If you are a brand new streamer you may be wondering what the best streaming software to get started with is. Heck, even if you are a seasoned veteran you may be confused about the difference between Streamlabs & OBS Studio. In this article we are going to break down the Pros and Cons of both Streamlabs and OBS studio so you can make a choice on which software is right for you.
Your current situation will determine the best software for your needs. Let’s jump in and take a look at the battle of Streamlabs vs OBS Studio.
Is OBS Better Than Streamlabs?
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may or may not want to go with OBS Studio over Streamlabs.
Pros of OBS Studio
Lightweight Software (Low CPU Usage)
When it comes to streaming having a smooth stream is vital. OBS Studio is a lightweight program which uses as little resources as possible to stream. If you are on a budget streaming PC with limited resources OBS Studio will be a better option.
Streamlabs is built on top of OBS code and has a lot of extra features that most streamers do not need. This can put strain on your pc if it doesn’t have powerful enough hardware.
OBS Studio has a lot of freedom for customization. As the code is open source anyone can create extensions and upgrades for the software. If there is an extra feature that you want on your stream, chances are someone has made an extension for it.
You can quickly download and install these extensions on your system to get extra features. For example I use a plugin called StreamFX to blur the background in my stream.
If you have something really specific you want to do for your own stream, you have the ability to code your own application on top of OBS Studio to fit your needs.
OBS studio is the parent software for Streamlabs and other streaming options. As OBS Studio is the original, it gets all of the latest updates first. This is great if a new feature is released that can help you out on your stream.
When Nvidia released their new NVENC GPU Encoder OBS Studio was first to get the feature. This feature has helped lots of streamers improve the quality of their streams. By being on OBS you got access to this first.
Now while OBS may be sounding great let’s take a look at some of the cons of using this program.
Cons Of OBS Studio
More Confusing For Beginners
While OBS is a great live streaming software it isn’t necessarily built specifically for gaming streamers. When you fire up the software you may not intuitively be able to find what you are looking for. As it is a powerful piece of software it can look quite daunting for new users.
If you want to add a specific feature to the software that isn’t already built in you will have to download and install a program from somewhere like Git Hub. For someone with little computer knowledge this can be quite hard.
Missing Streaming Specific Features
OBS is missing a lot of features that make Streamlabs so friendly for beginners. For example you do not have your chat integrated in OBS Studio initially. You also don’t have easy access to add your Stream Alerts to the software. To do this on OBS Studio you will have to use another third party tool such as Stream Elements to add alerts.
As an OBS user you will find yourself in this browser source section quite a lot adding the features that you want to your stream.
Is Streamlabs Better Than OBS?
For lots of people Streamlabs will likely be an easier option to get set up as it is so intuitive and is built for streamers specifically.
Pros Of Streamlabs
Easy to Use
From the moment you download Streamlabs it’s just easy to use. Streamlabs will do an automated install on your computer, setting you up with recommended settings. All you have to do is log into your Streaming account and you can instantly see your chat and notifications such as followers, subscribers and donations.
Lots of Themes Available
Streamlabs has a theme store available directly in the application. The store includes free and paid themes to get you started on your streaming journey. If you just want to get up and running as fast as possible this is an easy way to get a theme.
If you want some of the more premium themes you will have to get a Streamlabs Prime Membership which costs $19/month.
Streamlabs has lots of built in Stream management features in the software. You will be able to view your chat, view donation, followers and subscribers directly inside your Streamlabs dashboard. Once you’re logged in with your Twitch account all of this info automatically syncs. If you wanted to do this on OBS studio you would need an external plugin.
Built In Stream Alerts
Setting up Stream Alerts inside OBS Studio is extremely easy. They have a feature called an alert box which you can drag and drop onto the top of your stream. This means that any time you get a sub, follower, donation etc you will have it pop up on your screen for your viewers to see. On OBS Studio you need a 3rd party extension to do this.q
Streamlabs even has a feature allowing you to test your alerts at any time. Just click the specific action and the alert you have created for that action will appear on screen.
Includes Chatbot, Donation Page & More
On streamlabs.com there is lots of other features that improve the quality of your stream. Streamlabs has a full chatbot which connects to your stream allowing you to easily moderate chat. You can set this up on Streamlabs.com
If you want to collect donations on your stream, Streamlabs makes it easy to set up a donation page so you can take donations via Paypal and Credit card.
Streamlabs have an application store which has lots of tools to help you with different aspects of your stream. This is similar to plugins with OBS Studio however these are more user friendly to install.
Some of these applications are free and others are on Streamlabs Prime. The store includes application like Pretzel music player and Better Giveaways.
If you ever get a new computer or find yourself traveling around using friends computers you can easily get your stream setup on a different PC. Streamlabs saves your scenes and overlays in the cloud so you can use them on any PC at any time.
One of my favourite features about Streamlabs is the ability to stream to multiple platforms at the same time. This is a Prime feature aswell however it’s really useful if you aren’t a twitch affiliate and want to stream to different platforms. This can be a great way to expand your audience rapidly.
Now that you have seen the benefits of Streamlabs let’s take a look at a couple of reasons you may not want to use it.
Cons Of Streamlabs
More Resource Intensive
As Streamlabs is built on top of OBS Studio and includes a ton more features mentioned above it can really slow down your system. If you have a top of the line gaming PC you won’t have any problems but if you’re running on a budget streaming setup then it could cause your stream/game to lag.
Some Features Are Behind A Paywall
A lot of features such as premium themes and applications are only available if you pay for them through the Prime subscription. If you are a beginner streamer you may not want to pay $19/month for a Prime Subscription.
Which Software Should You Choose?
Ultimately it is up to you which software you choose. I have created a little table below to guide you on making your decision. As stated before it will really depend on your situation:
|Beginner||Streamlabs||Streamlabs is super easy to use for a beginner just getting started in the streaming world.|
|Customization||OBS Studio||If you want maximum customization for your stream OBS Studio offers you maximum freedom to create the stream you want.|
|On the Go||Streamlabs||If you tend to travel or move computers a lot Streamlabs cloud feature allows you to keep all of your stream settings on the move.|
|Budget Streaming||OBS Studio||If you are on a budget stream setup, utilizing as little resources as possible is important to you. OBS is lightweight and has low resource requirements.|
What is the difference in Streamlabs and OBS?
Lots of people get confused by Streamlabs and OBS. In fact lots of people think that Streamlabs was created by the same team as OBS Studio however this isn’t true. There has always been tension between the two softwares.
As OBS Studio is an open source project Streamlabs were able to use the base OBS code to build on top of. They then branched the software out into their own company called “Streamlabs OBS”. As they added OBS to the end of their name it left a lot of people confused.
The two companies are completely separate entities and do not have a working relationship. In fact OBS Studio have asked Streamlabs to remove OBS from their name in the past.
Streamlabs was acquired by Logitech in 2019 however still to this day there is heated debate online about the business practices of Str]eamlabs as a whole.
Should I Switch From OBS Studio To Streamlabs?
If you already have your overlays and alerts set up on OBS Studio there really is no need to switch. The only reason to switch would be that you find OBS Studio too complicated and want a simpler solution. If you want easier access to a feature like multi-stream then switching to Streamlabs may be a good option. If you want to move check out our guide on transferring overlays from OBS to Streamlabs.
Should I Switch From Streamlabs To OBS Studio?
The main reason to switch from Streamlabs to OBS studio would be that you are having performance issues. If you want to utilise less resources while streaming then switching from Streamlabs to OBS Studio is probably a good idea. You can see our full guide to transferring overlays from streamlabs to obs.
You should now have a much better idea of which option is best for you and your streaming career. Either way both options are great choices. If you are a beginner I would recommend Streamlabs simply due to ease of use but if you are a budget user or power user then OBS Studio may be a better option.
Why Do People Dislike Streamlabs?
Streamlabs have been shunned for their company practices in the past. They have been accused of copying from one of their competitors as well as making it very hard to cancel a Streamlabs Prime Membership.
Do I Need To Purchase Streamlabs Prime?
No, you do not need to purchase a Streamlabs prime membership. The free version of Streamlabs is more than enough to get you started on your streaming journey and has all the features you need to run a top quality stream.
Is Streamlabs Owned By OBS?
No, Streamlabs is not owned by OBS Studio. OBS Studio is an open source software that Streamlabs is built on top of. Streamlabs is now owned by Logitech.