8 best Linux Desktop Environments for 2019

Unlike any other Operating System Linux provides so many choices which actually is confusing and overwhelming for new users. Bunch of questions comes up like which are the best Linux Desktop Environments for me? and Does it really matter which Desktop Environment I choose?
Either you can blindly go with the default Desktop Environment your favorite Linux Distribution comes with. Or you can choose what is best for your workflow and design aesthetics. This detailed comparison among 8 best Linux Desktop Environments will save your time and will bring out the best for you to choose in 2019.

Best Linux Desktop Environments

Just to clear that the following list is not in the order of best Linux desktop environments to worst or in a specific order in general.

1. KDE

KDE Plasma is considered to be one of the most versatile and modern looking Desktop Environment. It provides the level of customization that no other Desktop Environment provides in a particularly easy way. You can literally customize it to look like any other desktop environment. Although it looks polished and elegant out of the box. 
KDE also comes with its bunch of exclusive applications that favor for the actual look and feel of its desktop environment.
Comes default with Manjaro KDE, Kubuntu, KDE Neon and openSUSE.

Manjaro KDE (KDE desktop environment)
Recommended for :
  • Those who want a modern and elegant desktop
  • Users who like to customize the look and feel of their desktop
  • Those who want a powerful and polished user experience 
Not Recommended for :
  • Users looking for a light and resource-efficient desktop
  • Those who like simple user interface

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is actually a modified version of Gnome 3 optimized and developed for Linux Mint. Implementing one of the most user-friendly experience it is the most recommended desktop environment for users familiar with the Windows Operating System. While it also comes with the look and feels of a modern desktop.
Although being simple it also provides a respectable choice of customization options and applications. (Just to mention it can be buggy in some rare cases since its a comparatively new build)
Comes default with Linux Mint and Manjaro Cinnamon.
Linux Mint (Cinnamon desktop environment)
Recommended for: 
  • Those who want a simple yet customizable desktop
  • Users having a low-end or decent system
  • Users switching to Linux and familiar with Windows
Not Recommended for :
  • Users planning it for their device with a touch interface (it is not touch-friendly)

3. Xfce

Xfce is designed to be the lightest and resource-efficient among other Desktop Environment. It may look old school but provides a decent boost in performance and overall system efficiency for older and low-end systems. Although some tweaking can make it look on par with other modern Desktop Environment.
Comes default with Xubuntu, Manjaro Xfce
Xubuntu (Xfce desktop environment)
Recommended for:
  • Users having a low-end system
  • Those who want overall fast and snappier feel
  • Those who like performant over a flashy looking system
Not Recommended for:
  • Users planning it for their device with a touch interface (it is not touch-friendly)
  • Those who want a visually appealing desktop

4. Gnome 3

One of the most popular and common Desktop Environment for most of the popular Linux Distributions. It aims for a simple and elegant Desktop experience, it actually is the definition of a modern Linux Desktop. It looks great out of the box and when paired with Gnome Tweak Tool you can customize your system pretty easily.
Being an eye candy it is one of the most resource-hungry Desktop Environment. Also, the ram usage is significantly high even on idle conditions.
Comes default with Ubuntu (Unity), Debian, Kali Linux, and Fedora
Kali Linux (Gnome 3 desktop environment)
Recommended for :
  • Those who want a simple and modern looking desktop
  • Those who want easy customization options
  • Users who want a touch-friendly desktop
Not Recommended for :
  • Those who have low-end or old systems
  • Users who hate occasional lags while multitasking

5. MATE

MATE is a modified version of discontinued Gnome 2. It is one of the most stable and robust desktop environment which provides a tradition Linux feel. MATE aims to deliver overall system resource efficiency along with a quite modern-looking desktop environment. It basically attracts people who are disappointed with the Gnome 3 experience.
Although it is backed by an older desktop environment but doesn’t mean its not on par with other Desktop Environments. It also provides lots of tweaks and customization options for its users. 
Comes default with Parrot OS, Ubuntu Mate, and Linux Mint Mate
Ubuntu Mate (MATE desktop environment)
Recommended for :
  • Those who want a tradition Linux feel
  • Users who want simple yet customizable Desktop
  • User having a low system configuration
Not Recommended for :
  • Those who want an elegant and visually appealing Desktop experience

6. Pantheon

Pantheon was developed for Elementary OS. Like Cinnamon which welcomes Windows users, it closely resembles macOS Desktop looks. This desktop environment is simple and lightweight but has limited customization options. Apart from that, the look aesthetics of it, smooth animations and great user experience make it stand out.
It comes with its own choice of applications which also looks well designed and optimized for better user experience. (it can be buggy in some rare cases since its a comparatively new build)
Comes default with Elementary OSElementary OS (Pantheon desktop environment)
Recommended for :
  • Those who like a simple yet elegant desktop experience
  • Users who want a lightweight desktop for their low-end system
  • Users familiar with macOS
Not Recommended for :
  • Users who want more customization options

7. Budgie

Budgie Desktop Environment was created for Solus Linux. The desktop sort of resembles Gnome 3 since its based on Gnome 3. Users praise this desktop environment since it is comparatively less resource-hungry yet providing almost every customization option Gnome 3 offers. It looks great and has everything a modern desktop environment should have.
Yet it is a newer build but is well optimized and provides a good user experience.
Comes default with Solus, Ubuntu budgie and Manjaro Budgie
Solus Linux (Budgie desktop environment)
Recommended for :
  • Those who want a modern desktop experience
  • Those who want more customization options
Not Recommended for :
  • User having an old or low-end system
  • Those who don’t like Gnome 3 user experience

8. Deepin

Deepin is one of the newest desktop environment in the market, developed for Deepin OS. It is arguably the most modern-looking and design-oriented desktop environment which can put the looks of even macOS to shame. Deepin is well suited for Windows and macOS users (since it can be customized to look like Windows or macOS). It also provides a variety of customization options in a simple fashion.
Although it is intended to look like a desktop of the future, users can experience UI lags and rare glitches (since it uses system resources pretty heavily). But that’s not a deal-breaker to at least try something new.
Comes default with Deepin OS and Manjaro Deepin
Deepin OS (Deepin desktop environment)
Recommended for :
  • Those who want the best of the best looking desktop
  • Users familiar with Windows or macOS
Not Recommended for :
  • Users having low-end or old hardware
  • Users who perform serious tasks and do heavy multitasking

Conclusion

Every Desktop Environment comes with its own sets of features and functionality there are no best Linux desktop environments for every use case. Some focus more on overall design and aesthetics, some on actual performance and system efficiency and some provide an overall balanced user experience. But being able to choose according to your needs and taste is the real joy that separates Linux from anything else. There are a lot more desktop environments other than listed above that you can definitely take a look at. Just enjoy the new experiences they buy you.
For trying out different Linux Desktop Environments and Distributions I personally use DistroTest.net, use this site to experiment with different Desktops on your own.
And tell me in the comments about how many of them have you tried yourself and which one do you prefer.



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