Android emulators serve a variety of purposes: from developers testing apps to gamers playing on a large screen. Regular users also yearn to experience Android OS on a Windows PC, complimented with a mouse and keyboard. Some iOS emulators for PC and Mac are also available but Android ones offer better performance.
Maybe you are switching from iPhone to Android, or you merely want to test out a Custom ROM, the possibilities with Android Emulator are endless. While BlueStacks has always topped the list of phone emulators for PC, few others are catching up insanely fast. So, here is the list of the top Android Emulators for your Windows PC. Further down the article, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of these emulators in detail.
Best Android Emulators for Your PC And Mac: 2019 Edition
1. Nox Player
Nox Player especially targets Android gamers. Although the emulator works perfectly fine for other Android apps and enjoying the whole Android experience, it is best suited for playing massive games like PUBG or Justice League. The best part of Nox Emulator is that it’s absolutely free with no sponsored ads at all.
The Nox Player allows you to map keys of Keyboard, Mouse, and Gamepad. You can even assign keyboard keys for gestures, for instance, mapping shortcut for swiping right.
Also, you can specify the CPU and RAM usage in the settings option to get the best gaming results. If rooting Android is your focus, Nox Player makes it easy to root the virtual device under one minute.
The only problem with Nox is that it puts a lot of load on the system. Thus, you can’t use tons of other apps. Another thing is it is based on Android 5 Lollipop which might be a concern for you.
Why use Nox Player?
- Multiple windows on the single device
- Mapping shortcuts on controllers
- Easy to root
BlueStacks is probably the most known Android emulator among Android users. The emulator is preferred for gaming and is ridiculously easy to set up. Other than Play Store, you have the option of downloading BlueStacks optimized apps from its own app store. Although, BlueStacks supports keyboard mapping but does not go well with gestures. A major drawback of BlueStacks emulator is that it gets sluggish in productivity apps. Other than that, the sponsored ads make the emulator lose behind other best free Android emulators for Windows.
Talking specifically about BlueStacks 4, it brings an excellent gaming performance, thanks to low CPU and memory usage. It also claims to be 6x faster than Samsung Galaxy S9+.
BlueStacks Android emulator is currently based on Android 7.1.2 (Nougat).
Price: Free/ Premium $24
Why use BlueStacks?
- Easy to set up with no technical knowledge required
- Multiple accounts support
- Latest Android version
MEmu is relatively a new app player in comparison to the others. Launched in 2015, the MeMu Play, again, is focused on gaming. Regarding the speed, this Android emulator gives similar results as Nox and BlueStacks.
One of the most important features of MeMu Android emulator is its support for both AMD and Nvidia chips. It also supports different Android versions like Android Jelly Bean, Kit Kat, and Lollipop. While MeMu advocates for high-performance gaming, the graphics performance is relatively poor. I saw textures and smoothness missing in comparison to other app players.
MEmu is currently based on Android Lollipop and works top of the class with productivity apps. And if you are looking forward to playing games like Ingress or Pokémon Go, this should be your choice.
Why use MEmu?
- Key Mapping
- Set your virtual location on Google Maps
- Support both AMD and NVidia
4. Ko Player
Just like other Android gaming emulators out there, Ko Player focuses on delivering lag-free gaming experience with a lightweight software.
As Ko Player is free of cost yet you might see few ads here and there. The app player is easy to install and navigate through the apps. It also supports keyboard mapping and gamepad emulation.
The downside of this Android emulator is that it sometimes freezes out of the blue. Also, the player is a little buggy and makes it difficult for the user to uninstall the Android emulator.
Why use Ko Player?
- Simple UI
- Set up any Android device
- Easy to set up
Genymotion is not your casual Android emulator; it is only targeted at developers. The Android simulator lets you test apps on a variety of virtual devices with different versions of Android. The emulator is compatible with Android SDK and Android Studio. It even works macOS and Linux.
Since Genymotion is inclined towards developers, it is equipped with lots of developer-friendly features. And it might not be the right choice for people looking for Android gaming experience.
Price: Trail/Premium $136 per year.
Why use Genymotion?
- Supports Android Studio
- Runs on MacOs and Linux
- Run versions from Android 4.1 to 8.0
6. Android Studio
Android Studio is a development IDE (Integrated development environment) from Google itself and especially caters to developers. It basically comes with a bunch of tools and plugins to help developers build and test their apps.
Android Studio has a built-in emulator but packs fewer features in comparison to Genymotion. The emulator is unquestionably not for general usage and playing heavy games. Android Studio is tough to set up but simultaneously favorite of many developers.
Why use Android Studio?
- Google’s official emulator
- Regular updates
7. Remix OS
Well, Remix OS is nothing like other Android emulators out there. It is an entire Android OS which you can boot into. Unlike the other emulators that can easily on top of the Window, Remix OS needs to be installed on a separate partition.
Remix OS is a Jide Technology product, a company formed by Google’s former employees. You can put Remix OS on a USB device and boot from there to any computer on the planet. The Android emulator is good for productivity apps but does not support heavy gaming.
Although Jide technology has killed its support, you can still download the last Android Marshmallow version. Meanwhile, a similar project known as Phoenix OS is being well-liked among the Remix OS fans. And recently, the project was updated to Android 7 Nougat.
Why use Remix OS?
- Android OS experience
- New file manager
- Good for productivity apps
ARChon is not some big shot Android emulator, nor it has a huge fan following, it’s more of a fix to run Android apps on Chrome OS.
It started out when Google brought support for two or three Android apps on Chrome Web Browser. Following which, a GitHub developer took it a little notch further and released ARChon to run all Android apps on Chrome.
The ARChon Android emulator is not suited for hardcore gaming, but it is excellent for using productivity app due to its easy access.
Why use ARChons?
- Integrated into Chrome
- No troublesome installation
- Good for productivity apps
9. Bliss OS
Bliss OS is a little different from the above emulators. Where ‘Android Emulators’ emulate Android on your Windows PC, Bliss OS, on the other hand, is Android itself and needs to be installed as a separate OS.
As for its installation, you could use a Virtual Box or you can create a bootable USB drive and install the Bliss OS ROM on the external storage.
Now, installing Bliss OS or any other Android x86 based projects is always better if you are looking for the exact Android experience on your PC. Not to mention the fact is Bliss OS is open source and don’t encompass ads or any Android emulator clutter.
Why use Bliss OS?
- Open-source and ad-free
- Beta version running on Android 9 Pie
- Supports Substratum Theme engine
Android Emulators that didn’t make it to the top
These are the some of the best Android emulators that you can run on your Windows 10. Before you install any of the above emulators, it is important to note that these emulators are not completely bug-free and may lag from time to time. Also, the performance of these app players would be based on the specification of your PC.
And here are few of the emulators who are no longer supported or have been shut down:
- Remix OS
I have restrained myself to put Andy in this list of top Android emulators since they were involved in some cheap tricks. Andy was accused of bitcoin mining on users PC without their consent. Do give the other recommended tools a try and share your views with us.