The Best Free Feed Readers for Windows, Mac and Linux

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As I am probably not the only one to look for a 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 collection of the best free cross-platform feed readers along with alternatives. Now only the latter are left.

Cross-platform means 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.

  • 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.
  • 3 of them are web based feed readers. It means they work in your browser like any website.
  • 1 is an open source cross-platform mail client that can also be used for feeds.

Here is the actual list of tools. The standalone desktop program comes first:

  1. RSSOwl – Probably the most popular downloadable free open source RSS reader, nice clean interface, supports dozens of languages
  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 required Google Reader, not anymore!
  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. NetvibesNetvibes is more a web based startpage than a stand alone feed reader but you can use it like one, you can share items too
  5. 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 feed reader by now as they also support Atom feeds or RDF feeds. These are just other RSS-like formats.

There is an 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 while the online version didn’t work correctly here.