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Best Android launchers: 10 to customize your smartphone and tablet

Kris Carlon

If you own a smartphone, one of the most impressive ways to customize it is by installing a launcher. Launchers provide tons of options, themes and icons for your handset, as well as offering near complete control over how your phone performs when switching screens, launching apps and so on. Here are the best Android launchers to customize your smartphone or tablet.

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Here are the best launchers on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

APUS Launcher - for subtle, sophisticated design 

APUS is currently one of the most popular Launchers on Android, and largely thanks to its gorgeous Pinko theme. This Launcher combines themes, custom icons, and some APUS own-brand features to make it one of the most comprehensive launchers to date. As a free app, you should definitely check this one out; APUS' own animations are top-notch. 

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APUS Launcher is feature-packed and tightly designed: it's Pinko theme (seen above) is one of its most popular. / © ANDROIDPIT

Hola Launcher - simple, clever, colorful

Hola Launcher has made a name for itself largely thanks to how economical it is - the initial download comes in at just over 1 MB in size, and with that comes a reorganized interface and new app icons. But it's not just its file size that is slim, the processing power used by Hola also takes some beating, requiring less RAM than even some of the quickest Android Launchers. It also supports some gorgeous themes.

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Some of the Hola Launcher themes are minimalist delights. / © ANDROIDPIT

Buzz Launcher: don't like your launcher, borrow someone else's

Buzz Launcher has left a mark on over a million Play Store user's minds, earning it a rating of 4.4 stars, and for good reason. Buzz offers some of the most unique and inventive themes we've seen on Android, with the community coming up with a whole range of "professional-looking" ideas to suit all tastes. Buzz is unbeatable if you want a radical new look on your Android without investing any effort in creating it yourself, but you will need to download the additional Buzz Widget app to get the most from it.  

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Just one of the wild themes you can use with Buzz Launcher. / © ANDROIDPIT

Apex Launcher: for customization freaks!

Apex Launcher is one of the most popular custom launchers available right now, with over ten million installs in the Play Store and an average rating of 4.3 stars. Like most launchers on our list it offers near-endless customization options, complete home screen and app drawer control, gesture settings, and tons of icons, themes, launch animations and transition effects. There's also a paid version which adds even more features to an already formidable free launcher.

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This is my current Apex Launcher setup - exactly how I like it. / © ANDROIDPIT

Action Launcher: to keep your Android tidy with awesome organization

Action Launcher is a relative newcomer that has captured quite a lot of attention in a very short time. The launcher already has in excess of one hundred thousand installs on the Play Store, with a very impressive review rating of 4.5 stars. It offers the possibility of a simple one-screen launcher with swipe out app drawer and customizable widget drawer on the right (you can add as many screens as you want of course). There's also some nifty folder actions for icons, like Shutters – customizable widget banks – and Covers, which let you group similar apps inside folders, but still open the Cover icon app with a single tap.

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Action Launcher's home screen and app drawer. / © ANDROIDPIT

EverythingMe Home Launcher: the launcher that learns from you

This one's still in beta phase so you'll have to forgive the occasional bug, but still, over a million satisfied users have ranked it at 4.5 stars anyway. EverythingMe's special take is that it adapts what's on your phone to whatever you're interested in at that moment. So every search you make will bring a complete makeover of your phone along with it.

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The EverythingMe launcher adapts to your habits. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nova Launcher: the every man's launcher (it's got it all)

Quite possibly the undisputed king of alternative Android launchers, Nova Launcher holds a spot on basically everyone's smartphone. With over five million Play Store installs, the fans can't be wrong, with Nova scoring an impressive 4.7 star user rating. Nova is quite similar to Apex and offers much the same functionality, but Nova is pretty much the go-to launcher for anyone not terribly familiar with launchers. You really can't go wrong with this one.

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Nova Launcher has a vast array of options, it's easy to see why it's so popular. / © ANDROIDPIT

Next Launcher: the wicked 3D launcher for a wow effect

Next Launcher is quite possibly the coolest 3D launcher available. It's hard to put into words just how radically different this launcher is compared to anything else on this list. All the best features aren't free, as with most launchers, but what the Premium version lacks in free-ness it makes up for in wow-ness. If you want a hi-tech, attention grabbing launcher on your phone, try the free version out and try to resist upgrading. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so the following video is basically a thesis on Next Launcher.

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Next Launcher: the kind of 3D launchers / © GO Launcher Dev Team

GO Launcher EX: style and simplicity

GO Launcher EX has over one hundred million installs and a 4.5 star rating, making it the unparalleled Android launcher extraordinaire. GO is basically as polished a free launcher as you can find, and features some excellent animations and 3D effects. The downside of GO Launcher being that there is a lot of cross-promotion which can get a little annoying.

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GO Launcher: one of the best on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

Smart Launcher: catered to your needs and habits

Smart Launcher takes things and turns them inside out. Instead of neat rows and boxes, Smart Launcher gives you rings of the most commonly used apps and vertical cascades of categorized apps. It's linked with the app manager too, so if you delete an icon, the app is deleted too. Simple and unique with a 4.6 star rating based on over five million installs.

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Smart Launcher gives you rings of the most commonly used apps. / © ANDROIDPIT

Are you rocking a custom launcher we missed? What features are you looking for most in an alternative launcher?

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  • Ismet Şen 2 days ago Link

    Nova is the best launcher.

  • Aftab Ejaz 2 weeks ago Link

    Nice post I like all launcher you may also like this
    Boost your Smartphone with these best Android Launchers

  • Bob Brown 3 weeks ago Link

    Very interesting article. And I think Launcher 8 is the best for me!!!

  • Vektoo 4 weeks ago Link

    The best: Launcher Lab
    -Various editing elements and options
    -Your editing shows in real time
    -User friendly with simple gestures
    -Support Layers
    -Support Wallpaper editor (visual editor)
    -Support Animation
    -Support custom "widget" creator (can not force him to install plugin eg: UCCW or Zooper)

  • Brian Olmstead 4 weeks ago Link

    I've tried most of these and i keep Nova around like an old friend. No mention of Lucid Launcher, which between Action 3 i switch back and forth to quite often.

    • Scott Adam Gordon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 weeks ago Link

      I don't know Lucid Launcher! I might have to check that out. Nova is too intense for me but yeah Action 3 is pretty sweet!

  • Techie Gen 1 month ago Link

    ENJOY THE latest Free Launchers to Customize your Android mObile in stylish way

  • Jorge Barake 2 months ago Link

    I am using Yahoo Aviate and love the interface. However, it feels as if it is a huge battery hug on my device.

  • graham jorgensen 3 months ago Link

    Hi yo all , I have 5 launches running on my s4 . Love them all I'm the kind that changes like the weather so one would not do for me .got.... smart - next - aviate -google now and atom launcher all on board and I got no lag problems all ways running with 700 mb of ram free .will try out the others in due course .nice list Mr .

  • Vertito Sta Maria 3 months ago Link

    i use all the launcher so far but
    splay wins my heart
    splay v2

  • A Speer 3 months ago Link

    I use dodol and it has been working great for me. Lots of themes to chose from.

  • Michael D'Angelo 3 months ago Link

    No love for the Google Now launcher?

  • Lee 3 months ago Link

    It has to be Nova Launcher Prime for me, I do also use Themer Launcher by MyColorScreen from time to time which has some great looking setups/styles.

  • Eric Aiyidu 3 months ago Link

    Aviate is the best! Other launchers seem to be alike namely: nova, apex, GO etc. Really enjoyed nova and never thought I would change until aviate came along and am really stuck with it now!

  • Buck Nekid 3 months ago Link

    I keep waiting for someone to build a launcher with some functionality that moves me off of Nova Launcher and it just doesn't happen. Best way to minimize your exposure to TouchWiz.

  • Dwarfer66 3 months ago Link

    Why is is every few weeks you rehash this post?

  • Muhammad Abdullah 4 months ago Link

    Launcher 8 and Holo launcher are also one of the best. :)

  • Danchapman 4 months ago Link

    Try out App fetch. It finds any app without scrolling

  • Sam496 4 months ago Link

    I agree that Nova is the best! :)
    Only downside is that u have to find new themes manually, which isn't really a problem.

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