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Updated by Kistent Waung - Contact Author

Handbrake Tutorial: How to Compress Video without Losing Quality

In the trend of HD and 4K, videos seems to get larger and larger, while the Internet bandwidth and our hard drives don't always match with the big size. Thus users are trying to reduce video size while converting the video format. Handbrake can make this done indeed. But a great deal of users reported that Handbrake degrades their video quality after compression.

In this article, we'd like to show you how to use Handbrake to compress video without sacrificing (much of) its quality, also the best Handbrake alternative to reduce video size without quality loss in a more effective way.

Strapped for time? Click one of the links below to jump straight to your most interested part.

Part 1. How to Compress Video Size by Using Handbrake?

Step 1: Install Handbrake app.

Visit Handbrake official site to download a copy according to your platform. Install it by following the wizards.

Step 2: Import the video you want to compress.

You'll be reminded to browse the oversized video you want to compress as you first open this video compression software. You can also do this by tapping the "Open Source" button on the top, or directly drag and drop.

Step 3: Select the output format for your compressed video.

Handbrake opens videos in a wide range of video formats, but only saves video in MP4 and MKV formats. To reduce video size, you're more recommended to select MP4. Certainly, if you want to retain multiple video, audio, and subtitle tracks, MKV is a nice option.

How to compress video with Handbrake

Step 4: Choose your preset.

Well, you can choose MP4 or MKV format in the section Output Settings. Handbrake offers more intuitive presets for novices in the right side of the window, say, send it to someone over Gmail, or upload it to YouTube, which will make configuring HandBrake a lot easier for you. You can choose the one that fits you mostly and tinker with it further to your own satisfaction.

Step 5: Tweak compression settings.

Besides video format, parameters like video resolution, codec, bitrate, frame rate etc also matter with video size. Thus, in order not to lose too much quality, you'd better follow the Handbrake compression settings below:

In the Picture tab, your source video resolution is accurately figured out. If you don't expect that high resolution, you can downscale it by typing smaller pixels of width and height proportionally, for example, 4K UHD to 1080p. If your video contains black bars, you're able to crop them out both in Automatic or Custom under Cropping.

Head to Video tab, drop down the Video codec menu, where you can convert H.264 to HEVC for 50% file size reduction without quality loss.

Move the RF slider to set the constant quality you want. Bigger RF numbers mean more compression, lower image quality, and smaller final file sizes. Generally, an RF of 18-20 looks good for H.264, and 20-22 holds up well for H.265. More for Handbrake video quality settings >>

In this section, you're able to change the video framerate (recommeded to choose Same as source) and Avg Bitrate to get video smaller.

Compress video by changing resolution, framerate, bitrate etc.

Step 6: Save your video.

Below the Destination, you can give the resulting file a name and click Browse button to specify the output folder path. Then click the green Start Encode button to finish Handbrake video compression.

Part 2. Best Handbrake Alternative to Compress Video without Losing Quality

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe - Your reliable video compressor that reduces 4K/HD video size greatly with no quality loss.

  • Convert 4K/HD video format like MKV to MP4, AVI to FLV, HEVC to H.264 etc for small video size.
  • Compress video files by changing video resolution, bitrate, frame rate, aspect ratio and other parameters.
  • Edit videos with features like cropping, trimming, rotating, adding watermarks, add subtitles etc.
  • Transcode videos at 47X real-time faster with Intel QSV/NVIDIA/AMD Hardware acceleration enabled.

How to Compress 4K/HD Videos with WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

Step 1: Free download this Handbrake alternative and install it on your computer, launch it. Then click "+Video" button or directly drag and drop to load the video to be compressed. Batch video compression is available when you loaded multiple videos at once.

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe - Compress video size without losing quality

Step 2: Choose output format. You can go "General Profiles" > "MP4 Video (h264+aac)" > "OK" to convert videos to MP4. If your device can play HEVC video, you can also select "HEVC Video" under "General Profiles", which will make your video size about 50% smaller.

Step 3: Click the gear-shaped Settings button. Then you are able to change video resolution, frame rate, bitrate, aspect ratio etc to get video file size smaller. For example, a 4K video is recommended to be compressed with following tips:

  • Resolution: Downscale 4K to 1080p to save more space while with high quality.
  • Frame rate: Keeping origin or changing 60fps high frame rate to 30fps would be a nice option.
  • Bitrate: Adjust it according to your resolution, or skip this option to leave it in automatic mode.
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 is the best aspect ratio for your mobile, tablets, desktops, HDTVs or YouTUbe etc.
Change video resolution, frame rate, bit rate etc

Step 4: Tap the bule RUN button on the main interface to start compressing your video right now.


author - Kistent Waung

Kistent Waung twitter icon

Graduated from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, she employs herself in IT related content creation (since 2013) and happens to perfectly combine her major (computer & science) and her gusto (writing). She's seasoned at offering video audio conversion workarounds and always passionate about new trends, from hot HEVC, 4K to the new AV1 codec.

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