Get the very best podcast experience with these 6 great apps
While we usually think of our mobile devices as great for music listening of all kinds, increasingly our Android phones and tablets are being used for listening to podcasts. We produce a bunch of them here at Mobile Nations, and the popularity and scale of the podcast continues to grow. But just as is the case with music player apps, not all podcast players are created equally.
Thankfully Android is blessed with a strong selection of podcast apps to choose from, but there are some more worth your time – and money – than others. So, head on past the break to see the top podcast apps for Android. And once you've chosen, why not subscribe to the Android Central podcast and join us each week for a listen!
1. Pocket Casts
Pocket Casts has long been a favorite among avid podcast listeners, but in its current incarnation it has arguably risen to the top of the mountain. If you want style and function, cloud sync, a huge library, video support, variable speed playback oh and not forgetting Chromecast support, then look no further. The folks at Shifty Jelly have you covered with all of those.
Add to all that a widget, full controls in the notification tray, auto download and delete, filters and playlists, a sleep timer and OPML import and export support and you're looking at one of the most full featured podcast apps available in Google Play. And it goes beyond Google Play, too. Pocket Casts is also available on iOS and the web, keeping your podcasts in sync no matter what device you're on.
Pocket Casts also takes on the task of podcast discovery and pretty much succeeds. The featured, trending and top podcast sections are brimmed with a bevy of shows covering all kinds of different subject areas. If you really are looking for one of the very best, then give Pocket Casts at least a look. The developers also post probably the best changelogs anywhere in the Play Store!
DOWNLOAD: Pocket Casts ($3.99)
BeyondPod used to lack the visual flare of something like Pocket Casts, but it always brought it where it matters most. And now, it's also a damn fine looking app with its recent redesign. A favorite of many for a long time now, BeyondPod has power, features and access to a huge library of podcasts that should please even the most obscure show hunter.
It too has Chromecast support, something fast becoming a "must have" when it comes to media delivery applications, as well as cross-device sync and automatic background downloading. BeyondPod is available to trial, in full free for 7 days before you need to pay up the $6.99 for the full version. That's a nice touch and not something seen every day.
With that free trial, BeyondPod should certainly be given a look.
DOWNLOAD: BeyondPod ($6.99, 7 day free trial)
3. Podcast Addict
Podcast Addict is a free, ad-supported or paid-for premium podcatcher that may lack a little on the visuals but more than makes up in the features. It'll let you import your feeds from a number of sources but it'll also help you easily find some great new content to listen to. Search by channel, interests and more, and Podcast Addict will come up with the goods.
Besides podcasts, though, it'll also let you organize RSS feeds and YouTube channels which is something competing apps don't offer. It's also got Chromecast support built in which is fast becoming a must have feature. After all, why wouldn't you want to listen to your podcasts on the best speakers you own?
The option of a truly free and ad-supported version is appealing, but if you're going to be spending the $2.99 to remove the ads you may want to consider one of the prettier options out there. But if you're all about function over form, Podcast Addict will suit you just fine.
DOWNLOAD: Podcast Addict (Free, $2.99 to remove ads)
Doggcatcher is another long time favorite, indeed it once claimed the title of Android Central's Editors Choice for podcast app of the year – back in 2011 if you were wondering. The alternative choices weren't quite as strong as they are today, but Doggcatcher is still a strong choice.
The UI has gotten better with the past few updates, but still feels a step behind the leading competition. What it lacks in the user interface department it makes up for everywhere else, though — the way it handles podcasts with its auto download and delete, variable speed playback and feed categorization makes it worth checking out. And it has Chromecast support which we love to see.
At $2.99 all-in it's an inexpensive choice in the grand scheme of apps as well, so it's really worth giving a shot.
DOWNLOAD: Doggcatcher ($2.99)
5. Player FM
If you're looking for one of the most modern looking podcast players on Android, Player FM is where it's at. Embracing Google's new Material Design principles, Player FM just looks amazing. There's no other way to describe it. Beneath the good looks though, Player FM is packed with useful features like cross-device subscription sync and support for both Chromecast and Android Wear.
One of the other strong points to Player FM is its excellent discoverability features. Be it individual shows or subscribing to channels, you're going to be well looked after in finding some quality content. Tell it what you're interested in and watch it work its magic.
Oh, and it's completely free — forever, not just a trial — for up to 20 subscriptions, with a new Gold service coming to unlock unlimited subscriptions and a few other neat features.
DOWNLOAD: Player FM (Free)
6. Stitcher for Podcasts
Stitcher may be mostly known as an internet radio service, but it's also a great podcast service as well. You can browse and add all of your favorite podcasts, and "stitch" them together into stations for listening in the order you want. You can also keep up with breaking and daily news through a variety of top news programs to mix it up from your normal weekly podcasts. There's single sign-on support from Google and Facebook, which is convenient as well.
It's still sticking to its older-style of design that doesn't quite look as modern as Pocket Casts and Player FM do, but it's functional and familiar to folks who have been using Stitcher for years. And the fact that you're getting this many features in a free app definitely makes it worth considering.
Originally published June 2014, updated January 2015