It's easy to spend hours watching new videos on YouTube when you have a reliable internet connection, but if you're going to be offline, you might want to save a collection of clips to watch later on your PC, tablet, games console, or smartphone. That's when you need a free YouTube converter.
The best YouTube video converters include preset profiles to take the guesswork out of choosing the optimum format, resolution, and compression settings for your device. They also let you save and convert clips in batches, and let you choose where they're saved once the download and conversion is complete.
Are YouTube converters legal?
You should only download videos when you have the copyright owner's permission to do so. YouTube's terms of service explicitly prohibit unauthorized downloading.
Grab and save videos in seconds – the best YouTube converter
aTube Catcher is an appropriately named YouTube converter that will catch any video downloads you throw its way before converting them to your chosen format.
It supports AVI, FLV, MOV, WMV, MPG and MP4, in addition to less common formats such as PSP, which is used for Sony's handheld games console.
The installation process is speedy, and once up and running you'll be presented with a colourful Windows 10-like grid that clearly presents the available options. From there you can dive straight into aTune Catcher's video conversion utility for converting to another file format, or convert the soundtrack to an MP3 for audio playback.
Once you've chosen a format, drag in the files you want to convert and right-click Start to set them going. You can prioritize certain clips to have them converted first, or simply leave it to work on the queued files from top to bottom.
Review and where to download: aTube Catcher
Convert videos and rip their soundtracks for offline listening
Free YouTube to MP3 Converter is a free YouTube converter that converts videos from YouTube to other popular video formats – including WMV and AVI – in addition to audio ones formats such as MP3.
The program lets you queue up multiple files for conversion and features a clean interface that clearly displays what files are waiting to be converted.
It's a particularly useful tool for musicians who may want to download guitar backing tracks to jam along to, or similarly you could grab a karaoke backing track to burn to a CD ready for that weekend party - provided you have the copyright holder's permission.
Review and where to download: Free YouTube to MP3 Converter
Freemake offers super-speedy conversion into almost any format
Freemake Video Converter features an attractive design and supports more file formats than you can shake a USB stick at. You can convert your downloaded video into more than 200 formats – including AVI, MP4, WKV, WMV, DV, RM, QT, TS and MTS – and you can choose to rip and convert audio to MP3 if you just want the soundtrack.
Freemake claims that a few of its features are unique - including integrated CUDA and DXVA technology that apparently converts videos faster while using less CPU resources. It's certainly one of the fastest YouTube converters on our list, but its speed will ultimately depend on the power of your PC.
The only drawback is that Freemake Video Converter adds a brief branded splash to converted videos.
Review and where to download: Freemake Video Converter
4. Free Studio
Makes it easy to fine-tune clips for playback on your chosen device
Developed by DVDVideoSoft, Free Studio comes with a massive 25 video conversion options that can convert your files automatically once they've downloaded for viewing on different devices.
It's particularly useful because it bundles multiple converters into a single program, saving you hunting for several solutions when converting to different formats.
It's a flexible YouTube converter that allows you to work with HD video file types in addition to high quality MP4 video. It also comes with an advanced screen capture tool that allows you to record a section of the screen, flip it and rotate it before saving the edited output to disk with the option of saving to another device.
Before you get started, note that some of the suite's components have to be downloaded separately.
Download here: Free Studio
Dropped connection mid-rip? No problem – YTD will pick it up
YTD Video Downloader can download and convert videos from some of the most popular video hosting sites, including Facebook, DailyMotion and College Humor and, of course, YouTube. It features the ability to convert videos into most popular video formats – from MP3 and MP4 to WNV, FLV, MOV, 3GP and AVI.
This YouTube downloader's makers claim that the latest version is faster and more stable than previous releases. It also has the handy feature of resuming downloads automatically if your internet connection goes down temporarily.
Review and where to download: YTD Video Downloader