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What does your Android launcher say about you? Is it really the best launcher for you, or maybe there’s a better one waiting just around the corner? The Play Store has a multitude of launchers, some popular and even some you may never have heard of 5 More Free Launchers You May Not Have Heard About [Android] 5 More Free Launchers You May Not Have Heard About [Android] One of the great things about the Android community is that modifications and changes are always being made. Android technology is always changing, and thus, there are always new avenues to explore--and so many more... Read More .

For the uninitiated, a launcher is an app that lets you customize the look of your homescreen (or “desktop”, in the traditional sense) as well as your app drawer (the place where you see apps when you hit the Home button).

Now, given the huge number of launchers available, there’s something for everyone. So here are the best app launchers for particular needs:

For The Speed Freak: Nova Launcher


If this is your first time changing your Launcher, then Nova Launcher is your best bet. It’s fast, it’s easy to use and it never crashes — something other launchers can do from time to time. It offers a wide variety of customizations and we think it’s better than the default Android 4.0 Launcher Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Up until Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) came along, Android’s interface felt somewhat less polished than iOS’s. But with Android 4.0, Google made a clean break with the previous visual style for Android, introducing Holo... Read More . And it’s the only one of the launchers that is as seamless on a tablet as on a phone.


  • Set number and arrangement of homescreens, grid size, margins, search bar on/off, transition effects, widgets, etc.
  • Horizontal and vertical style of app drawer, infinite scroll.
  • Pagination in dock, infinite scroll.
  • Customizable color theme, icon theme, animations.
  • Backup and Restore Nova settings.
  • Great tablet support.


  • Gestures are mostly paid, requiring Nova Prime to unlock.
  • ‘Unread count’ notification on icons is paid.

For The Fashionita: Buzz Launcher



Buzz Launcher changes the game when it comes to homescreen. The onus is no longer on you to create a beautiful screen. Instead, you can browse through the Homepack Buzz service for dashing designs made by other users. When you find something you like, just download it to get that look on your Android. The themes that use third-party widgets and apps not installed on your device will prompt you to get those services. In essence, Homepack Buzz is a forum to create and share themes that anyone can use — perfect for those who aren’t great at customizing but like their phone to have a unique look among friends. And yeah, you can upload your own themes too.


  • Fantastic UI, the best of the lot.
  • Crowd-sourced themes.
  • Imports settings from Apex, LauncherPro, Nova.
  • Gesture support: home key, swipe up/down, double tap, long press, two-finger swipes.
  • Unread count on icons for missed call, messages, Gmail.
  • Customizable effects for single screen or multiple screens in homescreen.


  • Crashed thrice in tests.
  • Like Apex Launcher, is sluggish on older hardware and comes with the option to reduce redraws by always keeping it in memory.
  • No search function for themes, can only browse through categories.
  • Doesn’t work well on tablets.

For Older Phones & Hardware: LauncherPro


LauncherPro is among the oldest Launchers on Android. At this point, it’s dated when compared to modern Launchers Can the Aging Titan LauncherPro Hold its Own Against the New Gods of Android Launchers? Can the Aging Titan LauncherPro Hold its Own Against the New Gods of Android Launchers? LauncherPro was one of the first alternative launchers available for Android. Even today, it's considered one of the longest-enduring staples among great launcher apps. Even after surviving the arrival of newer titans, such as the... Read More , but it does have one thing going for it: support for older hardware and firmware.


  • Supports Android 2.0 and upwards.
  • Runs well on even phones with a single-core processor.
  • Customizable shortcuts in Dock to direct dial or direct message someone, even on WhatsApp.
  • Infinite scroll in app drawer.


  • No customization options at all.
  • Animation effect when starting the app drawer isn’t nice.
  • No backup or restore.
  • Have to uninstall through Settings->Apps, no option to drag icon to trash can.

For Windows Phone 8 Fans: Launcher 8


Like the tiled interface of Windows Phone 8? Wish you could have that on your Android? Meet Launcher 8, an app that skins your homescreen to look like WP8. The recreation is pretty faithful, letting you adjust the size of tiles and swipe to access the app drawer.


  • Customize applications to bind to tiles.
  • Set tile name and color.
  • WP8-like animations.


  • No built-in widgets to complement the theme.
  • Gets slow with usage.

For iPhone Fans: Hi Launcher


Hi Launcher faithfully recreates the look of iOS on your Android, supporting both the older iOS 6 and the new iOS 7. For the iOS 7 look, you need to download an additional theme pack. It’s great to rub it in the faces of your iPhone-toting friends: “Hey look, my phone is just like yours!” It’ll drive them crazy!


  • Looks very similar to iOS, complete with the glass dock and search screen.
  • Direct access to all apps.


  • No unread count on icons.
  • Icon pack does not use all iOS icons.
  • No built-in widgets to complement the theme.

What’s your favorite?

Like we mentioned earlier, this is only a small section of the number of launchers available on the Play Store. We haven’t even included a few others we like, such as the impressive ADW Launcher The Tried and True Free Launcher For Android - ADW Launcher The Tried and True Free Launcher For Android - ADW Launcher A confession: I've avoided ADW Launcher for the past two years and I don't know why. Maybe it was the not-so-catchy name of the app. Maybe I just had a bad day once and decided... Read More  or the feature-filled Apex Launcher Need a Custom Home Screen? Apex Launcher Gives You What You Want [Android] Need a Custom Home Screen? Apex Launcher Gives You What You Want [Android] For many users, Android is the mobile operating system that revolutionized the smartphone market thanks to the level of customization it allowed. Don’t get me wrong: the iPhone and the Blackberry (and more recently, Windows... Read More . And then there are other options too, like Facebook Home for those who love the social network.

Which launcher do you use on your Android device? Are you happy with the stock launcher you got on your phone or tablet?

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  1. tara
    December 25, 2015 at 6:39 am

    only three words:Try cobo launcher

  2. Omkar Joshi
    August 21, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Google now launcher and Inspire launcher are the best options!

  3. Santhosh
    April 12, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Try Hola launcher. It's amazing

  4. dayas
    January 11, 2014 at 6:05 am

    what about Next launcher 3D

  5. Cva
    January 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I'm using Espire Launcher which makes my phone look similar to that of iOS 7... And it looks really awesome..

  6. Ufotofu9
    January 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    One launcher that I never see mentioned is Atom launcher. it is minimalistic, very clean, and even has a persistent clock or search bar at the top.

  7. Mary
    November 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I'm a diehard Buzz Launcher user. I went on a launcher binge and tried at least 15 different ones, but Buzz is definitely the one for me. However, I have a problem right now because I just bought a Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and Buzz Launcher doesn't yet have tablet support (they claim to be releasing that in the future though). But for now I'm just kinda frustrated. Last night I tried so many launchers and I didn't like a single one of them. I tried everything listed here, even the ones in the comments. If anyone knows of a tablet launcher not listed above that has a decent UI please tell me! :)

  8. Brian Graslaub
    November 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Google launcher apk is the best.

  9. Calvin Foon
    November 20, 2013 at 8:19 am

    MiHome Launcher is gorgeous..

  10. cvp
    November 19, 2013 at 4:15 am

    SOLO Launcher is good.

  11. Bonny
    November 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Nexus 5 launcher

  12. dreamwave
    November 2, 2013 at 1:15 am

    ADW wins in m eye for the fact that it supports android 1.6 and up, making it ideal for older phones such as the t-mobile g1, while still running relatively smoothly but with decent graphics.

  13. 19evol61
    November 2, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I'm an avid fan of Xperia Launcher (yes, even on my Moto Razr I'm using it), tried many other launchers (Go, TSF, ADW, MIUI, etc) but after I tried Smart Launcher i did not let it go, it's the perfect combination of looks and speed, try it!

  14. Djordje D
    November 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I use ADW launcher. It is open source and highly customizable.

  15. Ghost
    October 26, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Next launcher is pretty sick

  16. Falda
    October 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Holo! Regular or HD.

  17. asdas
    October 23, 2013 at 7:31 am

    smart launcher pro

  18. Zeph
    October 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    The New and Rising Aviate is one of THE BEST yet to be seen.. Try it.

    • ionel
      November 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Hello. Can you help me to try the Aviate launcher please? I need one invite from one user.

  19. Inda
    October 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Apex Pro for the win! Very customizable, fast on my Note 2. Own Nova Prime, Smart Launcher Pro, Action Launcher Pro. Nova features very similar to Apex but not as smooth on my Note 2 (my experince) Smart Launcher and Action Launcher unique features sets but not compelling for me to leave Apex. Just played with Buzz Launcher. Must admit very easy to install Themes, pretty powerful design. Just not my cup of tea. Lastly, also tried Themer, which is nice idea for downloading pretty themes but does not have mature launcher functionality yet.

  20. sanju
    October 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    ilauncher is good.It displays live clock(it's a working clock!) like iPhone. Also it shows message count and today's date in calender icon.Effects are like ios7. Worth of buying.

  21. fernando
    October 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    try tsf shell its incredible

  22. veera Brahmaji
    October 19, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I use smart launcher , very simple interface, the thing that sticks me to this is it organisas all apps according to their category.
    But it lacks widgets on home page, i pro version widgeta provided in second page

  23. Robert O
    October 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I am using the Aviate beta at the moment. So far I like it and it is reasonably fast on my Defy XT.

  24. HIkHikHIk
    October 19, 2013 at 6:38 am

    kamote launcher is the best

  25. Yutao T
    October 18, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Default stock Android launcher. The search box are on every page.

    • Rick
      November 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      "The search box are on every page." - those are the first things I remove!

  26. doktrjones
    October 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    correction: for iPhone fans : iLauncher. Way better than Hi Launcher

  27. Maya
    October 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    GO Launcher is absolutely fantastic. It's fast, has tons of themes, and customization isn't an issue. It's by far my favorite.

  28. Rahul P
    October 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Nova Launcher is no doubt the best launcher available on the market. It is best due to it's Reliability, Simplicity, Usability etc. I've been using it since long time now.

  29. sunil
    October 10, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Solo Launcher . It's really Awesome

    October 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    For me my custom launcher is better than anything !!!!

  31. Joe
    October 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    That should be "Any other widgets have good calendar widgets?"

  32. Joe
    October 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I want other launchers, but for me, I need a good calendar widget, and I get that in Go Launcher. Any other launchers have good calendar widgets. I want to be able to see my daily schedule and then change to monthly or weekly as needed.

  33. nks
    October 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    You missed the Go launcher.

  34. Ryan
    October 7, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Check how crazy Tile Launcher makes your phone look:

  35. Ryan
    October 7, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Seriously check out Tile Launcher, best launcher out there.

  36. nukes dixit
    October 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

    BUZZ Launcher for my phone

  37. Danny K
    October 6, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Go launcher EX!

  38. KSW
    October 6, 2013 at 12:29 am

    You folks completely missed out on an old classic that updated over time: ADW Launcher (along with the paid ADWex). ADW was really where theming without modifying system resources started on Android. Its same style of packs was later picked up by Go Launcher (and to a lesser extent, Nova Launcher). There are also others like Chameleon, Trebuchet (the CyanogenMod/AOSP launcher), and a number of other lesser known launchers that are still pretty popular.

  39. Benoit R
    October 5, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Action Launcher Pro

  40. elit
    October 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    for laucher pro
    there are
    - back and restore option
    - hold the shortcut on trash icon a bit longer to uninstall

  41. Nikhil C
    October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

    You should give a try to :
    Yandex.Shell (Launcher+Dialer) : This type of personalization in Yandex launcher is not seen any other launchers !! Here is the play store link :
    Solo Launcher : It is free for ever and many types of theme are available on it , such as IOS and android 4.3 ....... Here is the play stor link
    For me , Solo laucher is far better than Nova or all those launchers .... Yandex one is also good
    I hope u will give them a try !!

  42. Alwin
    October 5, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Been a user of Launcher Pro since 2010 and I love it. FYI, your misses on "No backup or restore." and "no option to drag icon to trash can." are not true

  43. Nahid K
    October 5, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Apex Launcher

  44. Bharadwaj
    October 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I am using Yandex.Shell launcher. It works good for me. Not a bad try

  45. Kamran T
    October 5, 2013 at 7:04 am

    review of all 3d launchers like next,tsf,spb

  46. ???????? ?
    October 5, 2013 at 5:40 am

    I use TSF shell

  47. asfa
    October 5, 2013 at 5:30 am

    tsf shell

  48. harsha halyal
    October 5, 2013 at 4:53 am

    go launcher my fav..

  49. eckyeckypikang
    October 5, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Check out Lightning Launcher, but you have to put it into "free scroll" mode. No more desktop "screens" cuz everything can be put onto an infinite field. Zoom out, zoom in where you want to go. Easy once set up and super lightweight. Supports folders and scrolling dock. Can also be used more like traditional launchers if one chooses. Best I've ever tried... and I've tried a lot! I always come back to Lightning.

  50. vhick
    October 5, 2013 at 3:44 am


  51. Danny K
    October 5, 2013 at 1:44 am

    This is very useful. Go Launcher EX is awesome.

  52. Carl P
    October 5, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Aviate is pretty cool and is in beta that you have to sign up for an invite code but it's worth a try.

  53. Elrick B
    October 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    ADW Launcher is good for me, but i think i will try nova!!

  54. Sakshar
    October 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Smart Launcher

  55. SauS
    October 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    HTC Sense 5.0 with Blinkfeed.

    (I know HTC Sense was crap, but with 4.0 some massive improvements came)

  56. selw0nk
    October 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Holo Launcher HD. Has all the same features of Nova but free.

    • Rajaa C
      October 5, 2013 at 1:12 am

      Yeah my choice too. One of the fastest, smoothest launcher and that too free for the best true android interface experience.

  57. Josh Gunderson
    October 4, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I've been using Aviate. There's a few features I'd like to see but overall I like it.

  58. Tony Karakashian
    October 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Launcher 8 does support widgets. It's my daily driver, and I've got a couple on my screen. I'm also not sure what you mean "gets slow with usage"? Again, the launcher I've been using for months and I'd never use the word "slow" to describe it.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Sorry, Tony, I think I worded that badly. I meant to say it doesn't come with built-in widgets that complement the theme, since it's all about that particular style. I'll fix it, thanks for bringing it to my attention :) As for it getting slower with usage, in my experience, the time it took from tapping the home button to the screen showing up got longer as I used it more and added more tiles and widgets to the home screen. Hasn't that been your experience? Perhaps you could share which phone you are using. I tested this on a Lenovo P780 as well as a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

    • Tony Karakashian
      October 4, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      My wife and I are both using it on our Galaxy Nexuses, and I haven't experienced anything similar to what you're describing.

  59. Elchyan
    October 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    If you want a simple and easy to use launcher, try Aviate! It's really awesome and fast, but still in beta ))

  60. Rudi Pittman
    October 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Nemus Launcher over LauncherPro....newer...light footprint around size of Zeam.

  61. Andreas
    October 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    ssLauncher, it is great!

  62. Vlad
    October 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    By far the best launcher I have ever used is Smart Launcher. Clean, neat, smart. A winner!

    • Anonymous
      March 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      agreed, me too, i have used so mnay launcher, nova is fast too, but not as clean and neat as smart

  63. Rabbane
    October 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    TSF shell is probably the best!

  64. Stelios K.
    October 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Oh! I almost forgot...
    I'm a pure-android lover. :)

  65. Stelios K.
    October 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I use Solo Launcher. It's almost like Nova, but not so laggy. (Yeah! I'm a speed freak :P )

  66. Luiz Moraes
    October 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm
  67. Serra Behymer
    October 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I have loved TSF Shell since it first came out. Sure, it's a good bit expensive compared to the other launchers, but it really is different and unique, well worth it. Runs so fluidly on my S4!

    • tim
      October 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      I use TSF on my Nexus 7 and love it for that. I have been meaning to try it on my One X but haven't gotten around to it. I also hear it isn't the best for phone-sized screens. On my one x I'm currently using GO Launcher and it works well

    • jered
      October 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm


    • jered
      October 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      TSF is waaay ahead of the others. But if I wasnt using TSF I would definitely be using Nova.

  68. Mark A
    October 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    go launcher?

    • Biscuit
      October 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      its an old one

  69. Akhil K
    October 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I recently downloaded Yandex launcher after hearing it here. It is the best perfect for me. The inbuilt dialer is instantaneous and looks great. When i feel minimalistic i use Zeam launcher.

  70. glen lebarr
    October 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Smart Launcher is my choice

    • Matheus P
      October 5, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Yeah, mine too.. One of the best launchers out there, imho...

    • Selva Kumar
      October 5, 2013 at 4:37 am

      I use the Smart Launcher - simple and clean interface. Not much cluttered

    • Homar R
      October 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Same here

    • rismaka
      October 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      I'm using smart launcher too.. It's best for even low end android device...

    • LG nexus user
      October 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      I'm currently happy with Smart launcher as well.

    • PrionBlank
      October 15, 2013 at 1:56 am

      Same here! :D

    • T
      November 15, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Was using Nova until I found smart launcher. Will never look back. Very happy now

  71. Clement
    October 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I'm using Apex launcher, it's very light and fast. There are lots of themes (shared with Go Launcher and Nova). For me, it's free and it works well (no crash).

    • John Crumpton
      October 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

      I was using that for a while (paid version) then I switch to Nova as this crashed less. Both are excellent

  72. Andi Meyer
    October 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Using Nova (with the paid goodies) on my phone and tablet. Even when I tried another launchers, I happily returned to Nova. As to the Launcher 8 and Hi Launcher, I don't get it. Why buying a cool Android phone and then turning it into an ugly Windows 8 or iPhone style device? But then again, let every man seek launcher's heaven in his own fashion, and let those who want it end up in launcher's hell.

    • jenztom
      October 22, 2013 at 4:00 am

      Some people find may find the WP8 interface ugly, some see the Android UI as unpolished, and then some may find iOS (specially iOS7) as messy and dated. I'm a Graphic designer and I find the Windows Phone 8 UI elegant. It's balanced (because of the tiles), simple, minimalist, no frills. What I don't like is the hardware and availability of apps. Then there's iOS. I don't have much love for skeumorphism (which iOS have tons of.) Yes, iOS7 doesn't have it any more but it's pretty much a messed up UI right now. But I do like Apple's hardware, and their ecosystem is top-notch. On Android, because of heavy customization and tons of apps, you get a plethora of icons of different shapes and sizes (not to mention widgets of all shapes and sizes) which looks a bit messy at times. No one would argue though the Android is a very powerful OS and the Google Play is at par (if not superior) to Apple's App Store. Android is all about customization. I personally use Launcher8. I get the elegant interface of Windows 8 without sacrificing power and customization. It's a win-win situation for me.

  73. Anonymous
    October 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    action luncher

    • Windows 8
      February 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      I have to say that windows launcher 8 is my fav. why? like it said: for windows 8 phone fans. as i am one myself ^^.

      i have to say hi launcher is stupid.

    • Andy
      April 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Vote for Launcher 8, too.