Podcasts are an excellent way to stay up to date on current events, learn about new topics, or simply entertain yourself. There are hundreds of thousands of them on the internet, covering a wide range of topics. Using a dedicated podcast app is the most convenient way to listen to podcasts and keep track of them all.
Podcasts apps may be better for you than others depending on what you listen to and how you listen to it. For example, if your podcasts are divided into seasons and episodes, you should look for an app that can sort them accordingly.
If you already use Spotify to listen to music, you will probably appreciate the convenience of having a single app for all of your needs. However, the app’s features are relatively limited, particularly when it comes to determining what to listen to, as it does not provide smart recommendations but rather lists a curated selection. Some people may find it perplexing to mix music and podcasts in their library or when searching for options. There is also no support for seasons, making it even more difficult to find the right episode.
If you’re too busy to consider which app to use, Google Podcasts is a safe bet. It makes it simple to subscribe to podcasts and listen to them without subscribing. It also makes intelligent recommendations based on what you are interested in and what you follow. Unfortunately, it’s not the best app for browsing different options partly because it can’t group episodes by seasons and partly because its built-in search isn’t reliable, which is ironic for a Google app. It frequently returns inconclusive results, and there is no way to search for episodes within a podcast series. As someone who mostly listens to podcasts divided into seasons, I always struggle to find the right one.
However, once you’ve organized your queue, it’s simple to use. It includes useful features such as auto-downloading episodes from your subscriptions, playback speed control, silence trimming, and a sleep timer. The app also syncs with the cloud, allowing you to resume where you left off using the free web player.
In essence, Google Podcasts is a no-brainer app that can be a good option for many users despite its lack of advanced features. I recommend it for people who want to listen to news or content as it is released rather than the back catalog of a published podcast series.
Stitcher provides an easy-to-use interface as well as some useful features. The catalog is simple to navigate, but there are no intelligent or personalized recommendations. Similarly, if your podcasts are organized by season, it’s more difficult to find what you’re looking for than in other apps.
While listening, you’ll appreciate the speed controls, silence trimming, and sleep timer. Stitcher’s user-friendly interface and useful features make it an excellent choice for your daily podcast sessions, but if you require personalized recommendations or season support for your episodes, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Pocket Casts is my favorite podcast app. It’s packed with features but remains so easy and intuitive to use, and most importantly, it’s free. It’s simple to find the podcasts you’re looking for, thanks to an easy-to-navigate interface that lets you browse through recommendations, subscribe, or listen directly. Episodes can be organized by season and downloaded manually or automatically played offline. It also comes with everything you can need when listening, such as speed controls, silence trimming, a volume booster, and even a sleep timer.
A Plus subscription costs around $1 per month and includes 10GB of cloud storage, additional themes, and access to a web player and desktop apps.
PodBean is one of the most popular podcast apps with its unique features. In addition to offering similar options to its rivals, two of its features are pretty special compared to the competition.
The first is intelligent playback speed, which can be adjusted automatically based on the content you’re listening to rather than having to do it manually for each episode.
This is particularly handy if you listen to podcasts from various hosts with different speaking speeds. The second is the ability to listen to live podcasts and interact in real-time instead of listening after they’ve been recorded and edited.
On top of these features, PodBean lets you browse through recommendations, purchase premium content, and even record your podcast. The only drawback I can think of is its lack of proper season support, making it hard to keep up with some subscriptions. In addition, the interface can be hard to navigate at times. It’s slightly unintuitive, with icons both at the top and the bottom of the screen, making it hard to know where to go, especially when you switch from one subscription to the other.
Castbox is similar to PodBean in the sense that it’s packed with features. I find its interface a bit complex to navigate, and the ads in the free version can be annoying. Despite these drawbacks, the app has a lot to offer.
Castbox is not only a podcast playback app; it’s a true community of listeners who can comment and interact with each other and even record their podcast directly from the app. Similarly, it’s a great way to find customized recommendations on what to listen to. The free version limits your subscriptions to 100, but that is more than enough for the average Joe.
Once you’ve found your crowd, listening is easy and customizable. There are speed controls, silence trimming, a volume booster, and a sleep timer. A unique feature is the app’s ability to transcribe podcasts and let you search a specific set of words without listening to the entire podcast. A $5 monthly subscription removes ads, increases the subscription limit, and provides even more personalized content and playback settings.
Castbox is probably one of the rich apps on this list in terms of features, but that makes it a bit harder to use. You’ll have to gauge whether you want something straightforward with less functionality or an app that offers a lot but takes a bit of getting used to.