Trying to find a working, legit video downloader addon from Chrome’s webstore can be a crapshoot and frustrating. Not only because of outdated plugins, fake reviews and crippled functionality hidden behind a premium version, but because different extensions can have the same or very similar names. In my research for this post I came across three distinct video downloader add-ons all using the name ‘Video Downloader Professional’. That really complicates things when trying to look for a particular video downloader add-on.
These are video downloading extensions for Chrome / Chromium-based browsers that I hand-selected based on reviews and the last update date, then tested to ensure they appear to work. I tested 15 different extensions and only ended up with 6 for this list. Which, one of them I actually recommend against, so 5 look-to-be-decent video downloaders out of 15. Top-rated and popular plugins, at least as far as my tests go, don’t necessarily mean they’re the best.
This information is accurate as of this publication date: August 1st, 2021. I’m running uBlock Origin, so screenshots and behaviors may vary with your experience if your’re not.
With Chromium-based video downloader extensions, specifically, you can’t likely download videos from Youtube due to Chrome Store limitations on these downloaders. Tiktok the same. There may be more. If an extension is available for Chrome and Firefox, the limitations shouldn’t exist on Firefox.
These are listed in no particular order. However, the first results are for VOD / direct video file downloads and the last three extensions cover tested HLS / live streaming apps.
Video Downloader by Video Octopus
The Video Downloader by Video Octopus seems to detect VOD (Video on Demand) videos with multiple resolutions easily. When choosing your desired resolution, you’re redirected to their website to click a link once to sync it to their servers (I assume), then once again to download the video file to your computer. Very simple, very clean. Does not appear to detect live streaming video (HLS / M3u8).
Personal thoughts: This extension and website is simple and clean. The whole process is. I only downloaded small videos, but they downloaded quickly. I don’t like having to load a third-party website to download the video, but absent a better option, I would definitely use this.
Video Download Helper
Video Download Helper can capture video files from a multitude of different websites. Unlike most Chrome video downloading extensions, you can download HLS streaming video with Video Download Helper as well as traditional video files. In order to take full advantage of everything Video Download Helper can do, you should install a companion app, which is supported on Linux, Mac and Windows. However, it isn’t necessary for simple file downloads.
I have extensive experience using this video downloading app as it’s been on the ‘must install’ list for every browser type on every PC where I might download files for a long time. That’s not to say I think it’s the overall best, but if your only concern for a video downloader is its ability to download from a wide range of different sites, this has served me well to that end. Better than anything else I’d randomly tried in the past. HLS / live streaming downloads are limited to 1 every 2 hours without premium.
Personal thoughts: HLS downloads work (I’ve tested before, but not today), but I’d use a dedicated extension for that unless you like how this works and aren’t opposed to the $16/€12 premium cost to get unlimited use. This has served me well. The interface could be improved, but downloads are straightforward. I’ve had hit and miss detection for the companion app on Linux, but the app itself is a tool to keep on-hand if downloading video from streaming sites.
Get it: Video Download Helper
Video Downloader Professional
Tested with F2movies, Vimeo, Livestream and Facebook.
Video Downloader Professional has the most votes, by far, out of any Chrome video downloader I looked at: over 206,000. I think it’s been around a while as I remember using it years ago. Or, at least something that looks and behaves just like it. Because of my (old) history with it, its reviews, its ongoing popularity, the fact there are several with the same name in the chromestore right now and the fact that it somewhat works, is why I included it here.
This extension does detect some VOD video files on some sites, though if you use it regularly, you’ll probably run into some confusion and frustration. It also detects m3u8 files, but does not support their downloads. It also seems to detect videos on some sites, but you can only download an ‘unsupported.mp4’ file instead of any actual, usable video file.
Personal thoughts: I’m sure there is a reason why this particular app has such a large number of reviews and such a high rating, though I can’t determine the reason for that based on my testing. Maybe your use case will have better results, but I’d suggest looking for something else.
Live Stream Downloader
Live Stream Downloader doesn’t download VOD / video files, rather it captures live streaming video (HLS) and allows you to save that, along with audio, to a single local file that is more usable and portable. Downloaded videos have working audio in my tests, which is something that doesn’t work sometimes with these HLS downloaders.
The interface is a bit confusing (technical), but I don’t really download live / HLS streaming video, so maybe it’s my inexperience showing.
Personal thoughts: If I wanted to download live HTTP streaming video and had to use Chrome / Chromium, I would probably have this installed.
Get it: Live Stream Downloader
Stream Recorder – download HLS as MP4
Stream Recorder – download HLS as MP4 is a live / HTTP streaming video recorder and downloader, not for use with VOD-type video files. To that end, it worked very well. I could download streaming video, and even download and save chunks of live video as it was combining in the background.
Though you have to load a third-party website to download the streaming video, the overall layout and usability is much better than with Live Stream Downloader.
Personal thoughts: I may actually seek out live video feeds just to use this extension, and I don’t really download live streaming video. The experience was that good.
M3u8 downloader,download m3u8 to mp4 -CoCoCut
M3u8 downloader,download m3u8 to mp4 -CoCoCut is a HLS / M3u8 livestream video downloader that seems to work well. The overall functionality seems nearly identical to the extension above (Stream Recorder – download HLS as MP4), though feels somehow less polished. Maybe it’s the site design. You visit a third-party website to download, but realtime live streams you could download and save in parts while streaming, and downloaded video played back as expected.
Personal thoughts: Works well. My initial gut reaction is that I like Stream Recorder better, but solely due minor aesthetics and feel. Maybe it’s a Web2.0-feel vs a geekier yet less-polished frontend that makes it less appealing by comparison. Can’t fault a small developer for that if that’s the case, but recommended.
I tested a fair few different downloaders and excluded many for one reason or another. If you have a Chrome-based video downloader that works well for you, feel free to leave a comment below and maybe I’ll include it in the list after some testing.