5 Websites To Download Free Online User Manuals In PDF
I’m not just talking about computing stuff either – user manuals for products like ovens, mowers, TV and audio equipment all seem to have a habit of disappearing. The next step is to search online for a free manual PDF online but this can also be frustrating:
- Manufacturer websites can be hard to navigate (especially for old/obsolete products) or they may simply no longer exist. Tip – if you have trouble navigating it, try using Google search parameters to find the manual within that specific website.
- Google searches may find websites which claim to have the right manual – but then want to charge you to look at it…
Here are 5 websites to help (in no particular order) – each has its own merits so it can be worth trying more than one if you need to find a particularly obscure manual. As a quick test, I searched each site for a user manual for a Canon Pixma IP3000 printer which is well over 10 years old – the results are included for each website.
[Note: if you’re looking specifically for a car owners manual, see also the Appendix at bottom of this article]
This has over 3 million free owners manuals in PDF format. Wide range including tech stuff, home appliances, mowers, board games and car manuals.
It has a good predictive search feature which narrows down the search results as you type. Related manuals are listed below the search results which can help if the model number is slightly different (e.g. in different countries) or if there is more than one PDF available for that product e.g. a quick start guide and a full user manual.
You can read the PDF within the website or download it and save/print – the green Download button at the top of the page leads to a standard reCAPTCHA verification to ‘Get Manual’. Watch out for the Adverts! They often include ‘Start/Download’ type buttons that are nothing to do with this site – or they link to other sites that charge for manuals…
Test Results – found a 2 page Quick Setup Instructions and a 100 page Quick Start Manual
This has over 700,000 free user manuals in PDF format. Another wide range including tech stuff, power tools, home appliances, car audio etc.
It has a predictive search feature which narrows down the search results as you type, although it didn’t suggest the IP3000 printer in my search. You can also search by Category then Brand – search filters are simple to use. Provides a direct link to the manufacturer’s support website if no manual is available.
You can read the PDF within the website or download it and save/print. Again, watch out for the adverts!
ManualsOnline has more of a forum and community feel – you can ask questions for product support and discussions from users are listed below the product manual. This might be a useful source of info for troubleshooting but many answers will basically suggest that you just read RTFM ;-) That is what the site is for after all…
Test Results – found a 2 page Quick Setup Instructions and a 100 page Quick Start Guide
Updated March 6th, 2019 – this site is still up but it seems to be incredibly slow at the moment and pages/downloads often time out…
A huge document sharing website of books, speeches and magazine articles etc but this also has a useful free user manuals section which includes automobiles, crafts, gadgets and scrapbooking.
It has a predictive search feature which narrows down the search results as you type, although it didn’t suggest the IP3000 printer in my search (or anything at all by Canon so perhaps the predictive search only covers books).
Seems to be the most advert free website tested here.
You can read the PDF within the website for free. Recent documents can also be downloaded for free but old/archived documents require a paid membership – although you can sign up for a 1 month free trial.
Test Results – found a 24 page Service Manual and a 8 page Reset Printer Guide
Over 800,000 user manuals in PDF format. Wide range including tech stuff, home appliances, toys, music etc.
No predictive search feature but you can search by manufacturer or category then by product name.
You can read the PDF within the website or download it (the orange ‘Get Manual’ button, followed by a simple 4 character Captcha) and save/print. Again, watch out for the adverts!
Test Results – found a 32 page Quick Start Guide
Primarily aimed at engineers and technicians, not end users – component datasheets, IC diagrams, service guides and schematics for a range of electronic equipment.
More specialized than the other sites so not as comprehensive. Active user forums can be helpful for troubleshooting and repairs. Manuals are generally in PDF, RAR or Zip format – you can download the file and save/print. Again, watch out for the adverts!
No predictive search feature but you can filter searches by manufacturer and product type.
Test Results – nothing found. No surprise as this site covers a far more technical area than standard home user printers.
It is worth noting that no single website found every available manual/guide in my (limited) testing but three sites did find the user manual.
Other documents found included a useful Service Manual, Quick Set Up Instructions and a Reset Printer Guide – I didn’t manage to find any of these on Canon’s own website so these were a nice bonus.
Results will vary depending on the product searched for but these are all useful sites to bookmark for future reference.
Appendix – Car Owners Manuals
I had a lot of people contact me looking for a car owners manual which the above 5 websites don’t really cover in great depth – the first one, ManualsLib, is the best.
However there are a couple of other car-specific sites out there:
Edmunds – this links page is a few years old now but it lists a lot of online car owner’s manuals by manufacturer – US only.
Car manuals Online – 80,000 car manuals to read online only – no PDF downloads.