People still like to filter their searches through Reddit because it’s an old-school holdover from the hairier days of the Internet in the sense that it’s still driven almost exclusively by real people — people who are genuinely interested in a subject and want to discuss it. With a refreshing lack of influencers, paid shills, or algorithmically-controlled dark patterns, Reddit can be incredibly useful when you need information or opinions.
But Reddit isn’t perfect. It’s got its share of weirdos, bad actors, shitposters, and trolls. And some of its subreddits are downright useless, filled with content repurposed from other subreddits or websites, ill-informed opinions, and even purposeful disinformation. With more than 100,000 active subreddits and more than 50 million active users, Reddit is an incredible resource — if you know where to look.
Not all subreddits are equal, is the point — so what subreddits are actually useful? Here’s a short list of some of the best.
If you value crowd-sourced information, r/AskReddit should be bookmarked, visited, and searched often. The questions (and answers) vary wildly in coherence and practicality, but if you have a question about almost anything, there’s a good chance that it’s been asked at least once here. And this is a subreddit where the real value of Reddit shines through, because while you will have to sift through some immature or, frankly, batshit responses — you will also get a load of real-life, lived-in answers and suggestions. And in case you’re wondering, yes, you can even ask AskReddit what the best subreddits are.
The Vimes “Boots” theory of socioeconomic unfairness makes it clear that paying more for higher-quality goods is always worth it if you can afford to do so. Over time, well-made, durable goods will pay for themselves in terms of not having to replace them several times over the years. Even in the best of economic times, folks prefer to purchase long-lasting, well-made products instead of cheap crap that breaks almost immediately. But Amazon is awash with fake reviews and counterfeit goods, and outside of luxury brands, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what will last you — but this subreddit is filled with great firsthand information from people who have literally owned things for years, or who have already done the research for you.
Travel is both expensive and complex these days. Sure, we retain the miraculous ability to travel literally anywhere in the world in, at most, a couple of days, but figuring out the logistics is a full-time job. And if you do have the means to plan a trip, where should you go? A touristy place crammed full of other travellers, or a secret spot unknown to the larger world — and how would you find such a place? This subreddit is a great resource for all aspects of travel — from tips on where to go and how to get there to information about specific local experiences, unforeseen problems, and financing trips. If you’re planning to go places, it’s a good idea to park yourself here for a bit.
If you find money mysterious but you have some money — or want more money — this is a great resource. The community here ranges from the cluelessly affluent (the folks who have $US5 ($7) million in an IRA but believe they’re middle-class) to wonky accountant types whose posts are filled with acronyms and legalese, but in-between are hard-working folks with their mind on their money and their money on their mind. The end result is that if you have questions about 401ks, mortgages, savings accounts, bill-paying, compound interest, taxes, or anything else related to personal finance, you will find a lot of the answers right here.
The shabby spiritual sister to r/PersonalFinance, r/PovertyFinance was created when people became frustrated with the richy-rich tone of the other subreddit. People who are struggling just to pay rent don’t care too much about the right investment vehicle for sudden inheritances, after all. While a good deal of r/PovertyFinance is given over to desperate people asking for heartbreaking advice, there’s a ton of practical information and advice here, too. If your own financial situation is less than rosy, this is a great resource — if nothing else, it will remind you that you’re not alone, and you’re not the only person struggling even if it sometimes seems that way.
As a sort of companion subreddit to r/PovertyFinance, r/Freebies is a community where people help each other out by pointing out where to get free stuff. This includes apps offering free things when you sign up, businesses running promotions, coupons, and anything else that results in you getting something for free. If you’re trying to pinch pennies or just enjoy the thrill of subverting the capitalist system we toil under, this should be on your daily check-in list so you can take advantage of every possible freebie — some of which add up to real savings.
If you’re anything like me, you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to keep up with new music, books, and other culture. There’s so much of it, and yet it can be maddeningly difficult to find stuff that fits your specific taste. That’s what makes this subreddit so useful — if you know what you already like, you can probably find some suggestions here for stuff that will be in the same wheelhouse. It covers a pretty wide range of media and art forms, too, so whether you’re looking for new pop punk covers or a fresh vein of poetry to devour, this is your stop.
This subreddit is dedicated to beautiful, well-designed infographics and charts, but its usefulness goes beyond celebrating aesthetics. The data visualisations highlighted here are typically gorgeous to look at, but also easy to understand, and offer insights that you didn’t even know you needed. If you need specific data points, it’s a good place to start the search because the visualisations you find here will be top-notch. But it’s also just a good place to scroll through, because you’ll definitely come across some new information.
Have you ever come across a reference to a current trend, event, or scandal that you have absolutely zero context for? In a world where TikTok and YouTube celebrities you have literally never heard of can have millions of fans, this is an increasingly common situation for people. Luckily, r/OutOfTheLoop exists to explain these things to you. If you’re confused by a reference, chances are someone else is, as well, and has already asked about it here. It’s a terrific way to catch up on pop culture churn without dedicating your life to scanning livestreams until insanity sets in.
Anything you need to know about our current world you can learn from history, because it repeats. But popular history has been polluted by trashy TV re-enactments, low-quality school textbooks, and episodes of Doctor Who. If you want to know the true true about past events and historical facts, this subreddit is a goldmine. Many of the queries here have lengthy, well-organised answers, in fact, that are still shorter and easier to read than a dull encyclopaedia entry, and most of the responders stick around to answer follow-up questions.
Similar to r/AskHistorians, this subreddit is where folks post their questions about science and get reliable answers back from, well, actual scientists. The subreddit’s rules make a strong attempt to curb disinformation or amateur hour by requiring sources and credentials, so the answers are trustworthy — and the discussion is calm and the tone collegial. That’s right: There is a place on the Internet where you can ask how mRNA vaccines works and the discussion will be collegial. Protect this subreddit at all costs.
This subreddit is exactly what it sounds like: Folks taking incredibly complex subjects and boiling them down to a simple summary that even an idiot such as yourself can comprehend it. This isn’t where you learn to code in Python or where you’ll become a world-renowned economist, but it is a place where you can go from bewilderment to basic understanding in just a few clicks. It’s invaluable for those moments when you just need to quickly scratch the surface of a subject — and it’s been around long enough to have a deep, deep vein of subjects already covered.
Your local community subreddit
If you live somewhere, there’s a non-zero chance that someone has established a local subreddit for your town. You may already be part of Nextdoor or something like that, but trust me: Your local subreddit will be more fun and a lot more private. These subreddits are generally great places to get the inside skinny on events and politics in your burg, along with endless restaurant reviews and warnings about crime, infrastructure problems, and anything else. It’s also a great place to remind yourself that there are smart, funny people in your town.
This is the subreddit where people show up to answer questions. And by “people” I mean just about every sort of person, from celebrities promoting projects to regular folks with interesting jobs. The “AMA” stands for “ask me anything,” and the range of interview subjects and their areas of expertise cover the gamut from economics to science to professional acumen. The celebrity AMAs tend to get most of the attention, but it’s the non-famous people who take the time to share their expertise here that makes this an invaluable resource. If you want to know what it’s like to be a fireman, a prisoner, or just about anything else there’s probably an AMA somewhere in the archives of this subreddit.
Need new music in your life? This subreddit is a wild ride. Basically, people post music they think is interesting, which means it’s a hodge-podge of, well, everything. The posts are tagged with (sometimes approximated) genre and sub-genre info, so you can avoid the Black Metal Funk Hybrid Harmonica Duet category, and the offerings trend heavily towards indie, unsigned, and obscure performers — but that’s the special sauce here, because it all but guarantees you’ll be hearing music you have never heard before.
One final pro tip
While searching through subreddits can yield tons of info, many subreddits maintain FAQs and other living documents displayed on their sidebars. Diving into these can often solve all of your problems because the community is aware of the common questions and dilemmas people run into.