Android lets you download third-party launchers on your phone in order to improve the functionality of your device if you wish to. Because of this, a lot of manufacturers use their own launchers on their phones instead of using the stock Android Launcher. There are a lot of launchers available on the Google Play Store for you to use, but here are the best of those launchers, listed down for you.
If you’re looking to customize your phone a tad bit more, you might want to even consider looking for icon packs that are supported by your launcher. Not all launchers listed here support icon packs, but most of them do. You might want to check out the Best Icon packs for Android List that I compiled recently.
Google Now Launcher (Free)
Note: You can now ignore this from the list as Google is said to be removing the launcher in a few weeks.
The Google Now Launcher is the official launcher from Google that they have on the Stock Android. The launcher features the popular Google Now as the left-most screen, where you can access your notifications and information that Google Now Provides. There is not much that you can customize with this launcher and even the app drawer is a vertical scrolling one. So if you’re fine with that, and want something that gives you a stock Android like feel, go ahead and give this launcher a try. Also, let me tell you that you can not use custom icon packs with this launcher.
Action Launcher (Free)
Action Launcher, as the name suggests is based on the actions that you can perform quickly with the launcher. It has a feature called Quick theme which will change the colours of the layout based on the colours in the wallpaper that you select. It also has a quick bar that is placed in place of the Google Search Bar, but is customized to have your frequently or commonly used apps. You can customize the list and choose which apps you want to showcase here. Shutters is another good feature of this that allows you to access the widget of an app by swiping on the app icon. It means without having to place a widget, you can access it anytime you want by swiping on the app icon for that app.
Nova Launcher is probably one of the most common launcher out there as it has a free and a paid version that you can purchase. The free version of the launcher offers amazing customizability that you can use to customize the look of your Android home screen without any trouble. It includes changing how the icons look, what size they are, what type of animation do you want and all that. If you wish to move to the paid version, called the Nova Launcher Prime, you’ll get more access where you can choose to show the unread notifications badge for every app that you have and also customize the homescreen in a better way.
Arrow Launcher (Free)
The Arrow Launcher is a launcher for Android made by the folks over at Microsoft. When this was launched, it was in the news for a long time. It allows you to define quick gestures that you can then perform to trigger some action. For example, you can swipe on a contact to send them a message, you have quick access to your most commonly used apps and quick reminders integrated with Wunderlist right on the home screen. There is much more that you can do with this, but you get the gist. This one also supports 3rd party icon packs, so you can customize the look just the way you want.
Z Launcher (Free)
Z Launcher is a launcher built by the people at Nokia. This is an interesting launcher as it learns your habits the more you use it. It will know what to show you on the quick settings, when you need it, even before you know that you need it. It does so by using your location and the apps that you access there frequently. Another thing that it does is that it allows you to draw a letter on the screen and quickly access apps that start with that letter. Also, since it is getting to know you, the results of the search will always be based on your usability that the launcher has learned till date. It is definitely an interesting launcher to try at least once. Unfortunately, it does not support 3rd party icon packs like the other launchers, but offers a great deal of features that the other launchers lack.
I personally use the Nova Launcher Prime on my phone with a custom icon pack that changes every now and then. I get bored with my layout pretty easily and then I change the icon pack to get a fresh feel on my phone. Do let me know which launcher you use on your smartphone in the comments section below so I know which is the favorite one for everyone here.