An introduction: Best YouTube Downloaders
Suppose you wish to download YouTube videos for free using an online web application. In that case, you have several options available or choose from dozens of dedicated software options for a more seamless experience. After the program converts the video to the format of your choice, you can download the video to your device for offline viewing.
Ideally, YouTube video downloaders can grab videos from places other than YouTube, such as Facebook or TikTok. Each downloader supports a different list of compatible sites, but nearly all support downloading Facebook videos, and some support downloading Facebook live videos.
Each video downloader app offers slightly different features, so choose the one that fits your video downloading needs. You may want to research the company and its products before you download any software to make sure you are not also downloading unwanted adware.
Best for Ease of Use
The easiest way to download YouTube videos is by copying the video's URL and pasting it to a web app that will convert the video to your preferred format. After that, the video converter downloads the video to your device. It can either be on your phone or your desktop. However, if you do not want to use a web app to convert your YouTube videos, you can choose to download an app for your device or a plugin for your favorite web browser. Don't worry because free options exist for Windows, iOS, and Linux operating systems.
The best YouTube video downloader for ease of use depends on finding one with responsive controls and a clean interface. You may look for one that prompts you automatically so you don't miss a video. You may find that a button built into your browser bar is the easiest way for you to download YouTube videos.
Best for Functionality
While there are plenty of free downloader options, maybe your needs differ a bit, and you want more than the standard download video formats. For example, you may wish for a converter that lets you download YouTube videos shot with a 360-degree camera.
Good news! Some free downloaders support uploading non-standard formats, but some require either a subscription or a monthly fee. Also, there are free downloaders that allow downloading of Ultra-HD, 3D, or 360-degree videos. However, you may experience reduced download speed when downloading YouTube videos in these specialized formats.
Look for a converter that supports both audio and video formats. Choose one with a fast download speed and a user-friendly interface. The choice of downloader depends on which features and functions work best for you.
What is a YouTube downloader?
A YouTube downloader lets you grab videos or audio for viewing or listening offline. Depending on the downloader tool, you can save full videos, clips, or audio only. In addition, some downloaders allow you to include subtitles or download your entire playlist using a batch downloading feature.
You can download the video not just from YouTube, but many downloaders support other video sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Tiktok, and many others. Ifyou can view the video, you can load the video into a converter and save the video to your device in the format of your choice.
Find YouTube downloader apps wherever you like to get your apps. Nowadays, you can find a downloader for any phone, laptop, or tablet. Tip for you: look for software from developers with a good reputation and developers who have designed other popular products. It's always better safe than sorry, so choose wisely.
Types of YouTube downloaders
Other than the differences in the choice of offered features, there are two primary differences between YouTube video downloaders: a web app and a download. Regardless of their difference, these two choices get the job done quickly. But, it's good to note that you do not have to download any software using a web app.
Web apps are online tools that let you convert a single video or audio file into one of several formats. Some web apps require registering to use the service, but others do not. These tools are appropriate if you occasionally wish to download a video.
Using the web app is as simple as 1-2-3. First, find the free YouTube video and copy the URL to the web app. Then paste the video link into the online tool. Finally, select your download format. Ta-da! You have your downloaded YouTube video in your preferred format.
While downloading YouTube videos for free, beware of services that add watermarks to your downloaded videos. Sometimes, they may include adware with the download. To secure yourself, you may have to look at customer reviews and do a bit more research before using a web app.
If you are willing to download software, you can choose a browser plugin or download the software to your phone, desktop, or device. There are many free downloaders available for all types of operating systems.
The most common options are Chrome extensions, but a few are also available for Firefox. A plugin offers a seamless video download and may be a good option for your needs.
A free video downloader app is often a simplified version of a paid download. The free app may be limited in access or usage allowances, such as limiting the number of videos you can convert per month or your download format options. However, even the free software processes video faster than the web apps, and they generally support more download format options.
Paid software is where you can find all the special features, such as built-in proxies or clearing the video of ads for you. Another common perk is letting you burn videos to DVD or all your audio files to a CD. Some downloaders only provide editing features with their paid software.
Before adding the software to your device, research your preferred downloader and carefully read the download information. As with any download, protect yourself from malicious adware or viruses by seeking out reputable developers. Read about the extension before downloading, and look at other products the developer has released.
How do YouTube downloaders work?
YouTube video downloaders pull videos you select, prompt you to choose a file format, and then convert the video to that format and save it to your device. The downloader is a file converter that works for video and audio files. The downloader you like may remind you whenever you view an online video and ask if you wish to create a video download.
Most YouTube video downloaders let you paste an audio or video link and then choose your file format. Not only can you save YouTube videos, but you can often download videos from numerous other sites such as Facebook, Dailymotion, Vimeo, and more.
Many downloaders provide shortcuts such as a button that appears on the YouTube video or a prompt that comes up whenever you view a video from a compatible site. The fastest way to create a video download with some downloaders is to alter the URL slightly, and the video automatically saves to your device.
Other downloaders pair their shortcuts with auto-save features. For instance, some downloaders allow you to preset your preferred file format and location, and the downloader saves the video in the correct format to the correct folder. Or, you can automatically save any videos posted to your subscriber channels.
Once you save the videos, you can view your saved videos offline. The best free YouTube downloaders support various upload and download file formats and languages. If you like subtitles, look for a tool that provides subtitles for your downloaded videos.
What are the core features of YouTube downloaders?
Ease of Download
Downloading videos from YouTube using a video downloader is as simple as copy and pasting. Web apps are the easiest way to download video files in your desired format.
If you choose to download an app for your computer or device, the app will likely offer shortcuts to let you download videos as easily as a single click. On the other hand, browser extensions detect when you are watching a video and provide a download prompt onscreen. At the same time, some downloader software installs a button on your taskbar for easy downloading. Whichever option you choose, it's always easy to download.
Download Format Options
There are many download file formats from which to choose. The standard is either an MP3 or an MP4, and nearly every video converter offers these two formats. An MP3 is strictly for audio, while an MP4 file saves video and audio.
Dozens of YouTube video downloader apps exist, and some can handle videos recorded in 8k or even videos recorded in 3D. If you wish to save 360-degree videos, your downloader options are slightly limited, but some downloaders accommodate both of these formats.
Most video downloader apps can pull videos from other typical video streaming sites using an online app or downloader software. Download videos from TikTok, Bilibili, or Vine. If you can find the video online and copy the URL, you can save the video to watch offline.
Companies that offer video conversion services feature YouTube videos predominately because YouTube is the largest video hosting site. But most downloaders support many other significant websites. Most downloaders also let you save private videos, as long as you have access to the video and can copy the URL.
Whether downloading playlists, channels, or all your favorite videos, batch downloading may be an essential feature. If you subscribe to several YouTube channels, your YouTube video downloader can automatically save any video posted to one of those channels. Use the auto-save feature to download videos automatically from your favorite YouTube personalities.
When downloading an entire playlist, click on the playlist to bring it up on your page. Next, highlight and copy the URL and paste it into the downloader. You will use the downloader similarly by choosing a file format and a location to save the files. The downloader will save each video in the playlist to the selected folder in the correct format.
There are some unique features available that you may want to investigate. However, these special features may only be available with a paid subscription or purchased software. Although rare, some downloaders may offer these services as part of the accessible version of their software.
Special features include a built-in proxy, the ability to burn videos to DVD and music to CD, video editing, 3D video support, ad removal, and a screen recorder. You must determine your desired features and balance those needs with the price to get the best video downloader.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of YouTube downloaders?
A YouTube video downloader app may be helpful if you regularly view online videos. You can download videos for viewing offline. Most downloaders are free or offer a free version of their paid software. Quickly download YouTube playlists, channels, and favorites using batch downloads.
The best downloaders support audio and video formats from other popular sites, such as TikTok, Vine, and Twitter. While each video streaming site offers its version of a video downloader, you will only need one downloader to grab videos from all your favorite sites. You can find a reputable downloader for Linux, Windows, and macOS, while mobile apps work on Android and iPhone. In addition, many downloaders have a user-friendly interface that makes downloading video files relatively easy.
The most significant disadvantage may be finding the one that best fits your video downloading needs and works on your operating system. Nearly every YouTube video downloader works with Windows, and many work with Mac and Linux. You can find mobile apps available for both Android and iPhone.
Beware of bundled software included with any download. Instead, look for a video downloader and video converter that is highly rated and comes with good customer feedback. It can be frustrating to deal with malicious adware or find that your downloaded videos have unwanted watermarks.
Unless you also use an adblocker, videos will download with intact ads. Some downloaders will remove ads for you, but this may only be available with the paid version of the software. Other downloaders add their adware to your downloaded videos.
What features should I consider when comparing YouTube downloaders?
The features you ultimately consider will depend on your video downloading needs and how often you wish to download videos.
You may find a YouTube video downloader that converts videos and audio files into only a few formats, such as MP4, MP3, or AVI. Other downloaders may give you many more options, including FLAC and WAV files. If you have specific audio or video file needs, you may need to research each downloader of interest to ensure it meets your requirements before committing.
Another downloading option that you may find important is a batch downloader. For example, maybe you have extensive YouTube playlists. Downloading each video would take a long time; however, you can accomplish a batch download with just a few keystrokes.
Any video downloader will work if you think you will only be saving online videos from YouTube. But maybe you want to download videos from other video providers like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. Some downloaders offer compatibility with more sites than others. Some online web apps can pick up videos from nearly anywhere on the Internet.
The downloader you choose must also be compatible with your device's operating system. You should be able to easily find a tool to help you download YouTube videos to your device. Many of the best free YouTube downloaders support all operating systems for all devices.
Not all downloaders are equal. The online converters and many free software options only support certain types of video. For example, some are limited to videos recorded in HD or Full-HD.
Other downloaders can grab videos recorded with higher screen resolutions, such as Ultra-HD or even 8k. Unfortunately, only a few downloaders support videos filmed in 3D or using 360-degree camera technology.
If you are still unsure which is the best YouTube video downloader for you, we have compared features of either free online services versus free software or free versus paid software choices.
Free Web App vs. Free Software Download
Using a free online web app to convert videos from YouTube is simple but not feasible if you want to download videos daily or download playlists, channels, and high-resolution videos. Most online video converter services offer standard formats like MP4, MP3, AVI, WAV, and MOV. A few others provide FLAC, WMA, and AAC file options. Many free downloaders limit your video resolution to HD or full HD.
You may decide that downloading a free YouTube downloader is the right option. 'Download videos from YouTube, Facebook, and other popular video streaming sites using either a browser extension, a mobile app, or software for your desktop. Often, a free version of the software is a simplified version of more powerful paid software options.
The free software download version will convert your videos faster than the free web app tools. In addition, the free software often provides more file format options than the free online tools. Some free YouTube downloader software supports downloading videos in 3D or 360-degree videos, but this is not a standard feature.
Depending on how often you download YouTube videos, the best free YouTube downloader for you may be a free software download. Look for one that supports converting several different resolutions of videos and one that offers a wide range of file format options for your downloaded videos.
If you only occasionally want to download the video you just watched, a free online web app may be appropriate for you. This service will require no software download but may need you to create an account.
Either option is available for both Windows and Mac. Many also support open-source operating systems.
Free Downloader vs. Paid Version
You can find a free YouTube downloader that supports downloading videos and audio files in the most popular formats. While every downloader supports downloading HD video, some video downloaders support videos shot in Ultra-HD, 3D, or 360-degree techniques.
Many downloader providers offer a free version of their paid software. The free version may restrict the number of YouTube videos you can convert monthly. Your free downloader may face other limitations, such as no subtitles or limited download format options.
If you choose a paid version of YouTube video downloader, you will want to shop around for the best mix of features for the lowest price. For example, supporting 360-degree videos or 3D videos from YouTube may be important features to you. However, other customers may find that a user-friendly interface and a lifetime license are more important.
The download speed will likely be much faster for a paid software version. Some paid video downloaders offer the option to burn your videos to DVD or even provide a proxy service to avoid firewalls or other restrictions.
The more features you wish to have available for use, the more you are likely to pay for the service.
If the standard video and audio formats meet your needs, a free version of the video downloader may be enough.
Look for a YouTube video downloader available where you get apps, read all the provided information, and explore what else the software developer has provided in the past. Look for reputable software with good customer reviews.
If you are a-okay with paying for software that allows you to download videos from YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, and other sites, then look for one that fits all your downloading needs. Find one that allows you to download videos in various formats, provides a batch download option, and fits your budget. After all, paid software usually offers a wide array of quality services.
4k - a screen resolution referred to as Ultra-HD and utilizing 3840 pixels per line and 2160 pixels per column. More pixels mean a higher resolution and better picture quality.
8k - a screen resolution using 7680 pixels per line and 4320 pixels per column. 360-degree video - a filming method that uses multiple cameras, and viewers can manipulate the direction of the camera display during playback. This video format is also called an immersive video or a surround video.
AIFF - Apple's version of an uncompressed audio file.
Browser extension (or plugin) - small bits of software that extend the usage of your current web browser. Popular extensions are Google Calendar or Grammarly.
Full HD - a screen resolution of 1920 pixels per row and 1080 pixels per column. A higher screen resolution than standard HD at 1280 x 720.
Lossless - audio files such as FLAC and ALAC that do not lose data bits during file compression. These files decompress back into their original file size.
Lossy - audio files such as MP3, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis that lose bits of data during file compression.
MP3 - a compressed audio file that requires minimal storage space, usually containing music.
MP4 - while an MP3 only stores audio, an MP4 records audio and video and often contains other data features, such as subtitles.
Playlists - a list of items to be played in order, either music or videos.
Ultra-HD - see 4k definition.
URL - abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator and refers to any web page's web address.
Video converter - a tool that changes a video file from one format to a different form. For example, if you are converting a video from a MOV file to a WMV file.
Video downloader - a tool that allows you to download videos you view online and then converts the video to the desired file format in preparation for saving the video on your device.
Watermark - a transparent image or brand logo added to photos or videos.
WAV - a type of uncompressed audio file.
Web app - an online app or tool that resides on a remote server but is offered for use online using any standard web browser.
YouTube channel - your channel where you upload videos or channels of other content providers you follow.