There’s a YouTube channel for nearly any interest—even the ones you didn’t know you had. The video-sharing hub’s embarrassment of riches can be overwhelming, making it hard to know exactly where to start.
Whether you want to follow a seasoned explorer as they travel the world, find a new hairstyle to wear to work, or learn how to cook those mouthwatering dishes from your favorite movies and TV shows, this list has something for everyone. It’s not a compilation of the most popular and highest-paid YouTube celebrities, but rather a selection of engrossing channels curated and ranked by TIME’s tech writers, ranging from stylish cooking to quirky comedy, video game peculiarities and more.
Our goal is simple: to help you navigate YouTube’s countless channels, and hopefullly find some of the site’s novelties you might otherwise have missed.
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Hand-drawn cartoon stills collide with punchy exposition in this brevity-mindful video games explainer series that delves into interactive entertainment’s strengths and quirks. Over the course of 14 seasons and more than 300 episodes, creators Daniel Floyd and James Portnow explore a dizzying array of topics, unraveling gaming’s technical mysteries and exploring cultural flashpoints in a savvy collage of common sense, contrarianism and debunkery.
The Slow Mo Guys
The Slow Mo Guys’ impressive and often messy experiments are exactly the sort of stunt-driven entertainment YouTube excels at. From smashing a giant 6-foot water balloon to firing bullets from an underwater gun in slow motion, Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy’s wild ventures always generate captivating visuals. The two typically take random acts, like popping popcorn or smashing an axe through a deodorant can, and slow the action to around 2,500 frames per second, giving the viewer a completely unhinged perspective. With more than 9.5 million subscribers, clearly they’re onto something.
What happens when you give a bunch of former college roommates and basketball players a bunch of cameras and the resources to do whatever they want? You get Dude Perfect, a channel about a group of young twenty-something guys who challenge one another to unbelievable trick shots and create altogether new sports to play. One example: Archery Kart, a real-life Mario Kart in which combatants drive golf carts around an obstacle course while attempting to shoot balloons tied to each other’s vehicles. Dude Perfect is heavy on the testosterone, but if you wax nostalgic for shenanigan-filled summers with friends, it may be for you.
Jenna Mourey, better known by her YouTube persona Jenna Marbles, won over the Internet with her goofy and satirical but relatable videos, like “How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking” and “How To Avoid Talking to People You Don’t Want to Talk To.” At this point her videos touch on a bit of everything, from face-painting to making miniature furniture for pet hamsters. Yes, it’s all heavily planned, and yes, there are plenty of comedians on YouTube. But Jenna’s filter-free, tell-it-like-it-is approach explains why she’s one of YouTube’s most followed, with 17.5 million subscribers.
Adam Savage's Tested
MythBusters aired its final episode over a year ago, but fans of former co-host Adam Savage can get their fix on Tested, a channel dedicated to “anything that’s awesome.” Do-it-yourselfers will particularly love Savage’s “one-day builds,” in which the special effects master and handyman extraordinaire challenges himself to create props like swords and custom NERF guns in a single sitting. In the Maker Tours series, Savage visits all sorts of different creators to learn about their projects. And the rest of the Tested team goes hands-on with lots of gadgets, too, like 3D printers and virtual reality headsets. Nerds of all stripes will find something to love here.
Need ideas for hanging plants, hacking dressers, creating floating wall art or just feng shui-ing the heck out of your digs? Apartment Therapy’s generally minute-or-less videos showcase stylish solutions to common apartment conundrums alongside do-it-yourself projects that range from cobbling together old-school felt boards and shadowboxes to making napkin art. Spare just a few minutes a week to watch its handful of installments and its high ideas-per-watchtime ratio pays dividends.
Best known for its Honest Trailers series of blistering mock-videos that satirize the trailer industry while serving up bona fide criticism, keeping tabs on Screen Junkies has other perks. Like Movie Fights, its “who would win?” counterfactual franchise mashup that imagines smackdowns between the likes of Aladdin, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Or The Screen Junkies Show, which positions roundups like “The Craziest Star Wars Interviews You’ve Never Seen!” alongside disturbing others like “Watching Fifty Shades Darker With My Mom!”
YouTube has no shortage of photography tutorials, but Heaton’s work distinguishes itself thanks to his masterful insight, high-quality production and affable demeanor. Whereas some YouTube photographers are aggressive and snobbish, Heaton, a landscape photographer, strives to invite beginners to grow and learn alongside him. That he’s able to travel to exotic locales as well as find picture-perfect destinations in his own backyard only adds to his channel’s appeal. In some ways, Heaton’s channel resembles more of a travel show with camera tips mixed in along the way—an immensely watchable combination.
Whether you have 40 or just five minutes for a workout, Fitness Blender has you covered. Husband and wife team Daniel and Kelli Segars posted their first YouTube video seven years ago, and have since amassed more than 4.3 million subscribers. With a mix of full length cardio workouts and targeted sessions aimed at areas like the upper body, abs and thighs, there’s something on Fitness Blender for athletes at all levels. Best of all, they require little to no equipment and minimal space, making it easy to stay in shape no matter what your schedule or living situation.
Binging With Babish
This delightfully shot cooking show—it’s pronounced BINJ-ing, not BING-ing—masterfully melds culinary zeal and populist goofiness. Want to know how to make Monica’s Thanksgiving sandwich from Friends? The Dothraki blood pie from Game of Thrones? Something with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s purplish, horned monster parts? You get all that, and in a minor stroke of editing genius, you almost never see the cook’s face, just his wildly multitalented hands.
A soothing, sharp-witted antidote to all the bluster and bore that infects too many tech review channels, Marques Brownlee, or MKBHD (Brownlee’s initials plus HD for “high-definition”), offers perceptive, phlegmatic takes on all kinds of gadgets. Even his approach to rumors, always a delicate matter, manages to convey insights into hypotheticals without disappearing down rabbit holes. If you’re after tech-angled reviews that blend clarity, concision and demonstrative value, Brownlee’s highly watchable takes are peerless.
Travel shows have been around for decades, but YouTubers like Louis Cole have permanently flipped the script on how they’re made. Whereas travel shows used to be about the destination, Cole’s channel is more about him, a vlogger with a joie de vivre that’s helped him gain nearly 2 million subscribers. Cole invites his fans on his worldwide adventures, whether he’s exploring South Africa or flying to Dubai. And unlike some travel vloggers, Cole isn’t afraid to show the mishaps of globetrotting, whether it’s a delayed flight or a broken down bus, adding to his credibility. Ever the entrepreneur, Cole has spun his popularity into a full-blown travel brand and community called “Live the Adventure.”
Luxy Hair won’t just show you how to create the perfect French braid or the cutest messy bun. The channel also has a variety of videos based on specific situations and hair types, such as the best hairstyles for traveling, looks that only take five minutes for when you’re running late and ideas for making oily hair look good even without dry shampoo. The companion channel to the eponymous hair extension company, Luxy Hair specializes in creative ways to wear hair extensions, how to properly wash and maintain them and debunking coiffure-related myths.
You’ll find plenty of YouTube channels angled at helping you get things done faster with lifehacks. That’s not Simone Giertz’s shtick. Her videos instead explore what happens when you do the opposite, namely building useful-looking robots that turn out to be hilariously awful at their jobs. Among her most famous is an automated arm meant to whip up breakfast, but instead just knocks over the milk and cereal. Giertz’s “wake-up machine” is a nightmarish alarm that consists of a rubber hand programmed to rouse you from slumber with a slap to the face. The results are equal parts intriguing, funny and counterintuitively informative.
Beauty and makeup how-tos are a massive YouTube genre, and with over 5 million subscribers, Carli Bybel is one of the top vloggers in the category. Bybel’s videos range from simple tips, like getting the best “reverse smoky eye” and dealing with excessively frizzy hair, to product recommendations and clips from her daily life. You could consider YouTubers like Bybel—who promotes positivity through looking your best—the modern incarnation of the women’s beauty magazine, helping makeup neophytes learn the ins-and-outs of pretty much anything you’ll find in the cosmetics aisle.