11 Best Android Launchers: Customize Your Phone In 2021

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Android’s dominance over other mobile operating systems is mainly due to the endless customization opportunities it provides to its user base. Mobile launchers are one of the most customizable parts of Android.

Android is inoperable without a launcher, which comprises your home screen and the catalog of all the apps available on your device. That’s why every device comes with a pre-installed launcher. For instance, Pixel devices feature the the Pixel Launcher by default.

11 Best Android Launchers For 2021

To save you from the trouble of going through hundreds of launchers on the Google Play Store, here is a list of the best launchers for Android 2021.

  • Nova Launcher
  • Ratio
  • Launcher iOS 13
  • Apex Launcher
  • Niagra Launcher
  • Smart Launcher 5
  • Microsoft Launcher
  • Poco Launcher 2.0
  • Square Home
  • Lawnchair Launcher
  • BaldPhone

1. Nova Launcher

Note: The app has not been updated since December 2020, which means app issues and feature requests might go unheard.

Nova Launcher is truly one of the best Android launchers on the Google Play Store. It is fast, efficient, and lightweight. It supports dock customizations, notification badges, an option to display frequently used apps as a top row in the app drawer, folder and icon customizations, dozens of gestures, and many other cool features.

It also has support for app shortcuts. Not only can you customize app icons, but also edit icon labels. To get a minimalistic feel, users can remove labels entirely. It also encompasses a dark theme.

The prime version unlocks more useful features and is definitely worth a try. If you are a frequent user of Nova Launcher like me, make sure to check out our compilation of the best Nova launcher themes and icon packs

Why use Nova Launcher?

  • Unlimited customization options
  • Truly the best free launcher for Android


Google Play Store Rating – 4.5
Downloads – Over 50 million
Price – Free/ Premium $4.99

2. Ratio

Ratio-app-drawer

If your home screen is too messy and you get distracted easily, then Ratio is best launcher app for Android that you should be using.

The Android app has three home screens; each one has a particular feature. For instance, the Tree page keeps all your messages under one place, while the Root page features custom cards of weather, Notes, YouTube etc. Lastly, you have Tiles page which automatically segregates apps under different categories.

The only problem with Ratio is that there are no colorful theme options. That said, the monochromatic looks good as well.

Note that Ratio needs to access almost all your data to function properly. While it says the data is stays on the phone and is encrypted, not everyone will be comfortable with sharing too much of personal information. All in all, Ratio has one of the best launcher for Android in 2021.

Why use Ratio Launcher?

  • Attractive UI
  • Best to de-clutter home screen

Google Play Store Rating – 4.3
Downloads – Over 100 thousand
Price – Free

3. Launcher iOS 14

As the name indicates, the launcher app for Android brings the iPhone experience on the Android phone. Not only do you get proprietary icons, you will also see improvements in performance during navigation.

It’s unbelievable how close the launcher is to the real iPhone experience. Long pressing an app icon brings up an iOS-like menu of options to rearrange and remove the app. The launcher also provides the iPhone’s home screen-like widget section.

Users can also get the iOS control panel and assistive touch, upon downloading the respective apps from the developer. The only problem is that the iOS 14 launcher app throws obtrusive ads while trying to tweak the launcher settings.

Overall, this is the best launcher for Android in 2021 for people who would like to get the iOS 14 look on their Android device.

Why use Launcher iOS 14?

  • iOS theme on Android

Google Play Store Rating – 4.8
Downloads – Over 10 million
Price – Free

4. Apex Launcher

Apex Launcher is one of the most visually stunning launcher apps. To make it more aesthetic, you can combine it with thousands of themes and icon packs available on the Play Store. It is one of the best lightweight launchers for Android optimized for both smartphones and tablets.

You can add up to 9 customizable home screens and hide apps from the app drawer that you don’t need. The launcher sports apps in the app drawer according to the title, installation date, or how frequently you use them.

Purchasing the pro version will unlock more gesture options, powerful app drawer customizations, and many additional features.

Why use Apex Launcher?

  • App lock
  • Multiple gesuture options

Google Play Store Rating – 4.3
Downloads – Over 10 million
Price – Free/ Premium $3.99

5. Niagara Launcher

Niagra Launcher

Niagra is for Android users who are looking for a minimalist launcher. Similar to Evie, Niagra is not bundled with options and settings owing to which it is one of the fastest Android launchers on Google Play Store.

Since the launcher app is focused on de-cluttering your Android space, the app comes clean with no bloatware or sponsored ads. The launcher app works smoothly on lower-end devices as well.

If you are looking for hundreds of customization options, this app might not be suitable for you. But given its stunning design, I would suggest you give it a try. Overall, it’s one of the best mobile launchers for people looking to get a neat and aesthetic home screen.

Why use Niagara Launcher?

  • Best lightweight launcher app
  • Stunning minalist design

Google Play Store Rating – 4.4
Downloads – Over 1 million
Price – Free

6. Smart Launcher 5

The Smart Launcher 5 is another lightweight and fast Android launcher app for 2021 that has been developed, keeping users in mind. The app drawer consists of a sidebar that divides the apps according to a category.

Through the initial setup, it asks you for the default apps that you use, so you won’t be annoyed later by default app pop-ups.

The Android launcher has an ultra-immersive mode where you can hide the navigation bar to get more space on the screen. Also, the ambient theme of the launcher app changes the theme color based on the wallpaper.

Although gesture support is available, it is limited. You will need to purchase the pro version to unlock all the gestures. One downside of using the free version is that intrusive ads show up in the app drawer. Nevertheless, it is one of the fastest Android launchers that you should try.

Why use Smart Launcher 5?

  • App Lock
  • App sorting (similar to iOS14 App Library)

Google Play Store Rating – 4.4
Downloads – Over 10 million
Price – Free/ Premium $4.49

7. Microsoft Launcher

Microsoft Launcher

Microsoft Launcher (formerly Arrow Launcher) is an elegant and fast Android launcher app with a lot of customizations.

You can update new wallpapers from Bing every day. The home screen is decorated with the Microsoft Timeline feature resembling “Google Cards.” Also, the Recent panel shows the recently opened media or recently used contact.

The best part about the Microsoft Launcher app is that it gets synced to the entire Microsoft account. In other words, you can get personalized feed, see your search results and much more.

The only drawback of using Microsoft launcher is that it doesn’t allow much customization as in the other best launchers for Android here.

Why use Microsoft Launcher?

  • Continue On PC
  • Sync between Microsoft apps

Google Play Store Rating – 4.7
Downloads – Over 10 million
Price – Free

8. Poco Launcher 2.0

Poco launcher android app drawer

This is another free launcher for Android that is fast, reliable and easy-to-use. The Poco launcher comes pre-installed on Poco devices from Xiaomi.

The apps in the app drawer can be grouped by categories and color, which makes it easy to search for them. Alternatively, you can also use the Search which is quick in finding apps. Other than that, you can hide app icons as well.

You won’t find Google Feed on the home screen, so you might want to look at other launcher apps if that’s your priority. Overall, the launcher is pretty neat and one of fastest launchers on Android. However, there is a room for improvement.

Why use Poco Launcher 2.0?

  • Fast and reliable
  • Sort apps by color

Google Play Store Rating – 4.6
Downloads – Over 10 million
Price – Free

9. Square Home

Note: The app has not been updated since October 2020, which means app issues and feature requests might go unheard.

If you have ever used a Windows 10 phone, then you would love Square Home. The launcher app features Windows 10-like tiles on the home screen. You can change their size, color, transparency level, and a lot more. If you own a tablet, it is undoubtedly one of the best free launchers for Android.

It is also pretty useful for people with weak eyesight. You can resize the icons, or even choose an icon pack from the Play Store. It also has an option to add a quick contact page. Apart from that, you can see the notification count on the tiles. Also, you can sort the app drawer with the most used apps coming in at the top. Overall, Square Home is one of the unique launcher apps that you should try out.

Why use Square Home?

  • Good for people with weak eyesight
  • Stunning Metro theme

Google Play Store Rating 4.6
Downloads
Over 5 million
Price – Free

10. Lawnchair 2

Lawnchair on Redmi
Lawnchair on Redmi

The Lawnchair launcher is the only Pixel-like launcher that comes ridiculously close to providing all the features of the Google Pixel, such as Google Discover’s “At a Glance” widget and more.

Being a third party-launcher, it provides a great number of customization features such as variable grid, icon size, notification dots, etc., thus, coming out even better than the original Pixel launcher.

Other than that, there is dark theme support, integration of Sesame (universal search), and Pixel-like app actions now. The Lawnchair Launcher 2.0 also has drawer categories (tabs and folders) in the app drawer. Overall, the Lawnchair launcher is the best launcher for Android for Pixel fans out there.

Why use Lawnchair launcher?

  • Native Google Pixel experience
  • At a Glance and Google Feed

Google Play Store Rating – 4.3
Downloads – Over 1 million
Price – Free

11. BaldPhone

BaldPhone is an open-source launcher that is specifically made for elderly people, people with motoric problems, and people who need a visual aid.

The launcher has bigger icons and the necessary functions right on the home screen. However, users can customize the home screen based on their personal preferences.

Since the Android launcher is open-source, there are no ads and developers claim, “it is purely a goodwill product.” While the app asks for a lot of permissions, one can assume that there will be no harm to their data, given the open-source nature.

Unlike other Android apps here, this launcher app is only available on the F-Droid store. BaldPhone is one of the best Android launchers of 2021 for people who have difficulty using the normal interface.

Why use Bald Phone?

  • Open-source
  • Extremely intuitive

Google Play Store Rating – 4.4
Downloads – Over 10 thousand
Price – Free

Which is the best Android Launcher in 2021?

Most launchers these days look and feel way too similar. However, there are always some customization options that are unique to a launcher app. Then there are a few launchers such as Niagara and Evie which focus on the design, rather than overwhelming users with customization options. We advise users to try out all of the above top Android launchers to find out what works best for you.

Did you find this list of the best Android launchers helpful? Share your reviews in the comments section below.

FAQ

Are launchers good for Android?

Third-party launchers can be good or bad depending on your Android device. For instance, if you have a budget device that is already having performance issues, installing a loaded launcher will probably make it slow. Aside from that, a third-party launcher may indulge in malicious activities. That being said, launchers are generally good for Android.

Do launchers drain battery?

A heavy launcher can put a toll on your Android device. Prefer going for a lightweight and minimalistic launcher if battery life is a major concern.

Abhilekh Das

Abhilekh Das

A tech enthusiast who likes to stay updated on latest technological developments.
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