What is the Best Streaming Software For Twitch in 2023?
If you’re a content creator that streams on Twitch, you need software that enables you to produce high quality video content that performs well on the streaming platform and conforms to its guidelines.
Standing out on Twitch isn’t easy, and you need the tools you’re using to support you so that you can focus on creating stellar content — not on constantly tweaking settings and troubleshooting problems with your stream.
In other words: it matters which Twitch streaming software you choose.
There are lots of different options for streaming software for Twitch, and they offer a wide range of features and capabilities.
In this article, we’ll review and rank the best streaming software for Twitch, giving you our honest feedback on each one.
By the end, you’ll have a stronger understanding of how these various streaming tools work — and which is the best Twitch streaming software for your needs.
Criteria for Ranking
So how did we come up with these rankings?
We evaluated five criteria for each solution listed below, each of which contributes to how well a given solution performs as live streaming software for Twitch.
These are the criteria that we’re using:
- Interface and ease of use: Is the software user-friendly? Easy to learn? Robust enough to give you the control you need? How easy is it to start streaming?
- Stability, reliability, and stream quality: Does the tool have a bad reputation for dropped streams or other quality issues?
- Twitch integrations: How well does the software work with Twitch functions like chat, notifications, and donations?
- Feature set: overlays, scene transitions, multi-platform streaming, and more
- Community support and updates
Why Choosing the Right Streaming Software Matters
When it comes to choosing the right streaming software, Twitch doesn’t necessarily care which one you choose.
It just wants you to produce high-quality, engaging content that pulls in viewers and subs.
The thing is, the software you use can make an outsized impact on your streaming performance.
Quality makes a real impact on both viewer engagement and satisfaction: a glitchy or unprofessional-looking stream isn’t as engaging or satisfying as a professional stream.
Twitch is a highly interactive community, which means you need streaming software that lets you engage with your fans easily.
Growing your Twitch channel requires creating a positive community experience, and that takes more than a great personality.
It takes the right software.
Top 4 Twitch Streaming Software Solutions
ProPresenter serves as the central nervous system of your stream: all your live video inputs, stream design elements, transitions, effects, and audio and video content in one powerful tool for streaming to Twitch.
ProPresenter has an intuitive interface that puts all the tools you need front and center.
It’s both powerful and straightforward, designed with all the features and capabilities pros need but with an interface beginners and volunteers can pick up quickly.
Most people who know of ProPresenter think of it as a presentation app, and it is: the feature set for live productions and presentations is broad and deep.
But ProPresenter is also powerful streaming software: users can go live from within ProPresenter 7 with the click of a button.
ProPresenter gives you the ability to switch between video inputs and even apply effects using the inspector. You can see a live preview of video inputs and then output your desired content to your stream.
It’s also easy to record your screen and capture and output audio using audio routing using ProPresenter.
All the stream software for Twitch in this review can output reasonably reliable streams over RTMP. But only ProPresenter includes support for Resi™, the most resilient streaming protocol ever created.
It’s so resilient, Resi streams can survive a total internet outage for up to two minutes — with no drop in quality.
And now Resi™ can stream over RTMP to all your favorite destinations, including Twitch.
That means ProPresenter is an ideal choice for streaming environments where internet connections aren’t perfectly stable, as well as any situation where reliable stream quality matters above all else.
ProPresenter is also an extremely powerful stream design tool, with pro-grade graphic design tools and superior video effects (like overlays and animated transitions). Streaming and recording have never been easier (or looked this good).
As one of the leading presentation software solutions on the market, ProPresenter enjoys a large community of professional users, including many who use ProPresenter to stream on Twitch.
ProPresenter is Renewed Vision’s flagship product, so it enjoys regular updates and continual development. It’s also a cross-platform solution that works equally well on Windows and Mac.
ProPresenter is a powerful and well-rounded product, but its Twitch integrations aren’t as strong as some others. If you rely heavily on these and don’t need any of ProPresenter’s advanced capabilities (like multi-video output, a powerful software encoder, and the industry’s best content designer), then ProPresenter might not be the ideal fit.
Seat licenses for ProPresenter start at $399. This one-time charge includes 12 months of full support and all updates. ProPresenter+ is an optional yearly renewal that extends support and updates another 12 months.
Who it’s best for
ProPresenter is great for streamers of all types, but it’s best for streamers and organizations that need a complete streaming solution that includes professional-grade capabilities and features.
For example, if you’re dealing with numerous inputs and outputs or you need to send differing versions of your content to various destinations, ProPresenter is an excellent choice.
Streamlabs (formerly Streamlabs OBS) is a spiritual successor to our #3 choice, OBS Studio.
The latter is completely free and open source, which means anyone can take the code and do what they want with it. The makers of Streamlabs did exactly that, building an enhanced, freemium version that overcomes quite a few of the limitations that hold OBS Studio back.
Of course, it costs money to make all those improvements, and so Streamlabs is a freemium product. You can get started for free, but to use Streamlabs for serious streaming, you’ll likely have to subscribe to one or more packages or services.
Overall, Streamlabs is a high-quality choice for Twitch live streaming software. If you’re just starting out, Streamlabs is one of the easiest products to set up and use thanks to its optimizer. Many streamers appreciate the ability to get started for free. Then, when it’s time to pay, they get to keep the simple interface they already know.
Streamlabs is incredibly easy to set up thanks to an optimizer that gets all the basic settings right for you (and right for Twitch). It’s a great asset for anyone new to the world of streaming.
Many solo streamers love the way Streamlabs integrates their chat directly into the application, and the monetization features are easy to use, too.
Streamlabs also includes a convenient Test widget so streamers can make sure everything is ready for the public before going live.
The freemium model can be a frustration, especially considering the cost of Streamlabs Ultra. Ultimately you’ll pay more here than for many other non-”free” tools.
Streamlabs also carries some heavy hardware demands, so you’ll need a powerful PC or Mac to keep your stream steady and reliable.
The core Streamlabs experience is free, but many of the tools that most pro streamers need are tucked away in the Streamlabs Ultra, which costs $19/month or $149/year.
Who it’s best for
Streamlabs is ideal for solo streamers, especially in gaming and esports. The built-in chat, customizable themes and overlays, and monetization options all appeal to gamer streamers (and anyone else entertaining a live audience for hours at a time).
3. OBS Studio
OBS Studio is another extremely popular choice among Twitch streamers for one main reason: the price (or lack thereof). Let’s be clear: it’s the least capable tool on this list. But for a free product, it’s exceptional.
OBS Studio has everything you need to set up a basic Twitch stream similar to what you see from most streamers. It’s not as simple or straightforward to use or learn, but it can get the job done.
It’s also the only free and fully open source streaming solution on this list, and arguably the best free streaming software you can find for Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms.
OBS Studio can be customized in significant ways. Because it’s open-source software, practically anything is possible (if you have the skills to code it).
OBS Studio is also gentle on system resources. If you’re using older hardware, this might be the best solution.
Also a surprise given the price, OBS Studio includes an audio mixer, which makes it simpler to mix multiple audio inputs.
Most of the cons here tie directly to the fact that OBS Studio is free and open source. For example, while anyone can make plug-ins for OBS Studio, there’s little financial incentive to do so. As a result, other platforms have more plug-in support.
OBS Studio’s user interface isn’t as straightforward or easy to learn as others, either. And with no paid support staff, there’s no one to call when things go wrong. Of course, OBS has a huge and enthusiastic community, so it’s usually easy to find the help you need from volunteers, enthusiasts, and other Twitch streamers.
Last, OBS Studio can’t do multi-streams. If you need to stream to multiple destinations simultaneously (e.g., YouTube, social media, and Twitch), OBS Studio won’t work for you.
OBS Studio is free.
Who it’s best for
OBS Studio makes sense for experienced streamers without complex needs and tech-savvy beginners. You’ll need to know your way around your hardware (cameras, capture cards, audio mixers, and so forth) and setting up your stream for your chosen streaming platform.
It’s also the best option (despite the learning curve) for those with no room in the budget for a paid solution.
4. XSplit Broadcaster
XSplit Broadcaster is a popular choice both for the typical Twitch solo streamer and for those running corporate streams and live events. It’s accessible and easy to learn without being too barebones for professional or business use.
It’s our middle-of-the-road choice: not as advanced as ProPresenter, but more capable than both OBS Studio and Streamlabs.
XSplit Broadcaster has strong video editing capabilities, which is ideal if you’re editing footage for later use elsewhere (such as videos for YouTube edited down from your streams). The sensible user interface puts the options you need right where you need them as well.
Also, XSplit integrates with popular videoconferencing apps — a big win for corporate and business users, as well as solo Twitch streamers who want to collaborate with other streamers.
Additionally, XSplit Broadcaster includes several other advanced features, including integrated green screen, stream delay, and keyframe transitions.
XSplit Broadcaster can capture 4K footage but maxes out at 1080p for stream outputs. Twitch doesn’t support 4K streaming currently anyway, so for now this limitation is only a problem if you’re streaming to multiple platforms.
XSplit Broadcaster doesn’t have a usable free version (unless you love watermarks on your stream). Even though it’s a paid product, you still need to pay additional fees for some plugins.
XSplit appears to support multiple screens, but only one output to those screens.
XSplit Broadcaster Premium costs $60/year. VCam Premium, which allows you to remove, edit, and blur your webcam background, is $30/year. Or you can bundle both for $70/year.
Who it’s best for
XSplit Broadcaster is a true middle-of-the-road solution. streamers and businesses with a modest budget and medium-complexity streaming needs usually find what they need here. It’s a Twitch streaming solution that balances ease of use, affordability, and desirable features.
Your specific needs and context affect the answer. Solo streamers without significant technical needs might find what they need in OBS Studio or Streamlabs, and the latter is a stronger choice if you need a near-automatic setup process.
XSplit Broadcaster appeals a bit more to corporate and live events users, and it’s a great middle-of-the-road choice.
But if you need a fully featured, professional grade solution? ProPresenter is the hands-down winner. Its feature set is far deeper and broader, giving you the capability to handle live streaming scenarios and setups that others can’t manage.
Not sure if you’re ready to commit? Take advantage of ProPresenter’s unrestricted two-week trial and see how much more powerful your Twitch livestream can be!