With the close of Google Reader drawing near, it’s now more important than ever to find a suitable replacement – if you haven’t already. If you like to read your feeds on the Web, you may have already found a replacement since there are lists popping up everywhere with the best alternatives, but what about desktop alternatives? Well, if you prefer to read RSS feeds on your desktop, this list is for you.
One of the benefits to using a desktop reader is that many of them have their own built-in browser, so you won’t need to have your browser open while using them. Another benefit is that many also work offline. Even though you’ll need to be online to sync your feeds, you can read as long as you want offline. This is great if you have a laptop because you can keep up with your feeds wherever you go, even when you don’t have Internet access.
The following are some of the best ways to read RSS feeds on your Mac desktop.
1. RSS Notifier
RSS Notifier gives you three different ways to view your RSS feeds: in a color sidebar, from your menu bar, and within the Notification Center. It includes a built-in subscription manager, making it easy to add and remove RSS feeds; you can also customize the notifications for each subscription. Adding feeds is really easy and can be done via the feed URL or by using the search bar.
One thing about RSS Notifier is that it does not have its own built-in viewer, so when you click on an item, it will open in your default browser. If you are transitioning from Google Reader, there is an OPML importer to make it a smooth process.
Download | Free
2. Mixtab Pro
Mixtab Pro is a fairly new and unique RSS reader that looks similar to the popular service Pulse; it’s perfect for those who prefer images over plain text. Mixtab Pro displays an image for each article as well as the headline and source. Along with keyboard shortcuts, you can also use gestures (swipe left or right) to move from page to page.
Mixtab also lets you create public “Tabs,” which is simply a group of RSS feeds. If you share a Tab, it will be displayed in the public Gallery for others to see and subscribe to; likewise, you can browse the gallery and subscribe to the Tabs that you choose. When you’re ready to say “goodbye” to Google Reader, OPML file importing is also supported.
Download | $4.99
Feedy, not to be confused with Feedly, is a stylish reader with some unique features. It supports Readability so that you can read your feed items in a clean, clutter-free environment. It also integrates with the Notification Center, so you’ll know about each new item.
Unfortunately, Feedy does not yet support OPML importing, so you’ll have to manually resubscribe to each feed – which is a huge pain. However, it may be worth it once you read more about its features.
What you’ll probably love most about Feedy is its ability to rate all items in your feeds. This way, Feedy will know what the top stories are and will highlight them so that you won’t miss anything important. You can also sort your items by popularity rating. Additionally, you can choose to only receive the top stories for each feed and ignore the rest. If you’re getting too many items from a feed, just let Feedy know how many you’d like to receive, and it will reduce the amount accordingly.
Download | $2.99
ReadKit is a popular “read later” client for Mac that lets you read items from Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, Pinboard, and Delicious on your desktop. Recently it has also added RSS support and lets you connect with Fever (a self-hosted RSS service) and NewsBlur. Alternately, you can also use its built-in RSS capabilities to add or import the feeds that you’re already subscribed to (via OPML.
If you’re someone who uses most of the above-mentioned services, ReadKit is the perfect app for you. With its easy-to-use interface, you can move, add, archive, and even mark items as favorites; smart folders are also supported for automated filing. There’s even a built-in browser and it works offline; so no matter where you go you can read your feeds and any articles that you’ve saved for later.
Download | $4.99
LuckNews is a fast and simple RSS reader that includes folders, search, full screen mode, and integration with Notification Center. You can also use gestures to swipe back and forth between articles. It has been enhanced for retina display. Plus, with offline mode you won’t miss a thing.
It has been noted (in a customer review) that the developer responds quickly to feedback and suggestions. If there’s something wrong or missing, help may be on the way quicker than expected. LuckNews lets you import feeds via OPML, and if you’d like to read your content in another language, it can do that too!
Download | Free
6. NewsBar RSS Reader
NewsBar is a unique, RSS reader that is described as “the fast-updating iCloud newsreader.” This is because it can automatically sync your feeds across devices (if you’re using the iPhone app) via iCloud. NewsBar delivers your feeds in a sidebar on your desktop, which includes smooth animations and adjustable opacity. Plus, it uses a very low amount of memory and CPU, which is great if you don’t have much of it to spare!
You can add new feeds quickly via drag-and-drop. Once you find an item that you want to read, simply click on it to bring up a popup window right on your desktop. Double clicking an item will open it up in your default browser. NewsBar is extremely customizable and includes many other features like integration with Notification Center, Twitter RSS feed support, OPML importing, Spaces support, menu bar mode, and much more.
Download | $4.99
7. Leaf RSS Reader
As a user of Leaf, I can vouch for how great it is. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also fast, smooth, and minimalistic. The app itself can be embedded, or you can let it float on your desktop. Leaf lets you save items to Pocket, Readability, and Instapaper; so if you don’t have time to read something now, you can just save it for later. Leaf also support gestures. For instance, you can swipe to mark an item as read/unread.
Since Leaf has built-in reading abilities, you can quickly preview an article and then share and/or star it. There is Notification Center integration so that you can see each new item that comes in. Since Leaf is from the same makers as RSS Notifier (mentioned above), it includes the same subscription manager that lets you add new feeds via search or URL. You can also hide feed notifications on an individual basis. Feeds can also be imported and exported via OPML.
Download | $4.99
Which One Is For You?
By now you’re probably trying to figure out just which application is best for you. If price is a factor, then the obvious choice is RSS Notifier, but if you also want a built-in browser then LuckNews is the better option. However, if price doesn’t matter, then you have a harder decision to make. Ultimately it all depends on the features you’re looking for and how you like to read. Hopefully, this list will help you with this decision.
Let us know which RSS reading app you’re using on your desktop in the comments below.
Photo Credit: filiph