Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The best download manager for Windows, Linux and Mac

*UPDATED - July 8 2015*

Hello! Today I am going to give you a review of the latest versions of the download managers I have selected after about 2 months of intense research and real testing on my PC (no virtual machine testings).

But before we start, let me tell you what a download manager is.
A download manager, contrary to your thinking, is a tool that helps manage all your files smartly the instant you start downloading them. It essentially also serves a way to use your bandwidth more efficiently (as opposed to them increasing your bandwidth - it is in the hands of your ISP) so as to give you a better download speed. It may have browser integration facility. It may also contain a website downloader.

So I selected these download managers: Xtreme Download Manager, Internet Download Manager, Download Accelerator Plus, Free Download Manager, Gigaget, FlashGot, DownThemAll! and FlashGet.


On what basis did I select them? Here is the prioritised list:
  • Smart sorting of files
  • Faster download speed
  • Browser integration
  • Website downloading (or grabbing)
  • Download queueing facility

So I start writing about each of them:

Xtreme Download Manager 5.1.17 beta (FREE AND OPEN SOURCE) + FlashGot + HTTrack 3.48.21

It takes few words to describe XDM - the new king. Period. IDM is dethroned officially. Faster than IDM, it is the lightest download manager of all. It is an EXACT COPY OF IDM. It is FREE and OPEN SOURCE. Only feature it misses as compared to IDM: website grabber. That can be overcome by the free and open source and cross-platform HTTrack. It has much more customisation options than IDM Site Grabber. Which means that you do not need to buy or pirate IDM at all. Only one disadvantage: integration might cause problem, albeit very little. To overcome that completely, use FlashGot and set XDM as the default downloader for your browser.

Internet Download Manager (IDM) 6.21 build 12 (PAID)

The download manager has recently added support for searching for your download through the list and support for Firefox 39 and SeaMonkey 2.33. It has the best integration (except FlashGot *no typo*) into any browser you can find. It has a superb website grabber (I have used it twice!) with various filters and options for specific files' downloading. It is the 2nd most speedy of all. It also has an advanced queueing facility and option to schedule your download(s). But the downside: it comes at a price of $30 (lifetime license). The vast feature list with the most lightweight interface is the reason IDM is one of the most pirated software on the Internet.

Free Download Manager (FDM) 5 Preview (OPEN SOURCE)

It is the third fastest download manager, is highly optimised as compared to old 3.9 version. It has a very aesthetic interface, is more feature rich than IDM and supports almost every protocol (even RTSP for m.youtube.com videos). It is better than IDM on every front except speed (5 KB/s difference per 400 KB/s connection approx.). And the biggest plus point - it will soon be available in GUI and command-line for Linux and Mac also. So if you don't regret that bit less speed optimising, go for this one.

DownThemAll! 3.0 beta 6 (FREE)

It is the only option available currently for Linux and Mac along with Windows, since it is a Firefox add-on. It is the fourth most speedy of all, but falls short on the smart sorting feature. Best choice for Linux and Mac OS until FDM comes up with the Linux and Mac OS versions.

Download Accelerator Plus (DAP)

It is the 5th most speedy download manager on my list. It has all the features of IDM, plus strong browser integration. The bit lesser speed makes it tumble to third place on my list. But the plus side: it is available as free version.

FlashGot + Gigaget


It is the 4th fastest download manager. Both are free. The only cons: has a weak integration, which is overcome with the combined use of FlashGot with which GigaGet is set as the default downloader. Slightly slower than IDM though.

FlashGet 3.7

It comes at 6th position of all those available on the Internet. It has a rich feature list, but is a turn off when it comes to download speed. Almost no edge over the default Firefox/Chrome inbuilt downloaders. Better for smart sorting though. So go for the above ones.


So, XDM and IDM are the top picks of this competition. Go for either one. But if you are running Linux or Mac OS, go for XDM as it one of the few ones with a GUI (interface) (no command line scribbling!)

Please comment any queries if you want other choice for Linux or Mac. Any other replies will also be appreciated and replied as soon as possible.

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