While we're connected to the internet more often than not, it pays to have the best video downloader software and apps to hand, especially if you watch a lot of video. The huge popularity of video websites, from YouTube and Vimeo to Twitch and Facebook, means that more of us are watching more video than ever, but going directly to the sites that host videos isn’t always convenient.
If you want to watch video when you’re offline – on a plane or on a camping trip, for instance – then you may want to download videos and save them to your smartphone or laptop. You might also want to download video in order to create a show reel or a demo reel, or if a podcast has been uploaded as a video and you just want to enjoy the audio when you’re out on a walk.
Most video-sharing websites don’t offer straightforward download options, though, which means that you’ve got to turn to third-party solutions. There are plenty of websites that’ll do it for you, but they tend to have a limited set of options. If you need more settings, more control and a more secure environment, it’s better to download a dedicated application that can help you download videos from any of the most popular sites.
There are loads of tools on the market that specialize in downloading videos from YouTube and other sites, and they’ve got a fantastic range of features – some can download content from more than 10,000 web pages, others serve up simple editing features, and elsewhere it’s possible to download entire playlists, extract the audio from video files and download videos from social networks. As ever, though, these tools arrive with a wide range of features and prices, which means that every tool won’t suit every user – and that also means that some research is required before taking the plunge. And if you need to convert your video after downloading, check our guide to the best video converter software.
1. Wondershare AllMyTube: Best video downloader software overall
Wondershare AllMyTube has been one of the most popular video download tools for a long time, and its latest release continues to serve up loads of features that are impressively powerful and easy to use.
The feature list is fantastic. AllMyTube can download videos from more than 10,000 different sites – including big names like YouTube, DailyMotion and MegaVideo – and you can use three different download methods. This app has a simple button to download a video with one click, or you can copy and paste the URL and even record video directly, while it’s being streamed.
Videos can be downloaded as MP3s – handy if you want to listen to videos as podcasts – and audio can be saved in loads of other file formats too. Your downloaded videos can be converted to formats like MP4, AVI and MKV, and you can also convert videos to the correct formats for Apple and Android devices – and then transfer them using your wireless network. AllMyTube supports different resolutions, and it uses a multi-threaded technique that speeds up downloads. The feature set is rounded out by a task scheduler, a video library that collates your downloads and a slick interface that makes every feature accessible for beginners and advanced users. There are only minor downsides: this tool doesn’t automatically download videos as you browse, and you’re limited to ten simultaneous downloads.
Handily, AllMyTube has a free trial available, and its pricing structure is generous – you can buy an annual license for $19, and lifetime licenses are available, with a single PC license arriving at just $29 and a family license for five PCs costing a decent $72.50. The great interface, broad range of features and generous pricing structure make Wondershare AllMyTube a winner.
2. VideoProc: Best for video management
A free trial is available, and VideoProc costs $30 for an annual license and between $38 and $119 for its range of lifetime licenses – the price changes depending on how many PCs you need to support and what offers are applied when you buy. It may be too expensive for some, and lots of users just won’t need this tool’s features – but if you need a video app that can do everything, VideoProc is excellent.
VideoProc may be one of the best video downloading tools around, but don’t think that this app just handles that task – it’s actually a fully-featured editing utility with loads of functionality wrapped into four main modules.
When it comes to downloading, you can get video from more than 1,000 sites, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and your downloaded videos can be converted to formats for audio playback and for your Apple and Android mobile devices – and conversion options also include settings for different resolutions and automatic quality improvements. VideoProc download videos in batches and use proxy servers, it can record live video, and it includes live cropping options and settings to record videos with voiceovers or webcam inserts.
Go beyond VideoProc’s smart downloading module and you can find more functionality. You can cut, crop, add subtitles and effects and merge videos, and it’ll all happen faster if you have a decent graphics card thanks to GPU acceleration. There are advanced options for stabilizing videos, removing noise, adding watermarks and turning videos into GIFs. This app also supports pulling video from DVDs – and it’s future-proofed with support for 8K video.
3. WinX YouTube Downloader: Best free downloader
There aren’t many names in the video world that are bigger than WinX, so it’s no surprise that the firm has a superb video downloading tool.
This app supports more than 1,000 of the biggest video sites, including YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and DailyMotion, and you can download videos in common resolutions that range from 720p right up to 4K. The download process is enhanced by an analysis tool that picks up the video’s resolution, format and size – so it can list all of your output options in terms of their resolution, format, file size and framerate. That’s handy if you want to watch videos on a device where disk space is at a premium.
This app can also search for subtitles to add to your videos, and the app is made easier to use by neat thumbnail previews. Individual frames from videos can be exported as screenshots, and an optimized algorithm allows this app to work without stressing your computer’s processor. Batch downloading is supported, too, with up to 300 videos supported.
This tool is free, but that does mean that it misses some features – it does not support MP3 downloading and it doesn’t output to as many of the formats as some of its rivals, and it does have some adverts. But if you want a straightforward video download tool and don’t want to spend any more, WinX’s software is slick and effective.
4. 4K Video Downloader: Best for gamers
This app pairs its straightforward name with a broad range of features, although you’ll have to pay extra if you want to access some of 4K Video Downloader’s more advanced abilities.
There’s still lots to like if you stick with its free option. This app supports downloading from key sites, like YouTube, Facebook and DailyMotion, and it can also download streams from Twitch and YouTube Gaming and videos from social apps like Instagram and TikTok. It’ll download 3D and 360° video, and its Smart Mode allows for one-click downloads with your choice of format and quality. You can extract audio from videos, output to video formats like MP4 and MKV and see file sizes and quality levels before you start a download. You can use proxy servers, restrict the amount of bandwidth your computer uses – so you can keep working or streaming while downloading.
The free version can download thirty videos per day and download up to ten videos from YouTube playlists. Upgrading to the $15 Personal edition unlocks unlimited downloads, the ability to download three videos simultaneously, private YouTube downloading and an ad-free experience. Pay $45 for the Pro version and you’ll get all of this alongside more simultaneous downloading, in-app YouTube subscription support, higher-quality audio and URL import and export options.
The only downside is the interface, which is functional but not as pretty or as intuitive as many other tools. But in terms of functionality, 4K Video Downloader is impressive – both in its free and paid guises. It’s particularly handy for gamers who want to download their favourite streams.
5. iTube HD Video Downloader: Best for cloud users
This app comes from Aimersoft, which has previously produced popular tools like iTube Studio and iTube Go. Now, though, many of those features have been consolidated into iTube HD Video Downloader, and it’s an impressive utility.
It supports downloading from more than 10,000 sites, for starters, and it can handle a huge range of output formats – including formats for Apple and Android devices and games consoles. It’ll output video to all of the key video and audio formats, and it can output to audio. There are advanced options including batch downloads, support for downloading from cloud storage apps and a built-in media player, so you can instantly play your downloads. A Turbo mode speeds up downloads, and there’s a Private mode that seals videos in a password-protected folder.
Handily, this app also has extensions for Chrome, Safari and Firefox, so you can download videos straight from your browser. Full support for popular resolutions is included, right up to 4K, and this app can also record video from streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It also records FaceTime and Skype calls, and can transfer your video to mobile devices – albeit with a USB cable, not over your wireless connection. The only other issue is the interface – it’s slick, but some people won’t like its reliance on icons rather than more straightforward text.
This app has decent pricing: a one-year subscription costs $19, a lifetime license for one PC is $29 and a five-PC, lifetime family license is $73. It’s an excellent tool, and only just behind Wondershare’s AllMyTube in terms of all-round quality.
Why use a Video Downloader?
During our research, we spoke with Drew Tyler, instructor of digital media at Weber State University, about why people might want to use one of these versatile video download apps.
He said one of the chief things to remember about downloading content is to use it for legal purposes. “If you’re downloading something to avoid a purchase or use it for commercial purpose or to make money, you’re crossing a line.” He also told us some of the reasons he downloads videos. “Two main reasons, one is because I want to show a video where I don’t have internet access. The other is collecting parts and pieces of videos to make something else, like completions and demo reels.”
We also spoke to Greg Andersen of Andersen Media in South Weber Utah. He said that downloading videos is sometimes required to finish his work. “Many of my clients show me particular video that they enjoyed and want something similar.” He also pointed out that you may need only the audio portion of a video. “Sometimes clients had a convention where they were the speaker, and they don’t want the video part of it, they just want the audio to integrate into their online platform or share with their own clients.”
Also bear in mind that sometimes podcasts are uploaded to video websites, and it can be useful to just download the audio so you can listen on a phone or MP3 player.
Both men stressed the importance of picking software with multiple download options – for example programs that lets you pick the resolution and file format of the video – so you can choose smaller file sizes if necessary. They also both mentioned that the best programs are simple to use and don’t have a steep learning curve.
How much does Video Downloader Software cost?
Video downloader software costs between $19 and $60, though you can find programs that are available for free, albeit on a trial basis or with ad support included. Average users shouldn't have to spend more than $30 to get a program that includes the features they need.
Typically, more expensive programs have extra features – for example, they may automatically download videos you view on the internet or come with mobile apps or browser extensions. High-end software also often has more video conversion formats to choose from. Paying more can also get you extra privacy features, support for more websites and apps that show video, or licenses to use the software across multiple systems – handy for family users or business users.
What to look for in Video Downloader Software
It’s essential for any video downloader software to work with YouTube, and it is quite helpful for it to work with other sharing sites as well. The software we examined can download videos from nearly any site, with some apps offering support for 10,000 websites alongside social networks and streaming platforms.
The best video downloaders can convert downloaded videos into other video file formats. This means that if you download an MP4 video, the program can convert it to an AVI, MOV, WMV or any other common format. Some software can automatically convert videos once they finish downloading, which shortens the overall process since you don’t have to manually convert your downloads.
Use With Other Devices
Some software can optimize your download conversion for specific devices, with the best able to have more than 100 preprogrammed optimization files that run the gamut from iOS and Android smartphones and tablets to gaming systems like the PlayStation and Xbox.
The best applications let you to choose the resolution of the video you’re downloading, and many also can capture just the audio content. This is useful if you find a lecture or audio-centric video you like. You simply download the audio, sync it to a mobile device and listen to it the same way you would an audiobook or podcast.