The best VHS to DVD converters aren't just a nice thing to have. They're an essential purchase for anyone with precious memories stored on camcorder tapes or VHS cassettes. Because if you don't act soon, those memories will soon be lost forever.
Even if you store magnetic tapes properly, they quickly decay. So it’s a matter of urgency that you transfer your footage to a digital format, which you'll then be able to keep forever.
The good news is, VHS to DVD converters are affordable and easy to use. You connect them to your video recorder or pre-digital camcorder via a cable, to gather the footage, then transfer it to your computer 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 social media, store them using cloud services like Google Drive or the Microsoft OneDrive, or any combination of the above.
So how do you find 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 has traditionally been supplied on CD-ROM. But nowadays, most laptops don't come with disc drives. So most manufacturers have (slowly) realised they have to put this software on the web too. Not all of them make it easy, though: often you'll have to search the user manual for a URL or, in the last resort, email the manufacturer.
One final word of warning. 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.
9 best VHS to DVD converters in 2021
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.
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.
Challenged by tech, and looking for a VHS to DVD converter that's easy to use? Got a Windows PC? Then here's our top recommendation. It couldn't be simpler to set up: just plug the USB connection into your computer and then either an S-Video or RCA connection into your VHS recorder or camcorder.
If you can't use the included CD-ROM, you can download the software from a Google Drive link on the Amazon page. On the whole, you won't get any amazing features with this device, but if you just want to convert VHS video to digital, it does the job. It's nice and cheap too!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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