Watching YouTube videos is a popular pastime for millions of people. But sometimes you may want to download a YouTube video to watch offline, share with friends, or edit into your own project. That’s where a YouTube to MP4 converter comes in handy!
MP4 is one of the most versatile and widely supported video formats. With a good YouTube to MP4 converter, you can download videos from YouTube and convert them into high-quality MP4 files. This allows you to play the videos on various devices, even without an internet connection.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about converting YouTube videos to MP4 format.
Benefits of Using a YouTube to MP4 Converter
Here are some of the key reasons you may want to use a converter tool to save YouTube videos as MP4 files:
- Play videos offline: MP4s can be stored locally and played anytime without needing an internet connection. Great for planes, road trips, or other times you lack connectivity.
- Improved performance: Streaming videos can sometimes buffer or downgrade quality. MP4s play smoothly without any lag or interruptions.
- Save data: Streaming videos consumes data, which can be costly on mobile. MP4s let you watch videos data-free once downloaded.
- Share videos easily: MP4 is compatible with nearly all devices. You can share MP4s with friends via email, AirDrop, messaging apps, external drives, etc.
- Edit videos: MP4 format works seamlessly with most video editing software. You can edit downloaded YouTube vids to create your own content.
- Avoid quality loss: Downloaded MP4s retain the original HD quality. Screen recording a YouTube video can degrade quality.
- Enhanced privacy: Downloads don’t store info on your viewing history like streaming does. MP4s offer more privacy.
- Permanent access: YouTube videos can be deleted or made private. Downloading to MP4 lets you access the video forever.
How YouTube to MP4 Converters Work
YouTube to MP4 converters are tools, either software programs or web-based services, that automate the process of downloading YouTube videos and converting the files into MP4 format.
Here is an overview of how most YouTube to MP4 converters work:
- Copy video URL: You copy and paste the URL of the YouTube video you want to download and convert.
- Analyze page: The converter analyzes the YouTube page to extract video details like title, length, quality options, etc.
- Download video: The highest available quality of the video file is downloaded from YouTube’s servers.
- Convert format: Software converts the downloaded file from YouTube’s own format into a standard MP4 video file.
- Save MP4: The new MP4 file is saved to your designated folder or device storage.
- Play video: You can now play the MP4 video on any compatible device without needing internet access.
The process requires no technical expertise from the user. You simply copy-paste a link and get an MP4 download optimized for offline playback.
Key Features to Look For
Not all YouTube to MP4 converters are made equal. Here are some key features to look for when choosing a converter:
- Video quality – Downloads the highest resolution available like 720p, 1080p. Avoid converters that max out at lower quality 360p videos.
- Fast conversion speed – Look for tools that can rapidly process downloads and format conversions to save you time.
- No re-encoding – Re-encoding video can cause quality loss. Opt for converters that directly “rip” the MP4 file.
- Audio extraction – Ability to download just the audio track from a YouTube video if needed.
- Metadata preservation – Keeps original video title, descriptions and other metadata.
- Playlist support – Downloads full YouTube playlists, not just individual videos.
- Browser extensions – One-click browser addons for quick downloading directly from YouTube.
- Mobile apps – On the go conversion ability with iOS and Android apps.
- Advanced editing – Trim, crop, add subtitles, or merge videos before conversion.
- User experience – A clean, intuitive interface for a smooth conversion process.
Carefully compare converters on these aspects to determine the best fit for your needs.
Top 8 YouTube to MP4 Converters
Now let’s look at some of the leading YouTube to MP4 converter options available. We selected converters based on video quality, conversion speed, ease of use, supported features, and user ratings across various review platforms.
iTubeGo comes entirely free of any charge. You can easily convert videos from YouTube to MP4 format with this software. It can work on MacOS 10.6-12. Some of its main features are:
- It provides three times more speed in downloading videos
- You can download around 4 thousand videos
- It comes with an inbuilt FLV player
- Transfer videos via Wi-Fi to any device
- Can organize your videos
- Can rip files
- Videos can be extracted easily
- Burns files to DVD
2. Clip Grab YouTube to MP4 Converter
Clip Grab is a YouTube to MP4 converter used on browsers. It can convert videos into formats like mp3, MP4, WMV, OGG Vorbis, and more. Mac users can use this software for free.
However, Clip Grab does not work for all Mac users. Only Intel Mac users can use this software. Its primary features are:
- Downloads videos with speed
- It does not distort the quality of the video
- URL can be copied and pasted
- It does not create the problem of auto-detecting videos
- Easy to handle
3. aTube Catcher
aTube Catcher excels in usability and convenience. This free YouTube to MP4 converter tool makes downloading and converting YouTube videos as easy as one-click. Just copy the URL, hit the “aTube Catcher” button, and your MP4 will be ready in minutes.
The converter captures videos in their original quality up to 8K resolution. An automatic mode simplifies conversion settings for beginners. But you can also customize resolution, codec, bitrate and other parameters. Videos are directly captured without re-encoding for lossless quality.
aTube Catcher runs on Windows PCs. The interface has large buttons perfectly suited for touchscreen devices like laptops, tablets and 2-in-1s. Extra utilities like built-in video player, screen recorder, audio extractor and disc burner add to its versatility.
4. MacX DVD Video Converter Pro
Those using Macs should check out MacX DVD Video Converter Pro for a specialized YouTube to MP4 solution. As the name suggests, this software is designed exclusively for macOS.
The program can download 4K and even 8K YouTube videos and convert them into high-quality MP4 or MOV files optimized for Mac. Users praise the software’s blazing fast downloading and conversion speeds.
MacX comes with over 370 video and audio codec profiles. This ensures full compatibility with QuickTime, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and other Mac apps. Useful extras include the ability to extract audio, take screenshots, edit metadata, and compress video.
The app features an elegant design consistent with modern macOS aesthetics. Controls are intuitive and optimized for Mac input methods. Overall, MacX Video Converter Pro is the perfect YouTube to MP4 solution for Apple fans.
Zamzar is used by many YouTube lovers who can download their favorite videos by copying and pasting the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of the video.
It supports videos from YouTube, Break, DailyMotion, and much more. Its distinguishing characteristics are:
- Converts with speed
- Free of virus
- Functions on iPhone
- Downloads online as well
- Converts files of a maximum of 100 MB
For a quick online solution without installing any software, Online Video Converter is a solid choice. As the name suggests, this is a free web-based YouTube to MP4 converter.
To use it, you simply enter the URL of the YouTube video you want to download and convert. Select MP4 as the output format along with your preferred resolution and quality. Hit convert and your MP4 will be ready within minutes.
Because it runs online, this converter works equally well on Windows PCs, Macs, iPhones, Android devices, and any other internet-connected device. No need to download apps or software.
OnlineVideoConverter lacks some of the advanced utilities of desktop programs. But for basic one-off YouTube video conversions, it gets the job done fast and free.
Clip Converter is another handy online tool for quick YouTube to MP4 conversions on the go. As a web app, it works on any device and operating system with a browser and internet connection.
Just paste the video URL, select MP4 as output, and ClipConverter will immediately start downloading and converting the YouTube video. Additional output formats like AVI, MOV, and FLV are also supported.
ClipConverter lacks the download speed and video editing abilities of desktop converters. But it compensates with convenience and ease of use. The mobile-friendly interface works great on phones and tablets. Overall, a solid online option for basic MP4 conversions.
Wondershare UniConverter is considered to be the best for Windows and Mac. Some of its unique features are:
- It can convert from YouTube to many formats, including MP4, AVI, MOV, etc
- Convert YouTube videos and videos from other sites
- Convert videos faster
- Burn videos to Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) and Blu-ray
- Compatible with many versions of Windows and Mac.
If you want to discover how to convert ISO to MP4, click them.
How to Choose the Right YouTube to MP4 Converter
With so many converter options available, how do you determine the right one for your specific needs? Follow these tips:
- Platform: Consider whether you need a Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android converter. Some work across platforms while others are OS-specific.
- Use case: Assess if you need advanced editing tools or just basic conversions. Look for necessary features like playlists, audio ripping, etc.
- Volume: Pick a tool optimized for handling lots of videos if you download in bulk.
- Speed: Faster is better when converting multiple videos. Look for hardware acceleration or GPU encoding.
- Budget: Online converters are mostly free, while desktop tools range from free to paid versions. Balance features and price.
- Videos: Account for the length and quality of videos you typically download. Aim for support for HD, 4K, 8K if needed.
- Experience: Novices may prefer minimal UIs vs. pros who want expanded control and customization.
Considering these factors will help you zero in on the ideal YouTube to MP4 solution for your specific needs and preferences.
Step-by-Step Guide to Converting YouTube Videos to MP4
Once you’ve selected the right converter tool, how do you actually use it to download and convert YouTube videos into MP4 files?
Here is a step-by-step walkthrough of the general YouTube to MP4 conversion process:
Step 1: Install converter software or open web app
If using a desktop converter, install the software on your Windows PC or Mac. Launch the program once installed.
For online converters, simply open your web browser and go to the converter webpage.
Go to YouTube and play the video you want to download. Copy its URL from the address bar of your browser.
Step 3: Paste video URL into converter
In your converter program or web app, paste the YouTube video URL into the designated field.
Step 4: Select MP4 format
Look for format options and select MP4 as your desired output format.
Step 5: Choose resolution/quality (optional)
Some converters let you pick resolution and quality. Select the highest available settings for optimal quality.
Step 6: Start MP4 conversion
Click the Download, Convert or Start button to begin converting the video into MP4 format.
Step 7: Save MP4 video
Once completed, the YouTube to MP4 conversion will be saved to your chosen destination on your device storage or cloud drive.
And that’s all there is to it! The converter does the heavy lifting of downloading and converting the video for you.
Expert Tips for Converting YouTube Videos to MP4
Follow these expert tips to get the most out of YouTube to MP4 converters:
- Download the highest quality available, at least 720p HD or 1080p if possible. This results in best visuals when played offline.
- For desktop tools, enable hardware acceleration or multi-threading to significantly speed up conversions of multiple videos.
- Avoid options that re-encode video, as re-compression causes quality loss. Opt for direct conversion or “ripping” instead.
- Use the schedule download feature in some converters to download videos during off-peak hours and conserve bandwidth.
- Download entire playlists or channels rather than individual videos to avoid repetitive manual conversions.
- Trim or crop unneeded sections of a long video before conversion to get smaller MP4 file sizes.
- For advanced editing, download YouTube videos in lossless formats like MOV first, edit in software like Final Cut Pro, and then convert to MP4 as the final output format.
- Make sure to abide by all copyright laws. Avoid converting videos you do not have legal rights to download.
FAQs About Converting YouTube Videos to MP4
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about downloading YouTube videos as MP4 files:
Is converting YouTube videos to MP4 legal?
Downloading videos from YouTube is generally legal as long as you own the copyrights or have permission from the content owner. Converting for personal offline use is usually allowed under fair use exemptions. Distribution may require permission.
Does YouTube to MP4 conversion reduce quality?
High-quality converters download and convert YouTube videos without any loss of visual quality. However, picking lower resolution settings or enabling re-encoding can degrade video quality.
How do I convert a whole YouTube playlist?
Look for a converter that supports full playlist conversion. Simply copy the playlist URL instead of an individual video URL to download and convert the entire playlist.
Can I convert YouTube videos longer than 1 hour?
Yes, most converters support videos of any length. Some may have file size limits for free users but support long videos in paid tiers. Length shouldn’t impact conversion quality.
How do I extract only audio from a YouTube video?
Many converters have options to extract just the audio track from a video into an MP3 or other audio format. This allows you to listen to podcasts, music, etc. without the visuals.
Is it better to use software or an online converter?
Desktop software converters tend to be faster and more full-featured. Online converters offer quick conversions without installing anything. Use online for one-offs and software for bulk downloading.
- YouTube to MP4 converters allow downloading YouTube videos for offline playback in a portable format. Look for tools that maintain the original HD quality.
- Leading software options like WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe provide lightning fast conversion speeds with no quality loss, extensive format support, and easy-to-use UIs.
- Web-based converters like OnlineVideoConverter offer quick and convenient video conversion accessible on any device with a browser and internet.
- Follow the step-by-step process to copy a YouTube video URL, select MP4 output, and convert into a high-quality downloadable file.
- Avoid re-encoding, download highest available resolutions, and leverage hardware acceleration for optimal conversion results.
YouTube to MP4 converters provide an easy way to save your favorite videos for playback anytime, anywhere. This guide has covered the leading converter options along with tips for choosing the best one based on your platform, use case, videos, and experience.
We explained the step-by-step conversion process even beginners can easily follow. And shared expert advice for getting the highest quality MP4 downloads. Now you have all the knowledge to pick the perfect YouTube to MP4 solution and start building your offline video library!