Linux Distros

The Best Linux Distros in 2023: Our Top Picks for Every Device and Purpose

Looking forward to choosing the best Linux distribution to use for your device? Then come in now and discover our recommended Linux Distros as we have assembled some of the best based on some criteria.

Best Linux Distros in the Market

As soon as you decide to port to Linux as your chosen Operating System (OS), you will discover one huge problem — Linux is not a singular OS like the regular Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS. You see, the Linux OS comes in different versions and flavors. These are differentiated by the specific packaged components that comes with them. Each of these different favours known as Linux distributions or simply Linux distro are still based on the Linux kernel. However, because of the modification made, they are easier to deploy and use compared to the traditional Linux OS.

However, you are going to deal with a serious problem when making a choice. This is because there are almost one thousand Linux distros in the market to choose from. The specific Linux distribution you choose would depend largely on what you need Linux for and the device you will run it. This is because of the specific peculiarities and strengths each has. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best Linux distros in the market for you.

Ubuntu — Overall Best Linux Distros

  • Min. Processor: 2 GHz dual-core processor
  • Min. RAM: 4 GB system memory
  • Min. Storage: 25 GB of free hard drive space

Ubuntu is arguably our recommended Linux distro for most people. It is one of the easiest to use and the one that most newcomers to the Linux world would want to use — old-time Linux users also find it as a good choice. With Ubuntu, you get some utility apps that come bundled by default. Some of these apps include LibreOffice as a Microsoft Office free alternative, Firefox for browsing, and VLC for media playing, among others. It also makes it easy for you to install third-party apps.

If you are a macOS or Windows user, you can port to Ubuntu or use it alongside it. Ubuntu is available in different variants. For Desktops, Ubuntu Desktop is the variant and you can use it on both desktops and laptops. There is an Ubuntu Core for IoT and embedded systems — this variant does not come with a graphical interface. Other variant includes Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu Cloud. Currently, it remains a top choice among enterprise Linux users because of its reliability, simplicity, and how adaptable it can be.

Pros & Cons of Ubuntu


  • Free & open-source for both individuals and enterprises
  • Comes preinstalled with useful utility applications
  • Minimum system requirement is light and more resource friendly
  • Ubuntu is secure and can run with no install
  • It is customizable and can be used on different platforms (desktop, server, IoT, and Cloud)


  • Limited applications which reduce limited functionalities
  • Not the best Linux distro for gaming
  • Hardware problems because of a lack of drivers for some hardware
  • Premium apps are commercial which raises some concerns since it is open source

Debian — Best Linux Distro for Programmers

  • Min. Processor: 1GHz Pentium processor
  • Min. RAM: 64 megabytes
  • Min. Storage: 1 GB of free hard drive space

Dubbed the “Universal Operating System”, Debian is arguably one of the best Linux-based operating systems. This OS is a mother OS that some other popular Linux distros are built on. The popular Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Tails, SparkyLinux, and a host of many others are built on Debian. Debian is arguably the best if you need a Linux distribution for coding. This is because of its coding friendliness as it comes with a good number of developer tools.

It also comes with an introductory programming guide in its manual. It supports multiple hardware architectures including IoT and embedded systems. Debian is lean and developed with minimal system requirements. This makes it compatible with most computers around. There are thousands of software packages supported. You can install either via dpkg or use the much simpler GUI-based Synaptic. Debian is quite stable and does not get updated unless there is a need.

Pros & Cons of Debian


  • Debian is a completely free and open-source OS
  • Supports multiple hardware architectures
  • Stable, established, and one of the oldest Linux distros in use today
  • Over 50K software packages including proprietary software like an office suite
  • Secure and comes in different variants for desktop, server, and IoT devices


  • New features are not timely introduced as in the case of other distros because of its conservative native
  • Many proprietary software not supported making it difficult for those used to them to port

Ret Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) — Best Commercial Level Linux Distro for Enterprise

  • Min. Processor: 1 GHz single or multiple CPU
  • Min. RAM: 42GB system memory
  • Min. Storage: 6 GB of free hard drive space

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is dubbed the leading enterprise Linux platform. While this Linux distro can be used on a host of hardware and for a good number of use cases, it has found favour more in cloud computing, automation, microservices, containers, and storage. This OS is meant for the commercial market and is packed with the kind of performance and stability required for critical applications. This OS targets and is used for servers and high-performing workstations.

If you are looking for a Linux distro for automation and management then Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the Linux for you. This Linux distribution is quite secure. It provides security features such as security profiles, live kernel patching, and security standard certification to simplify your security and mitigate risks. This Operating System is available by default on many cloud infrastructures including Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. However, it is paid software and you will need to purchase it.

Pros & Cons of Red Hat Enterprise Linux


  • Certified and available on many cloud providers
  • High-performing solution with enterprise-level security
  • Compatible with newer technologies which is one area in other Linux distros fall short
  • Software support for their premium package extends to up to 10 years


  • Not a free Linux distro and only those with commercial applications with the need can afford to use it
  • Not the easiest to port to because of its steep learning curve for non-Linux users
  • Security patches are sent every now and then and some of them even require payment

CentOS Linux — Best Linux Distros for Servers

  • Min. Processor: 1 GHz single or multiple CPU
  • Min. RAM: 42GB system memory
  • Min. Storage: 6 GB of free hard drive space

CentOS Linux is another Linux distribution you will come to like. And if what you need a Linux distro for is for a server, then CentOS is arguably one of the best options for you. When it comes to Linux distros for servers, CentOS and Ubuntu Server are the popular option. CentOS is a non-commercial version of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux discussed above. CentOS is not frequently updated as much as Ubuntu Server and even RHEL. If you want to get close to RHEL, you will have to go for CentOS Stream. This operating system is community driven and has got support for a good number of management platforms including CPanel, DirectAdmin, InterWorx, and ISPConfig. CentOS offers an extended support period of 10 years which is good enough for servers. While this OS might not be good for many use cases, it is known to be good for specific tasks, and using it as a server OS is one of the areas it works best.

Pros & Cons of CentOS


  • Free variant of RHEL which is a well-trusted Linux distro for enterprise
  • OS support for major versions lasts up to 10 years
  • Lightweight OS with less bloatware embedded
  • Highly reliable and stable with less support required
  • Great documentation options with multiple management platforms support


  • Not as feature-rich as many of the other popular Linux distros
  • Does not get major frequent updates making some out-of-the-box software out of date

Kali Linux — Best Linux Distro for Hacking and Penetration Testing

  • Min. Processor: 2 GHz dual-core processor or more
  • Min. RAM: at least 2 GB of RAM
  • Min. Storage: 20 GB of free drive space

Developed for various information security tasks like ethical hacking, penetration testing, reverse engineering, and security research, Kali Linux is an open-source Linux distribution based on the Debian operating system. If you're an ethical hacker or penetration tester seeking the best Linux distribution for your needs, Kali Linux is what you need. The readily available security tools are the key attraction for users here. It includes over 600 highly customizable penetration and security testing tools. It is most practical for ethical hackers due to the variety of built-in penetration tools. Kali Linux enables security and IT experts to evaluate the security of their systems, from data gathering to final reporting.

There is also specialized hardware support for installing it on the Raspberry Pi, including Kali NetHunter for Android and a few ARM images. It provides opportunities for learning for budding ethical hackers in addition to being a cutting-edge penetration testing platform. Also, it has a vibrant community and offers decent documentation.

Pros & Cons of Kali Linux


  • Lots of pre-installed penetration testing and computer security tools.
  • It comes in either a GNOME, XFCE, or XDE Plasma desktop environment.
  • Designed to work with as many wireless devices as possible, allowing it to run a wide range of hardware.


  • Can be a little bit slow.
  • Software is prone to malfunctioning.
  • Not a recommended operating system for beginners.

Linux Mint— Best Linux Distro for Users Switching from a Windows OS

  • Min. Processor: Processors without PAE are also fully supported
  • Min. RAM:    2 GB of RAM
  • Min. Storage: 20 GB of free drive space

Linux Mint is for you if you want to migrate from Windows to a user-friendly Linux distribution. Hence, Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that comes pre-installed with a selection of open-source software applications. It can offer total out-of-the-box support for multimedia, including commercial products like multimedia codecs. With default programs including LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, HexChat, Pidgin, and Transmission, it is a rather lightweight Linux distribution.

It is an excellent choice for brand-new Linux users because of its user-friendly interface and interactive design. Also, it is made to function with several operating systems, including Windows. This indicates that users have the option to install it in either a dual-boot or a multi-boot environment. There are three different versions of the Mint, and each one has a unique desktop environment. The most cutting-edge desktop environment, Cinnamon, has a fully functional desktop, while MATE is the most adaptable to a wide range of hardware specs. Xfce is the lightest and most reliable desktop environment.

Pros & Cons of Linux Mint


  • Its Windows-like interface makes it a fantastic option for Windows users who want to move to Linux.
  • It is based on Debian and Ubuntu and offers one of the best software managers along with over 30,000 packages.
  • It is a user-friendly, entirely free Linux operating system.


  • It may require a bit more system resources to work properly.

Elementary OS Best Linux Distro for Users Switching from a MacOS

  • Min. Processor: Intel i3 or comparable dual-core 64-bit processor
  • Min. RAM:    4 GB of RAM
  • Min. Storage: 32 GB of free space on a solid state drive (SSD) preferably.

Another Ubuntu LTS-based Linux distribution, Elementary OS, is offered as a “thoughtful, capable, and ethical” alternative to Windows and macOS. One of the most beautiful operating systems out there is most likely this one. This is due to how much macOS and its Pantheon Desktop Environment resemble each other. It is therefore the ideal choice for macOS users switching to Linux.

The Geary mail client and other pre-installed programs are included with Elementary OS. They are, however, limited. Not to fear, you can just use the merged AppCenter to add more additional applications; however, that store also offers a small selection of apps. To make your life easier, AppCenter offers both free and premium apps. Because you can't just change the environment to your preference, this Linux distribution has a restricted amount of flexibility. To alter the desktop's appearance, for instance, you would require a third-party program like Elementary Tweaks or Pantheon Tweaks.

Pros & Cons for Elementary OS


  • Beautiful UI and very user friendly
  • Very stable Linux distro
  • Has the look and feel of a macOS
  • The learning curve is not steep.


  • The AppCenter has limited apps.
  • Desktop appearances cannot be easily changed.

Parrot OS Great Linux Distro for Computer Forensics

  • Min. Processor: Dual Core CPU processor.
  • Min. RAM:     GB of RAM
  • Min. Storage: 20 GB of drive space

The next Linux distribution with a focus on security, privacy, and development is Parrot OS, one of the best Debian-based distros. It's an excellent penetration testing and vulnerability assessment distribution that is even more versatile than its counterparts, like Tails, and Kali Linux. Specifically in terms of computer forensics. To enable secure forensics acquisitions, Parrot OS comes with automount functionality disabled by default.

In order to test and evaluate the security of their assets, IT and security professionals can use Parrot Security's vast collection of over 600 tools, utilities, and libraries. You might decide to build a permanent partition to save your changes if Parrot happens to boot from a USB device. Surprisingly, the creators let you encrypt this persistent partition for the highest level of protection. Most devices that utilize containerization technologies, such as Podman, should be compatible with the tools in the package. As a result, Parrot OS is offered with the MATE, KDE, and XFCE desktop environments and is available in almost six versions for various users based on their demands.

Pros & Cons for Parrot OS


  • Comes with over 600 security and pen-testing tools.
  • Has a strong and growing community.


  • Users have to download important tools from the repositories.
  • Not for beginner programmers.

Manjaro Linux — Best Arch-based Linux Distro

  • Min. Processor: Intel Atom 1 GHz Processor
  • Min. RAM:  2 GB of RAM
  • Min. Storage: 30 GB of disk drive space

Based on Arch Linux, Manjaro is an open-source Linux distribution. Together with all the benefits of Arch Linux, which is simple to install and ready to use right out of the box, it is focused on providing accessibility and user-friendliness. It can be installed on a variety of gadgets and is appropriate for those who are new to computing. It is a fantastic option for any device or computing environment because it supports x86-64 and ARM architectures. Manjaro includes a hardware discovery tool to make it even more user-friendly.

It is much more ideal as a desktop driver because it is far more stable than Arch Linux. If you enjoy doing graphic design or other work involving graphics, it also has pre-installed graphics drivers for both AMD and Nvidia graphic cards. Manjaro is therefore intended for individuals seeking the level of control that Arch Linux provides along with an excellent user interface similar to that of Ubuntu or Elementary OS. It also makes use of Pacman as its package manager and a rolling release update model.

Pros & Cons of Manjaro


  • It's a rolling release distro, meaning you would have up-to-date software.
  • Better gaming support and performance
  • Best user and beginner-friendly Arch-based Linux
  • The Pacman package manager is faster than APT.


  • Requires a bit of maintenance.
  • Its rolling release can also be a disadvantage. So, because Manjaro Linux gets constantly updated, it could pose some security risks.
  • Some users experience an Arch user repositories (AUR) issue.

openSUSE — Best Linux Distro for System Administrators

  • Min. Processor: 2 GHz dual core processor or better
  • Min. RAM:  2 GB of RAM with added memory for the workload
  • Min. Storage: 40 GB of disk drive space

Another excellent Linux distribution for IT professionals is openSUSE. It is an open-source Linux distribution designed for system administrators and developers. It is known for its security protocols, which add an extra layer of defense against hostile actors for developers and system administrators. YaST (“Yet another Setup Tool”) is an installation and management application included with openSUSE. This tool has an integrated user interface that manages system configuration, hard drive partitioning, RPM package management, user administration, and more. Several drivers for both newer and older laptops are pre-packaged with OpenSUSE.

As such, openSUSE has two variants: Tumbleweed and Leap. While Tumbleweed is a rolling release that gives you access to the latest Linux packages, Leap is a more stable version of openSUSE. Leap gives you a more complete Linux distribution.

Pros & Cons for openSUSE.


  • Support for both rolling and fixed releases
  • Comes with YaST for configuring and setting up networks and servers.
  • Easy to install Linux distributions
  • A wide range of software packages is available in default repositories.


  • Frequent package updates could damage the proprietary programs.


Q. What is the best Linux distribution for beginners?

Some of the best distros for beginners are Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Elementary OS. These are some of the Linux distributions with very attractive user interfaces. They make it very easy for new users of Linux to transition successfully from conventional operating systems like Windows and MacOS. However, it is important to also choose a distribution based on your needs and not just the operating system’s UI.

Q. What is the most popular Linux distro?

So far, Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro you will find on the market. This is because it is one of the most recommended Linux operating systems for new Linux users. It comes with a great UI that makes it an ideal OS. Additionally, Ubuntu can be used both as a daily desktop environment and as a specialized environment for specific tasks such as software development, hacking, and system administration.

Q. What do I consider when choosing a Linux distro?

Among the many reasons for considering a Linux distribution, the purpose for which you need a Linux distribution on your machine is important. For beginners, you should consider the learning curve of whatever distro you are porting to. While some are elegant, such as Kali Linux, they do not really have a shallow learning curve for newbies.

Other factors you may consider are the security of the OS, the use cases it can work for, and whether they have new releases. When you have your requirements in place, it saves you the stress of going through all the thousands of Linux distributions out there.


Whether you’re a new Linux user or an IT professional, depending on what your goals may be, there is a Linux distribution out there to help you achieve them. There are a lot of them, each with its own distinguishing features. That’s why it's important to choose a Linux distro based on your needs. We have discussed a few of them across different areas of need. We hope that one of the distros above fits your needs.

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