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

Vity's Freerapid is quite awesome too. Very fast and light, monitors the clipboard (I find browser integration to be more annoying than helpful), fancy window decoration is optional instead of mandatory (thankfully), recognizes a lot of hosts from the links, batch links and downloads, etc.

I'll add a new section for download managers exclusively for downloading from file sharing services.

Eagle Get has won me over. once it gets reviewed no doubt it gonna make this list.

I must agree : )

I stuck with FDM as it's been my favourite for a long time, but it does have problems integrating reliably with portable browsers. A couple of weeks ago I discovered that Eagleget has a portable version to I decided to try it and haven't looked back. Browser integration is excellent - for portable Firefox it's a simple matter of finding the xpi file in Eagleget's directory and dropping it into FF and it even works very well with less mainstream browsers like Maxthon and Avant.

I have to say I've been very impressed with it so far. My only complaint really is the ridiculously huge (to me at least) buttons on the Metro-style GUI ... if there was an option for small buttons (or even better, a choice of basic Win32 GUI) it would be perfect.

I'd also like more user-control over categories but that's not a deal breaker as I don't really use them anyway.

To modify and add new categories in EagleGet just follow the images below http://i.imgur.com/CF7X00x.png http://i.imgur.com/yrJyV70.png You can create unlimited categories and add file types corresponding to those categories. Yes the interface and buttons are quite huge, although EagleGet v2.0 alpha has rectified it, with smaller buttons and a more pleasing interface for a download manager. The project is still in alpha stage and there may be bugs... Although portable versions are nice, one of the downfalls is that you might not see a "Download" button for videos you stream if you are into downloading videos. What makes EagleGet impressive is that it's able to capture nearly every video on various sites across different browsers. I haven't used the portable version yet, so you could check and report me, if you are getting a Download button for videos. Moreover the portable versions lags behind the installer versions in terms of bug-fixes. For better integration and usability, I'd recommend the installer versions for any download manager, and also not to run 2 download managers at once, just as in the case of antivirus softwares. Free Download Manager is still great option with it's wide feature set that'll appeal all users...

Thanks for the pointers George, I hadn't really looked very hard as auto-grouping isn't something I really use. It still seems to be impossible to delete the pre-set groups though.

What I've found after a few days with EG is that if I make sure everything in it is set to capture and monitor, then it works excellently and the video button works for most sites very well. It even appears unexpectedly at times, e.g. on occasion it pops up in gmail and when I clicked download just to see what it was spotting, it downloaded a mail as an empty mp3 :-)

What does happen, is that when I start a new session the monitoring options in EG have disabled themselves and have to be reset. This might be an aspect of the portable version I guess.

It's very usable for me anyway, as I don't need anything that permanently monitors my browser. Just something to handle large/numerous downloads which might potentially be interrupted by a browser/system restart.

I did see the beta version but I'm quite happy with 1.1.8.2 at the moment.

FDM is excellent, I agree. It's been my favourite for several years. There's a v5 alpha version by the way, which is available for testing on the FDM forums.

Thanks for sharing your experiences on the portable version. The last stable version of EagleGet is 1.1.8.3, although the portable version is available only for 1.1.8.2 The default categories can't be messed up in the stable version but from what I've seen it's possible in 2.0 Alpha. I've also seen EagleGet monitoring sounds in GMail, I've set it to exclusion list to get rid of it.
Whole heartedly agree with that. EagleGet 2.0 alpha is incredible and has included features that are only available mostly in commercial download managers like Multiple queues with synchronization, refreshing expired links for broken downloads, support for all browsers, outstanding browser integration for video downloads. Some of these features are already available in the stable version, and some to look forward to.
Don't forget the FlareGet for Linux either. It's the only one for me that hasn't broken an ISO download when one wasn't available as a torrent. MC - Site Manager.
Yes I'd be reviewing FlareGet but on Windows for comparison with other DM's, it's been simply incredible on Linux. I'd be doing a 1 week testing for each DM, that'd probably take me 10 weeks to complete the review for all DM's in the To Be Reviewed section. Something that I don't get is that, I'm able to get 16 connections multi-threaded download on FlareGet on Windows even though it's a feature that's been advertised as Pro only. Probably the limitation might be only on the Linux version? Can somebody test it on Linux, because I don't have Linux, from where I'm writing this comment.

I tried flareget under sandboxie. It was a clean install. No additional softwares, etc...
Currently I am running free download manager. I am thinking to switch to flareget as like fdm its clean install but also gives HD video download that is not there in fdm.
I couldn't find much info on flareget for windows. There are many for linux version but not much info for windows version.

Is the windows version stable & works good, both file & video downloads?
Is the download speed good?
Does it install other software i.e any dependency software?
How does it compare with fdm?

UPDATE
I installed it.
You should restart the system after install then it mentions only 2 segments allowed if the file size is bigger than 25mb.
I didn't liked & uninstalled.

The installer is clean, the interface is appealing, file downloads worked great along with the scheduler. It allowed only 2 segments for files >25MB, which is one of the major disadvantages. About video downloads, I was able to download Youtube videos on Firefox but not any other site. It didn't work on Chrome. I'm not sure if it's because I'm having a 64bit system and the plugins haven't installed correctly. Honestly, wasn't as great on Windows as it was on Linux. Although I still got few more days to review it fully.

I tried on Win 7 64.
Latest Internet Explorer & Chrome.

The downloads worked on Chrome but not on Internet Explorer.
Video downloads too didn't worked on Internet Explorer. And on Chrome it downloaded the videos from Youtube but the file/icon looked white like a paper & didn't played, gave the window "Open with". I tried couple 720p videos & have VLC latest installed.

I can confirm that this restriction is operating on Linux. MC - Site Manager.
Thanks. On deeper testing I also found that FlareGet uses only 2 segments for files >25MB.

I tried quite a few free download manager/accelerator.
FDM & Eagleget are bloat free i.e no additional softwares & are good.
All the others have additional softwares/ads or limited features.
But I liked IDA i.e Internet Download Accelerator.
During install it gives an option to install a software (guess its their own software) but the good part is, its Opt-In. It also gives an Opt-Out option for home page change to their site.
After install, everything was fine.
The only thing is the ads cannot be disabled but can be set to check in 3 days.
The download window also have ads on the upper bar but thats not a prob IMO.

"The best part of IDA is video download has option to download in HD, that can be preset & also can be changed in the download window, for the supported sites. Options like 1080p, 720p, 480p, 360p, MP3, etc."
Any other download manager has such option?

Anyone running IDA can tell me how often ads are served if set to check in 3 days & are they obtrusive?
Connection type/speed doesn't have my speed option i.e 4mbps so I have selected 20 mbps & above & no probs downloading, any adverse affect if I keep this selection?

How is DAM i.e Download Accelerator Manager?
I installed it & was a clean install i.e no additional softwares/ads, etc... Only minus point is the free version doesn't allows to set download speed more than 3x. The min speed is 1x & max 20x.
Dont know if the 3x speed will be fast enough.
Anyone running it?

EagleGet also gives you different download options to download a video in the quality you prefer, right within the download window. If you're having very fast download speeds, then increasing the number of threads gives you faster download speed for large downloads. For instance EagleGet let's you around 32x. I still have review IDA and DAM....

Plzz review IDA & DAM.
Will be waiting for your review.

Is Eagleget a chinese vendor product? I couldn't find the company info on their website or google.

Yes I'll be reviewing all the download managers in a few weeks time. I've added the list of download managers that's to be reviewed here. If there's any good one that I've missed out, please let me know. I think EagleGet is from a Chinese developer. Not sure though.

CAUTION! GetGo Download Manager infects badly computers. It took me ages to figure out what was causing my malware infection. And if you uninstall it, the normal way, you get other problem. So I had to remove each registry entry... Anyway, I also ditched FDM which I used to love because I noticed on my firewall some illegal activity even when I was not using FDM. Same thing with Orbit.

So far, I changed for EagleGet which seems to be clean at the moment. Sometimes, a download manager is good until a new update and then you get infected with some unwanted adware or even downright spyware! So be very careful otherwise you will be sorry and may also lose all your data. As these lock you out of your administrator privileges... Tweaking.com portable did help me with Adwcleaner (only the updated version) but I was still reinfected every other day... So use extreme caution when using a new download manager. It may be free for a bad reason...

Make it a point to download softwares from their homesites or reputed download sites only... Softwares may connect to internet for various reasons, for instance checking for updates. This doesn't mean that's an illegal activity. This section is undergoing a major update at the moment.
What kind of illegal activity did you notice with FDM?

I've been using FDM for a while, on Vista using FF & Chrome, and now on Windows7 64-bit with Chrome. I've noticed recently that it's been hogging a CPU, sitting in Task Manager at 25% (on a 4 CPU system) for hours on end. I've tried upgrading, and have had no response to a support request.

I've come here to look for a replacement, as FDM is no longer usable...

Which Download manager is fastest? Dont want anything else..

There is no such thing as the fastest download manager. All download managers will give you almost the same speeds, and it will be close to the download speed provided by your ISP. What matters is interface, features that you want, integration with browsers, etc.

Free Download Manager does NOT integrate with Chrome. If I want to download anything a right click produces zilch.

It seem to integrate with Forefox at least :)

In Monitoring, under Settings, did you click the checkbox for Google Chrome?

Yes.

I tried IDM, FVDownloader, Downthem all,DWHelper, FDM, ORbit, jordi(I know,wtf! right?), DAM, wxDownload Fast - do u know what did I settled for? GetGo Download Manager 4.8.5.1687. worked for me like a treat. every thing else either broke down midway or halfway( the add-onns), some failed to re-assemble the multiple segments( few of the above mentioned DMs). but GetGo asks you whether you want split download or single file download (no. of split set to 1). worked like a charm.

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