7 of the Best Android Emulators for Windows in 2024

Key Takeaways
  • Android emulators cater to various needs, from app development and gaming to simply running Android apps on different operating systems, providing flexibility and a range of features.
  • BlueStacks stands out for its ease of use and optimization, MEmu and NoxPlayer for robust performance and customization, and GameLoop specializes in gaming, particularly for popular titles.
  • With Windows 11 integrating native Android app capabilities, the landscape of Android emulation is evolving, though tools like Android Studio remain indispensable for developers.

Android emulators have come a long way since they first arrived to the scene. At this point, with the growing demand for inter-device compatibility, Microsoft is rolling out its own solution to run Android apps on Windows natively. However, there are still several applications that operate as fully-fledged Android devices, using the concept of virtualization to run the Android OS on Windows.

This guide will go over some of the best Android emulators on Windows and discuss what sets them apart from the competition.

Bluestacks X on a Windows Laptop

Why Use Android Emulator?

Most Android emulators aren’t perfect simulations of an actual Android device, but the use case varies from person to person. Some use emulators for app development, while others use them for gaming.

  1. App Development: Android emulators can essentially simulate the workings of a number of Android devices and APIs, allowing you to test out your app in a much more efficient and faster way. This means that you won’t require an actual physical device to run or test out your project.
  2. Gaming: Due to the limitations of mobile phones, some people prefer to play their favourite Android games on a PC/laptop. This could be for competitive purposes or simply personal preferences. Either way, the popularity of emulators can largely be attributed to this aspect.
  3. Running Android Apps: Most people with a different operating system, say HarmonyOS or iOS may prefer to use emulators on their PCs, allowing them to use Android apps conveniently. This is especially beneficial because some apps, like WhatsApp and Instagram, previously restricted features on their web versions, prompting users to turn to emulators for greater flexibility.

READ MORE: Apple Just Made The Best Windows Games Emulator for MacOS ➜

1. Windows 11

Android emulators were primarily used for gaming until Microsoft announced that it would be bringing Google Play to Windows. Now, you don’t need a virtual version of Android on any emulator; instead, you can natively run select Android titles on your PC using Google Play Games.

One of the huge plusses of this is that you can connect controllers to any game you play, and not only that but the app also supports 4K monitors, so if you aren’t enjoying gaming on your small phone’s screen, you can always switch to your PC.

Play Games for PC | Google

With Windows, there is another way to reap the benefits of Android OS and that is via the Amazon Appstore on the Microsoft Store. However, there is a limited number of apps available here, and third-party APKs cannot be installed. Additionally, you need Windows 11 specifically to run this app; otherwise, it won’t work on Windows 10 or older.

2. BlueStacks

BlueStacks is undoubtedly the most popular Android emulator with over 500 million users worldwide. It has been around for over a decade and is commonly known for seamlessly running Android apps on Windows. Whether it’s Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, or simply WhatsApp, the app perfectly simulates an Android mobile device.

Furthermore, with its latest iteration, BlueStacks 5, the app focuses on optimization, targeting lower-end devices. The app was previously known to be filled with bloatware, but BlueStacks 5 is the cleanest version of the app to date.

BlueStacks 5 | now.gg

The Google Play Store is built-in alongside other necessary features, including a File Manager, browser (Google Chrome), and a Camera app. BlueStacks allows you to change your Device Profile and Network Providers to best simulate the environment you want. Additionally, it has CPU and memory allocation settings built-in, giving you greater control over your device.

All in all, it is a great, reliable, and undoubtedly the most optimized Android emulator on the list; perfect for productivity and gaming on your PC.

READ MORE: BlueStacks – Is it Safe? ➜

3. MEmu

MEmu is another emulator that has been around for a long time and has been kept alive by frequent updates over the years. The main advantage of this emulator is that it perfectly simulates an Android device, or rather a tablet on your screen, providing you with the complete Android experience.

The installation process is quite easy and beginner-friendly, making it easy to set up. MEmu primarily focuses its efforts and features towards gamers, but with a full-fledged Android system, it is equally good for casual users. Google Play Store comes pre-installed, but you can also import third-party apps via APKs. Additionally, it offers plenty of customization options and control over your hardware resource usage.

MEmu Play

MEmu offers a shared Downloads folder, making it really simple to transfer files between Windows and MEmu. You can attach your mouse and keyboard to specific keybinds on the screen to play using physical peripherals. There is also an option to record the screen, which can be great for gamers just starting out and looking for a simple solution to record their gameplay videos.

It does have other functionalities, such as enabling root access, disguising your location, and a 120FPS mode, but all in all, it’s a decent, well-rounded emulator.

4. NoxPlayer

NoxPlayer stands out as one of the smoother, all-rounded emulators on the list. It operates on Android 9 but consistently receives updates, with the latest versions enabling you to create instances running Android 12 as well. The app is generally known to play video games reliably, but since it acts as a proper Android device, it can also do other stuff.

NoxPlayer | Nox

The app allows you to create “Multi-Instances,” giving you the option to run multiple games simultaneously. It also boasts a generally user-friendly interface. While the app faced scrutiny for a recent hijacking incident, developers assert that security has been enhanced with recent improvements. All in all, NoxPlayer proves to be a stable and dependable emulator.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Vimm’s Lair – Classic Games & ROMs ➜

5. GameLoop

GameLoop, previously known as Tencent Gaming Buddy, is more of an Android game emulator. It lacks a proper Android device-like UI and is primarily suited for gaming. In fact, it is the official emulator for PUBG Mobile, Genshin Impact, Arena of Valor, and Call of Duty: Mobile.

GameLoop Emulator | Tencent

The emulator provides multiple options to adjust your resolution, anti-aliasing, rendering mode, and gives you complete control over your CPU and memory utilization settings. It has multiple options for keyboard mapping, but undoubtedly, the standout aspect is the optimization it brings to the table.

Despite being relatively new, launching in 2018, GameLoop has gained a massive audience of over 10M users. It’s great on security too, with its proprietary anti-cheat, Tencent Protect to keep an eye on cheaters in competitive environments.

6. Android Studio

Android Studio may not be a full-fledged emulator, but it is much more than that. Focused primarily on developing Android apps, it provides you with an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with the emulator built-in, allowing you to comfortably deploy your app to the emulator for testing and debugging on a wide array of devices and hardware.

Android Studio | Google

While Android Studio doesn’t let you explicitly game or casually use the emulator as a normal mobile device, it is designed for developers, offering multiple settings to fully configure your code according to different screen sizes, resolutions, and Android API levels.

Android Studio is free and open-source, but it can be resource-intensive at times and may have some limitations when compared to a proper visualization of a mobile device, as seen in apps like BlueStacks or NoxPlayer.

7. AndY

Despite being one of the older players in Android emulators, AndY has been placed lower on the list due to infrequent updates and an older overall interface. The app acts as a full emulator, simulating a proper mobile device. It is suitable for playing mobile games on your PC but is not as optimized as, for example, BlueStacks or Nox.

AndY Android Emulator

The app boasts a keyboard mapper, supports external peripherals, and allows you to use your phone as a controller while playing a game. On the flip side, you can’t easily use APKs to install apps, and the installation process is tedious, to say the least.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Emulating Pokémon Games on PC ➜


Android emulators have been around for quite some time now, but with apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and Google Play Games getting native Windows support, their days are numbered. Regardless, all of them are pretty unique in one way of the other and offer plenty of value to their target audience.


What is the best Android emulator to play games?

Most emulators on the list are focused on gaming, but BlueStacks and GameLoop are the ones that offer better stability of the lot.

Are there any security concerns to using Android emulators?

While Android emulators can’t really replace your mobile phone, it is important that you keep you personal and private data safe. These services are generally reliable, but don’t really have the proper mechanisms in place for more sophisticated cyberattacks like say, an actual mobile device.

What emulator is best for developers?

For Android app development, Google has created Android Studio that serves as an IDE and allows you to simulate an actual Android device with multiple customization options.


Muhammad Qasim

Qasim's deep love for technology and gaming drives him to not only stay up-to-date on the latest developments but also to share his informed perspectives with others through his writing. Whether through this or other endeavors, he is committed to sharing his expertise and making a meaningful contribution to the world of tech and gaming.