We know you are not alone if you enjoy popular podcasts or if you’re thinking about starting one. Almost all Americans listen to at least one podcast a month, a trend that only increased in 2020, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital’s survey.
No matter if you’re taking a jog, commuting to work, or just relaxing at home, a great podcast can take you on an audio journey through politics, entertainment, comedy, literature, and more.
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Podcasts cover a wide range of topics, so whether you want to catch up on the latest news or learn more about true crime, there’s likely to be something for you.
There are a number of services that provide access to a variety of podcasts, including several free apps and a few subscription platforms that offer exclusive programming.
We have selected some of the best podcast apps you can use right now on a variety of devices to make it easier for you to get started listening to podcasts.
Pocket Casts | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Our favorite mobile podcatcher is Pocket Casts, thanks to its features such as cross-device and cross-platform syncing, episode auto-downloading, and automatic cleanup.
Though it was a paid app, there was a significant barrier to entry. Since 2019, Pocket Casts is completely free on mobile without sacrificing any features for free users.
Furthermore, Pocket Casts allows search and discovery of podcasts (based on categories or your listening habits), and provides tools for syncing, downloading, and cleaning up episodes.
A number of customizable controls are included, including timeskips and sleep timers. You can upgrade to Pocket Casts Plus to get desktop and web apps, plus 10GB of cloud storage and custom icons and themes.
Overcast | Review | Best apps for podcasts on iPhone
Overcast is a great combination of clean design, effective audio and podcast management.
It’s easy to play and download episodes with Overcast, lets you subscribe to new episodes through email, and you can stream them if you want to save some space. They also have features to improve audio quality.
By automatically raising quiet voices and lowering loud ones, Voice Boost normalizes speech levels. Smart Speed automatically eliminates gaps and silences from podcasts, speeding up play without distorting audio.
Recent updates have added a widget for iOS, an action tray that helps manage episodes of your favorite podcasts, and improved the interface.
Google Podcasts | Review | Best apps for podcasts
With its very own podcast app, Google has joined the podcasting trend. If you own a Google Home speaker and an Android phone, then Google Podcasts is a must-have. The redesigned app is now available for iPhones, too.
During your commute, you can start a podcast on your phone and pick up where you left off on your smart speaker when you get home. You can also adjust the playback speed, integrate Google Assistant, and add podcasts directly from Google searches.
The tech giant promises AI-based features in the future, including automatic closed captioning. Currently, the redesigned app emphasizes podcast discovery with Find podcasts based on your interests in the Explore tab.
Spotify | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Spotify used to be more of a streaming music service than a podcast one.
In the past few years, Spotify has taken steps to extend its podcast offering, acquiring podcast producer Gimlet Media and podcast creation tool Anchor; it also partnered with Joe Rogan to host the popular episode of his podcast exclusively on Spotify.
Users can subscribe to individual podcasts on Spotify, manage downloads, and share podcasts on social media. Podcasts are organized in categories, such as Storytellers, Sports & Recreation, and Comedy.
If you’re already using Spotify for streaming music and don’t want to search for a dedicated podcatcher, then give it a try.
Castro Podcast Player | Review | Best apps for podcast on iOS
Castro is one of the best podcast apps because of its simplicity and ease of use. It boasts a sleek visual design combined with crystal clear audio.
The episodes automatically download as they appear. As a result, it is not cluttered with too many complex features.
The Castro app does not limited to podcatcher, as it also uses dynamic storage management, automatic download and streaming of episodes.
It’s free, but a monthly subscription to Castro Plus offers more advanced features, including volume enhancing so you can hear podcasts clearly in loud environments and importing files directly.
Luminary | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Luminary wants to be the Netflix or iTunes of podcasting, offering unlimited access to podcasts and a library of exclusive shows, such as Fiasco, Hear to Slay, and Trevor Noah’s On Second Thought.
For $4.99 a month, subscribers gain access to Luminary’s exclusive titles ad-free, while free users can access a range of free podcasts.
Luminary also includes search and discovery tools for discovering podcasts based on your listening habits, playback controls, and offline listening.
Laughable | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Laughable, a podcast app that features comedy, offers the funny we’re all looking for these days.
Find out more about your favorite comedian by searching the Laughable database – not only will you find podcasts they host but also appearances on other shows.
This isn’t limited to comedy; Laughable’s database also includes information about athletes, actors, and other celebrities.
Within Laughable, you can subscribe to other podcasts and enjoy features like offline listening, adjustable playback speed, and a sleep timer.
Himalaya | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Himalaya offers both a free podcast listening app for listeners and a platform for podcast creators to publish and monetize their podcasts.
More than 500,000 podcasters and 270,000 podcasts are available on the app, totaling more than 24 million episodes.
If you are already a podcast listener, you can import your subscriptions from services like Google Podcasts, Spotify, and TuneIn Radio, or you can search for new podcasts based on your listening habits, popularity, featured shows, and other filters.
Castbox | Review | Best apps for podcasts
The CastBox podcast player combines a clean and intuitive user interface with a good podcast selection and powerful podcast search to deliver an excellent mobile podcatcher.
With Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter, users can easily sign up for podcasts, listen to episodes and manage subscriptions across multiple devices.
You can stream podcasts using Chromecast or Amazon Echo, and a premium subscription removes subscription limits, builds customization options into your homepage, and puts your support needs at the top of the list.
RadioPublic | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Even though RadioPublic is still a relative newcomer for podcast apps, it’s committed to providing fair terms to creators and listeners alike, with an ad-supported model that rewards creators based on time spent listening.
Hundreds of thousands of podcasts can be found through this app, which supports automatic downloads and streaming, playlists, organization tools, and audiobooks.
Downcast | Review | Best apps for podcasts
With Downcast, you can search all podcast subscriptions on the web, download them automatically, import and export OMPL feeds to stay up-to-date with all your podcast subscriptions.
Streaming episodes, variable speed playback, video podcast support, and other playback options (such as episode streaming, podcast video support) let you play your content however you prefer.
CarPlay, Apple Watch, and Google Cast support are all among the features that Downcast continues to develop.
Podcast Republic | Review | Best app for podcasts on android
This free app is ad-supported and offers a long list of features, some so cool that we’re almost surprised it’s free.
With Podcast Republic, you can discover and download podcasts automatically, manage storage, stream them, and use a sleep timer in the car.
Using Chromecast or Android Wear, you can cast or control your app from your wrist.
For $1.99, users can remove the ads running in Podcast Republic.
Podcast Addict | Review | Best apps for podcasts
An Android podcatcher with plenty of features, Podcast Addict is a fun and useful app. In addition to automatic downloading and updating of episodes, it also has automatic deletion features to save space, variable speed playback, a sleep timer, and other handy features.
Using the podcast search option, you can search through a variety of databases to find new podcasts and trending shows. Furthermore, the app supports videos podcasts, YouTube channels, audiobooks, streaming radio, and other media sources.
Procast | Review | Best apps for podcasts
It could be a perfect fit for podcast fans who love to talk about and share their favorite episodes.
Using the app, you can easily take short, shareable snippets of audio from a podcast episode, store them on your phone, and share them with your friends and on social media.
Additionally, Procast has a consolidated inbox that lets you quickly access all the latest episodes of your subscribed podcasts. Sliding through episodes and podcasts is easy with this Tinder-like interface.
Stitcher for Podcasts | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Stitcher enables you to create a customized playlist out of your podcast subscriptions, making it easy to access new episodes as soon as they are available without downloading or syncing.
Offline downloads for podcasts are also available. Get news audio alerts sent straight to your phone at any time.
With Stitcher, you can find new shows based on what other listeners enjoy, as well as personalized recommendations based on your listening history.
TuneIn Radio | Review | Best apps for podcasts
With over 100,000 radio stations across the globe and more than 4 million podcasts, TuneIn Radio facilitates podcast discovery and distribution, enabling users to listen to sports, news, music, and talk.
TuneIn Premium offers live play-by-play of MLB, NFL, and Barclays Premier League games, commercial-free music stations, and an audio book library.
It is available on both platforms and supports Apple Watch. It also includes various levels of premium in-app purchases.
Spreaker Studio | Review | Best apps for podcasts
You can listen to podcasts with Spreaker Podcast Radio, which is available for Android and iOS.
Spreaker Studio is a free podcast app that turns your phone into a portable podcast studio. You can then add voice overs, sound effects, and music while you record.
A number of editing tools are available in the app. You can also broadcast live and interact with listeners via a chat feature.
Using episode management tools, you can sort episodes into shows and automatically post to Facebook and Twitter once you’re done editing.
Apple Podcasts | Review | Best apps for podcasts
Apple Podcasts, which is available only on iOS devices, is one of the best and most comprehensive free podcasting services.
Over 30 million episodes are available on the platform, and you can easily download your favorite podcasts.
Its ability to sync with Siri is one of Apple Podcasts’ unique features. Through Siri, you can request podcast suggestions.
If you link your Apple Podcasts accounts in the Alexa app, you can listen to Apple Podcasts through Amazon Alexa products.
With this feature, you can use voice commands and seamlessly switch between devices while saving where you left off.
You can also browse podcasts by genre and browse Apple-curated collections. The site makes it easy to find shows based on a specific interest or to view recommendations for “new and noteworthy” titles.
In addition, you can search for podcasts by topic or by name in the show’s transcript. It is important to note that not all podcasts come with a transcript.
Playback is easy to control with the option of rewinding episodes by 15 seconds or fast-forwarding them by 30 seconds.
When you subscribe to a Podcast, the app notifies you when a new episode is available. Additionally, you can read reviews from fellow Apple Podcasts listeners to gauge whether a title is right for you. If you like a podcast, you’ll find similar content at the bottom of its main page.
Apple also recently added curated channels and premium subscription options for certain titles in addition to free content. Paying a monthly subscription unlocks exclusive shows and extra content from your favorite podcasters.
Additionally, creators can add benefits to their premium podcast subscriptions, such as ad-free listening and early access.
Anchor | Review | Best apps for podcasts
The apps on this list enable you to download or stream podcasts. Anchor is a podcast platform that offers unlimited storage.
You can record audio, publish it to various places like iTunes and Google Podcasts, and import audio from other devices.
Anchor has a business model designed to create success so you can both make money. This is a completely free app and host, so if you want to start your own podcast, give it a try.
Podcast Go | Review | Best apps for Podcast on Android
Podcast Go is one of the newest podcast apps. It includes basic functions like downloading podcast episodes, variable speed playback, and sleep timers. It also has a stunning design with Material Design.
Over 300,000 podcasts are available on the app. Simply browse or search and you’re good to go. Everything else is quite basic. The app is free with ads. You can remove the ads for $2.99. If you use Google Play Pass, you can use this app for free.
There are a few features that are common to all podcast apps. Whenever you are listening to a podcast, you should always be able to subscribe to the show so new episodes appear on your podcast feed.
If you want to control how much content you download, you can either limit how many episodes each show downloads or limit how many episodes you download automatically. You can also set a limit for how much storage you’re willing to use in some apps.
The majority of apps have an audio boost feature that automatically enhances human voices. Additionally, many have a dead air trimmer that automatically snips out silences that last longer than a breath or two.
You can also create playlists with most podcast apps. A playlist is a collection of podcast episodes that are updated when new episodes release.
Overcast may be the best option for organizing playlists, as it allows you to create both playlists of specific episodes as well as playlists of shows. This may be a better solution for one-time activities, such as a summer road trip.