Best Free Download Manager

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Introduction

Everyone downloads a lot of stuff from the Internet. Be it software, videos, music, documents or images, you fill your hard drive with all of this. To track and manage all these downloads is a daunting task, and having a clean workspace to organize all these downloadable contents is the need of the hour. This is where a download manager comes to the rescue, also accelerating your downloads all the way.

Let's take a look at some download managers rated in this article. All tests were done on Windows 10, 64 bit system with 8GB RAM running the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge, Vivaldi & Opera browsers. The ratings are comparative, so when a new download manager is reviewed, the corresponding rating of others might change. After testing around 12 download managers, these are my top 5 recommendations from the list. 

Read also the Features of Download Managers at the end of this article.

 

Rated Products

Xtreme Download Manager  

The best open-source download manager that works across multiple platforms.


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Open source)
Good media capture ability, Private download videos, Refresh link feature to resume download from expired links, Frequent updates with good support, Perfect browser integration, Supports multiple download queues, Extremely good download speeds, Open source & works on all platforms.
UI can be improved, Heavy download size.
Read full review...

EagleGet  

The fastest download manager that even beats its commercial alternatives.


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Ads)
Fastest in the tests, Charming drag'n'drop UI, Skins and Themes, Supports BitTorrents, Batch download, Refresh download address, Integration with browsers, 3-way Streaming media download, Multiple queue schedules, Website login manager, Continuous updates.
Stability issues, Bundled offer during installation.
Read full review...

Ninja Download Manager  

Download manager with a dark theme that has the best & most compact UI


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free, $3.00 for Secure VPN
Intuitive interface, Multiple queues management, Refresh links support, Sites manager, Colorful Log viewer, Sequential downloading media to preview audio & video downloads, File shredder, Attractive float window, Clipboard monitoring
No export/import downloads, Parsing media downloads is slow & needs to support more sites
Read full review...

Free Download Manager  

This download manager gives you a bonus to download torrent files too


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Stable, BitTorrent support, Download tags management, Snail mode & pre-set Speed limiter with different traffic modes, GUI view of download progress, Download scheduler
Cannot refresh expired links, no multi-queue management, No Site Explorer, HTML Spider, Multi-mirror support in v5.x (FDM v.3.9.x is still better)
Read full review...

Internet Download Accelerator  

This commercial-turned-free download manager has the best customization capabilities


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Ads)
Advanced download scheduler, Extensive feature set, FTP explorer, Customizable interface, Multiple mirror download, History & Recycle bin, Video detection, Integrates with most popular browsers, Priority download
Dated looks, Ads on interface, Limited multi-threading, No multi-queue management, No refresh links support
Read full review...

 

Other Download Managers

I've tested these download managers and they fell short of top 5 for various reasons mentioned here but you can still try them out as an alternative.

 

Wont Be Reviewed

  1.  Orbit Downloader won't be reviewed, and users are advised to stay away from it, because not only is the product bundled with all sorts of 3rd party software, it's also classified as malware, as it turns the application into a DDOS tool. More report here at Softpedia.
  2.  Download Accelerator Plus Free & FlashGet since they haven't been updated for a long time (2014)

 

Browser Addons

  • FlashGot allows you to set your own preferred download manager and integrate it with the Firefox browser for auto download.
  • DownThemAll is another browser extension to add advanced download capabilities to Firefox. 
  • Video Download Professional can help you download videos from various streaming media sites on Chrome. 

 

Features of Download Managers

The major features that makes an external download manager extremely useful are:

  • Resume broken downloads: Downloads can be paused or resumed at will even after computer shutdowns or unexpected power outages, and it'll resume any unfinished download from the place it left off.
  • Categories: Helps to organize your downloads automatically according to their type (videos, music, documents) in different folders and also define extensions to be included in the type. 
  • Download Acceleration: A single file is split into multiple sections/segments and then using several simultaneous connections to download each segment from a single server.
  • Queueing: Start the downloads instantly or save it for later, setting up the download in a queue, and define the maximum number of concurrent downloads. Certain download manager allows you to define multiple queues.
  • Scheduler: Start and stop downloads in the queue at a predefined time on a particular day, or synchronize your downloads to run on different days of the week. Additionally you may choose to shut down/hibernate computer after downloading.
  • Browser integration: Integrate your download manager with various browsers and it'll take over the downloads automatically. Additionally clipboard monitoring, will let you capture copy-pasted direct links. Popular browsers like Firefox, IE, Chrome, Opera support is essential.
  • Media grabber: Download streaming video and audio from various sites and even preview or convert them to different types.
  • Batch downloads: Easy way to download whole ranges of files/links from a particular webpage . Also by adding a group of sequential file names of a particular type you can download multiple files from a website.

Other interesting features that I am looking in a download manager are:

  • Protocol support: Mainly HTTP, HTTPS and FTP support, also support for RTSP, MMS, Metalink, Bittorrent and RTMP would be a bonus.
  • Export/Import: At times when you want to uninstall/reinstall the program, it's useful to export/import the downloads in the list, so that it'll save you time and extra-work.
  • Inclusion/Exclusion list: Include/exclude various File Types and Websites you want to monitor.
  • Speed limiter: Set maximum download speed for a file and adjust the traffic usage for browsing and other stuff.
  • Proxy/Socks support: Work behind HTTP and FTP proxy-servers.
  • Refresh expired links: Sometimes a download link remains valid for only few hours and if not completed within that time boundary, download fails. Refreshing the link let's you resume these downloads.
  • Multiple mirrors: Search for and download files from multiple mirrors simultaneously
  • Sites manager: Certain sites require authentication for download request from internet and proxy servers
  • Virus checking: Check downloaded files with a scanner you've set up to protect users from harmful virus/spyware.
  • Float windows: Indicator to show the current downloads and its status.

 

Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor George.J. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

I've used TechSupportAlert and the older Support Alert Newsletter for almost a decade so I have saved hundreds of hours of work and many more dollars by following Gizmo's Freeware recommendations. Thanks for the opportunity to give something back.

If you have had a similar experience then you should consider becoming a reviewer too.

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Comments

Free Download Manager(FDM) was top rated and i was looking to increase my download speed, so I installed it.
In chrome, the Win7 iso download (3.1gb) was varying from 250 -400k/sec download speed, with an estimated time of 4 hours.

FDM was moving at a snails pace of 70kb/sec with an estimated time of 14 hours.

I installed UGet and its running super fast at 1.9M/sec with a total time of 29 minutes.!

Perhaps there's some tweaking that can be done within FDM to improve its performance, but straight out of the box, in my situation, UGet is vastly superior.

Fyi I have Cable Internet 30Mbps service.

Just check to see if FDM was in light or medium mode. In those two modes, the download speed will be less than the actual download speed. If set in any heavy mode, then the actual download speed will be used. You can change these as per your choice, in the FDM settings if you like.
Free Download Manager updated to 3.9.3.1358
You might just be impressed with EagleGet

I too have read the same article, and am VERY glad I don't use it, as well as I will notify all friends to not use it EVER.

Great article! Thanks. Your advice helped me choose FDM, which is a very nice program. Here are a couple of comments:

1. If used in IE, FDM has a very nice feature that lets you download multiple links on a webpage. Simple drag to select the links and then right-click the selected area. A context menu comes up that lets you do a batch download. VERY USEFUL!
2. FDM does not integrate well with Chrome. Since Chrome is my main browser I had hoped to use FDM in Chrome but it just doesn't seem to work too well. No big deal, however, since I've got IE installed and can just use it when I need to do a lot of downloading.
3. STEER CLEAR OF DAP. When you install it, it recommends strongly that you install a speed-up add-in. Once installed, this addin then hijacks your search and homepage. Very poor!
4. FlashGet might be a good program but their homepage doesn't inspire confidence. They have about three different versions listed (3.7, 1.9, 1.7) and don't explain the difference between them. At least I couldn't find any explanation. Once again, probably better to steer clear.

Thanks again

OCHD (1/43 on Virus Total): Features: -Download acceleration (AKA multi-part) whenever possible (up to 40 connections per file). -HTTP links support (direct download). -Resume download support whenever possible. -Global download speed limit. -Slot limit (up to 20 slots) for simultaneous downloads. -Automatic retry on download fail. -File list Drag&Drop (Ctrl+Click, Shift+Click or Shift+up and down arrow keys) -Lightweight: you can add thousands of links. -HTTP Proxy support. -History. -Automatic Extract/Uncompress files. -IP Renewer. -Automatic system shutdown. -Clipboard monitor. http://ochdownloader.com/

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