useful Guide for using Super and finding some unobvious things, like the menu. And how to view file settings to match the conversion.

I've been very happily using iWisoft for occasional conversions. However, today it couldn't read one of a set of TS files. It saw it as 00:00.

I downloaded Freemake, but it included a sea of switches fora toolbar, game, Opencandy, and then noticed it also wants .Net4. I cancelled that one. .Net requires constant updates do I'd rather stick with one version. And not support a product that spams its customers like that.

I'll try FormatFactory next.

The FormatFactory download was blocked by my AV program as "potentially unwanted app", probably from reports of unwanted "extras".

Wow - ESET AV really doesn't like quite a few of these programs due to the installers they use. After trying a couple of others, I bypassed ESET to get Super installed, a program I've successfully used in the past. I had to deselect 3 different sets of things again! And even after this, it wanted to upgrade immediately. (sigh)

Although Super has a busy interface, its easy when you get the hang of it. I see it also has a built in Recorder now to do pod and webcasting, etc. (recording from your internal mic and webcam)

While slower than iWisoft, it is handling the problem TS file. And it can merge the files afterwards into one file. Ah - I see iWisoft also squashed the video aspect ratio. It didn't do this to other files. In Super, you can double click the file, read its settings and match the output to them if you want a straight conversion. Am re-encoding the files now.

For me DVDVideoSoft apps are the best. This developer provides its users with really good, free, very easy to use applications. To my mind its Free Studio contains all programs that one may need for simple video and audio editing.

I had a bad experience with DVDVideosoft as nagware. Then I saw it listed on an Adware list, so I pulled it.

A video converter that could be a real contender to the top picks here could be Softpedia Editor's pick XviD4PSP..... It has a cool interface, not to mention Full HD conversions too...

Thank you SO MUCH for this post, you don't know how much it is a relief it is to find something like this. I became very close to resorting to [something not entirely in my moral values] after hours of searching. I swear I'd would pay to see detailed info like this.

And "your welcome !!" I fell in love w/ gizmo many years ago and use it all the time. Just recently I needed an SSH client and again, gizmo came through. cheers tpg

Just updated Freemake to I didn't see any OpenCandy stuff bundled with it. However, they have now disabled drag & drop from the initial screen and instead have replaced it with a big button to get you to install Gold Pack by either donating or changing your Home Page/Search options in your browser. After doing a conversion, you can drag & drop (as long as you don't close the converted files info, in which case the screen reverts back to the Gold Pack install button.)

Quick followup. Looks like the main screen gets rotated a bit; sometimes it's a bit annoying, but I guess the authors have to monetize it somehow. Overall I'm quick happy with this options & the ease of use for this program. For a more sophisticated converter, folks should try MediaCoder. The number of conversion options can be daunting, but there is a large support community,

Thanks for a terrific article. I am transferring 5 to 15 year old analog 8mm home videos, the sample tapes I viewed still look good, into my computer. I am linking my old 8mm Sony to a recently purchased used Sony digital camcorder to my computor, I have all the connecting cables. The Sony camcorder will do the analog to digital conversion. I am looking to store my digital videos onto a large external harddrive and also burn DVDs for each of my kids. I figure that I may only have one good play with some of these old tapes, so I am trying to troubleshoot every step before I start. I am just confirming that in your opinion is the FREEMAKE program a good choice for me to build files that I will be able to edit and update in new formats later? Thanks for your kind input.

Dear "Tape Guy"; as the new moderator for this forum, let me welcome you. I've been re-writing this article only because I wanted to add a few new programs. While I do like FREEMAKE and find it a good fit for what you want to do, when it comes to creating the DVD, I find it lacking in two areas. First, the level of menu options is low, but more importantly, it won't actually burn your DVD ... it just makes an ISO ... and frankly, I don't want the hassle of sitting around waiting for the formatting to finish, and then starting the burn process. To me, they should all be integrated (and YES, I acknowledge that it's a personal preference). Thus, for DVD's I like DVD Styler I find it handles all the formats I've thrown at it, and it burns the DVD when done. I'll be including it in the new re-write that is in work now. cheers ... and thanks for using Gizmo. tpg