Unfortunately, while the podcasts themselves might be awesome, the quality of apps through which you can access them varies wildly. You don’t want your experience to be tarnished by using a player that lacks features, is inconsistent at downloading the latest episodes, or has poor playback.
Worry not — we’re here to guide you through some of the best podcasts players that are currently available on the Android operating system.
Pocket Casts ($3.99)
The paid-for Pocket Casts has been a favorite of Android users for a long time, and with its regular updates, it just keeps getting better.
The developers of the app, Shifty Jelly, have won a host of awards, including Google Play Top Developer, Google Play Editors’ Choice, and Google Material Design Award — so you know you’re in good hands.
The app is one of the most full-featured players available and comes with audio effects, the ability to schedule downloads while you sleep, a way to sync your episodes between other Android devices and iOS devices, and multiple storage options.
Plus, it can stream episodes straight from your device to your Chromecast.
Podcast & Radio Addict (Free)
The free Podcast & Radio Addict app takes podcast management one step further.
In addition to letting you organize and download your podcasts, it also lets you control and manage radio-on-demand, your audio books, live radio, your YouTube channels, and your RSS feeds. It also works as a standalone MP3 player, and like Pocket Cast, it syncs with Chromecast, Android Auto, and Android Wear.
All this functionality is in a well-presented layout that’s easy to navigate and can be customized to suit your personal preferences.
A $2.99 upgrade will remove the ads.
Player FM (Free)
Player FM tries to distinguish itself from the competition by the use of “topics”.
In practice, that means that in addition to simply subscribing to your most-loved shows, you can also subscribe to topics that interest you. It makes the app a great way to discover new podcasts and content that you otherwise would not have been aware of.
Surprisingly for a free app, there are no ads, thus giving you a clean and crisp user interface. It also features cloud-syncing, full shownotes for more than 3 million podcast episodes, and importable and exportable OPML data (in case you ever want to migrate to a different podcast player).
Stitcher Radio for Podcasts (Free)
The Stitcher app made its name as an on-demand Internet radio service, but it’s grown to become much more than that.
Once you’ve added all of your favorite podcasts, you can “stitch” them together into one long radio-esque marathon, and you can even intersperse them with actual radio content, such as breaking news and your favorite shows.
It’s also great at introducing you to new shows thanks to its podcast discovery engine that suggests new content based on your listening tastes and favorite topics.
The only downside is its design; it lacks the modern Material Design feel of Player FM and Pocket Casts. Nonetheless, there are an impressive array of features for a free app.
AntennaPod is the only open-source player on our list, and although it lacks the brand recognition of some of the more famous players out there, it packs a decent punch.
It has access to the iTunes and gPodder.net directories, adjustable playback speed, chapter support, an advanced sleep timer, and the ability to access password-protected feeds and episodes.
It also comes complete with a Material Design makeover and a dark theme, making it a pleasure for the eyes as well as the ears.
DoggCatcher Podcast Player ($2.99)
DoggCatcher is the second paid player on our list, but it’s well worth the small fee. It’s another longtime favorite of the established podcast-listeners, and it’s been around in some iteration since the late 2000s.
It’s a feature-heavy option and comes with Chromecast and Android Auto support, auto-cleanup of media files, variable speed playback, Bluetooth support, and podcast categorization.
It also has one of the best podcast discovery tools, with the ability to browse the top 100 DoggCatcher podcasts, personalized recommendations, and a way to search both podcast and news directories.
Podcast Republic (Free)
Podcast Republic is another offering that’s been around a while and is dragging itself up to speed in the ever-changing mobile landscape.
Chromecast and Android Wear are both now supported, but at the time of writing there is still no support for Android Auto. It does, however, have a “Car Mode” that aims to simplify navigation of the app while you’re using it on the road.
It also includes cross-device syncing, a lock-screen widget, OPML files, and the ability to save content onto your device’s microSD card.
The ad-free version will set you back $1.99.
Podkicker Podcast Player (Free)
Not everyone wants (or needs) a full-featured, bells-and-whistles, memory-hogging app.
If you know which podcasts you like, and you want to access them on a simple and lightweight app, you should give Podkicker a whirl.
Despite its barebones approach, it still has a dedicated search engine that includes more than 260,000 shows, a car mode for driving, podcast suggestions, and Chromecast support (in beta).
Interestingly, it can also send any podcasts you’ve downloaded to your Dropbox account, where you can then listen to them on other devices or share them with friends.
Which App is Your Favorite?
Have we convinced you to try one of these apps?
Perhaps you’re already a dedicated user of one of them and wouldn’t consider changing? If so, what makes your app of choice so special? Or maybe we didn’t even cover your favorite?
Whatever your situation, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.