Every Chrome extension, app or theme on Chrome web store is distributed as *.CRX file. Actually, CRX files are ZIP files which you can unzip using any ZIP utility like 7Zip or WinRAR. You can either rename file extension crx to zip or directly open them using ZIP tools. However when you install an extension on Chrome from Chrome store, it doesn’t let you backup or download the actual CRX file of the extension. Chrome just directly installs them without leaving the extension file.
Though you can access and edit extension files and codes installed in Chrome as they are stored in your local machine, sometimes you need to directly get the CRX file without installing. Though Chrome made it harder to directly download CRX files, folks out there who made use of workarounds to catch CRX files and make them download locally. Here I am going to share two such tools that lets you directly download CRX files from Chrome web store without installing on your Chrome. This work is similar to directly downloading APK files from Google Play.
1. Chrome Extension Downloader
Chrome Extension Downloader is a web tool with which you can download CRX files of any extension that exist on Chrome store. You simply have to copy the extension URL or ID from store and input it into Extension Downloader and hit Download extension. Checkout how it works.
You can also have a one click CRX downloader both in Chrome toolbar and address bar by installing their extension.
To install their extension, head to chrome://extensions page (or by Menu > More Tools > Extension) and drag the CRX file to the page.
2. Give Me CRX
Give Me CRX is a Chrome extension that adds a CRX Downloader button to Chrome context menu (right-click menu) when you are on an extension page on Chrome web store. That means you need to use Chrome to use this tool.
Ultimately all Chrome extension downloaders works with same logic. As I said earlier, you can rename the extension CRX to ZIP to easily open and extract files inside an extension.