Five Best DVD Ripping Tools

Five Best DVD Ripping Tools

Whether you want to watch a movie on your iPod or back up your too-easily-scratched DVDs, DVD ripping is a mysterious realm for many. Even those in-the-know find it difficult to keep up with the best tools for the job, especially in the face of increased copy protection. On Tuesday we asked you to share your favourite DVD ripping tools; today we’ve sifted through hundreds of comments to bring you the five most popular answers. Hit the jump for a closer look at five of the best and most popular DVD ripping tools, then cast your vote to determine the best ripper of the bunch.

DVD Shrink (Windows)

Despite the fact that the freeware DVD Shrink (download) hasn’t been in active development for years, this freeware decrypter, ripper, and compressor is still a favourite all-in-one stop for ripping and backing up DVDs. Its compression feature is what sets DVD Shrink apart, compressing 8GB dual-layer DVDs down to 4GB sizes that will fit on standard, single-layer DVD-Rs (i.e., the type of DVDs most consumers can burn to). It’s even inspired us to write our very own DVD Shrink helper application, DVD Rip, which turns the already simple DVD Shrink process into a one-click ripping affair.

HandBrake (All Platforms)

The free, cross-platform HandBrake makes ripping DVDs to a bevy of useful, playable file formats a cinch, with support for iPods, PSPs, Apple TVs, PS3s, and pretty much any other format your device requires. It’s fast, free, and takes the difficulty out of both ripping and transcoding. (original post)

DVDFab HD Decrypter

Much like DVD Shrink, DVDFab HD Decrypter cuts through copy protection and rips DVDs to your hard drive. Unlike DVD Shrink, DVDFab does not offer compression tools. DVDFab is shareware, but its trial version lets you do nearly as much as you’d ever need. That said, users who pony up for the platinum edition don’t seem to have any regrets. (original post)

MacTheRipper (Mac OS X)

mactheripper.pngFreeware application MacTheRipper breaks copy protection from DVDs and rips the contents to your hard drive—which makes it the go-to Mac version of apps like DVD Shrink or DVDFab. Like the other two, MacTheRipper doesn’t encode its rips to other formats (instead it just rips the DVD menu and all to your hard drive), but that’s what Handbrake is there for.

DVD Decrypter

The freeware DVD Decrypter works much like DVD Shrink and DVDFab, ripping DVDs to your hard drive by tearing through pesky copy protection. Like DVD Shrink, DVD Decrypter hasn’t been actively developed for a while, but it’s still doing the job for most folks without complaint.

Now that we’ve seen the five most popular, it’s time to narrow it down to choose your ultimate favorite:

Gawker Media polls require Javascript; if you’re viewing this in an RSS reader, click through to view in your Javascript-enabled web browser.

Honorable Mentions

This week’s honorable mentions go out to AnyDVD (Windows, shareware) and DVD43 (freeware, Windows, original post). I want to put a special word in for both of these, particularly DVD43 since it’s freeware. Whenever popular ripping tools like DVD Shrink, HandBrake, DVDFab, or DVD Decrypter fail to break the copy protection, these lightweight tools are a must-have. They run in the background and disable copy protection as soon as the DVD is inserted, leaving any ripping tool free to grab the contents without having to deal with decryption at all.

dvdrip-shot.pngMy third honorable mention is a shameless plug for the free, Windows-only DVD Rip, Lifehacker’s very own helper application that works in conjunction with DVD Shrink to set up automated one-click rips. DVD Shrink does all the heavy lifting, but DVD Shrink makes it simple enough that the entirely tech unsavvy should have no problems ripping a DVD.

Last, if you’d like a more detailed look at how you might put these programs to use, check out our previous guide to turning your PC into a DVD ripping monster.

If your favourite didn’t make the list or you want to lavish more praise on your app of choice, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.


  • I’ve used DVD Shrink and DVD Decrypter for years without any major problems. Thanks for turning me onto HandBrake though, I’m gonna give that sucka a whirl 🙂

  • This poll is badly designed
    Like hirsty I used DVD Shrink & DD decryoter together for years. One to rip and the other to shrink. I often needed both so how do I vote for one?
    I use DVD Fab Platinum now but that’s not the same thing as listed here so…

  • i am a idiot on copying DVD so I recommend put in a disc it tell you when ready cipy,it tells you & ejects you orig,then put in a dvd & it just records.It lets you know when its finished.No fuss or worry…soooo easy.

  • I need help! I recently went “uninstall” crazy and uninstalled very much used programs such as dvdfab decrypter and dvd fab 5. I cannot find the decrypter version I had and understood. I was aable to reinstall the dvd 5, but now it does not work as it did before.
    I would just put the dvd in, click it to iso and click start. then it would finish and be in my iso folder. Now when I do that, the program says it worked but the ISO file is NOWHERE to be found.

    This issue has boggled my mind for a good 6 days now and believe I NEED HELP!
    Thank you for your time and patience 🙂

  • I always used shrink but when finding Fabplatinum am now a full convert. Lately I’ve had problems with Disney movies, can’t seem to overcome a block. Any suggestions welcome and appreciated. Cheers

    • Hi there Brian, yes, there is a problem using Disney & dreamworks I used to think dvdfab was “the bomb” although all elses works fine.. ive tried 7 other programs and no luck, its soemthing the company shall have to fix i think… let me know if you hear anythiing or have any luck.. Cheers The Nutcracker

Log in to comment on this story!