21 top chat apps to try in 2024

Sara Ana Cemazar
August 1, 2023
min read

Chat apps are the staple of communication today. In the complex world of modern communication, simplicity, accessibility, and immediacy play crucial roles. Whether you're catching up with old friends or organizing a group trip, the quality and ease of communication can significantly enhance the experience.

Gone are the days of SMS limit frustrations and painstaking international call charges. Welcome to 2024, a time when chat applications have redefined communication, transforming how we interact, share, and engage in conversations on a global scale.

Statista predicts that by 2025, chat apps will have 3.51 billion users globally, becoming the leading method of digital communication.

chat app

These apps are not just about texting; they're platforms that foster discussions, generate ideas, and make the world feel a little smaller, bringing together diverse communities and cultures under one digital sky.

From giant corporations to budding startups, everyone's tapping into this platform's potential for personal and professional communication.

So, let's dive into the top chat apps of 2024.

10 leading chat apps worth checking out

Your choice of a chat app significantly shapes your digital experience. The right app can boost engagement and interaction, while a hasty, unfit choice can lead to dissatisfaction. 

So we've rigorously evaluated the top chat apps of 2024, detailing their features so that you can choose the best one suited to your needs.

1. WhatsApp

chat app

If ubiquity is a measure of success, then WhatsApp sits comfortably on the throne. Simple, efficient, and incredibly user-friendly, this chat app has become a household name across the globe. Whether you love staying connected with a special someone, need to coordinate with a large group, or conduct business in regions where WhatsApp dominates, this app has got you covered.

Its easy setup and intuitive interface across iOS, Android, and even web browsers make it a go-to choice for seamless communication. The most compelling feature? With WhatsApp, chances are high that your contacts already have the app installed, effortlessly bridging the communication gap.

What stands out

  • Universal Presence: With the highest number of users globally, WhatsApp likely already resides on your contacts' devices, bridging communication gaps seamlessly.
  • Mute Group Chats: This feature allows you to manage notifications effectively, reducing interruptions from active group chats.
  • Cost-free Usage: WhatsApp offers an array of features at no monetary cost, barring data usage.

Additional features

  • Supports voice and video chats for more dynamic communication.
  • End-to-end encryption ensures that your conversations remain private.
  • Ability to share files for efficient information exchange.
  • Free usage, excluding data costs when not connected to Wi-Fi.

2. Telegram

chat app

Telegram may not ring as loud as WhatsApp in terms of global popularity, but with its 200 million users worldwide, it certainly deserves your attention. This ad-free, cost-free chat app makes its mark with exceptional features.

What stands out

  • Massive Group Chats: Telegram allows the creation of enormous group chats, supporting up to 200,000 members, surpassing most other chat apps.
  • Ad-Free and Cost-Free: Telegram's commitment to remaining ad-free and cost-free indefinitely sets it apart from some of its competitors.
  • Platform Versatility: Unlike many chat apps, Telegram offers native apps for most platforms, ensuring seamless communication across devices.

Additional features

  • Voice chat and video chat options
  • Ability to send and accept files
  • Free usage, excluding data usage costs when not connected to Wi-Fi

3. Viber

chat app

Although it often stands in the shadows of Skype and WhatsApp, Viber is not to be underestimated. Boasting over 1 billion registered users across 193 countries, it's quite likely you'll find people you know already using this platform.

What stands out

Additional Features

  • Free voice and video calls (app-to-app)
  • Cheap calls to landlines and mobiles via Viber Out
  • Ability to share images, photos, stickers, and more
  • Self-destructing messages
  • Location sharing

4. Line

chat app

While Line may not be as popular outside of Asia, its impressive voice and video capabilities, coupled with a solid fan base, have positioned it as a strong competitor in the chat app arena. Essentially, Line is more than just a messaging app — it's a full-fledged social media platform akin to Facebook and Twitter.

What stands out

  • Versatile Usage: Not limited to your smartphone, Line can also be used on your PC or Mac.
  • Calls to Landlines: Although not free, Line offers reasonably priced calls to landlines.
  • All-in-One Platform: With Line, you can manage your conversations, extend app capabilities with add-ons, make purchases using Line Pay, and even hail a cab in Japan!

Additional features

  • Group video calls for broader communication.
  • Stickers and disappearing messages for fun and privacy, respectively.
  • Line Pay for easy transactions.
  • Chat feature, which supports communication with personal contacts as well as customer inquiries.

5. WeChat

chat app

Boasting more than a billion users, WeChat is not just a messaging app, but a lifestyle choice for many, especially in China. Due to the blockage of several other popular chat apps in China, WeChat has emerged as a preeminent choice for those seeking to stay connected in the country. It is so robust that WeChat is seen as a potential competitor to giants like Mastercard, Visa, and American Express.

What makes WeChat stand out

  • Beyond Messaging: WeChat is often referred to as "the app for everything." It's a one-stop platform for chatting, social media functionalities, location sharing, broadcasting messages, and, impressively, mobile payment features.
  • Access to China's Massive Market: For marketers targeting the regional Chinese audience, WeChat offers a unique platform to reach this significant market, considering many major chat apps and social networks are not available in China.
  • Customizable eCards: Whether it's a birthday, Valentine's Day, or the Chinese New Year, WeChat allows you to send personalized messages for any occasion.

Additional features

  • It supports voice and video chat
  • Group chat
  • End-to-end encryption
  • File sharing

6. Facebook Messenger

chat app

One of the giants in the chat app space, Facebook Messenger, takes full advantage of its parent social network's extensive user base. Its main strength lies in the fact that your contacts are likely to already have it installed, eliminating the need to persuade them to download another app.

What makes Facebook Messenger unique

  • Massive User Base: As Facebook is widely used globally, the chances are high that your contacts already have Messenger, making it easy to get started.
  • Versatile Platform Support: Messenger offers standalone apps for Android, iOS, and Windows, mimicking the familiar Facebook interface. Though there isn't a standalone desktop app for Linux or macOS, users on these platforms can easily access Messenger through a web browser.

Additional features

  • Disappearing Messages
  • Group Video Calls
  • Facebook Pay

7. Signal

chat app

Famed for its top-notch privacy, Signal is a versatile chat app available across Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Highly praised by the likes of Edward Snowden, Jack Dorsey, and Bruce Schneier, this open-source app has amassed a dedicated following, a testament to its robustness and user-centricity. 

What stands out

  • Cross-Platform Availability: Not confined to a specific operating system, Signal runs on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux, ensuring your conversations are always within reach.
  • Strong Privacy Focus: Signal puts a premium on user privacy, using end-to-end encryption for all communications, and it is open-source, allowing for transparent verification of its security.
  • Unique Features: Signal's "note to self" tool, allowing users to send reminders or notes to themselves, is a unique offering in the chat app space. Also, unlike many other apps, it supports unlimited group sizes.

Additional features

  • Enables large-scale conversations, perfect for large teams or communities.
  • "Note to Self" feature: A handy tool for jotting down thoughts and reminders.
  • Ensures secure and private communication through end-to-end encryption

8. Tox

chat app

Tox is the antidote to the widespread digital surveillance of corporations and governments. It stands out for its easy-to-use, ad-free platform that offers instant messaging, voice and video calls, screen sharing, and file sharing—all encrypted and absolutely free.

What stands out

  • Strong Privacy Focus: Tox employs end-to-end encryption for all its functionalities, ensuring that your conversations are private and secure.
  • User-driven Development: Developed by users, for users, Tox has no corporate interests or hidden agendas. It prioritizes privacy and ease of use above all.
  • Fully Distributed Network: There are no central servers that can be compromised. The Tox network is entirely made up of its users, providing a truly decentralized communication platform.

Additional features

  • Allows you to share your desktop with your friends.
  • Trade files with no artificial limits or restrictions.
  • Chat, call, and share videos and files with your entire circle.

9. Threema

chat app

Threema is a highly secure messaging app that values your anonymity. Using the NaCI cryptography library generates a unique ID Key each time you open the app, allowing you to send anonymous messages or choose to link them to a phone number or email.

What stands out

  • Anonymity & Security: Threema’s focus is on providing encrypted, anonymous communication and securing all text, voice, video, and photo messages.
  • Versatility: Beyond messaging, Threema offers handy features like a polling system, QR codes for contact verification, and light or dark themes.
  • Desktop Version: Continue your conversations seamlessly from mobile to desktop.

Additional features

  • Share large files up to 50MB in size.
  • Easily gauge the opinions of family and friends.

10. Nimbuzz

chat app

Nimbuzz is a free, cross-platform messaging app that syncs your chats from different platforms like Facebook and Google Chat into one convenient place, whether on your phone, iOS, PC, or Mac.

What stands out

  • Cross-Platform Availability: With Nimbuzz, all your chats from different platforms can be accessed in one place.
  • Seamless Integration: Log into your social media accounts through Nimbuzz for a unified chat experience.
  • Interact with Nimbuzz Users: Apart from integrating chats from different platforms, Nimbuzz also allows you to add and interact with other Nimbuzz users.

Additional features

  • Access all your chats from a unified single app.
  • Cross-platform interactions by connecting with other Nimbuzz users across different platforms.
  • Nimbuzz has a straightforward and easy-to-use interface.

Premier community-based messaging apps

Community chat apps serve as digital meeting places for groups of people with shared interests, passions, or objectives. They can be used for casual social interactions, professional networking, team collaboration, or even learning and growth. Let’s look at some popular community chat apps in 2024.

➡️ If you're looking for more specialized communities to join, have a look at our article on best online chat rooms.

1. Discord

chat app

Discord is especially popular gaming chat app. It provides voice, video, and text communication channels, along with unique features like gaming integrations, allowing users to create or join community servers around shared interests.

2. Mighty Networks

chat app

As a platform where creators can build their own communities, Mighty Networks provides tools to create courses, organize events, and foster discussions, enabling creators to engage their audience all in one place.

3. Circle

chat app

Circle is a community platform with a focus on providing a better alternative to traditional forums and social media groups. Its easy-to-use, modern interface makes community building, discussion, and management a breeze.

4. Amino

chat app

Amino is a network of communities centered around different interests, ranging from music, and anime, to games. Users can explore, connect, and contribute to communities that share their passions, making it an engaging social platform.

5. Clubhouse

chat app

Clubhouse is a unique, audio-based social networking app where users can join rooms to listen or participate in conversations. It's widely used for hosting interviews, discussions, and interactive podcasts, encouraging real-time, voice-based engagement.

6. KakaoTalk

chat app

KakaoTalk is a fast and multifaceted messaging app. Users can send messages, photos, videos and even make voice calls. Its open chat features allow users to join or create communities and engage in group chats.

Chat apps for a connected workplace

Work chat apps have transformed the way teams collaborate, making it easier to share ideas, discuss projects, and stay connected, regardless of location. Here's a roundup of the top chat apps for work that are shaping the future of business communication.

1. Rocket.Chat

An open-source chat platform that allows wide-ranging customization to suit your team's unique needs. Features include end-to-end encrypted conversations, video conferencing, screen sharing, and live chat for customer support. It stands out with its extensive integrations, complete data sovereignty, two-factor authentication, and self-hosting capability.

Rocket.Chat offers a unified chat interface to communicate with colleagues, external partners, and customers. This versatile chat app is a preferred choice for organizations in heavily-regulated industries that want efficient communication without security compromises.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

Talk to sales

2. Clariti

AI-powered Clariti is revolutionizing team collaboration by providing a unified platform for seamless communication and information sharing. By integrating emails, chats, documents, and calendar events into context-based conversations, Clariti enhances clarity and accessibility of discussions, making it easier for teams to share ideas and discuss projects.

With features like topic-based chats and the ability to bring relevant context from past conversations, Clariti ensures that teams stay focused and productive, even when working remotely. Additionally, Clariti's AI capabilities facilitate efficient decision-making by providing deep insights into the context behind communications.

AI-powered chat app

3. Spike

Spike brings together team communication and collaboration solutions in a unified platform, combining conversational email, messaging, video conferencing, AI-assisted services, and collaborative documents.

This simplifies your communication processes, cuts costs, and delivers a seamless experience. Spike ensures effortless communication with coworkers, clients, and partners, even if they aren't using Spike. You won't require any additional add-ons or plugins, and it's compatible with all devices.

4. MS Teams

A Microsoft 365 integrated platform, Teams is perfect for businesses heavily reliant on Office Suite. It supports video meetings, and file sharing, and has a well-organized chat interface for efficient team collaboration in the workplace.

It's one of the most-used team communication apps on the market, thanks to the wide Microsoft 365 user base. It's often used as a communication tool in large enterprises.

5. Slack

Slack is a popular communication tool for businesses and communities worldwide. It offers real-time messaging, file sharing, and seamless integration with other productivity tools. Slack’s channel-oriented structure organizes conversations and facilitates efficient collaboration. Its thread feature keeps conversations organized, and custom alerts ensure you never miss important updates.

6. Pumble

A free, unlimited team chat app, Pumble makes collaboration easy with its public channels, direct messages, and integrations. It's web, desktop, and mobile-friendly, ensuring you can stay connected wherever you are.

7. Google Chat

Part of Google Workspace, Google Chat is a great employee communication software for teams using Google's suite of productivity apps. It supports direct messages, threaded team chats, and integration with Gmail and Google Meet for an all-around communication experience.

The best chat app for you

There is a myriad of chat apps on the market to suit your needs. Whether you're looking for a simple chat to connect with friends and family, a specific region- or interest-based chat community, or a business instant messaging tool, you can use our list above to make your choice.

Most of the chat apps on the first part of our list are free, so you can experiment with the one that suits you best. If you're looking for a chat app for your team or workplace, here are some additional resources:

➡️ 6 reasons why you shouldn't use WhatsApp for employee communication

➡️ 23 best remote work tools

➡️ 5 best unified communications software systems

➡️ Best Skype for Business alternatives

➡️ Best team chat apps for hybrid teams

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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