The best free YouTube downloader 2019

Free YouTube downloaders will let you save videos from the world’s biggest video hosting site, ready to watch offline later whenever you want. 

These free tools will enable you to download and save videos from YouTube – and often other video sharing sites too – in a format of your choice. You can usually choose to save the whole clip or just the audio, which is a great choice for music videos and video podcasts. It’s easy; it doesn’t require owning one of the best laptops, either.

YouTube downloaders can also come in handy in other circumstances. If you have a slow internet connection, you’ll find that streaming videos can be a pain. With the right downloader, however, you can set the videos you are interested in to download overnight so they are ready and waiting for you to enjoy in the morning, stutter-free and buffer-free. 

Free YouTube downloaders are always changing, but we upgrade this guide frequently so you can be sure that you’re always getting up to date advice. If you’re specifically interested in saving music from YouTube, you might want to check out our guide to the best YouTube to MP3 software as well.

Before you use a free YouTube downloader, bear in mind that using third-party apps to download videos is against YouTube’s terms of service, which say you can only stream videos directly from its servers. Downloading videos is also a potential copyright infringement unless you own the video yourself, have permission from the copyright holder, or it’s in the public domain.

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Editor’s Choice

4K Video Downloader

4K Video Downloader is our recommendation for the best free YouTube downloader (Image credit: OpenMedia LLC)

1. 4K Video Downloader

Fast, free and flexible – the most versatile YouTube downloader

Great choice of formats

Downloads playlists

Supports 3D and 360-degree videos

4K Video Downloader is the best free tool around for quick, fuss-free YouTube downloads. It’s simple to use, highly customizable, ad-free, and doesn’t include any bundled extra software.

To grab a video (or a whole playlist, provided it’s not longer than 24 videos), simply copy its URL from your web browser, click ‘Paste URL’ and select an output format, quality and location. 

There’s a great choice of formats – both video and audio – including MP4 and MP3. You can download captions for individual videos, and there’s support for 3D and 360-degree videos too.

Delving into the properties lets you tweak options like multi-stream downloads (increasing the number of streams will speed up downloads, but increases the risk YouTube blocking your IP address) and set up a proxy connection.

Buying a key will let you download longer playlists and playlists with captions, and at £7.95 (about US$10, AU$15) for a lifetime license for three PCs, it’s a bargain, but the free edition has everything else you could wish for.

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WinX YouTube Downloader

WinX YouTube Downloader has the advantage of being able to download videos in batches (Image credit: Digiarty Software Inc)

2. WinX YouTube Downloader

Clear, powerful and well designed – a very close runner-up

Supports over 30 video sites

Can download 4K video

Downloads multiple videos at once

No 360-degree video support

Running a very close second, WinX YouTube Downloader can download videos from all the most popular sites, including Facebook, Vimeo and DailyMotion. It’s very easy to use. Just paste in a URL, select an output format and quality setting, and it will be added to the current batch.

Once you’ve added all the videos you want to download, simply click the ‘Download’ button and they’ll all be processed at once, and saved to the destination folder of your choice.

WinX YouTube Downloader can download 4K video when available, and only loses out to 4K Video Downloader because it’s unable to download 3D and 360-degree videos. If this isn’t a problem for you, this free YouTube downloader comes highly recommended.

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Any Video Converter Free

Any Video Converter Free is a versatile program that even includes a basic video editor (Image credit: Anvsoft Inc)

3. Any Video Converter Free

Download and convert videos, and add special effects

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