Sound effects are essential, both for audio tracks and also videos.
This is why I created this list of the best websites where you will be able to find royalty-free sound effects that you can use, in some cases completely for free!
But before we get into the list, there’s a hugely important thing that you need to consider…
Free Sound effects are not Royalty-Free
Now, before we get started, there’s one important thing that needs to be addressed…
“Free to download” doesn’t necessarily mean “Free to use”, and this is where some people mess up.
Most of the sites on this list will let you download the sound effect for free and also use it for free, but some others will require attribution, E.G. that you mention the owner/creator, or pay for the licensing.
This will depend on a couple factors, primarily if the tracks will be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
Most of the times, you won’t need to give attribution for non-commercial uses of the tracks, but if you want to be able to monetize a YouTube video, use the tracks for a commercial etc., you will most likely need to give attribution or pay for the usage rights.
So, before using the sound effects you downloaded, make sure to read the licensing conditions on the site.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started!
Free Sound Effects Websites
Most of the websites on this section will require attribution for commercial use, or will even ask you to pay for the licensing.
They sound effects are, however, free to use in personal projects.
AudioJungle (Free, and from $1)
AudioJungle offers an absolute ton of royalty-free music, sound effects, and more, 998,470 tracks at the time of writing this article to be precise, that you can get for as little as $1, or even free at times.
The search engine is fantastic and the website itself is super easy to use.
Once you do a search you will be able to see the rating that the users gave each track as well as the number of downloads, and more.
You can purchase individual files or kits; Kits are a collection of pre-edited individual sections that can be rearranged easily.
As far as sound effects go, you can choose from Game Sounds, Transition & Movement, Domestic Sounds, and more, all the way to Industrial Sounds, as well as Futuristic ones.
Additionally, AudioJungle offers a monthly Freebie collection that you can download and use completely for free that includes sound effects, music, video effects, stock footage, stock photography, and more.
Plus, they also offer loads of tutorials that might be useful to you.
Lastly, AudioJungle is part of Envato Market, which is a creative eco-system with over 35,000 professional designers, music makers and developers creating all the assets you need for your projects.
AudioJungle is also part of my list of the 24 best Royalty-Free music websites that you should definitely check out!
Pond5 (Free up to $940)
Pond5 is one of the largest royalty-free music repositories, but not only that, they also offer Video, Sound effects, After Effects, and Images.
You will be able to choose from a huge array of Sound Effects; From Cinematic, Thunder, Footsteps, etc., all the way to Cartoon, Applause, and more.
They also offer free Sound Effects which you can find under the Public Domain category.
As far as the pricing goes, it can be pretty expensive. However, they offer many alternatives such as paying for each individual file for as low as $15, or to sign up for a monthly or annual membership.
The monthly and annual memberships cost $190 and $940 respectively and allow you to download 10 files per month, with some other benefits.
Just try out some of the sound effects listed under Public Domain and see how you like them; you can then decide whether or not to pay for other premium ones.
YouTube Audio Library (Free)
The YouTube Audio Library is completely Free, yes FREE, and it offers free music tracks as well as sound effects that you can use in your videos.
You can filter by genre, mood, instrument, duration and if they require attribution or not.
To be honest, the Free YouTube library is an outstanding resource for anyone who needs sound effects for a video and doesn’t have a huge budget, especially because the amount that they offer there is just astounding.
Additionally, all the videos you create with them can be monetized with ads without any issues.
The only thing you will need to look out for with these tracks are the attribution requirements, which are specific to each track.
Other than that, it definitely is a great resource.
FreeSound offers free downloads of music tracks, sound effects, and more.
The Licensing can be broken down into 3:
- Zero; Free for anything you want.
- Attribution; Free for anything you want, but attribution is required.
- Attribution Non-Commercial; Free for non-commercial, but attribution is required.
The site itself doesn’t look too pretty, but it’s very usable, even though you will need to do some digging since the search engine doesn’t allow for too many filters.
One cool thing about FreeSound is that you will be able to see a lot of information about the track itself, such as; Type, Duration, Size, Sample rate and Bit-Depth, and if it’s stereo or mono.
The only thing I didn’t like too much about FreeSound is that you need to create an account, which is free, in order to download the tracks. But other than that, it’s great!
If you are a DJ who is looking for royalty-free music to use on their set, check out this post I wrote about the best websites where you can get your hands on some awesome tracks.
BBC Sound Effects
The BBC Sound Effects site offers over 16.000 Sound Effects that are completely free to download and use in your own personal projects.
You cannot use them for any commercial purpose unless you license them by following this guide.
As far as the site itself goes, it’s not the best-looking nor the easiest to navigate, since you can’t really apply more than one filter to the search.
This means that it will take you quite some time to find what you’re looking for.
Additionally, most sound effects are way too long, some even pass the 10min mark, which means that you will need to cut them up and only use what you need.
Other than that, it’s a fantastic and free resource that you should definitely give a chance!
ZapSplat offers the biggest free sound effects collection I’ve seen so far; With over 60.000 sound effects, you absolutely should be able to find what you’re looking for.
From Animal sounds such as Alligators and crocodiles, all the way to Industrial and Office sounds, they have it all.
Everything is free to download and use as long as attribution is given. If you don’t want to give attribution, you can upgrade to a “Gold” account where you need to pay a monthly or Yearly donation, you decide how much, and you can use everything without giving attribution.
If you cancel the gold account, all the songs downloaded during that period will retain the Gold privileges.
You can download single files or sound effect packs; however, with the free account there will be a 3 tracks per 10 min limit which gets removed once you upgrade.
Lastly, you will need to sign up for an account to download the sound effects.
Premium Sound Effects Websites
Audioblocks ($9 up to $65)
Audioblocks, just like Pond5, isn’t just a royalty-free music repository; they also have Video, Sound effects, loops and Images.
They feature one of the largest Sound Effects collection I have ever seen:
From Alarms, Ambience and Animal effects, all the way to Whistles, Water, and Vehicle effects…
They have it all!
Now, as far as the search engine goes, it’s quite good, especially when searching for specific sound effects such as “Computer keyboard typing”.
If you look some something a bit broader, you may probably get some less than relevant results.
As far as pricing goes, Audioblocks is subscription-based and depending on your needs it will cost you $9-, $15-, and $65 per month.
The $9 plan gives you 3 downloads a month of only music, while the $15 plan offers unlimited music downloads, sound effects and loops.
Lastly, the $65 plan offers the same as the previous plan with the addition of 4k video, After Effects Templates, Photos, and more.
So, if you need sound effects, you will have to go with the second or third plans.
Soundstripe ($11.25 to $21/mo.)
Soundstripe is a subscription-based website, meaning that you can’t buy the right to just use a single track.
However, this means that you get unlimited downloads per month, and the price is actually quite low.
The website itself looks extremely good and is very easy to use; there is no unnecessary information, just the important stuff that you really need.
The Sound Effects category list is huge; From Abstract, Atmosphere and Cartoon, all the way to Debris, Gore and even Magic.
With Soundstripe you can sign up to their email list and get three tracks for free.
Note: When I signed up, I only got actual songs, not sound effects, and I don’t know if you can get them for free there.
As far as the pricing goes, they are one of the cheapest ones out there ranging from $11.25 to $21 per month (if billed annually).
Stock Music Site ($1.50 to +$1000)
Stock Music Site offers over 896.000 pre-cleared royalty-free tracks that can be used on TV Shows, Commercials, YouTube, etc.
They offer a huge variety of Music genres such as; Dramatic, Kids, Action, Spiritual, Pop, Rock, and many more, as well as Videos and Sound Effects.
As far as sound effects go, you can choose from a huge variety; From Ambience, Airport, etc., to Comedy, Electronic, Computer Sounds, and more.
In terms of design and usability, the site leaves a lot to be desired; it’s crowded, not very intuitive to use and there’s just too much information everywhere.
Plus, it looks like it could use a visual update.
So, even though they offer loads of high-quality tracks, I wouldn’t recommend it to a first-timer since it can be a bit overwhelming. Still, an excellent site.
As far as pricing goes, it really depends; You can get single sound effects for as little as $1.50.
Depending on the number of tracks/packs you buy, you can get pretty big discounts, especially if you buy in bulk.
Like I mentioned, the site really needs an update, but the sound effects you can find on it are definitely good!
Epidemic Sound ($15 to $49)
Epidemic Sound offers over 30.000 tracks and 60.000 sound effects, including stems. Plus, new tracks are added every week.
You can choose from 5.1 Surround SFX, Ambience, Animals, etc., all the way to Whoosh, Weather, and more.
The prices vary quite a lot since you can purchase single tracks from $99 onwards, or you can sign up for a monthly subscription.
The two subscriptions you can choose are Personal at $15 per month, and Commercial at $49 a month.
Both of them offer unlimited downloads, YouTube, Podcast, Instagram, etc. cleared tracks, YouTube monetization, and more.
The commercial plan offers a couple extras over the Personal one, but in most cases, you should be fine with the Personal plan.
Lastly, you can take advantage of a 30-day free trial!
Artlist has got to be the best-looking website of all the ones on this list.
It is super clean, there is no unnecessary information anywhere, finding the right song or sound effect is easy since you can sort by the exact length that you need and it will list all the songs that fit.
You can choose from sound effects such as Footsteps, Whooshes, etc. to Wildlife, Water, and many more.
As far as the pricing goes, it will set you back $199 a year, which ends up being $16.60 a month but it’s billed annually.
With this subscription you will get; Unlimited downloads, lifetime usage rights for commercial projects, and all the songs are pre-checked for YouTube monetization.
I have to say, Artlist is by far the most fun- and easiest to use of all the websites I listed, so I definitely recommend you try them out.
Lastly, you can get three royalty-free songs completely for free by just signing up with them here.
Sounds is a library of licensed, studio-ready samples and sounds that includes a vast number of royalty-free sound effects.
They update their library daily and all the samples you get from them can be used on any of your tracks for commercial use.
Now, in order to access Sound’s library, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription of about $10 and you’ll be able to download to your heart’s content.
Although the subscription price is not high at all, they also offer a 1-month free trial, which is awesome.
Additionally, in order to preview all the tracks they have to offer, you will need to sign up.
Still, a great resource.
I would highly recommend starting with a free site such as Zapsplat, especially if you don’t have a huge budget.
However, there will come a time when you’ll need to upgrade, and Artlist, which is my favorite site on this list, could be a definite upgrade!
I hope this information was useful!
Have a wonderful day!
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