7 Best Playstation 1 (PS1) Emulators Of 2024

The best PS1 emulators keep some of the greatest games and characters alive in a world of next-gen gaming. This console sold over 102 million units, making it one of the most popular home consoles of all time.

The fifth-most-popular, in fact, right behind the PS4!

With stats like those, it’s no surprise that people want to know about the best PS1 emulators on the planet. Imagine taking Solid Snake on a mission while in the office or kicking back with Lara Croft on the bus.

The Sony PlayStation Classic, one of the best mini consoles, uses an open-source emulator to play its games. Bet you didn’t know that!

But how does one turn a common-old-garden laptop into a retro powerhouse? What’s the deal with emulation, and which programmers know how to turn code into a work of art?

Find out everything you need to know below!

**PLEASE READ – Sharing ROMs is illegal, and we’re very much fond of not being in jail.**
This article is purely for you to learn more about the best PS1 emulators and should be thought of as a fantasy novel, mock exam paper, or legendary scroll. Retro Dodo does not condone illegal downloading or any other naughty stuff that might get anyone (namely us) into trouble. Please check the legality of ROM downloading in your region and always follow government guidelines on both internet safety and copyright laws.

1. ePSXe

Best PS1 Emulators - ePSXe
Screen Credit: UPTODOWN
  • Closed Source
  • Windows, Linux, Android

First up on our list of the best PS1 emulators is ePSXe. ePSXe is hands down the best PS1 emulator on the internet with gamers, critics, and fellow developers praising the program and its features.

The thing we love most about ePSXe is that it isn’t just an emulator. It’s doesn’t just play ROM files; it also uses plugins to perfectly reproduce the inner sanctum inside a PS1. That means it can play original PS1 discs on your laptop or PC!

How cool is that!

ePSXe provides CD-Rom functions to play Sony discs. It also emulates music, sound effects, and GPU perfectly.

Fans of pretty much every operating system including Linux can enjoy this emulator at home, in the office, or on the go using smartphones. It was one of the first emulators on the scene and is still the best, with a large compatibility list and flawless gameplay.

2. FPSE 

Best PS1 Emulators - FPSE
  • Paid App
  • Android

FPSE takes the next spot in this list of the best PS1 emulators. It’s an Android PlayStation emulator that works on most smartphones and boasts more customisable options than a Cyberpunk 2077 character.

Anyone looking for an emulator that just works without any tricky faffing around will love FPSE. It plays all of the best PS1 games with ease and has all the usual features such as save states and controller hook-up.

Having said that, FPSE does have lots of advanced features that allow gamers to tune the program into the ultimate custom PS1 emulator. They’re not essential, but it’s a nice touch for anyone wanting to get into the depths of the program. Mess around with graphics settings and make your games look even sweeter!

Every game can be customised, though BIOS files are necessary to run the app for the first time.

3. RetroArch

Best PS1 Emulators - RetroArch
  • Open Source
  • Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi, FreeBSD

RetroArch is one of those programs that’s a bit like The Architect on the Matrix. It’s like the local department store that professes to have everything, because it emulates everything!

We first covered RetroArch way back on our list of the best N64 emulators. It’s a brilliant program that emulates all the major consoles and handhelds, including the PS1!

Plus, it works on pretty much every operating system and device imaginable, including all of the best Retropie handhelds!

Rather than focusing on one particular console, RetroArch holds ‘cores’ that give instant access to thousands upon thousands of games. The PS1 Core is called Beetle PSX, and it’s a serious bit of kit!

BeetlePSX can easily cope with all of the classic PS1 titles such as Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Crash Bandicoot, and many more!


Best PS1 Emulators - Xebra
  • Closed Source
  • Windows, Android

No kids, this isn’t how you spell Zebra. It is how you spell the next program in our list of the best PS1 emulators, however!

Many players claim that XEBRA is the most compatible of all the PS1 emulators on the internet. It’s limited to Windows and Android devices and concentrates on reproducing your favourite games without making things super complicated.

Unlike FPSE, it won’t spruce up graphics or make things look as though they’ve been polished to within an inch of their lives. It will, however, play PS1 games perfectly and still holds the record for the best compatibility list.

Here’s one for the collectors – XEBRA is the only emulator in our compendium of the best PS1 emulators that can load PocketStation ROMs!

Anyone fancy a bash at Chocobo World?

5. PCSX-Reloaded

  • Open Source
  • Windows, MacOS,

PCSX-Reloaded takes the next spot in this list of the best PS1 emulators. It’s a clean and solid emulator that can cope with all the usual titles from Crash Team Racing to Spyro.

PCSX first dropped in 2000. The developers then went on to create PCSX2, the best of the best PS2 emulators. The ‘reloaded’ PS1 program came onto the scene in 2009 after being picked up by retro gaming enthusiasts and works an absolute treat.

This emulator is a doddle to use. Plus, it can be linked up to DualShock controllers for that ultimate retro PS1 feel. An emulator that works with one of the best PS1 accessories ever made is a winner in our book!

6. Mednafen

  • OpenGL Free Software
  • Windows, Linux, OpenBSD

Mednafen wins the prize of being one of the best PS1 emulators with the greatest name. Instead of thinking up a title that sounded futuristic or edgy, the developer went with ‘Mednafen’.

That’s ‘MEmulator Doesn’t Need A Frickin’ Excellent Name’, which we think works an absolute treat! 

Mednafen resembles RetroArch in many ways. It holds cores instead of professing to be a sole PS1 emulator and provides users with everything from Atari games to PS1 titles.

The PS1, Sega Saturn, and Apple II Plus emulators all use original cores to run, giving users a flawless experience true to the original consoles. Many PC gamers look for these qualities when picking emulators, putting Mednafen high up on many people’s wish lists.

It’s worth noting that Mednafen needs BIOS data files to run, so novice uses may want to start out with something a little simpler before moving onto this. Still, for those bored of RetroArch who can speak code like Harry Potter speaks Parseltongue, then Mednafen is the bee’s knees!

7. PlayStation Now

  • Subscription Service
  • PlayStation Consoles

Finally, and in the interest of keeping everything ‘above board’, we have the online subscription service PlayStation Now.

Ok, so it’s not a free emulator that players can grab from the internet, but it is the best and official way to play PlayStation games from PS1 through to PS5 without any frame-rate drop, adverts, or glitches.

And it’s 100% legal too!

If you want secure save states that won’t self delete and can’t be bothered messing around with BIOS files, then this subscription service is well worth checking out. It holds hundreds of amazing titles for all of Sony’s home consoles and offers different package prices depending on subscription length.

For a no fuss, no messing approach, PlayStation Now is the best bet. Still, it can only be used on PlayStation consoles and doesn’t work on any other devices!

If you enjoy what you read and want to support an independent publication, you can join our Patreon to receive extra benefits and a physical welcome kit! We may also earn a commission from affiliate links on this page too. Thank you.

Read Our Latest Posts