Downloading copyrighted videos from the internet is a tricky business. While 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 recommended software.
What to Look for in Video Downloader Software
While downloading raw videos from the web is at the heart of any software in this article, most of them have bells and whistles worth considering. Here are some of what you can expect in the best online video downloaders.
- Compatible Sites: 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 what resolution, format, and quality you want for your video. You can even download just the audio of an online video.
- Screen capture: The best video downloading apps also allow you to capture what’s happening on your computer screen. Not only can you get content that isn’t available otherwise, 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 download process. Others come with a browser extension that allows you to get videos you find while browsing 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 when you need a video in a different format than you downloaded it in. The best internet video downloaders will convert your files to a format that suits your needs.
- Device Optimization: Where you watch your video is more important than you think. And every device has certain video settings that work best for it. The best video downloaders can adjust files for optimal viewing on whatever 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 aren’t strictly necessary for most people. If you’re just looking for a way to get that YouTube video on your computer, 4K Video Downloader might be what you need. It’s safe, free, and offers most of the download tools you’re likely to use on a regular basis.
The interface of 4K Video Downloader is as simple as it gets. It is just a list of currently downloading videos and completed downloads. To grab an online video, copy the URL to 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 only 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 are 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.
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 privately download YouTube videos, and the elimination of in-app ads.
Most download and conversion tools: AllMyTube
- Extensive site compatibility
- Many conversion choices
- Included screen recorder
- Device optimization tool obsolete
- Windows 11 not supported
AllMyTube includes all the tools you need in an online video downloader. There are several ways to download videos with this app. The simplest 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 options to download it in different resolutions or even download just the audio track of the video.
Other download options include the built-in web browser, which allows you to browse any website and use the one-click download button whenever you find a video you want to hold onto. The software also provides a browser plug-in for Chrome and Firefox so that you can download videos as you find them on the web. And since AllMyTube is compatible with over 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 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 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 game consoles and set-top boxes.
Unfortunately, this software is hopelessly outdated. For example, the most recent iPhone optimization profile is for the iPhone X, which was released a few years ago and isn’t even sold by Apple anymore. In addition, the software is not 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 drawbacks, AllMyTube would have taken the top spot in our analysis.
Why Wondershare let AllMyTube fall behind is a mystery. Mine is that they have focused their efforts on their video converter software: UniConverter, which includes a downloader tool and many other features mentioned above. So, if it’s a standalone converter you want and you don’t mind a few years old program, AllMyTube is a good choice. If that’s a deal breaker for you, UniConverter might be the solution you’re looking for.
Best Built-in Browser: CleverGet
- Premium in-app web browser
- Downloads ultra-high-definition videos
- Works with 1000+ video sites
- Limited size options
- No browser plug-in
CleverGet is a video downloader app which is an internet browser with the ability to download videos from more than 1,000 sites on the internet. It’s great to surf the web and search for the videos you need to download. When you find the video you want, click the download button in the lower right corner of the browser to start the process. It is as easy as possible to get the desired online videos. You can even use the program for ultra-high resolution videos up to 8K.
But there are some drawbacks. The main one is that you only download videos in three file formats: MP4, MKV and WebM. In addition, the program lacks a standalone format converter and device optimization tools. And while the browser-based program is useful, sometimes you will find videos in external browsers that you want to download. But since CleverGet does not provide a browser plugin, you have to manually copy the address of the desired video and paste it into the URL bar in the app. Another annoying aspect of the program is that you cannot resize the interface or put it in full screen mode.
Best Search Tools: AnyUTube
- Powerful video search function
- Can download all channel content
- Android app available
- Only download videos in MP4
- No browser plug-in
AnyUTube is a video downloader program that has something that no other product in this article has: in-app video search. For all other video downloaders, you need to find the desired video in a browser (built-in or external). When you click 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 no one else has is a companion mobile app that allows you to save and watch your downloaded videos wherever you are. 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. Although it has a built-in browser, it does not have an external browser extension. Moreover, you are limited to download videos in MP4 and the program lacks a format converter. In addition, audio downloads are limited to MP3, M4A, and WebM. And there are no device optimization profiles to choose from.