Search Craigslist With the CraigsList Reader (Windows)

Ryan Dube 19-02-2009

One of the most powerful and popular online classified ad websites is clearly Craigslist.  In Google Trends, search patterns for Craigslist far surpass those for other free ad services such as Kijiji or USFreeAds.


Much of the power of the multitude of Craigslists are that while they certainly cover local communities, the lists are spread throughout the entire world. With Craigslist, it’s just as easy to search through electronics for sale in Poland as it is to search for auto parts for sale in Greece. The scope of the Craigslist database is just staggering.

However, this size also represents a significant search problem. While it’s fairly easy to search through listings within a specific city or town, how do you search listings posted throughout an entire country, or even the entire world?

Solving The Craigslist Search Dilemma

Everyone who has ever used Craigslist knows that the site is about as non-user friendly as it could possibly be. The front page consists of nothing more than a huge listing of locations that stretch from the U.S. all the way throughout Europe and Asia.

craigslist search

The front page offers not a single search feature. Instead, you must select a location first, and then you can search. A few MakeUseOf articles have covered some potential solutions, such as CLHack which lets you search Craigslist for listings with pictures.


However, by far the best free tool I’ve found for searching all of the Craigslists is the free CraigsList Reader by Motion Technologies.

Overview of The CraigsList Reader

The CraigsList Reader is a well written application that allows users to drill through the entire database of Craigslists, based on any search criteria whatsoever. The application is aesthetically impressive considering it’s a completely free application. Search results are displayed in the pane to the right, and individual ad content is displayed in the panel below it.

CraigsList Reader

The Reader offers users a comprehensive search based on categories, geographic locations, and even subcategories and ranges (such as price ranges) depending on which category you choose. The selection boxes at the lower left hand portion of the screen allow you to select which demographics and categories to search through, view your saved favorites from previous searches, set up notifications (see below), or configure your Craigslist Reader options.


craigslist reader review

This is also the corner of the screen where you can view the search status and number of results as the Reader application sifts through the millions of Craigslist listings.

How It Works

The power of this application really comes out when you start using it. While the search itself can take a fair amount of time depending on the number of connections you allow (consider the fact that it’s sifting through millions of ads across the world), the results are more useful than anything you’ll find trying to sift through the website yourself.

For example, whenever I’m hungry for writing work, I will often search the entire world for writing gigs. While this may sound like a bit of a stretch, I’ve found some of my best clients in countries like China, Australia, and even Ireland. The Craigslist Reader is useful for local searches as well, but when you can do work on a global scale, this application can really come in handy. The results for such a search typically take about 20 minutes or more to complete (with 5 connections), but by the time it’s finished there are thousands of results to sift through.


Search Craigslist With the CraigsList Reader (Windows) craigslist41

While doing manual searches yourself can provide a lot of opportunities, eventually you’ll make it to the bottom of the list. At that point, the real game on Craigslist is getting to the opportunity faster than anyone else. That’s where the “notifications” feature of Craigslist Reader is useful.

Search Craigslist With the CraigsList Reader (Windows) craigslist5

When you click the “Add as Notification” box before performing a search, you can add that search to your notification list. What that means is that the Craigslist Reader will repeat the search as often as you tell it to, and when there are any new results, it will immediately notify you through a display, sound, or even an email alert.


This is an excellent feature, especially if you’re in a highly competitive industry and need to jump on opportunities before your competition. You can also tweak the Craigslists search by modifying the application options.

Search Craigslist With the CraigsList Reader (Windows) craigslist6

The key feature in the Options section is the ability to modify how many connections, or threads, you want to allow the application to use. This lets you scale back the bandwidth that the Craigslist Reader uses if you want to just let it run in the background while you surf the Internet. By carefully selecting the right thread count, you can tweak the Reader to make the most efficient use of your broadband Internet connection.

Why Craigslist Reader is Unique

While there are a number of web based and application based Craigslist readers out there, Motion Technologies really nailed it with this particular free reader. The search capacity, bug-free features, and the ability to tweak the application and alert settings to your particular needs sets this reader well above the rest.

In particular, if you are looking for job opportunities, just set up your search notifications, let the application run in the background, and before you know it countless job opportunities will be knocking down your door.

Do you have a particular method or tool that you like to use to search the Craigslists?  Share your opinion in the comments section below.

Related topics: Craigslist, Freelance, Job Searching.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. David Everest
    January 9, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    You can just use to search craigslist Nationwide or Statewide. Use the filter to select specific cities and categories.

  2. Plusque Parfait
    October 30, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    You need to update the article. CraigsList Reader is no longer free, and no free (i.e., previous) version is available, so far as I can tell, anywhere on the net.

  3. David247
    October 26, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I like searching with search tempest, however if you need unique results and nicer interface, you should check href="" title="Classifieds MOnitor">Craigslist Monitor.

  4. David247
    October 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm

  5. MichaelB
    October 6, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Hi, what about the Craigslist Ultimate Reader ( ). It's a new product and I am using it's FREE version. So far it works fine but is it worthy buying the payed POWER version or not ?

  6. gignesh
    June 11, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Craigslist is the best before few years back and is going to be the best for coming few years.

  7. kranthi
    May 11, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Hi, i have downloaded this craigslist reader and i also have .net framework in my laptop. But for some reason it is not opening. It says, mine is a 64-bit processor. Please help me with this. I have Dell XPS M1330. Thank You.

  8. Ryan Dube
    March 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm


    "Does SQL Server, Open Office, Linux use ad spyware (to generate some cash) in a lack of innovative ideas??"

    SQL Server and Office cost money. Craigslist Reader is offered for free to the public.

    "Are we all going to be using fakers, that just skin already existing API’s (add some spying PPV’s) and just pack them as a product, as a fluffy ball to choke?"

    What exactly is the difference between a company like MotionT developing their own product to compete with other products like CraigsPal, and Google creating Google Chrome to compete with Microsoft IE and Firefox. Does that make Google a "faker" because they wrote an application (Chrome) that pretty much does the "same thing" as multiple other products out there?

    • MarkW
      March 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      "Craigslist Reader is offered for free to the public"

      exactly... with spying ad-ware API's to generate cash. So you can be tracked and eventually served with content in other applications, you're computer guy, don't you get it?

      however, forget about it...just trying to point wider matter about our culture and society.

  9. Ryan Dube
    February 25, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Mark, This is the first time I've ever hard MotionT accused of copying someone else's application. In fact, Craiglist Reader is only one of a few very useful applications that they offer the public for absolutely free. I read the review link you posted and I don't see any evidence that CraigsPal was "copied." I'd be interested to see the version/publication date of the first version of each software app to see which came first, and to see if there's any merit to your accusation. Would you happen to have that?


  10. MarkW
    February 24, 2009 at 11:02 am

    CraigsList reader is lame copy of CraigsPal, looks like developers at MotionT didn't had anything else in life to do than to steal ideas.

    Check comparative review about CraigsPal's Reader Pro and CraigsList reader

    • jkiley
      February 26, 2009 at 9:16 am

      So you are saying that if two applications try to solve one problem in their own ways then one has to be the copy of the other one? What about Oracle vs. SQL Server? Windows vs. Linux? MS Office vs. Open Office? you see, the list is huge.

      • MarkW
        March 1, 2009 at 1:32 pm

        Let me answer you with a question:
        Does SQL Server, Open Office, Linux use ad spyware (to generate some cash) in a lack of innovative ideas??

        I see what you're saying, and that has sense, so do this:

        Silicone's does look nice, but that doesn't necessarily mean anyone wife get's better.

        I am talking about quality, dedication, ingenuity, envisioning, focusing and finally moral. Is that a status quo? Are we all going to be using fakers, that just skin already existing API's (add some spying PPV's) and just pack them as a product, as a fluffy ball to choke? Or we wanna real Craigslist search engine, solid made? That's the matter of opinion, I don't mind to use any of this tools, or anything in this life if it's solid made with real values.

  11. Ryan Dube
    February 21, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Hi Mulder, thanks for your comment. I confess that I'm certainly a windows user by default, so I don't open every article with the stipulation, "this is a windows app only." But I will take that into consideration in future articles and make sure it's clear what platforms the application is available for. Thanks for your input.

  12. Mulder
    February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Since Craigslist Reader is for Windoze only, you should have mentioned that up-front, at the beginning of the post, and in the post title. Just because something is free doesn't mean it runs on Macs or other platforms.

  13. scooter
    February 19, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Requires .net framework.... I'll pass on this one.

    • Mark O'Neill
      February 21, 2009 at 6:59 am

      I am always mystified as to why needing the .net framework is a dealbreaker. What is wrong with .net exactly? Please enlighten me.

    • Aibek
      February 22, 2009 at 4:25 am

      I am with Mark on this one, what's so bad with running .net framework?

  14. jkiley
    February 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Really nice tool. I have been using it for few months now and love it.