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The Ultimate Guide to Downloading Videos from YouTube for Free

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There are a number of ways to download YouTube videos to your local hard drive. Here is a categorized list of all available software tools and solutions to convert YouTube videos to formats that you can download to your disk.

All of the tools listed below were tested for the presence of malware.

Some of the tools work not only with YouTube but with many other video sharing sites as well.

All tools are listed by popularity (i.e. not alphabetically, not in random order).

Online Conversion Tools

With these tools you simply enter the URL of the YouTube video into a box and click on a button — usually called Continue, Convert, Download, or something similar. It’s pretty self-evident and straightforward stuff.

ClipConverter

ClipConverter

The names of the tools let you know what they do. For example, MP3 in the tool’s name means that it will only convert the video to the MP3 audio format, then let you download that mp3 file.

Popular YouTube Audio/Video Conversion Solutions

SaveFromAlexa Rank: 515Top Pick
YouTube MP3Alexa Rank: 541
ClipConverterAlexa Rank: 834Top Pick
KeepVidAlexa Rank: 1980Top Pick
Vid to MP3Alexa Rank: 4057
FLVTOAlexa Rank: 6774
DownVidsAlexa Rank: 7034
ListenToYouTubeAlexa Rank: 7462
YouTube in MP4Alexa Rank: 10989
10YouTubeAlexa Rank: 17789Top Pick
VideoGrabberAlexa Rank: 26575
CatchVideoAlexa Rank: 29585Top Pick

Less Popular YouTube Audio/Video Conversion Solutions

DetURLAlexa Rank: 36732
SaveVidAlexa Rank: 85060
SaveTubeAlexa Rank: 135867
Save MediaAlexa Rank: 141505
KiBaseAlexa Rank: 230572
HD DownloaderAlexa Rank: 448046
Download YouTube VideoAlexa Rank: 478166
TubGetAlexa Rank: 677171
Want YouTubeAlexa Rank: 710228
FVD TubeAlexa Rank: 1862177
Video Download XAlexa Rank: 2262320
Download from YouTubeAlexa Rank: 13685218
Save VideosAlexa Rank: 14115395

Software Tools

With the following solutions, you have to download and install a piece of downloader software.

Then you can use that software to convert and download YouTube videos to audio or video files of your choice.

4K Video Downloader

4K Video Downloader

After each software tool, I list the VirusTotal scan results for each tool’s executable installation file. VirusTotal scans any file you upload to their servers with several dozen of the most current anti-malware products.

YouTube Audio/Video Downloader Software

Software VirusTotal Scan Results
4K Video DownloaderAlexa Rank: 21628 0/56
VideoGrabberAlexa Rank: 26575 0/56
Download YouTube MusicAlexa Rank: 9919483 0/56

Notes


4K Video Downloader only allows you to download 25 YouTube clips. After that they want you to purchase a license key.
 
VideoGrabber (or Video Download Capture) comes in a trial version that lets you use the software for 3 days only. As of July 16, 2016 the Pro version of VideoGrabber has been removed from their website.
 
And Download YouTube Music comes with the most idiotic limitation I have ever heard of — it only downloads 50% of a YouTube clip! Unless you buy a license, of course.
 
Obviously, none of their sites tell you about these limitations beforehand, when you download their free software.

Unsafe YouTube Audio/Video Downloader Software

Software VirusTotal Scan Results
SaveFromAlexa Rank: 515 3/56
SpeedBit Video DownloaderAlexa Rank: 5744 1/56
Free YouTube DownloaderAlexa Rank: 6212 9/56
FLVTOAlexa Rank: 6774 14/56
Ummy Video DownloaderAlexa Rank: 13872 4/56
Free YouTube DownloaderAlexa Rank: 21186 10/56
YouTube Downloader HDAlexa Rank: 24476 12/55
ClipBragAlexa Rank: 84450 6/56
VDownloaderAlexa Rank: 135402 10/56
DownloadToolzAlexa Rank: 423735 8/56
Vixy FreecorderAlexa Rank: 706169 18/56

Important Note

In light of the software limitations and malware findings in all of the YouTube downloader software products, I recommend using the online conversion tools — just to be on the safe side.

Browser Extensions and Add-ons

Browser Extension or Add-on VirusTotal Scan Results
Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari ClipConverterTop Pick 0/65, 0/65, 0/65
Mozilla Firefox Download YouTube Videos as MP4 0/55
Mozilla Firefox Flash Video Downloader 0/56
Mozilla Firefox Video Download Helper 0/55
Google Chrome YouTube Downloader 0/56
Safari YouTube5 0/56
Internet Explorer FVD Suite IE Plugin 19/56

ClipConverter Manual Trick

You can use ClipConverter’s add-on links manually, too.

All you need to do is use the following URL scheme:

Of course, you need to replace the VIDEOCLIPID with the YouTube video’s actual 11-character long ID.

By using this trick, you will end up at ClipConverter’s website with the specified YouTube video already loaded.

For example, you have a YouTube clip with the following URL:

To load the video as an MP4 into ClipConverter manually, use this URL:

And to load it as an MP3 audio file only, use this URL:

Tip

You can use the following formats for video — mp4, 3gp, avi, or mov. For audio only, you can use mp3, m4a, or aac.
 
I recommend using the mp4 and mp3 formats as they are the best compressed and most widely recognized media formats from all the listed formats.

Then you just click on the Download button to save the file to your local hard drive.

Mobile Device YouTube Audio/Video Download Tools

Software VirusTotal Scan Results
TubeMate 0/56
WonTube 0/57

Important Note

Remember that downloading videos uploaded by other people goes against Google’s terms of use of their YouTube service.

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