There are many third-party launchers available for android — these are some of the best!

Launchers are the way Android users customize their smartphone and tablet experience. There's superficial stuff, like changing screen transitions, icons, and fonts, but the best Android launchers out there enable users to tweak the device's behaviour to suit their daily usage, so long as you're willing to put the time into defining those customizations.

If you're looking for a change of pace from the out-of-box experience, we've dug up the very best Android launchers out there. Take a look, and let us know what you think!

1. Go Launcher

The Go Launcher is a particularly flashy launcher with a great range of screen transitions, including 3D ones. Launcher settings are available through a readily accessible drawer that's summoned with an upward swipe from the home screen. There's a dedicated theme storefront app that lets you cruise through available Go Launcher compatible apps and punts you out to the Play Store when you're ready to download. It even has a section of dedicated custom lock screens. For $5.99 you can upgrade to Go Launcher Prime, which offers security lock for individual apps, removes ads, and a few more bells and whistles.

It's impressive that even Go's settings menus manage to stay flashy with all of the functionality the launcher provides.

2. Google Now Launcher

The Google Now launcher is the obvious pick for anybody looking for pure, clean Android experience. It comes right from Google, so you can shear away anything the manufacturer has loaded up in one fel swoop. The only significant addition here beyond being super-stock is that the left-most home screen becomes Google Now, so you can launch into searches, view cards populated based on the time of day, your location, and general browsing habits, and execute all sorts of hands-free "OK Google" commands. The only real downside here is that you won't be able to enjoy the level of customization available on more robust launchers.

Use the Google Now launcher if you're looking for high stability and a consistent Android experience.

3. Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher

Nova is a massively popular launcher that offers a whole bunch of animation options, folder views, and desktop behaviors. If you shell out $4.00 for the premium upgrade, you can program gestures to perform certain actions, and fully customize unread badges including corner radius, border, background, and text color. One particularly cool addition is swipe actions, which allow app icons to act as a folder with a swipe, or a standard app launch with a tap. If that's not enough, you can always explore the wide world of Nova-compatible themes in Google Play to dramatically change the look and feel of your Android device in one fel swoop. You'll even find some Android L-style options tucked away in Nova.

Nova is a highly functional launcher that can be as subtle or as loud as you like.

4. Aviate

Aviate builds collections of your apps based on different types of activities. You can, of course, tweak those collections manually as well, and Aviate can offer suggestions to fill in collections. Aviate figures out where you are and what time of day it is, and serves up relevant collections in custom-built interfaces called Spaces so you can better handle those activities. For example, if you plug in your headphones, it offers you quick access to media controls and your favorite music apps. Hit the road, and you'll be offered shortcuts to navigation home and to the office.

Aviate excels for having a high amount of polish and requires minimal maintenance, even though you might lose out on some customizability. .

5. Apex Launcher

Apex Launcher

Apex offers a similar range of functions as Nova. You can tweak the icon tray size and scrolling, change animations, adjust home screen behaviours, and customize gesture commands for various pinches, taps, and swipes. A plug-in allows notification data to be fed to Apex from a variety of apps, and out to any Wear devices, too, so long as you're willing to upgrade to the pro version for $4.49. There are a wide range third party themes available in the Google Play Store which let you change the overall look of your Android experience, but as a functional core, Apex does extremely well.

Android power users will have a field day with the Apex launcher.

6. Honorable mentions

Your favorite launchers?

The Google Play Store has a ridiculous number of Android launchers available, so we're always interested to hear what you guys are using. We're curious to see how you've customized your own launchers too - sound off in the comments!