Raspberry Pi

11 Best Raspberry Pi Emulators

Emulators serve the purpose of enabling one computer to function as another computer or you can say running any other computer on your system. The Raspberry Pi emulators are of mainly two types, one related to gaming and the other is related to the software. So, if you are looking for both types of emulators of Pi then read this guide as I have listed the best emulators that you can choose for Raspberry Pi.

11 Best Emulators for Pi

Before searching for emulators for Raspberry Pi one should be aware of the purpose for which the emulator is required. As mentioned above there are two types of emulators for the Pi: one is for gaming and the other is for running Pi OS on other operating systems. So, below are the emulators based on both gaming and software:

Raspberry Pi Gaming Emulators

Raspberry Pi Operating System Emulators

Raspberry Pi Gaming Emulators

Selecting the best gaming emulator for Pi has never been easy as there are a number of emulators available that can convert your Pi into a gaming console. To make the selection easy for you I have explained the best gaming emulators that you can consider while making your Pi a gaming console.

1: RetroPie

One of the best and most popular gaming emulators for the Pi is RetroPie as it provides the opportunity to load different ROMs using the RetroPie manager. Moreover, this emulator allows you to customize your interface. Next coming to the interfacing of the controllers, the RetroPie supports all types of controllers even the latest ones, the fun not only stops here you can also set the graphics of the game to enhance your gaming experience. If you are interested in installing the RetroPie emulator, then read how to install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi.

2: RetroArch

Another best choice for converting your Pi into a gaming console is the RetroArch which is a sort of framework that can run different cores so that you can emulate different platforms on it. Moreover, this is the best choice if you are looking to play classic games. You can download the RetroArch from its website and to install it on Pi you should consult install the Retro Arch on Raspberry Pi.


REDREAM is a powerful emulator that can emulate the classic SEGA Dreamcast games. This emulator is just plug and play as it doesn’t require long installations to use it on Raspberry Pi. All you must do is to add games in its library and you are good to go. Moreover, this emulator provides 60 FPS and upscales the games up to 1080P or even 4K in some cases. If you want to render games the REDREAM provides a premium package for $5 that is for one time and along with that you get the custom Discord server role for free, further if you are interested then click here to download it.

4: Lakka

This emulator is relatively stable as compared to the RetroPie and can run several classic games, since it uses the RetroArch. It has features like multiplier, shader, and support for different controllers. The installation of Lakka is quite easy and adding ROMs of games doesn’t require effort, to get the complete guide for its installation click here.


If you are looking to play games designed specifically for the MS-DOS operating system, then DOSBOX is the one for you. However, it’s quite old but if you love to play classic games then this is the best emulator for you. It’s quite easy to install and to read the full installation guide click here.


If you want to play PlayStation Portable games on Raspberry Pi, then this emulator is the one for you as Raspberry Pi can run the PlayStation games without any overclocking. It will be installed on Raspberry Pi as an application and there is an option of 2x upscaling that will improve the graphic quality of most of the games. To download it visit PPSSPP.

7: RecalBox

This is an open-source emulator that is the competitor of RetroPie that comes with 40 emulators along with a pre-installed Kodi media center. It also has an auto update system then keeps everything updated to provide uninterrupted gaming experience to the users. Like RetroPie you can create your own list of games and can add some tweaks to the GUI to make it look unique. To further see the installation process read this full guide.

Raspberry Pi operating System Emulators

If you want to run Raspberry Pi operating on your machine then there are number of emulators that you can use, among them the best one I have explained:

8: VirtualBox

One of the most popular emulators to run an operating system virtually on a different machine is the VirtualBox. The installation process for the Raspberry Pi operating system is not that difficult all you have to allocate your resources of machine, and you are good to go, further you can download the VirtualBox by clicking here:

9: VMWare Workstation

Another considerable option for running the Raspberry Pi operating system on your non-Linux machine is the VMWare Workstation. It is quite similar to the VirtualBox, but it only has hardware virtualization and for commercial use you need to buy it. The process of installing a virtual operating system is similar to that of VirtualBox, further to download the VMware Workstation click here.

10: Microsoft Azure

This emulator has a built-in option for downloading the Raspberry Pi operating system and to install this emulator there is no set of any commands required just download it on the Azure server. This also provides the feature of coding the Raspberry Pi along with the hardware simulation which totally negates the need of buying the Raspberry Pi. The Microsoft provides the free Azure for the 12 months and after that you must pay for it, further to get started with Microsoft Azure click here:

11: QEMU

If you are looking for a lightweight operating system emulator then QEMU is the one for you, it provides full system emulation. To use QEMU for Raspberry Pi one should have some expertise in running Linux commands. It provides phenomenal performance without having a kernel driver as a host which is a big plus, further it allows the control of the guest operating systems. Thus, this is the perfect emulator for running the Raspberry Pi operating system, to download it click here.


Running Raspberry Pi in a virtual environment is a lot better when it comes to creating simulations and working with programming languages/commands as it removes the hassle or buying the actual hardware. There are two types of emulators: one for playing games and that require actual hardware whereas the other type of emulators is used to run the Raspberry Pi operating system virtually.

About the author

Aaliyan Javaid

I am an electrical engineer and a technical blogger. My keen interest in embedded systems has led me to write and share my knowledge about them.