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Music Production

Free Sound Effects: The Top 10 Websites Offering Free Sound Effect Downloads

Photograph of the blog post author, Xenia Huntley

Xenia Huntley


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Sound Effects Free

Sound effects – they can ice your musical cake or make your project sing. But with hundreds of competing sites boasting the highest quality downloads or the most extensive ‘free’ sound effects libraries, it can be impossible to know where to start.

From a well-known whoosh to a sparkling ding, there are hundreds of thousands of electronic sounds for creatives to sieve through. More and more people need to make their audio stand out from the pack, including game developers, YouTubers, podcasters, self-produced musicians, and radio hosts.

There is certainly no shortage of sound effects; the web is truly awash with free sound effect libraries, all vying for you to use them. With hundreds of sites boasting free sound effect downloads where you can rapidly harvest royalty free MP3 downloads – it can be hard to know which is best. 

After all, nothing can be more annoying than meticulously scrolling through sound effects libraries on websites claiming to be free, only to find that, right at the point when you’ve found your hidden gem and clicked through, it isn’t free after all.

So where can you find the best free sound effects downloads? To help me compile the ultimate top ten of the best list, I consulted music and radio producers, scoured forums, and tested their recommendations so you don’t have to. In no particular order, here are ten of the best sound effects sites offering free downloads.

10 of the Best Free Sound Effects Websites 

1. Freesound – Biggest Free Sound Effects Library


This site has one of the most impressive sound libraries online. It has multiple formats to choose from and is organised in a logical, easy-to-use way. The site also offers a space for users to form a community and has various forums you can post in too. It has hugely in-depth technical data for all its sounds, from licensing to sample and bit rates. It also includes info on whether the sound is raw or edited. The website’s huge range and instant play function make it a really inspiring place for producers and creators alike. The site’s user comments section and download calculator tally is a real plus too.


  • Instant play function
  • Impressive library (I searched for “door closing”, and nearly 35,000 results were returned!)
  • Easy to see licensing info and technical data
  • Describes if the sound effect is raw or edited 
  • Extensive tagging means the search is well refined
  • Some free sound effects show what hardware it was recorded on
  • Option to engage with other users in their community and forum pages


  • Sign up required for downloads
  • So many choices – hours can disappear!

2. Orange Free Sounds 

Orange Free Sounds

If you are looking for a huge variety of free downloadable sound effects to choose from, then this is the site for you. Orange Free Sounds is a well-loved site frequented by industry professionals from right across the creative spectrum. Orange Free has provided sounds and effects for pros working in the film, music and gaming industry, to name but a few. The search function is top-class, and the high-quality files play instantly. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. It is easy to see why it’s an industry go-to.


  • Instant play for all free sound effects
  • Huge variety, with an overflowing bank of great free sound effects for users to choose from (we searched for door closing sounds, and 27 results were found)
  • The website is very intuitive and user-friendly
  • It offers background music as well as sound effects
  • The sound effect library is regularly updated
  • Commercial and non-commercial sounds are available


  • The licensing info is not as easy to see as on some other sites, potentially making it more time-consuming if you need a sound effect for commercial use 
  • The large website advertising can detract from the website’s content

3. Sound Bible

Sound Bible

Sound Bible offers thousands of free sound effects on its simple and easy-to-use website. While the simplicity will be a relief for some, others might find the inability to refine and filter frustrating. You can search for free high-quality sound effects, and they have options to download in either MP3 or WAV formats. Unlike many of the other websites offering free sound effects downloads, Sound Bible doesn’t require you to create an account.

The website also makes it easy to see the licensing agreement of each sound effect, so you don’t have to waste your time looking at effects that you won’t be able to use for your project.


  • Clearly shows the licensing info for each sound effect
  • Options to download either in WAV or MP3 format 
  • A separate tab for royalty-free sounds to avoid confusion
  • Simple website 
  • No sign-up required
  • Offers a range of public domain, non-commercial and attribution sounds 


  • No filtering options
  • Most sound effects require name credit for creative use
  • Some find the interface clunky and limiting

4. BBC Sound Effects

BBC Sound Effects Free

BBC Sound Effects has a large library of WAV format sound effects, but they are only free for personal, educational, or research purposes.

The functional site isn’t much to look at, but it’s good for someone who’s starting out and wants a basic introduction to the free sound effects realm. 


  • Large library – 16,000+
  • High-quality sound effects – royalty free for non-commercial use
  • No sign up needed


  • Not free for commercial use
  • The search is clunky 
  • Some of the sound effects are long and may need trimming before use

5. SoundsCrate


SoundsCrate is linked to the website ProductionCrate, which is a site covering everything you might need to create a video project – including sound effects.

What is really impressive about this free sound effects website is that the sound effects on SoundsCrate are 100% original and supposedly created by “Hollywood industry professionals”. According to their website, their free sound effects are all unique and free to use without attribution. 


  • Download entire collections at once 
  • The sounds are guaranteed to be unique and professionally recorded
  • Inspiring feature categories
  • The website is modern and feels highly professional
  • Licensing is simple: no attribution is required 


  • Some content is for “Pro” users only, so it can be confusing to know what’s free
  • They only have two file formats available (MP3 and WAV)
  • Some of the free sound effects turn out to be for pro users – leading to potential ambiguity for users
  • The library size is limited (I searched for a door closing, which returned seven results)

6. SoundStripe


SoundStripe is a music and video site where you can also access free downloadable sound effects. The site boasts thousands of high-quality sound effects and has several great search and filter features. The thing that really sets this site apart from its rivals is that a subscription acts as a license – meaning you don’t need to worry about pesky attributions or checking if your free music effect download is commercially safe to use.  


  • Industry-trusted – many big brands use this site 
  • A wide variety of high-quality sound effects
  • User-friendly website
  • Universal license with subscription – includes music and video downloads
  • Library of free sound effects regularly updated 


  • You need to create an account to get started – paying for a subscription

7. Freeloops


This free music site has a good size sound effects library attached and offers a simple but well-organised collection of effects and sounds.  As a music website, first and foremost, sound effects are just one category under the umbrella of musical offerings provided by Free Loops

The site’s seven thousand-strong library is slightly buried at the bottom of the page, under music loops, but once you click through, you will find it easy to use.

There’s no search function, and instead, users must rely on drop-down menus and categories, which can actually be helpful if you are not sure what you are looking for. 


  • One-stop site – for music loops and sound effects
  • Free – there are no lurking paywalls or frustrating subscriptions – everything on the site is totally free of charge
  • You can filter by license


  • No search or filter function – can make it difficult to find what you’re looking for
  • Some free sound effects are only licensed for personal use
  • MP3 format only

8. SoundEffects+


This website also creates all its own sound effects, offering you the reassurance that you won’t be using a tired sound effect that will date your project.  One main plus point is that users are not required to sign up to download their unique library of free sound effects. Another is the search function, which is very sensitive and offers examples as you type – helpful if you are looking for inspiration. The effects are all said to be “recorded with state-of-the-art audio equipment” before being carefully edited and mastered to be clean and crisp “without any unwanted noise or interference”.


  • Unique, high-quality sound effects
  • Trusted by world-renowned brands such as Sony and LG
  • Attribution not required – License for commercial and non-commercial use


  • Lengthy registration form
  • Limited file formats (MP3 and WAV only)
  • All files come with an audio watermark
  • The site has almost 50,000 members sharing those sound effects

9. Zapsplat 


Zapsplat’s impressive library of downloadable sound effects features almost 100 thousand free sound effects. The free sound effect downloads can be accessed on the site, which has a distinct social media-esque feel. Zapsplat has a unique structure when it comes to licensing, offering users the chance to set a voluntary monthly amount to avoid using attribution. 

Free sound effects can be downloaded either individually or as a pack of similar effects, all of which come in either MP3 or WAV.


  • Social media feel – user friendly 
  • Easy to use
  • Donations are flexible


  • Sign-up is required – with a financial contribution
  • Sometimes the search results can yield huge numbers – which can feel overwhelming at times

10. Pixabay

Pixabay Free Sound Effects

Housed within the mighty stock photography site that is Pixabay is a sub-section of sound effects that is very impressive and understated. Pixabay offers many hidden gems which show duration and have well-refined tagging so that you can get really specific.

Pixabay also has the added benefit of being a non-sign-up site, meaning if you’re in a rush, you can grab the sound you need and go. Their royalty free sound effects library boasts thousands of free options for both commercial and non-commercial use.


  • Simple and easy to use 
  • No need to create an account – find your clip and download it in seconds 
  • Search by duration 


  • It doesn’t show the number of results when searching 
  • Some free sound effects lack specific information on recording data

Final Thoughts on the Top 10 Websites Offering Free Sound Effects Downloads

From the seasoned pro needing to know bit rates and what microphones their sound effects were recorded with to the absolute beginner wanting to use a familiar site such as the BBC, the sites in this list offer something for everyone. Depending on your specific requirements, some of these sites might be more suitable for you than others. But with our pick of the ten best websites offering free sound effects downloads, you’ll be sure to find the perfect sounds to complement your project.


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