How To Rip DVDs With Handbrake

How To Rip DVDs With Handbrake

We’ve certainly discussed Handbrake in the past, but we’ve neglected to actually show you how to use it to rip a DVD. If you haven’t gotten into Handbrake because you’ve found it a little confusing or intimidating, here’s how to get started.

The video above will walk you through the entire process and provide some additional information, so you’re best off watching it if you really need to know how Handbrake works. Nonetheless, here are the general steps you’ll need to take to get ripping with Handbrake.

Step One: Select a Source

Open Handbrake and you’ll be asked to locate a source. Choose a DVD, DVD image or a VIDEO_TS folder. You can also choose pretty much any video file too, as Handbrake will convert standard video files as well. If you’re ripping a DVD with copy protection, you’ll also need to have VLC installed. Once you have your source selected, open it up.

Step Two: Choose the Title You Want to Rip


Once Handbrake has loaded your source file, in the upper left-hand corner you’ll find the Title drop-down menu. Select that and you’ll see a list of all the tracks Handbrake can rip. You’re really only getting track numbers and lengths here, so choosing the right one involves a little bit of guess work. Fortunately this is pretty easy to figure out. If you’re ripping the movie, the track will be the length of the running time of the movie. It’ll also be the longest of any of the tracks in most circumstances. The same goes for TV episodes. Just select the track you want and you can move on to choosing your settings.

Step Three: Choose Your Video and Audio Settings


Next you need to decide how high (or low) you want the quality of your ripped content to be. In the video panel, you can drag the Constant Quality slider from left to right to adjust the quality. (Right is higher, left is lower.) Alternatively you can set an average bit rate (we’ve created a calculator to help you find the perfect bit rate) or use a Handbrake preset for a specific device. Once you’ve chosen your video settings, click the audio tab and make your audio choices. For the most part you can leave this alone, but this section is where you’ll set things like the audio language of your ripped content. You can also change the audio bit rate here, but note that if you’re ripping content for an Apple device you cannot set that bit rate above 160kbps.

Step Four: Start Ripping!


Now that you’ve got all your settings in Handbrake you can go ahead and rip that DVD. If you’re only ripping a single file, press the Start button up top. If you want to batch-rip more content, click the Add to Queue button (also up top) and repeat this process for the addition content. Once you’ve got it all in your queue, go ahead and press the Start button.

That’s it! Happy ripping!


  • I have tried handbrake several times and each time the output files are never in sync (audio / video).
    It would be a great program if we could get sync problems ironed out.

  • Please mention something somewhere about MP4 vs MKV and AAC vs AC3.
    Ive got a bunch of MP4 movies with AAC 5.1 sound, but since I got my new sound system and went all optical there is no sound when I play MP4 AAC.
    I have to change the output from Digital 5.1 to Stereo.
    Im having to re-do my movies in MKV, or re-download them.
    Trying to convert MP4 to MKV is a real headache.

    So, what I want to know is, why no sound with AAC 5.1?
    Ive done a lot of googling and all I can find is that sound systems cant decode the AAC format.

    Oh, Im also using WDTV Live to play all my movies. Its in that that I have to change the setting from digital to stereo.
    No, its not the WDTV Live player. That outputs the audio fine.

  • When I press start button it puts it in the queue, but then the queue start button is gray! The first time I used this it did it right, from then on it hasnt! I have uninstalled and reinstalled twice now. I have VLC, I put them in my applications folder, and I have an iMac.

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