Smart RSS Reader is a feed reader extension for Firefox and Chrome

Mar 10, 2020
Firefox, Firefox add-ons, Google Chrome extensions

Web based feed readers are kind of a pain to use. They often implement changes that you don't want, while taking away features that you like.  Local readers are much better when it comes to this, because you can revert to an older version in case of adverse changes.

SmartRSS extension for Firefox

Smart RSS Reader is a feed reader extension for Firefox and Chrome that I have been using for a week; I'm quite impressed by it so far.

Install the add-on and click its toolbar icon to open a new tab with the extension's RSS reader. It has three panes, each of which has a toolbar at the top. The left pane is the feeds pane and lists all RSS feeds that you're subscribed too. Selecting a feed displays the title of the articles published by the site in the center pane. It also displays the author's name and the date when the article went live.

Click on an article's title to open it in the browser view, aka the right pane. Smart RSS Reader displays the article in its native format (i.e. no misaligned text or items) and it contains the images included in the post too. Use the Pin icon in the top right corner of an article's page to favorite it.

Smart RSS Reader supports offline article reading which is useful when you're away from an internet connection. The extension's toolbar icon flashes a badge when a new article has been published, so you won't miss out on reading your favorite sites.

Smart RSS Reader badge

Adding RSS Feeds

The toolbar on the top of the Feeds pane has a plus button. Clicking it brings up a box where you can enter an RSS Feed's URL. For e.g.

Smart RSS Reader adding a feed

The extension automatically picks-up the name of the website, its favicon and you'll immediately see the list of articles available for reading. Another way to add a feed is by right-clicking on the extension's toolbar icon. This context menu is useful for subscribing to the RSS feed of the website that you're currently on. This doesn't work for every site though, it needs to have an RSS or XML feed available which the add-on pulls automatically.

SmartRSS extension for Firefox - subscribe context menu

If you're subscribed to a lot of feeds already, don't worry you don't need to waste time re-adding each of those to Smart RSS Reader. Click on the wrench icon in the top right corner to go to the options page, scroll down to the Import section and select the OPML > browse button to pick your OPML file.

Smart RSS Reader import OPML

The feeds are imported instantly, and the add-on preserves the folders that you have set in your previous RSS reader.

Smart RSS Reader imported feeds

Managing Feeds

Right-click on the "All feeds" option to view a context menu which allows you to "Update all, Mark all read, and Delete all articles".

Smart RSS Reader manage all feeds

Select a Feed and right-click on it, click on Properties to change the URL, name etc.

Smart RSS Reader managing site feed

Use the "New Folder" option in the Feeds pane's toolbar to create a new folder, and move RSS feeds into it. This can help you organize things. Each feed has its own context menu that has options to update the list of articles, mark all as read, delete (unsubscribe), refetch (redownload), Openhome (opens the feed's website).

Smart RSS Reader managing feeds

The feeds list pane has yet another context menu. This one can be used to jump  to the next unread, previous unread articles, or to mark articles as unread, mark and next/previous as unread, unpin articles, and to open the article in a new tab. The toolbar at the top of this pane has three icons: mark all read, update, delete. The Search box is handy to search for a particular article in your feeds.

Smart RSS Reader feed options

Smart RSS Reader options

The extension has a bunch of options including a 2-pane view, sorting options, article font size, reader behavior, export feeds to OPML or SMART (text document), etc. Smart RSS Reader has many keyboard shortcuts that you can use to read and manage your feeds.

Get the Firefox extension from the add-ons repository, and the Chrome version from the webstore. According to the developer, the extension is a fork of an add-on made by Martin Kadlec, which was made as an alternative to the built-in RSS reader in Opera 12. Smart RSS Reader is an open source extension.

The fact that you don't need an online account to manage your feeds, and that everything is stored locally is really nice. Add-ons like this and Feedbro are the closest alternative for desktop readers, though I do use QuiteRSS myself. Smart RSS Reader is very fast and fluid.

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Software Name
Smart RSS Reader
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  1. Jonas said on March 13, 2020 at 4:25 am

    I’m currently using Livemarks, which is dead simple — almost featureless. Its aim is just to restore the Live Bookmarks feature that FF used to have. I like that simplicity.

    For some purposes I prefer less complicated (and less powerful) tools, because nobody has unlimited mental focus. Every additional complication (for example, in the FF interface), no matter how useful in itself, pulls your mind away from other things that may be more important to you — and you may not even realize that it’s happening.

  2. zakius said on March 12, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    thanks for your write up!
    I decided to pick up this project to replace Newsfox that was always pretty slow and to open up my way to Quantum, after I fixed issues bothering me it quickly became my daily driver and I thought “maybe someone else will like it too” so I published it to AMO and attempted CWS and Opera
    Fast forward around 10 months and we are here, with ~850 daily users reported by AMO, that’s pretty impressive as I never really advertised!

    I am aware many other extensions exist but I never managed to find one that would match my flow from M2 later perfected in Newsfox, ability to middle-click on article titles on list and almost native selection handling were crucial for me and while SmartRSS lacked the former it had most of heavy lifting already done so it was a perfect project to adopt for my personal use

  3. Var said on March 11, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Wow, it got back into Webstore (it was having issues with that for more than a year). Nice to hear that since I’ve been using a developer version of it till now.
    I was a regular user of original extension by Martin on Opera as well and before that the Opera’s inbuilt M Feed system as well.

    1. zakius said on March 12, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      yeah, that was a long journey full of software bugs and policy changes, I was ready to give up but finally it got republished
      though I don’t intend to fight once again if anything unexpected happens in the future, sorry

  4. Diana said on March 10, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    ๏̯͡๏ ➜ This Addon is Much Better !!

    └● mPage

    ✚ Please try them !!
    [ ✔ ] Is really good !!

    … ºL_º

  5. Anonymous said on March 10, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    I prefer QuiteRSS. Lots of custom options.

  6. Anonymous said on March 10, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for the article!

  7. Léon said on March 10, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Feedbro is very much better.

    When you click on a folder name all feeds in that folder appear in the right panel, all opened, below each other.

    Very handy.

  8. M. said on March 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    It just doesn’t do anything (and yes I gave all the necessary permissions)! Help doesn’t help either. Help!

  9. bgmCoder said on March 10, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    I also use QuiteRSS and have for years and I love it. @Ashwin – how can I make chrome give me a toolbar button to subscribe to RSS feeds in QuiteRSS? I don’t want to have to copy and paste the url – I’m looking for a button to just subscribe using my external feed reader. I have this in my Waterfox (but can’t remember of find out which extension supplies the button).

  10. Jan said on March 10, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Using it since the new Opera came out. really good.

  11. HappyMigrator said on March 10, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    That was goold old Opera’s 12 RSS reader, that will be soon in Vivaldi in a form or another, because guess what, Jon von Tetzschner who made Opera Presto and not ChrOpera is making Vivaldi. Awaiting anti-Vivaldi “bloatware” comments in 3,2,1 from the usual haters and trolls.

  12. 3rdrock said on March 10, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Any RSS reader without filtering to delete things I never want to read about isn’t one I would use. So I won’t be using this by the looks of things. I’m not sure what’s feature it has that they thought the moniker of “smart” was appropriate, it just seems like a bog standard one.

    Feedbro is the best extension I’ve tried partly down to rules. App wise I use my Mac for internet most of the time and use Readkit which has smart folders. Not quite as nice as rules for me but does the same job. QuiteRSS works well but just looks terribly dated even on Windows, even more so on the Mac. A rewrite was going to happen a while back but that was cancelled.

  13. Devastator said on March 10, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Looks similar to Feedbro, which i use.

    1. Dom Perignon Rose said on March 10, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Similar, yes, but from a quick test i did Feedbro IMO is better, both in performance, resources and features. Smart RSS Reader uses almost triple the amount of ram (according to Chrome’s task manager) and a lot more cpu usage when it tries to update feeds, also from my test it seems that it doesn’t support Instagram feeds, whereas Feedbro does. it’ still early days for this add-on though, maybe in the future will become a better alternative to Feedbro.

      1. Alex said on March 11, 2020 at 12:30 am

        How does Feedbro compare to Brief ( ?

  14. Klaas Vaak said on March 10, 2020 at 11:28 am

    I have used various RSS feed readers, incl. QuiteRSS, Feedly, RSS Owl, Liferea, ……
    I am now using Vienna (Mac only) which I find by far the best.

    1. 3rdrock said on March 10, 2020 at 5:43 pm

      Vienna is OK. It has the same negative as Readkit for me, smart folders rather than rules. For stuff I never want to read about I just want it deleted. That’s the only thing I use smart folders for, to hide that stuff. They just are not as neat or flexible as rules. For example I have a few groups of delete rules in feedbro. One group for things I never, ever want to read about, but others for things I do once in a while (like phones if I’m in the market for one, otherwise don’t want to see them). I can toggle them when I do want to read about those subjects. You can’t really do that with smart folders.

  15. Anon said on March 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I just don’t understand why this add-on/extension “SmartRSSReader” consumes so much RAM/CPU when compared (for example) with Feedbro add-on/extension (

    In FF’ Nightly with 100 feeds, SmartRSSReader when inactive consumes around 4MB VS Feedbro that consumes around 1MB.

    And when active, here is the huge exaggerated jump, SmartRSSReader may consume around 30MB (never saw an add-on/extension consuming so much RAM) VS Feedbro that consumes around 2MB (with same number of loaded feeds).

    Please, don’t get me wrong, SmartRSSReader has a nice and promising interface (reminds me NewFox), but from browser performance point of view, IMHO this add-on/extension has issues, or at least it needs a huge improvement here.

  16. owl said on March 10, 2020 at 10:45 am

    I’m not interested in SNS, and on the Web, I’m only interested in information (articles) from specific sites (for example,, so “RSS” is the main tool.
    Now, my favorite method is the desktop app “QuiteRSS” and the browser extension “Feedblo”.

    However, as I am Inspired by Aswin’s article, I felt that I would try “Smart RSS” for this browser extension for a while.
    Thanks to Aswin for a very good article (specific and sufficient considerations).

    1. owl said on March 13, 2020 at 2:10 am

      I’ve tried “Smart RSS”:
      Installed (from AMO), imported “Feedblo” data (Feed Subscriptions as OPML) and compared each other.
      Indeed, the behavior is fast.
      ● There is no “dark theme”.
      ● Lack of various customization functions that are possible with Feedblo.
      ● Large RAM consumption.
      ● CPU load is high and its value will never be zero.

      Smart RSS is
      It’s not an alternative for Feedblo users, but it may be the best option for casual users who don’t want advanced features.

  17. Charnita said on March 10, 2020 at 9:40 am

    This would have been perfect if it had filters.

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