The best online YouTube downloader 2018

Downloading YouTube videos on a laptop

If you want to save a video from YouTube to watch offline, you have two options: you can install a program designed specifically for the job, or you can use an online video downloader to save the clip without leaving your web browser.

If you download videos regularly then desktop software is the best option, offering better speeds and the ability to save several videos at once, but if you just want to download a single clip then an online YouTube downloader is ideal.

In this roundup we've chosen five YouTube downloaders which can be used to save offline copies of content. Some of them give you the option of download videos at various quality settings, they may give you the option of downloading just the audio, and some support other video sites such as Vimeo.

What all give tools have in common, though, is that they are all wonderfully simple to use and will quickly furnish you with the videos you desire. 

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.

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Apowersoft Online Video Downloader screen grab

1. Apowersoft Online Video Downloader

The quickest, most convenient way to download videos or rip audio

Apowersoft Online Video Downloader is refreshingly uncluttered and easy to use – just paste the video's URL into the box provided, open the Apowersoft Online Launcher and take your pick from the available options.

Editor's choice award: Apowersoft Online Video Downloader

You can download videos in MP4, WEBM or 3GP format, in a choice of resolutions, or save just the audio as a WEBM or M4A file. Helpfully, Apowersoft Online Video Downloader makes all these options available at once, so you can  download the video in several formats without having to re-enter its URL.

Unlike some online YouTube downloaders, Apowersoft Online Video Downloader lets you download at the highest quality settings, and there are no time restrictions to worry about.

When you need to download a video quickly, Apowersoft should be your top choice.

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ClipConverter screen grab

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2. Clip Converter

Save videos from YouTube in any format, with optional browser plugins

Despite the name, Clip Converter isn't just a tool for saving videos in different formats. Its main purpose is downloading videos from YouTube – a task it makes incredibly simple.

Unlike some browser-based YouTube downloaders, Clip Converter doesn't ask you to hunt around for a specific version of a video's URL. Just copy the main address from your browser's address bar, choose the video quality and file format, or opt to grab just the audio, and hit Start.

As an added bonus, there are also plugins available for Chrome, Safari and Firefox so you can easily download YouTube videos without the need to keep visiting the Clip Converter site.

One slight downside is that Clip Converter can be picky about downloading videos that contain music – the error message that appears doesn’t say as much, but this will be because of licensing issues. That aside, this is a great online YouTube video downloader.

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Video Downloader Online screen grab

3. Video Downloader Online

One of the easiest ways to save YouTube videos in the quality of your choice

To make downloading YouTube videos as simple as possible, Video Downloader Online requires you to do nothing more than paste a link and hit 'Download'. Once the video has been identified, all you need to do is click the button next to the version of the file you want to download.

Video Downloader Online detects video quality options automatically and lets you choose which you want to save. You can also choose to rip the audio from a video if you prefer – a feature you won't find in all online video downlaoders.

Bear in mind that clicking the 'Try pro version' link will download a different program called Video Keeper. This lets you save whole playlists at once, but costs US$29.95 (about £20, AU$40).

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Online Video Converter screen grab

4. Online Video Converter

Save videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and many others in the best format for your device, whether it's a phone, console, PC or something else

Another site that's incredibly easy to use, Online Video Converter can save YouTube videos in no fewer than seven audio and seven video formats. This means that no matter what device you have in mind as a target, and no matter what you intend to use the video for – within reason, of course – the site should have you covered.

The number of download formats isn't Online Video Converter's only impressive feature. It can also grab videos from Facebook, Vimeo, Daily Motion and a plethora of other supported sites.

When it comes to actually saving clips, there are no fancy extras here. This is an online video downloader that gets the job done, and does so quickly. You're offered a download link almost as soon as you've set your download options, and you can't ask for much better than that.

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Convert2mp3.net screen grab

5. Convert2mp3.net

A simple YouTube downloader that offers a good choice of download options

Another site with a slightly deceptive name, Convert2mp3.net can be used to convert videos from YouTube, Daily Motion and others to a range of formats – not just MP3.

There are a few restrictions to bear in mind. Some file formats – such as AVI – have time limits, so if you're looking to download lengthy clips it is possible that you'll have to opt for your second choice of format. Once the file is converted, you can download it to your hard drive or save it to Dropbox if you'd like to keep it online

If you don't like skipping between browser tabs and copying links, Convert2mp3.net has a search tool that not only searches YouTube for you, but offers an instant download button to keep things as simple as possible.

If the site initially appears in German, click the US flag icon at the top right to switch to English.