The Best Roku Free Channels in 2021 and How to Find Them

Once you’ve purchased a Roku, you don’t necessarily need to spend money on paid services. There are plenty of free Roku channels available with popular movies, live channels, TV shows and more. Read on to learn more about the best free Roku channels and how to find them.

Sandra Pattison
By Sandra Pattison (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-07-06T14:14:20+00:00

Rokus are entertainment devices that can open up a whole new world of streaming options. You can have all of your favorite paid streaming services in one place, but Roku also has a long list of free channels with top content.

From sci-fi classics like Battlestar Galactica to hair-raising horrors like Resident Evil to popular anime shows such as Attack on Titan, this quick guide will list some of the best Roku free channels and show you how to find them.

Key Takeaways:

  • After the initial cost of a Roku device, you can use it for free by adding only free channels.
  • There are lots of free Roku channels available, and you can find them in the Roku Channel Store.
  • Many of the best free Roku channels offer 4K content, so it’s worth investing in a Roku device that supports 4K streaming.
  • Some channels, such as Netflix, can be added to your Roku for free, but you will need to sign up and pay for the service to use it.

This guide is aimed at U.S. viewers, so if you’re in a different country, your channel options may look a little different. With geoblocks playing their part — see our geoblocking guide — some of the channels in this list may not be available in your region. You can, however, use a VPN with Roku to bypass the restrictions. On top of that, your Roku’s menu may look slightly different, too. For instance, in the UK, there’s no menu option for “top free movies & TV.” 

  • Many Roku channels are completely free to watch, such as The Roku Channel and Pluto TV. Some channels offer premium content alongside the free content, but there is no obligation to make a purchase. Also, keep in mind that some Roku channels can be added to your device for free, but require a paid subscription or valid cable subscription to stream content.

  • You can add the HBO Channel to your Roku for free, but you will need to have a paid subscription to use the service. You can simply log in if you already have an active subscription, or sign up to it and then log in if you don’t.

  • There is a free ABC Roku channel, but you will need a cable TV provider account or DirecTV subscription to activate it.

  • After the initial device cost, you can use Roku for free by adding just the free channels. You will only need to pay if you sign up to a paid service like Netflix or purchase content, such as a movie.

Step by Step: How to Find Roku Free Channels

There are lots of free channels in the Roku Channel Store, and it’s not too hard to find them. This step-by-step guide will show you how to find free Roku channels.

  1. Press the Home Button

    Press the home button on your Roku remote to make sure you’re on the home screen.

    roku free channels home button
  2. Go to “Streaming Channels”

    Go to “streaming channels” and press “OK” on the remote. This is where you can browse all the Roku channels and filter them by genre.

    roku free channels streaming channels
  3. Select “Top Free Movies & TV”

    Go to “top free movies & TV” and press “OK” on the remote.

    roku free channels top free
  4. Browse Through Roku’s Free Channels

    You’ll now see all the top free channels available on Roku.

    roku free channels browse

You can browse through the free channels library using the arrow buttons on your remote; press the “OK” button to view more details about any channel. If you find a channel you like, you can add the channel to your Roku.

Top 20 Free Roku Channels to Watch

There are lots of popular free channels on Roku, and although that’s great, it can take a while to browse through the whole library. Plus, the “top free movies & TV” genre lists only the top free channels, so you’ll need to do some digging using Roku’s search function to find others. 

To give you a helping hand, we’ll list the best free Roku channels here, in no particular order, starting off with Roku’s own offering, The Roku Channel.

1. The Roku Channel

roku free channels the roku channel
Roku’s own channel, the Roku Channel, is free.

The Roku Channel is a complete entertainment channel that includes live TV channels, movies, documentaries and TV shows. It’s capable of pleasing the whole family and has a similar layout to Netflix. You can purchase premium content, but it’s not required. Tune in to series such as The Nanny, classic movies like Armageddon or keep the kids happy with Peppa Pig — there’s something for everyone.

2. Pluto TV

roku free channels pluto tv
Pluto TV has over 100 channels and thousands of movies you can watch for free.

Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels and thousands of movies for free. You can also browse live TV; it’s like having a cable subscription, only it’s free. OK, so, you won’t get the latest content, but you can search by category and watch anything from drama, food and sports to kids’ TV and classics like Unsolved Mysteries, CSI and Hell’s Kitchen.

3. Tubi

roku free channels tubi
Tubi is a free channel with lots of genres to choose from.

Tubi is another multi-content channel where you can find a range of movies and TV shows. You can find anything from Western drama True Grit to horror movie Resident Evil on Tubi. There are lots of genres to choose from — including kids, drama, comedy, horror and even some niche categories, such as anime and Korean dramas — so there’s something for everyone.

4. Crackle

roku free channels crackle
Crackle has a good selection of TV shows and movies to choose from, and its content is regularly updated.

With Crackle, you can watch TV shows and big Hollywood movies. The selection rotates frequently, too, so you’ll never get bored with what the channel has to offer. You can watch classic movies, such as The Karate Kid, but you can get lost in Crackle’s own original content, too, such as the crime comedy-drama series, Snatch.

5. Xumo

roku free channels xumo
Xumo has more than 190 channels, including live TV channels and on-demand streaming.

Xumo offers free live TV and on-demand streaming. There are more than 190 channels to surf through, including sports, local news, comedy, horror movies and much more. Laugh your socks off with the FailArmy channel or get in some family time with Family Feud. You can also catch up on sports highlights with FOX Sports, PGA Tour and more.

6. Fawesome

roku free channels fawesome
Fawesome includes movies and TV shows from multiple genres, including anime.

Fawesome — a combination of “free” and “awesome” — enables you to watch free and awesome movies, TV shows and more. This channel’s library consists of thousands of titles in genres ranging from rom-coms and family to action and horror, and it’s constantly updating and adding new content. 

Aside from the usual genres you’d expect, Fawesome also includes an anime genre. Plus, the company behind it has created some separate niched, free streaming channels, such as Fawesome LGBTQ, Fawesome Black Cinema and Fawesome Bollymix, to name but a few. 

7. NewsON

roku free channels newson
You can watch newscasts and breaking news for any U.S. state with NewsON.

NewsON provides in-depth news coverage for any U.S. state. You can enjoy local news programs by default, but you can also check out other states’ news easily. Newscasts come from more than 200 news stations across the U.S., and you can set favorites for easy future access to breaking news.

8. Stirr

roku free channels stirr
Stirr has more than 100 free channels to choose from.

Stirr brings more than 100 channels to its viewers, along with live local news, movies, sports, TV shows, music and more. You can find classic series such as Knight Rider and comedy shows like Whose Line is it Anyway? Plus, there are dedicated channels like “Law & Crime” and “NASA,” as well as a fitness channel.

9. Cooking Guide TV

roku free channels cooking channels guide
Take a peek at the Cooking Guide TV channel for some food inspiration and tips.

Cooking Guide TV is a great source for sprucing up your kitchen knowledge. It offers recipes, cooking tips, healthy cooking options and much more. Whether you’re a foodie, health-conscious or are just bored of your current home menu, Cooking Guide TV will help add variety to your diet — healthy or not.

10. Popcornflix

roku free channels popcornflix
Popcornflix provides popcorn-worthy movies and more — and for free.

Popcornflix offers a whole range of hit movies and television shows worthy of, well, getting the popcorn out. You’ll find classics like the 1934 movie Murder on the Orient Express and more recent blockbusters like Lord of the Rings. There are lots of genres to choose from and a decent menu of foreign films, stand-up comedy, documentaries, foreign films and more. There are also separate Popcornflix Kids and Popcornflix Comedy Roku channels.

11. CBS Sports Stream & Watch Live

roku free channels cbs sports stream
CBS Sports Stream & Watch Live will help you stay up to date with all kinds of sporting events.

If you’re a sports fan, then the CBS Sports Stream & Watch Live channel could be your ticket to staying up to date with the latest sports events. You can watch pre-game and post-game coverage, 24/7 live sports news and highlights, and more from all types of sports, including the NFL, PGA Tour events, National Women’s Soccer League and much more.

12. Comet TV

roku free channels comet
Comet TV is the free answer to the early days of the SyFy channel.

Science fiction fans will appreciate Comet TV’s effort in bringing viewers a free sci-fi streaming experience, loaded with popular favorites and classics. Its lineup includes movies and TV shows, such as the 1933 horror movie The Vampire Bat and 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1. Comet TV is a great substitute for anyone missing the SyFy channel in its early days.

13. TED

roku free channels ted
The TED channel is a great watch for anyone interested in new ideas and designs.

What began in 1984 as a technology, design and entertainment conference, TED has now formed into its own Roku channel. It’s home to powerful talks from expert speakers on a range of different topics. Choose from business, science, finance, culture, medicine and much, much more. Thankfully, there’s a search function so you can narrow down what you’re interested in.

14. Newsy

roku free channels newsy
Newsy provides the latest news and headlines from around the world for free.

Newsy is a great source for keeping up to date with the latest news and top stories. It also lets you scale down to category-specific news, such as politics, tech, sports, world news and so on. You’ll also find documentaries for specific topics.

15. Vevo

roku free channels vevo
Tune into Vevo for the latest music videos, as well as other related content.

You’ll find everything you didn’t know you wanted about music on the Vevo channel. You can watch your favorite music videos, as well as artist interviews and behind-the-scenes videos. Find all sorts of singers, bands, etc., in genres such as pop, country, jazz, classical, rock, R&B, hip-hop and more.

16. HappyKids.tv

roku free channels happykidstv
HappyKids.tv has lots of children’s programs for infants and toddlers.

The HappyKids.tv channel is aimed at infants and toddlers. Its content is categorized by age group, making it easy to find suitable show series such as Paw Patrol, Thomas & Friends and even game videos from Roblox and Minecraft. There’s also a learning section where you’ll find educational videos for the alphabet, colors, counting and more.

17. ChefsFeed

roku free channels chefsfeed
You’ll find food guides, tips and more on the ChefsFeed channel.

ChefsFeed is a free cooking channel with original content that includes a mix of dining and drinking guides, cultural cuisine, culinary tips and much more. You’ll also find everything from restaurant recommendations by top chefs to cooking classes to culinary events. It’s the perfect fix for any foodie and totally free.

18. Crunchyroll

roku free channels crunchyroll
Crunchyroll is the perfect channel for any anime or manga fan.

If you’re after a channel dedicated to anime and manga, then Crunchyroll is the perfect Roku channel for you. You can watch hundreds of popular anime shows, such as One Piece and Attack on Titan, dramas like Akagi and Unriddle, and even read manga. Keep in mind that the free version of Crunchyroll will only stream in standard definition.

19. PBS & PBS Kids

roku free channels pbs pbskids
The PBS and PBS Kids channels will provide the whole family with entertainment.

PBS has thousands of popular, on-demand TV shows and documentaries within its library. You can catch up on the news headlines with PBS NewsHour or tune in to a show like Frontline or Endeavour. There’s also a PBS Kids channel with titles such as Sesame Street, Odd Squad and even Curious George. New content is added weekly, too.

20. Nosey

roku free channels nosey
The Nosey channel is the best source of daytime TV talk shows, such as The Jerry Springer Show and The Steve Wilkos Show.

If you’re partial to a bit of throwback daytime TV and enjoy the trash talk, paternity questions and marital issues that come with TV shows like The Jerry Springer Show, Sally Jessy Raphael or Maury Povich, then the Nosey channel is right up your street. It’s the perfect channel for getting your kicks off of other people’s misery.

What Is the Best Roku for Free Channels?

There’s a whole lineup of Roku players to choose from, but we’ll list some recommendations here to help you choose one. As a quick note, though, we won’t recommend the cheapest Roku, the Roku Express, because it doesn’t support 4K streaming. You can enjoy 4K streaming service with the Roku Premiere for just a few more bucks, and there is a fair bit of free 4K content.

For a more detailed look at all the Roku devices available, be sure to check out our dedicated Roku buyer’s guide

  • Roku Premiere — The best budget Roku for 4K streaming
    The Roku Premiere is the cheapest Roku that supports 4K and HDR streaming

The Roku Streaming Stick+ plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port and includes a built-in long-range wireless receiver — perfect for travel or poor WiFi connections.

  • Roku Ultra — The fastest and most powerful Roku in all areas

The Roku Ultra 2020 is Roku’s latest and most powerful model that includes better WiFi range and the option of connecting the Roku with an Ethernet cable.

Final Thoughts

Rokus allow you to combine all of your streaming services into one device, but having multiple paid services on Roku can become costly. Thankfully, there are free channels available, and you can find all of those channels through the Roku Channel Store menu. That said, it will only display the top free channels. Plus, not all channels are available in every region, so you may need to use a VPN.

We hope this guide has helped you find the best free Roku channels available, so you can start watching your favorite films, TV shows, news, documentaries and more. We also have a guide for if you want to cast to Roku from iOS, Android and Windows 10.

If you experience any issues with your Roku, our Roku troubleshooting guide may be able to help.

What’s your experience with free Roku channels? Do you have any free channel recommendations? Let us know in the comment section below and check out our list of the best Roku games, too. As always, thank you for reading.