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Best DVD ripper software 2020: Free and premium ripping programs

Best DVD ripper software 2020
(Image credit: Getty images)

The best DVD ripper software can help you to digitize the contents of your DVDs into a file that you can store on your home computer, or even onto an external hard drive. There’s a good mixture of free and premium products out there, but they should all be able to handle the task of ripping your DVDs, along with CDs and even Blu-rays too.

This means that with the best DVD ripper software, you should be able to digitize your entire collection of home movies and camcorder footage with no worries. Obviously a lot of people will be interested in ripping their movie and music collections to make backup copies too and while this is certainly possible, we’d advise you check what the law is in your country before proceeding. It's important to know when is DVD ripping illegal and when you're OK.

You should also figure out if you need to copy or rip your DVDs. If you're not sure what the difference is between DVD ripping and copying, we've got a guide that explains everything.

Most of the best DVD ripper software out there today is capable of exporting files in the h264 codec format, which is about as close to a universal video format as you’re going to find. This means you shouldn’t have any issues with compatibility. The majority of programs will also convert your DVDs into a whole range of other formats, including MP4, AVI, FLV, HEVC, etc. so you should be able to get your old recordings into the right format easily enough.

If you are going for a free DVD ripper software, be aware that there are a lot of less than reputable products that will flood your home computer with malware and tracking software when installed. Stick to the best known names if you’re going for a free program, or buy a premium ripper program from a respectable company like WinX.

1. WinX DVD Ripper Platinum: Best DVD ripper overall

WinX DVD Ripper Platinum: Best DVD ripper overall

(Image credit: WinX)

WinX DVD Ripper Platinum

This is the best DVD ripper software overall, with loads of ripping features

Works on: Windows, Mac | Region free?: Yes | Blu-ray ripping?: No | CD ripping?: No

Very fast rips
Loads of profiles
GPU-accelerates rips
Free trial is useless

A GPU-accelerated ripper with the handy ability to set the number of CPU cores it uses, WinX DVD Ripper can rip your DVD to a file in around five minutes at full speed. Using it is as simple as loading the disk, selecting the output folder, and pressing the big, blue 'Run' button.

There really isn’t much more to it, and WinX DVD Ripper is one of the best DVD ripping programs for this reason. With no fiddling about selecting codecs, framerates, or audio options, this is a good way to rip a large collection of home movies quickly, especially if you have a PC equipped with up to eight cores and a modern discrete GPU. 

While it offers a free trial, this is limited to only ripping the first five minutes of non-copy-protected disks. For those who will make use of its simple, speedy workflow, upgrading to the full version should be a no-brainer.


2. Handbrake: Best free ripper

Handbrake: Best free ripper

(Image credit: Handbrake)

Handbrake

The top free option in DVD ripping

Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux | Region free?: Yes | Blu-ray ripping?: No | CD ripping?: No

Comprehensive
Open-source
Ready-made presets
Not easy to use

Handbrake is a powerful video transcoding application that can also rip unprotected DVDs. As one of the best DVD ripping programs, it stands in contrast to WinX DVD Ripper in that it has more options than just about any other video application.

If you know what you’re doing, you can use Handbrake to de-interlace, sharpen, rotate, add subtitles, remove subtitles, down-mix audio tracks, add chapter markers, fiddle with framerates, and just about anything else you can think of. Its comprehensive video quality controls allow you to manage compression so that you hit a target file size, while a vast number of presets mean you can tailor your video file for any number of devices, as well as saving your own.

Handbrake can create files in the h264 and h265 codecs, with several options on top of each of these. Once you’ve got the hang of how it works, Handbrake is one of the best DVD ripping programs, and the fact it’s completely free adds to this. The only downside is that it’s not as fast as something like WinX DVD Ripper, nor as easy to use.


3. Wondershare Uniconverter: Best for added CD ripping

Wondershare Uniconverter: Best for added CD ripping

(Image credit: Wondershare)

Wondershare Uniconverter

If you want CD ripping too, this is for you

Works on: 64GB | Region free?: Yes | Blu-ray ripping?: No | CD ripping?: Yes

Comprehensive suite of tools
GPU acceleration
Even contains an editor
Free trial only rips 1/3

Sitting somewhere between Handbrake and WinX DVD Ripper in terms of features and complexity, Wondershare Uniconverter offers some options the other two don’t.

For example, in addition to the usual DVD ripping and video conversion, it’s also capable of transferring still images between formats, and of making animated GIFs from video clips. It can also cast your screen to a TV, acting as a media server, and record your screen activity as a video. It can rip your CDs, transfer your files to an Android smartphone, and even convert videos into a format that can be played back on VR devices.

GPU support means conversion times are fast, but other than choosing between h264, HEVC, and some lower quality legacy formats, there’s not much control over the specifics of the ripping process. This aside, it’s one of the smoothest and fastest DVD ripping programs we’ve tried, and packs a great deal of functionality into one app. A free trial is available, but is limited to only the first third of your source DVD.


4. MakeMKV: Best for added Blu-ray ripping

MakeMKV: Best for added Blu-ray ripping

(Image credit: MakeMKV)

MakeMKV

A free Blu-ray ripper that needs a little help from Handbrake

Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux | Region free?: Yes | Blu-ray ripping?: Yes | CD ripping?: No

Simple and free
Rips Blu-rays
Open-source
No GPU acceleration
Lacks compression

Currently available for $0 as part of a public beta test, MakeMKV offers a highly streamlined ripping process that does a lot of the work for you. While there’s not much in the way of settings to fiddle with, this makes it a good choice for beginners and at least means you can whip through a number of disk rips quickly, although it doesn’t benefit from the GPU acceleration found in other apps.

The name comes from the Matroska Multimedia Container, an open container format that can hold common video formats, such as h264. Its files use the extension .mkv, and can be played by anything that can read an MP4 file. 

If you want to compress ripped files to make room on your HDD, you should combine it with Handbrake, to get this functionality.


5. Freemake Video Converter: Best for older devices

Freemake Video Converter: Best for older devices

(Image credit: Freemake)

Freemake Video Converter

Kinda free, and works with loads of older formats

Works on: Windows | Region free?: Yes | Blu-ray ripping?: No | CD ripping?: Yes

Good for beginners
Supports loads of devices
No h265 format
Constantly asks for money

Another do-it-all app with a few odd omissions. Looking at Freemake’s list of target files, which takes up three times the width of the app window, you’d think you’ve got everything covered. But who, these days, needs to rip video to Blackberry or Nokia devices? 

Freemake can rip CDs too, as well as move image files between formats. But while it’s nice to be able to tailor files to Windows Media Player, PlayStations and Xboxes, we’d rather it had h265 support and working GPU acceleration - the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti card in our test machine was invisible to the app’s digital eyes.

While it’s free to download, Freemake will embed its logo in any files you create, and it'll constantly ask you to buy extra features. Conversion settings are chosen through presets, and you’re free to create your own to tailor video files to your preferred device. After this, its a straightforward case of hitting the OK button and sitting back. Freemake is a good choice if you’re starting out with DVD ripping or have older devices you want to keep supplied with new video files, and if you’re luckier than we were with your PC’s GPU.

What makes for good DVD ripper software?

The best DVD rippers have a variety of features and tools that allow you to rip and convert DVDs, as well as edit the resulting files. Below are the criteria we used to rate and rank these applications:

Conversion choices:
Every application we reviewed has the ability to convert DVDs into the most popular video file formats such as MP4, MOV and AVI. But the best go far beyond that. They offer a library of preprogrammed optimization profiles for specific devices such as smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, smart TVs and more. 

The usefulness of these programs increases as the number of options rises. For example, our top pick allows you to optimize your DVD conversions for more than 100 specific smartphone and tablets models, while our value pick only provides six. If you have multiple devices, or even a device that’s obscure or rare, there’s a much better chance our top pick will have an optimization profile for it.

Ripping attributes:
The best DVD rippers convert quickly, and the files they convert are high quality and a manageable size. Also, an application’s interface should be intuitive and allow you to start a rip in three steps or less. Furthermore, the best rippers can extract audio clips from discs, capture subtitles and more. When we assessed each program’s ripping attributes, we consider which features and tools it has, as well as how well they work.

Customization tools:
Even the most exhaustive library of preprogrammed output profiles can’t cover the many ways you can customize a video. As such, the best programs allow you manually adjust codecs, aspect ratios, bit-rates, frame rates and more before you rip a DVD. Also, most of the products we reviewed include a basic video editor you can use to trim away unwanted footage, crop video, add watermarks and edit subtitles.

How much does DVD ripper software cost?
Generally, you can expect to pay between $40 to $50 for the best DVD ripper software. This is a fair price, considering the functionality you get. If a program simply ripped videos, it might not be worth it. But the fact that they include editors, converters and optimizers make them more than worth the price tag.

Can I get help and support for my DVD rip software?
No matter how easy an application is to use, you may occasionally need support. Manufacturers that provide excellent customer service make the best DVD rippers. Look for a program that comes with tutorials, FAQs and a knowledge base on the developer’s website. In case you can’t find your answers there, manufacturers should also offer email or live chat support. 

Can I get any good free DVD ripper software?
If you’re short on cash or only need the bare minimum from a DVD ripper, Handbrake may suit your needs. It is free, open source software that’s been around for a long time. The program can rip DVDs, but like Prism, it’s limited to ripping unprotected discs. Plus, it’s a bit advanced for casual users. Unless you’re a media whiz, you’re better off paying for an easy-to-use program like the ones we reviewed.