The Best Free Feed Readers for Windows, Mac and Linux
As I am probably not the only one to look for an feed reader I decided to share my list of those I think are the best ones.
Most people until 2013 used Google Reader for RSS (and Atom) feeds but then Google decided to shut it down.
I listed it here originally in my list of the best free cross-platform RSS readers (also referred to as feed readers by many) along with alternatives. Cross platform means they work on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- 2 of the best feed readers are open source software, both of them are based on the Java programming language, that’s why they work on all operating systems.
- 1 of them is a Firefox extension (add on) and works on all systems as Firefox itself is cross platform
- 3 of them are web based feed readers. It means they work in your browser like any website.
- 1 is a mail client that can also be used for feeds.
So here is the list, the standalone desktop programs first:
- RSSOwl – Probably the most popular downloadable free open source RSS reader, nice clean interface, supports dozens of languages
- BlogBridge – Simple, browser-like interface, also open source and quite popular newsreader
- Sage – Sage is by now an established Firefox add on for feeds. It’s very simple and easy to use
- Feedly – Feedly, a modern web based feed reader with a magazine like display of your feeds. It adapts to your natural reading habits. Originally it required Google Reader, not anymore!
- The Old Reader – Clean and simple online tool for subscribing to your favorite feeds that is based on the early versions of Google Reader without the bloat that followed later.
- Netvibes – Netvibes is more a web based starpage than a stand alone feed reader but you can use it like one, you can share items too
- Thunderbird – The popular mail client by the Mozilla Foundation, the makers of Firefox, can also be used as a feed reader. Reading news like this saves time but can also be distracting.
Are newsreaders, feed readers, Atom and RSS readers the same? Yes and no, I prefer the term RSS reader even though they also support Atom feeds (just another RSS-like format) because there is an RSS Reader software called Feedreader. I do not want you to mix them up.
I did not include Feedreader here as it only works on Windows and Linux while the online version doesn’t work correctly here.
“Newsreader” might refer to the so called Usenet, a part of the Internet that came before the Web and still is used by some people. Usenet newsgroup readers are not the same as RSS newsreaders.
Originally published: September 27th, 2007. Last updated: February 20th, 2015.
* Creative Commons image by Lorrie McClanahan.