11 Best Linux Desktop Environment for 2021

5 min read

Linux is a highly customizable OS that you can use to modify the look of your desktop. Linux allows you to change every aspect of the desktop according to your requirement. There are numerous Linux desktop environment you can use to refresh the home page of your home screen.

Linux desktop environment is a GUI or Graphical User Interface that sorts all the components of your home screen in a sorted form. We are compiling a list of some of the best Linux desktop environment you can apply on your desktop.

Following are some of the reasons we would highly recommend you to use Linux desktop environment:

  • Enhance the appeal of your desktop

There are lots of Linux desktop environment available at this moment. Desktop environments are readily available in a variety of themes that users can choose according to their liking. Linux desktop environment enhances the appeal and overall look of your desktop’s home screen.

  • Highly Customizable

Linux desktop environment offers a wide range of customization options to the users. It allows you to make changes to the elementary interface and add a lively look to your desktop.

  • Free To Use

Most of the Linux desktop environments are available for free. You can download them from different websites that also gets frequently updated. The size of the desktop environment is also small and will not consume much space on your desktop small

Best Linux Desktop Environment

  1. KDE Plasma
  2. Budgie
  3. Mate
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Gnome
  6. Deepin DE 2
  7. KDE Plasma 5
  8. Enlightenment
  9. XFCE
  10. Pantheon
  11. LXQT

KDE Plasma

KDE Plasma is a popular Linux desktop environment that offers a bundle of features along with customization. KDE is available for a wide array of Linux operating system. To start with, KDE offers various handy widgets that you can use to get quick access to your favourite apps and tools.

You can add multiple panels on the home screen as per your requirement. It will help you smartly manage all your activities on the desktop. KDE also offers KDE Connect, which help you connect your Android devices to the Linux desktop. You can download custom widgets to increase your widget collection on KDE Plasma.


  • Download custom widgets
  • KDE connect
  • Add multiple panels


Budgie is a customization rich Linux desktop environment that has all the elements to make it the best. The Budgie can sort all your tool and apps in alphabetical order for easy access. We also loved the basic interface of the Budgie that pleases the eyes. It comes with Raven that is a combined customization and notification centre.

Raven also gives the access to manage missed notifications accordingly.

Budgie supports the freedesktop notification specification that allows the user smartly manage all the notifications. The dark theme of Budgie acts as a cherry on the cake that makes it one of the best Linux desktop environments.


  • Polished user interface
  • Raven
  • Dark theme


Mate is a lightweight Linux desktop environment that does not put much of a load on your hardware. Users who have been using the GNOME Linux environment might be familiar with the Mate. You can customize your experience on Mate as per your liking. You can change the theme, colour, background, adjust panel settings, and so on with the help of the Mate. Mate is available across different Linux platforms like Ubuntu, Mint, and Manjaro.


  • Lightweight
  • Available on various Linux platforms
  • Highly customizable


Cinnamon has gone through several updates and now has become a complete and one of the best Linux desktop environments. Cinnamon is an elegant looking Linux environment that will catch your attention in the first go. The mint coloured graphical interface of the environment is one of the key highlights of cinnamon.

Cinnamon offers a variety of themes that you can change from time to time. You can add applets and desklets on the home screen for quick access to all the apps. Cinnamon also offers handy add ons that you can use to modify the working of your desktop.


  • Extensions
  • Applets and Desklets
  • Variety of themes


Gnome is a subtly developed Linux environment that can improve your efficiency. It smartly organizes all your tools in one place that you can access in one click. You can launch windows, open any application with one touch on Gnome.

Gnome comes with a powerful search engine that lets you quickly locate the things you are looking for on your desktop. The side by side window feature of Gnome lets you view multiple documents at a time. You can also integrate your online accounts to manage your workflow.


  • Side by side window
  • Integrate online accounts
  • View multiple documents
  • Appealing theme

Deepin DE

Deepin DE gives you a Mac OS alike theming, making this Linux environment a good choice for Mac users. Deepin allows you to do various recreational activities that make it a fun experience for the users.

The latest update of the Deepin DE also has touch gesture support, which makes it easy for you to manage all the activities.

Deepin DE has hidden panels where all your apps and tools rest. It has an application launcher to sort and launch all your apps, a dock, and a control centre to manage activities. Identical to Mac OS you can witness a dock at the bottom of the screen where you can assign frequently used apps.


  • Hidden panels
  • Touch gesture support
  • Clutter-free UI

KDE Plasma 5

KDE Plasma is a popular Linux desktop environment frequently updated by developers. Plasma 5 is the latest update in the series that comes with some major improvements. KDE Plasma 5 now has GPU rendering technology that enhances the performance of your desktop.

The new theme introduced by Plasma is a refreshing change appreciated by the users. You can sync your smartphone with KDE Plasma to manage all the activities taking on your phone remotely from the desktop. KDE Plasma 5 also has some handy customization options that you can apply to improve the look of your desktop


  • GPU acceleration
  • Customization rich
  • Simple and lightweight


Enlightenment is one of the oldest players in the circuit that is known for its innovation. It offers you some out of the box features that makes it a class apart from its peers. You get many lively animations embedded in the Enlightenment desktop environment for Linux.

You get a basic interface, alike the other Linux platforms, so it would be not difficult for you to get used to it. The developers have kept it minimal when it comes to design. You get a sober blue background along with black-themed control panels and a start button.


  • Lively animations
  • Simple and appealing design


From the start look, Xfce looks somewhat more seasoned and exhausting, however, we guarantee you that your attitude will change after unloading it since it is a standout amongst other Linux environment. Furthermore, Xfce likewise gives various applications and modules that you can use to expand your work area in the manner in which you like.

Xfce is getting perhaps the most dependable decisions, however, it has a nearly little group for improvement that outcomes in late updates. These days, numerous clients imagine that Xfce is an astounding choice to MATE on the grounds that Xfce’s designers are constantly keeping the interface astonishing and light.


  • Highly customizable
  • Expand work area
  • Appealing design


Next, on our list is Pantheon that is a minimal Ubuntu-based Elementary OS designed to meet the needs of the users. Pantheon consumes the least of your hardware resources that help in improving efficiency. Pantheon offers some handy features that can help to improve your productivity and workflow.

It is a blend of both Windows and Mac OS that making it versatile. You can locate the dock at the bottom of the screen where you can place your favourite applications. Pantheon has a multi-tasking view that helps in managing multiple tasks at a time. You also get a do not disturb option which you can activate to eliminate all distractions.


  • Ubuntu-based elementary OS
  • Multi-tasking view
  • Picture in picture viewing


LXQT is a lightweight desktop environment compatible with Linux and BSD platforms. It is a blend of retro and modern feel that gives a balanced final output to its users. The colour combination used to paint the background theme of the desktop is impressive.

You can notice the status bar at the bottom screen where you can find all the apps and tools. You also get valuable plug-ins that can be helpful in executing basic operations. This Linux desktop environment is lightweight and compatible with all the latest Linux platforms.


  • Valuable plug-ins
  • Impressive theming


To make it more convenient for you, we will be summarizing our list so that you can choose the best. Deepin DE, Budgie, Gnome, and KDE Plasma is highly recommended to the readers. The above mentioned Linux desktop environment offers a complete solution. If you are much into looks and design, then we would recommend you to choose Pantheon, Cinnamon, and mate from our list. You can also give your valuable suggestions in the comment box so we keep improving,

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