Best Streaming Software OBS Studios or Streamlabs – 2021

While streaming is still a relatively new phenomenon, it’s becoming a much more notable part of the entertainment industry. With more and more people streaming their lives on social media platforms, streamers are becoming internet celebrities, and even some celebrities are starting to stream on Twitch. Once you become a streamer, you’re going to want to get your stream up and running as fast as possible – whether it be on Twitch, Youtube Gaming, or Facebook Live.

When it comes to live streaming, there are two big software players who dominate the scene right now: Streamlabs and OBS Studios. Both are great in their own ways, and both have a loyal following. So which one is better? The answer is almost always going to be the same: they’re both great, and you’ll probably use each of them for different reasons.

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studios

We will start with going over OBS Studios since it is one of the most standard and popular broadcasting software available. Best of all it is completely free and open-sourced!


  • Fully Customizable, Simple Interface
  • Can fit all streaming needs
  • Best Performance (Low CPU Usage)
  • Fastest Software Updates


  • Learning Curve to Setup
  • Requires 3rd Party Alerts (StreamElements or Streamlabs)
  • Requires 3rd Party Plugins


OBS by itself is pretty lacking in additional features and functionality. It does provide some free overlays and even some at an additional cost, but that shouldn’t deter you from using it. OBS and StreamElements have partnered up and created an plugin package that integrates all the StreamElement functions comparable to those offered by Streamlabs. Here are some features offered by using the plugin:

  • Alerts
  • Donations
  • Activity Feed
  • Chat Module
  • Event Queue
  • Widgets
  • Custom Bot Naming


OBS is a highly optimized software delivering a top-notch user experience without any bloat. It will seamlessly allow you to record or live broadcast your content with minimal hit to your PC’s CPU – maximizing your in-game FPS. Even better, when using StreamElements’s plugin your chatbot and alerts/overlays are stored in the cloud pulling from a browser source rather than a local hard drive.

Streamlabs (SLOBS)

Streamlabs provides an ultimate package of features and advancements on top of what OBS provides. They aim to deliver an out-of-the-box better user experience. The software is free and has even incorporated an easy installation process to help you get set up quickly.


  • Very User Friendly – Automated Setup
  • Built-in Donations, Events, Widgets
  • Scene Cloud Savings
  • Streamlabs Cloudbot


  • Computer Resource Intensive
  • Streamlabs Chatbot separate download
  • Streamlabs Prime (Subscription)
  • Bloated – offers more than you may need


Streamlabs provides a variety of themes and features to allow each streamer to create their own unique atmosphere for their viewers. There are also plenty of built-in features all provided for free:

  • Alerts
  • Donations
  • Chat
  • Event Queue
  • Widgets
  • Layouts
  • Text-to-Speech


Streamlabs originally claimed to use less CPU Usage than OBS in the beginning, but since bloating their software with additional features they have since removed that claim.

While Streamlabs is incredibly powerful, it may provide some features that you as a streamer may not use. This means disk space, ram, CPU usage may be wasted running these idle features which take away from resources available for your gaming needs. Now depending on your game this may not matter, but those looking to minimize performance impact from streaming should consider going the OBS route and downloading the specific plugins you need.


Honestly, either choice is perfectly good to make and both will produce the same results in the end. Streamlabs is great to get started with especially for though who may not be too tech-savvy. Everything from the built-in features to automated setup can get you up and running within minutes after downloading. If you have a higher-end PC then Streamlabs could be a great choice to use forever.

Want my personal preference after using both? OBS Studios with from StreamElements. Yeah, it takes longer to setup, but you have much more control and flexibility. At the end of the day, I found myself turning off most features from Streamlabs that I simply did not need. I stream and game on a single PC and reducing as much resource allocation as possible is the goal to provide the best framerate for my viewers. Browse Reddit for a minute, there’s a reason a lot of streamers are making the switch from SLOBS to OBS after streaming for a bit – simply more control with better performance. But, again, it all comes down to personal preference!

Let me know your thoughts!

Considering which streaming platform to start on or switch to?
Read our Review of the Top 3.