Whether you’re cleaning, going for a walk, or just staying, a good podcast can help you make the most of your time. But with all of the podcast apps on the Google Play Store, it can be difficult to choose an app that actually works for you. Here are the best options available today.
Before downloading a podcast application
Podcast applications come in all shapes and sizes. Some are built with complicated controls and features, while others are simple, clean, and easy for beginners who just get their feet wet.
So before we review the apps, let’s take a moment to review some important features of the podcast app and the design choices:
- Navigation: Some podcast apps are difficult for beginners to navigate. It may sound strange, but it’s a common complaint, especially for all-in-one apps that include music, news, RSS, and other services. In our experience, Pocket casts, Google podcasts, and Stitcher are the easiest applications to use outdoors.
- Offline listening: All of the podcast apps in this article allow offline listening. But some of them, like Pocket casts, have customizable download features for automatic or scheduled downloads.
- Speed controls: Most podcast apps have smart speed controls, which increase (or decrease) the speed of your podcast without changing pitch or pitch. The only app on this list without speed control is Google Play Music (that said, the Google podcasts app Is have speed controls).
- Queue and playlistsMost podcast apps have built-in queues, which are useful when you’re in the mood for binge podcasts. Podcast Addict and Stitcher also have playlist features, which can help you download mass podcasts or schedule listening sessions for different days of the week.
- Smart Assistant compatibility: All of the podcast apps on this list can stream audio to Chromecast, Alexa, or Sonos speakers. At the moment, Google podcasts is the only application that integrates directly into Google Assistant (so you can ask Assistant to create a podcast).
- Android Wear, Android Auto: Most of the apps in this list work with Android Wear and Android Auto. The exceptions are DoggCatcher and Stitcher, which supports Android Auto but not Android Wear.
- All-in-one solutions: Podcast Addict, DoggCatcher, Spotify, and Google Play Music offer additional features like streaming music, listening to the radio, news, RSS feed, etc. These options are good for experienced users, but can be overwhelming for beginners.
Now that you know what to look for in a podcast app, let’s go. Here are the best podcast apps for Android phones and tablets.
Best overall: Pocket Cast (free, $ 1 / month for exclusive themes)
Pocket casts is the real deal. It has a clean and easy to navigate interface, its discovery menu pulls podcasts which are really relevant what you’re listening to, and its automatic download and scheduled download features are the best. Pocket Casts even has an automatic cleaning tool that removes saved podcasts from your phone after you’ve finished listening – a useful feature that should be in all podcast applications.
These features are of course accompanied by items such as speed controls, sleep timers and a queue. Pocket Casts is a premium application, but its free version will work for most people. Pocket Casts Plus, which costs $ 1 per month or $ 10 per year, simply gives you access to the desktop version of Pocket Cast, as well as custom application themes and 10 GB of cloud storage (so you can listen to your own files via the Pocket Casts app).
Ideal for beginners: Google Podcasts (free)
Google podcasts is arguably the simplest podcast app for Android devices. Other apps have a bunch of navigation menus, but Google Podcasts only has three: the Home tab, the Explore tab, and the Activity tab (which includes your queue, downloads, and history ).
This simple interface makes Google Podcasts a fantastic option for novice podcast listeners. But in terms of features, Google Podcasts is powerful enough for even the most obsessed with podcasts. Its speed controls, sleep timer, and queuing tools are similar to what you’ll find in Pocket Casts, and its compatibility with Google Assistant is both unique and convenient.
An all-in-one multimedia application: Podcast Addict (free, $ 3 without advertising)
Why jump between a bunch of different apps when you can do it all from Podcast Addict? Unlike other podcast apps, Podcast Addict offers access to audiobooks, radio streams, local music files, YouTube, Twitch, SoundCloud channels and even RSS feeds, all in one place.
All of this additional content takes nothing away from the main listening features of Podcast Addict. Like other popular apps, Podcast Addict has speed controls, automatic download and delete features, and a robust discovery panel. But it also has unique controls, such as optional mono playback, playlist support, and chapter support for audiobooks.
Podcast Addict is completely free, but has a small banner ad at the bottom of the screen. This banner ad can be removed with a single purchase of $ 3.
Discover new podcasts: DoggCatcher ($ 3)
DoggCatcher is a premium application that is popular among longtime podcast listeners. Its interface is a bit dated (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but its discovery and personalization features are the best you’ll find in a podcast app. DoggCatcher lets you search for personalized podcast recommendations, browse podcast and news directories, or browse the top 100 podcasts anytime.
Like other apps, DoggCatcher has speed controls and offline listening features. The app also lets you configure your feed, create automatic download and cleanup routines, categorize podcasts, and create playlists on the fly.
DoggCatcher is a paid application and costs $ 3 via the Google Play Store.
Podcasts and music: Spotify, Google Play Music ($ 10 / month)
Although not intended for hardcore listening to podcasts, Spotify and Google Play Music can be used as an introduction to podcasts or as a hub for listening to casual podcasts. These apps don’t have the libraries of other podcast apps, but they do stream popular shows from iHeartRadio, NPR, and other stations.
Let’s start with Spotify, because its podcast features are a little more developed than those of Google Play. Spotify offers speed controls for podcasts, as well as the ability to track podcasts, download episodes for offline listening, and add episodes to playlists.
Really, the brilliant functionality of Spotify is Your daily training, a daily playlist that mixes your favorite music with podcasts and news for your day. This is a fairly unique feature in the world of podcast listening, and it makes up for the small podcast library and the flickering interface of Spotify.
Spotify costs $ 10 a month but comes with a free one month trial.
Google Play Music doesn’t have as many podcast features as Spotify, but the app is a little easier to navigate and is a decent option for Google Play Music users who are just starting to listen to podcasts. You cannot adjust the playback speed in the app, but you can follow podcasts, download episodes for offline listening, and add episodes to playlists.
Like Spotify, Google Play Music costs $ 10 a month and starts with a free one-month trial.
Create podcast playlists: Stitcher (free, $ 5 / month for Premium)
If playlist features are your main interest, then Stitcher is your best option. It is a popular application among some longtime podcast listeners, and in addition to its offline listening and speed setting features, it has the best selection tools of any podcast application. Playlists are easy to generate and can be dynamically updated to include the latest episodes from each podcast. They can also contain static podcast episodes, so you can put together an interesting content offering to come back to later.
Stitcher is free on the Google Play Store. If you want, you can pay $ 5 a month for Stitcher Premium, which comes with exclusive content from popular podcasts and Stitcher Original watch (as Mob Queens and Scientific rules!).