6 Best PS1 Emulators, Ranked (2023)

The PS1, now available on almost any device!

Milan Zagorac
Milan Zagorac
9 Min Read

Released in the first half of the 1990s, the Sony PlayStation is the console that changed the world of gaming. It was the most popular console at the time, one which to this day is loved by the community. Today’s games are more advanced and the PS hits are difficult to play by modern standards unless you use the following best PS1 emulators.

Emulation has come a long way and the PS1 was one of the first consoles that had dedicated teams of developers working on emulation. Today, there are numerous working emulators, but none are quite as good as the following six.



DuckStation is a popular PS1 emulator.

Emulating: PlayStation 1
Platform: Windows, Linux, and macOS
Download DuckStation

The PS has had many emulators over the years, some of which are still active, but are surpassed by others in terms of accuracy, compatibility, features, ease of use, or any of these, combined. Such is the DuckStation, which has been in development for a while.

DuckStation is an open-source project, available on many platforms, including popular desktop ones such as Windows, Linux, and macOS. It is also available on Android, making it an interesting choice compared to other emulators.

It is very accurate and has a modern Qt-based interface. DuckStation is also self-updating. It will check for new versions with every launch. The UI was modeled after Dolphin, another popular emulator because it was actually designed by people who specialize in UX design.

Regarding performance, the only requirement for maximum compatibility is a 64-bit processor. These are very common on desktop and laptop computers, and increasingly so with smartphones.



MedGUI Reborn is a frontend of the Mednafen emulator.

Emulating: Multiple systems
Platform: Windows, Linux, BSD, and some consoles
Download Mednafen and the GUI Version

There aren’t many emulators which have this long of an acronym for a name. It stands for My emulator doesn’t need a frickin’ excellent name. Apart from the creative name, it is a great multi-system and multi-platform emulator.

Mednafen is regarded as one of the best PS1 emulators, available on many platforms, like the desktop operating systems, as well as a couple of consoles, such as the PS3 and the Nintendo Wii. It can emulate systems such as the NES, GBA, Sega Saturn, and more.

It is simple to use, but only if you download one of its frontends. Without the frontends, it is a command-line emulator, which will confuse many users. Available as a libretro core, mednafen can also be used with RetroArch.



XEBRA is an interesting PS1 emulator.

Emulating: PlayStation 1
Platform: Windows
Download XEBRA

There aren’t many good closed-source emulators, but XEBRA is one of them. It is a highly accurate emulator that focuses on the PS1 but which can also emulate the PocketStation. It is focused on native resolution rendering, meaning no upscaling or other methods which can modernize the gameplay.

You can use the emulator on two systems, Windows and Android. It doesn’t require a BIOS or firmware, which used to be a rarity but has become more common as emulators became more advanced. It is not the most user-friendly of emulators and it used to have audio-related issues.

User interaction was necessary to rectify the said issues. XEBRA is made by a Japanese developer and uses mixed terminology for some parts of the UI, which can also lead to confusion.



PCSX-Redux is a combination of tools and an emulator for the PS1.

Emulating: PlayStation 1
Platform: Windows, Linux, and macOS
Download PCSX-Redux

PCSX was a legendary emulator for the PS1. At one point in time, it was the best PS1 emulator for PC. It is not just an emulator, but also a tool meant for developers and those who want to experiment with the PS1. It works, though, and those interested in gaming can load their favorite tiles and enjoy.

As a tool and emulator, it is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Interestingly, it has an automatic update feature which is not often seen with emulators. They tend to be on the more manual side of things. For a program that is a mixed bag of tools and also an emulator, that is a nice surprise.

Given what the emulator/tool aims to do, there is a lot of documentation, which is useful to both developers and gamers.



BizHawk, a multi-system emulator, can run PS1 games, as well.

Emulating: Multiple systems
Platform: Windows and Linux
Download BizHawk

This is a multi-system emulator that can emulate anything from the NES, GBA, and Sega Saturn, to the PlayStation 1. It uses code from Mednafen to emulate the PS1. Mednafen’s emulator is considered superior to that of the official PlayStation 1 emulator. With that, BizHawk is a good choice and can be considered one of the best PS1 emulators. 

It has a sleek interface and is easy to use. It works on Windows and Linux, which some might consider a limiting factor, but in reality, good support is better than availability with tons of bugs. BizHawk does a bit of both in terms of being easy to use, but also having tools that will benefit power users. 

Multiple system emulation benefits retro gamers who are interested in other consoles and systems apart from the PS1.



RetroArch can emulate many systems, including the PlayStation 1.

Emulating: Multiple systems
Platform: Multiple platforms
Download RetroArch and on Steam

The libretro frontend, RetroArch, is one of the better emulators and one of the best PS1 emulators for PC and mobile. The libretro cores are interesting because they allow users to load a firmware/core for emulation of a specific console and then play it on one of the many platforms that RetroArch runs on.

You can play on regular desktops and laptops, but also on iOS, Android, as well as some consoles. It has a great interface, is self-updating, and allows users to simply download a core from the database, without having to navigate folders externally, renaming and placing firmware files.

Performance may vary, depending on the device running the emulator, but that depends on what is being emulated, as well as the hardware. PS1 emulation should work well with most modern devices with RetroArch.

PS1 Emulation Hardware Requirements

The PS1 was difficult to emulate, like most of the PlayStation consoles. With their different CPU architecture and unique design, they were difficult to emulate for a long time. However, in the latter half of the 2000s, PS1 games were playable on mid-range computers of the time.

This means that by today’s standards, emulation should be a breeze for most modern desktops and laptops. Things might be more difficult for smartphones, depending on the device. Most mid-range smartphones should be able to handle the load and you could play your favorite PS1 games on the go.

Running a PS1 Game

Most of the emulators require a BIOS or firmware to work. BizHawk, for example, does, as well as DuckStation. RetroArch can download its own libretro cores, and Mednafen, or rather, MedGui Reborn can also download and extract Mednafen firmware.

Tekken, the PlayStation version, running on BizHawk, a multi-system emulator.

You need to place firmware in the firmware folder which is in the emulator’s default install location. Using the default names, the emulator will automatically detect the firmware if it is placed within the folder. Once the firmware is in place, simply load the ISO, BIN, or cue file.


The PlayStation 1 is one of the most popular consoles, ever. With these six emulators, often considered the best PS1 emulators, you can play the greatest hits of the PS1 in a modern setting. from netplay to playing on mobile devices, start with Duckstation and go down the list, unless you are a mobile user, in which case RetroArch is the best solution.

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With over 1650 hours of Apex Legends, and 2100 of League of Legends, Milan is an avid gamer. When he's not indoors, he climbs mountains or does urban acrobatics. Add a passion for writing to the mix and you get a hopefully interesting broth.
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