Android Emulators have different purposes, depending on your usage. From testing Android apps on PC to playing Android games on a large display. If that’s not the case, a regular user craves to try the Android OS on an enormous screen. If it’s for testing any custom ROM or Android operating system itself, the usage might vary.
Now that you’ve recognized the benefit of Android emulators, you want to give a shot at one. Strictly speaking, there are numerous Android Emulators for Windows and Mac. Bluestacks has been the nonpareil choice for many meantime; the tables have turned in recent years. If you wish to try one on your PC, we gathered a list of the best Android emulators in the market out there.
The Android Emulators mentioned on this list run on Windows primarily, while some have support for macOS/Mac. Every emulator has its pros and cons. Before picking up anyone, you should consider the kind of usage you will need and if the emulator provides the same or not. You might have gone on a cruise to search for the best Android emulators for Android. We believe that your search ends here with our list of best Android Emulators for Windows PC and Mac.
What is Android Emulator?
Android Emulator is a virtual device for testing Android apps without installing them on your smartphone. You can target any platform you want and debug your app. Since it works on a desktop platform, the emulator is called AVD (Android Virtual Device).
Uses of Android Emulator?
An Android Emulator has different uses based on a user’s purpose. There are two primary uses of Android Emulators:
1. For Developers — debug Android apps before releasing them.
2. For Gamers — play games on a large screen without an Android smartphone.
If you are looking for one of the above purposes, you might want to look at our collection of the best Android emulators for PC and macOS. Don’t worry about it if you are entirely new to the Android emulator platform. Every Android Emulator mentioned on this list is easy to use. All you need is a basic knowledge of using an Android smartphone, and you are good to go.
Best Android Emulators for PC and Mac
Bluestacks is the most dominant Android emulator among all of them. It is the best Android Emulator for Windows and Mac. Not only for gaming, but Bluestacks is also adaptable for regular Android usage. Back in the early days of Android emulators, it was the only one that worked. It went through numerous updates, and you get Android 7.1.2 Nougat on the latest Bluestacks. On the bright side, Bluestacks will be bringing Android 8.0 Oreo on its new Bluestacks 5 game engine. It includes different key-mapping and macros and scripts added for games at variance.
Bluestacks can run on any Windows or Mac regardless of the chipset used in the machine. Bluestacks brings you all the goodness from Play Store and recently partnered with Samsung to add their Galaxy Store to the emulator. Bluestacks is another way to test your Android apps if you don’t have a mobile/tablet. The only sad part is that productive apps might be stagnant. Anyways, it’s the best Android Emulator for Windows and macOS, without a doubt.
Tencent released their Android emulator for PUBG Mobile players looking to play on low-end PCs. It was known as Tencent Gaming Buddy and, lately, renamed to GameLoop. Its purpose is to play high-quality FPS games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile. Since it’s the official emulator from Tencent, these games tend to perform better on GameLoop. It also features games apart from Tencent’s ones. Subsequently, the collection isn’t a huge one.
GameLoop is devoted to Android gaming on PC; thus, support for running other Android apps is absent. GameLoop has excellent integration with the mouse and keyboard on the bright side. The FPS we got was admirable when we tried some games on it. It runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat and will be further updated as well. If gaming is your top priority, you should look no further. GameLoop is the best Android Emulator for playing FPS games.
3. MEmu Play
MEmu is a new player in the market of Android emulators. While MEmu made its entry in 2015, it gained popularity recently. Similar to Bluestacks and GameLoop, MEmu App Player focuses on gaming too. The best part is that it supports both Nvidia and AMD chipsets, but the developers seem to pay more attention to AMD. Talking about speed, it’s on par with Bluestacks and GameLoop. MEmu has a minimal UI in comparison to other emulators.
MEmu runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat and gets regular updates to improve the performance. It can also run Android Lollipop, KitKat, and Jellybean. MEmu allows you to run different Android versions in other Windows concurrently. While it gives exceptional gaming performance, it provides notable performance for regular users in the same way. In our opinion, MEmu Play is yet another best Android Emulator for PCs.
Genymotion is more of an Android emulator for developers. It allows you to test your apps on different virtual devices without owning them physically. The Android simulator has various Android versions to test apps on different API levels. The good part is that Genymotion is compatible with both Windows PCs and macOS. As Genymotion favors developers, many features are apt for developers.
It integrates well with Android SDK and Android Studio. As a good example, you can debug your app on a Nexus 6P running Android 5.0 Lollipop. It’s perfect for the developers to use it for their personal use. Besides, Genymotion offers cloud services with no requirement of a powerful CPU to run the simulations. You can rely on the servers to take up the heavy work for you. As a result, Genymotion is the best Android emulator for developers developing apps wanting to test their apps on various devices before the launch.
5. LD Player
LD Player is another latest contender for gaming Android emulators. It is one of the best of its kind and well-optimized for gamers. Since its launch, it has grabbed the attention of many emulator players. The speed and performance of the LD Player play a crucial role in its quick popularity. Another positive fact is that it receives monthly updates, and the team seems to be very active.
LD Player is compatible with both Intel and AMD chipsets and delivers a top-notch performance. However, LD Player runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat and is likely to receive future updates. It comes with a built-in app store that fulfills its purpose for exploring new games. LD Player provides the complete experience of an Android emulator on Windows PCs for gamers.
6. Nox Player
Nox Player is another emulator on this list for gaming, which comes with surfeit features directed towards gamers. It includes features like key-mapping, controller compatibility, and key-mapping gestures too. Nox can fairly outperform any other Android emulator with its top-of-the-line interface. It means you can map keyboard shortcuts without needing specific hardware.
If you are into rooting, it lets you change the build.prop of the emulator. The benefits don’t stop there. You can gain root access by simply enabling an option. It’s much better than trying to go through the complete rooting process on other emulators. When someone hears terms like rooting, they would ask if Nox Player is safe; the answer is yes.
By default, it runs on Android 5.1.1, but you can also run multiple instances with different Android versions. It’s good at these parts, but on the flip side, it puts a lot of load on the CPU and GPU. Albeit, it’s one of the best Android emulators for Windows and Mac.
7. Android Studio
Android Studio is more of an emulator for developers and made by Google. It’s essentially a tool for developers to build and test their apps and games for Android smartphones. Several tools and plugins are present in Android Studio to help developers test their applications. It’s not for regular Android users and might take a little longer to set up.
Android Studio comes with a built-in Android emulator and packs some good features. It’s the favorite tool for developers to build and test apps. While it doesn’t rank out Genymotion, many prefer it. The emulator can run any app for testing on the emulator and run any Android version. It would be best if you considered that gaming is out of the question on Android Studio. It is one of the best Android emulators for developers and runs on Windows and macOS.
8. Remix OS Player
Remix OS launched as a full-fledged operating system based on Android. Installing it besides Windows operating system is bickering. Remix OS comes with an Android emulator that you can run on Windows to avoid those difficulties. It is entirely free and comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is a little old considering the competition.
Remix OS Player is relatively stable, given that its development has concluded. Still, it’s persistent and easy to use. This Android Emulator focuses primarily on gaming as well as productivity apps. The addition of Google Play as a native app is an excellent minor tweak. It’s the perfect emulator for the time being. If there comes a better one, we’ll soon replace it with another one. It’s one of the best stable Android Emulators for Windows.
PrimeOS is more of an operating system on its own. As a result, instead of running on Windows or macOS, it needs a separate partition to boot up. The installation will be a little complex since it involves booting into native Android OS. Unlike Remix OS, it is suitable for gaming and productivity apps too. The best part of PrimeOS is its UI, which is stunning. Moreover, it looks like ChromeOS is running Android apps better and more stable way.
It includes features like Gaming Center and adds support for external devices like mouse and keyboard. You can play multiple games simultaneously while watching your favorite content. It has been new in terms of development since 2019, and it’s a startup based in India. It’s pretty stable for Android OS in gaming and other applications. It had to make its way to our list of the best Android Emulators. It can be installed on any Windows or Mac if you know the installation process specifically.
10. Phoenix OS
Phoenix OS is another new Android Emulator in the market. Like most of the emulators, it’s focused on gaming. It welcomes you with a desktop-like experience for gamers while allowing it to be used for general users as well. It runs on Android 7.1 and emphasizes desktop features like multi-windows, keyboard and mouse support, and more.
Phoenix OS comes with some native applications pre-installed for effortless accessibility. Phoenix OS can run without a problem on Intel x86 based chipsets too. Google Play Services come in-built with this emulator, and you might want to install apps from Google Play Store. It also doubles as an operating system and wouldn’t affect your documents in that way. It is the best overall Android Emulator for both gamers and regular users.
Other Android Emulators
Apart from the Android Emulators mentioned above, some couldn’t make it to the list. We tested them and found them unstable or couldn’t run correctly. Those include Droid4x, Windroy, Andy, and Xamarin. Since we couldn’t get them to work on our machines, it doesn’t mean you can’t. You should give them a try if you still can’t satisfy your quench for the best Android Emulator that suits your needs.
Andy got arraigned for installing crypto miners on users’ machines without intimidating them out of the four mentioned. While it was one of the Android Emulators we wanted to add to this list, it didn’t work out well. We recommend you stay away from Andy. Other Android Emulators may also do this, and it’s always better to check the emulator for any suspicious activities before installing them on your computer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which is the best Android Emulator for PC?
Many Android Emulators produce different outputs. For overall purposes, Bluestacks seems to be the best for gaming and regular users. Another great option would be MEmu Play for both general and gaming purposes. Make sure to choose the right Android Emulator based on your usage. Considering all of them, you may select the one which suits your use and is best for your work.
Which is the best for playing PUBG?
If you are looking for an Android Emulator to play PUBG Mobile, GameLoop would be the ideal choice as it’s an official emulator from Tencent. Other options would be Bluestacks, MEmu, and Nox Player, ensuring PUBG Mobile runs smoothly. PUBG Mobile requires constant FPS and needs a better internet connection too. If you don’t have a stable internet connection, these emulators might not be much valuable to you.
Which is the best Android emulator for low-end PC?
Bluestacks and MEmu Player seemed to put less load on the CPU and GPU than we have used. Genymotion can also be a satisfying choice since it burdens their cloud servers, granting that you don’t game on it. While you can use them for general purposes, low-end PCs don’t have the potential to run high FPS games.
So here is our list of the best Android Emulators for playing Android games and running apps. The mentioned ones can run on Windows 10/8.1/8/7 PCs and Mac if the emulator supports it. The performance of these Android emulators will depend on the hardware specifications of your PC or Mac. Whether you need to develop apps or play games, you will find this helpful list.
Android is an open-source project, and thus the growth of Android emulators was possible. But there are some emulators like Andy that take advantage of user permissions. You should better stay away from them to keep your PC from malicious stuff. To keep your information private, it’s always best to check for online reviews before choosing the one according to your preferences. Our list of best Android emulators is clean from all malicious activities. Thus, we can safely say that you can use these Android emulators on your Windows PC or Mac.
Our favorite picks would be Bluestacks, GameLoop, and MEmu Player if you asked us. But you may have different needs. Thus the alternatives listed above may alter your choice depending on your usage. Any input from your side is also acceptable and would significantly contribute to our list. If you have other recommendations, let us know them. Which Android emulator was your favorite? Let us know them in the comments down below.