With a free DVD ripper, you can back up your movie collection and save it digitally for easy and convenient streaming around your home.
The best free DVD ripper is Handbrake – an open source tool that can save movies in virtually any format, with no limits on the number of files you can back up, or the length of the videos. However, it can't handle discs protected by DRM, so we've also gathered together a collection of other free DVD rippers with different feature sets, so you can choose the best one for you.
Some DVD rippers are better suited to ripping movies, keeping subtltles, menus and other details intact, while others work best for ripping other data.
Just remember to make sure to check intellectual property law in your country first before you rip those DVDs. Much like CDs, there are no international copyright laws that cover free DVD rippers, so make sure it's legal where you live.
The best free DVD rippers at a glance
The best DVD ripper overall is WinX DVD Ripper Platinum
If you're interested in backing up your DVD collection and don't want to be held back by time restrictions or slow processing, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is the best tool we've tried. It isn't free like the tools below, but you get a lot for your money, and it can even handle discs that are encrypted, region-locked or unplayable. It can create videos files for playback on virtually any device too, with preset profiles so you can watch your movies on a phone or tablet.
HandBrake is not only a free DVD ripper (or video transcoder, as it prefers to be known) but also open source, so it's totally free in every sense of the word.
More than a decade in the making, the software finally reached version 1.0.0, It is – or at least looks – a little more complicated that some of the others we're looking at here, but don’t let that put you off. By default there's no support for bypassing copy-protection, but this is something you can get around with a little research (bearing in mind IP laws in your country).
As with other programs, there are a number of presets ready for you to choose from, but you can also manually tailor each ripping session if you prefer. If you're working with ISO images or disc folders, it's possible to queue up multiple encoding jobs to run consecutively to save having to be around when each finishes. The sheer level of control makes HandBrake well worth a try.
Read our full HandBrake review
Freemake is a name synonymous with powerful, high quality freeware, and Freemake Video Converter doesn't let the side down. Its free DVD ripper boasts a clean, clear interface is a joy to use, and you're never left feeling in any doubt about what you're meant to do.
Fire up the software, switch to the DVD section and choose your drive from the list. After disc analysis you'll need to indicate which of the video track you're interested in. You can even take things a step further and clip out segments of a video to rip rather than grabbing the whole thing. Shortcuts at the bottom of the screen provide access to popular output formats (AVI, MKV, device-specific formats); just make your selection, hit 'Convert', and you're done.
Unfortunately, although it doesn't contain extra bundled software, the latest version of Freemake Video Converter adds a watermark to ripped videos. If you can live with that, it's one of the most convenient DVD rippers around.
Read our full Freemake Video Converter review
If you've used free DVD ripping software before, MakeMKV might look a little familiar – it bears more than a passing resemblance to DVD Decrypter. As well as handling DVDs, the program, is also capable of ripping Blu-ray discs, and the process works in exactly the same way in each case (although it's worth noting that Blu-ray ripping is only be free while the program is in beta).
The great thing about MakeMKV is that there is so little to think about. Fire up the program, analyze your disc, choose which of the track you would like to rip, indicate where the output file should be saved, and then hit the 'Make MKV' button. That's really all there is to it. There's no messing about, no complex configuration – just analyze, rip and go.
Read our full MakeMKV review
DVDFab is an unusual case. The full DVDFab suite isn't free of charge, but its DVD ripping component is. When you download the software, it installs as a trial version, but the DVDFab HD Decrypter – which you need for DVD and Blu-ray ripping – remains free forever.
The free portion is rather limited, allowing you to rip discs in Full Disc or Main Movie modes only. This means that the free version is nowhere near as versatile as the other programs we've covered here, but it still has its place.
For example, it can be useful if you want to extract the video files from a disc and maintain their original formats when transferring them to your hard drive. You're then free to import the files into another program for further work if you want, or just use your favorite DVD software to watch the videos without the need for a disc to be inserted.
Read our full DVDFab HD Decrypter review
When you install the free version of WinX DVD Ripper, you'll notice that it's actually the Platinum Edition in trial mode. This lacks a few of the features found in the premium version (mainly speed-related and a couple of specific DRM cracks), but you'll still have a powerful DVD ripper on your hands that you can use indefinitely.
WinX DVD Ripper can be used to rip directly from DVDs, but it also works with ISO images, and folders of DVD files. Once your input has been analyzed – a process that doesn't take long – you can take your pick from a raft of ready made profiles. These profiles help you to quickly output a video that's suitable for playback on specific mobile devices or, say, ideal for uploading to Facebook
You can choose to rip the built-in subtitles or embed your own, and you can select which audio tracks should be included; it's all beautifully simple and pleasingly fast. The software's confusing marketing might lead you to believe it can only rip five minutes of video, but after much research we can confirm that isn't the case.
Read our full WinX DVD Ripper Free Edition review
- Edit your ripped movies with the best video editing software