Top 5 Android Emulators

Run Android apps on your Windows PC or Mac with these emulators

You can install and run Android apps on your computer with the help of an emulator. We tested all of the best Android emulators for Windows and Mac, including portable Android emulators like Bliss OS, in order to help you choose one that best fits your needs.

There are multiple versions of Android. Make sure your emulator can run the appropriate version for the apps you want to use.

01
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Play Android Games on Your Computer and TV: BlueStacks

Android apps in BlueStacks

BlueStacks

What We Like
  • Easy to download and install.

  • Versions of the app exist for both Windows and Mac.

  • Has a sibling app for playing Android games on TV sets.

What We Don't Like
  • The interface is not the same Android UI you'd normally have on a mobile device.

  • Doesn't allow you to access your computer’s file system.

BlueStacks is one of the most popular Android emulators. It's free, easy to set up, and available for both major operating systems. It's most notable feature is the ability to cast to your TV so that you can play mobile games on a big screen. There are some interface and performance issues, but BlueStack is an overall stable program that allows you to run Android apps smoothly on your computer. 

02
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Official Android Emulator for Developers: Android Studio

Android Studio emulator

Google

What We Like
  • Part of a suite of Android development tools.

  • Emulates the latest versions of Android.

  • Extensive documentation and community support.

What We Don't Like
  • Barebones emulator.

  • Aimed at power users.

  • Only available for Windows (No Mac version).

Android has an official emulator for Windows that is part of the Android development kit. It includes a few pre-installed apps such as the phone dialer and messaging app. Android Studio is designed for developers to test and debug Android apps, so casual users probably won't need all of the extra tools that come with it.

03
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Emulate Android in Google Chrome: ARChon

Flipboard running in Chrome with ARChon
What We Like
  • Use Android apps in your web browser.

  • Works on any operating system.

What We Don't Like
  • More difficult to set up than other emulators.

  • Not all app features are supported.

ARChon is a Google Chrome extension that runs Android apps and games in the Chrome browser. Setting it up requires you to enable developer mode on Chrome, and you may have to convert certain apps to get them working, so carefully read the instructions on GitHub before you begin.

04
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Best Portable Android Emulator: Bliss OS

Google Play Store running in Bliss OS on a Windows tablet

 Bliss ROMs

What We Like
  • Take your Android emulator with you to use on any PC.

  • Works with Windows, Linux, and Chromebooks.

What We Don't Like
  • Set up process is a little tedious if you've never set up a virtual machine.

  • Not compatible with Mac.

Bliss is a portable Android emulator, which means that you can carry it around on a USB drive. That way, you can use it on different computers running different operating systems. It's especially useful for developers or anyone who works on multiple devices.

05
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Best Multiplatform Emulator: VirtualBox

Android Lockscreen in VirtualBox
What We Like
  • Runs any version of Android.

  • Emulates other operating systems like Linux.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires more set up than most emulators.

  • Limited extra features.

VirtualBox is capable of emulating almost any operating system. Since it can emulate any version of Android, you can run just about any app. It's especially ideal for developers who work on various platforms, but it might be overkill if all you want is a simple Android emulator.