Android’s dominance over other mobile operating systems is mainly due to the endless customization opportunities it provides to its user base and mobile launchers are one of the most customizable parts of Android.
What is an Android launcher?
Android smartphones are 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 default launcher pre-installed. For instance, a Google Pixel device comes pre-installed with the Pixel Launcher.
Why use third party launchers?
Third-party launchers offer screen customization for users to suit their needs. To save you from the trouble of browsing through hundreds of launchers on the Google Play Store, here is a list of the best launchers for Android in 2021.
11 Best Android Launchers For 2021
- Nova Launcher
- Evie Launcher
- Launcher iOS 13
- Apex Launcher
- Niagra Launcher
- Smart Launcher 5
- Microsoft Launcher
- ADW Launcher 2
- Square Home
- Lawnchair Launcher
1. Nova Launcher
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 show 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 as well. 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.
Price – Free/ Premium $4.99
Why use Nova Launcher?
- Unlimited customization options
- Truly the best free launcher for Android
2. Evie Launcher
The Evie launcher is designed for performance and is one of the fastest Android launchers. Many users who switched to this launcher vouch for its smoothness and ridiculous speed.
Its Universal Search feature lets you search within apps from one place. It offers a wide range of home screen shortcuts and customizations such as changing layouts, icon sizes, app icons, etc. The launcher app supports Bing and Duck Duck Go search engines, other than Google.
Price – Free
Why use Evie Launcher?
- Fastest launcher apps
- Universal search bar
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.
Price – Free
Why use Launcher iOS 14?
- iOS theme on Android
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.
Price – Free/ Premium $3.99
Why use Apex Launcher?
- App lock
- Multiple gesuture options
5. Niagara 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.
Price – Free
Why use Niagara Launcher?
- Best lightweight launcher app
- Stunning minalist design
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.
Price – Free/ Premium $4.49
Why use Smart Launcher 5?
- App Lock
- App sorting (similar to iOS14 App Library)
7. 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.
Price – Free
Why use Microsoft Launcher?
- Continue On PC
- Sync between Microsoft apps
8. ADW Launcher 2
The best launcher app for Android is stable, fast, easy to use and offers hundreds of customizable options. The UI almost feels like a stock Android. It supports a unique feature to change the interface color according to your wallpaper dynamically.
Moreover, there are icon badges, app indexing on app drawers, launcher shortcuts, transition animations and tons of other useful features.
Its developers claim that the possibility that you will configure it to your likeness is approximately 3720 to 1. You can make and modify your widgets with your own colors. What more can you ask for? If you are looking to change the default Android launcher, this should be the first one you should try out.
Price – Free
Why use ADW Launcher 2?
- Dynamic UI coloring using wallpaper colors
- Insane amount of customization
9. Square Home
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.
Price – Free
Why use Square Home?
- Good for people with weak eyesight
- Stunning Metro theme
10. Lawnchair 2
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.
Price – Free
Why use Lawnchair launcher?
- Native Google Pixel experience
- At a Glance and Google Feed
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.
Price – Free
Why use Bald Phone?
- Extremely intuitive
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.
Also Read: Best Free Android Music Players
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.
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.