Downloading copyrighted videos from the internet is a tricky business. Although the Fair Use Doctrine covers many uses, copying and distributing copyrighted works can violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This article is for informational purposes only. The reader is responsible for the lawful use of featured 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 that are worth considering. Here are some of what you can expect to find in the best online video downloaders.
- Compatible websites: 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 does more than rip raw videos. They also allow you to customize the download by choosing which resolution, format, and quality you want for your video. You can even download just the audio of an online video.
- Screen recording: The best video downloading apps also enable you to capture what’s happening on your computer screen. Not only will you be able to get otherwise unavailable content, but also to 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 begin the download process. Others come with a browser extension that enables you to get videos that you find while surfing the web.
- Integrated browser: Most online video downloading apps have built-in browsers that let you explore sites to find what you’re looking for without launching programs like Firefox, Edge, Chrome, and Safari.
- Format conversion: There will be times that you’ll require a video in a different format than you downloaded it in. The best internet video downloaders will convert your files into a format that suits your needs.
- Device optimization: Where you watch your video is more important than you think. And each device has particular video settings that work best for it. The best video downloaders can tailor files for optimal playback on whatever device you use.
Best for Most Users: 4K Video Downloader
- ✓ Free version will satisfy most users
- ✓ Easy to use
- ✓ Downloads ultra-high-definition videos
- ✗ Free version limited to 30 downloads a day
- ✗ No conversion tools
While features such as format converters, browser plug-ins, and device optimizers are great, they’re not strictly necessary for most people. If all you’re looking for is a way to get that YouTube video on your computer, 4K Video Downloader may be what you need. It’s safe, free, and offers most of the download tools you’re likely to use regularly.
4K Video Downloader’s interface is about as simple as it gets. It’s just a list of currently downloading videos and finished downloads. To grab an online video, copy its URL into your clipboard and click “Paste Link” in 4K Video Downloader. The program will immediately parse the link and present your download options. You can choose to download a video in its original resolution and quality (up to 8K) or a downgraded version for faster downloads and smaller files. You can also extract just the audio portion of a video.
The file formats you can download are MP4, MKV, and MP3. While these options are limited in scope, they’re universal enough to play videos on whatever device or player you own. You can also extract subtitles in English, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and more.
The free version of the software allows you to download 30 videos daily. If you need more, upgrading to one of the paid plans gives you unlimited downloads, more simultaneous downloads, the ability to download private YouTube videos, and the elimination of in-app ads.
Most Download and Conversion Tools: AllMyTube
- ✓ Comprehensive site compatibility
- ✓ Many conversion choices
- ✓ Included screen recorder
- ✗ Device optimization tool outdated
- ✗ Windows 11 not supported
AllMyTube contains every tool you need in an online video downloader. There are several ways to download videos with this app. The simplest is copying the URL of the video you want to download, opening the app, and clicking “Paste URL.” The app will fetch the video and give you options to download it in various resolutions or even download just the video’s audio track.
Other download options include the built-in web browser, which allows you to 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 plug-in for Chrome and Firefox, so you can download videos as you find them on the web. And since AllMyTube is compatible with more than 10,000 video sites and services, it’s unlikely you’ll find a video you can’t download. If you come across a non-downloadable video, you can use the integrated screen recorder to capture it as it plays on your computer.
This video downloader also has a plethora of conversion and optimization tools. While AllMyTube downloads all videos in the 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 includes dozens of device optimization profiles for devices ranging from smartphones to gaming consoles and set-top boxes.
Unfortunately, this software is woefully out-of-date. For example, the most recent iPhone optimization profile is for the the iPhone X, which was released several years ago and isn’t even sold by Apple anymore. Additionally, the software isn’t compatible with Windows 11, which is a big problem even if you haven’t upgraded yet (because someday you will, and the software will be useless). If it weren’t for these drawbacks, AllMyTube would have taken the top spot in our analysis.
Why Wondershare let AllMyTube fall behind the times is anybody’s guess. Mine is that they focused their efforts on their video converter software: UniConverter, which features a downloader tool and many other features mentioned above. So, if it’s a standalone converter you want and you don’t mind a program that’s a few years old, AllMyTube is a good choice. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, UniConverter may be the solution you’re looking for.
Best Built-in Browser: CleverGet
- ✓ Top-notch in-app web browser
- ✓ Downloads ultra-high-definition videos
- ✓ Works with 1,000+ video sites
- ✗ Limited format options
- ✗ Lacks browser plug-in
CleverGet is a video downloader app that’s an internet browser with the ability to download videos from more than 1,000 sites across the web. It’s fantastic for browsing the internet and searching for the 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’s about as simple as possible to obtain the online videos you want. You can even use the program for ultra-high-resolution videos up to 8K.
But there are some drawbacks. Chief among them is that you only download videos in three file formats: MP4, MKV, and WebM. Additionally, the program lacks a stand-alone format converter and device optimization tools. And while the browser-based program is convenient, there will be times that you’ll find videos in external browsers that you want to download. But since CleverGet doesn’t offer a browser plug-in, you’ll have to manually copy the address of the video you want and paste it into the URL bar in the app. One other annoying thing about the program is that you can’t resize the interface or put it into full screen mode.
Best Search Tools: AnyUTube
- ✓ Powerful video search tool
- ✓ Can download all channel content
- ✓ Android app available
- ✗ Only downloads videos in MP4
- ✗ No browser plug-in
AnyUTube is a video downloader program that has something no other product featured in this article does: in-app video search. All other video downloaders require you to find the video you want in a browser (built-in or external). When you click on the “search” tab, you can scan the web for any video you want and get results without ever opening a browser.
Another thing AnyUTube has that nobody else does is a companion mobile app that lets you store and watch your downloaded videos anywhere you happen to be. It’s only available for Andriod, so iOS users will have to settle for watching downloaded videos in the Photos or TV apps.
Aside from its unique features, AnyUTube is somewhat limited in what it can do. While it has a built-in browser, it doesn’t have an external browser extension. Plus, you’re limited to downloading videos in MP4, and the program lacks a format converter. Additionally, audio downloads are restricted to MP3, M4A, and WebM. And there are no device optimization profiles to choose from.