Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator



The "best" feed reader is largely a matter of individual preference. There are many good ones. Most of them, including the best, are free like browsers. The one that matches the way you want to work is best for you. :-)

No matter which reader you choose, it should give you some way to back up your feeds, preferably as an OPML file. You may also be able to use your OPML file to move to another reader, although the formats may not be compatible.

Four categories of feed reader are reviewed in this article:

Desktop Readers (installed programs)


A clean, up-to-date implementation of an email-style feed reader.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Open-source and cross-platform; versatile and has a full set of options; has a rich set of social sharing options (Email/Twitter/Facebook/.../Pocket/Etc); fast starting and navigation is quick. Both portable and installed versions are available.
The main toolbar can be customized with a rich selection of elements -- Print, Evernote, Zoom out/in, etc. -- but the way to reach them is hard to discover.
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A simple and straightforward program easily handles a large number of feeds.

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Simple, straightforward feed reader that easily handles a (very) large number of feeds. Has the essential options, and not a lot of confusing ones. Does not require Java (many other readers do for some reason). Import or export OPML files. Option to open links in an external browser.
Not as many options as FeedDemon (but simpler to use). Does not sync with Google Reader.
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A powerful, time-proven program with a well thought out user interface.

Our Rating: 
License: Free
A power-user's dream, but it's intuitive enough for intermediate level users. Handles feeds with attachments, like podcasts, very well too. Also handles secure feeds (those that require a username and password). No longer integrates with Google Reader.
Perhaps a bit complex for a neophyte user. Development ceased in 2013, which leads to a lower rating here even though it's a powerful RSS reader.
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A powerful cross-platform application to organize, search and read your news feeds in a comfortable way.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
A powerful, classic RSS reader, along the lines of FeedDemon. Many filtering, viewing, tagging and organizing options. RSSOwl allows nested folders.
Requires Java.
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Honourable Mentions

  • Omea Reader combines Web browsing, feed reading, and newsgroups in one capable application. Omea Pro (also free) adds email, ICQ and Miranda (multi-protocol IM) to create an integrated information workspace. Integrated with Microsoft Outlook for email.

  • RSS Bandit and Awasu are comparable to FeedDemon, but they're a bit less capable and complex. That means their learning curves are not as formidable. Even so, they are elegant full-featured readers. RSS Bandit is now an Open Source program. It was launched by Dare Obasanjo -- programmer, avid feed reader, and active blogger. Awasu is widely used by business users.

  • Thunderbird has built-in support for aggregating RSS feeds. Thunderbird allows you to view RSS feeds the same way you view your email. It is convenient to have feeds available without opening another program. It's simple - but a little obscure the first time - to subscribe to RSS feeds with Thunderbird. The mollizaZine knowledge base has the information you need to get started subscribing to RSS feeds with Thunderbird.

Web-based/Web-app Readers

  • Inoreader is my RSS reader of choice. It is clean, simple and powerful, and displays articles in several formats. You can use it with podcasts and also it also creates pseudo-feeds from the Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Like many modern web-apps, Inoreader offers a full suite of social "sharing" options — not that I use them.  Inoreader also integrates with email, Pocket, OneNote and Dropbox. It also provides Android and iOS apps, plus a mobile site for other small format devices.

  • Feedbro extensions for Chrome/Vivaldi and Firefox (and the coming new Edge browser) provide comprehensive RSS readers comparable to Inoreader.

  • The Old Reader was one of the web-based readers that emerged after the demise of Google Reader. It is a simple, straightforward reader that is easy to set up. You can send posts to email, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Feedly is similar to Inoreader. It also displays the latest updates for sites like Facebook and Twitter. Feedly integrates with many other apps and services as well.

  • G2Reader and The Old Reader are similar to Feedly and Inoreader. According to their websites, the free versions  can accommodate up to 100 feeds. That's enough for many (most?) RSS users.

  • Winds [download] is an emerging entry in the web-based/web-app category. It is a responsive reader that fits well in the current idiom for multi-device "apps". Winds offers many ways to discover feeds and podcasts. There are still some rough edges, but it is relatively easy to use.

  • NewsTab is a new web-based reader for browsers and Android now and iOS soon. Sync between devices is next. NewsTab presents content not just from conventional RSS feeds, but via a large array of pre-selected Sections,  your Twitter and Google accounts, Google searches, and a large number of publications, including many local ones.

    I was impressed by the way NewsTab responds quickly to commands and selections. The presentation is flexible, well thought out, and attractive as well. It is easy to set up NewsTab and try it out on your device.

  • Blogtrottr is a unique service that accesses web feeds you subscribe to and relays them to your email inbox. It converts the content to a compact, easy-to-read format. Blogtrottr accepts OPML subscription lists too.

  • Netvibes offers a wide range of "widgets" and apps to access web feeds, tweets and other kinds of dynamic content. For example, there's an app that delivers all the latest news from Google, split up into 8 tabs for World, U.S., Business, Sci/Tech, Sports, Entertainment, Health and Most Popular.

  • AOL has a simple but complete web reader. In particular, it makes it easy to open items you're interested in a new tab. After you connect the feeds you want to follow, you can shift to reading them, extracting what you need, etc. It imported my large OPML file flawlessly, and I was on my way. (I'm back with FeedDemon for the long term, though.

Browser extensions, other readers, etc.

Many apps/add-ons/extensions for browsers, smartphones and tablets, plus app-store readers (e.g., Windows or Chrome) are available. Most of them have a small footprint and can be "instantly" installed/uninstalled as well. Like web-based readers, browser add-on readers create an efficient browser-centric workspace, with good workflow for feed-based tasks.

Tip: Search for "RSS" and/or "feed" in the app "store" (e.g., Chrome Web Store) for the browser or operating system you are using. [Firefox Add-ons]

  • Smart RSS is a powerful extension available for Firefox and Chrome (also works on the new Chromium-based version of Microsoft's Edge browser). has a nice description/tutorial on Smart RSS. [Chrome Web Store]

  • offers their Feeder extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, iOS, and Android.

  • Examples of other Firefox extensions

    • Brief, powerful and simple at the same time, is an excellent, capable replacement for Google Reader. I follow nearly 500 feeds [crazy I know], and Brief imported all of them flawlessly for my test.

    • NewsFox is another capable add-on that puts a three pane reader (classic email layout) directly in a tab.

  • NewsBlur, an RSS reader that you can "train" (like/dislike) to show you just the kind of posts you want to see from each feed. PCWorld has a more recent article written from the viewpoint of a user. The free version of NewsBlur is limited to 64 feeds, but that is enough for many users. Free iPad/iPhone iOS, Android apps, Windows Phone apps, browser add-ons, and more.

  • RSS Subscription Extension adds RSS feed discovery and subscription options to Chrome. The extension comes with 4 feed readers predefined (Google Reader, iGoogle, Bloglines and My Yahoo).


Podcast and Vidcast Aggregators

  • gPodder downloads and manages audio and video content ("podcasts"). Listen directly on your computer or on your mobile devices. Supports RSS, Atom, YouTube, Soundcloud, Vimeo and XSPF feed formats. For Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OS X and mobile devices like the Nokia N810, N900, N9 and Sailfish OS. A portable version is available from

  • Miro is ideally suited for pulling in and managing content from video feeds (vidcasts). It's a powerful open-source video aggregator that opens up a large variety of video "channels". The organization behind Miro is working for a more open and diverse world of online video. [more video programs]

  • Juice's primary purpose is to pull in and manage audio content (podcasts). Juice supports many media players directly. According to a comment below, Juice appears to be abandon-ware, but works fine. FeedDemon also has a podcast utility.

  • BitsCast, FireANT, VLC Media Player and Media Monkey are some more media aggregators that might be just what you're looking for.


Related links


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Feedly may be in the best position to fill the vacuum that Google Reader will leave. They are already working on their own backend server, and have stated that there will be a seamless switchover when the lights go out at Google Reader. Feedly itself looks much improved to me since the last time I tried it. It looks good enough to replace FeedDemon, which has been my favorite reader (but will no longer sync without Google Reader).