Having the android platform on your PC enables you to use all the smartphone apps right on your computer. Installing an android emulator gives you the possibility to have all the features that you have on your smartphone. You can use a mouse and keyboard with your favorite android game with an emulator. If you’re a developer, you can test your codes or get a final test on your computer before shipping the app you developed.
There are endless possibilities with an android emulator on your computer, even more than having a phone. There are tons of options when it comes to choosing the best android emulator for your computer. We’ve selected the best android emulators for pc you can use on your computer for Gaming, Development, or Productivity. You’ll be able to get the most out of these emulators with the least amount of learning curves.
Are Android emulators safe for PC?
An android emulator is a program that you will install on your computer, just like you install any other software on it. The main functionality of an android emulator and difference from other Softwares is, it will create an android environment on your PC. It’s a risk-free application like the other software on your computer if you’re installing it from a renowned source. If you install a trusted emulator, you’ll get the security updates regularly that will keep you safe from new scams and vulnerabilities. So, never to install it from a potential scammer; instead, try to get it from the developer source.
Top Android Emulators In 2021
Here are our main picks as the leading android emulators that you can rely on for any purpose you may have from development to gaming:
- Nox Player
- MEmu Play
- Remix OS
- Phoenix OS
- Remix OS Player
11 Best Android emulators for PC and Mac 2021 Edition
Choosing the best emulator that can give you the maximum out of your PC as an android platform needs you to know what they offer. Here are the most popular and trusted android emulators along with the features they provide to serve you:
Bluestacks is by far the most popular android emulator in the world and the list must start with it. It’s an American tech company that develops the most sophisticated android emulator. You can use bluestacks on both windows and MAC OS regardless of what architecture you’re on. Bluestacks is so popular because of its easy setup process and highly powerful Gaming capability.
You will have both the play store and a dedicated app store of its own for installing apps and games. As of the platform, bluestacks come based on Android Nougat 7.1.2 that has the latest features and security updates. If you’re an emulator based gamer, you’ll find the bluestacks outperform other emulators very well. It supports keyboard, mouse, and keyboard mapping for the best gaming experience.
Either you’re a developer or a gamer, or even a casual user, here are the main features of bluestacks that you will find fascinating:
- Bluestacks is available for Windows 7,8,10, Mac OS, and it supports HTML 5 or flash player to run it.
- It will give you over 1.5 million android games and over 500,000 games in the flash or HTML5 category to choose from.
- You can stream your gameplay directly on twitch simultaneously while gaming if you use bluestacks.
- Bluestacks allows you to use any non-game apps that you can find on the play store.
- It has a dedicated app store like the play store, including some enhanced apps and games by bluestacks itself.
- You’ll need to have at least 2 GB of RAM and 4 GB of hard disk space on your computer for installing it.
2. Nox Player
Whether you’re running on Windows PC or a MAC, the Nox player is available on both platforms. The NOX player comes with a unique design for gamers where you’ll get dedicated gaming mode. You can use keypad, mouse, gamepad, script records, and other gaming components for gaming with the NOX player. Another fantastic thing about the NOX player is it comes pre-rooted and ready to customize right out of the box.
If you’re a developer, you can get the max out of your emulator by customizing the core files. Nox app player comes with the upgradability to the Android Nougat platform for the latest updates. If you need a smooth gaming performance with the customizable rooted OS, I can recommend you get the next player.
Nox Player Features:
The latest NoxPlayer 22.214.171.124 version has some advanced features which you can get as significant advantages, especially for gaming. Here are the main features of NOX player that make it one o the smoothest and fastest android emulator:
- The NoxPlayer comes with the macro recording feature to record your gameplay and other activities smartly.
- It has some extra accessibility buttons on the quick navigation bar to help you tweak the most used features.
- You can now replace the theme from the Nox theme center with only one click with the adjusted drop-down menu.
- There is a system cleanup menu on the Nox player for clearing all your cache and residual files that are clogging your PC.
- It comes with the OpenGL+ Graphics rendering mode for extra smoothness while you’re playing with it.
- You’ll need at least 2 GB of RAM on your computer along with 1 GB of Graphics memory to install the Nox emulator.
3. MEmu Play
MEmu Play is a famous android emulator which is exceptionally capable of playing high-end games that need intense performance. You can use MEmu to run high memory and spec-hungry games with the minimum system requirements. If you have a low-end system on your PC but want to run bigger android games, the MEmu may come in handy. With its built-in keyboard mapping system, you can customize the controls as you need it.
It can run on your computer both with a dedicated graphics card or an integrated one. MEmu is compatible with almost all the graphics platforms, including AMD, Nvidia, or Intel on Windows operating system. You’ll get the Google Play store right after installing it, and it will also prompt in and install APK files from your PC.
MEmu Play Features:
MEmu Play comes with some unique features that make it stand out from other android emulators. Here are the most important ones that you can use for gaming, development, or casual usage:
- MEmu Play comes with full customization, including CPU usage, navbar, memory size, resolution, and so on.
- With MEmu, you’ll get a flexible option to have root functionality or not, which is convenient if you’re new or experienced with android customization.
- It has the keyboard mapping function for better control over gaming and supports joysticks to control over the screen as well.
- You can use both OpenGL and the DirectX graphics memory system for gaming using the MEmu play along with screen resolution customization.
- It offers a convenient sidebar to make it more user friendly and an extra button to expand a lot more options in the bar.
- You will get a google installer option for play store to install the regular android apps and a dedicated file manager for exploring.
- You’ll get a unique crosshair feature with the latest MEmu play, which is a great way to improve your shooting gaming performance.
If you have a PC with a low to mid specifications and want to play games smoothly, LDPlayer is a good option. LDPlayer is an android emulator that can help you play mid to high-resolution games for Android. This emulator comes with the android lollipop platform to help you run the latest games and apps.
For installing apps, you will get Google Play right after installing the app and games. With LDPlayer, you’ll be able to run multiple games or apps at the same time without having any process kill. It has a user-friendly design to help you run the android emulator on your PC with a very few learning curves.
As I mentioned earlier, you should get the LDPlayer if you have a PC with low to mid-range specifications. Here are the main features that LDPlayer offers, and you can expect to do with it:
- LDPlayer is a particular emulator for running on mid-spec computers and ideal for gaming with mid to high range specifications.
- The latest LDPlayer v4 comes based on the android 7.1.2 nougat platform with the latest security features and compatibilities.
- Its kernel version of this emulator now has an enhanced upgrade for better gaming performance for most of the popular games.
- You can customize the interface of the emulator with better wallpaper options and the quick access sidebar tools.
- LDPlayer allows you to customize the screen resolution for different games and apps that you can change at any time with quick accessibility.
5. Remix OS
The Remix OS is not like a conventional android emulator that you can run from the apps list on a window. It requires you to get a separate partition on the existing hard drive with a different boot sequence. Because of this feature, you can put the Remix OS on a USB stick and make a partition on that. Every time you want to run Android on your computer, you can hook up the USB stick and boot instantly on Android.
With this portable operating system on your hand, it’s mainly targeted for productivity rather than gaming. You can do your jobs on the go and have a separate operating system of your own. Some of the top developers and former Google employees have developed this OS. You can understand how efficient it would be if you start using it for productivity.
Remix OS Features:
Remix OS is an unconventional android emulator with some sick features that make it one of the most productive OS, such as:
- The Remix OS requires you to have a separate partition on your computer’s hard drive and boot into it separately as well.
- You can install it on a USB stick to make a portable android operating system that you can hook up to any PC and convert it into Android.
- Remix OS isn’t an ideal option if you’re looking only for gaming performance as it offers better productivity instead of gaming.
- You will get all the features of a regular android phone with the Remix OS on your PC, including the basics like contacts, browser, calculator, explorer, and so on.
- If you’re a Mac user, you’ll find the Remix OS quite similar to the Mac OS and more comfortable to operate as well.
- The interface of the Remix OS has the most convenient usability ever, and you can even right-click for the context menus with it.
Almost all of the android emulators in the market simulate an android platform on your computer in general. But, the Gameloop emulator from Tencent comes with the dedication for gaming on purpose. The primary use of this emulator was to make a platform to play PUBG COD and some other mainstream games. However, now this app has even more functionality to install almost any android app on it.
It comes with a Google Installer to install Play Store and other Google apps, including the regular android apps. If you’re already using Gameloop for playing PUBG or other games, you don’t have to install any other emulator to run Android. It can deliver you hardcore gaming experience and higher efficiency for other apps as well. Gameloop comes with a dedicated apps and games store, and it gets you regular updates as well.
Why use Gameloop?
There are several reasons why I can recommend you to use the Gameloop android emulator on your computer. Here are the main features of Gameloop that you can use, especially if you’re a gamer:
- Gameloop is primarily dedicated to run games in very high resolution up to 4K for the maximum crisp gaming experience.
- It comes with the Google installer to install any type of android apps you are using on your phone other than the games.
- You can customize the keymap for different games with Gameloop as it comes with the smart key mapping feature.
- Gameloop is one of the easiest emulators to set up on your computer, and it includes only a few steps and a very few learning curves.
- It’s compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, and Mac OSx with a small installation file and a very lightweight operating load on the memory.
If you’re not ready to sacrifice your computer’s local storage or memory, you can go for the Genymotion. It’s a virtual android emulator with a unique design to run and test apps, which is a blessing for the developers. If you’re an android developer and need to test your apps a lot, but not ready to use a full-fledged emulator, it’s for you. You can run your apps over the cloud and get a virtual capability to test them.
It allows you to test in different screen sizes, resolutions, portrait, and landscape mode as well. You’ll be able to edit its ADB, APIs, and all the other things that can affect your app after releasing it. It comes with various plugins and tools to make your simulation more effective. With Genymotion, you can edit the battery levels, wifi signal, Pixel density, GPS, and other sensors to resemble the best version of your app.
As the Genymotion is a cloud-based android emulator and designed for developers, you will get a wide range of features with it. Here are the main reasons why you should consider using it as your testing platform:
- Genymotion emulator allows you to edit the variables of battery information for testing, GPS info for location-based apps.
- You can use its camera and SMS or call feature to use it for doing regular work virtually on your computer.
- This app is available on the major operating systems such as Linux, Mac OSx, and windows 7, 8, and 10 to use virtually.
- It’s compatible with the development environments like the Android SDK tools, and Android studio to make your development even smoother.
- It will help you clone any app and use them simultaneously, as well as the reset option for the cloned apps instantly.
8. Phoenix OS
The Phoenix OS is a relatively newer addition to the emulator family, and it’s gaining trust because of cool features. It runs on an android 7.1 nougat operating system and works primarily on Windows 10. You’ll get all the modern features, including the services from Google Play Store app with it. You can install any type of apps and games on the OS from Google play store with the Phoenix OS.
The famous XDA developers website houses the official forum of Phoenix OS so that you will get the best possible support. It offers a universal search feature, LAN access, mouse and keyboard support, key mapping, app cloning, and so on. You can install the Phoenix OS on any intel x86 supported operating system on your hard drive.
Phoenix OS Features:
Phoenix OS has some of the most interesting features that can make you feel like using a regular android phone, only a better one. Here are some of the most exciting features of Phoenix OS that you should look forward to:
- Phoenix OS comes with the Google Play store app that enables you to install any type of android app on your PC.
- It will give you a multi-window system without compromising the interfaces like title bars, navigation bars, and shortcut tools.
- You can freely resize and stretch the windows you’re using in the Phoenix OS and organize them as you want them to be.
- Phoenix OS has the best file manager and explorer available on Android, which gives you maximum access to the core customizations.
- It has a Global searching feature, the LAN access, compression module, cross-window drag method, mouse and keyboard accessibility, and so on.
- You’ll get the productive apps like Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and other apps for free with the Phoenix OS ready after the installation.
The PrimeOS is also a unique android platform that you can call a bootable operating system rather than an emulator. You have to make a separate partition on your hard disk and boot the PrimeOS from that when you’re booting your computer. You can also make a portable operating system with it, using a USB drive and hook it up only when you want to boot from it.
Like any other emulators, you can install any type of apps or game on the computer using PrimeOS. It’s ideal for running any hardcore games that you can install on your phone as well. You can run it on the PCs with smaller specs and run the android games smoothly.
PrimeOS is a full-fledge android emulator that allows you to install and run any android apps and games and offer you some special features like:
- PrimeOS is compatible with Cross platforms, including Linux, Mac, Windows operating systems, including 7, 8, 10.
- You will get a built-in file manager with PrimeOS to organize, edit, and manipulate the files by exploring them like windows.
- It has a full-fledged android settings option to control all the apps and features just the way you do on your android device.
- You’ll get a fully equipped gaming center that offers hundreds of games to enjoy, including FPS, online, and other types of games without restrictions.
- The PrimeOS has a Windows-like interface with identical features, yet it offers a lot of features that you only find in androids.
The Xamarin android player is one of the most elegant and phone-like emulators available in the market. This app has a special design to test and run android apps, which means you’ll find it useful if you’re a developer. For extra convenience in android development, you can deploy your apps on physical Android devices using a USB connection.
It’s the perfect low-profile emulator that you can use for debugging, running a demo, or tweaking the settings of the OS. The best thing about the Xamarin player is you can test both Android and iOS applications on your computer without any hassle. One important thing to note here is that Xamarin has discontinued the future development for the emulator; you can still use it. You can download the whole program from their Git.
The Xamarin app player offers some unique features that you will find fascinating for sure. Here are the most anticipating features of Xamarin:
- Xamarin is primarily an IDE, just like the Android studio or other IDEs you may use for developing apps.
- The best thing about the Xamarin is, you can use it for cross-platform development and testing, both for Android and iOS.
- You can use the Xamarin player to deploy your apps on a physical Android or iOS device and test them or use them.
- It comes with very few learning curves and a simple installation process to get on your PC and start developing.
- You can customize the app according to your need either for development for iOS or Android and for using it as your android simulator.
YouWave is one of the oldest android emulators that has been here for a while now with constant development. You can use it from the Ice cream sandwich version to the latest Lollipop version with its premium membership. Use this emulator if you’re not a regular emulator user as a replacement for a phone. If you use an emulator sometimes for occasional use and play light games, you can go for the YouWave emulator.
For light gaming and better productivity, this emulator provides fair support with the older android environment. It will help you big time to test your codes if you’re a developer in particular. You can test your apps on it to see how they perform on the older versions of Android.
Using the YouWave android emulator will give you some extra features that you cannot expect from a regular and modern emulator, such as:
- YouWave will provide you with optimum performance when you’re using a low-end PC with smaller specifications.
- You will be able to install the Google apps with its GApps feature and get any app on it using the Google play services.
- It supports online and multiplayer gaming with keyboard, mouse, and touch panel support for extra convenience while gaming.
- The YouWave emulator runs on android 4.0.4 ICS and supports all ARM or non-ARM based applications.
- You’ll be able to transfer data from PC to other android devices using the YouWave emulator and backup data as well.
Other Android Emulators For Windows
Apart from these popular android emulators, I can mention some others as well, which are also work great at simulating Android on your PC, such as:
- Bliss OS: It requires a partition boot system and built on the x86 architecture kernel, installable on a USB stick for portability.
- LeapDroid: For testing apps, playing light games, and expecting super speed and performance, the LeapDroid is an ideal option.
- KOPlayer: This OS is based on x86 architecture with the kernel technology, supports both OpenGL and Hardware acceleration.
- Windroy: It’s a combined development for both the YouWave and the Bluestacks, and its main target is performance on older version 4.0.3.
- Andy: Andy is available on both Windows and Mac, and it comes with a slick and simple UI, especially for gaming.
Here are the most frequently asked question about android emulators for windows that you might want to have answers to:
Are Android emulators safe for PC?
Yes, if you choose the right emulator, it’s entirely safe for use on your PC.
Is there a PC emulator for Android?
Yes, you can use Limbo, Bluestacks, Wne 3.0, and some other apps for simulating PC on Android.
Are emulators bad for your computer?
If you use a backdated faulty emulator, it won’t give you security updates and compromise your PC.
Are emulators legal?
Yes, using emulators is legal; however, you cannot edit a restricted ROM into an emulator.
Using an android emulator on your computer can help you simulate an android device on your computer. It will enable an android Pad on your PC, which you can use for gaming, running APKs, and so on. However, as you’re installing a separate operating system on your computer, you must know it’s safe to use.
Installing a renowned emulator can help you stay out of fear of getting into security trouble. If you don’t get regular security updates from your emulator developer, it will be a severe security issue later. So, make sure you’re choosing a popular one and never install any suspicious and malicious software on your emulator.