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How to download YouTube videos: the best Youtube downloaders

We show you the best software to let you watch Youtube videos anytime, any place

The legality of downloading Youtube videos is something of a grey area, and could possibly land you with a slap on the wrist from Google if you’re not careful. In Youtube’s T&Cs, it clearly states that you are permitted to view YouTube video only through Google’s own website and apps and you are not permitted to view YouTube videos offline on any device through a third-party app.

But there’s still plenty of good reasons why you might want to take a chance and use such tools. For instance, if you’ve uploaded a video to Youtube in the past but lost the original and need an offline version again. There’s also the point that you’d be avoiding your ISP’s data-download limits if you were wanting to watch the same clip numerous times, for example.

Putting all that to one side, downloading a YouTube video so that you can save it to your device, say for those times you don’t have a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, such as travelling on a plane, is easier than you think. There’s several ways you can download a Youtube video if you need to, but the simplest is by installing software for the desktop to do the work for you. And the best part, such software is usually free.

So with that, here’s the best and easiest-to-use software for downloading YouTube videos available right now:

Softorino Youtube Converter

Softorino is new to the game of Youtube video download software, and so far only available as a beta version. However, that by no means it doesn’t know what it’s doing. It has a variety of features you won’t find on other downloaders, such as the ability to download YouTube videos directly onto Apple devices, even without iTunes. Softorino claims to be the only downloader that can do this. Better yet, you can also save videos as audio MP3 or M4A files to your PC or iPhone as well as download videos in any quality, even 4K and 1080p.

Youtube video converters - Softorino

We tested the Windows version of Softorino, but there is a Mac version available too. What we liked about Softorino was that there’s no annoying software bundled in, such as browser search bars. 

At the time of writing (March 2015), Softorino has a great deal on that means everyone who installs the app gets an unlimited free trial. Just register your email address and you’ll be sent an activation code. Though act fast as we can imagine it won’t be free once it comes out of beta.

Freemake Video Downloader

Freemake is probably one of the more straight-forward downloaders to use out of the bunch we tested. Simply copy the URL of the video you want to download click ‘Paste URL’ to start the download. If you’re lazy, Freemake has bundled in the option of a Firefox browser add-on which lets you start the download from the YouTube page itself by right-clicking on the video.

Youtube video converters - Freemake Video

In terms of extras features, there’s an option to download YouTube Playlists and convert videos into multiple formats such as MP3. You can also opt to restrict bandwidth to slow down your downloads if your internet connection is a bit of a slow coach, allowing you to to keep them running while completing other tasks online.


FreeStudio is a well-designed and super easy to use piece of kit by developed by DVDVideoSoft.

Youtube video converters - FreeStudio

It has all the features you’d expect from a YouTube video downloader programme, but what makes FreeStudio great is that it will work no matter what devices you use, as it features the ability to download and convert YouTube videos to MP4 and MP3 for any device, whether that’s an Apple, Android or Windows gadget. The software also lets you choose from multiple conversion options which optimise the file for use on certain devices. For example, you can opt to download a video for particular Android handsets, BlackBerry devices or Windows Phones.

FreeStudio is therefore a good option for those wanting to save videos to watch across different types of devices without having to faff with bitrate or resolutions preferences, as that’s already done for you.

aTube catcher

aTube catcher is more than just a YouTube video downloader, yes it can catch videos from a host of websites and export the files to your computer, but it also has plenty of additional features, for instance, the ability to edit video, which allows you to cut out parts of clips you don’t need.

Youtube Video Converters aTube Catcher

While aTube is not as easy on the eye and perhaps a little less easy to use than other software we tested, it’s good bit of software for those that have a bit more technical knowledge and want a wider range of options to fiddle with. Although be aware that it will only work on Windows.