The best free download manager 2016

The most secure and reliable download manager for Windows

The best free download manager

If you enjoy music and movies, a great download manager is essential. The best tools can speed up downloads by breaking files into manageable blocks, let you pause and resume whenever you want, and compensate for flaky internet connections.

Some download managers will even convert file formats automatically once they've finished grabbing videos, making the experience as hassle-free as possible. Once you've tried one, you'll wonder how you ever managed without.

Here's our pick of the very best free download managers for Windows. Have we missed your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ninja Internet Download Manager

Ninja Internet Download Manager boasts smart features like sequential downloading, enabling you to preview a media file before it's finished

1. Ninja Download Manager

Powerful and well designed - the best download manager for saving and converting media files

Download Ninja Download Manager free

Ninja Download Manager is a relative newcomer to the downloading party, and it looks considerably more contemporary than its, er, contemporaries.

The interface is simple and modern, and the download accelerator is capable of grabbing files 10 times faster. It does this by splitting each file into chunks, then downloading each one using a different server connection, making downloads not only faster, but also more reliable. If you're into music and movies you'll be delighted by its sequential setting, which lets you begin playing a file while it's still downloading.

There's also a built-in video downloader with support for YouTube and Vimeo, and a video converter that changes the file format automatically once it's finished downloading.

There are lots of fantastic download managers around, but if you love music, films and TV then Ninja is the best download manager for you.

Download here: Ninja Internet Download Manager

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Free Download Manager

Free Download Manager's features include a superb remote tool that you can use to check the progress of your downloads while you're away from your PC

2. Free Download Manager

Download Free Download Manager

An open source download manager that's packed with media tools for music and movie lovers

Free Download Manager aims to be all things to all people. It's a download accelerator, a BitTorrent client, an audio and video previewer and a traffic management tool, and because it's open source, it's completely free and receives regular updates from its community of developers.

There's a portable version that you can run directly from a USB stick, plus powerful scheduling features and a very handy remote control that means you can leave your downloads running and check on their progress from any internet-connected device.

It can spider sites to download specific kinds of files, and you can choose to download only the bits of a ZIP file you actually want. It's an exceptional program, and it was tough to choose between this and Ninja Internet Download Manager for the top spot.

Download here: Free Download Manager

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Download Accelerator Plus

There's a premium version too, but the free edition of Download Manager Plus boasts many of the same features, including link checking and video previews

3. Download Accelerator Plus

Download Accelerator Plus

A stripped-down version of a premium download manager that's superb in its own right

The free version of Download Accelerator Plus is a pared-back version of DAP Premium, but it's much more than just a demo and contains all the essential features you need for quick, reliable downloads.

The free version lacks the DAP Premium's privacy protection, but it does include a link checker, video previewing, file conversion, safe downloading and multiple connections to boost the speed of your downloads.

Download Accelerator Plus is clearly designed for media fans, and can help you avoid irritations such as slow servers and internet congestion.

Download here: Download Accelerator Plus

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JDownloader 2

JDownloader 2 isn't the best choice if simplicity is your priority, but it's extremely powerful, with hundreds of plug-ins

4. JDownloader 2

Download JDownloader 2

An advanced download manager, JDownloader 2 is optimized for power users

JDownloader 2 is a free, open source download manager with a massive developer community, and it's available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

It's really one for power users, with support for over 300 decryption plugins, automatic RAR extraction, password list searching and OCR to complete some of the CAPTCHA 'I'm not a robot' checks you encounter on download sites.

You'll need the Java Runtime Environment to run it, and you'll need to be careful when installing it: the installer contains adware, which will be bundled in with the download manager if you don't specifically deselect it.

Download here: JDownloader 2

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Free YouTube Downloader

There are dozens of tools specifically for downloading YouTube videos, but Free YouTube Downloader is one of the best thanks to its multi-stream management and support for 8K videos

5. Free YouTube Downloader

Free YouTube Downloader

Manage video downloads with batch processing and support for resolutions up to 8K

Its installer is a little too keen on adding bundled software, but deselect the extras you don't want and you'll discover that Free YouTube Downloader is an excellent download manager.

Unlike some of the more powerful options it's designed as a downloader first and foremost, so you get a good multi-stream download manager for grabbing several clips simultaneously, but few file conversion options.

Free YouTube Downloader can download files of up to 8K resolution (in MKV) and convert to AVI and MP4 format for playback in your media player of choice. Remember that you should only download videos from YouTube if you have the copyright owner's permission.

Download here: Free YouTube Downloader

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Download DownThemAll free

DownThemAll is one of the best free download managers around if you use Firefox - fast, effective and totally free to use

6. DownThemAll

Download DownThemAll free

A free Firefox add-on that lets you download all the links and media from a web page at once

If Firefox is your preferred browser, try DownThemAll - a well-crafted extension that lets you download all the links or images in a webpage at once.

Downloads can be paused and resumed, and the integrated accelerator lets you grab files files four times faster through cunning use of multiple server connections.

It's a superb addition to an already excellent browser, and unlike some free download managers there are no catches - there's no unwanted advertising and all its features are yours to enjoy completely free of charge.

Download here: DownThemAll

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Download iGetter free

iGetter is a cross-platform download manager, with support for several Mac and Windows web browsers

7. iGetter

Download iGetter free

iGetter makes it easy to find and grab the files you need, whether you're using a Mac or PC

Most download managers are for Windows, but iGetter also comes in a Mac OS X version. You can schedule downloads for specific times - handy if the servers you want to use get hammered during peak hours - and find server mirrors.

As with most download managers worth their salt, you can resume broken downloads and benefit from accelerated downloading.

iGetter also includes a site explorer that you can use to find content on web and FTP sites. It integrates with Safari, iCab and Firefox on Mac and Firefox and Internet Explorer on Windows.

Download here: iGetter

See all media download managers available to download on TechRadar

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor

Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Gary Marshall (Twitter, Google+) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to .net, MacFormat, Tap! and Official Windows Magazine as well as co-writing stacks of how-to tech books. "My job is to cut through the crap," he says. "And there's a lot of crap."