Skip to main content

The best VHS to DVD converter in 2021… turn your old tapes into digital videos

Included in this guide:

Best VHS to DVD converter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best VHS to DVD converters are potentially worth their weight in gold. After all, think about all the precious memories you have stored on camcorder tapes or VHS video cassettes. And yet this kind of storage won't last much longer. 

Even if you store them properly, magnetic tapes deteriorate quickly decay, within as little as 10 years. So it’s basically a race against time to transfer them to a digital format, that you'll be able to share, edit and store forever.

VHS to DVD converters all work in broadly the same way. You connect them to your video recorder or pre-digital camcorder via a cable, to gather the footage, and then transfer it to your PC or Mac via USB cable. 

You can then do what you like with these digital files: burn them to a DVD, share them via email, upload them to YouTube or Facebook, store them using cloud services like Google Drive, or all of the above.

• See Best online photo storage

So how do you choose the best VHS to DVD converters for your needs? First, check what ‘Out’ ports you have on your old video recorder or camcorder. 

The most common is RCA: three round slots that are white, yellow and red respectively (aka phono connectors). There’s also S-Video, which offers better image quality, and SCART, which is the best of the three. Most VHS to DVD converters only have connectors for RCA ports, but some offer two, or all three.

• Need a DVD burner? Check out this budget option

VHS to DVD converters are normally bundled with software that allow you to use them. With pricier devices, this software often includes editing and DVD burning tools as well. 

This software is normally supplied on CD-ROM. But nowadays, most laptops don't come with disc drives, so you should be able to download it from the web too. That's not always easy, though: with many VHS to DVD converters, you'll have to search the user manual for a URL or, in the last resort, email the manufacturer.

One last word of warning. Customer reviews on Amazon suggests that whether VHS to DVD converters actually work in practice can be a hit and miss affair. We’re dealing here with a variety of aging machines based on out-of-date technologies, versus a bewildering variety of modern PC and Mac operating systems, so that’s not a huge surprise. But it does mean you should avoid getting your hopes up too much, and keep an eye on those returns policies.

8 best VHS to DVD converters in 2021

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Elgato)

1. Elgato Video Capture

The best VHS to DVD converter overall

Specifications
Inputs: S-Video, RCA, SCART (via adapter)
Outputs: USB
Compatible with: macOS 10.6.8+, Windows 7+
Reasons to buy
+High quality reproduction +S-Video and SCART inputs+Supports Mac and Windows  
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

While the quality of any old video footage you have is going to look pretty ropey to anyone used to crystal-clear HD, you still want to translate it to digital as accurately as possible, and avoid losing any further definition in either the audio or video. And with that in mind, Elgato’s is the best VHS to DVD converter we can recommend.

It supports RCA, S-Video and SCART inputs, so you should be able to connect any VHS recorder or camcorder, and is compatible with all recent versions of Windows and macOS. And while it’s the most expensive device on our list, the better picture quality may well make that investment worth it to you.

(Image credit: Digitnow)

2. Digitnow Video Capture Converter

The best cheap VHS to DVD converter

Specifications
Inputs: S-Video, RCA, SCART (via adapter)
Outputs : USB
Compatible with: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10; macOS (not Mojave or Catalina)
Reasons to buy
+Range of inputs +Reasonable price+Supports PC and Mac
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t support macOS Mojave or Catalina

The Elgato may be the best VHS to DVD converter overall, but it sure is expensive. So if you’re looking for something more affordable, we’d suggest this budget-friendly device from Digitnow. While it may not reproduce your video and audio as accurately as the Elgato, it does a pretty decent job nonetheless. 

You can plug it in to either RCA or S-Video connectors, and it also comes with a SCART adapter. Note that this VHS to DVD converter is compatible with all recent versions of Windows and some versions of MacOS, although it doesn’t support macOS Mojave 10.14 or 10.15 Catalina. 

(Image credit: Digitnow)

3. Digitnow Video to Digital Converter

The best VHS to DVD converter machine with its own screen

Specifications
Inputs: RCA
Outputs: USB, internal screen, HDMI (cable not included), AV (cable not included), memory card (not included)
Compatible with: Windows
Reasons to buy
+Built-in LCD screen +Connects to TV +Records to memory card 
Reasons to avoid
-No S-Video or SCART

Diginow offers another VHS to digital converter that’s a little pricier than most. What you get in return is a wider variety of ways to play your captured video. 

First, it has its own internal screen, so you can watch it directly on the device itself. Second, you can play it on your TV using your own HDMI or AV cable. Thirdly, you can record it onto your own memory card. Or fourthly, you can transfer it to your Windows computer via the supplied USB cable. Note that there’s no S-Video or SCART connector though, and that this device isn’t compatible with macOS.

Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus (PC)

(Image credit: Roxio)

4. Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus

The best VHS to DVD converter for editing your videos in Windows

Specifications
Inputs: RCA
Outputs: USB
Compatible with: Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows XP, Windows 7
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Good editing tools+2 free DVDs
Reasons to avoid
-No SCART input

This VHS to DVD converter for Windows is very easy to use.  Just plug the device into your computer's USB port (USB 2.0 or higher), install the software from the website, and start converting. The package even includes two blank DVDs to get you started. 

Beyond that, if your original picture is particularly dodgy, it has some good tools to clean it up. This makes it easy to correct things like color balance and lighting, as well as the visual noise caused by aging VHS tapes. Plus you can add transitions, DVD menus, and rolling credits before sharing your movie digitally or transferring it to DVD.

And that’s not all! Although you wouldn’t expect it from the product name, you can use the Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus to convert your analog LPs and cassettes to audio CDs or MP3s too. The main drawback to this VHS to DVD converter is that you're restricted to RCA input: there's no S-Video or SCART connectivity.

Roxio Easy VHS to DVD (Mac)

(Image credit: Roxio)

5. Roxio Easy VHS to DVD (Mac)

Easy-to-operate VHS to DVD converter for Mac users

Specifications
Inputs: RCA
Outputs: USB
Compatible with: Mac OS X 10.2+
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Good editing tools+Supports many camcorders
Reasons to avoid
-No SCART input

Using a Mac? Then Roxio has a VHS to DVD converter just for you. Easy VHS to DVD for Mac allows you to quickly transfer your videos from VCRs and other analogue sources including Hi8 and Video8 camcorders. 

You can then edit them in iMovie to add titles, transitions and other edits, add professionally designed menus, and turn your videos into VCD, SVCD and DVD movies. These can then be transferred to DVD, portable devices or shared online. Note, though, that there's no S-Video or SCART input: only RCA.  

(Image credit: UCEC)

6. UCEC VHS to Digital Converter

Budget-friendly VHS to DVD converter with good tech support

Specifications
Inputs: RCA
Outputs: USB
Compatible with: Windows 7,8,10; Mac OS X 10.4+
Reasons to buy
+Cheap +24-hour support +Money back guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-No S-Video or SCART

Another cheap and cheerful VHS to DVD converter, the notable thing about this device is that the company provides 24-hour online technical support and a one-year money back guarantee. 

Other than that, it’s pretty standard stuff, including an RCA connector for your video recorder or camcorder (but no S-Video or SCART), and a USB cable to plug into your Windows PC or Mac. Note: the included software comes on a disc, but if you don’t have a disc drive, there’s a download link in the user guide.

(Image credit: Diamond)

7. Diamond VC500 USB 2.0 One Touch VHS to DVD

Capable device for Windows with good editing software.

Specifications
Inputs: RCA, S-Video
Outputs: USB
Compatible with: Windows 7, 8, 10
Reasons to buy
+Power Director editing software +Connects to S-Video +Affordable price 
Reasons to avoid
-For a Mac, you need to buy Diamond VC500Mac

Most editing software that comes with VHS to DVD converters is quite frankly, a bit limited. But here’s an exception: the Diamond VC500 comes with a free copy of Cyberlink’s Power Director. This consumer-level video editing software is a standalone, paid-for product in its own right, and although this is quite an old version (released in 2013), it’s still pretty capable. 

Meanwhile the device itself isn’t anything particularly special, but it does the job, sells for an affordable price, and offers S-Video input as well as RCA. Note though, there are separate Windows and Apple versions, so you need to check you are buying the right version for your computer.

(Image credit: Video-2-PC)

8. Video-2-PC

Easy to use VHS to DVD converter for Windows

Specifications
Inputs: RCA, SCART
Output: USB
Compatible with: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
Reasons to buy
+RCA and SCART +Software can be downloaded 
Reasons to avoid
-Awful branding -Windows only

The cheesy name and dodgy clip-art advertising may instantly put you off Video-2-PC... and we wouldn’t blame you. But surprisingly, this easy to use device is still one of the best VHS to DVD converters available today. 

Allowing you to capture video from any VHS, S-VHS or Betamax VCR with a SCART output, it includes software to capture, timeline edit, produce MP4 video files or burn to DVD. And if you don’t have a disc drive then don’t worry, as download links are also available. The company provides both written instructions and a video tutorial to get you started, plus there’s a 28-day money back guarantee.

Read more
Best film scanners

Use your DSLR, mirrorless camera, or GoPro as a 4K webcam with a capture card

Best memory cards

Best camcorders in 2021

Best projection screens

Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.