Both Streamlabs vs OBS are popular tools that are primarily used for streaming!
Streamlabs is most commonly used for broadcasting and streaming, while OBS finds most of its use in streaming as well, on top of being a popular screen recording tool.
Since these two programs have a lot in common, and a lot of people tend to use one or the other, you are probably wondering which of these tools would suit your needs best.
So, in this article we are going to go through and compare these two products so you can decide which will fit your requirements best.
So, if you are struggling to decide between Streamlabs or OBS, keep on reading!
If you are a beginner streamer and need a tool to help get you started, and you have a PC which is powerful enough to run it, you should go with Streamlabs.
However, if your PC is not powerful enough to run Streamlabs, you should take the time to learn to use OBS as it does not impact the performance of your PC, and you are also offered a lot more options for customization.
What Are These?
Both OBS and Streamlabs are applications that are used for both streaming and recording and help you share video content on social media and other video sharing platforms.
These programs are actually quite similar in how they run since a lot of the workings of Streamlabs are based off the source code of OBS, however, the code has been adapted to make Streamlabs very easy to start learning to use.
How Do They Work?
Both platforms will let you work seamlessly between different scenes and sources to let your streams using them be as clean as possible so you do not have to worry about looking unorganized or having any dead time on your streams.
Both of these applications will use different streams to help you in different streaming situations.
You are also able to populate the screen with the sources provided whenever you want to which makes working with the platform quite simple.
Of course when it comes to programs which are designed to help you with streaming, you will need to ensure that the platforms you want to use will be comparable with it.
When it comes to which of these apps support more platforms there is a clear winner.
Using Streamlabs you will be able to work with Facebook, Twitch, TikTok, and YouTube natively.
However, OBS includes compatibility with all of these, as well as 90 more streaming services, and you can even customize it to work with new services if you have the resources to do so!
If you know you are only going to be working with any of the 4 services which Streamlabs support, this will not be an issue, but if you think you may need to work with some different platforms, you can be rest assured that OBS will be able to support this.
One of the most useful features which both of these platforms come with built-in is being able to automatically detect the game which is active while streaming.
However, there are more features which are unique to each platform, which will be listed below!
- There is a built-in chat on Streamlabs which means you will be able to have a chat for your streams natively supported, as well as a chatbot which will be able to stop any spam from entering the chat. To have this on OBS you will need to use a plugin instead
- Streamlabs has some great customization features with different themes and overlays being easy to use, install, and change.
- There are 5 different options for receiving payments and tips built into Streamlabs which make it super easy to monetize your streams, you will also not have your tips cut by Streamlabs.
- Streamlabs also has a dashboard feature which will let you look at various statistics captured by the app, you will even be recommended insights into how to cover any weak spots you could have.
- You can start charity donations for free using Streamlabs.
- There are good testing features built into Streamlabs which will let you see what any arrangements you have set up with will look like when they are live so you do not make any mistakes while streaming.
- You can make simple changes to your Streamlabs setup with the undo button.
- You can control your streams using remote control with the app which can be used on mobiles
- There is a free sound library you can use with Streamlabs.
- Using OBS will not be as high stress on your CPU and will not use as many resources. This means that streams using OBS tend to be more smooth.
- OBS tends to start up a lot quicker than Streamlabs does
- There are currently more than 100 different plugins which you can use with OBS which means the platform is highly customizable
- You will need to install Microsoft Visual C++ to use Streamlabs, whereas OBS does not require this.
- When you first set up OBS you will be given some good customization options to make sure the program is optimized for what you need it to do.
- While OBS is one of the older pieces of streaming software available, it receives updates quite often.
- The process of updating OBS is also quite simple and all you have to do is use the update button which is in the help center, this is opposed to Streamlabs where you will have to go and manually install the newest version instead of updating the one you already have.
Ease Of Use
The process of getting both of these platforms on your device is quite easy, and most people will not have issues with downloading either of them.
When it comes to how easy these platforms are to use, especially for streaming, Streamlabs is seen as the much more accessible option.
This is because the interface used by the platform is a lot more easy to navigate.
OBS on the other hand is quite overwhelming, especially without any guidance, and a lot of the features needed will have to be installed plugins.
While you can learn to use Streamlabs with little guidance, you will probably have to find some tutorials to learn to use OBS.
When it comes to the performance of each platform, OBS wins.
Upon testing, OBS led to on average between 5 and 10% increase in use of CPU, this is vastly different from Streamlabs which lead to a 15 to 20% increase being drastically higher.
After recording some PC gameplay for a minute of default setting, Streamlabs saves the video in the MP4 format, while OBS saves in MKV.
While these default exports can be changed, both of the videos took up about 20 MB of our storage, this is no surprise with the programs running off the same source code.
Power Usage Test
Similarly to the performance test from earlier, we can use Windows Task Manager to see how much power usage is being drained by using either of the apps.
By looking at this we can see the running Streamlabs has quite high usage compared to OBS.
If you are recording videos on OBS, the power usage will not be that high, whereas the usage on Streamlabs will be consistently high.
This is why Streamlabs is not recommended for low-capacity PCs.
Supported Operating Systems
You can download Streamlabs to be used on either; Windows, iOS, and Android.
There is also a partial Linux version which can be used if you are using the OBS Linux plugin for your browser.
There is also a beta version of Streamlabs which is available to use on Mac.
There is also the aforementioned mobile app which is compatible with the desktop version with its own variety of features.
You are able to use OBS on Windows, Linux, and Macs, there is also the compatible DroidCam OBS which will let you use your phone camera while using OBS which is a neat bonus feature.
There is a premium version of Streamlabs which is referred to as the Prime version which you can get for a $19 monthly subscription, or for $149 on a yearly basis.
This version is intended for professional streamers and some of the benefits you will get from using it are:
- Using the pro themes on Streamlabs
- Lets you stream on multiple different devices at the same time
- Lets you use the apps on the Streamlabs website
- You can customize your tip page to match your branding
- Lets you add in links to a personal store to make shopping for fans easier
- Easier implementation of paid sponsorships
While these features are all nice bonuses, they are by no means required, especially if you are a beginner streamer, and the free version of Streamlabs works perfectly well.
Installing and using OBS is also completely free as well.
Which One Is Best?
If you want the best application for recording gameplay and streaming gameplay without being too heavy on your PC’s CPU, then OBS will be the best for you.
Streaming with OBS may have a bit of a learning curve, but it features most of what Streamlabs has to offer, and the extra customization options make it a great multifunctional tool.
Of course, it is probably the only viable choice if you are working with a mid-range or lower PC.
However, if you have a high performing computer, and you want to use something which is more accessible, and has some features built-in instead of needing external plugins, then Streamlabs will likely be the better choice.
However, you will want to remain aware of the extra stress using Streamlabs puts your PC under while using it, and this could affect gameplay.
When it comes to Streamlabs and OBS, it is difficult to call one the superior piece of technology.
They are both based on the same source code, so while you may think this makes OBS the better choice since it is the original, Streamlabs would not have been created, and would not be successful, if there was not a demand for what it offers.
Since they are based on essentially the same software, there is a massive overlap in what they offer, and you could learn to use both.
But there are of course the exclusive features which were added to Streamlabs to make it stand out, but also the open customization allowed by OBS being taken away.
Just as was mentioned in the previous section, learning to use OBS can be a struggle, especially if you are not the best at learning to use new technology, however, if your PC is not powerful enough to be able to run Streamlabs and play games at the same time, then taking the time to learn to use OBS will be a useful skill, and then you will be able to use this low usage, but powerful tool well.
However, if you have a PC which will be able to run Streamlabs and gameplay, and you want a slightly more sleek experience, which is easy to learn, and you want the extra features which are built into Streamlabs, then this is the clear choice to make!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Streamlabs Or OBS Better?
Streamlabs and OBS are based on the same source code so they are very similar and have a lot of features in common.
While you can learn to use both, Streamlabs has a cleaner experience which is easier to learn to use, however, you will get more customization options on OBS, and your PC will be able to run it much more quickly.
Is Streamlabs Free To Use?
Streamlabs is free to use and once it is installed you will be able to start livestreaming with it as soon as it is set up.
However, there is the Prime version of Streamlabs which is paid and gets you extra premium features.