There are several reasons for android emulators on a PC or Mac. It’s often easier to test apps on a desktop than on a mobile device, and for everyone else, there’s the allure of running mobile games on a much larger screen.
With Android emulators for PC, you can run almost any Android app on your desktop PC or laptop and take full advantage of the big screen and high performance to play your favorite Android games like Clash of Clans, Battle Royale, and others.
Gaming is the most common reason to emulate Android on a desktop, though you can also use an emulator to run any app from the Google Play Store. For example, running the Instagram app on an emulator makes it possible to upload photos from your PC or Mac, something that would otherwise be impossible.
We’ve rounded up a selection of the best Android emulators for PC below, but the best one for you will depend on exactly why you want an Android emulator and also how savvy you are when it comes to the more technical side of things.
With that in mind, here are the best Android emulators for PC.
Table of Contents
Top 5 Android Emulators for PC:
Bluestacks App Player is perhaps the best-known Android emulator, and it’s no wonder given its quality and reliability. BlueStacks has been designed with ease of use in mind and looks just like Android on a tablet or smartphone. There are free and paid versions. The free one includes some ads and the odd sponsored app, but they’re fairly unobtrusive.
BlueStacks has mainly focused on games and the interface is essentially a front-end to download and install them, but you can also visit the Google Play Store and search for other apps and if you want to add apps and games from other sources, you have the option to use standalone APK files.
In our experience, setup was smooth and easy, and we were able to install Summoners War without issue, but we couldn’t use an existing account login, so watch out for that.
Overall, though, performance is decent assuming your hardware is reasonably powerful, making this a great way to bring Android to your computer screen.
GameLoop– is another Android emulator that is mainly used as a gaming platform. Its most popular titles include Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile, and Tencent once declared it the official emulator for its COD games.
There are other titles, of course, with other major games like Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto V available to play through the emulator, along with a host of other games.
However, as with BlueStacks, this is the purpose of GameLoop – the title speaks for itself – so if you’re looking to use mobile apps for business and office, this probably isn’t the platform for you. But if what you want is easy access to the main Android games on your computer, the game loop is a good emulator.
3. Nox Player
Like BlueStacks App Player, NoxPlayer is a fast and lightweight Android emulator for PC and Mac. If you are planning to use NoxPlayer to play games, you will like to know that you can use your favorite gamepad, and you have the option to assign keys or buttons to perform various android gestures.
NoxPlayer offers you a stock version of Android, and although it is designed with gamers in mind, you can also install other apps from the Google Play Store. NoxPlayer is completely free, but it includes several great extras that can be accessed from a vertical toolbar on the right side of the window. Here you’ll find shortcuts to screenshots and video recordings, a link to a macro log, and the option to install software from APKs obtained outside of Google Play.
Although it is one of the latest Android emulators, MEmu has managed to make a name for itself, and good reason. Given that its full name is MEmu Play, it should come as no surprise that -once again- the focus here is on gaming.
For best performance, it is recommended that you enable CPU virtualization. With support for Intel and AMD processors, as well as integrated and dedicated graphics, compatibility levels are very good.
There are a host of keyboard mapping options to enhance your gaming experience, and you have the option of installing software through the Google Play Store, or by dragging and dropping APKs into the program window.
Based on VMWare Player, Andy is an interesting Android emulator -although quite heavy-; the installation weighs in at a colossal 3GB. There are a couple of optional extras that are included in the installer that you probably don’t want, so pay attention and opt them out at first.
Also, in this case, AndY’s main objective is to bring Android games to the desktop, and it not only supports Xbox and PlayStation controllers but also the option to use the Android phone as a gamepad. However, getting the emulator up and running is more complicated and less intuitive than other tools, which might put some off.
It’s a shame because Andy is awesome and it would be great if he were a bit more accessible. Available for both Mac and Windows, it also gives you the option to root your virtual Android device to run more software.
6. Official Android Emulator (AVD)
Yes, Google offers an official Android emulator for PC to use any existing Android version on a computer. This utility is integrated into Android Studio, the official development environment –IDE– of the system, and its technical name is AVD –Android Virtual Device–.
Although it is a tool mainly intended for app developers to test their creations on virtual devices, any user can download Android Studio and install the official Android emulator.
One of the advantages of this emulator concerning other alternatives is the possibility of downloading and using the images of any version of Android that has ever existed, from the first to the last. To do this, users will only have to wait for the package they want to use, and then configure the –virtual– device on which it will run.
Unlike the rest of the emulators seen so far, ARChon is an emulator that is installed as an extension of the Google Chrome browser. In this way, it is possible to install and run Android applications or games through their APK files without having to leave the browser.
One detail to keep in mind is that before the applications can be installed on the emulator, they must be “transformed” through a tool offered by the creator of the emulator in the official repository of the project on GitHub.
Almost as popular as BlueStacks is Genymotion. These Android emulators offer the possibility of running Google’s operating system in the cloud, thus consuming fewer computer resources than other emulators, or locally to obtain a complete experience with more than 3,000 virtual device configurations different.
In both cases, the emulator is primarily intended for use by developers who want to test their applications before official deployment.
9. Remix OS Player
Another option to have Android applications on your PC is Remix OS Player, a free emulator that allows you to simultaneously use Windows and Android on your computer. This is possible because the emulator opens only in one window on the PC, so you can still access the rest of the windows.
One of Remix OS Player’s strong points is its interface, as it has been specially designed to facilitate use on devices with a mouse and keyboard. Of course, you can download a large part of the Android app catalog in this emulator.
Although the project was discontinued by its creators, to this day it is still possible to download one of the latest versions of this emulator through UptoDown, and it is fully functional.
10. Bliss OS
The team behind the Bliss OS ROM platform has spent years adapting official images of the operating system for use on all types of devices, including computers. Today, this is the only platform that allows you to enjoy Android 9 Pie in its full version on a desktop computer, and also completely free of charge.
In this case, yes, we will not find intuitive wizards or automatic installers. To use Bliss as an android emulator, it will be necessary to create a bootable USB with the Bliss OS ISO following the steps offered by our colleagues at Urban Tecno in their tutorial, and then start the computer from the USB, without having to install the operating system on the computer.
The last option that we offer you in this selection of the best Android emulators is KOPlayer. We are, once again, before an Android-based emulator was used, mainly, for running games –although yes, it also allows you to install apps–. To do this, it has support for features such as hardware acceleration and the OpenGL graphics engine. At the moment it is only compatible with Windows, and it can be downloaded completely free of charge.