Downloading copyrighted videos from the internet is a tricky business. Although the Fair Use Doctrine covers many uses, copying and distributing copyrighted works may violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This article is for informational purposes only. The reader is responsible for the lawful use of the presented software.
What to look for in video downloader software
Although downloading raw videos from the internet is at the heart of all the software in this article, most have some bells and whistles worth considering. Here are some of the things to expect in the best online video downloaders.
- Compatible Pages: YouTube is the most popular video hosting service, but it’s not the only game in town. The best online video downloaders are compatible with hundreds or even thousands of video sites and services.
- Download Options: The best video download software can do more than just rip raw videos. They also allow you to customize the download by choosing what resolution, format and quality you want for your video. You can even download just the audio of an online video.
- Screen capture: You can also capture what is happening on your computer screen with the best apps for downloading videos. Not only can you grab content that isn’t otherwise available, but you can also record things like live streams and online meetings.
- Browser extension: All video downloader programs allow you to copy and paste video URLs into the app to start the downloading process. Others have a browser extension that you can use to get videos you find while browsing the web.
- Integrated browser: Most online video downloading apps have built-in browsers that allow you to search websites to find what you are looking for without having to launch programs like Firefox, Edge, Chrome, and Safari.
- Format conversion: There will be times when you need a video in a different format than what you downloaded. The best internet video downloaders will convert your files into a format that suits your needs.
- Device Optimization: Where you watch your video matters more than you think. And each device has specific video settings that work best for it. The best video downloaders can adjust files for optimal playback on any device you use.
Best for Most Users: 4K Video Downloader
- ✓ The free version will satisfy most users
- ✓ Easy to use
- ✓ Downloads ultra high definition videos
- ✗ Free version, limited to 30 downloads per day
- ✗ No conversion tools
While features like format converters, browser plugins, and device optimizers are great, they’re not essential for most people. If you’re just looking for a way to get that YouTube video on your computer, 4K Video Downloader might be just what you need. It’s safe, free, and offers most of the download tools you’re likely to use on a regular basis.
4K Video Downloader’s interface is as simple as it gets. It’s just a list of currently downloaded videos and completed downloads. To get an online video, copy its URL to your clipboard and click “Paste Link” in 4K Video Downloader. The program will immediately analyze the link and display your download options. You can choose to download a video in its original resolution and quality (up to 8K) or downscaled version for faster downloads and smaller files. You can also extract only the audio part of a video.
The file formats that you can download are MP4, MKV and MP3. While these options are limited in scope, they’re universal enough to play videos on any device or player you own. You can also extract subtitles in English, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and more.
With the free version of the software, you can download 30 videos per day. If you need more, upgrading to one of the paid plans gives you unlimited downloads, more concurrent downloads, the ability to download private YouTube videos, and the elimination of in-app ads.
Most download and conversion tools: AllMyTube
- ✓ Extensive site compatibility
- ✓ Lots of conversion options
- ✓ Includes screen recorder
- ✗ Device optimization tool outdated
- ✗ Windows 11 is not supported
AllMyTube contains every tool you need in an online video downloader. There are multiple ways to download videos using this app. The easiest way is to copy the URL of the video you want to download, open the app and click “Paste URL”. The app will fetch the video and give you the option to download it in different resolutions or even just download the audio track of the video.
Other download options include the built-in web browser, which lets you surf through any website and use the one-click download button when you find a video you want to snag. The software also offers a browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox so you can download videos the way you find them on the web. And since AllMyTube is compatible with 10,000+ video sites and services, you’re unlikely to find a video you can’t download. If you come across a non-downloadable video, you can use the built-in screen recorder to capture it while it’s playing on your computer.
This video downloader also has a variety of conversion and optimization tools. While AllMyTube downloads all videos in MP4 format, the converter can change that to MOV, WMV, AVI, MKV, 3GP or MPEG. Available audio formats include MP3, M4A, WAV, and MKA. AllMyTube comes with dozens of device optimization profiles for devices ranging from smartphones to gaming consoles to set-top boxes.
Unfortunately, this software is completely outdated. For example, the latest iPhone optimization profile is for the iPhone X, which was released a few years ago and isn’t even sold by Apple anymore. Also, the software isn’t compatible with Windows 11, which is a big problem even if you haven’t upgraded yet (because one day you will and the software will be useless). Without these disadvantages, AllMyTube would have taken the top spot in our analysis.
Why Wondershare caused AllMyTube to default is unclear. Mine is that they have focused their efforts on their video converter software: UniConverter, which offers a downloader tool and many other features mentioned above. So, if you want a standalone converter and don’t mind a few years old program, AllMyTube is a good choice. If this is a deal breaker for you, UniConverter might be the solution you are looking for.
Best built-in browser: CleverGet
- ✓ Premium in-app web browser
- ✓ Downloads ultra high definition videos
- ✓ Works with 1,000+ video sites
- ✗ Limited format options
- ✗ Missing browser plugin
CleverGet is a video downloader app, which is an internet browser that can download videos from more than 1,000 websites on the internet. It’s fantastic for surfing the web and looking for those videos you need to download. When you find the video you want, click the download button in the bottom right corner of the browser to start the process. It is as easy as possible to get the online videos you want. You can even use the program for ultra high definition videos up to 8K.
But there are some downsides. The most important among them is that you only download videos in three file formats: MP4, MKV and WebM. The program also lacks a standalone format converter and device optimization tools. And while the browser-based program is convenient, sometimes you will find videos in external browsers that you want to download. However, since CleverGet doesn’t offer a browser plugin, you’ll have to manually copy and paste the address of the video you want into the app’s URL bar. Another annoying thing about the program is that you cannot resize the interface or set it to full screen.
Best search tools: AnyUTube
- ✓ Powerful video search tool
- ✓ Can download all channel content
- ✓ Android app available
- ✗ Only downloads videos in MP4
- ✗ No browser plugin
AnyUTube is a video downloader program that has something no other product featured in this article has: in-app video search. All other video downloaders require you to find the video you want in a browser (built-in or external). By clicking the Search tab, you can search the web for any video and get results without ever opening a browser.
Another thing AnyUTube has that no one else has is a companion mobile app that lets you save and watch your downloaded videos wherever you are. It’s only available for Andriod, so iOS users will have to content themselves with watching downloaded videos in the Photos or TV apps.
Aside from its unique features, AnyUTube is somewhat limited in what it can do. It does have a built-in browser but no external browser extension. Also, you are limited to download videos in MP4 and the program lacks a format converter. Additionally, audio downloads are limited to MP3, M4A, and WebM. And there are no device optimization profiles to choose from.