Streamlabs vs. OBS: A Complete Comparison

Contributor, Benzinga

Streaming is the newest and most effective way to reach and interact with your audience on almost every platform. Streamlabs and OBS are the 2 top choices that you see professionals using for all applications. They are a program that communicates your input content with any platform that you want it to be seen live on. But which is the best?

What Is Streamlabs?

Streamlabs is one of the most iconic streaming programs that you can run on your computer. It can be set up for any type of stream from a standard gaming stream to a full-on live concert. It’s used by some of the most popular and recognizable names like Pokimane and Pewdiepie. It has an in-depth level of customization, or you can use some easy presets to get you started. You can access tools for creating your own intro and even your own streaming logo. Streamlabs is an all-in-one stop for the best streaming service.

What Is OBS?

OBS is a vetted classic that sets you up with all the basic tools you need for a successful streaming experience. It is used almost as much as Streamlabs on platforms such as Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Twitch and YouTube. Between streaming and recording, you can expect nothing but high-quality images to reach whatever platform you choose. 

Streamlabs vs. OBS

Since both programs are highly acclaimed and used regularly, you need to look at the finer details. Here is a more in-depth look and comparison of some of the best and worst features that both have to offer. 


With OBS, you have unlimited inputs of all kinds. You can set up screen capturing for specific windows, monitors or custom dimensions. On top of this, you have the ability to include camera inputs that are attached to the computer. When it comes to audio, you can also set up many different input sources such as microphones and gameplay audio. 

Streamlabs offers the same number of features. You can capture complete monitors, custom screen sizes and cameras. In fact, it would be odd if neither of these options offered the ability to include a camera as many let players and streamers use a camera to show their reactions. Streamlabs also allows you to use multiple audio inputs at the same time. Having multiple audio inputs lets you adjust and customize the levels in case something is coming in too loud or soft. 


Both programs allow you to screen record while streaming your video. Many YouTube gamers use screen recording to create content while they are streaming. They set up their live stream and record the video while livestreaming. Another popular method is to have the streaming platform record the live stream and then download it afterward to edit.

The only drawback for either platform when it comes to recording is that you cannot record each audio input separately to adjust after the fact. So make sure you have great sound while streaming if you are recording for use after. 

Both Streamlabs and OBS can start and stop recording without pausing your live stream, making it perfect to catch those golden moments. The only advantage Streamlabs has over OBS is that it has a replay buffer that lets you save and show quick replays of what just happened. 


OBS gives you the option to customize and create templates, which are also referred to as scenes. These scenes could be for different portions of the stream such as transitions, switching the view or even the types of inputs. If you use OBS to screen record in multiple ways and styles, you can use the scenes to speed up this process by automatically adjusting to whatever project you work on at that moment. 

Streamlabs offers the same types of scenes and transition options but even more so. Streamlabs has its own programs and templates for you to use to help you create custom transitions and interactive messages on your stream. This feature can help you make a more professional stream from the start, which is perfect for inexperienced beginners. 


Both OBS and Streamlabs are free. OBS is a 100% free program that always has been free and lives off donations and sponsorships from popular platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Facebook. It is recognized for the quality that it brings to the table for beginners and experienced users alike for free. 

Streamlabs has its standard version that is also free. However, they do have Streamlabs Prime that has quite a few perks to it. Prime allows you to multi stream to different platforms all at once and even opens up more customizations for you to use. Streamlabs Prime currently offers 3 payment options.

  • $149 annually
  • $45 every 3 months
  • $19 every month

Operating System Compatibility

Both companies want to deliver value to users in every way possible and on every platform available. Both OBS and Streamlabs are compatible with both Mac and Windows OS. This benefit is perfect for streamers of every type. The only way that OBS comes out a little ahead of Streamlabs is that OBS is also compatible with Linux. 

Audience Interaction

If you are streaming on a popular platform such as YouTube or Twitch, you want it to be an interactive experience for your audience. True interaction includes keeping up with live chat, donations and automated responses. These features are somewhat reliant on the platform, but overall the automated responses and special images are shown through your streaming program. 

Streamlabs has an advantage over OBS for the easy setup and use of images and graphics that show up for everything your audience can cue. With OBS, you need to use premade content that is ready for you to input on your own. This aspect isn’t necessarily hard for everyone, but can be difficult for beginners who don’t know what to have ready. Streamlabs is great because it holds your hand and guides you through the process of creating your custom images and designs. 


OBS does not have a set direct path to any sort of customer support. It is generally worked on and contributed to by volunteers. That being said, the support teams it has in its Discord chat and Wiki Guides are there because they want to be and have knowledge that can help you out. OBS also has almost a cult following that is full of useful knowledge and advice that will get you corrected in a flash. 

Streamlabs has a fantastic support team that you can contact through its website or via email where it tries to respond as soon as possible. It knows that having your stream down can hurt your audience retention as well as your income. 

The Top Streaming Contender

Both of these programs have so much to offer and can help you create a top-notch streaming experience. Since they both are beyond the needs of just basic streaming and recording, you have to look at the in-depth options and features to really choose the better option for you. 

From the comparison that you see here, OBS is great for streaming but may only get you so far. Streamlabs has much to offer and not even every feature and perk was highlighted. If you are trying to go for a career as a streamer, a good plan could be starting with OBS and as your audience grows, begin switching to Streamlabs and taking advantage of their Prime account.