How To

The 4 best apps for listening to podcasts

Chris Roper

Chris Roper

  • Updated:

Want to learn Spanish?

There’s a podcast for that.

Want to know what started World War I?

There’s a podcast for that, too.

Want to listen to your favorite comedians, film stars, and scientists?

Yep, there’s a podcast for that as well.

Podcasts are an incredible resource of entertaining, educational, and fun content. From rude and hilarious audiobooks to the deepest mysteries of the cosmos, podcasts help you laugh, cry, or learn new facts – usually for free. All you need is an app to find the podcasts you want to listen to, and an internet connection to download them.

We wrote about our favorite podcast apps in 2014, but we thought it was time to see what’s changed. So here are our four favorite podcast apps for 2018…

1. Stitcher (free)

Featuring over 100,000 shows, Stitcher is a powerful tool for finding the podcasts you love. 

It’s perhaps the most accessible podcast app, with iOS and Android versions, an Amazon Alexa Skill, and integration with car brands like Ford, Volvo, and BMW.  

Using Stitcher’s tiled interface is a breeze – more like browsing album covers than audio shows. You can create customizable playlists, stream your favorite shows, and discover new podcasts based on what you most enjoy listening to.

There’s a premium version that gives you exclusive access to more content, and as Stitcher sponsors the creation of new shows, such as The Sporkful – a podcast for foodies – this app is an enticing choice for podcast addicts.

Stitcher for Podcasts Download Free

2. Overcast (free) – iOS

Overcast is a refined yet simple app that helps you do more with your content. Ever wished you could listen to more shows? By naturally shortening silences, Overcast’s “smart speed” lets you pack in more content without affecting the listening experience. And with “sound normalization”, you don’t need to crank up the volume if the recording was a bit too quiet. 

Overcast also offers customizable playlists and Twitter recommendations. Although ad-supported, they’re tastefully done and not too intrusive. When we reviewed this in 2014, a lot of Overcast’s best features were in-app purchases, but with the addition of ads, these are available in the free version. (You can pay to have ads removed on an annual subscription basis, but it’s probably not worth it.) Overcast also works like a charm with Apple CarPlay

Overcast: Podcast Player Download Free

3. Pocket Casts ($3.99) 

Pocket Casts has a suite of powerful features wrapped up in a beautiful, intuitive interface that makes the small investment worthwhile.

There’s a library of over 300,000 shows, and the app offers flexible playback such as variable speeds, silence trimming, and sound normalization. It also supports chapters. By creating a Pocket Cast account, you’ll sync across all your devices, so you can switch from smartphone to laptop and pick up where you left off.

You can personalize Pocket Casts with customizable playlists and filters so you’re enjoying more of what you love, while automatic Wi-Fi downloads mean you never have to wait for your content.  

Pocket Casts Download

4. Breaker – iOS

Breaker describes itself as “The social podcast app”. It’s not just about sharing podcasts with friends, but being part of a community of listeners discovering the best podcasts out there.

You can “heart” different shows, comment on them, and see what’s hot in the Breaker community. This adds depth to the podcast experience and bringing you closer to other listeners with the same tastes. You can discuss episodes, share stories, or laugh together over the best bits.

Aside from the social side, Breaker includes over 300,000 shows, flexible playback (variable speed and silence skipping), and an offline mode. So far, users love it, with over 600 reviews on iTunes with an overall 4.8/5.

Breaker Download

How are you listening to podcasts these days? If you’re using your smartphone’s native podcast app, or worse, through a browser, you might find switching to one the above makes the experience more fun. Can’t hurt to try, eh?

Chris Roper

Chris Roper

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