With the popularity of podcasts on the rise, podcast applications are springing up everywhere.
If you’re like me, I do a lot of digging before downloading anything.
That could be a pain not to mention time-consuming if you have a plethora of options to choose from.
Others simply download the first option they see. But that’s problematic too, especially if the app doesn’t come up to their expectations.
They’ll likely end up wasting more time uninstalling, searching again, selecting the next option, and the cycle goes on.
So here’s my treat for you.
All the best podcast apps – with all the details you need to know.
Whether you’re an Android or iOS user or both, I’ve got it all covered just for you!
FOR ANDROID USERS
1. Podcast Addict (Android)
If the name of the app slightly describes you, read on.
Podcast Addict has been downloaded over eight million times, making it the number one podcast app on Android.
Not impressed? How about one billion downloaded episodes? There you go.
Here’s a podcast app that’s free for starters.
The only sad thing about free apps are the ads, but that’s a given.
Though if you want to get rid of ad banners, there’s the option to buy Podcast Addict – Donate app.
With over 450,000 podcasts at your disposal, you’ll have more than enough in your lifetime – even if you exhaust one complete podcast a day.
Search filters are placed to narrow down your options as per your interests.
This free app has amazing free features.
It has inbuilt audio effects and supports Android Wear notifications. It also runs with Sonos and Chromecast.
If you want some old school radio, there are over 25,000 radio stations available anytime.
2. Player FM (Android)
Player FM gives you easy access to your favorite podcasts through your PC, phone, or TV with Chromecast.
It’s also compatible with Android Wear and soon to launch on iOS and Android Auto.
All the basic functions are there like Automatic download, Playback speed variations, Sleep timer, Boost volume, Skip silence and Reduce noise.
Downloading is always free but the app will have to run with some ads.
To be fair, the interface is clean – no cluttered display ads to be bothered about.
Player FM caters to people of varying interests. To make sure you don’t run out of stuff to listen to, the app has assembled a great archive of over 500 niche topics to choose from.
With a Gold subscription plan of only $0.99 per month, you can enjoy additional features like turning on intelligent data compression and accessing advanced settings.
Now for $3.99 per month, you get a Pro plan.
As a Pro subscriber, you’ll avail of full media backup, faster feed updates, priority support, and personalized searches. You get your money’s worth.
Finally, if you want to have it all plus more enhanced features, be a patron for $9.99 per month.
3. Podcast Go (Android)
Equipped with all the basics like downloading options, sleep timers, adjustable speed playback, and minus ads for a meager $2.99, it’s a done deal!
But if you want it free, then you’d have to live with the advertisements.
The elegant design and the offering of over 300,000 podcasts sound convincing enough to me.
One more thing, it’s Chromecast-ready so that’s kind of a big plus for people who want to access podcasts on their TVs or other devices.
4. Podcast Republic (Android)
It’s not just a podcast app, it’s probably all you’ll ever need to clear up significant space in your device storage.
Podcast Republic is a powerful and compact 4-in-1 app that supports podcasts, audiobooks, music, and radio.
The simple and neat interface is one of the winning features of this app.
Doing away with those extra buttons that you won’t be needing 99% of the time goes a long way.
The app supports Android Wear, iTunes, YouTube channels and more.
You will also have the option to pay to remove ads for uninterrupted listening.
5. Google Podcasts (Android)
For Google fans out there, Google is surely getting in the game.
The podcast app, released only in June this year, boasts its own very “Google-like” features.
With the Google Assistant, the smart app allows you to sync your podcasts across all your devices.
So if you’re listening on your phone and you pause in the middle of an episode, you could get back to where you left off from another synced device.
Though if you want to listen to podcasts for sleeping, I wouldn’t recommend it because it doesn’t have a sleep timer.
A couple of standard features are there – playback speed controls and skipping silence segments. But apart from those and the brilliant syncing feature, nothing much else.
Still, it lets you subscribe, stream, download, and listen to podcasts to your heart’s content.
And with Google as a leading tech company, something new is always brewing around the corner.
FOR iOS USERS
1. Overcast (iOS)
Listening to podcasts should be a pleasurable experience, but if your podcast app is giving you a headache then it defeats its purpose.
Again, simplicity and user-friendliness are the foremost desired features in a top-notch app.
Overcast exhibits these features for iOS users who want a no-brainer app that they could just whiz through.
Stressing about a complicated app is the last thing you need.
Overcast is free and ad-supported, but the ads are more “subdued” compared to others that are usually annoying and intrusive.
The app also runs on Apple Watch and all other iOS devices.
Other useful features include Voice boost, Smart speed, and Smart playlists.
2. Downcast (iOS)
Downcast as the name implies, enables you to download podcasts with ease.
Download as many episodes as you want in the background while using your mobile or tablet without interruption.
To those who love listening to podcasts whilst driving, Downcast comes with CarPlay support. So now you can easily follow your favorite podcasts behind the wheel.
Wired Gadget Lab commends it as “probably the best podcast downloader for iPad and iPhone.”
3. Castro 3 (iOS)
The excellent Castro podcast application upgraded to the third power – that’s probably the best way of putting it.
The prime feature of Castro is its one-of-a-kind Triage system which involves an inbox and a queue.
With the abundance of brilliant podcasts available out there, it’s likely that you’d have subscribed to dozens of them.
Instead of overloading you with every new content, the Triage system filters recommendations of episodes based on your previous interests.
It’s a smart way of customizing your listening experience.
You don’t have to worry about overwhelming notifications each time you subscribe to a new podcast.
The huge add-ons to this latest version include the Trim silence, Full chapter support, Apple Watch support, and more.
FOR ANDROID AND iOS USERS
1. Pocket Casts (Android and iOS)
If you don’t mind shelling out $3.99, Pocket Casts is my best recommendation.
This app is popular for its comprehensive features, chic design, and ease of use.
The creators of the app have won three Google awards for this innovative app – highly-rated by both Android and iOS users.
Truly, it’s worth every penny.
So what makes this app well-loved by users?
You can’t deny that beauty catches the eye first. It’s love at first sight.
Colors beautifully change to complement each podcast’s artwork, plus the option to choose a preferred theme.
Let me remind you though, real beauty is not skin-deep. It’s the same with Pocket Casts – its true beauty lies deeper into the quality features.
The playback features are amazing. Up next allows you to organize and queue your favorite episodes conveniently.
You no longer need to struggle listening in loud environments as Volume boost enhances vocal sounds while intelligently canceling background noise.
Stream, adjust play speed, save space, trim silence, skip dreary intros or play directly from Sonos.
Use filters to sort episodes you like and feel free to doze off whilst setting the sleep timer. There’s so much you can do.
For a one-time price of $9, you also get the Pocket Casts Web Player that conveniently syncs your subscriptions and playback from your smartphone to your PC.
For Android users, it’s Android Wear, Chromecast and Android Auto- compatible. For Apple users, it’s accessible through Apple Watch, Airplay and CarPlay.
2. Castbox (Android and iOS)
For penny-pinchers, here’s a cool free app for you.
Castbox is a great alternative that works well with all the standard features of a podcast app like the sleep timer, adjustable playback speed, volume boost, trim silence, etc.
Castbox lets you enjoy a huge archive of podcast, audiobook and radio channel episodes – over 50 million of them.
Despite the abundance in content, the app maintains a clean interface which is the deal for most people.
Additional features include support for 70 languages, CarPlay, Chromecast, and Amazon Echo.
I personally love the smart search function and personal recommendations that allow me to easily access listening material relevant to my interests.
The best thing for a free app? No annoying ads to ruin your listening experience!
It’s fair to say that Castbox is my top pick in the free podcast apps category.
3. Stitcher (Android and iOS)
Though I prefer using Stitcher on my PC for podcast streaming (where I think it works best) than on my smartphone, I’d still recommend it for general podcast and radio listening on any device.
Stitcher offers over 150,000 podcasts and radio shows to fill in those gaps within your day.
It runs with Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Sonos speaker.
The automatic download option works well when you find yourself with limited internet access.
You’ll be happily surprised that you’ve got something to listen to even if downloading was the last thing on your mind when you had internet access.
The Front Page which serves as the feed shows you a variety of episodes that are related to your interests.
Still, you can broaden your options and hunt for new podcasts later.
You can also customize your own playlists to listen to on the fly.
While Stitcher is free, you can upgrade to a premium version for a monthly fee of $4.99.
You then get it without ads and get access to bonus episodes and original exclusive shows.
4. Podbean (Android and iOS)
Podbean is another free podcast listening app that’s getting generally good ratings from users.
It allows you a very flexible search function so you can go ahead and search by podcast name, episode name or even by author name.
It’s the app that perfectly curates podcasts or audiobooks based on topics of interest in your play history.
With Podbean, you can check out trending podcasts and stream or download them instantly.
You get to enjoy basic functions like Volume boost, Sleep timer, Auto-play next, and Intelligent speed.
It conveniently supports Amazon Alexa, Chromecast, Android Auto, Mini Podcast Player widget and Bluetooth functions.
It’s recommended for those who are suckers for organized and customized podcasts.
My personal take on selecting apps?
I’d go for free ones if possible.
I’m okay with banner ads, but I hate pop-ups that interrupt my listening.
I’d also choose a simpler app over a complex one offering more features than I can handle or even care about at a time when all I want to do is zone out for a bit listening to my favorite podcasts.
But hey, that’s me. What about you?