The best VHS to DVD converter is something anyone with ageing video or camcorder tapes needs to invest in urgently. Because quite simply, your precious memories won't survive much longer.
Magnetic tapes eventually decay, even if stored carefully. The good news is that the best VHS to DVD converters can help save them. And they're pretty easy to use, too.
You connect the device to your video recorder or camcorder to capture your recordings, and transfer them to your computer as digital files. You can then burn these digital files to DVD, share them via email, YouTube or Facebook, store them in the cloud, or stick them on a portable hard drive. And you'll be so glad you did so, before it became too late to save your footage.
To choose the best VHS to DVD converter for you, you first need to check what ‘Out’ ports you have on your 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.
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VHS to DVD converters are normally bundled with software that allow you to use them. This software is normally supplied on CD-ROM. But of course, that's ageing technlogy too: nowadays, most laptops don't come with disc drives. So most VHS to DVD converters now also provide this software on the web. Not all make it easy to find, though: often you'll have to search the user manual for a URL or in the last resort, email the manufacturer.
You also need to consider whether your computer runs Windows or macOS, as not all VHS to DVD converters support both. And here's one final word of warning. Sad to say, but whether VHS to DVD converters actually work in practice can be hit and miss.
Ultimately, you're dealing here with a variety of outdated machines and outdated 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.
The best VHS to DVD converter 2022(opens in new tab)
This device from Elgato is the best VHS to DVD converter we can recommend. Firstly, because the quality of the transfer is excellent.
Don't get too excited: the quality of any old video footage you have is still going to look pretty ropey to anyone used to crystal-clear HD. But this device will at least translate it to digital as accurately as possible, and avoid losing any further definition in either the audio or video.
Furthermore, it supports RCA, S-Video and SCART inputs, so you should be able to connect any VHS recorder or camcorder to your computer. Plus it's compatible with all recent versions of Windows and macOS. So while it’s one of the most expensive devices on our list, it's still our top recommendation.(opens in new tab)
Seeking the best VHS to DVD converter, but low on funds? Then we’d suggest this budget-friendly device from Digitnow. While it may not reproduce your video and audio as accurately as the Elgato (number one on our list), 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. This VHS to DVD converter is also compatible with most versions of Windows and some versions of MacOS.(opens in new tab)
Here's something a bit different. The USP of Diginow's VHS to digital converter is that it offers a wider variety of ways to play back your captured video. Most importantly, 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. And 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.
Pinnacle Studio has a good reputation for video editing software, and so it's not surprising it produces one of the best VHS to DVD converters out there too. Not only that but it comes bundled with Pinnacle Studio for Dazzle, a video editor with lots of tools, titles and transitions to bring your footage to life.
The device, which is for Windows only, allows you to capture video directly from video recorders, analogue camcorders, Hi8 and V8 cameras, and other analog sources, including game systems and DVD players. Once you're done, you can save your footage to DVD, upload it to YouTube or Facebook, in HD or output in a range of formats.
These include Flash, DivX Plus HD, QuickTime, and formats compatible with PS3, Nintendo Wii, XBox, Apple iPod iPhone, iPad, and Android phones.(opens in new tab)
As well as converting your old videotapes, you may wish convert your analog LPs and cassettes to audio CDs or MP3s too. In which case, you'll be pleased to know this VHS to DVD converter can do both.
Available for Windows, this device is very easy to use. Just plug it 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.
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.
The main drawback to this VHS to DVD converter, though, is that you're restricted to RCA input. So if you want to use S-Video or SCART instead, you'll have to look elsewhere.(opens in new tab)
Looking for an easy life, and using a Mac? Then Roxio's VHS to DVD converter just for you is a great choice. It allows you to quickly transfer your videos from VCRs and other analogue sources including Hi8 and Video8 camcorders. You can 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.(opens in new tab)
The cheesy name and dodgy clip-art advertising may instantly put you off Video-2-PC. But if you can get past that, this is one of the easiest VHS to DVD converters available for Windows.
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.(opens in new tab)
Are you generally nervous of anything technical? Then you'll love that this device comes with 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.(opens in new tab)
Most editing software that comes with VHS to DVD converters is quite limited. Pinnacle Dazzle (number 4 on our list) is one exception, and here’s another. 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 an old version (released in 2013), it’s still decent.
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 final entry on our list doesn't have any particular special features, but it does do a decent job at what it promises, and does offer both RCA and S-Video inputs. It's bundled with editing software, although that's pretty basic, so not really something to get too excited about. Overall, then, if the other products on our list are either too expensive or not available, this is a solid if unexciting choice.
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