Thursday, April 4, 2013

In Depth: Best free YouTube downloaders: 10 top tools to check out

In Depth: Best free YouTube downloaders: 10 top tools to check out

In Depth: Best free YouTube downloaders: 10 top tools to check out

It's very easy to browse for videos online, but downloading a local copy to view offline can be much more difficult. And that can be annoying, especially if it's a personal video uploaded by yourself, a friend or family member and you want to have a local back-up.

Fortunately there are plenty of solutions around. If you want to download from your browser, for instance, just pasting the video URL into a website like KeepVid might be enough, while browser addons like Firefox's Easy YouTube Video Downloader are even easier to use.

For real power, though, take a look at a stan d-alone downloader. Most work with multiple video sites (not just YouTube); they often allow you to search for and preview the clips you need; and the best will both download and convert the video into a format you'll be able to play anywhere.

Before you start downloading, though, a word about copyright. You should only use these tools to download copies of videos that are owned and uploaded by you or where you have permission from the copyright holder. As per YouTube's terms and conditions, content not owned by you, "may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, distributed, transmitted, broadcast, displayed, sold, licensed, or otherwise exploited for any other purpose whatsoever without the prior written consent of YouTube or, where applicable, YouTube's licensors."

1. TubeBox

TubeBox has a great video search engine: enter your keywords and you can choose your preferred video site (YouTube is just one of many), f ilter to HD or 3D videos only and more.

Click any of the search results and you can preview the clip, before downloading it with a click.


If you prefer to use a browser, though, that's possible too. Copy and paste links to the clipboard, TubeBox will automatically grab them, and again you can download (and optionally convert) them with a click.

What you don't get is fine control over the resolution you download, but at least if you search for HD clips originally then you'll know you're getting the best YouTube has to offer.

2. EagleGet

Although it's a powerful download accelerator which works with all sorts of files, EagleGet also includes a very easy-to-use YouTube downloader.

Just hover your mouse cursor over whatever clip you're playing, and a download button app ears: click this and you'll get a range of resolutions and file types to choose from, or you can just click "Download all" and figure it out later.


This doesn't always work smoothly. The "Download" button may not pop up first time, and it doesn't always display all the available resolutions. But EagleGet remains an easy-to-use tool which will simplify your YouTube life.

3. All Video Downloader

All Video Downloader offers two ways to download your favourite clips.

You can browse YouTube as normal. Copy any video URL to the clipboard, and the program will automatically spot this. Click the Download button and it'll download the clip, and convert it to an AVI (or other format) file as well.

All Video Downloader

But if this doesn't work, you can search YouTube, DailyMotion and more (no need for a browser), and download whatever files you need from a list.

The free version is restricted to batch downloads of a maximum of five videos at a time, and doesn't give you any choice over the resolution or type of file you download, but All Video Downloader is still a very capable program.

4. Any Video Converter

There's no flashy extra support for YouTube here, no browsing or search support - just a small box where you paste the URL of whatever clip you like (although this can be on many other supported sites).

Any Video Converter still manages to do what many programs can't, though, detecting the various video formats and resolutions available, and allowing you to select the ones you need.

Any Video Converter

And if that's not enough, the program can also edit videos, burn them to DVD, or convert them into more than 60 common formats.

5. FSS Video Downloader

FSS Video Downloader is a no-frills tool which keeps everything just as simple as you could possibly expect.

Paste in a URL, and the program displays the video thumbnail as a guide; if that's correct, choose the appropriate format and size from the "Formats" box; then just click "Download", and the clip will be saved using its original name.

FSS Video Downloader

There are no extras here, then, but the program has no annoying restrictions, either, it runs almost anywhere (Windows 2000-8) and is so simpl e you'll immediately understand how it works.

6. ZiggyTV

ZiggyTV gets off to a bad start, thanks to a website and installation process that comes packed with pop-up ads and toolbars.


If you can get past that, though, it works very well. You can search for all kinds of media; YouTube searches provide the usual titles, thumbnails, upload dates and so on; you can download clips as audio or video, in lower resolutions (720 HD and 1080 HD are reserved for the commercial version), and the program can then convert them to your file format of choice.

7. VDownloader

VDownloader isn't just another YouTube download tool - it's packed with thoughtful extras.

It can search user names, playlists and your own videos, as well as the rest of YouT ube, for instance.

You can preview and play any video in a separate window, which conveniently stays on top of everything else.


The program can download individual videos or entire playlists (optionally merging them into a single video). And there's great control over the output format, from simple - "Video (highest quality)" - to more specific ("iPhone/ iPod", or "DVD PAL").

Pay attention during installation, though - it's packed with toolbars and other "extras", although you can avoid these if you're careful.

8. 4K Video Downloader

4K Video Downloader is smaller and more basic than most of the competition, but there is one feature it gets just right.

Paste a YouTube URL into the program and it gives you the full list of fo rmats, resolutions and file sizes available (something that defeats many other tools) and lets you choose the one you want.

4K Video Downloader

Alternatively, switch the program to "Smart Mode" and you can choose your preferred quality, format and so on, and 4K Video Downloader will use those settings automatically for future downloads - a definite time-saver.

9. YouTube Mate

YouTube Mate won't help you search for videos - you'll have to do that in your browser. Copy a YouTube URL to the clipboard, though, and it'll pop up.

YouTube Mate

You're able to choose exactly which file format and resolution you'd like to download. And in particular , you get to choose your required video format from a huge list of profiles: iPod, iPhone, iPad, game device, mobile phone, HD video and more.

If video format conversion is high on your list of "must have" features then YouTube Mate definitely requires a closer look.

10. aTube Catcher

At first glance aTube Catcher seems much like many other tools. Paste in your YouTube URL, choose the appropriate format or resolution, then download it with a click.

Explore further, though, and you'll find a video search tool (which includes options to check adult sites, so be careful if you need a child-friendly solution).

aTube Catcher

A "stream catcher" records videos as you're watching them. You can ask the program to download HD videos when available; there's the o ption to download all the videos from a particular YouTube user; and you get a screen recorder, a video conversion tool, a CD, DVD and Blu-ray converter, and more.

1 comment:

  1. I am using the VIDMATE FOR ANDROID application. That's a good application for downloading Youtube videos.


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