From work to errands, relationships, and other responsibilities, carving out a little “you time” may seem impossible. And it’s true, you may not always have time binge your favorite Netflix series for hours on end, but we’ve got an alternative for you. Whether you’re lacking structure in your life or you simply need a light-hearted release, adding a podcast to your everyday routine or commute is one of the most fulfilling – and entertaining – things you can do.
We’ve compiled a list of not only the most popular podcasts – but the ones that are downright meant to be listened to for hours on end. Check out these binge-worthy podcasts, spilling all the tea on true crime, politics, and everything in between.
Our Top Picks Overall
Hosted by Michael Barbaro from the New York Times, The Daily podcast gives you a dose of news in a 20-minute segment. It’s the perfect alternative for people on the go who don’t have time – or simply don’t want to – read an entire news article. In each segment, journalists recap the news stories that can be found in the Times. With nearly 4 million listeners, The Daily is one of the most popular podcasts of the year.
2. The Dropout – Listen on ITunes, Google, IHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitcher
The Dropout podcast uncovers why Elizabeth Holmes’ success story was shattered in an instant. Dubbed the “world’s youngest self-made female billionaire,” Holmes had made a mark on the world at the time that her whole world came crashing down. Listen in to her captivating story that reveals never-before released pieces of this tragic puzzle.
3. Undisclosed – Listen on Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher
Who doesn’t love investigative journalism? The Undisclosed podcast serves you unbelievably raw details on a silver platter – from wrongful convictions to corruption in the criminal justice system. This binge-worthy podcast promises to share information you’ve never heard before about some of the country’s most puzzling wrongful convictions.
4. The Art of Process – Listen on iTunes
The Art of Process podcast celebrates what it takes to make, well, art. Inviting listeners into a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of music, movies, novels, and more, this must-listen podcast stars Aimee Mann and Ted Leo (some of the world’s greatest singer-song writers – no big deal). The two interview other creative rockstars in their field to share the truth behind the greatest hits you hear on the radio and the best sellers you see at the book store. Fair warning: You may never listen to Dixie Chicks’ lyrics the quite same ever again.
Cited isn’t a podcast for passive listening. It’s one of depth, telling stories about academic research and ideas that may or may not change your perspective on how you see the world. Sound….boring? We can assure you it’s anything but. Cited is currently taking a “break,” but they have promised us they will be back with more groundbreaking knowledge in the fall.
6. Stuff You Should Know – Listen on Stitcher, Itunes, Spotify
Stuff You Should Know (SYSK) is a no-fail option if you are in the market for a new podcast. If you haven’t tuned in yet, you’ve probably seen the show sitting pretty in one of the top 10 spots on iTunes for what seems like an eternity, now. Brought to you by How Stuff Works, SYSK is hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant, two guys who are self-proclaimed experts on everything from the Etch a Sketch to Dyslexia and the Loch Ness Monster.
Whether you’re a true crime junkie or not, the Criminal podcast is a must-listen. As explained on the show’s website, Criminal shares “Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” From exclusive interviews with detectives, forensic scientists, attorneys, and more, you’ll get a front row seat to some of the most intense, puzzling crimes of all time.
With more than five million downloads, Reply All is a podcast about the internet, kind of. While it was intended on uncovering the internet’s problems, this podcast tends to uncover the problems people have…because of the internet.
According to Nick Quah from Vulture, “Despite the name, ‘Reply All’ isn’t a podcast about technology — it’s a podcast that tells gorgeous, painfully human stories that happen to have bits of technology sprinkled in.”
Bullseye is a podcast by Maximum Fun. This NPR show invites you into the stories behind popular culture – from movies to music and comedy. Each week, Bullseye brings in wildly entertaining guests with exclusive stories you can’t hear anywhere else. If you binge-listen this podcast, you might just hear from rockstars like Dolly Parton, Patton Oswalt, and George Robert Newhart.
10. The Worst – Listen on ITunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher
The Worst, what? This podcast delves into hilariously painful stories about people’s lives, from getting lost in grocery stores to stupid decisions high schoolers make at parties. Hosted by Greta Titelman, this series will make you want to embrace humanity, even at its worst.
And now onto the best podcasts by category…
All Songs Considered – Listen on Itunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify
All Songs Considered is the music lover’s podcast. From exclusive interviews with artists to in-depth conversations about the latest radio releases, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton put on a great show for anyone interested in learning about music.
Watching The Throne – Listen on Itunes, Stitcher, Google Play
There’s an entire podcast on Kanye West? You bet there is. Watching The Throne isn’t about Game of Thrones (although we kind of wish it was) but about the meaning behind Mr. West’s lyrics. There’s more behind “I made that [bleep] famous” than you might think.
Sound Opinions – Listen on iTunes, Stitcher
Sound Opinions is a radio show in Chicago, but its wild popularity drove this series straight to iTunes. The podcast is brought to you by “The Rock Doctors,” Jim and Greg, who are on a mission to save your soul with the right tunes. From band reviews to exlusive interviews, you won’t want to miss this earful of art.
TV & Movies
How Did This Get Made – Listen on iTunes
Do you ever watch a movie and wish you could get the past two hours of your life back? While it may seem counterproductive, this podcast is all about those regretful hours. Hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas play movie critic – but in a hilarious way – reviewing the worst of the worst movies that might just make you want to tune in.
Double Toasted – Listen on iTunes, Soundcloud
Double Toasted isn’t your average movie review podcast. From roasting the latest Hollywood movies to poking fun at actors, this podcast labels movies of all genres with ratings from “Same Ol Bull****” to “Mantinee.”
Similar to Double Toasted, The Canon provides commentary on current films. However, this podcast’s style is a bit less tongue-and-cheek than the previous, analyzing each films’ worthiness of The Canon (AKA one of the best films around).
Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show – Listen on iTunes, Stitcher
Tuesdays are for tacos and Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. You probably recognize him from his award-winning days on The Usual Suspects, Casino, and A Few Good Men, but he’s back to take your stereo by storm with hilarious and relevant interviews. Pollak chats with fellow comedians, famous actors, entrepreneurs, and more each week.
Bert Kreischer has never told a bad story. Whether he’s telling you about tying his shoe or his days on Myspace, you’ll have to contain your laughter as he shares his everyday wisdom with his listeners. In each episode, Kriesher interviews someone of relevance, whether it’s a fellow podcaster, comedian, or actor.
2 Dope Queens – Listen on iTunes
2 Dope Queens is recorded in Brooklyn and hosted by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. Their relatable and comedic friendship will make you feel right at home as they share their real-life (and down-right hysterical) experiences with dating, sex, city living, and more.
The Last Podcast on the Left – Listen on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher
The Last Podcast on the Left is a unique take on true crime. Nothing is off limits for the hosts, who cover the most horrific events from murders to demons. And while it may sound intimidating, The Last Podcast on the Left is hosted by comedian Ben Kissel who makes these dense topics seem, well, less horrifying.
Who is Dr. Death? In this true crime podcast, you’ll learn all about the disturbing medical malpractice story of Christopher Duntsch, a surgeon who intentially left his patients injured – or dead – after surgery.
S-Town – Listen on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Radio Public
It all started when host Brian Reed recieved a crypitc email, with a subect that read: “John B McLemore lives in S***town Alabama.” Covering a deadly crime in a small town, Reed digs into what really happened with the rich young man who claims he “got away with murder.”
Dear Sugars – Listen on iTunes, NPR One
What happens when your partner’s body starts to change? Or when your family member is making horrible choices? Dear Sugars podcast answers all of life’s hardest questions for you, bringing the old-fashioned advice column to life. While this podcast wrapped up its last episode last year, there are still 100 life-changing episodes you can get your hands on.
Sex With Emily – Listen on iTunes, iHeart Radio, Google Play, Soundcloud, Spotify
Meet Emily, certified “sexpert.” She’s the friend you wish you had when you needed advice about intimacy and had nowhere to turn. Get an all access pass to her interviews with doctors, relationship experts, and even adult entertainment stars who share their own experiences as well as tips to being your healthiest, sexiest self.
I Do Podcast – Listen on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Spotify
I Do is a podcast about marriage and dating, hosted by an adorable couple of newlyweds, Chase and Sarah. They’re here to help you navigate life, relationships, and parenthood, all while sharing their own ups and downs in a raw and relatable way. You’ll fall in love with their relationship and learn a thing or two along the way!
IRL – Listen on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Radio Public, Stitcher
IRL is a podcast that celebrates the internet, with the hopes of encouraging listeners to take a proactive, responsible, and logical approach to all things on the web. Addressing societal issues that arise because of the internet, IRL is an enlightening listen that reminds us all: online life is real life, too.
The Mission Daily – Listen on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher
On a mission to improve your health, wealth, and wisdom? You’ve come to the right place. The Mission Daily podcast is full of rich, insightful information on science and technology that you won’t come across on your local news, Instagram feed, or Yahoo! home page. Enjoy your new wealth of knowledge by tuning in each week.
The Upgrade by Life Hacker – Listen on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher
If you’re looking for an upgrade of any kind – in a relationship, a job, a car – this podcast is the right one for you. Touching on everything under the sun, The Upgrade podcast wants to empower you to do better in all aspects of life, and they’re on the air to teach exaclty how.
Kids & Family
Sesame Street Podcast – Listen on iTunes, iHeart Radio
Mondays are for the Muppets! Tune in with your little one to new episodes at the start of each week, where the beloved cast of Sesame Street will sing, teach, and goof around for your child’s entertainment and education. It’s perfect to help kids disconnect from technology, or for a little entertainment on your daily commutes in the car!
But Why – Listen on iTunes, Google Play, NPR One
“But Mom, why?” You’ve probably heard the phrase more times than you can count, but this podcast takes a positive spin on that (semi) annoying saying. But Why answers all of your little one’s burning questions – from episodes about animals to law, health, and relationships (in a kid-friendly way, of course).
This podcast is a life-changer. Peace Out teaches you and your child healthy and constructive ways of handling emotions, as well as ways to focus and stay in control. Covering a new topic each week, the Peace Out podcast has discussed things like healthy sleeping habits, patience, and helping others.
Science Vs – Listen on iTunes, Spotify
With so many media outlets fighting for your attention, how do you know what’s fact and what’s fiction? Even the most reputable sources fall short from time to time, but one thing that’ll never let you down? Science. The Science Vs podcast offers you the facts you need in this world of information overload.
Discovery by BBC – Listen on iTunes
From smart phones to the Cold War and recycling, the Discovery podcast isn’t afraid to investigate discrepencies, historical events, and current trends. Bringing in some of the most intelligent sources, this podcast is credible, science-focused, and research-driven. You’re guaranteed to walk away smarter.
You Are Not So Smart – Listen on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher
If you want to be humbled, listen to this podcast. You Are Not So Smart tells you how it is, even if it’s painful at first. Listen in as host David McRaney blows your reality wide open in every episode, exposing lies you’ve been fed by people, the media, and yourself. It may be shocking at first, but you’ll appreciate the new awareness you’ll gain.
Health & Living
The Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous – Listen on iTunes, Stitcher
Do you want to feel fabulous? We’re not talking stillettos and red lipstick kind-of-fabulous (though, that’s a good feeling, too), but the kind you get from eating right. It’s a constant battle for most of us – learning what’s nutritious, what’s not, and how to go about making healthy changes. With The Nutrition Diva’s podcast, you’ll quickly feel empowered, aware, and prepared to live a healthier lifestyle.
Good Life Project – Listen on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify
There are so many self-care fads right now, but this isn’t one of them. The Good Life Project aims to be the exact opposite, actually. Offering you strategies to improve your life longterm, you can expect to feel more confident, organized, and driven by tuning into what this team of experts has to share. What do you have to lose?
Food Psych – Listen on iTunes
Diets are a no-no if you ask host of Food Psych, Christy Harrison. It’s about listening to your body, or “intuitive eating,” as she discusses on the show. There’s something people of every size, health, gender, and age can learn from her wealth of health knowledge, and we can guarantee – it’s unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Did we gush over your favorite podcast? Let us know in the comments below which podcasts you love to binge!