TiPb checks out the best, most must-have podcasting apps to load up on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

Top 5 best alternative podcast apps for iPhone and iPad

If Apple's built-in iPod/Music app just isn't enough for your podcast listening needs, you're in luck -- TiPb has put together our top 5 favorite podcast apps from the App Store. From finding to streaming to downloading to managing, these are the best podcatcher apps we've found to date. Read on to see our recommendations!

Instacast

Instacast is a great app for managing and listening to podcasts. Instacast allows you to manage all your podcast subscriptions including subscribing to new ones all on the device. There is no need to use iTunes or sync your iPhone in any way.

Instacast has its own optimized podcast player app which includes features like 2x playback mode, bi-directional skipping and AirPlay. Instacast has even been written to make full use of the iPhone 4’s Retina display

The app has a beautiful and simple interface and even includes pull down to refresh; which will check for new podcasts and download them automatically.

[$1.99 App Store Link]

Podfisher

Podfisher is an app that I consider to be a half way house between the native podcast app and a third party app. The reason I say this is because Podfisher uses the iTunes database to retrieve the podcast episodes. This brings one positive and one negative.

The positive is that it syncs the podcasts you download over the air back to iTunes when you sync. This means if you use more than one iOS device you can keep all you podcasts in sync. The negative is how you actually download them. You have to click on one podcast at a time which takes you to the iTunes page for the podcast where you can manually download the latest episode. It is a bit of a pain to do that each time compared with the other podcast apps.

Podfisher uses the standard iPod music player so there are no new controls or interfaces to learn. It also gives you the ability to stream podcasts as well as locally cache them.

[$0.99 App Store Link]

Podcaster

Podcaster was one of the first third party podcast apps available and remains one of the favorites. It has a very polished user interface although does seem prone to the odd crash every now and then. It has all the features you could wish for in a podcast listening app; such as subscribing to new podcasts without the need for iTunes. Batch over the air updating including over 3G without any download limits, resume of downloads on interruption, Retina display graphics and audible alerts when new content is available and ready to listen to.

Podcaster has its own podcast player which features variable-speed playback, chapters, gestures, commercial skip buttons, and AirPlay.

[$1.99 App Store Link]

iCatcher

iCatcher is the first podcast app that is a universal binary; so works on both iPhone and iPad at native resolutions, a nice feature. It also covers most of the other bases too including background downloading over WiFi or 3G, schedule times to check updates, background playback of audio and playlists to name a few.

Again it has its own podcast player with all the usual features like AirPlay, track skipping, variable speed of playback and rewind. It also offers a gesture based control system with various swipe actions to toggle well used commands. Podcasts can be added via RSS feeds, a searchable database or via an OPML file.

[$1.99 App Store Link]

RSSRadio Mobile

RSSRadio mobile is another universal binary offering podcast playback on your iPhone or iPad. It is probably not the most feature rich offering but does cover most of the important ones.

Again it has the ability to download episodes of any size over WiFi and 3G, background audio playback, 2x speed playback, background downloading and password protected podcast support.

It definitely lacks a lot of the other apps bells and whistles and is the same price!

[$1.99 App Store Link]

Your favorite podcatcher?

While these may be some of our favorite apps to load up on our iOS devices to listen to podcasts, it doesn't mean there aren't other great ones out there. If you use something different let us know what your picks are as well.

And if you want even more suggestions on podcast and audio apps, check out our TiPb apps & games forum for more opinions from forum members. You can also give us your opinions on your favorite podcast apps in our TiPb apps & games review forum. We'd love to hear from you!