Podcasts have really stepped into their own as a medium in the years since the term was first coined in 2004. Now, there are nearly a million podcasts with tens of millions of episodes to listen to, making it really difficult to separate the best podcasts from the enormous catalogue.
To help, we’ve made a list of our favorite podcasts in 2019, covering tech, design, sports, entertainment, and more. Check out all 15 podcasts (plus our honorable mentions) below!
Best podcasts to listen to in 2019
Before we get into our list of the best podcasts, you should know that Android Authority and our sister sites have a number of great podcasts published every week. Here’s the rundown:
Android Authority Podcast — Here we discuss the week’s Android news, plus in-depth coverage of the latest devices and trends. Producer Adam Doud is quite the busy bee, so expect anywhere from one to four episodes a week. Listen on Pocket Casts, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts.
SoundGuys Podcast — Produced by our sister site SoundGuys.com, the SoundGuys podcast is about everything audio. From deep dives into the history of MP3s and audio codecs to explorations of the effect music has on your workout, there’s something for all audiophiles to enjoy. New episodes are released every month. Listen on Pocket Casts or Apple Podcasts.
DGIT Daily Podcast — If you’re looking for a quick primer on the day’s most important tech news, look no further than the DGIT Daily Podcast. Every day host Adam Doud (we told you he’s busy!) runs through the top stories in 10 minutes or less. Listen on Pocket Casts, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts.
Read also: 10 best podcast apps for Android!
Best podcasts in 2019
1. 99% Invisible
Topic: Design, Architecture
Length: ~30-40 minutes
99% Invisible, or 99pi, is one of the biggest and best podcasts around. Host and producer Roman Mars exposes some unseen or underappreciated element of the built world, ranging from homeless-proof park benches to the design aesthetic of the Las Vegas strip. Each episode is a gem, and with more than 350 episodes released as of writing there’s plenty of topics to choose from. It’s one of a number of great podcasts under the Radiotopia network.
Topic: Science, philosophy
Length: 30-60 minutes
Radiolab has been around for nearly two decades, and if you haven’t already listened you’re in for a treat. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich dive into a specific topic in detail, using unique sound design and story-telling techniques. These quirks might put off some listeners, but it’s one of the best informative podcasts around.
3. The Lowe Post
Topic: Sports (NBA)
Length: 30-90 minutes
ESPN‘s Zach Lowe, the phenom of NBA analysis and all-around good guy, has grown his podcast into arguably the NBA’s premier source of insight from reporters, players, coaches, and insiders. NBA beginners won’t find themselves lost, while those that mash F5 during trade season will find a lot to enjoy.
4. You Must Remember This
Topic: Hollywood history
Frequency: Weekly (seasonal)
Length: 40-60 minutes
You Must Remember This is a podcast from the mind of Karina Longworth, and it uncovers the juiciest stories from the early years of Hollywood. If you’ve ever been curious about the lives of Hollywood stars before the age of social media, this is the best podcast to learn everything there is to know.
5. The Adventure Zone
Topic: Fiction, D&D, Comedy
Length: 60+ minutes
This podcast started life as a My Brother, My Brother and Me spin-off episode, where the McElroy brothers and their dad play a game of Dungeons and Dragons for fun. The Adventure Zone quickly transformed into a thrilling fantasy opus full of memorable characters and unforgettable moments, spawning a huge cult following along the way. There are no shortage of tabletop RPG podcasts, but TAZ’s winning combo of dramatic flair and irreverent humor maintained across its two full arcs (so far) transform it into a surprisingly moving podcast you should grab immediately… with arms outstretched.
6. Revisionist History
Frequency: Weekly (Seasonal)
Length: 40-50 minutes
Revisionist History is a podcast from the mind of The New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell. Like his books, the podcast picks apart a specific topic and provides an alternate explanation of the themes or motives behind it. In this case, the topics are all misunderstood moments or elements from history, including the Founding Fathers of the US being criminal smugglers, the ambiguity of the semicolon in the Second Amendment, and the decline of the McDonalds french fry.
7. Ear Hustle
Topic: Prison life
Length: 30-40 minutes
Ear Hustle is another great podcast from the Radiotopia network. Originally recorded from behind the walls of San Quentin State Prison, it gives inmates a path to tell stories about life on the inside — and the struggle to reintegrate into society afterwards. From behind the mic, inmates drop their guard and give a true, human look into the reality of incarceration in the United States.
8. This American Life
Length: 60 minutes
No list of the best podcasts is complete without This American Life. Ira Glass’ hour-long radio-program-turned-podcast has been running for nearly 25 years, and to this day provides a template that countless new podcasts emulate. Each episode is centered around a theme, which is explored in a number of segments or “acts.” These can range from field journalism to fictional stories to high profile interviews, but they are always produced to an incredibly high standard.
Topic: True crime
Length: 20-40 minutes
Criminal is another of the best podcasts on the phenomenal Radiotopia network, and easily the best produced of countless true crime podcasts out there. Host Phoebe Judge has one of the smoothest voices in the podcasting world, and runs us through the events of the crime without shying away from the gruesome details. Everything from the writing to the sound design is impeccable, making it well worth a listen.
10. Welcome to Night Vale
Topic: Variety, fiction, poetry
Frequency: Twice monthly
Length: 30 minutes
Welcome to Night Vale is an unusual podcast, and doesn’t fit neatly into any specific category. Each episode is a radio broadcast in the fictional town of Night Vale, where unusual occurrences are the norm. Fans of radio theater will love it, and the team behind the podcast frequently tour with live shows around the US and Canada.
Topic: Folklore, mystery, supernatural
Frequency: Twice monthly
Length: 30-40 minutes
Are you afraid of the dark? If not, you will be after listening to a few episodes of Lore. Aaron Mahnke twists dark folklore and supernatural stories from around the world into compelling stories, made even creepier by an eerie soundtrack recorded specifically for the show. To top things off, the stories are largely based on true stories.
12. Recode Decode
Topic: Tech, politics
Length: 60-80 minutes
Recode Decode is an interview podcast from Vox, where long-time tech journalist Kara Swisher interviews the whos-who of Silicon Valley. In their candid conversations, tech execs, politicians, and celebrities reveal their big ideas and how they’ll shape the future of the world we live in.
13. The Daily
Length: 20-30 minutes
The Daily is a daily news podcast from The New York Times, hosted by some of the best journalists in the world. It’s released without fail by 6AM, perfect for getting up to speed during your daily commute. Topics are primarily focused on the United States, so this might not be the best choice for global listeners.
14. No Such Thing as a Fish
Length: 40 minutes
If you’re a fan of the comedy quiz show QI, then No Such Thing as a Fish is the perfect podcast for you. It features the writers of the show discussing the random bits of knowledge they encounter while doing research for the show. Like the show it’s technically educational, but it’s also hugely entertaining.
15. Reply All
Length: 30-60 minutes
Gimlet Media’s star podcast Reply All is nominally about internet culture, but in reality it’s a bi-weekly exploration of modern life. Topics range from the mundane to the profane, with everything in between. Episode formats also change from week to week, with some deep dives into specific topics and other more conversational episodes between hosts, contributors, and Gimlet founder Alex Blumberg.
Best podcasts: Honorable mentions
There were a lot of podcasts that were just short of making our list, but here are a few:
- Anthropocene Reviewed — This quirky podcast sees author John Green reviewing two elements of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale. Descriptions vary from humorous to moving, and topics vary from hot dog eating contests to chemotherapy.
- Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata — Two best friends tackle all kinds of friendship-related issues in this comedy podcast. The chemistry between the two is unbeatable, and listening will leave you in a good mood for the rest of the day.
- Caliphate — Caliphate is a limited series podcast from the New York Times exploring the Islamic State. There is no better primer to the complex history of one of the most relevant groups in modern times.
- Skipped on Shuffle — Obscure music lovers rejoice! Android Authority‘s own C. Scott Brown co-hosts this podcast about compelling but overlooked songs by popular artists.
- S-Town — This fantastic podcast didn’t make our list only because it’s limited to one season, but that season tells the powerful first-person narrative of an usual character in Woodstock, Alabama. The less you know before listening, the better.
- The Bugle — This very British satirical news podcast was initially hosted by Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver (of Daily Show fame), but now Zaltzman breaks down the global news with a rotating list of guest hosts.
That’s it for our list of the best podcasts in 2019! Which one will you stuff your playlist with today?