Best Chat Apps for 2023 [Free & Paid]: Our Top 12 Picks

Published On January 25th, 2024 9800Communication
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Highlights of the 12 best chat apps you must try in 2023, including their features and benefits to help you choose the right one for your needs.

Introduction

In today’s digitally connected world, online chatting apps have become an essential part of life, whether for personal or professional use. But not everyone is interested in using a paid chat solution and this is where free chat apps come in.

So in this blog, we’ve come up with a carefully curated list of the top 12 messaging apps for 2023 to help you choose the best one for your communication needs.

What is a Chat App?

A Chat App is software that allows your user to communicate with their friends and family in real time. Typically, chat apps are used for in-app messaging along with features like voice and video calling, file sharing, push notifications, and more.

These apps can be downloaded on any compatible device like mobile, tablets, or computers and can be used across a variety of platforms like Android, iOS, and Web.
Some of the popular use cases of online chat apps include personal communication, enterprise communication, customer support, online education, and social media networking.

List Of The Best 12 Chat Apps

Here is the list of the popular chat apps:

  1. Signal 
  2. Telegram 
  3. Facebook Messenger 
  4. WhatsApp 
  5. Slack 
  6. Skype 
  7. Snapchat 
  8. Viber 
  9. Line 
  10. WeChat
  11. Discord
  12. Threema
  13. Rocket.chat

Comparison Table

Let’s quickly compare the use cases, base location and start rating of the best chat apps against each other.

AppBest ForHeadquarters inStar Rating (Out of 5)
SignalPrivate messaging and callingSan Francisco, USA 4.4
TelegramSecure 1:1 messagingGermany4.2
Facebook MessengerPrivate and Business communicationMenlo Park, California, United States4.2
WhatsAppPersonal and Enterprise CommunicationMountain View, California, United States4.1
SlackTeam communication and collaborationSan Francisco, USA4.1
SkypeInstant messaging and video conferencingLuxembourg City, Luxembourg4.1
SnapchatSocial networkingSanta Monica, USA4.1
ViberPrivate messaging and callsJapan4.0
LineCommunication and Social networkingTokyo, Japan3.9
WeChatCommunication and Mobile paymentShenzen, Guangdong, China4.3
DiscordBest chat app for gaming communitiesSanfransico, California4.4
ThreemaNo.1 secure chat app to regain privacyPfäffikon, Switzerland4.1
Rocket.chatSecure team collaborationWilmington, USA4.2
List of Free Chat Apps with Review

1. Signal 

Easy & free private calling and messaging app

Top-messaging-softwares
An Encrypted Free Messaging Service for Instant messaging, Voice, and Video Calls

Signal is a popular private messaging app that enables users to communicate with each other, avoiding SMS costs. Besides, users can create groups and chat with multiple other users in real time. Also, it enables sharing of media or attachments ensuring the privacy of the sender and receiver data. 

Features:

  • Direct Messaging
  • Voice calling
  • Video calling
  • Group chats
  • Media and File Sharing
  • Signal PINs

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Signal is used by people all over the world, but it is particularly popular in the United States and Europe.

Platforms/Languages: Signal is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Use Cases: Signal is best for users who put their privacy and security first when using a chat app. It is particularly popular among journalists, government offices, defense, and other individuals who need to communicate sensitive information.

Free Restrictions: Signal is completely free to use, and there are no restrictions on the number of messages or calls that you can make.

 
Building White-label Chat Apps Is Now Easy With MirrorFly!

2. Telegram

Leading secure free one-to-one and group messaging app

best-real-time-chat-apps
 Free Instant Messaging for Web & Mobile Apps

This cloud-based instant messaging app is fully free, fast, and reliable to use. Above this the security features it adopts makes it one of the most preferred free chat apps for users around the globe

Features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Voice calling
  • Video calling
  • Group chats
  • Secret chats/ Self-destructing chats

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Telegram is used by people all over the world, but it is particularly popular in Russia, Iran, and India.

Platforms/Languages: Telegram is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Use Cases: Telegram is best for private communication, businesses, and enterprises that are looking for E2E encryption.

Free Restrictions: Telegram is completely free to use. There are no restrictions on the number of messages/ calls you make or receive.


3. Facebook Messenger

Best private and business communication app

best-chat-messaging-providers
Free All-in-one Communication App

Messenger is a popular and free messaging app that is integrated with the social networking giant Facebook. It lets you easily connect with your friends and family, make conversations and share media like photos, videos and files.

Features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Video calling
  • Audio calling
  • Group chats
  • File sharing
  • Media sharing
  • Messenger Rooms
  • Games

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Facebook Messenger is used by people all over the world, but it is particularly popular in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Platforms/Languages: Facebook Messenger is available for iOS, Android, and desktop.

Use Cases: Facebook Messenger is ideal for anyone who wants to connect with friends and family. It is a great app for E-commerce or Marketplace businesses to connect with their customers.

Free Restrictions: Facebook does not charge you and restrict you on the number of messages/ calls made or received within the app.


4. WhatsApp 

No.1 free personal and enterprise communication app

best-online-chatting-app
Free Messaging and Video Calling Solution

WhatsApp is a free online chatting app available for smartphones and tablets. Just with an internet connection, you can use Whatsapp for sending and receiving messages, sharing photos, documents, videos and voice messages. WhatsApp is also available on the web if you wish to access it on your browsers. Apart from instant messaging, you can also make voice and video calls on this app. 

Features:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Group chats
  • Voice and video calls
  • File sharing
  • Media sharing

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Facebook Messenger is used by people all over the world, but it is particularly popular in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Platforms/Languages: Facebook Messenger is available for iOS, Android, and desktop.

Use Cases: Facebook Messenger is ideal for anyone who wants to connect with friends and family. It is a great app for E-commerce or Marketplace businesses to connect with their customers.

Free Restrictions: Facebook does not charge you and restrict you on the number of messages/ calls made or received within the app.


5. Slack

Best for team communication and collaboration

best-chatting-apps
A No-cost Instant Messaging Platform

Slack is a free chat system that is primarily used by businesses and teams around the world. It lets users send & receive text messages, share files, and collaborate effectively on projects. It also lets you integrate third-party features, leveraging seamless connectivity and productivity across teams.

Features:

  • Channels
  • Direct messages
  • Voice and video calls
  • File sharing
  • Integrations with other apps
  • Online Chat Rooms

Key Spec:

Location of User Base: Slack is widely used in the United States, but it is also gaining popularity in other regions such as Europe and Asia.

Platforms/Languages: Available on iOS, Android, desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux), and web.

Use Cases: Slack can be used for business communication with colleagues and clients, team collaboration to share ideas, files and information, and project management to track progress and goals.

Free Restrictions: Limited features, including a limit of 10,000 messages and 10 app integrations. No voice


6. Skype 

Highly scalable free instant messaging and video calling app

best-chatting-app
A Free Messaging App with Video and Voice Communication

Skype is a free chat service that lets users make video and voice calls, send direct messages and share files effortlessly over the internet. It avails calls across landlines and mobile phones as both free and paid services.

Features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Free voice and video calls
  • Call recording
  • Group calls
  • Screen sharing
  • File sharing

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Skype has a global user base, with the largest number of users in the United States, followed by Europe and Asia.

Platforms/Languages: Skype is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Use Cases: Skype can be used for personal communication with friends and family, remote work meetings and collaborations, online language tutoring and lessons, international business communication, and dating and social communication with video calls and messaging.

Free Restrictions: Skype offers free voice and video calls, instant messaging, and file sharing. However, some features such as call recording and screen sharing require a paid subscription.


7. Snapchat

Highly engaging free instant messaging app

best-free-messaging-sdk
A Free Mobile Messaging Application

Snapchat is a social media app that allows users to share photos and videos that disappear after a short period, as well as message and video chat with friends. The app also features filters, lenses, and other fun effects.

Features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Sharing photos and videos
  • Filters and lenses
  • Stories
  • Bitmoji

Key Spec:

Location of User base: Snapchat is most popularly used in the United States, Europe and Asia and also across different parts of the world.

Platforms/Languages: Snapchat is available on iOS and Android.

Use Cases: The Snapchat app can be used for personal communication with friends and family, social networking with followers and communities, business promotion through sponsored filters, lenses and advertising, and influencer marketing with collaborations and sponsored content.

Free Restrictions: Snapchat offers all of its features for free, but some lenses and filters require in-app purchases.


8. Viber 

Best for private texts and calls

best-live-chat-app
Free and Secure Calling and Messaging App

Viber is a free online chatting service provider that allows users to make voice and video calls, send messages, and share media over the Internet. The app also offers low-cost international calling to non-Viber users.

Features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Public chats
  • Group calls
  • Free voice and video calls
  • Stickers and emojis

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Majority of Viber users are from Europe, and then from Asia and the Middle East.

Platforms/Languages: Viber is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Use Cases:Viber app can be used for personal communication with friends and family, business communication with colleagues and clients, language exchange with native speakers, and international calling to non-Viber users at a low cost.

Free Restrictions: Viber offers free voice and video calls, instant messaging, and group calls. However, some features such as Viber Out require in-app purchases.


9. Line 

Leading communication and social networking app

best-chat-app-service
A Freeware App for Instant Communication

Line is a popular messaging app that offers free chat, voice and video calls to users, and an assorted list of other features like stickers and games. This free chat app also has a payment service and also e-commerce platform.

Features:

  • Free voice and video calls
  • Instant messaging
  • Stickers and emojis
  • News feed
  • Timeline

Key Spec:

Geolocation: The user base of Line is majorly located in Asia, and also has a large number of users in Japan, followed by Thailand and Taiwan.

Platforms/Languages: Line is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. It supports over 20 languages.

Use Cases: Line app can be used for personal communication with friends and family, enterprise communication with colleagues and clients, social networking with groups and communities, and online shopping through its built-in e-commerce platform.

Free Restrictions: Line offers completely free voice and video calls, instant messaging.


10. WeChat 

Best-in-class business messaging app to chat and pay

chat-app-provider
Free messaging and calling app

WeChat is a free messaging app that is popular and primarily used in China. It offers messaging, mobile payment services and also provides payment services, allowing users to pay for goods and services, transfer money to friends, and pay bills within the app.

Features:

  • Messaging
  • Voice and Video Calls
  • Moments
  • WeChat Pay
  • Mini Programs

Key Spec:

Geolocation: WeChat has a vast user base in China, with more than 1 billion registered users. It is also popular in other parts of Asia, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.

Platforms/Languages: WeChat is available on iOS and Android platforms.

Use Cases: WeChat is primarily used for personal messaging, but it is also used for business and social networking purposes. It is highly popular for businesses in China for promoting their products and services and also for interacting with customers.

Free Restrictions: WeChat is free to download and use, but some features, such as WeChat Pay, may incur additional fees.

11. Discord

Highly scalable and engaging free online chatting app for gamers

most-secure-chat-messaging-apps
best Real-time Chat Platform for Free

Discord is a free chat app most popularly used by gamers. It offers free chat options, and you can create multiple groups and chat channels. In those channels, you can send and receive texts, emojis, and stickers in real time, along with file-sharing options.

Features

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Discord has a large user base in the USA. Apart from the USA, it also has a decent number of users from Canada, the UK, and India.

Platforms/Languages: Windows, MacOS, Android, and IOS.

Use Cases: WeChat is primarily used for personal messaging, but it is also used for business and social networking purposes. It is highly popular for businesses in China for promoting their products and services and also for interacting with customers.

Free Restrictions: Discord is completely free for basic gaming and small teams. But you are supposed to buy Nitro and boosters to share files in larger sizes and also for HD video calls.

12. Threema

No.1 secure business messaging app that regains privacy

top-chat-app-service-provider
Free Cross-Platform Instant Messaging App

Threema is the most secure chat app. The majority of its users define it as a business messaging app. Even individual users love Threema and continue using it for its security and data protection.

Features:

  • Instant messaging
  • End-to-end encrypted
  • File sharing
  • In-chat polls
  • Private and group voice and video calls

Key Spec:

Geolocation: The majority of Threema users are based in Switzerland, followed by equal numbers of other users from all around the world.

Platforms/Languages: Windows, MacOS, Android, and IOS.

Use Cases: WeChat is primarily used for personal messaging, but it is also used for business and social networking purposes. It is highly popular for businesses in China for promoting their products and services and also for interacting with customers.

Free Restrictions: Threema isn’t free, but paying a one-time license fee of a few bucks for security is really worth it. Our individual data costs multiple times more than Threema’s.

13. Rocket.chat

Best for secure team collaboration

instant chat app provider for business
in-app messaging app for corporates

Rocket.Chat is a secure communication and collaboration app used by organizations that operate in highly regulated industries. It’s used to exchange messages, files, and voice messages between team members. Many apps from Rocket.Chat’s marketplace allow teams to add additional features to their central communication hub.

Features:

  • 1:1 and group messages
  • Channels and threads
  • Voice messages
  • Granular data retention policies
  • Rich integrations portfolio 
  • Matrix federation

Key Spec:

Geolocation: Rocket.Chat is used across regions, mostly in Europe, the United States, and Latin America.

Platforms/Languages:Available on iOS, Android, desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux), and web.

Use Cases:Rocket.Chat can be used for internal and external communication with partners from other organizations, in industries such as Defense, Government, and Healthcare. Its Chat Engine and Omnichannel feature set can be used to build an embeddable chat for customer communication.

Free Restrictions: Rocket.Chat is free for teams with up to 25 users who opt for self-managed hosting, with no limits on messages or push notifications. Teams larger than 25 users and/or those who want cloud hosting have to upgrade to a paying version.

Not Satisfied With The Apps? Build Your Own Chat App With MirrorFly’s Chat SDK 

With the rise of demand for real-time communication, businesses and individuals are looking for online chatting apps that can meet their unique needs. In fact, some of the apps listed above would not have all the features that your businesses or users need.

But, I’ve got good news for you! You can now build your own chat app for your business/ service with MirrorFly’s prebuilt Chat SDK. It offers you a powerful, scalable, and also chat SDK that allows you to build a chat app from scratch, in less than 30 minutes. Besides, we also offer you a customizable chat SDK that lets you create your own white label chat apps, for a one-time license cost. 

MirrorFly Chat SDK can be used across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and the web, ensuring that your chat app can be accessed by users on their preferred devices.

When it comes to the tech stack, MirrorFly Chat SDK is built using reliable and secure technologies like Firebase and WebRTC, ensuring high performance and data security. Even MirrorFly allows you to hire a team of developers to support you in the integration process and maintenance. It also provides advanced features like message moderation, user verification, push notifications, and analytics, making it an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes.

Best ForHealthcare, Telecommunication, Fitness, E-learning, BFSI sector, Defense, Marketplace, Super apps, Transport and Logistics, Social and dating apps, Enterprise or team chat apps.
SecurityEnd to End Encryption with Protocols like AES-128 and SSL. Our FREE Chat SDK is compatible with GDPR, HIPAA, and OWASP regulations.
Location Of User BaseMajorly in the United States, UAE, Canada, India and other countries around the world.
PlatformsAndroid, iOS, and Web
Tech StacksWebRTC, Swift, Javascript, Kotlin, Angular, Flutter, React, React Native, VueJS, Firebase, and more

Why MirrorFly Chat SDK?

MirrorFly’s in-app messaging SDK has features like 1:1 chat, online presence indicators, push notifications, and other modern messaging features. This is solely because MirrorFly is focused on helping developers build a reliable, secure, and customized online chatting app so that they can provide a seamless communication experience for your users.

Build the Next Big Chat App With 100% Customization!

MirrorFly helps you create an enterprise-grade messenger with 500+ customizable chat features, and 100+ UI elements.

Contact Sales
  • White-label Solution
  • Topic-based Chat
  • Multi-tenancy Support

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a FREE Chat App?

Free chat apps are messaging platforms that let you communicate with your friends, family, customers, and clients without having to pay for the app. Besides chat, free chat apps also enable you to communicate with others freely via video, voice, and chat.

How do you make a chat app without coding for free?

To build a no-code messaging app for FREE, you need to:
Get a pre-built chat SDK
Install the SDK
Connect to the servers and 
Launch the app

What is the best free messaging app?

There are thousands of free chat apps across Play Store and App Store and the best of them are WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, Slack, Kakao Talk, Discord and GroupMe. 

What are the features of free chat?

The key features of Free Chat include private messaging, read receipts, typing indicators, media sharing, document sharing, end-to-end encryption, dashboard, analytics, and UI Kit. 

How secure is a free chat app?

A free chat app comes with built-in security features like end-to-end encryption. These encryptions cipher the users messages and transmits across the servers, preventing any kind of malicious attacks. On the other hand, messaging apps are also built in regulation with industry standards like GDPR, HIPAA and OWASP. 

Vigneshwar

Vigneshwar is a Performance Marketer, guiding providers of healthcare, education, etc., to elevate their conversation value with the help of powerful communication solutions to drive a better communication experience.

8 Comments "Best Chat Apps for 2023 [Free & Paid]: Our Top 12 Picks"

  1. Zaryab Ahmad says:

    Are these chat apps free for lifetime?

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Yes, all the messaging apps listed in the article are free to use with lifetime validity. However, additional charges may incur if you’ll need advanced features, as defined by the chat app owner.

  2. Nick Smith says:

    Very detailed analysis on the best free chat apps providers list. This was really a very nice post that you have shared. I like the post, thanks for sharing.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hi, thank you for your kind feedback. I believe this article gave you all the information you need about free chat apps. Follow us for more!

  3. Kristina Azarenko says:

    Great article. Thanks, I have been searching for a while for some info about the best free chat app providers and yours is the greatest one I have found so far. Great points you made there in your article.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello! I’m so grateful for your feedback on my article. Hope this helps you build amazing messaging apps for your users. Happy developing!

  4. Lucas Nilsson says:

    I’m in the process of building a chat app for an IT startup, very eager to try the MirrorFly Free chat API!

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hi! It’s great to hear that you are building a messaging app for your Startup. Well, you’ve made the right decision. MirrorFly is a great option for building highly reliable messaging apps with free chat SDK. Learn more about our no-cost chat SDKs here.

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