The Best Free Feed Readers for Windows, Mac and Linux

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Do you look for a feed reader? This is a list of those I think are the best ones.

These feed readers work on Windows, Mac and Linux.

The Web-based feed readers also work on mobile devices without the need for an app.

How Do These Feed Readers Differ?

The best standalone feed reader is open source software.

It’s based on the Java programming language, that’s why it works on all operating systems.

2 of them are web based feed readers. It means they work in your browser like any website.

1 is an open source cross-platform (working on Windows, Mac and Linux) mail client that can also be used for feeds.

Feed Readers for Your Computer and Beyond

Here is the actual list of tools. The standalone desktop program comes first. There are only four left.

  1. RSSOwl – Probably the most popular downloadable free open source RSS reader, nice clean interface, supports dozens of languages. It’s quite sophisticated and feature rich.
  2. 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 was used as an interface for Google Reader.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 All Feeds and Feed Readers the Same?

Are newsreaders, feed readers, Atom and RSS readers the same? Yes and no.

I prefer the term feed reader by now as they also support Atom feeds or RDF feeds.

These are just other RSS-like formats. They are different standards but very similar.

By 2024 most feeds are using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds anyway.

Yet in some cases it might be a good idea to still support more formats than just RSS.

Feedreader vs Feed Readers

There is a feed reader software called Feedreader. You do not want you to mix them up.

A feed reader is any tool that allows you to read feeds while Feedreader is just one brand.

I did not include Feedreader here as it only works on Windows and Linux.

It has a Web based version as well. Yet the online version didn’t work correctly here.

I could log in with Google+ [sic!] but it couldn’t find a feed for site that certainly has one.

Netvibes is a Security Risk

In an earlier version of this list I recommend a tool called Netvibes.

Netvibes was for many years a very useful “startpage” tool.

It was essentially a feed reader with additional features.

Yet by now it seems they have changed the business model.

Also after trying to log in with Google the site was blocked by Google.

Apparently Google considers them a security risk by now.

Thus I can’t recommend it anymore.

Feedly is the Market Leader and my Choice

So what tool do I use these days for reading feeds?

I use Feedly for like a decade by now.

I’m not the only one.

Feedly is the market leader in this niche.

I chose Feedly long ago as my favorite and even after testing or using all the other tools.

Even in 2024 it is the easiest to use and most up to date one IMHO.