Long gone are the days when apartment hunters had to carefully scan the newspaper classifieds to find a place to live. Today, any renter can easily access millions of apartment listings through hundreds of digital databases and rental search engines. Frankly, the options can be overwhelming.
To help ease your next apartment search, we spent some time researching and using dozens of rental websites. Below, you’ll find an alphabetical list of 19 national rental listing websites, highlighting the most useful functions for each site. Most have mobile apps, and we’ve included the ratings so you know if an app is worth trying.
Abodo provides a visually streamlined way to search for rentals based on basic requirements like rent, number of bedrooms, and a few specific factors that may be non-negotiables (i.e. air-conditioning, pet-friendly). Details for each listing open right up over the search results, which can be sorted by relevancy, price, recency, and popularity. Students can also easily search for off campus housing.
Search tip: In map view, listing icons turn grey after you’ve clicked on them, so you won’t keep looking at the same listing five times.
On-the-go: The new iOS app scored 4.7 stars and the Android app has 3.7 stars.
If you’re looking for a website that provides a plethora of photos and floorplans, look no further. Listings—most of which are from large management companies—feature intuitive icons to indicate amenities, like if there’s a dishwasher or if dogs are allowed.
Search tip: There are a lot of filters, including ones that allow you to search apartment and community features like swimming pools, fitness centers, and a waterfront.
On-the-go: The latest iOS app is rated 4.7 stars, while the Android app scored at 4.2 stars.
Apartments.com is one of the more comprehensive search engines out there for rentals. There’s a large range of filters, from the usual price range and apartment type, to the more specialty features like types of apartments, such as military, income restricted, and student housing.
The default view is a map. While you can’t search by neighborhood, there is a keyword search, as well as a Polygon tool, which allows you to map out exact search borders. Apartments.com also lets you search for listings that have a video or 3D tour. For those moving to a new city, the site also features neighborhood guides to each city.
Search tip: You can filter your search according to commute time from the apartment to work via any mode of transportation. The “Plan Commute” feature lets you choose how long you want your commute to be, anywhere from as low as one minute to as much as an hour.
On-the-go: The most recent iOS app has 4.6 stars while the Android version has 4.3.
Coldwell Banker is for the wealthy renters out there. The site offers mostly single-family homes, many of which are definitely luxury (like this $85,000 home in Beverly Hills). The website also lets you search of specific suggested keywords like “smart home” and “architectural”, as well as your own keywords.
Search tip: Have your butler do your searching (if you’re wealthy enough for Coldwell Banker to be your go-to rental site, you’re wealthy enough for a butler).
On-the-go: The iOS app has 4.7 stars and the Android app has 4.
The OG rental website, Craigslist is still a must for nearly every apartment hunter. You have to wade through a lot of scams and duplicate listings, but Craigslist still offers some of the best deals since owners and small landlords can post listings directly for free. You can filter by fee or no fee, set a price range and apartment size, and indicate a few amenities.
Search tip: The key to Craigslist is to search for your requirements every day. This is how you spot the best deals first.
On-the-go: There are a surprising number of Craigslist apps out there. CPro has the best reviews for Android users, while CPlus seems the best for iPhones. Craiglist.com also automatically loads in a mobile-friendly format on smartphone web browsers.
This website’s strength lies in the detailed information it provides about the expert-vetted properties. It’s slightly more challenging to find one-off listings or listings not from a large management company. The site also offers a calculator to help you figure out how much rent you can afford.
Search tip: ForRent.com has a plethora of filters, including neighborhood options.
On-the-go: The iOS app has just 2.2 stars, while the Android app fares better at an even 4 stars.
Homes.com is definitely more geared toward buyers, but it does offer a hearty database for rental listings with a clean interface. Each listing offers information on public and private schools nearby, including a grade calculated by state test performance data.
Search tip: You can do the basics (price, size, year built, building type), plus detailed filters for type of view, lot, and amenities like “Walk-In Closet” and “1st Floor Master”.
On-the-go: The iOS app has 4.6 stars, and the Android app has 4 stars.
Acquired by Zillow in 2012, Hotpads is an incredibly in-depth and dynamic search engine for rentals across the country. You can set the basics, like your price range and apartment size and type, and filter for amenities and search your own keywords. The default view is a user-friendly map, with a list alongside it, and there are overlays that show an apartment’s proximity to public transportation and bike lanes.
Search tip: If you’re wary of listings with no photos, Hotpads is for you: There is a filter that lets you search only for listings with multiple photos.
On-the-go: The iOS app has an almost perfect 4.8-star rating while the Android app has 4.4 stars.
New York Times Real Estate
The search engine for the New York Times Real Estate listing is fairly standard. You just type in your price range, neighborhood of interest and size of the household. While this is nothing exemplary, the Times does offer a lot of great context for neighborhoods, providing information and reviews of nearby options for food, fitness, and more (powered by Foursquare), and links to recent real estate articles.
Search tip: For New York neighborhoods, the Times also provides a deeper dive into the housing market of that area.
On-the-go: The iOS app has 4.6 stars.
PadMapper pulls its information from other companies such as Airbnb, ForRent, and PadLister to form a comprehensive rental map (it used to pull listings from Craigslist as well, but Craigslist made them stop).
The default view is a map, and this carries over to the individual listings, which also come embedded with a handy Google Street View panel for that address.
Search tip: You can favorite and hide listings quickly and easily mark the places you’re interested in and ignore the rest.
On-the-go: The iOS has 4.7 stars while the Android app has 4.4 stars.