Instapaper vs Read It Later

I’ve covered both of these time-savers in a series of posts — ‪Save Webpages For Later Offline Reading With Instapaper‬, Instapaper On Your Amazon Kindle E-Reader, Five Instapaper Tips, Tricks, And How-To’s, Read It Later For iPhone And iPad, Read It Later For Chrome And The Web, Get Distracted Later With Read It Later Pro (Android App), and Five Awesome Tricks For Read It Later – but which one is better? If you’re looking to save some web content to read later on either your computer or chosen mobile device, should you use Instapaper or Read It Later?

Both of these offerings are very similar in what they are trying to achieve. You find some article on the web that you want to read, but you don’t want to read it right now. You save it for some offline reading later on, which also happens to be a great way to conserve your data usage on your smartphone or tablet.

However, there are some distinct differences between Read It Later and Instapaper that may sway you one way or the other. Let’s see which solution reigns supreme.

The Advantages of Instapaper

From the context of consuming web content on a portable device, Instapaper for the iPhone and iPad has some interesting features that you won’t find in Read It Later. First, it has something called “night mode” where you get white text on a black background. That’s easier to read in dimly lit situations.



Another fascinating feature is the inclusion of the in-app dictionary, letting you look up unfamiliar words not only for their definition, but also for their Wikipedia entry. That’s convenient and useful. You may also like the “editor’s browser” that highlights some suggested reading material.

Most people who choose Instapaper, though, choose it because it offers absolute simplicity. The interface is super clean and efficient, stripping away as much fluff as possible and leaving you with the content that you really want to read.

The Advantages of Read It Later

Not to be outdone, Read It Later has some major selling points too. First, there is a free version available of the app; the free version of Instapaper was recently pulled from the App Store. Saving a few bucks never hurt.

Read It Later

Read It Later

It’s also quite notable that Read It Later has an app for Android, as well as support for all sorts of other devices. If you have something like the Galaxy Nexus, Read It Later is for you.

While there is a “text view” that strips away most of the visuals, Read It Later is definitely more media-centric than Instapaper. You get support for pictures, as well as videos. There’s also the very attractive “digest view” for consuming your saved content, as well as a great search interface for sifting through your reading list.

Which Webpage DVR Is Better?

It depends. If you value having the simplest, lightest weight, cleanest interface possible, Instapaper is a good bet. If you like having something a little more visually expressive or you have an Android device, then Read It Later is probably the better answer. The good news is that you can import Instapaper into Read It Later, should you ever choose to make that switch. Realistically, though, you probably won’t be all that disappointed with either choice. Both of these solutions (and their corresponding mobile apps) are a fantastic way to manage your reading and save your time.