The Top 15 Best Linux Terminal Emulators

The command line is the core of the Linux operating system. Unlike other operating systems, Linux distributions rely more on the terminal to perform administrative tasks. Linux users also prefer it for its better performance and powerful user feel.


The terminal is preinstalled in most Linux distributions. However, you may not get many customization options and advanced functionality with the default option. That’s where the alternatives come into play: these terminal emulators offer additional features and customizations to enhance your Linux experience.

So let’s take a look at 15 of the best terminal emulators for Linux that you can use for free.


1. Alacritty

Alacritty is a lightweight terminal focused on performance. It provides a sleek material design. Since it relies on GPU for display, it offers faster speed. This helps avoid unwanted delays when deleting an app or creating a folder.

Alacritty is open source and readily available for all major Linux distributions. If you have an older PC, this app is definitely a step towards a better command line experience.

To download: alacritty (Free)

2. yakuake

yakuake is inspired by a game called Quake from the 1970s. It allows you to open the terminal in a drop-down list with a single button, which is faster than any keyboard shortcut.

The emulator offers a decent tabbed interface. You can customize the colors and appearance by adding different skins. yakuake is focused on performance. It will be useful for you if you often switch between the terminal and GUI apps. The app also allows you to change the speed and dimensions of the dropdown animation.

To download: yakuake (Free)

3. Terminator

Terminator is one of the best terminal emulators out there and is a feature-packed alternative on the list. It offers useful features such as grouping multiple open windows, changing the app’s behavior such as size, position, hints and more, and changing the color and appearance to make the terminal more attractive.

Terminator also allows you to add plugins such as logger, activity watch and others. If you use a shared PC, you can create multiple profiles according to your preferences.

To download: Terminator (Free)

4. Guake

Like yakuake, Guake is also inspired by Quake. It helps make terminal access easy and fast by providing a drop-down command line. The emulator is quite lightweight. Therefore, it is efficient in terms of performance.

You can also customize Guake to a great extent. It offers several themes to choose from and lets you enable pop-up notifications and alert sounds, customize the scroll bar, change fonts, cursor style, and much more.

Guake also allows you to configure keyboard shortcuts for various operations. You can also change the default shell if you want.

To download: Guake (Free)

5. Tilda

Tilda has a minimal design that helps you stay focused. It has many useful customization features, such as window view, terminal view, font setting, command behavior and more. The app also has a drop-down feature like yakuake.

Tilda provides a key binding feature to assign hotkeys to various operations. You can also customize the terminal’s appearance through colors, font, positions, and tabs. In addition, it also allows you to set the transparency level of the app.

To download: Tilda (Free)

6. Tilix

Tilix is ​​a powerful, feature-packed terminal for Linux distributions. This terminal emulator supports custom titles and hyperlinks. In addition, you can save and reload the group of active terminals from disk.

Tilix allows you to arrange different terminal windows vertically or horizontally using drag and drop. The terminals synchronize with each other, which is useful in increasing productivity.

To download: Tilix (Free)

7. st

st has a minimalist design and focuses on providing the necessary functionality. The goal is to provide a minimal and extensible terminal experience.

The app offers features such as clipboard processing to easily copy and paste content across windows, resize the terminal, broad drawing support, and mouse shortcuts.

st is fast and efficient, and if you are an advanced user it can be very useful. You can also highly customize it by using a config.h File.

However, the app can be somewhat complicated to install. You can refer to the video above for guidance.

To download: st (Free)

8. Terminology

Terminology comes standard with some solid features. It allows you to easily copy and paste things across the terminal. With the mini display feature, you will see a mini pop-up of the terminal on the screen. Overall, the emulator has a clean design and an illuminated interface.

Terminology also makes it possible to split the terminals. You can change the default cursor, color, background, font, theme behavior and much more.

To download: Terminology (Free)

9. xterm

xterm is a lightweight alternative to your standard Linux terminal emulator. It allows you to work on multiple terminal windows on different processes at the same time.

The emulator has a minimal interface. It offers an old-school look as it was first developed in the 90s. xterm is useful for all basic terminal functions. On older devices, it provides efficient performance.

To download: xterm (Free)

Extraterm takes your terminal experience to the next level. It allows you to work with command line applications effortlessly and the GPU accelerated rendering makes it fast.

Extraterm also offers features such as searching between the commands, adjusting the text by zooming, integrating with the shell and much more.

To download: extra term (Free)

11. Cool Retro Term

Cool Retro Term is a good option if you are bored of the traditional black screen terminals. It gives the appearance of an old cathode tube screen.

The emulator is highly customizable. You can change the colors, size, fonts, and behavior. Cool Retro Term offers all the essential terminal functions. In addition, you can customize the interface with preset profiles. The app is available for all major Linux distributions.

To download: Cool retro term (Free)

12. GNOME Terminal

GNOME Terminal is the default terminal in the GNOME desktop environment. It offers good integration with GNOME apps. Moreover, you can also customize the emulator with solarized colors.

The app makes it easy to open and manage different tabs. It also has good performance stats. GNOME Terminal also has a key binding feature that allows you to assign custom operations to particular keys.

To download: GNOME terminal (Free)

13. Console

Konsole is one of the most advanced Linux terminal emulators. It is the default terminal emulator that comes with the KDE desktop environment.

The emulator has many advanced features such as hyperlink support and an “edit and view” feature to make the command line experience less complex. You can also scroll to unlimited depth.

Konsole allows you to customize the background of the terminal. It also offers a bookmark feature. You can open a new terminal window or clone an existing one. In addition, the app also allows you to export a copy of the terminal screen in PDF format.

To download: console (Free)

14. Xfce Terminal

Xfce Terminal is a lightweight terminal that comes pre-installed in the Xfce desktop environment. It consumes less memory and is therefore useful for older devices.

You can customize the terminal’s interface to your liking. Xfce Terminal also offers important binding features, just like some of the other emulators on this list. You can also choose from different colors to personalize the terminal to your liking.

Xfce Terminal also allows you to use multiple tabs within one window. In addition, you can adjust the aspect ratio of the window.

To download: Xfce terminal (Free)

15. LXTerminal

LXTerminal is another terminal emulator optimized for performance and low resource usage. It provides all the necessary terminal features you would expect from a terminal emulator.

You can open multiple tabs and group them the way you want. All instances share a single process, so performance is much more efficient.

LXTerminal is open source and available for all major Linux distributions. It is useful for users with low-end devices.

To download: LXTerminal (Free)

Take your terminal experience to the next level

The default terminal on Linux desktops is powerful, but there’s no harm in adding more features to your arsenal. The terminal apps mentioned above will take your terminal to the next level with additional functionality and customization features. Try out some of these apps to find the one you like.

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