Top 10 Best Linux Distros Of All Time [Updated]

Filed Under: UNIX/Linux

If you’re new to Linux and are wondering what are the best Linux distros, you’re reading the right article. In a moment, we’ll list out Linux distributions that we found are really good and have gained more traction.

Best Linux Distros – A Quick Summarized List:

  1. MX Linux – Best Linux distro, lightweight, and really easy to use – Debian and antiX-based
  2. Linux Mint – User-friendly Linux distro, similar to Windows, and lightweight – Ubuntu and Debian-based
  3. Ubuntu – Best Linux distro, extremely easy to use for first-time users. One of the top Linux distros in for beginners
  4. Elementary OS – Best Mac OSX look-a-like Linux distro, and a very pretty looking Linux distro – Debian-based
  5. Manjaro Linux – Best Linux distro, built to be lightweight and has only essential packages added – Arch Linux-based
  6. Zorin OS – Best Windows look-a-like Linux distro, made with the first time Linux user in mind – Debian-based
  7. Fedora – Best community-built Linux distro with no other OS base, designed to be cutting-edge in terms of software technology. – Independent
  8. Debian – Best Linux distro built from scratch designed to be very stable – Independent
  9. Pop!_OS – Best Linux for STEM and creative professionals who use their computer as a tool to discover and create. – Ubuntu-based
  10. Kali Linux – Top Linux distro made for Pentesters – Debian-based

What Is A Linux Distro?

Windows and Mac OS X are built in-house by the companies that sell them. Linux is different in this case. Being an open-source operating system, it opens up room for anyone with a desire to create their own OS to actually do so without a lot of programming knowledge.

Whenever someone creates their own version of Linux with the use of an existing Linux distro as their base (or create one without a base by using the Linux kernel code), the complete package is called a Linux distribution.

How to Choose The Best Linux Distros?

Now, to say the least, there really is no best Linux distro because when you work with the Linux operating system for long enough, you learn to customize everything as per your liking. So on the UI side of things, any Linux distro can look and behave like any other Linux distro when configured to do so.

So to answer the question, choose any Linux distro that you feel comfortable with at the moment. After a while of using it, you’ll anyway figure out how to configure it to your likings.

The Best Linux Distros

Let’s get down to the list of the best Linux distros and what makes them better than the others. Now as we previously mentioned, all of the configurations that were achieved by any of the distributions in the list below can be achieved on any other distribution. So we’re working with their out-of-the-box experiences.

#1 MX Linux

MX Linux best linux distros 2020
MX Linux Screenshot

We loved MX Linux because it’s fully set up out of the box. But unlike Ubuntu, MX Linux is set up with all that a beginner user would need while keeping the UI very simple, clean, and lightweight.

MX Linux is based on Debian’s Stable branch and uses XFCE as it’s default desktop environment (UI).


#2 Linux Mint

Linux Mint top 10 best linux distributions in 2020
Linux Mint Screenshots

Linux Mint is a behemoth! The Goliath in the world of Linux distributions. Similar to Ubuntu, Linux Mint took off very quickly when it was first launched.

Linux Mint focused not just on ease of use but also focused on adding many convenient tools for their users. Along with that, they offered a lightweight desktop environment.

So, people who wanted their Linux to be fast on lower-end systems, Linux Mint became the choice of distro.

This distro is based on Ubuntu-Debian, so it is compatible with the repositories of both the distros.


#3 Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux Screenshot
Ubuntu Linux Screenshot

You’ll hear about Ubuntu even before you’ve thought of trying Linux. And obviously so because Ubuntu was the first distribution that worked really hard to make itself stand out in the Linux distribution crowd when it all started.

Ubuntu made Linux accessible to the entire world by making it so easy to use, that a person who had never seen Linux would be able to use it pretty much right away.

As they progressed, they added more and more features to their OS, also tried to launch a Ubuntu TV, but it all ended up making Ubuntu desktop really heavy on the resources and slowing things. Other distributions capitalized on this opportunity and picked up where Ubuntu left things off.

Ubuntu is a Debian-based distribution.


#4 Elementary OS

Elementary Os Screenshot 1
Elementary Os Screenshot 1

This is by far the most beautiful Linux distribution that we came across. Inspired by the Mac OS, it has a dock at the bottom and the menus at the top of the screen.

The entire UI is very slick. If all you want is a beautiful OS, Elementary OS is the way to go.

Obviously, since it’s Debian based, you’re not going to lack functionality or packages. The only issue you’d face from time to time is that there are packages that just don’t adjust to the distribution’s theme. So you will always have some packages that look odd when opened.


#5 Manjaro Linux

Manjaro Linux Screenshot
Manjaro Linux Screenshot

Manjaro Linux is an Arch Linux-based distribution. Arch was also built to be more up-to-date than Debian with a repository that makes cutting edge software to be available.

Compared to Debian, the one major difference between Arch-based operating systems is their leanness. Debian, in an effort to make things easy for the user, installs a bunch of “recommended” packages when you try to install any package from their repositories.

With Arch Linux, when you’re installing a package, you get exactly that and a few of the dependencies which are resolved by its package manager, Pacman.

So if you’re into lean systems, and want to build yourself a computer with a really lean and fast operating system, Arch Linux-based Manjaro is the way to go.


#6 Zorin OS

Zorin Os Screenshot
Zorin Os Screenshot

If you’re coming from Windows, and have never used Linux before, Zorin takes away a huge load of the learning curve for you. See the screenshot above. What do you notice?

It’s exactly like Windows. Well, a much more beautiful version of Windows. Based on Ubuntu, it is as accessible as Linux can be. So if you’re looking for a Linux distro that can help you minimize the learning curve of coming from Windows, this is what you should start with.


#7 Fedora

Fedora Linux Screenshots
Fedora Linux Screenshots

Fedora is not based on any other Linux distribution and has been built by its community entirely from scratch. In fact, if you’re a developer, you can contribute to the distribution too.

What makes Fedora so special is its community support. The community is very responsive and you can get answers to your question pretty quickly on there.

Since it’s built by developers, their focus was on creating an OS that will have a really cutting edge software repository. A package which is still unavailable in other distributions will be compiled and ready for Fedora irrespective of the fact if it’s stable or not.

If you love the latest and the greatest and are okay with a few bugs in downloaded packages from time to time, Fedora is your abode.


#8 Debian

Debian Screenshot
Debian Screenshot

Debian, CentOS, and Red Hat powers the internet around the world. As per statistics, more than 96% of the web servers, cloud hosts, and websites, are powered by Linux.

But Debian wasn’t built to be userfriendly or to offer a quick and easy out of the box experience. When you download and run live Debian, all you get is a black terminal screen with a prompt at the top left of your screen.

Unlike the pre-built distributions that we saw before, Debian allows you a more do-it-yourself experience. You choose the packages that you want to install, the desktop environment that you want, and any additions that you want to the OS.

You can think of Debian as stock Android. MIUI, eUI, and Samsung UI are built on stock Android. These UIs created by companies for their phones can be compared with the Linux distributions which are built on Debian.

If you want an extremely stable operating system that you wish to build from scratch, Debian is your answer.


#9 Pop!_OS

Pop Os
Pop Os

Based on Ubuntu, Pop!_OS is an operating system for STEM and creative professionals who use their computers as a tool to discover and create.

Pop!_OS is designed for fast navigation, easy workspace organization, and fluid, convenient workflow. Your operating system should encourage discovery, not obstruct it.

It features:

  • A flawless, out-of-the-box development experience with many dependencies and libraries built in.
  • Workflow Customization
  • Auto-Tiling With Pop Shell
  • Workspaces
  • Keyboard Navigation
  • Stacking


#10 Kali Linux

Kali linux best linux distro for cybersecurity
Kali Linux Screenshot

This distribution is not a daily driver. Instead, Kali focuses on working in a live persistent environment with just about every tool that a cybersecurity enthusiast would want.

Based on Debian, this distribution is stable as well as very easy to use.

If you’re interested in cybersecurity or penetration testing, this distribution will provide you with a complete environment for that purpose. You can focus on learning how to use the tools without worrying about installing them or setting them up.



So as we mentioned before, there is no best distribution. We say this because if you know how to install packages using the package manager in a distribution, you can change any distribution and make it look like any other.

But as a beginner, a fully finished environment is an easier start. Based on what you want a Linux OS for, you can choose from one of the above and start your learning from thereon.


  1. anon says:

    Two thoughts:
    WHY ISN’T GENTOO ON THIS LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Peter says:

      1. I hope that Gentoo comment was a joke

      2. I think this article was released before RedHat announced the death of CentOS.

  2. Joseph Carrion says:

    One thing that people often don’t realize with Linux- Is that each Distro design is based on developers own opinions; on how the system should look & behave… Regardless of what Distro you choose; the very core of the system is still just a Linux Kernel. What really changes is just how that Kernel communicates with the user. Trying to find the best version of Linux is a bit of a fools errand effectively.

    When all Distro’s offer similar functionality; but all that changes is the process in using said functionality- It’s less a matter of the greatest and more a matter of personal preferences/needs, Want a beautiful GUI with lot’s of functionality? Any Distro with a KDE Plasma desktop environment. Can’t abandon that window’s look? Zorin OS offer’s something quite similar. Want to try something different? Try out a Distro with Gnome 3 as the desktop environment,

    Once you get a bit more experience with the OS… Chances are you will find yourself preferring a specific package manager- and eventually might settle on a shell version. Once again though it’s just a matter of preference. Do you prefer British English(ZSh) Or American English(FISh).

    1. Daryl Davis says:

      Apostrophe does not mean, “Look out, here comes an ‘s!'”

  3. Ish Chavz says:

    I have tested all these destros and I personally think that Linux Mint remains the Best…

    1. Heinz says:

      OpenSuSE was my choice as a DV professional. Then I’ve thought, Mint could be best choice for me as an old man long after this time – a simple distro, but having all packets at hand.
      It looks nice where OpenSuSE isn’t (audio). It’s also simple and easy to use without the necessity to change some thousand parameters like any distro with KDE.
      The mint forum is for normal people and not oriented on active DV installation managers.
      I was in error. Mint has some big problems – it’s kernel management together with update management may lead to very strange problems never seen in other distros.
      When you get help from an expert at an OpenSuSE forum, you may have to struggle to understand him – he’s maybe too much an expert to understand your simple problems.
      But when you want to get any help at a Mint forum, you may have to pray to the forum god – and only with much luck you’ll may get a not obvious answer.
      (Of course, a Mint forum is by no means target for any software related question, you shouldn’t even dare to ask).
      And, very essential: any mint user not strictly walking at the default mint way is an evil user.
      A mint god criticized me harshly when he heard I was using 4 TB data – that’s bad use of space, and his followers were applauding …
      (No, they didn’t had any idea about these data …)

  4. Yuri says:

    Thanks for your article. More than 15 years ago I tried to find the best Linux distro for myself and I found – Debian, in my opinion, that’s best of all. As you look at distros above most of them also based on Debian. Not remember exactly, but since Gnome 3 was appered in Debian I did not like it as DE. Since that time I preffered Mate as Desktop Environment on my PC, it’s really fast and lightweight DE (Mate is fork of Gnome v.2). Also Debian has a good localization, Russian is included at list, so I always recommend this distro for my friends. Thanks and be Happy – Peace for everyone)))

  5. Alex says:

    Thank you! This was a very helpful article, clearly made with the intent of helping the reader rather than obfuscating everything and making me read every last bit to understand it!!! Thanks!

    1. Ninad says:

      Really happy that it helped you, Alex 馃槈

  6. Bjoern Allerelli Andersen says:

    I think Ubuntu based POP_OS from System76 is missing among the 10.

    1. Ninad says:

      Great suggestion. I’ll be sure to create an updated list sometime soon with POP_OS right there! Thanks Bjoern

    2. Tom Erik says:

      Totally agree! Been using it for 3 years now ( 20 years with linux in general ) i found that pop is the best for me!

  7. VF says:


    I would like to ask you which is the Desktop Environment and how did you make Manjaro desktop look as your screenshot!

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Ninad says:

      It’s using KDE with material dark theme 馃槈

      1. VF says:

        WOW! It’s very nice! Thank you!!! 馃榾
        BTW, Manjaro is the best distro to me, even for weaker and older machines!

        1. Ninad says:

          Of course! Arch Linux is my love too… 馃槈

  8. Henrik V Blunck says:

    Thanks for this fantastic overview. I have used Windows 10 PRO for quite some time, but now that my Compaq CQ70 can’t be upgraded from the 3Gb currently installed, I am having problems upgrading to the latest build 1909, and so I had to move on.

    I have previously worked with Linux in the Mandrake (later: Mandriva) distribution, but now that it’s no longer an active distribution, I had to check articles to become upgraded on what’s hot with Linux. Your article was a goldmine for this, so big thanks from a Dane. 馃檪

    1. Ninad says:

      Thanks for your fantastic comment Henrik! 馃榾

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