Cartoons are for kids, right? Wrong! This is a massively widespread misconception. Just because a show or a series happens to be animated, it does not mean that only children can enjoy it. Sure, this is certainly the case with certain animated shows. I have no interest personally in watching, say, something like Peppa Pig or Caillou – but that is only because A.) these are examples of cartoons that are, in fact, made specifically for children and B.) I have no nostalgic relationship with them.
Had I grown up watching Peppa Pig or Caillou as a kid, perhaps I would be marginally interested in watching an episode here and there, just to take a little trip down memory lane, the way that I occasionally will put on an episode of Adventure Time or Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Sure, these shows do not fully captivate me in the same way now that I am a grown man, but they can be fun to revisit once in a while.
But nostalgia is not the only reason that I watch cartoons sometimes as an adult. Nowadays, there are tons of cartoons made specifically for grownups. In fact, many of these shows are so mature that I would never dream of letting my own little ones catch a glimpse of them. Some of my favorite shows happen to be animated – I’m talking shows like Family Guy, South Park, The Simpsons, Bojack Horseman, American Dad, Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers, and Archer. Cartoons for adults have become an extremely popular genre, thankfully, and allow for a great deal of absurdist surrealism and outrageously over the top scenarios that live-action shows can’t quite match.
The other reason that I sometimes watch cartoons these days is that, as I said, I have children on my own now. There are not many greater feelings than being able to share the shows of my childhood with my son. Seeing his face light up or watching him become overtaken with laughter by one of my own animated childhood heroes is such a gift. It’s one of those wonderful things, to be able to bridge the generational gap between us and pass down cultural pastimes from father to son. And the link of animation makes this easy – there is a somewhat timeless quality to a good cartoon.
This is precisely why I am constantly on the hunt for solid free cartoon streaming sites – especially ones that offer a good blend of both new and older series. This has been a surprisingly difficult balance to strike, though, finding a site that has age-appropriate content for my son, as well as shows that I can enjoy once I put him down for his nap.
I believe that I may have found a contender, though, in the free animated streaming site, Cartoons On. Its broad range and diversity in types of content and the fact that it offers animated entertainment that is not beholden to a single era in cartoon production (all 100% free of charge, of course) have definitely put it to the top of my list. So, let’s delve in and see if this site has what it takes to be my new go-to resource for streaming cartoons, shall we?
Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of information available online about the particular history of Cartoons On, but I can tell you that the site has at least been around for the last six years. At the very bottom of the site, you’ll find Cartoons On’s trademark information, which is dated from 2014 – 2020. And when it comes to sites that offer free streaming content, especially when it comes to popular content from studios like Disney and Fox, it is rare to find a site that stays up for a year, let alone six. This is a very good sign about the dependability of Cartoons On.
This is possible, at least in part, due to the disclaimer that Cartoons On prints at the bottom of their home page, reminding users that “None of the videos/images belong to CartoonsOn.com All these videos are streamed from different sources which are considered as opensource sites.” A smart move, I would say, to highlight the fact that none of the content featured (or linked to) on Cartoons On is being hosted by the site itself … this is like playing chess with copyright laws. There is nothing worse than allowing yourself to become dependent upon a certain free streaming site, only to find out one day that it has been shut down. It’s a nice reassurance to know that this is less likely to happen with Cartoons On.
I think that the site, generally speaking, has a very sharp look about it. A lot of cartoon streaming sites tend to look overly childish in their attempts to sort of emulate the kind of content that they specialize in. This is, thankfully, not the case with Cartoons On. It has a fresh, sparse, and minimalistic look to it. Much like the range of content that Cartoons On provides, their web design also strikes the perfect balance, being easy enough for a kid to navigate, but also sophisticated and professional-looking enough to appeal to adults.
A simple white background is accented by the occasional burst of vivid blue. This makes certain elements of the site pop right off the page, highlighting the site’s organizational system. A convenient site menu bar makes browsing the site’s huge catalog of cartoons as easy as it should be. Search Cartoons On by clicking on either Home, browsing By Studio, Characters, Shows, Contact, or Blog.
Alternately, of course, you can make use of the site’s search bar by quickly typing in a specific show that you have in mind. Or you can just scroll down the home page and check out some of Cartoons On’s recently featured shows. As far as free streaming sites are concerned, it doesn’t get much better than this, design-wise.
As I have already touched upon a little bit, the range of this site’s content is one of my favorite parts of Cartoons On. There is a little something for everyone here. Put on shows like Ben 10, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duck Tales, or Scooby-Doo for the kids. And when they are done watching, simply switch over to Family Guy, Rick and Morty, Archer, or American Dad for your own viewing pleasure. Cartoons On even lets you take that occasional trip down memory lane with plenty of original Tom and Jerry, The Flinstones, and Bugs Bunny episodes.
It isn’t all animated TV series on Cartoons On either. There are also plenty of animated movies for you to enjoy. Basically, if it’s animated and Cartoons On has been able to find a reputable third-party site that is hosting it for free, you’ll be able to find it here. They are always adding new content, too, so be sure to check back in often for new episodes, series, and full-length animated feature films.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
Personally, I think that this is a site that will be best enjoyed on your computer. A tablet might work just fine, too, but in terms of getting the most out of Cartoons On, I would recommend a laptop computer plugged into your TV with an HMDI cable. Or just throw it on your desktop computer and let the family gather round. Whatever works for you. My main point is that the mobile version of the site is not great. There are lots of ads to contend with. This is true of the desktop version too – the difference lies in how much easier it is to get around pesky ads using a traditional computer versus a smartphone.
Either way, though, no matter what device you’re viewing on, almost every click results in an annoying popunder ad, opening up a new tab or a new window that you’ll have to exit out of. This, of course, is not what you want … but, then again, it’s a completely free streaming site; so, to a certain degree, this is to be expected.
Pricing and Plans
Other than ads, Cartoons On is 100% free of charge to enjoy any and all of the videos that they link to.
Suggestions that I have for Cartoons On
Definitely less invasive ads would be nice. I’m not even saying get rid of ads altogether – I know as a free site you have to make money somehow. All I’m saying is that you could try and make them less annoying!