There’s a wealth of podcasts available out there that are a great source of information not only for entertaining us, but also making us smarter and feeding our curiosity.
They provide an experience akin to that of a radio show, ranging from light-hearted comedy to in-depth information on a variety of subjects. Whether you like political analysis shows, or true crime exploration, there’s a growing list of diverse podcast topics that can pique your sense of wonder and interest. Plus, it’s easy to get hooked and they can quickly take up space on your smartphone’s storage.
Fortunately, a good podcast app will make it easy to find new content and curate your favorite podcasts so you can listen to them efficiently whenever and wherever you want.
Choosing the best app to listen to your podcasts depends on the topics and features you need, and your listening style. To help you decide, here’s our roundup of the smartphone apps to listen to your podcasts.
Pocket Casts is great if you want to maximize time and switch between different devices without getting punished for switching platforms.
It offers an array of controls including volume boost to eliminate background noise and enhance the sound of voices, trim silence that cuts out silent breaks, and speed controls to adjust playback speed.
The app can also build an Up Next queue automatically, so you always have something new to listen to. Plus, its curated Discover tab offers popularity charts, recommendations and a trending feature that gives you insights into other podcasts that might be worth checking out.
You can also browse podcasts by category, networks or region, schedule downloads while you sleep, sync episodes automatically between the Pocket Casts web app, Android, iOS, and multiple storage options. It’s also compatible with AirPlay, CarPlay, Sonos and Google Cast.
The downside with Pocket Casts is you can only listen to podcasts you’re subscribed to, so you can’t sample a few episodes of a new podcast you find before subscribing to it. You still have the option to unsubscribe from a show if you don’t like it, or use the beta web version to try out podcasts before adding them to your subscriptions.
It’s a paid app but a 14-day free trial is available so you can try it and see if you like it.
Stitcher rose up the ranks as an on-demand internet radio service, but over time, it’s become one of the best smartphone apps to listen to podcasts.
It specializes in original and exclusive content, which you can “stitch” together into a playlist of your favorite shows or browse through individual topics to find new podcasts. You can even combine them with actual radio content like news or your favorite shows.
Thanks to its podcast discovery engine, the main feed or front page displays new episodes which suggests podcasts it thinks you’ll enjoy based on your favorite topics and listening tastes.
Its clean and intuitive interface is also flexible, and gives you options like setting your front page, saved episodes or your favorite playlists as the default page when you launch Stitcher.
Stitcher has a free basic version, but if you want an ad-free listening experience with access to original exclusive shows and bonus episodes of certain shows, you can upgrade to the premium version.
It’s available for Android and iOS smartphones.
Castbox is a free smartphone app for playing podcasts and other engaging stories in different forms like audiobooks and on-demand radio.
It features a clean and intuitive interface on which you can organize your podcasts, and even provides suggestions on new content you can listen to. Plus, you can download content to playback while offline. The only drawback is there’s no way to set the play order or mark episodes as played.
One of its impressive features is its in-audio search function, which lets you search for and discover more podcasts based on your tastes, using keywords, tags or phrases in the audio file.
You can use Castbox for free if you don’t mind the annoying blinking icon that nudges you to upgrade to the Premium account. You can install it on Android or iOS, and it’s compatible with Apple Watch, Google Cast, CarPlay, and Amazon Echo.
If you’d rather sample several shows at once instead of diving deeply into a podcast series at a time, Spreaker will help you curate a stream of episodes from different podcasts around specific themes.
You can also explore podcasts based on topics or categories, but Spreaker will sort them into Netflix-style categories around common subjects like Technology, Education, Fitness, Popular shows, among other topics.
Through its Channels tab, you can find a show you like or more on a channel from its theme-based stations like comedy, music, news, religion, sports, public radio shows and more. The Explore tab is where your manually curated content appears, and the podcasts are listed by category and popularity.
You can download Spreaker for your Android or iOS smartphone.
Popularly known as one of the best music streaming services, Spotify is also a podcast player app. You can organize and listen to your favorite podcasts, which live in a dedicated area aside from your music, and discover more from the thousands of shows on the platform.
If you’re an existing Spotify subscriber and want to intersperse your music with podcasts, this is a great option. However, you won’t get notifications of new episodes.
Spotify allows you to save your favorite podcasts with new episodes saved automatically for you. It also gives you recommendations on other podcasts and featured shows. Plus, if you’re a Premium plan user, you can save podcasts to listen later when offline, or when you don’t have an internet connection.
Spotify is available for Android and iOS smartphones, but you need to check whether its available in your country before you download the app.
Play around with these and other podcast apps to find one that suits your tastes and needs, as your podcast habits will more often than not decide the app you’ll go for.