How to List Kafka Consumers

At the heart of Kafka's architecture are its consumers, which read and process data from Kafka topics. Essentially, consumers are client applications or services that subscribe to one or more topics, which then fetch and process the messages published to these topics.

You'll likely find that it's important to list and monitor consumers in your system, as it can provide valuable insights into the health and performance of your cluster. For example, by listing your consumers, you can identify any bottlenecks, better allocate resources, and ensure the smooth functioning of your Kafka-based applications.

In this article, we'll guide you through various methods to list consumers and hopefully help you keep tabs on the key components of your Kafka ecosystem.

Methods to List Kafka Consumers

Kafka Consumer Group

One of the most straightforward ways to list Kafka consumers is by using the Kafka Consumer Group Command, which comes bundled with the distribution. This command-line tool allows you to manage and inspect consumer groups, making it a helpful utility for administrators. It's especially useful when you need to quickly gather information about your consumers without having to rely on any external tools or APIs.

The syntax for the Kafka Consumer Group Command is as follows:

$ --bootstrap-server <broker-list> --list

In this command, replace <broker-list> with a comma-separated list of the Kafka broker addresses (host:port) in your cluster. The --list option tells the command to list all active consumer groups, which might look like this:


For example, let's say you have a Kafka cluster with brokers at and To list the consumers, you would run the following command:

$ --bootstrap-server, --list

This command will output a list of active consumer groups in your Kafka cluster, which can help you keep track of the various consumers and their corresponding groups. Keep in mind that this command only lists active consumers, so any inactive or disconnected consumers won't appear in the output. Also, make sure you have the necessary permissions to run the command, as it might require administrative access to your Kafka cluster.

Note: The Kafka Consumer Group Command is available on Unix-based systems as and on Windows as kafka-consumer-groups.bat. Make sure to use the appropriate script for your operating system.


Another method to list Kafka consumers is by using the Kafka REST API, which is really helpful when building web apps or integrating with other services. Kafka doesn't include a native REST API, but you can use Confluent's REST Proxy, a third-party extension that provides a RESTful interface for your Kafka cluster. This allows you to interact with your cluster using HTTP requests and JSON data, making it more accessible to different programming languages and platforms.

To list consumers using this REST API, you'll need to send a request to the /consumers endpoint of the REST Proxy. This will return a list of all active consumer instances, including their consumer group IDs, instance IDs, and host information.

Here's an example of an HTTP GET request to the /consumers endpoint:

GET http://<rest-proxy-host>:<rest-proxy-port>/consumers

Note: Keep in mind that using the Confluent REST Proxy requires additional setup and configuration, which is out of the scope of this article. Make sure to follow the official documentation to install and configure the proxy before attempting to actually use it for listing consumers.

Obviously, make sure you replace <rest-proxy-host> and <rest-proxy-port> with the hostname and port number where your Confluent REST Proxy is running. The request should return a JSON array containing details about the active consumer instances.

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For example, the response might look like:

    "consumer_group_id": "group1",
    "instance_id": "consumer1-12345",
    "host": ""
    "consumer_group_id": "group1",
    "instance_id": "consumer2-67890",
    "host": ""

This JSON output shows two active consumer instances, both belonging to the same consumer group, group1. With this JSON data, you can easily get information about your consumers and their corresponding groups.

Third-party Tools

If the two options above aren't what you're looking for, you can also list Kafka consumers using third-party tools. Many of these tools provide a GUI and larger feature set, which can make it easier to manage and monitor your cluster. These tools not only help you list consumers but also offer additional functionality, such as monitoring brokers, topics, and partitions, and they'll even help you visualize performance metrics.

Here are a few popular third-party tools:

  • Kafdrop: Kafdrop is an open-source web-based UI for managing and monitoring Kafka clusters. It allows you to view consumer groups, topic metadata, and partition offsets, among other things. It's easy to set up and provides a user-friendly interface for managing your Kafka consumers.

  • Kafka Tool: Kafka Tool is another GUI application for managing and monitoring Kafka clusters. It supports listing consumer groups, browsing topics, viewing partition details, and more. Kafka Tool is available in both free and paid versions, with the latter offering additional features and support. Note that you must purchase this product if being used for commercial or educational purposes.

  • Confluent Control Center: Control Center is a management and monitoring service for Kafka. It provides a web-based interface for listing and managing consumers, monitoring performance, and configuring various parts of your Kafka environment. Note that while there is a free plan, this may require a paid subscription.


In this article we've explored various ways to list consumers, including the Kafka Consumer Group Command, Kafka REST API, and third-party tools like Confluent Control Center, Kafdrop, and Kafka Tool. Of course, each method has its own advantages and trade-offs, so choose the one that best fits your requirements, use-case, and budget.

Understanding and monitoring your Kafka consumers is essential for maintaining the performance, reliability, and scalability of your applications. By regularly listing and keeping an eye on your consumers, you can ensure that your cluster is running smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to focus on building and improving your app.

Last Updated: July 2nd, 2023
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