The dust on the best Android launchers has settled for quite some time now. In fact, the Android launcher scenario hasn’t changed much at all in years. With Nova Launcher sitting comfortably at the top as the fan favorite, followed by some other popular choices such as Action Launcher, Google Now Launcher, etc. Any list for best Android launchers that you find, no matter how new or old is bound to include the same names. If you were looking for something fresh and new, you’re unlikely to find it in the best Android launcher list. But just like there is not a perfect Android smartphone, there is not a perfect Android launcher. The best for others might not be the best for you. So then, which Android launcher is the best for you?
That’s what we’ll try to figure out here today. Android users all come from different landscapes and have devices from different price segments, different hardware. As a result, not all Android launchers are built for everyone. Some launchers are built for speed, some are built for fancy and some for customizability. Depending upon a user’s needs, one launcher might suit them better over the most popular choice.
Fastest Android launcher: Action Launcher
No, it is not the most light-weight or resource friendly launcher. But Action Launcher can help you get to your apps the fastest compared to any other launcher on the store. Depending on how you set it up though, it can also be the better stock Android launcher, or a better Pixel Launcher or a less customizable Nova launcher. I’d recommend that you turn on Quick page under the Desktop settings. You can put all your favorite apps on this quick page, accessible via a swipe from the right on your homescreen.
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You can also enable a Google Now pane on the left and a Pixel-like app drawer. Although, thanks to the Quick page you may not have to open the app drawer very often. The Quick page helps keep the homescreen clutter free since all your most used apps are hidden neatly behind a swipe gesture. Then there are the Shutters, which allow you to swipe up on an icon to reveal a widget corresponding to the app. This swipe gesture can also hide a folder behind an app icon thus allowing you to open the app when you tap on it but open the folder when you swipe up on it.
Best for those who prefer to get to their apps as fast as possible, yet have a fairly customizable homescreen.
Simple and elegant: Evie Launcher
Evie Launcher is one of those resource friendly launchers. But resource friendly does not mean lacking in aesthetics and Evie surely does not. Action Launcher is great, Nova Launcher is much better, but not unless you pay for the prime version. Evie, on the other hand, is completely free, although it does not boast of nearly as many features as the big shots. But Evie is just beautiful to look at and use.
That’s not to say Evie is bare-bones. Sure the homescreen is pretty bare-bones but you can still apply almost any icon packs meant for third party launchers. You can set a grid size for the dock and the homescreen, set up some gestures, etc. in the launcher settings. No ads and no in-app purchases that restrict features. It requires a few Android permissions to show you unread count badges and other smart features.
Best for those who want a lightweight launcher that’s not ugly or lacks in features or those who just don’t enjoy dealing with the deep settings and options in Nova or Action Launcher.
Most customizable: Buzz Launcher
A lot of people might tell you Nova Launcher is the most customizable, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When it comes to customizability, sure Nova is one of the best, but it does not hold a candle to launchers like Lightning or Buzz. Although, these launchers are a bit more, okay much more complicated than Nova is. But that’s the price you pay for such level of customization.
Anything that you can possibly imagine your homescreen to look like is more or less possible with Lightning launcher. But it has a steep learning curve and for that reason, I’d recommend Buzz Launcher. It makes things a lot easier with its Buzz community where you can find numerous homescreen setups to download. These can be applied like you would apply icon packs, except in this case it changes your entire set up.
Best for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and are passionate enough to spend hours setting up their perfect homescreen.
User-friendly and still very customizable: Nova Launcher
Of course, not any list of launchers is ever complete without this one is it? Whether you want a stock Android-like launcher or are looking for customization, ease of use, whatever it is, Nova Launcher has most of it all.
It does not have Action Launcher’s quick page, but it still has swipe up icon gestures. You can not hide widgets behind icons but you can still hide folders behind icons. It is not as light-weight as Evie, but it is not “not light-weight” either. If you see the trend here, you can understand why Nova is the most popular choice amongst all of the above launchers. It may not be the best in every category, but it is the very second option in almost all the categories.
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The free version of Nova is not that great though. It lets you control the positioning of each icon on your screen, and apply icon packs. One of its popular features is the infinite scroll, letting you seamlessly scroll between the homescreen and the app drawer. The app drawer itself is customizable, something you won’t find on most other launchers. But once you buy the Prime version, you’ve opened the gates to a ton of features that are all neatly tucked away in a user-friendly Settings menu.
From gestures to folders in the app drawer, Nova Launcher has some of the most convenient features that can make your Android experience a breeze. It also supports adding a Google Now pane on the left like the Pixel/Google Launcher.
It’s best for those who want a ton of customization options on with a stock Android experience.
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