OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: 8 Key Differences and Full Comparison

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: 8 Key Differences and Full Comparison

Key Points

  • OBS Studio is a powerful, open-source streaming software with extensive customization options, while Streamlabs offers a more user-friendly experience with built-in tools for audience engagement.
  • OBS Studio consumes less CPU resources and has a larger support community, whereas Streamlabs provides ready-to-use themes and widgets for quick personalization.
  • Both software options cater to different user preferences, with OBS Studio being ideal for experienced streamers seeking control, and Streamlabs being suitable for beginners or those wanting a streamlined experience.

Livestreaming has gained significant popularity as a means of sharing content globally. The emergence of platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live has led to a surge in available streaming software options. Among the multitude of choices, OBS Studio and Streamlabs stand out as two highly favored solutions.

OBS Studio, short for Open Broadcaster Software, is an open-source project developed by a community of passionate volunteers. It’s been around for over a decade and is known for its powerful video capturing and streaming features among other myriad customization options.

OBS Studio is a great choice for experienced streamers and content creators who want to have full control over their streams. Streamlabs, meanwhile, is a newer software that’s based on OBS Studio.

It’s designed to be more user-friendly and has a wider range of features, including alerts, widgets, and overlays. Streamlabs is a good choice for beginners or streamers who want a more streamlined experience.

By exploring their features, functionalities, and unique offerings, we aim to equip you with a thorough understanding of each software’s capabilities and drawbacks. Armed with this knowledge, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision. Let’s dive in and explore in detail what sets apart OBS Studio from Streamlabs. 

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: Side-by-Side Comparison

FeatureOBS StudioStreamlabs
User InterfaceMay not be as easy to use, especially for new usersEasier to use
CustomizationMore customization optionsReady-to-use themes and widgets
PerformanceLess resource-intensiveTends to use more CPU resources
Third-Party IntegrationsWide range of plugins and extensionsLimited support for third-party integrations
Live StreamingExtensive suite of tools and optionsIntegrated chat overlays, alerts, and dashboard
Community SupportMore extensive support communitySmaller support community
Licensing and PricingFree and open sourceFreemium model with free and premium options 

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: What’s the Difference?

To better understand the differences between OBS Studio and Streamlabs, let’s dive into the differences above and examine them in depth:

User Interface and Ease of Use

As far as user interface goes, OBS Studio and Streamlabs have distinct approaches, each generally seeming to cater to different types of users. OBS Studio’s interface is minimalistic yet feature-rich, appealing to seasoned streamers and content creators who desire complete control over their streams.

obs studio vs streamlabs
OBS Studio is free and open-source, but the OBS Project raises funds on Open Collective and Patreon.

©MDV Edwards/Shutterstock.com

With its extensive array of capabilities, OBS Studio empowers users with advanced functionalities, allowing them to customize every aspect of their streams to their exact specifications. The interface is designed to provide a streamlined and efficient workflow for those who prioritize utmost control.

In contrast, Streamlabs puts a strong emphasis on ease of use and aesthetics. The interface is thoughtfully designed to provide a user-friendly experience, particularly for beginners seeking an intuitive and effortless streaming setup.

Streamlabs prioritizes a seamless and visually appealing interface, ensuring that even those new to streaming can navigate the software with ease and confidence. Let’s now have a look at how they compare feature-wise.

Integrated Features

OBS Studio, as the foundation for Streamlabs, offers essential features that serve as the backbone of any streaming setup. These include scene switching, audio mixing, and video encoding capabilities. With OBS Studio, you have the core tools necessary to create and manage your streams effectively.

Streamlabs, being a fork of OBS Studio, builds upon this foundation and takes it a step further. It incorporates all of OBS Studio’s essential features and enhances them with a range of additional tools.

These include alerts, which allow you to engage with your audience through on-screen notifications, donation integration to seamlessly manage contributions, and chat overlays to keep your viewers engaged and connected.

By integrating these additional tools, Streamlabs provides a more all-in-one solution, allowing you to streamline your streaming setup and enhance viewer engagement.

Third-Party Integrations

OBS Studio takes the lead in this aspect, boasting a wide range of plugins and extensions at your disposal. This enables you to amplify your streaming endeavors by incorporating virtual cameras, audio mixers, and seamless scene transitions. 

These extensions offer unique functionalities like video effects, audio filters, and live chat overlays. In comparison, Streamlabs offers limited support for third-party integrations, paling in comparison to OBS Studio’s comprehensive collection. 

The abundance of available plugins and extensions in OBS Studio sets it apart, elevating your streaming capabilities to new heights. By embracing OBS Studio, you unlock a world of possibilities for enhancing your content and delivering an immersive streaming experience.

Streamlabs, while capable of some third-party integrations, simply cannot compete with the robust ecosystem that OBS Studio provides.


OBS Studio is known for its lightweight nature, consuming minimal system resources even during intensive streaming sessions. Even during demanding streaming sessions, OBS Studio maintains its efficiency, making it ideal for users with less powerful hardware or those seeking optimal performance.

On the other hand, Streamlabs, while still efficient, utilizes slightly more resources due to its inclusion of extra features and overlays. This means that users who prioritize performance above all else may find OBS Studio more suitable for their needs.

It’s worth noting that both software options deliver solid performance overall, but OBS Studio’s ability to operate smoothly on lower-end hardware sets it apart. With OBS Studio, you can confidently stream without worrying about excessive strain on your system.


Customization plays a pivotal role in choosing streaming software for those that prioritize being in control of even the nitty-gritty. OBS Studio takes the lead in this aspect by offering a plethora of advanced settings and the capability to craft intricate scenes through sources and filters. 

This grants users unparalleled control over the visual aesthetics of their streams. Conversely, Streamlabs places greater emphasis on convenience by providing an array of pre-designed themes and widgets for swift and effortless personalization. 

obs studio vs streamlabs
Streamlabs was founded in 2014 as TwitchAlerts, but had no official affiliation with Twitch.

©Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock.com

Although it still offers customization options, OBS Studio’s vast repertoire of tools and features stands out. Users can truly fine-tune every aspect of their stream to achieve a unique and tailored experience. 

On the flip side, Streamlabs streamlines the customization process, catering to those who prefer ready-to-use options. So, depending on the level of control and convenience each individual desires for their streaming endeavors, either one is sure to meet your customization needs.

Community Support

OBS Studio has a more extensive support community than Streamlabs. It has been around for longer, which means there are more resources available online.

The former boasts a larger and more robust support network, owing to its long existence in the industry. This longevity translates into a wealth of online resources at your disposal. 

Conversely, Streamlabs has a relatively smaller support community, which may limit the availability of assistance. It’s worth considering that a strong support system can significantly impact your streaming experience. In OBS Studio, you’ll find a thriving community where users readily share their expertise and solutions. 

On the flip side, while Streamlabs may not offer the same level of community engagement as OBS Studio, it does provide a valuable feature for users subscribed to its Ultra plan: priority support.

This means that users who opt for the premium subscription gain access to dedicated support from the Streamlabs team, ensuring timely assistance and guidance whenever they encounter technical hurdles or require personalized help.

License and Pricing

As we’ve seen, OBS Studio is open-source software, which means it is free to use and modify, Streamlabs follows a freemium model. This means that while the basic features are available for free, additional functionalities require a subscription. 

That said, Streamlabs offers a free and open-source desktop version, allowing users to access its core features without any cost. This means that anyone can download and use Streamlabs without having to pay for a license. 

However, Streamlabs also offers a premium version with advanced features that require a paid subscription. This freemium model gives users the option to unlock additional functionalities and enjoy exclusive benefits by opting for the premium subscription.

OBS Studio takes a different stance in that it’s entirely free and open source, meaning that all of its features and functionalities are accessible to users without any financial commitment. This makes OBS Studio an attractive choice for those who prioritize a budget-friendly solution while still seeking powerful streaming software.

The pricing models of Streamlabs and OBS Studio provide different options for users with varying needs. Streamlabs’ freemium approach allows users to choose between the free version or the premium subscription, depending on their requirements and desired feature set.

Meanwhile, OBS Studio’s commitment to being open source ensures that users can enjoy a comprehensive streaming experience without incurring any costs.

Live Streaming Capabilities

Both OBS Studio and Streamlabs excel in live streaming, allowing you to broadcast your content to popular platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. However, Streamlabs takes convenience to the next level. 

With its pre-built themes, integrated chat overlays, real-time interaction, stream alerts, and dedicated dashboard, Streamlab streamlines the entire streaming experience for those who want to engage with their audience effortlessly. This makes Streamlabs particularly attractive to streamers who prioritize ease of use. 

OBS Studio offers a more customizable and advanced setup, giving you greater control over your stream. It provides a comprehensive suite of tools and options, allowing you to fine-tune every aspect of your broadcast such as through creating complex multi-scene setups and implementing advanced audio and video filters.

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: 8 Must-Know Facts

  1. OBS Studio is a free open-source video capturing and live streaming system that provides real-time audio/ video recording.
  2. Streamlabs is an improved version of OBS Studio with a better user experience.
  3. OBS Studio requires fewer system resources than Streamlabs.
  4. While is primarily a cloud-based live streaming software, it offers a free and open-source desktop version.
  5. Streamlabs’ premium toolkit, Ultra, is available for $19 monthly or $149 yearly. The subscription gives access to priority support, custom domain, unlimited overlays, and more.
  6. Both OBS Studio and Streamlabs allow you to capture video and audio from multiple sources, including webcams, microphones, and media files.
  7. Streamlabs offers additional features like donation integration, alerts, and chat overlays, catering specifically to streamers who want to engage with their audience in real-time.
  8. OBS Studio’s extensive plugin support opens up endless possibilities for customization, including advanced audio processing, video filters, and more.

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: Pros and Cons

When considering Streamlabs and OBS Studio, you might want to weigh the pros and cons of each software. Here are some to consider:

OBS Studio

More customization optionsRequires more time and effort to customize
Low CPU usageLess user-friendly interface
More compatible with other software and hardware
More extensive support community


Lots of inbuilt tools and resourcesTends to use more CPU resources
Easier to useSmaller support community
Supports themes, donations, selling merch, and many other things, eliminating the need for plugins or third-party apps
Better user experience
Has mobile versions

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

Now that we’ve examined what sets these powerful tools apart, it’s time to determine which one would be the best fit for your streaming needs. If you value limitless customization, advanced features, and a dedicated community, OBS Studio will be right up your alley.

It offers unparalleled control over your streams, enabling you to create unique and professional productions. However, keep in mind that OBS Studio requires a bit more technical know-how and configuration.

Meanwhile, if you’re seeking a user-friendly experience with a quick setup and built-in tools for real-time interaction out of the box with no need for plugins, Streamlabs is an excellent choice. It caters to streamers who prioritize engagement and aesthetics without sacrificing essential streaming capabilities.

The Streamlabs Ultra subscription can be a valuable addition if you want access to exclusive features and support. In the end, both OBS Studio and Streamlabs are fantastic software options that have empowered countless streamers and content creators worldwide.

Whether you seek utmost control or a more straightforward setup, both OBS Studio and Streamlabs offer great features you could use depending on your expertise level and preferences. Evaluate your priorities, experiment with both platforms if you can, and choose the one that aligns with your creative vision and technical requirements.

OBS Studio vs Streamlabs: 8 Key Differences and Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the key differences between OBS Studio and Streamlabs?

The main difference is in their licensing and pricing. OBS Studio is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This means that it is free to use, modify, and redistribute. Streamlabs is proprietary software that offers a free version that includes basic features and premium versions that offer additional features and support.

Which one is better for beginners: OBS Studio or Streamlabs?

Streamlabs is generally considered better for beginners due to its more user-friendly interface and pre-built features.

Are there any mobile apps available for OBS Studio or Streamlabs?

While there are currently no official mobile apps available for OBS Studio, Streamlabs has mobile versions for both Android and iOS which you can download here.

Can I monetize my streams using OBS Studio or Streamlabs?

Yes, you can monetize your streams using OBS Studio or Streamlabs. Both software offers integration with popular streaming platforms, such as Twitch and YouTube, which allow you to earn money from subscriptions, donations, and advertising.

Can I use custom scripts or automation with OBS Studio?

Sure, you can use custom scripts or automation with OBS Studio. OBS Studio supports a wide range of scripting languages, including Lua and Python. This allows you to create custom alerts, widgets, and other features.

Can I use OBS Studio or Stream Labs on my Mac or Linux computer?

That’s right, both OBS Studio and Stream Labs are available for macOS and Linux operating systems. It’s even available on BSD.

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