When Spotify signed a $200m deal for the Joe Rogan Podcast to make it an exclusive, it was clear that podcasts are the current big thing on the internet. While you can discover podcasts across various topics, you must select a feature-rich platform for a smooth listening experience. Don’t worry. We have you covered with this list of the best podcast apps for Android.
All the listed apps have earned a good reputation over the years and are free to use, but you might have to pay a premium to expand their features and functionality. As you read this article, you will have an overview of what each app offers. Let’s get started.
1. Google Podcasts: Completely Free Podcast App
Google Podcasts is the vanilla application to listen to podcasts on Android. While it does not come with a lot of features, it does the job well. With a familiar interface, you would barely spend time understanding the app’s layout. This is also because it shares the design with every other Google app on your Android device.
This app would work best for people who know what podcasts to listen to and are aware of their go-to shows. If you are relying on the app to help you discover new podcasts, this might not be the one for you.
However, you can search for your favorite shows and add them to your library, subscribe to them, enable notifications for new episodes, or even download them offline. So, keeping track of shows is not a problem at all.
Oh, and the best part? No third-party intrusive ads. Further, the app seamlessly integrates with Google Assistant and Google Home and is compatible with Android Auto. Overall, it is one of the best free podcast apps for Android.
- Simple, no-frills user experience.
- No intrusive ads.
- Smooth and optimized user interface.
- Reliable playback.
- Easy to track your shows.
- Playback controls are restricted to basics.
- Not best for new show recommendations.
- Doesn’t allow a playlist of episodes.
- Issues when casting episodes on other devices.
2. Pocket Casts: Podcast App With Excellent Playback Controls
With over a million downloads on Play Store, Pocket Casts is one of the best ad-free podcast apps for Android. Like the Google Podcasts app, Pocket Casts also has a relatively simple user interface. Although, finding new content is made easy as you get to discover shows using a variety of filters.
It has also won praises for being an excellent app for organizing shows and automating and managing downloads. Further, Pocket Casts has no ads and is fully compatible with Chromecast and Android Auto. But our favorite feature is the playback controls like changing playback speed and trimming silence, unheard of in other applications.
A downside, though, is that the performance stutters and there were instances where playback was automatically paused and interrupted. Although, this could be because of battery restrictions, which you can disable. However, you need to subscribe to Pocket Casts Plus to access features like web player, folder organization, extra themes, etc.
- Great features to sort and organize your library.
- Excellent playback controls.
- Simple user interface.
- The Discover tab helps users find new content.
- Misses out on the playlist feature.
- Need to pay for advanced features.
- Doesn’t have the smoothest user interface.
- Multiple user reviews highlight the app crashing, and playback stopping suddenly.
Price: Free | Pocket Casts Plus costs $0.99/month
3. Spotify: Best to Discover New Podcasts
Spotify is possibly the gold standard for listening to music on mobile devices. However, it has capitalized on the popularity of podcasts and continues making plenty of exclusive content worth listening to. What Spotify excels at is curating content and helping you discover new shows.
Further, it has a fantastic collection of shows and we genuinely think there is no competition. Popular podcasts like the Joe Rogan Experience and the Michelle Obama podcast are now exclusive to Spotify. An underrated feature is that you can seamlessly switch devices as you listen, and control playback using multiple devices – say if you are playing it on your PC, you can control playback on your phone.
However, the downside is that there are plenty of ads on Spotify’s free version, which is annoying. Hence, you need to purchase Spotify premium for an ad-free experience.
- Best for discovering new shows.
- Boasts one of the largest podcast catalogs.
- Great user experience.
- Ability to create multiple playlists.
- Control and manage playback on multiple devices.
- Free version packs in advertisements.
- Lacks light mode.
- Not exclusive to podcasts.
- Basic playback controls in comparison to Pocket Casts.
Price: Free | Spotify Premium starts at $4.99/month
4. Castbox: Best to Discover Indie Podcasts
Castbox is another minimal application to listen to podcasts. It is easy to use and packs in a familiar user interface. Castbox lets you discover a few indie podcasts and you can find some hidden gems. Another reason why it makes it to the list is that it has almost all popular podcasts on the internet. The app has over ten million downloads and an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 on the Play Store.
Unlike most apps, it also lets you create your playlists and share them on social media. Besides, it seamlessly integrates with Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home. Additionally, you can also find audiobooks and radio on Castbox.
However, a major downside is that the ads are intrusive. In our experience, we even had the show artwork being covered by an advertisement. To remove ads, access advanced playback settings, and other features, you will have to subscribe to its premium plan. Another downside is that the user interface although simple, isn’t as refined as other apps on the list.
- An extensive list of indie podcasts.
- Easy to use interface.
- Search and download podcasts for offline listening.
- Create custom playlists
- Listen to audiobooks and radio.
- Many intrusive ads.
- The user interface stutters a little.
- Playback sometimes stops midway.
- Complaints regarding battery drain.
Price: Free | Premium starts at $0.99/month
5. Stitcher: Clean User Interface
Stitcher is a well-designed and one of the oldest applications to listen to podcasts on Android. The user interface is quite refined, and also does a great job at helping you discover new content. Similar to Castbox, you get an extended catalog of podcasts and not just the mainstream ones.
What makes it one of the best podcast apps for Android is the features that help you sort podcasts. The option to group podcasts according to a topic or any other header is one of our favorite features. Further, the layout is easy to navigate and you can jump through the latest episodes from your subscriptions, liked episodes, or downloads.
There’s also a car mode allowing you to connect to Android Auto or directly play it on a smart audio system, and an offline mode (similar to Castbox) to play the downloaded content without the internet in the free version.
However, you can’t access the app without creating an account. While you can sign up with your Google or Apple account, this could discourage many from using Stitcher.
- A clean user interface
- ‘Show Groups’ to organize your shows.
- Offline mode in the free version.
- Ability to adjust playback speed and set a sleep timer.
- Can’t use the app without signing up.
- Issues with autoplay.
- Occasionally restarts episodes.
- You need to buy premium to access exclusive shows and an ad-free experience.
Price: Free | Stitcher Premium costs $4.99/month
FAQs Related to Podcast Apps for Android
Not really. Although there is an app by Google, called Google Podcasts, this will not come pre-installed on your Android device. You will have to install it from the Play Store.
Spotify has been the most used platform to listen to podcasts in the recent past.
Yes, you can listen to Spotify-exclusive shows like The Joe Rogan Experience on the free version. Although the playback will contain advertisements.
Best Podcast Apps for Android For The Best Listening Experience
These were some of our recommendations for the best free podcast apps for Android. We hope this guide helped you make an informed decision. So, which podcast app are you planning to use and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Last updated on 17 January, 2023
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