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Best free download manager of 2022

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Someone using a laptop.
(Image credit: Pexels)

The best free download managers make it simple and easy to manage and organize not just your downloads but also your downloading speeds.

Often, downloading something off the internet is easy and straightforward. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes you need to grab more than one file or a very large one that is much easier to download, not to mention less frustrating, with one of the best free download managers.

So, if you find yourself juggling multiple downloads or larger ones and have issues with them timing out or failing, then one of these managers will solve your downloading issues. You can even prioritize certain downloads according to name or file format, so you can get the most critical ones on your computer first.

Other features you’ll find on many of these download managers include scheduling, batch downloading, file previewing, BitTorrent support, support for compressed file types, and a number of security features. No matter if you want something that can work as an extension of your browser or as a standalone app, there are plenty of options available to you.

And, to help you decide which one works best for you, we’ve gathered our picks for the top download manager here.

We've also featured the best file managers.

Best download manager reviews


(Image credit: Speedbit)

1. Download Accelerator Plus

An excellent free version of a premium download manager

Reasons to buy

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Media file previews
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Impressive speed

Reasons to avoid

-
No privacy protection

The free version of Download Accelerator Plus is a pared-back version of the premium edition, 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.

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(Image credit: Ninja Download Manager)
Powerful and well designed – the best manager for media files

Reasons to buy

+
Super fast downloads
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Media previews mid-download
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Download scheduling

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

Its interface is simple and modern (if a little dark), and its accelerator can help you get your 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 options around, but if you love music, films and TV then Ninja Download Manager is the tool for you.

Note that the link to download the free version of Ninja Download Manager is at the very bottom of the developer's homepage.

Read our full Ninja Download Manager review.

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(Image credit: Free Download Manager)
A download manager full of tools for music and movie lovers

Reasons to buy

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Bandwidth monitoring
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One-click torrenting
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Web-based remote control

Free Download Manager aims to be all things to all people – and succeeds. 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.

It includes 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.

Read our full Free Download Manager review.

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(Image credit: JDownloader)
An advanced download manager that's ideal for power users

Reasons to buy

+
Completes CAPTCHAs automatically
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Web-based remote control

Reasons to avoid

-
Installer contains adware

JDownloader 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 have 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. Also beware fake 'download' buttons on the site; the actual download link is a line of text.

Read our full JDownloader review.

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Brian has over 30 years publishing experience as a writer and editor across a range of computing, technology, and marketing titles. He has been interviewed multiple times for the BBC and been a speaker at international conferences. His specialty on techradar is Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, covering everything from office suites to IT service tools. He is also a science fiction and fantasy author, published as Brian G Turner.