The best Android launchers give you full control over your phone's home screen. You'll find an incredibly diverse array of options for putting your stamp on the best Android phones, with launchers ranging from minimalist skins to those that put an explosive array of color on your smartphone.
These launchers can give your phone a total makeover, from changing the look and feel with different icons and themes, to adding new functionality such as smart folders and search assistants. The look of Android may be evolving every year, but there's more than one launcher for your phone.
We've tried every one of these launchers to see which one comes out on top. Here are the best Android launchers we've found on the Google Play Store.
The best Android launchers you can download today
Finding the best Android launcher for your smartphone is a matter of personal taste, but we'd recommend Nova Launcher. It does a good job balancing features with customization, and it's a top choice for anyone looking to to put their personal spin on their phone. Smart Launcher 5 which continues to add features and layouts that impress. Nova Launcher also does a good job balancing features with customization, and it's a top choice for anyone looking to to put their personal spin on their phone.
If you want notifications to be displayed prominently, then try Niagara Launcher. Lean Launcher is good if you prefer minimalist setups, while AIO Launcher takes almost the exact opposite approach, trying to cram in as much information as possible. As we've said, there's a launcher for just about everyone in the Google Play Store.
Even if none of these options appeal, read on because we've found many other choices for the best Android launcher for your phone.
1. Nova Launcher
You can't talk about the best Android launchers without a mention of Nova Launcher. Fast, sleek and highly customizable, Nova Launcher balances extensive appearance and utility customizations with a minimal performance impact, letting you set your home screen just right without slowing down performance.
There are a lot of options to work through, from color themes to icon packs, scrollable docks to app drawer customizations, to folder settings and infinite scrolling. The Nova team is never content to rest on its laurels, continuously adding new features, such as Sesame Shortcuts, animations, and other improvements.
If you want the most powerful features, turn to Nova Launcher Prime (opens in new tab), a $4.99 version that offers more than the free download.
Download Nova Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
2. Niagara Launcher
Niagara is a lean Android launcher designed to place your apps and notifications front and center, while keeping other distractions to a minimum. Notifications are displayed right on your home screen, with spam and persistent notifications automatically filtered out. The app drawer automatically surfaces your favorite apps, while also providing handy alphabetical shortcuts.
That said, Niagara's extreme minimalism means that you shouldn't be expecting any unusual visual frills and options you might expect from most third-party launchers. it is updated frequently and it shows great promise.
Download Niagara Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
3. Smart Launcher 5
Smart Launcher has long been a favorite for the best Android launcher, with its simple "flower" favorites grid and sorted app folder. The latest version, Smart Launcher 5, adds a ton of features and refinements.
Smart Launcher's flower grid is still available, but it's joined by a number of other well thought-out layouts designed to keep your favorite apps within easy reach of one hand, while smart search and an intelligently sorted and customizable app drawer makes it easy to find whatever you need, whether on your phone or out in the web. Adaptive icons and colors, fully resizable widgets, and more customizations round out the package, making for a great update to a classic launcher.
You'll need to shell out $7 for the Pro version of Smart Launcher to access the many of those extra features, including pop-up widgets and expanded gesture controls.
Download Smart Launcher 5: Play Store (opens in new tab)
4. AIO Launcher
Where other launchers might offer up decluttering visual customizations, AIO Launcher is all about cramming as much info as possible on your screen in a relatively spartan format.
The app displays your frequently used apps, as well as system information, recently received calls, messages and email, as well as upcoming calendar events and more.
While AIO Launcher is free, in-app purchases unlock other features such as widget support, app icons, and Android notifications in the home screen stream. It's not the friendliest interface out there among the best Android launchers, it's still an interesting choice if information density isn't a turn-off for you.
Download AIO Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
5. Hyperion Launcher
A Pixel-like launcher from the team behind the popular Substratum theming engine, Hyperion Launcher is an extremely customizable Android launcher app that lets you tweak a vast array of settings.
Besides the standard wallpapers and widgets, users can configure a gamut of settings for themes, folders, transparencies, animations, icon packs and adaptive icons. Hyperion provides a ton of its features for free, but others — like launcher-level font changes and custom gestures — are unlocked with an in-app purchase for the Pro version.
Download Hyperion Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
6. Action Launcher
Action Launcher Pixel Edition was among the first of the big third party launchers to give itself a Pixel-style makeover, combining its extreme customizability with new interface features and styles introduced with the Pixel Launcher.
Action Launcher includes an adaptive app bar, the pill-shaped Google search bar, and Oreo-style app shortcuts (backward compatible to Android 5). A slide-out app drawer provides users with quick access to an app library and widgets. Special gestures such as "covers" and "shutters" allow for speedy access.
Action Launcher automatically picks out dominant colors in your wallpaper and adjusts the app drawer, folder backgrounds and search box to match.
Download Action Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
7. Customized Pixel Launcher
Another excellent launcher stemming from the efforts to bring features of the Pixel Launcher to the Android masses is Customized Pixel Launcher (CPL), a free app building off the Rootless Launcher project.
On the surface, CPL hews closely to the look of the stock Pixel launcher, with rounded edges, notification dots and badges, while also throwing in support for theming, icon packs, adaptive icons, gesture controls and font customization.
CPL also supports the Google feed and the At A Glance widget, and Assistant features, though you’ll need to install an additional app (opens in new tab) from GitHub to get the feed to work on CPL.
Download Customized Pixel Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
8. Apex Launcher
Apex Launcher lives up to its name as another excellent Android launcher with a good balance of features and performance.
Core features include the ability to customize the home screen grid size, with up to nine screens, as well as a scrollable dock with up to five pages. Infinite scrolling, transition animations, numerous folder styles and multiple app drawer styles add even greater customization.
The paid version of Apex Launcher unlocks more options, such as more drawer options, additional gestures and theme support. That's an $8.99 download.
Download Apex Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
9. POCO Launcher
Xiaomi's phones, like the new Xiaomi Mi 11, might not be widely available in the US, but you can get a taste of the Poco Launcher through the Google Play Store. The Poco Launcher deviates from Xiaomi's usual design sensibilities, offering an app drawer complete with smart category tabs that automatically sort apps into groups like Communication and Photography.
The launcher offers a customizable screen layout, transition effects, icon pack support, and notification badges. It doesn't offer as many deep customizations as rival launchers, but it does look nice and is designed to be on the streamlined end of things. And recent additions include dark mode support and the ability to lock your phone by tapping the screen.
Xiaomi says that Poco Launcher is compatible with Android 10.
Download Poco Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
10. Microsoft Launcher
Microsoft rebranded its excellent Arrow Launcher into the Microsoft Launcher, keeping Arrow's compact, context-sensitive app pages and customizable feed, while also working to improve the interplay between your Android phone and Windows PC.
Users can quickly snap photos from the phone and view them on their desktop; they can also open web links from mobile to Edge on PC, or start editing Office 365 documents from their PC and continue on the go with their mobile phone.
All of this is in addition to Microsoft's universal search bar, customizable themes, and configurable gesture controls.
Download Microsoft Launcher: Play Store (opens in new tab)
How we picked the best Android launchers
We went hands-on with every launcher on this list, which is how we drew the above conclusions on ranking. A launcher is a very personal thing, but we value the ones that give you a lot of functionality, even if the feature set itself is minimal.
In the end, we encourage you to try out different launchers to see which one you like best. You might find the more feature-packed options to be overwhelming, in which case you may want to look at one of the lighter ones.
We've used some of these launchers extensively over the years, which also influenced our ranking here.
Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over five years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.
No Android launcher list is complete without Nova Launcher. It's one of the best Android launchers on the Google Play Store when it comes to the sheer number of customization options. It is also fast, efficient, and lightweight, and supports dock customizations and notification badges.
This flexibility in terms of customization can give your device a fresh look and offer you more control over different elements. The best way to personalize an Android phone is through launchers. A launcher will not only change the look of your smartphone but also customize its behaviors.What is the best launcher to download? ›
- AIO Launcher.
- Apex Launcher.
- Before Launcher.
- Hyperion Launcher.
- Launcher iOS 16.
- Lawnchair Launcher 2.
- Lightning Launcher.
- Microsoft Launcher.
- Action Launcher: Pixel Edition. ...
- ASAP Launcher. ...
- Nova Launcher. ...
- Lawnchair Launcher. ...
- Go Launcher. ...
- Hyperion Launcher. ...
- BIG Launcher. ...
- Evie Launcher. Last in the list of best Android launcher apps is Evie Launcher.
- Top Android Phone Skins or User Interface.
- Stock Android: The Pure Android Experience.
- Pixel UI: Slightly Customized Stock Android Experience.
- OxygenOS: Clean and Smooth UI in OnePlus Phones.
- One UI: Samsung's Own Android Skin, Loved By Many.
The default launcher ALWAYS drains less power than addons, If you want power saving, this is the wrong area to look. If you want a launcher, go for it, but it slows down your phone and drains more battery because it runs OVER your default one. A great guide on how to save battery life on an android.Why Nova Launcher is the best? ›
Best Lightweight Launcher for Android
Although many launchers are available on the Play Store, what makes Nova Launcher Prime powerful are gestures, dynamic notification badges, a custom app drawer, per-icon swipe features, the ability to hide apps, and many more features.
Default launchers doesn't eat much RAM and ROM than third party ones. Although, there are some launchers out there which is better and faster than your default launcher, still they use more ram to actually run the whole thing.Which launcher uses the least RAM? ›
- Nova Launcher.
- Nova Launcher Prime.
- APUS Launcher.
- CM Launcher 3D.
- ADW Launcher.
- Arrow Launcher.
- Holo Launcher.
- Smart Launcher Pro.
Launchers are perfectly safe. They add a lot of customisation options to the device.
Similarly, launchers like Microsoft Launcher, Nova Launcher, Apex Launcher, and Smart Launcher are from reputable vendors that are generally considered safe.Do launchers slow down phone? ›
Nova Launcher doesn't slow it down. It might use little more battery but it is very small difference. If you are using Samsung that has theme functionality, then you can customize your phone even more without Nova. I highly recommend getting Nova Launcher because it gives you a lot of customization methods.Is Poco launcher good? ›
Poco Launcher from Xiaomi includes a slightly customizable home screen. The launcher thrives for its effortless yet familiar UI. It consists of an app drawer that's just a swipe away, and you can easily find apps by swiping through the different categories.Which launcher consumes less battery? ›
Power+ Launcher is one of the most efficient launchers in the list, thanks to its unique battery-saving feature that actively monitors the apps running in the background. When an app unnecessarily runs for too long in the background, it simply stops the process and thereby reducing the overall consumption.Which is the most optimized launcher? ›
- Lawnchair: A Pixel-plus experience for everyone.
- Niagara Launcher: Ergonomic efficiency.
- Smart Launcher 5: Automatic organization.
- Microsoft Launcher: The Microsoft-lover's dream.
- Square Home: Windows Phone meets Android.
- Before Launcher: Minimalist focus.
- Nova Launcher: Extreme customization.
They can be slow, consume a lot of memory while limiting features and customizability. Nova Launcher is a great alternate launcher that can be installed on practically every Android smartphone and it's freely available on the Google Play Store.Which is the No 1 Android phone? ›
And after all that, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra reigns as the best Android phone, thanks to improved cameras and a built-in S Pen.Is Oxygen OS better than MIUI? ›
My preference is Oxygen OS because it gives a cleaner, minimal look that's close to the stock Android experience. MIUI is good for people who want a customized look and if you're one of them then sure, go with MIUI. Next Up: Samsung has shaken up the Android experience with the One UI.Which phone is fastest? ›
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I can confirm that Nova launcher is conservative on battery despite it's smoothness and its ability to be tweaked in multifarious stylish ways. My stock launcher (Care free launcher) is more power hungry than the Nova launcher prime.
Overall, its the best launcher one can use, simple and powerful. Don't worry just use it. NOTE: DO NOT USE PIRATED VERSION OF NOVA LAUNCHER PRIME. ITS NOT SAFE TO USE PIRATED APPS.Does smart launcher 5 drain battery? ›
Does Smart Launcher drain battery? Generally, Smart Launcher does not drain your battery faster than your built-in launcher and depending on how you use it, it may also improve your battery drain.Which launcher does Samsung use? ›
What is this? All Android devices have a launcher, and One UI Home is Samsung's version of the launcher for its Galaxy line of smartphones. This launcher allows you to open applications and adjust the components of the home screen, such as widgets and themes.Which launcher is best for hiding apps? ›
Best 6 Free Launchers to Hide Apps on Android
- Poco Launcher. ...
- Evie Launcher. ...
- Microsoft Launcher. ...
- Lawnchair 2. ...
- CPL Launcher. ...
- U Launcher.
Niagara Launcher is one of the hottest Android launchers available in 2021 — and it's something everyone needs to try out for themselves. Niagara Launcher, one of the newest Android launchers to hit the scene, has quickly become one of the top apps that every Android user needs to try.How do I choose Android launcher? ›
Change default Android launcher
With some Android phones you head to Settings > Home, and then you choose the launcher you want. With others you head to Settings > Apps and then hit the settings cog icon in the top corner where you'll then options to change default apps.
- Evie Launcher. Simple, free, and fast are the three words that define Evie Launcher the best. ...
- Microsoft Launcher. Microsoft Launcher is similar to Evie Launcher yet very different from it. ...
- Lawnchair Launcher. ...
- TSF Launcher 3D Shell.
Android is a highly customizable mobile operating system and one of the ways that the users can customize the appearance of their device is through Android Launchers. However, Android launchers are not preferred by many people nowadays and are losing popularity.Can a different launcher make your phone faster? ›
Use a Different Launcher
The default launcher on your phone is usually designed to showcase your device's best features. As a result, it isn't always the fastest or most efficient. You'll find a huge number of third-party launchers in the Play Store, and many are optimized for speed.
Nova launcher using 600 mb Ram : r/androidapps.
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Best Android launchers: Niagara Launcher
The Niagara Launcher is an extremely lightweight and ergonomic launcher that helps achieve a minimalist yet functional homescreen.
Your launcher is where you interact with everything else, and BlackBerry has tightly integrated with its other apps and services. It also offers a lot of customization and has become popular for people using any Android phone, not just one from BlackBerry.
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Poco Launcher from Xiaomi includes a slightly customizable home screen. The launcher thrives for its effortless yet familiar UI. It consists of an app drawer that's just a swipe away, and you can easily find apps by swiping through the different categories.Is Smart Launcher 6 Safe? ›
Similarly, launchers like Microsoft Launcher, Nova Launcher, Apex Launcher, and Smart Launcher are from reputable vendors that are generally considered safe. If you're a minimalist, we've previously put together some selected minimalist android launchers you can try out.