Best free DVD rippers in 2024 for PC and Mac: backup your discs quickly and easily
The best free DVD ripper tools do exactly what they say on the tin: they rip content from DVDs and let you save it digitally, perfect for backing up a physical film and TV show collection - or even home movies and work files.
Our number one pick - as it has been for a while - for the best free DVD ripper is unquestionably Handbrake, a powerful piece of open-source software that allows you to save video content in virtually any format. With no limits on file counts or the length of saved videos, it's the most effective free option out there.
However, it's worth noting that Handbrake is a complex piece of software that isn't the most friendly to new users, so we've made sure to test and review a variety of DVD-ripping programs - and collated our top picks right here for your convenience. These shouldn't be confused with the best free DVD burners, which do the opposite and can let you write video content onto physical DVDs.
But do remember to make sure to check intellectual property law in your country first before you rip those DVDs. Much like CDs, there are no international copyright laws that cover free DVD rippers, so make sure it's legal where you live.
The best free DVD rippers so far
HandBrake is not only a free DVD ripper (or video transcoder, as it prefers to be known) but also open source, so it's totally free in every sense of the word. More than a decade in the making, the software finally reached version 1.0.0. It is – or at least looks – a little more complicated that some of the others we're looking at here, but don’t let that put you off. By default there's no support for bypassing copy-protection, but this is something you can get around with a little research (bearing in mind IP laws in your country).
As with other programs, there are a number of presets ready for you to choose from, but you can also manually tailor each ripping session if you prefer. If you're working with ISO images or disc folders, it's possible to queue up multiple encoding jobs to run consecutively to save having to be around when each finishes. The sheer level of control makes HandBrake well worth a try.
For the very best output, we found that you need to manually work through quite a number of settings. However, with a little patience and some practice, the results mean that it really is worthwhile.
Read our full HandBrake review
Freemake is a name synonymous with powerful, high quality freeware, and Freemake Video Converter doesn't let the side down. Its free DVD ripper boasts a clean, clear interface that we found to be a joy to use during our tests, and you're never left feeling in any doubt about what you're meant to do.
Fire up the software, switch to the DVD section and choose your drive from the list. After disc analysis you'll need to indicate which of the video track you're interested in. You can even take things a step further and clip out segments of a video to rip rather than grabbing the whole thing. Shortcuts at the bottom of the screen provide access to popular output formats (AVI, MKV, device-specific formats); just make your selection, hit 'Convert', and you're done.
Unfortunately, although it doesn't contain extra bundled software, the latest version of Freemake Video Converter adds a watermark to ripped videos. If you can live with that, it's one of the most convenient DVD rippers around.
Read our full Freemake Video Converter review
If you've used free DVD ripping software before, MakeMKV might look a little familiar – it bears more than a passing resemblance to DVD Decrypter. As well as handling DVDs, the program, is also capable of ripping Blu-ray discs, and the process works in exactly the same way in each case (although it's worth noting that Blu-ray ripping is only be free while the program is in beta).
What we appreciate most about the MakeMKV is that there is so little to think about and it's packed with thoughtful touches to make your life easier. Fire up the program, analyze your disc, choose which of the track you would like to rip, indicate where the output file should be saved, and then hit the 'Make MKV' button. That's really all there is to it. There's no messing about, no complex configuration – just analyze, rip and go.
Bear in mind, however, that the free version is only available for 30 days, offering a 30-day trail. After that, you will be required to purchase it or sign up for a subscription.
Read our full MakeMKV review
DVDFab is an unusual case. The full DVDFab suite isn't free of charge, but its DVD ripping component is. When you download the software, it installs as a trial version, but the DVDFab HD Decrypter – which you need for DVD and Blu-ray ripping – remains free forever.
While it is among the best free DVD ripper out there, we did find the free portion to be rather limited during testing, allowing you to rip discs in Full Disc or Main Movie modes only. This means that the free version is nowhere near as versatile as the other programs we've covered here, but it still has its place.
For example, it can be useful if you want to extract the video files from a disc and maintain their original formats when transferring them to your hard drive. You're then free to import the files into another program for further work if you want, or just use your favorite DVD software to watch the videos without the need for a disc to be inserted.
Read our full DVDFab HD Decrypter review
WinX DVD Ripper can be used to rip directly from DVDs, but it also works with ISO images, and folders of DVD files. During testing, we found it to be an utter delight to use with an easy-to-understand interface that shouldn't feel intimidating to even beginner users.
Once your input has been analyzed – a process that doesn't take long – you can take your pick from a raft of ready made profiles. These profiles help you to quickly output a video that's suitable for playback on specific mobile devices or, say, ideal for uploading to Facebook. You can choose to rip the built-in subtitles or embed your own, and you can select which audio tracks should be included; it's all beautifully simple and pleasingly fast.
When you install the free version of WinX DVD Ripper, you'll notice that it's actually the Platinum Edition in trial mode. This lacks a few of the features found in the premium version (mainly speed-related and a couple of specific DRM cracks), but you'll still have the best free DVD ripper on your hands that you can use indefinitely.
Read our full WinX DVD Ripper Free Edition review
How to choose the best free DVD ripper for you
First thing's first. When choosing the best free DVD ripper, you need to make sure that it's compatible with your current operating system. Most of the free ones out there are design for the Windows operating system. So, if you've got a Mac, you need to check if there's a Mac version available. If not, you'll have to find another option.
If it's your first time ripping DVDs, user-friendliness is top priority so choose a ripping program that's incredibly simple to use. That's without sacrificing features that will come in handy. Ready-made profiles will be useful, as are different available video formats.
Being able to crop and trim videos, choose which audio and subtitle streams should be included, and adjust settings such as resolution and frame rate are not always on hand. So, if you need these functionalities, make sure they are available as well.
How we test free DVD rippers
We put each DVD ripper program through its paces, using it much like a regular user would utilizing different sources, ripping options, and formats available. We also test its biggest features and user-friendliness. Because some of the free DVD rippers are only free for a limited amount of time or have limited functionality, we find out that information as well and share it with our readers.