Last updated: January 9, 2023

Spotify

Spotify is a versatile platform, with both music and podcasts available on the platform. Unlike its music listening capabilities, you can listen to any podcast, skip to any point, and download episodes to listen to on the go- all for free. It has a large selection of podcasts, and an easy user interface to navigate. However, some of its limitations are that you can’t sort episodes into a playlist for easy extended listening, and Spotify is notorious for making it difficult to support the creators on its platform.

Pros:

  • Able to download and listen on the go
  • Large selection of podcasts
  • Easy to understand interface

Cons:

  • Support of producers difficult
  • Can’t sort into playlists

BBC Sounds

BBC sounds is a uniquely educational and informative platform, offering many different podcasts for you to listen and learn, directly from one of the biggest media producers from England. You can download and listen to any episode on the go. If you want to access podcasts that aren’t necessarily in the educational category, BBC Sounds can be limited in terms of options. It’s also only available in the UK, which is a shame given the large selection of original podcasts it has on the app.

Pros:

  • Large selection of educational podcasts
  • All original to the platform
  • Able to download and listen on the go

Cons:

  • Limited to the UK

Acast

Acast allows creators to post their podcasts onto the app, directly working with Acast’s team to be compensated appropriately and ethically for their endeavours. You could be both host and listener! Besides these original creations o Acast, you’ll also find plenty of podcasts besides them, meaning it has a large range of podcasts. If you want to change your region to discover new podcasts in different parts of the world, Acast has a unique feature that lets you do so. It’s still a somewhat limited feature that prioritises America and Europe, but hopefully more will be added in the future.

Pros:

  • Easy to support producers
  • Customisable region discovery
  • Large range of podcasts

Cons:

  • Limited regions

Luminary

Luminary’s unique selling point and appeal is that when it was launched in 2019, it vied to eliminate ads from podcasts. With its easy to understand interface and slick looking platform, the app contains a number of original programs from a number of celebrities, including Trevor Noah and Lena Dunham, alongside external podcasts as well. As it says, it’s an ad-free experience. Unfortunately, the original podcasts are behind a significant paywall, and if you’re looking for specific networks, Luminary may not have it as it’s being boycotted by certain ones. 

Pros:

  • Easy to understand interface
  • Original programs 
  • Ad-free

Cons:

  • Some shows behind significant paywall
  • Being avoided by certain networks

Overcast

Overcast is another podcast app that’s incredibly easy to use, with an appealing interface, as well. If you want to share a specific podcast episode or moment with someone, Overcast has a unique ability to clip and share up to one minute of a podcast to share with your friends. In addition, it lets you create customisable playlists, both manual and automatically updated. If you’re an Apple Watch user, this also syncs and is usable on it! However, if you’re an android user, you can’t use this, and some features are behind a significant paywall.

Pros:

  • Able to clip share
  • Customisation in playlist
  • Compatible with Apple watch

Cons:

  • Limited to iOS
  • Some features behind significant paywall

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts is available on a wide variety of platforms, from Android and iOS to Amazon Echo and Android Auto, meaning you can listen to your favourite podcast anywhere and any time. The interface is easy to navigate, and you can even adjust podcast episodes to go at specific speeds so you can take your time listening or speedrun how quickly you get through it. If you end up going for one of its paid subscription tiers, you can also get cloud storage and exclusive app themes to further customise your experience.

Pros:

  • Available on variety of platforms
  • Easy to understand interface
  • Customisable speeds

Cons:

  • Some features behind paywall

Stitcher

Stitcher offers a blend of original and off-platform podcasts since it’s both a network- meaning it actively works with creators to produce episodes and shows- and a host. It’s available on a large number of platforms, such as Amazon Alexa and in your car, or even a smart audio system. One downside is that the user interface can feel a little clunky and since it has such a simple one you can struggle to fully customise your experience. However, it does its job and the free tier contains a lot of freedom in what you can do.

Pros:

  • Blend of original and off-platform podcasts
  • Available on large number of platforms
  • Able to connect to Alexa and other smart devices

Cons:

  • Lack of customisation of experience

Breaker

Breaker is a unique social podcast app, allowing you to connect with friends to share episodes and see what the people you connect with are playing. You can also have conversations with the in-app messaging system. As well as a clean looking interface, the playlists are customisable, enabling you to create a fully immersive listening experience, and have a sleep timer for if you’re listening right before bed. One downside, however, is that if you’re not an iOS user, you can’t use this app.

Pros:

  • Ability to connect with friends
  • Customisable playlists
  • Sleep Timer

Cons:

  • Limited to iOS

Castbox

There’s an extremely large range of podcasts available on Castbox, and you can browse them easily through the categorisation and genre system. You can also see related or similar podcasts depending on which shows you take a liking to, meaning you can discover new things to enjoy as you use the app. It has unique customisation accessibility, with which you can adjust things such as the speeds of the episodes you’re listening to, trim down and adjust sleep timers. If you want to enjoy Castbox to the fullest, you’ll need to make in-app purchases, though.

Pros:

  • Large range of podcasts
  • Customisable speeds
  • Customisable trimming, silencing

Cons:

  • Some features behind paywall

Himalaya

Himalaya is a completely free app, an experimental platform that allows you to indulge in not only podcasts but also audiobooks and radio shows. There’s no limit to how many playlists you can make, and you’ll want to make plenty since it has so many different media available! You can share very easily from the interface onto social media externally. It can be difficult to navigate the app and the browsing option can be limiting when you want to find a show out of 500,000+ shows, and downloading can be a long-winded process if you’re a user who likes to listen on the go.

Pros:

  • Audiobooks as well as podcasts
  • No limit to playlists
  • Large range of podcasts

Cons:

  • Limited browsing options
  • Difficult downloading process

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