Text to speech systems are not unknown — you use it while conversing with Alexa or Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant. Though previously, it was only used for building accessible apps and speech-powered chatbots, its applications have grown in the last decade like in the area of audiobooks that help people enjoy stories or learn new things while multitasking.
Thanks to its growing popularity in the last decade, there are tons of text to speech (TTS) system providers, making it difficult for you to pick the best tool per your requirements. That is why I have compiled this list of the best text to speech apps to guide you. This list features premium as well as free apps.
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NaturalReader is an easy-to-use text to speech software that can work with a variety of text files. It provides 100+ highly accurate and natural-sounding voices in 10+ languages. Interestingly, you can also upload text files directly from cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.
It supports most document formats such as PDF, TXT, DOCX, PPTX, ODS, ODT, and non-DRM EPUB. NaturalReader comes in three versions: Online, Software, and Commercial with Online Premium starting at $9.99/month and Commercial Single starting at $49/month for one user and $10/month for each extra user.
- Supports most document formats such as PDF, TXT, DOCX, PPTX, ODS, ODT, and non-DRM EPUB along with JPEG and PNG, thanks to OCR.
- OCR for extracting text from scanned documents (premium only).
- Supports correcting or improving the pronunciation of any word.
- A free version is available but with costly upgrades for extra voices.
- Free apps are online-only, i.e., they require internet connectivity.
Linguatec Voice Reader
Linguatec Voice Reader is one of the best text-to-speech tools in the market that can easily convert text files into audio streams. Its most interesting feature is the set of 60+ astonishingly natural-sounding high-quality voices. You can choose any one of these professional voices to convert your texts into audios.
Linguatec provides high-accuracy transcription solutions, thanks to its four products: Voice Reader Home, Voice Reader Studio, Voice Reader Server, and Voice Reader Web. Its Home edition costs €49 (approx. US$59) per voice, which may seem very expensive — especially when compared to NaturalReader.
- Studio edition costs €499 (approx. US$ 605) per language, which seems a very reasonable price for unlimited commercial use.
- Supports converting a large number of text formats including TXT, RTF, DOCX, DOC, HTM, HTML, MHT, EPUB, PDF, and ODT.
- Supports up to 45 different languages including all widely popular languages such as Arabic, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, etc.
- No free personal version available, unlike NaturalReader.
- Provides only one language and one voice in Voice Reader Home.
Capti is a productivity powerhouse including a text to speech engine, which works online as well as offline. It provides a natural-sounding listening experience in 20+ languages and integrates with cloud platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, allowing you to upload files directly from them.
Capti Voice — its solution for educators — is a literacy and learning platform. As an educator, Capti Voice lets you help students overcome language barriers with personalized learning and teaching strategies. Capti Voice can narrate a large variety of text documents such as articles, ebooks, and web pages.
- Supports a host of platforms like Windows, macOS, iOS, and Chrome OS.
- Features extracting articles from web pages while skipping all clutter.
- Supports numerous text formats including PDF, DOCX, PPTX, EPUB, ODT, FODT, TXT, RTF, JPEG, PNG, and Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets.
- Free account is limited, but it still works for individuals (limitedly).
- No pricing info is available for Personal Use Pro and Classroom Use.
Voice Dream Reader
Voice Dream Reader is an impressive text to speech application that gives high-quality reading and listening experience. It offers 200+ voices in 30+ languages (more than the above apps) and features synchronized text highlighting, auto-scrolling, and a distraction-free view which helps you to focus and better comprehend or learn the content.
- Supports numerous languages such as Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, etc.
- A cheaper alternative to the above tools costing US$7.99 on the Google Play Store (for Android) and US$14.99 on the App Store (for iOS).
- Supports various formats like PDF, EPUB, TXT, RTF, DOCX, and HTML.
- Free version is very limited but supports buying premium voices.
- No support for desktop OSs like Windows and macOS, unlike the above tools.
ReadSpeaker offers a range of online and offline text-to-speech solutions for websites, mobile apps, embedded devices, and more. Surprisingly, it avails 200+ voices in 50+ languages with 90+ self-branded quality voices. ReadSpeaker offers a host of solutions, so I will focus on its general-purpose solutions.
- Supports a host of languages like Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Dutch, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, etc.
- speechCloud API provides a TTS API, unlike other listed solutions.
- No free version available, unlike most solutions on this list.
- No pricing info is available for any of its solutions (need to contact).
Speech Central is a superb text-to-speech solution, allowing you to listen to your favorite ebooks, blogs, or web pages. This app is specially designed for users with disabilities like dyslexia. It also offers features to listen to an article later, check your listening/reading history, and perform handy tasks.
- Allows listening to any web page or ebook that helps at multitasking.
- Windows app also allows you to convert text into audio (MP3).
- Highly customizable listening and reading experience.
- No support for macOS while it supports Android, iOS, and Windows.
- No free trial available for Windows while it is available for Android.
KNFB Reader is an easy to use text to speech converter. It is specially built for people with disabilities like low vision, dyslexia, etc. You can take a picture of any text, and KNFB Reader will read it aloud. Unlike some other readers, it uses superb image processing technology to capture accurate pictures.
- Offers voices in a range of languages including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Russian, etc.
- Works offline, i.e., it does not require an internet connection.
- Supports converting text to Braille, unlike most other apps.
- No support for macOS while it supports Android, iOS, and Windows.
- Very pricey — especially if compared to Speech Central (almost 7-8x).
Text to Speech!
Text to Speech! is a text-to-speech app for iPhones and iPads. It produces natural-sounding accurate voices from the input text. It can produce audio as you type in the text, but it does not support speaking out complete text files. This app offers 90+ voices in 30+ languages and customization options too.
- Supports most popular languages including English, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, etc.
- Works offline, i.e., without an internet connection, like KNFB Reader.
- Its voices sound less natural, unlike various solutions on this list.
- No support for speaking text files or text in pictures, unlike others.
Panopreter Basic is a simple text to speech converter. It uses Microsoft TTS voices provided in Windows to convert texts in audio formats like WAV, MP3, OGG, and FLAC formats. Though the basic version is pretty limited, its premium version allows you to customize text layouts, audio pitch, and volume.
- Its Basic version is freeware, unlike almost all tools on this list.
- Supports only Windows, unlike most other solutions listed here.
- The basic version is very limited — misses all the customization options.
- The basic version does not support DOCX, but you can copy-paste content.
iSpeech is another text-to-speech voice synthesis software targeted towards developers. It can help you to convert text to audio like all other applications on this list. Its interesting features are its APIs and SDKs, making iSpeech a better candidate for developers rather than end-users, unlike other solutions.
- Online app for converting or listening to documents in audio.
- Converts to a variety of audio formats like WAV, MP3, WMA, etc.
- Its voices sound a little robotic, unlike many solutions on this list.
- No free plan available — requires buying credits for using its app.
- No side-by-side reading experience, unlike Speech Central and more.
That is all about the best text-to-speech solutions available in the market. There are some free options here like NaturalReader, Capti, and more, but most others are only available as paid products. Did you find what you were looking for? Let me know by writing a comment below or tweeting to me at @iamashks.
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