YouTube has a bit of an infamous reputation lately. It started off as an amazing idea, to let anyone in the world share video content as easily as a blog post or tweet. As with everything though (reddit, facebook, everysiteever) the more popular something gets, the lower quality the content becomes. The endless race for likes, stars, hearts, reblogaposts, or whatever dopamine-releasing attention-signifier the site chose to implement creates an endless race to the bottom quality wise, instead rewarding clickbait overhyped drivel for maximum clicks.

There's still so much incredible content there though. You just have to dig.

YouTube replaced TV for me a long time ago, and other than a few specific shows (Expanse, um... actually that's basically it these days) I pretty much only watch YouTube as entertainment. I sub to 200+ channels across my hobbies and interests, and between them that gives me multiple hours of new content every day that I can pick and choose from. It's curated TV, with nothing but shows you already know are worth watching.

I'll visit my Subscriptions page once a day or so, click "Watch Later" on anything that looks interesting, then when I'm bored or need a break I just click play on my queue and it's basically the same as sitting in front of the TV, just no ads and nothing comes on that I won't enjoy or get some value from.

I specifically love this method because it injects plenty of education into my down-time too. I follow lots of creators who put out extremely interesting videos on various topics, and end up learning passively along the way. My entire career and all my hobbies have been self-taught, and a lot of that has been thanks to YouTube.

This is especially good if you take the time to search around for smaller channels, and ignore most the tabloid-esque "YouTube Celebrity" stuff. There are thousands and thousands of small channels cranking out legitimately fascinating videos on every hobby you've ever heard of and plenty you haven't.

I get asked a fair bit to share channels I've found, usually in the maker/hacker/tech genre, so I decided to make a list here of my favourite ones and keep it updated semi-regularly.

Big Channels

I'll give a passing mention to some of my favourite big channels:

Allen Pan hacks together funny/interesting inventions.

AvE doesn't need much introduction, but he's always interesting and entertaining.

Computerphile goes ridiculously in-depth on computer science and related topics.

GreatScott does tutorials on all kinds of electronic projects with excellent explanations of all the details.

James Bruton builds really serious robots, and will probably create the robots that gain sentience and destroy humanity.

Michael Reeves and William Osman (housemates, each with their own projects) build not-so-serious robots, but they're only really a danger to themselves.

Smaller Channels

These are the sub-100k-or-so channels I've found that I really like, and that I think deserve a lot more attention for the amazing content they put out. I'll link their name to their channel page where you can see more or subscribe, and put a sample video below each one to get an idea of what their content is like.

Afrotechmods

Basic electronics tutorials on everything from "What is a voltage?" to Arduino and project tutorials.

amstudio

Racing sim hacks, from integrating a real car dashboard cluster with functional gauges to your sim setup, to DIY USB analog handbrakes and more.

Andreas Spiess

The man with the Swiss accent, talking and teaching all things microcontrollers and sensors. Excellent in-depth videos on sensors, SBCs, antennas, and various projects along the way.

bitluni's lab

Bitluni is one of my current favourites with lots of very interesting and entertaining projects.

BPS.space

Replicating SpaceX at a smaller scale, using hobby solid-fuel rockets and microcontrollers. He's even got them landing again! This is an insanely smart guy doing really cool stuff.

CuriousMarc

Where geek history and human history meet, these guys are restoring an actual Apollo mission guidance computer to working order, and teach you how it all works along the way.

FriendlyCosmonaut

Learn how to make video games in such a clear and well-explained way that you could make a Stardew Valley style game with zero experience. Very interesting to watch even if you don't want to make a game but just curious how they work.

IppSec

Interested in what real hacking looks like? Only one person typing on the keyboard here, but he's a very talented one. Reviewing HTBs, CTFs, and other netsec challenges.

Konstantin Bogdanov

Building RC cars in insane detail. This is pure art that actually drives. Everything works and replicates real life in immaculately beautiful accuracy. This was the inspiration behind my most ambitious long-term project (still in the planning/parts-collecting stage).

LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER

A modern day mad music scientist. Sam makes incredible music-making machines, DIY synths, and so much more. His music itself is amazing too, and I'm a huge fan of his processes, his style, and his tunes.

MatthewHallberg

Making Augmented Reality look easy (it's not). Great tutorials on doing all things AR for your games and some practical uses too.

Moritz Simon Geist

Building robots to make techno by themselves. This has been something I'm interested in for over a decade now, and it's always cool to find someone new making music with machines.

SuperHouseTV

Great tutorials and guides on home automation. Proper home automation, beyond "I got a Google Home to play Spotify for me" and into "My house just detected I went out, locked itself up, turned off the lights, and sensed it's not going to rain tomorrow so watered the gardens for me." I'm pretty sure his house is smarter than me.

There's plenty more, but I think that sums up my favourites, and I'll try keep it updated if only so I myself have a backup of the best channels if YouTube decides to delete my account because I said a bad word.