The internet is overloaded with content. Even if you only set out to read the most important articles and watch the top videos, you’ll never get done.
Just staying up-to-date and informed is a challenge. You have news to read, blogs to check, and YouTube hits you’ve got to watch. But instead of opening each site a half-dozen times a day, you can use an RSS app to curate your content automatically.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a file that most websites update with their newest blog posts, videos, deals and more, so you can “subscribe” to sites and have new content automatically pushed to you. Instead of checking the 40 websites you follow, you can just open an RSS reader app and see what’s new on all of those sites together.
In the years since Google Reader died, a wide range of RSS feed reader apps have come and gone. Today, there are still a number of great RSS tools that are actively being improved, apps you can use to follow your favorite sites—from powerful crowd favorites like Feedly to simple Chrome extensions like Feeder. Whether you want a simple app for consuming news on the go, or a powerful tool that archives the best content from hundreds of sites, there’s an app here for you.
The Best RSS Reader Apps
For over a decade, Google Reader was the gold standard for RSS apps. That is, until July 2013, when Google abruptly stopped supporting the tool to focus on other products. The internet let out a collective groan.
Suddenly RSS readers were popular again, with hundreds of apps competing for Google Reader’s former users on sites like ReplaceReader. Today, many of these apps are polished, high-quality feed readers that are a great tool for following your favorite sites.
At their core, RSS reader apps let you subscribe to content from your favorite sites. Typically, they’ll download images and text from articles so you can read them offline, and will list all of the stories in chronological order. Many RSS apps then include tools to discover sites based on your favorite topics and let you save favorite articles to reference later.
There’s two main types of RSS readers: online RSS services, and native RSS apps. The former run automatically in the background, finding new articles as soon as they’re published. You can read your articles online, or typically sync them with apps for your phone or computer—either made by the RSS service, or from third-party developers. Then, native RSS apps sync RSS feeds directly on your device and often work with popular RSS services.
There are apps for every reading style, budget, and platform—here are some of the best ones.
The Best Hosted RSS Services
|Feedly||Building a personalized newsfeed||Free; $7/mo.||Web, iOS, Android|
|Panda||A custom reading layout||Free; $4.99/mo.||Web, iOS, Chrome|
|NewsBlur||Predictive article filtering||Free; $2/mo.||Web, iOS, Android|
|Feed Wrangler||Advanced feed organization||$1.60/mo.||Web, iOS|
|Inoreader||Long term content archiving||Free; $1.25+/mo.||Web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone|
|Selfoss||Customizing your RSS reader||Free||Self-hosted|
Feedly (Web, iOS, Android)
Best for: Building a personalized newsfeed
When Google announced that Google Reader was being discontinued, Feedly gained 3 million new users in less than a month. It’s continued to be popular and is one of the first RSS reader apps you’ll hear mentioned if you ask people how they follow sites today. It’s not hard to see why—its clean and simple interface is a perfect solution for the casual reader who wants to see all of their websites in one place.
Feedly is designed to be a simple way to build your own newsfeed about your favorite topics. Just search for a favorite site’s name to follow it, or look up a topic to follow related stories. Feedly also curates “starter kits” of content focused around a certain topic, which can be a great way to discover new websites. You can group your favorite sites and topics into “collections,” add custom tags, and save articles to boards to read them later without needing another reading app. These and other features make it easy to curate the best articles in your personal newsfeed.
Feedly integrates with most social media apps, so sharing interesting things you find is simple. And, if you upgrade to the Pro version, you’ll get extra features like keyword-based search and automatic backups to Dropbox.
Feedly Price: Free; from $7/month Pro plan for unlimited feeds, search and filtering, third-party integrations, and more
For a deeper look at Feedly’s features and pricing, check out our Feedly review.
See Feedly integrations on Zapier
Panda (Web, iOS, Chrome)
Best for: A custom reading layout
One of the more unique new RSS reader apps, Panda lets you read your RSS feeds the way you want to. It includes a standard three column layout with your feeds, articles, and a preview of the original story by default. Or, tap the layout switcher button, and you can add multiple columns to view all of your favorite sites’ stories at once, remove columns to focus just on your articles, and more. You can even switch to the different layouts with keyboard shortcuts to jump from a dashboard with all of your feeds to a clean reading view.
You can bookmark articles to read later or switch to a night mode to make it easier on your eyes when reading in the dark. Install it in Chrome, and it’ll replace your New Tab page for an easy way to keep up with the news throughout your day.
Panda Price: Free; $4.99/month for no ads, unlimited feeds, and integrations
Best for: Advanced search
Another very popular RSS app is Feedbin. Once you’ve subscribed to your favorite sites, you can use Feedbin’s tagging system to organize your content into categories. Reading content on Feedbin is a breeze—the interface is nicely designed and allows for distraction-free reading (think Pocket with built-in feeds). Feedbin integrates with many popular Read Later and social media apps, and also allows you to add custom sharing services if your favorite tool isn’t supported.
Feedbin’s killer feature is search. Not only can you search all your content by keyword, but you can also save search criteria. That way, you can set up a dynamic folder that gives you a quick overview of a specific topic. Feedbin even creates a saved search API, in case you want to do something more with the data than just view it in the reader.
Feedbin Price: $3/month
NewsBlur (Web, iOS, Android)
Best for: Predictive article filtering
Like the first two apps, NewsBlur lets you subscribe to different sites and organize your content into folders. Its reading modes, though, let you switch between a simplified article view or an original view that shows the source website right in your feed reader.
NewsBlur’s most interesting feature is its sophisticated filtering, which can automatically highlight or hide stories based on certain criteria. If you spend some time “training” your filters, the system will learn your preferences and try to surface the stories that interest you most. That way, you can subscribe to as many sites as you want, and still only see the content you’re interested in.
NewsBlur also lets you share your favorite stories, either on social networks or inside of NewsBlur. Within the app, you can add stories that you read and like to your personal “blurblog,” or find people with similar interests and follow their blurblogs as well. Or, you can run it on your own server for free, if you’d like.
NewsBlur Price: Free for subscribing to 64 sites; $24/year Premium account for unlimited sites, saved searches, and more; free open-source to run on your own server
Feed Wrangler (Web, iOS)
Best for: Advanced feed organization
Feed Wrangler’s goal is to help you “wrangle” the news. It’s a distraction-free reader—boasting perhaps the cleanest interface in this list—that makes managing feeds simple. You can follow your favorite sites, and even use its beta podcast stream to listen to podcasts.
Your website and podcast subscriptions are organized into “streams.” Streams can be simple: you can create a stream and assign different subscriptions to it. Or, you can build advanced streams by applying topic-based search criteria to your feed. If you’re overwhelmed by content, Feed Wrangler can clean things up and empty out your reading queue.
Because Feed Wrangler is focused on reading, it doesn’t have social media integrations. It does, however, let you move articles you don’t have time to read to Instapaper, Pocket, or Pinboard with a single click—perfect for saving the best for later. And with its companion iOS apps for feeds and podcasts, you can keep your important news with you everywhere.
Feed Wrangler Price: $19/year
Inoreader (Web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
Best for: Long-term content archiving
Not sure where to start with RSS feeds? Inoreader’s “Discovery Mode” can help you find and follow specific topics and trending items. To stay organized, you can group your feeds in folders and use tags to separate out individual articles as you read them. Similar to Feed Wrangler, you can write more advanced rules to automatically sort content, too.
Inoreader allows you to subscribe to Twitter and Google+ users or searches, giving you one app for all of your online reading needs. You can then share your favorite articles on social networks or broadcast them within Inoreader, which shares your favorite content with your followers.
While most RSS apps only cache content for the short-term, Inoreader doesn’t have limited time archives: Your content—even the stuff you’ve already read—is stored permanently.
Inoreader Price: Free with ads; from $14.99/year Starter Plan for ad-free reading with customizable dashboard
Selfoss (Self-hosted Web, 3rd party iOS, Android)
Best for: Customizing your RSS reader
Want to host an RSS reader app on your own server? Selfoss is one of the best options for that today (along with the aforementioned NewsBlur). It’s an RSS reader that lets you follow sites and your favorite people on Twitter in one app. Like many of the other RSS apps so far, it simplifies the reading experience and has some basic features that help you organize your feeds.
Selfoss is open source, so you can download it for free, dig into its code, and customize things if you’d like. You can add additional data sources, build plugins to add extra features, and download pre-made extras from its community. And with a Fever API bridge, it can sync with apps that were designed to work with the now-unsupported Fever RSS reader. It’ll take a bit more work to start using, but will let you make a feed reader that’s tailored to your needs.
Selfoss Price: Free open-source
Other Great Hosted RSS Reader Services
|The Old Reader||Called “the ultimate social reader”, The Old Reader lets you follow others and see their favorite sites and articles—much like Google Reader did. It even has a CLI app to read feeds from Terminal.||Free; $3/mo. Premium||Web|
|Bloglovin’||A social news reader mixed with an RSS app, Bloglovin’ lets you browse popular articles by topic and follow your favorite sites via RSS. It includes a built-in blogging tool, so you can write a simple blog right from your blog reader.||Free||Web, iOS, Android|
|BazQux Reader||Read the latest articles from sites and the comments on those articles, along with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ updates in the same app.||$19/year||Web|
|Digg Reader||The original social news site, Digg’s new Reader service is a full-featured RSS reader that lets you subscribe to your favorite sites right alongside the best content Digg’s recommending today.||Free||Web, iOS|
|Netvibes||Follow your RSS feeds, keep track of the weather and stock prices, and much, much more in Netvibes’ “Dashboard of Things” that puts everything in one at-a-glance place.||Free; $2+/mo. Premium||Web, iOS|
|FlowReader||Read your feeds along with your full Facebook and Twitter timelines in one app—then share updates about what you’re reading to Buffer, Tumblr, and more.||Free||Web, iOS, Android|
|Feedreader||One of the original PC RSS readers, Feedreader now has a new online RSS reader app—along with tools to help you discover great RSS feeds. You could use it to browse today’s top stories without even setting up an account.||Free||Web|
|FreshRSS||Have your own server? FreshRSS is a self-hosted RSS reader that looks very similar to the original Google Reader. Browse feeds by date, and sync over 100k articles without trouble.||Free open-source||Self-hosted Web|
|Tiny Tiny RSS||Want to tweak your RSS reader? Tiny Tiny RSS is a self-hosted tool with plugins and themes so you can customize it like you want. It also supports podcast feeds, and lets you share your favorite articles inside Tiny Tiny RSS.||Free open source||Self-hosted Web, Android|
The Best Native RSS Reader Apps
Many of the best hosted RSS services include apps for your phone, but if you want offline access to your feeds on a Mac or PC, you’ll often need to look for another app. Native RSS reader apps are often more powerful and customizable. You can set them to sync as often as you’d like, tweak their interface, and get notified as soon as a new story comes in.
Here are a few of the most popular options (and if you don’t find one you like, be sure to check your device’s App Store for other options).
|Feeder||Simple RSS feeds||Free; $2/mo.||Chrome, iOS, Android|
|Newsbar||A news ticker on the side of your screen||$4.99||Mac, iOS|
|ReadKit||Syncing multiple RSS and Reading Services||$4.99||Mac|
|Reeder||Streamlined reading on iOS and Mac||$9.99||Mac, iOS|
|RSSowl||Automated actions and organization||Free||Windows, Linux, Mac|
Feeder (Chrome, iOS, Android)
Best for: Simple RSS feeds
Feeder is perhaps the simplest way to read RSS feeds—one that’s especially popular with those who want to quickly read the headlines and get on with their day. It’s built around a Chrome extension that shows a list of your RSS headlines in your browser. Tap an article to read it, or just quickly skim through the latest updates without reading everything.
You can take your RSS feeds on the go with its paid plan and mobile apps, where you’ll get both the headlines and a simplified view of the full articles. It’s a great way to stay informed of what’s going on, and read more deeply from your phone.
Feeder Price: Free on Chrome; $2/month for mobile apps and sync
Newsbar (Mac, iOS)
Best for: A news ticker on the side of your screen
Ever wished you could get a news ticker on your computer like the ones on the bottom of TV news stations? Newsbar does the trick. Install it and add your favorite feeds, and Newsbar will show the latest headlines on the side of your Mac’s desktop (or in a dedicated app on your iPhone).
As you’re browsing the latest headlines, you can hover over an interesting article to see the entire post. Or, you can hide Newsbar and set up notifications for keywords, and Newsbar will let you know whenever an article comes in about your most important topics. It’s a simpler way to follow RSS feeds, one that’ll make sure you always know what’s happening.
Newsbar Price: $4.99 for Mac; $3.99 for iOS
Best for: Syncing multiple RSS and Reading Services
Want a powerful RSS reader that always has an article queued up for you? ReadKit is a popular Mac RSS reader app that can sync feeds on its own, but also integrates with the most popular RSS services and reading later tools. It can sync your Feedly, NewsBlur, Feed Wrangler, or Feedbin feeds to your desktop, as well as the articles you’ve saved to Instapaper and Pocket.
ReadKit has sophisticated search and sort capabilities, allowing you to build custom rules to move articles into the right folders. You can also customize your reading experience with themes and typefaces, and store articles offline so you’ll have something to read even when the internet is down.
ReadKit Price: $9.99; 14-day trial available
Reeder (iOS, Mac)
Best for: Streamlined reading on iOS and Mac
A similar app that runs on both iOS and Mac, Reeder lets you read articles from 10 RSS reader services including Feedbin, Feedly, NewsBlur, and more. It can also sync RSS feeds on its own, along with your Instapaper articles for offline reading. You can then share your content with over a dozen different services, to start a draft blog post from an article, save an article to Evernote, or share it on social networks.
You can customize Reeder to look the way you want, with detailed reading and theme options along with keyboard shortcuts to help you read faster on your Mac. It even includes gestures: Pull up on an article to go to the next one, pinch to parse the article text, and swipe up to share a piece.
Reeder Price: $9.99 for Mac; $4.99 for iOS
RSSOwl (Mac, Windows, Linux)
Best for: Automated actions and organization
For a more utilitarian approach, RSSOwl is another desktop RSS app that’s extremely customizable. It syncs RSS feeds on its own, so you can keep a local database on your computer of your favorite articles.
Then, you can drill into them with its search capabilities. Within the search engine, you can use logic expressions to look at anything in an article. Searches can be saved to create dynamic feeds to find future articles, and you can even automate actions to send an alert if certain criteria are met using the “News Filter” feature. If you want to save an article, you can move it to the archive folder or use the “News Bin” feature to organize your saved content.
RSSOwl Price: Free, donation supported
Other Great Native RSS Reader Apps
|NetNewsWire||After a long hiatus, the Mac companion to the original and now defunct PC RSS reader FeedDemon has returned with a brand new set of apps and its own sync service. You can open articles in multiple tabs, get started quickly with recommended sites, and sync feeds on your iPhone and Mac without paying for a hosted service.||$19.99 Mac; $7.99 iOS||Mac, iOS|
|gReader||For a simple way to get the news on Android, gReader is one of the most popular options. It can sync RSS feeds on its own or with Feedly and The Old Reader, caches your articles for offline reading, and even supports listening to podcast feeds. If you want, it can even read your RSS feeds out loud to you.||Free; $4.99||Android|
|Reeder||Another RSS reader app that syncs with nearly every popular service, Reeder was one of the original popular RSS apps for iOS. It’s polished, and uses gestures to switch between services and reading modes.||$9.99 Mac; $4.99 iOS||Mac, iOS|
Build an RSS Reader in Your Favorite App
It seems like there should be an RSS app for everyone. But if you’re struggling to find the perfect tool, the best tool might just be one you’re already using.
Like reading articles in Pocket? Feedhuddler can turn it into an RSS reader, automatically sending your new RSS articles into your Pocket queue. Or, Zapier’s RSS integrations could save new RSS feed posts to Instapaper, Pocket, Evernote, or other reading apps:
Maybe you just need a notification about new posts. Or perhaps you need a more robust way to log every article published. Zapier’s can help, sending you a push notification, email, or Slack message about new articles—or logging them to a Google Sheets spreadsheet for you.
Or maybe your favorite apps and sites don’t include RSS feeds. Zapier can help turn almost any app’s notifications into an RSS feed, so you can subscribe to them in one place.
Alternately, you can use Zapier to make your own filtered, combined RSS feed that will show all of the articles from your favorite sites, with filters to only show the articles you’re interested in.
You can even build a custom RSS feed reader inside Google Sheets, using its
=importfeed() function. Here’s how.
Be sure to experiment—with a few tricks, you can read RSS feeds in your favorite apps, anywhere.
RSS is one of the oldest parts of the internet, but even in today’s social media-addicted world, it’s still useful. It’s one of the best ways to make sure you see everything your favorite sites publish, and never miss out on that amazing Craigslist deal.
If you’re just getting started using RSS, try picking an app that’s simple to use. Add its extension to your browser and subscribe to favorite sites, then you’ll start looking out for RSS feeds everywhere. Power users—those still mourning Google Reader—should consider which features they need most and find an app that matches their need.
From unique organization tools to simple reading experiences, there’s an RSS reader for everyone. We’d love to hear why you picked your RSS reader in the comments below!
Zapier senior writer Matthew Guay contributed to the updated version of this article.