ANDROID

Best Free Android Emulators for Windows

Play games, do productive things, and run Android apps and games right from your computer.

You can run Android apps in Windows 11 or Windows 10 with an Android emulator. These emulators can be helpful if your favorite app only runs on your phone but you’d like to use it from your computer.

BlueStacks

BlueStacks Game center

Unlike a whole-OS emulator, BlueStacks emulates just Android apps on Windows. It’s really easy to use, so you don’t need to know anything about emulators or even Android to get your apps up and running.

Google Play is built-in, so just install the apps you want through the app store, and then open their shortcuts like you would on a mobile device.

If you’re looking for an emulator that lets you quickly install an Android app on your PC, you can’t go wrong with this one.


Amazon Appstore

Adventure Escape Mysteries open in Amazon Appstore

Amazon Appstore is a free app available through the Windows 11 Microsoft Store. It has a huge catalog of Android apps, and installing and opening them is intuitive enough for anyone.

Here are some noteworthy features I found while using this emulator: Some apps work in full-screen mode, you can buy in-app things much like you can from a mobile device, apps for kids are separated into their own tab, and the search tool makes it super easy to find apps in seconds.

You might notice there are loads of poor reviews for this program on the Microsoft Store. I didn’t run into any performance issues other than a couple strange UI glitches, but they didn’t prevent me from finishing the games I played.

GameLoop

GameLoop Android emulator in Windows

Originally called Tencent Gaming Buddy, this emulator launched in 2018 and currently has tens of millions of monthly active users. As the name suggests, it was designed with gaming in mind.

While you can install apps manually from their APK files, GameLoop also includes over 1,000 mobile games and is the official Android emulator for PUBG MobileCall of Duty Mobile, and Arena of Valor.

The settings include options for changing the screen rendering mode, turning on Root Authority, and adjusting anti-aliasing, resolution, and memory/processor settings. Screenshots and recordings can be saved to any custom folder of your choosing.

Nimo TV is built-in, so when you’re not playing, you can switch over to this live-streaming platform to watch other players who are broadcasting their gameplay.


MEmu

Memu android emulator in Windows 11

MEmu is an impressive program that deserves a list on any Android emulator list. It calls itself “the most powerful Android emulator,” and I agree. It’s ideal for inexperienced and adept emulator users alike.

You get the whole operating system as if you were running a tablet right there on the screen. There’s direct access to the Play Store, so after logging in to your Google account, it’ll feel much like you’re on an Android tablet: just choose which apps to install, and you’ll have them open in no time.

This is a beast of a program if you’re like me, and you’re interested in customizations. You can adjust performance (great if you have limited system resources), change the render mode, define custom keyboard shortcuts, set keymapping, fake your GPS location, install Android apps manually (without using the app store), shake the screen, automate mouse and keyboard actions, record the screen, and lots more.

There are also one-click toggles to easily enable root mode, GPU memory optimization, ASTC cache, 120 fps mode, and lots more.

Only paying users can remove ads, change the theme, and customize the dock.


NoxPlayer
NoxPlayer Android emulator for Windows

The NoxPlayer Android emulator is made with gaming in mind. Google Play is built-in for easy access to games and other apps, and you get the whole Android experience, including the home screen, folders, notification center, etc.

While using this program, it was clear early on that nearly everything about it makes playing games easier. You can record macros, define keys for things like multiple strikes and weapon fires, adjust FPS settings, record the screen, and take screenshots, among other things.


Android Studio
Android Virtual Device Manager emulator for Windows

I’d call Android Studio the “official” Android emulator, since it’s from Google. However, the core of the program is meant for app development, so while there is an emulator built-in, it’s not super easy to use.

This program doesn’t have an easy-to-use interface like the other emulators in this list, so it isn’t the greatest if you just want to run some Android apps on your computer. But you might like this one if you plan to develop your own apps and you want an easy way to test them throughout the creation process.


Andy

Andy Android emulator for Windows

The Andy emulator for Windows puts Android Nougat on your computer. You can run games and other apps by installing them through the Google Play Store.

Since this is a full Android emulator, you can also reposition the apps on the home screen and install widgets, just like you can on a real Android device.

Something I like about this one is that it lets you change your GPS location. It’s much easier than trying to do so on your phone.


Remix OS Player

Remix OS Player Android emulator for Windows

Remix OS is an operating system based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so it looks like your normal OS with a desktop area, start menu, taskbar, and trash bin.

However, instead of installing the whole Remix OS, you can use the Remix OS Player emulator to run Android apps on your computer.

This software is described as a game emulator for your computer because it lets you customize some shortcuts normally used for navigating games, but I was able to also use Remix OS Player for other apps, like Snapchat, Facebook, etc.; everything is available through the Play Store.

Genymotion

Genymotion Android emulator for Windows

Another free Android emulator for Windows is Genymotion. It’s a lot like Android Studio’s emulator in that it emulates the entire OS, except that this one doesn’t install all the other developer tools.

This emulator can run modern versions of Android (5.0 through 12.1), not just old ones like some of the competition. You install virtual devices by selecting the Android version and device model you want.

For example, you might select Android 10 and Google Pixel to emulate that phone and OS on your computer. You can also make a custom phone or tablet by specifying the screen resolution. The processor, memory size, and network mode are customizable as well.

You can use this emulator for free only if it’s for personal use (otherwise, check out the Genymotion Android as a Service page).


LDPlayer 9

LDPlayer 9 screenshot

LDPlayer is another gaming-focused emulator, but you can run other apps on it as well. The installation is similar in ease to GameLoop. You simply download a file, install it, open it, set it up, and off you go. It’s easier to use than a lot of other entries and works smoothly on our AMD-powered PC with an ultrawide monitor. It had fewer bugs than some of its competitors, but it didn’t run perfectly 100% of the time.

What makes LDPlayer fun is its extra features. You get a toolbar on the right side of the window that lets you quickly take screenshots, record videos, set up keyboard mapping, and other tools. It also has multi-instance support for hardcore gamers. We tried about half a dozen games, and they all ran fine, even if it took a couple of tries to open a few of them.

LDPlayer is free, works smoothly, and has enough extra features to make it a good choice in this space. LDPlayer 9 runs Android 9, and that’s good enough to run almost everything. It’s also very actively updated, which can’t be said for a lot of other Android emulators, but it doesn’t support MacOS as of writing.

LDPlayer

MuMu Player

MuMu Player screenshot 2022

MuMu Player is another gaming-focused emulator from NetEase, a developer of many popular mobile games like Onmyoji, Vikingard, and others. The latest beta version runs Android 9, and the previous stable version runs Android 6. There is also MuMu Nebula, which is a lighter version that you can use with low-end PCs. Installation is as easy as downloading a file and installing it. It should only take about five to ten minutes. That is, provided you have a Windows machine, because this one doesn’t support MacOS.

MuMu Player has a toolbar across the bottom of the app that works almost identically to LDPlayer and MeMU Play. You can install APKs, take screenshots, record videos, and map keys. This one also has good PC gamepad support. Otherwise, it works like any other emulator. You log into Google Play, download your games, and play them.

We didn’t have any problems with this one. The UI and controls are very similar to MeMU and LDPlayer, so if you’ve used one, you’ll be able to get used to this one pretty quickly. It ran our test games without complaint, and it keeps up in terms of extra features.

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