With a free online YouTube downloader, you can save YouTube videos directly from your web browser, without any additional software.
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.
If you only want to save the audio from a video, check out our roundup of the best YouTube to MP3 software too.
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.
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.
Save videos from YouTube in any format, with optional 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.
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).
Download videos in the best format for your device
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.
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.
It's a largely frill-free affair, but the developer has recently added a QR code that you can scan to download the video to your phone. Very handy.
A simple YouTube downloader that offers a good choice of 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.
- Want to edit a video? Check out our list of the best video editing software