The best APIs of 2020: Reviews and Ratings

Discover the best APIs to use in 2020 to build or improve your online services or businesses. Discover Abstract API ranking.

In this age of technology and diverse systems that allow us to do so much, it is becoming increasingly important to have the very best tools available to you. 

In the world where apps and technology are the central focus of many lives, you need access to the best and most popular APIs on the market. 

No matter what type of app you are building, there are a lot of cool APIs out there to consider. In this guide, we will share with you some of the most popular APIs, complete with our rating and review of each one. 

What is an API?

An API is a complex tool. Some of the most common APIs are even free APIs without key to access. There are numerous ones out there to choose from and they all have unique capabilities. 

An API, by definition, is an application programming interface. This interface communicates between multiple software points, referring data to where it needs to go and everything in between. 

You might see API used in the form of an online form on a website. Or maybe you use a calendar application that communicates with other software you utilize. 

The value of API is that it can work with multiple points of data and deliver responses as needed. A customer could access multiple things, all in one location, without having to jump from site to site or link to link to accomplish a task. 

Weather APIs are one of the most common types out there. Businesses and locations can customize a weather forecast and add it to their platform. 

You might be able to see the weather forecast while you’re shopping or making an appointment online! 

One more thing to know here. The definition of an API uses the terminology of an application. 

This does not mean that an API is used only for smartphone or computer apps. This is just the terminology for the software involved in the overall application. 

What are the benefits of common APIs?

While we’re discussing what an API is, let’s talk just slightly about the importance of an API. Did you know that every action completed on your smartphone or on a popular website actually touches around 35 different systems?

Even if you just go with some of the best free APIs 2020, you will be doing your app or site a favor. Think of it like the glue that brings everything working behind the scenes together and holds it together. 

Here are some basic benefits of good APIs. 

  • Work automation, such as the website screenshot API
  • Data validation, such as phone number validation or email validation
  • Updated work flows for productive processes
  • More information to reach more people
  • Information gathering
  • Flexibility for the business and the consumer
  • Increased data availability
  • Content integration
  • Efficiency of sharing content
  • Content customization
  • Anticipation of necessary adjustments

These are just a few benefits that using an API can offer. You might find that there are far more advantages for your business. 

The benefits and advantages of this technology could be different from user to user. The important thing to note is that every business should be taking advantage of the benefits. 

How can I use an API?

Remember that an API is like a messenger. It relays information from one source to another and back again. 

An API can provide things like weather forecasts, calendar integration, online form communication, and more. It’s a service to both businesses and consumers as it streamlines a lot of processes that can be time-consuming and inefficient. 

Here are the four basic functions of the best and most popular APIs. 

  1. Get information from an associated server. 
  2. Post the information by sending it to the necessary location or making an entry. 
  3. Put the information into place by adding it or replacing other data. 
  4. Delete existing information that is no longer necessary. 

To use an API, start by choosing which one to work with and getting an API key. You can work with an HTTP client as well to help you set up and structure the API appropriately. 

The best APIs should look very close to a common URL when everything is said and done. 

What are the best APIs Available?

When it comes to finding top APIs to use, you should know that which one is the best will depend on your needs. 

We’ve put together a list of the best APIs on the market. This list will include some of the best free APIs of 2020 as well as the best APIs to play with and the best APIs for developers, in an effort to try to cover every need. 

Here is a quick list you can reference of our top picks. 

  1. Spoonacular 
  2. Stripe
  3. GraphHopper
  4. Shotzr Image
  5. Dynalist
  6. Sheety
  7. Crunchbase

  1. Spoonacular 


Spoonacular food API

Spoonacular is rated as the top food API on RapidAPI and is the 23rd most popular API out there at all according to these ratings. This is where Spoonacular lands in a world where there are more than 10,000 APIs to choose from. 

This is one of the top APIs on the market and one of the best APIs to play with. You can integrate recipes, meal planning, and shopping.

 This API is also looking at adding restaurant guides but the feature isn’t available just yet. In addition, the API offers calorie counting, as well as other food tracker options. 

Spoonacular is one of the best free APIs of 2020. They do allow donations, particularly if you feel like this API is helping you be successful with health and wellness goals. 

Of course, there are 4 additional options on this API that do cost. The traditional API costs can be up to $149 a month. 

There is also an enterprise option, which would be in the best APIs for developers. This option is designed for specific needs, requirements, and designs. 

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Looks great all around
  • The best food API available
  • Free and priced options 

Cons:

  • The free plan is fairly limited but works well for individual needs

  1. Stripe


Stripe financial API for checkout

Stripe is a business API but it is among some of the top APIs for a reason. Every business needs common APIs for accepting payments and managing payment needs. 

Strips has made its way onto the web APIs list because it can be used universally for any type of business. This API is designed to do things like send invoices, bill subscriptions, accept payments, and more. 

With Stripe, your customers can use mobile wallets to offer an added layer of security to their experience. 

Stripe is simple even for beginners. They offer development recommendations and a quick start guide for users to refer to as they get started, making this one of the easy APIs to use. 

This API has become labeled as the “new standard in online payments. Every business should have some sort of online payment method if any type of payable goods or services are in play. 

Stripe is available to all US businesses. This one is not a free option but there is more than one pricing option. 

As far as costs go, they offer a “pay as you go” option that is 2.9% + 30 cents on every successful charge. You can also go with a custom plan that is designed for large volume and unique business setups. 

Pros:

  • Simple for new and experienced users
  • Static pricing so it isn’t confusing
  • Multiple product options
  • Capable of handling multiple financial pieces

Cons:

  • The cost per charge could add up quickly

  1. GraphHopper


GraphHopper · GitHub

GraphHopper is a direction and route planning API that is amongst the easy APIs to use. Any site could use this API to provide a location and instruction option for potential clients. 

This API has a unique setup that can add value anywhere. How many times do you use some type of map or route app to find not only the specific location but also the best route based on traffic and other hindrances?

GraphHopper is easy to integrate, they follow the RESTful design. This means that it uses protocols you already have in place to make the design and use as friendly as possible. 

One of the positive advantages of this API is that it offers worldwide coverage and is designed for outdoor use. It is compatible with every location on OpenStreetMap data and can be used for vehicles, hiking, biking, and more. 

You can sign up for GraphHopper for free. The free option allows up to 500 uses per day but does not offer map matching services. In terms of free APIs without a key, this option does have some good points. 

From there, there are 4 other options. The traditional options range from $56 to $384 monthly and the packages build as well. There is also a custom option available. 

This API also offers credit opportunities that be applied towards the cost of services. 

Pros:

  • Sign up for free
  • Route planning worldwide
  • Easy to use and integrate
  • A good option for multiple types of businesses

Cons:

  • The costs and how they work can be slightly confusing to understand 

  1. Shotzr Image


Shotzr royalty-free image API

Shotzr Image API can easily fall into one of the best free APIs of 2020. Who doesn’t need images for designs? 

Shotzr offers companies royalty-free images for just about any topic you can think of. All of the images are great quality and there are more than 72 million images in their database. 

All of the stock photos are free. You can access them and download them to your heart’s content. At the same time, this is one of the best APIs for developers with reasonable pricing options for integrated access. 

There are paid plans that have additional options and features but their free plan has a lot to offer. It would stand to reason that many businesses could easily benefit from free access. 

Shotzr advertises that you can boost your engagement by 20% using images that feel personal from their database. This API is so easy and user-friendly you really can’t go wrong with it. 

This API is not like all stock libraries out there. They offer location data and image tagging that can do a lot in terms of truly reaching your client base. 

There are multiple account options, with different designs. They offer free for blogs and platforms and then they also offer paid plans for both as well that have additional features and capabilities. 

Pros:

  • Free options for blogs and platforms
  • Can be used by every industry everywhere
  • Offers more than 70 million royalty-free options
  • One of the most easy APIs to use

Cons:

  • Platform pricing can get really expensive really fast

  1. Dynalist


Dynalist productivity API


Next on our list is the Dynalist API. This is not a new company but their API is fairly new, coming into play in 2018. 

The API does require a secret token but the capabilities of Dynalist are very encompassing. This API is one of the best APIs to play with just because it is very universal. 

Use Dynalist to make lists and forms. You can think of it as your own personal word processor for a website. 

This API is designed to improve documents and productivity processes. There are free plans and trials available. The starting price is $0 and, of course, it could go up from there. 

You can do anything from making outlines to breaking things down over and over again. The free plan even has unlimited items and documents available for you so there are no monthly limits to worry about. 

This API is very easy to use and connect. You can move things around and reorganize pieces without cutting and pasting. 

This API was designed to improve productivity and it certainly delivers. They are constantly working to improve their offerings for customers. 

Pros:

  • Dynalist is not a new concept
  • You can do a lot on the free option
  • Increase productivity 
  • Simple and effective API platform

Cons:

  • The API option is fairly new 

  1. Sheety


Sheety data and spreadsheet API


We are all familiar with Google docs and those Excel spreadsheets that give many of us a love/hate relationship. With Sheety, you can take any Google sheet and make it into an API. 

This gives you the ability to do every little thing for your site and data, using the power of a spreadsheet. 

This may seem inconceivable to some but our guess is you have a spreadsheet for everything already. Why not take that data and use IT to make your API? 

With Sheety, your spreadsheet or Google sheet can transform into a RESTful JSON API. Those 4 steps we talked about at the beginning of the guide will come into play here. 

Sheety requires very little coding to make your transformation. It is simple and easy to work with. 

Sheety can also be combined with other prototypes and databases to get the most out of the experience and use. You can try out Sheety for free and get started right away. 

The paid plans through Sheety are very reasonable. They start at $5.99 per month and the most expensive option is only $29.99 per month with extensive capabilities. 

Pros:

  • Falls into one of the best APIs to play with
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Spreadsheet data can be integrated anywhere
  • Free to start with reasonable prices for plans

Cons:

  • You cannot add history if you close a tab (the company is looking into this feature)

  1. Crunchbase


Crunchbase API




Crunchbase is another of the best and most popular APIs you will find in the market. This is a very popular and highly-rated option. 

Crunchbase is designed for organization as well as endpoint returns. Crunchbase has a lot of features to offer. 

With Crunchbase, you can analyze data to find prospects, find investments, find investors, and conduct market research. This is a versatile API that gives you a deeper look in the background. 

With Crunchbase, you have an extensive platform that tags to multiple innovative companies based on a defined search process. The purpose of Crunchbase is to find opportunity and put it to use. 

There are a lot of customers that you probably know that utilize Crunchbase in some way. Companies like Honda, Samsung, Thomson Reuters, and many more have taken advantage of this API. 

They have more than 55 million users. They work to update regularly and their design can help with so many different aspects of a business. 

You can try basic Crunchbase for free, with limited capabilities. From there, you can even get a free trial of their Pro option. The Pro package costs $29 per month. 

They also offer an Enterprise option that is tailored to your specific needs. Enterprise also has additional benefits but will cost a pretty penny. 

Pros:

  • Free option available
  • Innovate API with many features
  • Improve data and organization
  • Popular and known API option

Cons:

  • Mobile interfaces are not heavily supported 
  • Data can sometimes not be up-to-date

What to look for in an API


As you can tell from this list that includes a variety of APIs, there are tons of options out there. You can find multiple choices for every single solution. 

Whether you need something tied to food, data, business, purchases, lists, or something else, the options could quickly become overwhelming. 

The nice thing is that there are many free options out there. Most of these APIs are versatile and able to help with a lot of different functionality. 

If you do a basic search for the best and most popular APIs, you will get thousands of results. You can find locations that have catalogs of API options

That is a lot of information to sort through and it can quickly become overwhelming. You have to dig to find the best and find exactly what you are looking for. 

It is important to drill down based on what you are looking for specifically. You may need to choose multiple APIs from multiple categories. 

Here are a few tips for you to use to better understand what you should look for in an API. 

User friendliness


Probably one of the most important factors to consider is how challenging or easy it will be to use the APIs you choose. 

You need to know how you can develop those APIs and how you can put them to work for you. APIs can be all-inclusive or you may need a multitude of them to reach your end plans. 

What you need to be most aware of is whether the API operates on REST or SOAP designs. REST can be either REST or RESTful. 

SOAP and REST are very different from one another in overall design. REST tends to be more user-friendly, particularly for beginners. 

Compatibility also varies so you may need to determine what your platform will be most compatible with. 

Budget


Another very important factor to consider is your budget. Depending on your needs, every API will most likely have some sort of associated cost. 

You could easily find yourself spending thousands of dollars a year on various APIs if you aren’t careful. Be sure to budget and choose carefully and to stay within your reasonable means. 

Use free API options as much as possible as you get started and you can always build or upgrade from there or where it is needed most. 

API FAQ


What are the best APIs? 


The best can be a relative term when you think of how broad the API category is. We’ve shared some of our top picks here but we recommend taking advantage of options that will do the most for you. 

What is an API in Layman’s Terms?


APIs allow software to communicate with each other and pull in information from one another. These are used to connect the dots behind the scenes. 

Are free APIs any good?


You should absolutely take advantage of free API options available to you as much as possible. Sometimes, the free option is limited but many times it is sufficient for beginning users and developers. 

Conclusions


APIs are designed to help your business do more than just survive. With APIs used in the right places and the right ways, your businesses can thrive. 

There are so many different options out there that can be used in so many different ways. Are you ready to find the right API for your needs?