Tinker to your heart's content with these Android phones.

Best overall

OnePlus 5

See at OnePlus

OnePlus phones have been a fan favorite among Android enthusiasts since the company was started because they're cheap and run well. The 5 is no exception.

It's easy to unlock the bootloader and install alternative software, and the relatively low price makes for a large development community. A strange positive is that issues with the factory software mean that more people are interested in modding the OnePlus 5, which makes a large community even larger.

If you are looking to spend some money on a phone just so you can hack away at it, the OnePlus 5 is worth looking at.

Bottom line: High-end specs and a budget price make the OnePlus 5 a great phone. Easy modifications and a large community also make it an excellent choice for rooting and modding.

Why best

The OnePlus 5 is open and affordable.

OnePlus phones all share one common trait — they are easy to root and mod the software. The reason we think the OnePlus 5 is the best is that the low price also means the community is huge.

When you want to go with custom software the best thing you can have is a large group of people that act as a support channel. The OnePlus 5's low price also makes it a great phone to get if you're looking for a second device to play around with while you use your primary phone to hold all your personal data without compromising its security.

Whether you're new to phone modding or an old hat, we can't help but recommend the OnePlus 5 as the best phone to do any of it.

The flagship option

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

While the standard Pixel is the cheaper of the two options, it's still not a phone anyone would consider inexpensive. But it's still an excellent phone if you want to customize your software.

The Pixel is packed with a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. It's available with up to 128GB of storage space. The thing simply flies, even without any tinkering. But because it's a phone from Google, you're able to unlock the software and do just about anything to it, all the while having a path back to "normal" in the form of factory software.

Bottom line: If you're looking to mod the very best, the Google Pixel is it.

One more thing: There's a new Pixel coming soon, so we expect the price of the 2016 models to drop.

Conclusion

You can root and mod almost every Android phone. We tend to focus on the ones you can't because they are outliers. But being able to do it through an exploit or other sometimes difficult process isn't ideal.

If you're looking ahead and know you'll want to change something on your next phone that requires custom software or root access, these phones are the best options.

Best overall

OnePlus 5

See at OnePlus

OnePlus phones have been a fan favorite among Android enthusiasts since the company was started because they're cheap and run well. The 5 is no exception.

It's easy to unlock the bootloader and install alternative software, and the relatively low price makes for a large development community. A strange positive is that issues with the factory software mean that more people are interested in modding the OnePlus 5, which makes a large community even larger.

If you are looking to spend some money on a phone just so you can hack away at it, the OnePlus 5 is worth looking at.

Bottom line: High-end specs and a budget price make the OnePlus 5 a great phone. Easy modifications and a large community also make it an excellent choice for rooting and modding.

Updated August 2017: Moved OnePlus 5 to the top spot and added the Pixel as the flagship option. Goodbye, Nexus 5X, we'll miss you and your $200 price.