Emulators are the best way to run Android apps on PC. Emulators have become fashionable. This is not surprising since they are easy to get and they offer you the means of benefiting directly.
Android emulators allow the users to run and test Android apps on the PC rather than on the phone. It allows the user to run Android on PC and check their apps on a computer.
Once the developer tests the app and makes sure it is free of any issues, the app goes out to the general public. The whole point of emulators is to facilitate the users and provide the ease of access.
Why Do We Need Emulators?
For those who are wondering why do we need Emulators, head below to understand some of the reasons why you should use Android Emulators on PC.
- App developers use emulators to test their application before shipping it out.
- Emulators provide a better gaming experience because of the availability of a mouse and keyboard.
- You can configure the hardware specifications on emulators depending on your requirements such as You can set up OS version, CPU cores, RAM, SD Card existence, SD Card size, etc.
- Android simulator provides a workaround for people who don’t have an Android phone or high-end Android device.
Run Android On PC With Best Android Emulators (2018)
There are some great emulators available in the market; some are free while others cost money. To make things easier, I am listing the best android emulators for pc that you can download and use.
Android Studio Emulator – Best For Development Purpose
Android Studio is a development IDE that Google approves and recommends to people who want to develop their apps. The software offers a lot of features that help the developers make their apps and games.
One such feature is the ability to use a full-fledged Android operating system through emulation. This emulator is for developers who want to test out their apps now and then.
- Ability to choose from multiple APIs.
- Easy to set up and learn.
- The emulator comes for free.
- Google officially supports it.
For many, Android Studio’s emulator just might be the perfect emulator. However, it is important to note that Google did not build this for consumer level use and more for the developers. You can download it for free, and start using it right away.
Bluestacks 3 – Lets You Run Android on PC
Bluestacks or Bluestacks 3 is perhaps one of the oldest Android simulators available in the market at the moment. Apart from being oldest, it is also one of the most common emulators, and for all the right reasons.
Being rewarded the best emulator time and again, Bluestacks brings the ease of access to the consumer level. The emulator is extremely easy to use, comes with a lot of features, and has free and paid versions available.
- Simple, clean, and easy to use.
- Bluestacks 3 supports almost every app on Google Play Store or otherwise.
- Allows the user to launch multiple instances of apps.
- Allows you to adjust the keys to your liking.
It is nice to see Bluestacks 3 become a fantastic android simulator for PC. While the start was not the smoothest, it has become a lot better over time. In case you need Bluestacks alternatives.
Andy – Best Gaming & Productivity Android Emulator For PC
Andy is a handy little emulator for PC that has been around for some time now. While the early version had some issues, most of the bugs do not exist anymore. Ever since its release, there have been a handful of fixes.
At this point, Andy is the perfect replacement for people who do not want to use Bluestacks or some other Android emulator that is available. Andy is capable of running the entire catalogue of Andriod apps that are available.
You can even grant root access if you want to test the apps that require root access to work. Andy can also run on Mac, providing the best possible experience to the users on both operating systems.
- Gives root access to the apps that require it.
- Available for use on Mac.
The easy to use nature, and the bug-free user experience makes Andy one of the best Android simulator for Windows.
The next emulator I’m looking at is called AMIDuOS. Now the emulator has a weird name. AMIDuOS is the first Android emulator on my list so far that has a free trial, and 2 paid versions. One is Jellybean, and the other one is Lollipop; both have different prices.
The good thing here is that these are one time charges, and you will not need to pay the expenses again. Using AMIDuOS is easy, once you have set it up, it is a walk in the park. Most of the features on AMIDuOS focus towards productivity.
- Quickly test your developed apps for bugs.
- Install unlimited amount of Android applications.
- Light on resources.
Unlike some of the other emulators available, AMIDuOS is not something that focuses on gamer-oriented features, or developer-oriented features. It is a pretty basic Android emulator that can test all your apps without an issue.
Droid4X – Best For Gamers
For many, the Droid4X has some ups and downs, and it is not the perfect emulator. However, its simplicity means that it works well in all situations. The emulator is created with Android gamers in mind. Hence, the focus primarily lies on the games.
Since Droid4X is mainly for Android games, it can run the entire Android game library with ease. However, if you want to, you can use it for productivity purpose as well. Sure, your experience may vary, but it should work smoothly.
- The emulator is simple to install and more straightforward to use.
- The emulator focuses more on Android gamers.
- Droid4X comes for free.
- Has a Mac version available too.
Droid4X is not the perfect Android emulator, but it is the one that will get your job done All thanks to its simple interface and polished experience.
Genymotion – Best Emulator To Run Android On PC
If you are a developer who always needs a device running a different version of Android just so you can efficiently check your apps, then Genymotion is excellent. This emulator is for developers who need to test their apps and games on multiple devices without having the devices.
The developers can configure the emulator to emulate different versions of Android like 4.2 or 6.0. While this may not be very important for the general consumer, it is fantastic for developers. They can make sure their app works on all Android versions without any issue.
- Genymotion allows efficient switching between all the created devices.
- Good for the developers.
- Free for personal use.
When it comes to Android emulators, I believe Genymotion is a step in the right direction. The fact that the services are free for personal use is something I admire. The emulator can be used for purposes other than development as well.
You can even play your favourite Android games without any issue whatsoever.
Nox Player (BigNox)
If you want an Android simulator strictly for playing games, then Nox is the right option for you. Available for free, this Android emulator for windows pc aims to bring a right amount of control to the gamers. It gives the user some a slew of advanced features and controls.
The features revolve around making sure that gamers get the most out of their experience. Nox is one of the few emulators that will allow you to use a full-sized game controller to play your games. Talk about having a good experience, eh?
- Nox offers several gamer-oriented features.
- Nox supports a full-sized controller for games.
If you are wondering about productivity, then yes, you can test your apps on Nox. However, keep in mind that it is primarily made for gamers. It is also free to download.
Remix OS Player
Remix OS Player was a surprise as soon as its arrival, and that too for many reasons. For starters, it was one of the first few Android simulators for windows that were running Android 6.x Marshmallow. Other emulators were still on the older OS versions.
That is not all; Remix OS Player is also incredibly simple and straightforward when it comes to setting up. Once you are done, you can start using it the way you would want it to use. There are some handful of features in this Android emulator.
- Easy to install and setup.
- Runs Android 6.x Marshmallow.
- The emulator caters to gamers and developers alike.
On paper, and during use, the Remix OS Player is a reliable option for everyone who wants to get their hands on an Android emulator. It is easily one of the best Android emulators available for download, and yes, it is free.
The only downside to it is that it does not support AMD CPUs. However, that may change shortly with an update.
Virtual Box is something different than the rest of the best Android emulators on the list. Apart from just being different, it is also the most difficult “emulator” available. Virtual Box is not an emulator per say. Instead, it is a tool that will help you create your own.
You are going to need a couple of other tools like some images from Android-x86.org. Once you have the images, it is all up to how well you’re with commands, and find guides on the internet.
- Allows the user to create their emulators.
- Hundreds of guides available.
- Completely free.
This “emulator” is only recommended if you are someone who knows how to code. It is almost like an exam, you will have a lot of bugs in the beginning, but you can iron them out. Once you create the perfect version, you can call it your own.
Sure, it is very challenging and impossible for a person who does not know how to code. However, for someone who likes to code, this is a great start.
YouWave can be considered as an Android emulator from the Jurassic era. That is because it is one of the older Android simulators for PC. However, the good thing is that it is still relevant since it got an update last year. The emulator is available for free and paid versions.
The free version does get you pretty much everything, but your OS will be Ice Cream Sandwich. However, paying $29.99 will get you Android Lollipop, and I hope it gets the update to the latest Android OS.
- Can play games, and handle productivity.
- Easy to install and set up.
Now the use tells that YouWave is not meant for gamers. Yes, there is some lightweight gaming that can quickly be done since it will play games, just not have specific features.
The emulator focuses more on the developers, that explains the slew of development options that are available for you to use. It is good to see an emulator concentrate on development.
ARChon – Only Browser-based Emulator For Android
You cannot call ARChon an emulator per say, but it does work as one. Users have to install it in Google Chrome, and once the installation is complete, you can load APK files and use them as you would please. It is neither made for gaming, nor for development.
However, it is excellent when it comes to quickly running and testing your apps to see if they work. The installation process is tricky, but the fact that you only need Google Chrome, and some basic knowledge to get it working is the reason why it is here.
- ARChon does not require proper installation.
- Free to use.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Compatible with Mac, PC, and Linux.
Luckily, all the information that is necessary for running this emulator is already included in the link that I am mentioning at the end. Although you are going to have a hard time installing the emulator.
The fact that it can run on all operating systems that support Google Chrome is fascinating, and it does not take up much of the resources either.
KoPlayer – Reliable Android Simulator For PC
So far, KoPlayer is the emulator that not a lot of people pay attention to or let it fly under their radar. That is because it is the newer kid on the block, but shows a lot of promise at the same time. It is a gamer-centric Android emulator for windows.
Since the emulator caters more towards the gamer, you get features like the ability to remap. You can even emulate a controller with your keyboard. One unique feature about KoPlayer is that it allows players to record their gaming footage, and upload it anywhere.
- KoPlayer allows the players to record and upload their footage.
- It is easy and straightforward to install.
- The emulator allows button remapping and other gamer-oriented features.
There are several good things about KoPlayer, its dedication towards people who want to play Android games on their computers is admirable. At the same time, there are some bugs down the road that need ironing out.
In short, KoPlayer is the top Android simulators that you can call “middle of the road”, there are some bugs, but it is also free and simple to understand.
MEmu – Supports Both AMD And Intel chipsets
It is hard to find Android simulators for PC that are focusing more on making the lives more comfortable. For instance, several emulators that I check do not support AMD chips. Well, MEmu is among the few that does. It is a relatively new emulator, meaning it has some miles to cover.
It comes with support for Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Lollipop. I hope to see more of the latest OS versions in an update. It also supports the ability to run multiple instances of different apps or the same ones.
This feature is particularly important for developers who want to test the same app on different OS versions. MEmu lets them do the testing without creating any hiccups. Even after that, it does not tout itself as a developer-centred emulator.
- Allows the developers to run multiple instances of apps.
- Supports Android Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, Lollipop.
- Easy to install.
There is no denying that MEmu is the almost perfect mix of every useful feature you can find on this emulator. Though I would say that it is best if you use this emulator development and productivity tasks more.
Xamarin more of an IDE than an emulator; you can say that it is like Android Studio, but there are quite some differences. To begin with, Xamarin has a list of different features than Android Studio.
For starters, the Xamarin can plug into the Microsoft Visual Studio, and for those wondering, it does offer emulation just like Android Studio does. It caters to both developers and gamers alike.
- The emulator caters to both developers and gamers.
- Easy to install for the most part.
- Free for personal use.
Now you need to know that Xamarin will provide you excellent developer options, but for that, you are going to have to set it up that way. It is not difficult if you are a developer, but can create issues for newcomers.
Xamarin is free for personal use, but companies and development teams will have to go for payment plans.
Windroy – Not Reliable For Gamers
Most of the emulators that are in the list focus more on the modern hardware, and play well with it as well. This means that older machines do not get much love from the emulators. Windroy does things differently as it is made for older computers.
It is highly focused on productivity, and you can run the majority of your office apps on it with ease. It does not go well with games and is not very reliable. However, if you have a machine with dated hardware, Windroy is a perfect fit.
- Windroy works brilliantly on older hardware.
- Straightforward, and efficient installation.
- Can run most office apps.
It will be hard to say that Windroy is the perfect Android emulator, but it is excellent, and there is no denying that. It comes for free, works well on older machines, and is suitable for productivity.
Top Android Emulators Compared Based On Features Set
We hope this comparison is going to help you decide the best Android simulator based on your needs to run Android on PC.
The Android emulators for PC mentioned above are the best available in the market right now. They all are equally good, and the final decision goes into the hands of the person who’s going to use it. Everyone has their requirements which bring us to the point that you have to compare and see which of the emulators suits you the best. That being said, you have to understand that you can’t find everything in a single software and hence you have to get your priorities straight.
After testing all the Android emulators for PC/Windows, I can only say that they are excellent. Sure, some of them are not meant to run on the older hardware, but it is okay. What I like is how there is a perfect mix of Android emulators that are built for productivity, and those that are made for gaming and even for development purpose.
Also, we don’t recommend using two emulators at a time since they might conflict with each other causing the system to become unstable.
It was a pleasure testing all these emulators and checking out the nooks, crannies, and caveats of each one of them.
We recommend you to download the trial/free versions of these Android emulators for PC and test them before going for the premium version. This will give you a hang of whether your PC/Mac will be able to run the emulator smoothly. Let us know your thoughts if you’re able to run Android on PC.