The Best Free YouTube to MP3 Downloaders for Windows, Mac, and Smartphones in 2020
Utility • Aug. 19, 2020
YouTube is hands down one of the best ways for all of us to listen to music. You can find pretty much everything you want there and more – which is no surprise considering that we’re looking at the world’s biggest media platform here. However, the two biggest problems here is that one, you’re looking at videos, and two, YouTube is a streaming service. So, unless you’re willing to pay for YouTube premium, you can’t get any songs. And that’s where free YouTube to MP3 downloaders come in!
So, without any further ado, let us check some of the best options!
Why Use a YouTube Downloader/Converter?
In case you’re not familiar with it, MP3 is a file format that we use for music while MP4 is used for videos. So, a video to MP3 converter or downloader is ideally made to take a video then convert it to audio. That’s how you can download music video-clips – but without the video part.
To be more precise, YouTube to MP3 downloaders are not just downloaders – they are also converters. That’s because you don’t just download a video. If you want to listen to it as a song with an app that’s made for music playback, then you need to convert it to MP3.
While there are both paid and free options out there, we’d say that the presence of YouTube Premium kind of makes them obsolete. After all, if you are going to pay anyway, why not pay for the legal option that’s also much easier to use?
The question is, ‘Why use YouTube downloaders and/or converters at all’? Well, YouTube downloaders are not just a way to download songs or videos. Those of us with a slow internet connection barely have a choice at all as we just can’t stream high-resolution videos.
YouTube downloaders are also a great way to keep some songs or videos for while we’re on the road. Not to mention that many songs are not available on Spotify or in other streaming platforms – except YouTube – which is another reason to use a downloader.
Other than that, your reasons are your own. With that out of the way, let us move on with the review.
The Pick: YtMp3 – Most User-Friendly YouTube to MP3 Downloader (Available on All Platforms)
If you’re a regular reader, you probably already know that computer software, in general, is not exactly easy to use. Even as something as simple as a YouTube downloader/converter can bombard you with several options that are just confusing. Video quality, resolution, format, etc.
While PC veterans are probably laughing at something so simple, do keep in mind that everyone needs to start from somewhere. And some of us just don’t want to bother with details. We understand that you just want to press a button that gets the job done – which is precisely what YtMp3 does!
All you have to do is copy your song’s link into the clipboard, paste it to TyMp3, then press the download button. It’s as simple as that!
Another huge advantage of YtMp3 is that it’s an online tool. And in case you don’t know about them, online software comes with 3 big advantages:
It works on every computer regardless of processing power and platform (macOS, Windows, Linux, Chromebooks, etc)
Since you’re not installing anything, there’s no risk of infecting your computer with malware – which is very common amongst freeware
It doesn’t occupy any storage. And even a few megabytes can prove to be crucial if you’re dealing with a cheap notebook
Of course, just like with every program, there are both pros and cons to consider here. Everything that you get in simplicity, you’re losing in features.
Also, developers of freeware programs still need to earn money somehow. And in this case, this is often done by redirecting us to annoying ads – which is obviously not a huge deal. But, it can still be annoying.
A Couple of Steps is all it Takes
As we mentioned above, YtMp3 is extremely easy to use. But if you’ve never done this before, even that can be a bit tough to understand. If you’ve previously downloaded a song from YouTube before then feel free to skip this section. For the rest of you, we’d suggest you keep on reading.
Using YtMp3 is mainly divided into two parts:
Finding and getting the link of your song
Choosing how to download it (Locally, Dropbox, MP3, or MP4)
The very first thing you need to do is find the link of the song that you’re after. And that’s very easily done either by grabbing it by using the ‘share’ button and copying the link from there.
Alternatively, you can also get it through the address bar by right-clicking on it and then selecting ‘copy’.
After that’s done, you need to head back over to YtMp3, paste the link there either by pressing CTRL + V or by right-clicking on it and selecting, ‘paste’, then pick whatever option you prefer:
MP3: Converts the YouTube video to a song
MP4: Downloads the video
Dropbox: Stores your download to Dropbox’s cloud
The only thing to keep in mind here is that once you press ‘convert’, you can’t switch between MP3 and MP4. You must first paste the link and then click on whatever format you prefer.
There’s only one trap to avoid: ads.
These are fake buttons that you can often find under such software. Sometimes they say ‘download’ instead of ‘Play Now’. But, in the end, all they do is redirect you to other websites. So, definitely avoid that.
As we already mentioned above, YtMP3 is a great choice if you want to download songs or videos with one click. However, those of you who need more options and features will most definitely feel a bit disappointed from such offerings – which is where programs like 4K video downloader come in.
As the name suggests, 4K video downloader allows you to download videos up to 4K. Other than that, you also have the option of converting them to MP3 or downloading videos from other platforms other than YouTube (Vimeo, TikTok, Facebook, Daily Motion, etc).
Thankfully, it’s also available for multiple platforms. You can currently install this in Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux/Ubuntu devices as well (Probably only for Debian-based distros).
While the base version of 4K Video Downloader is completely free to use, there’s also a premium variant that offers a few extra features if you need them. Downloading unlimited playlists, channels, subtitles, getting rid of ads, and things like that.
What really matters here is that the free version works for what we want. In fact, this is the second time that we recommend it as a decent free option.
YouTube to MP3 Converters: Same old Story
As an alternative that contains more features compared to online tools, 4K Video Downloader is obviously going to be a bit harder to use. And that’s completely natural. The more options you get, the more that you’ll need to learn and understand about them.
However, the basic concept is still the same. All you have to do is grab the video link that you’re after from YouTube or any other website, then paste it over to 4K Video Downloader.
Once that’s done, you get some options to choose from in terms of audio and/or video quality. As far as audio and songs are concerned, you should generally aim for the highest available quality. After all, audio is very lightweight and small size so it’s nothing to worry about and the same goes for the audio format. MP3 is going to work fine for pretty much every device that supports audio.
However, if you’re also interested in downloading videos, things can get a bit more complicated.
Downloading Videos with 4K Video Downloader
There are at least 2 things to keep in mind here:
As odd as it may sound, the very first thing that you should consider is the screen resolution of your computer. That’s because downloading a video at a higher resolution than what your screen can display isn’t going to make it look any better.
Of course, those of you who are a bit more technical can argue about how much of a difference they can still make thanks to downscaling and higher bitrates. But, generally, downloading a video at the same resolution as your computer is the correct balance between clarity and file size.
Speaking of file size, definitely keep an eye on that as well. Videos at a higher quality are going to ask for more disk space which can be important if you’re traveling with a notebook. So, if we’re talking about a big movie or something like that, dropping from 4K to 1080P can make a huge difference without significantly harming your viewing experience.
The same process applies to more or less all video platforms. All you have to do is:
Copy the video link
Paste it to the program
Choose whether you want the video or the audio
Pick a video or audio quality
And you’ll be good to go.
Works with tons of websites
Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
Offers a few additional options in terms of quality
Naturally occupies a little bit of space as you need to install it
Bonus Pick: TubeMate – Best YouTube to MP3 Downloader for Android Devices
YouTube to MP3 downloaders for computers are great and everything. But, there is no doubt that smartphones are the best as far as portability is concerned.
That is why we decided to include a program for mobile devices as well. And from everything we’ve tried so far, TubeMate is most likely the superior choice.
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s unfortunately only available on Android and not iOS. This is most likely due to the fact that Apple doesn’t allow you to download 3rd party apps like Android does. You can probably still use an online tool such as the one we mentioned above but that’s about it.
Just like 4k Video Downloader, TubeMate gives you plenty of options when downloading a song or video. You can choose amongst multiple formats and quality levels too.
We’d say it’s much easier to use, though. You don’t have to bother with copying YouTube links or anything like that. You just browse YouTube like you’d normally do through the app, you find the video that you’re after, then you press the download button, select the level of quality that you’re after, and that’s all there is to it. Pretty straightforward, huh?
A minor detail to remember is that TubeMate is a YouTube downloader, but it’s not a YouTube to MP3 converter on its own. Instead, it relies on a 3rd party converter to get the job done. No need to worry, though. All you have to do is download and install the app that it’ll guide you towards to and then everything will work just fine.
Are YouTube to MP3 Downloaders Illegal?
It looks like huge companies like Google are barely ever willing to bother with simple users like us. It’s probably not worth their time.
Overall, yes, YouTube downloaders are illegal but nobody ever bothers with ‘pirates’. Unless you’re living in a strict country like Germany and even there they usually only worry about those who use torrents as these are extremely easy to target through ISPs (Internet Service Providers).
Is There Any Way to Download YouTube Music Legally?
A few years ago, the only way that you could download YouTube videos was illegally by using YouTube downloaders and or converters. But now there is also YouTube Premium which allows you to legally download all the videos and music that you want.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that it asks for a monthly subscription.
The exact price may differ from region to region. So, check it out yourself. Also, other than being able to download YouTube videos and songs, you may also get a free subscription of Google Music. Again, this also depends on your region which means that you’ll have to go check it out yourself.
Why do You not Include More Programs?
More often than not, we try to limit our top picks down to 2 or 3 and then we may also include a few honorable mentions. But, generally, we think it’s better to only pick the best 2 to 3 programs that are available and expand on them instead of listing 15 programs of which 13 are just okay.
These are our top picks for now. You can use them to watch videos or listen to songs while you’re on the road, or, you can also use them to watch a video that’s normally non—streamable on a very slow internet connection.
If you liked this article, feel free to stick around as we upload software-related articles on a weekly basis. We talk about productivity, free or premium tools that you can use, editing software, and pretty much anything that has to do with Mac, Windows, mobile devices, and, sometimes, maybe even Linux!