7 Best Cheap Stock Video Sites: Ideal for YouTube & Video Editing

Written by Matic Broz Updated on October 19, 2021

7 Best Cheap Stock Video Sites: Ideal for YouTube & Video Editing

Having an unlimited supply of stock videos is the new meta. This option is cheaper and a lot more convenient since you never run out of downloads.

Because I know that price of videos is the most important factor, I analysed dozens of stock footage sites. And I narrowed the selection down to seven of them.

In my opinion, one of the top stock video sites that licenses (sells) unlimited quality stock videos is Storyblocks.

And here’s why.

But Storyblocks isn’t the only great stock video provider. There is plenty of other great stock photo and video sites, and each has its own merits. You must weigh the pros and cons of each, so you can find the one that best fits your needs.

Here are my recommendations:

Stock video siteBest forReason
StoryblocksCheapestUnlimited downloads planGet now »
ShutterstockEveryoneGreat overallGet now »
Adobe StockContent creatorsSeamless integration into Creative CloudGet now »
Pond5AnyoneSpecialised in stock videosGet now »
Recommended stock video sites.

Naturally, stock videos are more expensive than stock photos. After all, they take longer to create, require expensive equipment, and loads of planning. Lastly, there are a lot fewer videographers than photographers, resulting in fewer available stock videos.

How much does stock footage cost?

Video providerSDHD4K
Storyblocks$20/mo*$20/mo*Get now »
Artgrid$24.92/mo*$39.92/mo*Get now »
Shutterstock$9.95$9.95$9.95Get now »
Pond5$15$25$50Get now »
Adobe Stock$72$160Get now »
Alamy$65$100Get now »
* A monthly subscription that comes with unlimited downloads. Storyblocks doesn’t need separate subscriptions for HD and 4K videos as both resolutions are included for $20/month.

Cheapest stock video sites

What determines the best stock video site is a good price for high-quality footage. A variety of available resolutions is also a must so that they cover every need.

For example, 4K videos are amazing, but they are also costly. Thus, if you only need an HD video, choosing the right resolution can save you a lot of money.

  1. Storyblocks
  2. Artgrid
  3. Shutterstock
  4. Pond5
  5. Adobe Stock
  6. iStock
  7. Alamy

1. Storyblocks

Great for content creators on a budget who require a high amount of videos.

Storyblocks interface

I LIKE

  • Unlimited downloads from $20/month
  • Easy to use Video Maker
  • Excellent choice for content creators
  • Cancel anytime
  • Broad license

I DON’T LIKE

  • No free trial
  • No on-demand options

Price: from $20/month for unlimited 4K & HD footage.
Review: Storyblocks review.

I like Storyblocks because their pricing is very straightforward and prompts creativity. The worst enemy of creative work is to be limited by your budget. And that won’t happen to you with Storyblocks’ unlimited downloads subscription, which applies to all their 584K+ videos.

You can choose between two royalty-free licenses: Individual and Business. Both allow unlimited production budget and distribution. The only difference is in the amount of legal indemnification: $20,000 vs $1,000,000.

Unless you already use video software, I recommend Storyblocks’ Maker – it’s an easy to use video maker. It does not only have an integrated Storyblocks’ library, but it also requires zero video editing experience. You can get it together with unlimited stock video downloads for $30/month.

On the other hand, if you do not require access to Maker, I recommend the Unlimited Video plan for $20/month. It grants you unlimited downloads of 4K & HD footage, as well as After Effects templates.

2. Artgrid

Best Storyblocks alternative.

Artgrid interface

I LIKE

  • Up to 8K videos
  • Trusted by famous brands and YouTubers

I DON’T LIKE

  • More expensive than Storyblocks
  • Doesn’t have its own video maker

Price: from $24.92/month for unlimited downloads.
Review: Artgrid review.

Artgrid is the best alternative to Storyblocks. Both offer unlimited downloads of stock footage, but Artgrid plans are considerably more expensive. For example, at Storyblocks, you get unlimited videos, audio, and After Effects, plus access to their Maker for $30/month. On the other hand, Artgrid’s videos start at $25/month, audio at $12/month, and there’s no video maker.

However, Artgrid does seem to offer better quality videos. In addition, a famous YouTube video creator, Peter McKinnon, uses it. That’s because the Artgrid license covers YouTube, and it never expires.

3. Shutterstock

For those with an unlimited budget who want absolutely the highest quality videos.

Shutterstock interface

I LIKE

  • 10 free images with the free trial
  • Great subscription and on-demand options
  • 22mil+ videos

I DON’T LIKE

  • Quite expensive
  • No unlimited downloads option

Price: from $8.33/video.
Review: Shutterstock review.

You can get any from 22mil+ royalty-free stock videos with subscription plans or on-demand. You can choose between subscriptions of 5, 10, or 20 clips, billed monthly, yearly, or yearly prepaid. The subscription plans start at $79.08/month, and videos cost $8.33 or more.

On-demand packs don’t bind you to any contract, but the videos are subsequently more expensive. You can choose between 5, 10, and 25 videos of SD, HD, or 4K quality. SD videos pricing starts at $51.96, HD at $63.16, and 4K at $91.96. Moreover, Shutterstock offers a so-called Shutterstock Select, a premium footage selection. However, these videos cost $399 per clip.

4. Pond5

Excellent quality for high prices.

Pond5 interface

I LIKE

  • Bonus credits with credit packs
  • Price matching
  • Excellent quality

I DON’T LIKE

  • Expensive
  • No subscriptions

Price: $15/SD video, $25/HD video, $50/4K video.
Review: Pond5 review.

Like Storyblocks, Pond5 is best known for selling stock footage and After Effects, but you can also buy stock photos. Pond5 stands out with its unmatched video quality. You could say that it’s a premium stock video site.

Pond5 does not offer subscriptions as all payments are performed with real cash credits. You can save some money by purchasing credit packs. For example, a $250 credit pack grants you a $25 bonus, while a $2500 credit pack grants you a $500 bonus. In short, the larger the credit pack you purchase, the more bonus you get.

In addition, Pond5 runs a best price guarantee, meaning that if you find the same video elsewhere for a lower price, Pond5 will match. However, Pond5 won’t go lower than $15/video.

5. Adobe Stock

Best choice for content creators who use Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe Stock interface

I LIKE

  • 10 free images with the free trial
  • 20mil+ videos
  • Integrated into Creative Cloud

I DON’T LIKE

  • Expensive
  • No subscription plan for videos
  • No unlimited downloads option

Price: 8-20 credits for HD and 4K videos, credits cost $8.00-$9.99.
Review: Adobe Stock review.

Adobe Stock is THE choice for content creators who use other Adobe Creative Cloud apps, especially Adobe Premiere. It works similarly to Storyblocks’ video Maker. Since it’s integrated into the software, in Adobe’s case, Creative Cloud apps, it allows you to try out the videos (and images) even before purchasing them. Only when you’re satisfied with the final product, you purchase the videos you use and discard those that didn’t fit.

However, Adobe Stock is pretty expensive. Needless to say that the video quality is unparalleled, and video apps are one of the best in the market. I recommend you start with something more price-friendly, such as Storyblocks. And only if you find yourself needing more, you pick Adobe Stock.

6. iStock

A great alternative to Shutterstock.

7 Best Cheap Stock Video Sites: Ideal for YouTube & Video Editing 1

I LIKE

  • Good selection of videos
  • Straightforward pricing model

I DON’T LIKE

  • Expensive
  • No unlimited downloads option

Price: from $6.16/video.
Review: iStock review.

iStock is a very well-known stock photo agency, but it licenses exceptional stock videos, too. You can get videos both with subscriptions and on-demand with credits.

Subscriptions come in sizes of 10, 25, and 50 monthly downloads, which cost between $115 and $308, resulting in $6.16/video.

If you don’t want to be bound to any contract, credits are the best choice for you. iStock offers various credit packs, but the largest costs $2,400 for 300 credits, which translates to 50 videos or $48/video.

Like images, videos are divided into essentials (6 credits) and signature (18 credits). As the names suggest, essential footage is generic and less unique than the signature content.

7. Alamy

Shutterstock alternative for stock footage.

Alamy interface

I LIKE

  • Good selection of videos
  • Straightforward pricing model

I DON’T LIKE

  • Expensive
  • No unlimited downloads option

Price: from $65/video.
Review: Alamy review.

Alamy isn’t a budget-friendly solution, but you can get some high-quality stock videos. However, 4K full royalty-free videos cost up to $390. This license allows you to use the same video in multiple projects and can be used by everyone on your team.

Unfortunately, you cannot buy Alamy stock footage with subscriptions or even with prepaid packs. Therefore, you don’t get any bonuses for bulk purchases.

What are stock videos?

Stock videos, also called stock footage, is a short video clip, usually 20-60 seconds long, created with the sole purpose of being resold or licensed. These videos are usually distributed by stock video agencies (or sites) in the name of the videographers who shot them. Upon purchasing a video license, the stock video agency and the contributing videographer split the profit.

When you purchase a stock video, you don’t actually buy the video but the license that gives you the right to use it for your project(s). In the vast majority of cases, it’s a variation of royalty-free license that allows you to use the video forever for your projects, but you must not resell it.

How to buy stock videos?

Stock videos can be purchased from stock video sites (Storyblocks, Artgrid) or stock photo sites that also sell videos (Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, iStock).

In total, there are three different ways to buy stock videos.

1. Subscription unlimited downloads

The best budget choice is unlimited downloads that you can get at Storyblocks and Artgrid.

Unlimited downloads, while the cheapest, are also the most convenient. Once you purchase a subscription plan, you don’t have to count downloads and worry about running out of them. Also, the video quality is comparable to that of Shutterstock and iStock.

Many video editors agree that switching to an unlimited downloads plan was the best decision they’ve made for their projects.

Supercharge your workflow with unlimited stock footage downloads.
Try Storyblocks

2. Subscription downloads

Conventional subscription plans give you a fixed amount of downloads per month. And if you run out of them, you either have to pay extra or get an on-demand plan, which is significantly more expensive (more on it in a second).

Subscription plans are the best option for you when you know you’ll need video consistently for a long time. They are more cost-efficient than on-demand plans.

3. On-demand

On-demand plans work in two ways, but both are really similar. a) You either directly purchase a video with your cash, or b) you purchase credits first and then use these to purchase videos.

On-demand plans are more expensive than subscription plans. But they’re the best option when you only need a couple of videos. In this case, purchasing a subscription plan wouldn’t make sense.

What are stock videos used for?

Stock footage is most commonly used as B-roll. B-roll supplements the primary footage by tying it together. It’s usually used for television shows, news broadcasts, and films. A few examples include aerial stock videos of a location and people walking down a street.

Stock footage is sometimes used as primary footage and B-roll, meaning that the whole video consists of stock footage. This happens when the video editor does not possess any original clips.

How to use stock videos?

If you don’t have a videographer to capture all the videos for you, stock videos are a lot cheaper than buying all gear and learning how to shoot footage. In addition, sometimes you require footage that you simply cannot get otherwise. For instance, a volcano eruption.

At the beginning of their careers, video editors often underestimate the number of videos they’re going to need. So they opt-in for the cheapest plans, which usually give you around 5 downloads per month. That’s simply not enough.

The best option is to get an unlimited stock footage download plan.

Frequently asked questions

Where can I buy cheap stock videos?

The best place to buy cheap stock videos is undoubtedly Storyblocks. The Unlimited plan gives you unlimited downloads of stock videos, audio, and After Effects at just $30. In addition, you get access to video Maker, which has integrated the Storyblocks’ library.

Where can I find good stock videos?

Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Pond5, Storyblocks, iStock, and Alamy are great places to get good royalty-free stock videos. You can also use free stock video if you wish, but remember that you don’t get any legal indemnification with these. You’re on your own.

Where can I get free movie footage?

Pixabay, Pexels, Videvo, and Mixkit are all great free stock footage sites. An alternative for free movie videos is creating them yourself. But it generally costs at least something because you need camera gear.

What is the best site for stock footage?

The best stock footage site is Storyblocks. For only $20/month, you can get unlimited stock footage downloads. If you also need music, After Effects, images, illustrations, and more you can get their All Access plan for $30/month.

Do you have to pay for stock footage?

You have to pay for royalty-free stock footage, but you don’t have to pay for free stock footage. But there’s a downside to using free stock footage. Firstly, it’s already been used multiple times, so your audience has probably already seen it. Therefore, your work can come off as cheap or too stocky. Secondly, free stock footage is often low quality, plus, it’s not vetted. So by using it, you might be infringing copyright.

Can you use stock footage with a watermark?

You may not use watermarked stock footage. The main reason is that you have not acquired a license for footage that’s watermarked, meaning that you’re using it without permission.

What’s next?

Now, choose one of the stock footage sites I listed above. If you’re looking for the cheapest yet quality stock videos, I recommend the Storyblocks’ Unlimited plan ($30/month) or Unlimited videos plan ($20/month). The former is best if you need videos, audio, and video editing software, while the latter is best for those who only need videos.

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