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Best custom ROMs for Android: 5 awesome UIs to make your smartphone even better

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 2 weeks ago

You might enjoy the way your smartphone interface looks and feels, but custom ROMs give you the opportunity to explore brand new designs and UIs. They can also offer new and very impressive functionality. If you are yet to explored the hidden pleasures of the Android community, check out our list of the best custom ROMs for Android. 

cyanogenmod paranoid android teaser
These are the best ROMs on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

CyanogenMod 12 - stable, stylish, with frequent updates

CyanogenMod is one of the most well-supported ROMs for Android, with a huge community, and frequent updates. It’s no wonder that this popular Android ROM even managed to find a home on last year's OnePlus One.  

Features of CyanogenMod include its unique app launcher entitled Trebuchet, personal themes, video screenshots via its Screencast functionality, and a mode specifically for left-handed landscape viewing. CyanogenMod currently supports more than 50 devices and the team are hard at work on a Marshmallow build.

cyanogenmod 12 lollipop hero
Widespread and very stable: CyanogenMod is the Volkswagen of custom ROMs. / © ANDROIDPIT


PAC-ROM touts itself as the all-in-one ROM solution. The team shamelessly cherry picks features from the other ROMs listed on this page, including OmniSwitch and CyanogenMod's Pie controls, and puts them all together in their own package.

It might seem lacking in personality, or overkill, but if you're looking for the most customizable, option-rich ROM, then this is it. And wait until you see the boot animation — the team deserves some points for that alone.

With nightly builds and well over 50 devices supported, it's a great package. Learn all about it at

pac rom
PAC-ROM packs in a lot, but doesn't offer much of its own character. / © ANDROIDPIT

Paranoid Android - Stock Android with subtle changes

The first appearance of the Paranoid Android Custom ROM dates back to early 2013 and Android Jelly Bean. The Paranoid Android ROM doesn't provide a radical design overhaul, but focuses on a number of simple but effective changes to notifications and navigation. 

Immersive mode allows you to view information on screen while hiding system bars, and 'dynamic system bars' blend your status and navigation bar color with the particular app background. It's purely aesthetic, but provides a nice transition.

Early in 2015, OnePlus hired a number of key members of the Paranoid Android team. The project subsequently went into deep hibernation, with one developer announcing its passing and another refuting it. Whether the project has the energy to be resurrected remains to be seen.

Paranoid Android is available for a whole range of devices including the Nexus line and the OnePlus One. To learn more, visit

paranoid androidParanoid Android offers a great design. © ANDROIDPIT

OmniROM - for the OmniSwitch toolbar

Designed by former CyanogenMod devs (Xplodwild, Chainfire, Dees_Troy, Pulser and Entropy) in late 2013, OmniROM is a no-frills ROM, which basically offers the Stock Android experience with some nice extras. 

OmniROM supports the ability to launch apps by tapping on the time and date in the notifications menu, it can add a notification counter in the status bar to show the number notifications you've received, and has the ability to manage the display brightness just by sliding your finger along the notifications bar.

OmniROM's standout feature, however, is the OmniSwitch shortcut. The OmniSwitch is a quick-menu that you can load with shortcuts and jump from any part of your phone to any app, or vice versa, and it is completely customizable. 

Lollipop nightlies for OmniROM started back in June. Head to for more.

androidpit omni rom
OmniROM brings advanced and unique features. / © ANDROIDPIT

SlimROMs - bloatless but feature-rich

SlimROMs made a name for itself by offering a completely stripped down version of Android and letting you determine exactly how much of the Google Play services you want bundled in. Otherwise, SlimROMs is characterized by the ability to modify the DPI of fonts and icons and make everything as tiny as you need it to be. The Slim family currently supports almost 50 devices.

An alpha Android Lollipop build is out, but things are moving slowly at the SlimROM camp and updates are currently infrequent at best. Find out more at

slimkat rom galaxy nexus teaser
SlimKat: very slim package combined with customized Google Play experience. / © ANDROIDPIT

AOKP - for complete control and tons of customization options

Android Open Kang Project, or AOKP, is aimed at serious Android modders, and those with good level of technical know-how. Released in September 2013, AOKP is now compatible with dozens of Android devices, and houses a number of interesting features, like the ability to customize shortcuts in the Quick settings menu, and manage the color and blink rate of the LED notifications in several applications.

Additionally, this ROM also includes a feature called Navigation ring, which acts an an intuitive shortcut for up to five apps. As if that wasn't enough, there is also application permissions management and the ability to adjust processor performance, making this one of the most interesting Custom ROMs on android.

Stable releases are few and far between. After a break from October last year, a post on the AOKP website in March revealed that work would soon be starting on 'proper' Lollipop builds, but things have remained quiet since then. We'll be keeping an eye on this one. To learn more, visit

AOKP is about as comprehensive as a ROM can be. / © ANDROIDPIT

The custom ROM database

This list is by no means exhaustive and you might want to do a little more research into other custom ROMs that are currently available. Thankfully, the fine ladies and gents over at the XDA Developers Forum have put together a custom ROM database that compares all the features of the major custom ROMs at a glance. It's a great resource. The page was down at the time of writing, but keep an eye on it, as it may well be back up soon.

custom rom db
The custom ROM comparison database is an overview of current custom ROMs and their features. / © ANDROIDPIT

What do you think is the best custom ROM on Android? Let us know in the comments below. 

Originally from the UK, Scott graduated in Popular Music Studies at Newcastle University and attributes most of his success there to his beloved Samsung Galaxy S2. A dedicated Android fan, Scott has never owned an Apple device, of any kind, and doesn't see this changing anytime soon.


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  • >tfw nothing is updated to Note 5 920p (if someone knows one or is able to find one, that'd be gr8)

  • I always go back and forward TW - CM some days i feel like customizing for wich i use CM based ROMS and when im in the mood for stability i go back TW ... its really up to what you find useful i guess and some times just to keep up on the updates...

  • "CyanogenMod is the Volkswagen of custom ROMs"

    These days this is not a compliment :D

  • it seems that OAKP is outdated, or the link is wrong. For Samsung Note 3 hlte are offered ROMS from 2014.
    I feel that Note 3 hlte is still a great device... now even better since i installed SOKP ROM for 5.1.1... no pain in any attempt.
    I did try CyanogenMod, unfortunately always by bad results. I understand that CM is a great team probably i was just unlucky.
    I recommend strongly to install SOKP.Definitively get rid of the annoying bloatware of Samsung.

  • storm 1 week ago Link to comment

    I've attempted PAC ROM once and it boot looped me. Not exactly sure what the problem was as others with my hardware ran it successfully.

  • I myself only like to use Touchwiz based custom roms, I find ASOP and CM quite boring. On my S6 edge and Tab S, I have tried a few ASOP and CM based roms but still go back to either CarHDRom or Echoe Rom.

  • SOKP [sonic open kang project] dude..! That's the best! Do mention it in other articles.

  • does the paranoid android ROM works for every phone.and does it work with android 5.0. If it works can you give me a link to download it.
    Because i want it on my Lenovo K3 note

  • Pac man rom is the best for me!!!

  • I'm an AOKP user since September. Love it. But I wanted to try Lollipop. So I backed up my AOKP and flashed Lollipop.. Which I really like. I did a backup of lollipop and re-installed the AOKP backup with no issues. However.. Re-installing the lollipop backup didn't go so smoothly. I ran into all sorts of things. I tried this several times on my nexus 4 and 7 with the same results. I like Lollipop so much I decided to stick with it still hanging on to my AOKP backup for later. I noticed straight away that it was tricky finding the TWRP backup folder. It also was doing weird things to the ability to write to the internal memory. I had to keep wiping my gadgets clean to reinstall Lollipop and get it to work. If anyone knows how to fix this I'm all ears. I like the ability to flip back and forth between roms.

  • Dwarfer66 8 months ago Link to comment

    What about the Touchwiz based roms? There are plenty of great ones out there for i9505 like Echoe v44 (4.4.4 & 5.01), CarHDRom (4.4.2 & 5.01) is a great themed rom. You only ever put on ASOP or CM based roms.

    CM is not as good as they used to be, they don't apply fixed that are reported (just look at the forums).

    • Scott Adam Gordon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      8 months ago Link to comment

      @Geoff, these sound like great suggestions, I'd like to give them a go and add them in at a later date.

      I'll definitely keep Echoe and CarlHD in mind.

      • Scott Adam Gordon
        • Admin
        • Staff
        8 months ago Link to comment

        And yeah CM is definitely changing, but it still stands as one of the most well-supported and talked about ROMs, and I think for new users its one of the "safest" entry points.

        But I take your point ;)

      • Hey Scott, I want to put CyanogenMod on my old but dear Samsung Galaxy S2. Can you please guide as to how to do that? Thanks in advance!!!

      • I have CyanogenMod 12 on my samsung galaxy s2 and... well .... if i dont plug it to the charge, the phone will crash when cm will boot... i do not recommend u to put a custom os on ur galaxy s2.

    • storm 1 week ago Link to comment

      Two issues with Touchwiz ROMs. First carrier compatibility. I ran a number of Touchwiz ROMs particularly for T-Mobile wifi calling compatibility. And I ran some without it in a more generic format.

      In the first case, you're trapped with how fast your carrier is updating Touchwiz add ons. This limits the number of ROM choices and how fast updates trickle down. With the early lollipop roms, there were a lot of battery issues across the Touchwiz spectrum. Waiting for the carrier to pass along fixes was brutal.

      Even on the more generic TW ROMs, the rollout of features and fixes was slow. You mostly saw updates when the next flagship was released and the bloatware was rolled into ROMs for older phones.

      With Samsung only giving you 18 months or so of official ROM support, TW compatibility can be limited and slow to appear.

      The Lollipop battery and related heating issues drove me into the ARMs (there's a pun there) of Slim and the arter97 kernel. That kernel compatibility made a huge improvement in my phone experience for 2015 and the 5.x ROMs.

  • please answer me! i have alcatel c9, exist rom to install in my phone? i have 4.2.2

  • Great article but what can you say about Paranoid ROM? It's one of the only ROM I never tried since I never owned a device that has support it or has Paranoid ROM development. I hear this ROM all the time but always been curious about it. Thanks.

    • storm 1 week ago Link to comment

      Paranoid was a great ROM for my Galaxy Nexus. And they kept the updates running a long time.

  • You forgot Hyperdrive 18.1 Rom very stable and very very customizable with themes.

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