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Free Roku channels 2021: The best free channels on Roku

Free roku channels
(Image credit: Roku)

If you're looking for Roku channels that are free, you're in luck — the list of free Roku channels is long. Very long. There are a dozens of Roku channels you can watch that are totally and completely free. For most, all you need is an email address to sign up.

The Roku channels free list offers something for everyone, too. It starts with the Roku Channel itself, which streams free movies and TV shows from the past. Catch classic sitcoms on Pluto TV or Tubi, interesting originals on Crackle, the latest headlines on Newsy and even painting highlights from artist Bob Ross. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg. The best free Roku channels also include inspiring presentations from Ted Talks, family-friendly programming on PBS Kids and so much more.

Here are our picks for the top Roku channels that are free.

  • Bag yourself the best Roku VPN to access global content

1. The Roku Channel

Free roku channels: The Roku Channel

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If you have a Roku device or a Roku TV, then watching free movies and TV shows is just a click of the remote away. But even without a Roku, anyone can sign up for a free account. The Roku Channel streams free and live entertainment, all supported by ads (so yes, you do have to sit through commercials). It offers a rotating selection of classic films and shows, news, sports and kids fare. And the Roku Channel will start streaming the Quibi library soon. Again, all for free. 

2. Peacock

Free roku channels: Peacock

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Peacock is one of the newer players in the streaming landscape, but its library boasts popular past series including The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights and more. Peacock Free gets you almost everything but platform's originals (like the Saved By the Bell reboot), but sometimes access is limited to a handful of episodes or a few seasons.  Titles that require a Peacock Premium subscription are marked with a purple feather. Still, the free selection of movies and TV shows is strong. Recent options include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Apollo 13, Notting Hill and Harry Potter movies.

3. Pluto TV

Free roku channels: 6Pluto TV

(Image credit: Pluto TV)

Think of Pluto TV as a free version of cable television. Add this free Roku channel and then browse Pluto TV's live channels on a guide-like grid, which shows you what's streaming right now and coming up. The movie-themed channels are split by genre (Action, Comedy, Romance, Horror, etc.). You can also find TV offerings from MTV, TV Land, Showtime as well as more specific themes like Star Trek, The Price Is Right and Baywatch. 

4. Crackle

(Image credit: Roku)

Crackle is one of the best Roku channels for watching free big-budget movies, provided you don't mind sitting through a few commercials. If you cut the cord on your cable subscription but still miss zoning out in front of cheesy action comedies, this app is for you. The selection at Crackle rotates frequently, but there are usually some memorable films, like Gattaca.

6. Tubi

Free roku channels: Tubi

(Image credit: Tubi)

Tubi is another free streaming service you can add as a Roku channel for free. Just sign up with your email address and get access to an on-demand library of hundreds of movies and TV series. Generally, you'll find past hits and classics, like The Karate Kid, Underworld and The Grudge. The Tubi Kids section is bountiful, but the best part of Tubi is its easy-to-use navigation. You can browse eclectic collections like "Not on Netflix," "United Against Inequality" and "Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes."

7. Newsy

Free roku channels: Newsy

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Stay on top of the latest news in the U.S. and the world with Newsy. The 24/7 news service streams segments on the top stories of the day. You can also dig into categories like U.S., World, Politics, Business, Tech, Entertainment, Science/Health and Sports. Or check out on-demand reports on the coronavirus, sustainability and other important topics.

8. PBS Kids

Free roku channels: PBS Kids

(Image credit: PBS Kids)

PBS has been the gold standard for kids programming for decade. In the streaming age, it's put many of its shows on the PBS Kids app, which you can add as a free Roku channel. Little ones can watch whatever is playing live, or enjoy Sesame Street, Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog on demand.

9. TED

Free roku channels: TED

(Image credit: TED)

With the TED channel, you can watch hundreds of talks and presentations from expert speakers on a huge range of topics. Browse by newest releases, trending talks or by categories like Courageous, Jaw-Dropping, Funny and Inspiring. There are also themed playlists to meet your every mood, from "What makes you happy" to "The pursuit of justice." Or search for a specific speaker or topic that you have in mind.

10.  The Bob Ross Channel

Free roku channels: The Bob Ross Channel

(Image credit: Bob Ross Channel)

Tap into your inner artist with The Bob Ross Channel. Add it to your list of Roku free channels and you can dive into 380 classic episodes of the Joy of Painting series. Maybe watching Bob Ross paint will make you want to pick up a paintbrush. Or just use the channel as soothing streaming background noise while folding laundry. Bob Ross is great for either.

More Roku channels to get for free

As we said at the top of the page, there are so many free Roku channels. Here are some honorable mentions:

America's Test Kitchen: Episodes and helper clips from the popular series

Crunchyroll: Anime fans can access hundreds of titles

The CW: Recent episodes of the network's hit series

Fawesome: Deep-cut free indie movies

Hoopla: Free movies from your local library

Locast: Access to local broadcast channels if certain cities

NewsOn: Live local news broadcasts from around the country

Vevo: Music videos from top music stars

Vudu: Selection of free movies and shows alongside titles for rent

YouTube: Browse millions of videos on your Roku device

Kelly Woo

Kelly covers streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.