The Best (and Worst) Apartment Rental Sites

Photo (cc) by stevendamron

Apartment hunting is a hassle. Newspaper listings don’t give you enough information, apartment guide magazines are always out of date, and driving around town looking for “For Rent” signs wastes time and gas. Apartment search engines aim to make finding a new apartment easier by showing listings from multiple sites in a single easy-to-read format. But some hit the mark while others miss it by miles.

As a renter, here’s my rankings on these sites from best to worst…

1. PadMapper

PadMapper is the one site I’ve had the most success with – because you can customize your search results in nearly every way imaginable. The basic search goes by price, number of bedrooms, and type. The expanded search lets you enter in your own keyword or look for pet-friendly spots. But the best feature of PadMapper is the super-secret setting – seriously, it’s a blue bar called “Show Super-Secret Advanced Features.” With this setting, you get a crime map, walk score, neighborhood layout, and mass transit map for each listing.

2. MyApartmentMap

If you’re looking for a specific type of rental, MyApartmentMap is the site to search. It sorts results by pets allowed, military housing, college apartments, or affordable housing. You can also refine your search within each option – such as choosing cats, small dogs, or large dogs under the “pets allowed” subsection. The listings themselves were the easiest to browse of all the sites. Each listing has a photo and the rent price clearly marked.

3. HotPads

If you’re an organizational nut like me, you’ll love the interactive map on HotPads. Each apartment listing appears on the map as a color-coded “hotspot.” Clicking a hotspot pulls up the listing, and from there you can hide the apartment or add it to your favorites. Hiding a listing removes the hotspot, while adding to your favorites puts a star on the map. After sorting all the listings, you’re left with one easy map showing you which apartments you want to look at.

4. RentLinx

RentLinx does have some cool search features. You can look for income-based, Section 8-approved, handicapped-accessible, and smoke-free rentals. But the site was harder to navigate than the others. And even after sorting by most recent listing, all of the ads I saw were a year or two old.

5. MyNewPlace

MyNewPlace is pretty bare-bones. The site does have some advanced search features that will let you sort by rent price or show you pet-friendly apartments, but the available listings are sparse. My ZIP code only showed 27 listings, whereas PadMapper, MyApartmentMap, and HotPads showed hundreds. After searching, the site required I give my email before I could view any of the listings. The signup sheet had a disclaimer that basically promises to spam my email with advertisements from the site. And it adds, “Generally, you may not opt-out of these communications.”

6. Rentals.com

In my area, Rentals.com mainly listed sponsored ads from corporate apartment complexes with a few private rentals mixed in. While the site listed tons of complexes, the listings themselves weren’t all that comprehensive. None of the ads had floor plans, the photos included were mostly of the complex, and the pricing usually said “Varies.”

7. RentCompare

RentCompare was a navigational nightmare. The site’s two search options – sort by ZIP code or sort by city name – both came back with errors, no matter how many different combinations I tried. When I finally got a search to work, the site required me to sign up before I could see the listings. Sign-up took four separate tries with four separate errors. In the end, I was able to see a few listings with some decent information, but the site wasn’t worth the hassle.

While I tried to cover most of the popular sites, there’s no shortage of others out there. Do you have a favorite site I didn’t mention, or one to avoid? Don’t keep that valuable information to yourself – give us the scoop on our Facebook page!

For more apartment advice, check out…

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

Avoiding These 5 Foods Could Save Your Vision as You Age

Millions of Americans may be able to prevent an incurable cause of blindness by making a basic change.

14 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use

Save your money. These items seem alluring but they often end up as coat racks and dust magnets.

10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45

Make a fresh start with these affordable Amazon buys.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends leaving this type of store within a half-hour.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.