Are you looking to download videos from YouTube and other video hosting sites? Check out our list of the best YouTube downloaders to watch videos offline. Almost all of our recommendations work independently of your browser or operating system. Just copy-paste the downloadable URL into any of these software, and the video file will be instantly saved for offline use.
Is It Legal to Download YouTube Videos?
Downloading from YouTube is very easy and widely prevalent, with hundreds of sites and apps providing this service. Millions of users are doing it on a daily basis anyway. Does that make it legal?
Technically, no. If you look at the YouTube Terms of Service (ToS), it clearly states that you’re not allowed to “access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as expressly authorized by the Service; or (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders.”
In the worst case, any violations of the ToS can cause a termination of your YouTube services. That does include any unauthorized downloading of content.
It is for this reason YouTube has restricted mobile and tablet users from downloading videos, especially on Android or iOS devices with third-party apps. This is also why you won’t find any recommended YouTube-specific downloader apps on Google Play Store or the App Store. You may use other open-source apps at your own risk, but again, it’s a violation of the YouTube ToS.
That being said, some categories of video downloads fall under fair use. These include your own videos, and by extension, any shareable videos uploaded by your academic institution, company, peer group or social club. (YouTube cannot deny users access to their own source files.) You can also download copyright-free videos that were shared under a Creative Commons license. YouTube allows you to search for such videos under “filters.”
Why Download YouTube Videos?
There are many reasons you’d want to download a video for offline use.
- You lost access to the original source file for one of your videos.
- To add captions and sound effects.
- The videos has a Creative Commons license that gives you the right to use it with proper attribution.
- To watch videos offline without Internet access.
- Your favorite video may have been deleted or removed.
- You’re a student or educational institution and need offline access to educational content.
Best YouTube Video Downloaders
The following is a list of best YouTube video downloader sites. All of them support other video sites such as DailyMotion, Vimeo, and Facebook.
Unless specifically mentioned, these online software are supported on all desktop platforms and mobile browsers.
Savefrom (also Savefromnet) is one of the oldest and most reliable video downloader sites. As soon as you paste the video link, it serves you numerous file format options. The download starts instantly on your browser, and you don’t have to worry about pop-up ads or other intrusions. (The ads are very minimal.)
Savefrom’s maximum MP4 resolution is capped at 720p and lacks some of the fancy features of other premium software on our list, but is totally free to use for as many times as you want.
Advantages: Free. No sign-up or installation. Unlimited downloads. MP4 and WebM formats.
Keepvid is another awesome video downloader, which despite being free, punches way above its weight. Apart from MP4 and WebM, it also supports the MP3 format, which is a great way to extract audio from your video files. After copy-pasting the video link, you can download the media up to a full HD resolution (1080p). Although Keepvid software is meant to be used online with any operating system, you can download its free Windows and Mac installers.
Advantages: Free. No sign-up or installation. Unlimited downloads. Online video converter. MP4, MP3 and WebM formats.
Y2Mate (or Y2Mate Guru) is another good example of a browser-based free video downloader that doesn’t require any sign-up pages or installers. It works the same as Savefrom and Keepvid, so you just have to copy-paste the video link. The software supports up to 4K resolution for WebM (2160p) and full HD (1080p) for MP4. Y2Mate should be your free downloader of choice for any high-resolution source videos.
Advantages: Free. No sign-up or installation. Unlimited downloads. MP4, MP3 and WebM formats.
Although free to use, YouTube-dl should only be attempted by those with advanced needs. Whether you use Windows, Mac, or Linux, YouTube-dl addresses a full desktop video download experience.
- Unblock geographic restrictions: we’ve all come across YouTube videos which are restricted based on geography. The command
geo-bypasshelps you bypass these restrictions.
- Download videos by date and maximum views.
- Download subtitles and ads.
Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux
Advantages: Free. GitHub community-supported. Supports all UNIX users (macOS, Linux). Large number of code-based video formatting options.
5. Internet Download Manager
Internet Download Manager (IDM) is a 100 percent premium software, the only one we will recommend, as it makes it much easier to download several large files together. IDM accelerates download speeds up to five times along with a “Scheduler” feature to set up download schedulers. All downloads are backed with a single click, which is good for bulk/massive downloading.
Advantages: Accelerated downloads. Dark theme. One-click download. Download scheduler. Bulk downloads.
6. 4K Video Downloader
If you’re looking for a free video downloader software with advanced features, 4K Video Downloader is an excellent tool to have. Supporting Mac, Windows, and Linux, it is guaranteed to give you up to 8K resolution for an MP4 download. (The source file has to be 8K and higher.) For those looking to download visually appealing videos, the buck really stops here.
The only drawback: you may only download up to 30 videos in a day, which sounds doable.
Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux
Advantages: Free to use (with daily limits). 8K Ultra-High Definition. Supports bandwidth saving. Smart mode to download videos in one click. To convert to other video formats, use Freemake Video Converter, which is absolutely free.
7. Freemake Video Downloader
Freemake Video Downloader is a powerful video downloader that remains free to use on Windows and Mac, with some restrictions. After copy-pasting, it saves the videos in a wide variety of formats so that you don’t need to look for video converter software. However, the free version of the tool displays a prominent watermark. A lifetime license can be purchased for less than $30 with a secret discount inside the trial software.
Availability: Windows and Mac installers
Advantages: Free to use (with watermarks). Full HD support (1080p). Online converter. Supports MP4, MP3, AVI, WMV, MPEG, 3GP, FLV and many other formats.
8. iTube HD Video Downloader
We’ll round off our freemium tools with iTube HD Video Downloader software. It supports video downloading from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, and many other sites. iTube also allows you to convert the videos and download them at a lightning fast speed. You can use the software’s own media player to run your videos. Keep pasting the downloaded video URLs to create your own playlist.
Availability: Mac, Windows
Advantages: Thousands of sites. Bulk video download. 4K UHD format supported. Downloaded videos can be directly exported to iPhone and Android.
9. YT Cutter
So far we’ve seen software that help you download YouTube videos in their entirety. How about saving a small part of it? Assuming you just need a one-minute favorite scene in a 3-hour long video, you shouldn’t have to download the whole clip. YT Cutter is a superb software that allows you to capture those precise few seconds or minutes. You just have to set the start and end times.
Advantages: Free. No sign-up or installation. Unlimited downloads. Audio files, previews and screenshots supported.
Download Videos with YouTube Go and YouTube Premium
YouTube allows you to “download” the video to your smartphones and tablets if you have a paid YouTube Premium or YouTube Go subscription. It’s not a download in the true sense, though, because the file remains embedded on your YouTube app and for only 48 hours.
During the active subscription, you can download the video as many times as you would like, but it’s no longer available after the subscription expires. Nevertheless, for those looking to have Internet-free access to bandwidth-heavy video files, the download feature is a good option to have on your Android device, iPad, or iPhone.
How to Download YouTube Videos with VLC
VLC is a versatile media player, which helps you download YouTube software. To download a YouTube video, follow the steps below
- Go to “Media -> Open Network Stream.”
- Enter the YouTube URL in the Network Protocol URL section.
- Click on a tiny arrow next to the Play button and click ‘Stream.” You can also enter Alt + S.
- This will open a “Stream output” dialog screen. Click “Next” to proceed.
- In the add destination section, make sure “File” is enabled and click “Add.” This will save the file under a name.
- Select a folder to save the file to and name it.
- Select “Activate transcoding” for the saved file and click “Next.”
- Click “Stream” for the downloading process to complete.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why can I easily download some videos but not others from the same YouTube channel?
If the YouTube content creator has disabled video embedding and third-party linking, no download site will be able to access them. The same holds true for private and unlisted videos. Again, they cannot be traced for downloading.
2. What is the safest YouTube downloader?
All the sites mentioned on this page are safe for work and do not carry malware or any major concerns.
You must have your reasons why you need a local copy of a YouTube video that you saw online. The above list of YouTube download sites contains software names people trust and use. Read on to learn about the best third-party mobile apps you should try and the best apps to watch videos with your friends.