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 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 RSS. It’s been 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!
- Pulse is the Feed reader for the Pinterest generation. It doesn’t even use the cryptic RSS acronym anymore, it just shows large thumbnails of articles.
- Netvibes – Netvibes is more a web based starting page than a stand alone RSS 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 an RSS 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 is only rudimentary.
“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: November 2nd, 2013.
* Creative Commons image by Lorrie McClanahan.