Best download managers

Webuser|January 22 - February 04, 2020

Best download managers
Whether you need to download a large individual file or multiple items, or you want to schedule a download for later, a dedicated download manager can make things easier. Steve Clark compares six of the best free tools

What we liked: JDownloader is a longtime favourite of Web User and it remains our top download manager for good reason. It delivers the goods in all the areas where a download manager should, offering lots of control, whether you’re scheduling downloads or downloading several large files.

JDownloader has been available in one form or another since 2011, and its developers have used that time to evolve a program that responds to just about every requirement you might need. It’s quick and hassle-free to use – just copy a download link to the program and JDownloader automatically picks up the URL from the clipboard without you needing to paste it in. There’s also strong support for multiple, prioritised file downloads, all of which can be managed using the ‘playback’ buttons in the ribbon toolbar.

To get to your files faster, the software helpfully fills in CAPTCHA codes and extracts files, so they’re ready and waiting for you. There’s also a handy browser extension that intercepts downloads and diverts them directly to the software.

One of JDownloader’s best features is its support for video streaming sites. Grab a link from YouTube or Vimeo and add it to your download queue. The first time you do this, you’re prompted to add FFmpeg software – which JDownloader will do for you – but this also lets you re-download videos you’ve uploaded at their original quality. This puts it a cut above rivals who struggled with this basic task and frequently redirected us to the original web page or failed to download anything at all.

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January 22 - February 04, 2020