At its core, Kodi is an unbelievably powerful application. When it comes to home theater software, you can hardly find a viable alternative to Kodi (not that we haven’t tried). This is because it supports almost every popular platform, plays various types of media files, and finally – comes free-of-charge. However, an important side of this application is its freedom of customization. Out of the box, Kodi is a highly polished software, ready to be used on its own. Still, you can push it a couple of steps further via amazing third-party addons, fully working builds and skins. In this article, TechNadu will present a list of the very best Kodi skins.
In this article, we will be talking about how to change Kodi’s UI (User Interface) without making any deeper-level changes. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to switch between different skins and install new ones. Finally, we’ll reveal our list the best Kodi skins.
Disclaimer: We will be discussing software developed for Kodi – which is based on open-source code. However, the following software comes from unofficial third-parties. In addition, it is publicly available and free of charge. TechNadu doesn’t claim any responsibility for how our readers decide to utilize the following software. Please note that we don’t condone sharing pirated content and copyright infringement. TechNadu is not affiliated with the software mentioned in this article in no way. Make sure to carefully read the above-said disclaimer and ensure the proper use of the software.
WARNING: Before You Continue…
Even without your explicit consent, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is collecting and filtering your Web browser data. This means that using Kodi to stream copyrighted content might get you into legal trouble. Also, your ISP might block access to specific streams, which leads to Kodi errors, or entirely blocked and throttled streaming. This is why users of Kodi should always use a VPN to make sure their identity and privacy are protected while streaming.
TechNadu’s editorial team uses and strongly recommends ExpressVPN. This is, by far, the fastest and most reliable VPN with the power to unblock any website and service. Once activated, ExpressVPN encrypts your Web traffic and makes it anonymous – keeping it away from your ISP’s prying eyes. In fact, you will become invisible on the Web since your user logs, and your traffic history isn’t stored on any server.
Make sure your Web browsing and streaming aren’t used against you. Subscribe to ExpressVPN and enjoy using Kodi without any restrictions!
The Best Kodi Skins: Overview
You might be wondering what are skins for Kodi as well as how are they different than other add-ons? We are here to answer that question. Let’s take a look at what are Kodi’s add-ons, builds, and skins.
- Third-Party Addons are applications that run within Kodi. In this manner, you can see Kodi as a platform where you can install all kinds of apps. For example, there are movie-related addons or some very specific ones, like boxing Kodi addons.
- Skins for Kodi are files that change the application’s appearance. They don’t bring any additional features, but simply reorganize Kodi’s visual design (UI).
- Finally, we also have customized builds. In essence, builds are combinations of add-ons and skins. These can bring dozens of add-ons at once and completely change Kodi’s UI. Once you uninstall a build, you uninstall related add-ons and skins as well.
The Main Role of Skins for Kodi
The latest version of Kodi (17.6 – Krypton) brings a new default skin named Estuary. It is characterized by clean lines and different hues of blue. For the majority of users, this is going to be the ultimate skin. However, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at alternatives.
What is important to understand is that skins for Kodi aren’t just cosmetic changes. They can completely overhaul how Kodi looks, rearrange menus, present different backgrounds and reshape dialog boxes. You will feel like you’re using an entirely different application. This is important because some skins look better on a large screen (like on a large-screen TV), while others are more suitable for smartphones and touchscreens. In case you don’t know, you can install Kodi on Android, and there’s also a Kodi app for iOS in addition to a Raspberry Pi version. Needless to say, Kodi can be installed on desktop platforms like Windows and MacOS. This is why we’ll bring you an overview of the best Kodi skins for different devices and input methods.
How to Install Skins for Kodi?
Skins are free-of-charge and they can be installed via the Settings menu. Note that the set of available skins can change over time. Developers of Kodi are in charge when it comes to maintaining this list, which is why you’ll often find new and improved versions replacing older ones.
Follow these steps to reveal currently available skins and to install them:
- Launch Kodi and you’ll see its Home Screen. Use the Gear Icon located in the upper-left corner to access the Settings menu.
- You should see a grid of available options (buttons). Click on ‘Interface Settings’.
- On the left side, you’ll see options like Skins, Regional, Screensaver, and more. Click on ‘Skins’.
- In the right-positioned field click on ‘Skin’ where you’ll see ‘Estuary’ as the currently active one.
- A new pop-up window will appear. Click on ‘Get More…’ to preview currently available entries.
- After you click on any of the entries on this list, Kodi will automatically download and install that skin. You’ll be asked whether you’d like to keep it as you’ll see a small preview.
Once you download and apply new looks, that skin will be saved within Kodi. This means that you can easily switch between different looks without downloading the needed files.
The Best Kodi Skins 2018: Must-Haves
Before we provide a list of interesting skins, we recommend checking out our article on the best Kodi skins of 2018. This is where you’ll find the absolute essentials. To expand your choice, continue reading this article.
The Best Kodi Skins: Our Recommendations
Now you know all about skins, their roles, and how to install them. All there’s left for us is to show you the most popular options at the moment. This list will help you save some time that you’d spend browsing and trying out different options. Our list of the best Kodi skins contains entries that bring polished interfaces and that are fully working as well.
Aside from Kodi’s Estuary skin, Amber is one of the most popular ones. This is because it offers amazing looks in addition to high levels of customization.
By default, Amber brings a horizontal menu with the main categories visible straight away. As you scroll through different categories, you’ll see high-resolution images in the background. These will be based on your Kodi’s content library. Once you get into a specific category, like Movies, you will see a nice horizontal row filled with movie posters. However, almost everything about Amber can be customized – which is why we have placed it at the top of our list of the best Kodi skins.
If you’re not a fan of the horizontal navigation, you can opt for a vertical main menu. This will automatically employ grids of artwork and movie posters so you can see more at once. In specific categories, you won’t see a row of posters, but instead a grid or list of available titles.
Overall, you won’t be wrong if you pick Amber. We strongly recommend trying it out.
This Kodi skin is somewhat similar to our previous suggestion. The main difference is that Mimic is built upon the principles of flat design. What this means is that you won’t see too many shiny buttons or gradients. Instead, the main color is blue and its different hues. As you can imagine, you can change the default color and adjust Mimic’s appearance to your sense of aesthetics.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this skin is its customization. There are numerous options to review and adjust. For example, there are different ways this skin can display movie posters. Our favorite choice is a display option called ‘Wall’ which is a grid of posters without any border. Instead, you’ll see nicely stacked covers of your music, videos, and TV shows. If you prefer something simple, you can go for a basic list option. This allows you to see a vertical list of your content in addition to its artwork, synopsis, and ratings. There are also horizontal lists which may be more suitable for large TVs.
Our list of the best Kodi skins would not be complete without at least one Material Design skin. This kind of aesthetics was brought by Google a couple of years back. Since then, it has found its way to numerous different platforms since it brings very clear and concise visuals. There are no gradients or other heavy elements. Instead, you’ll see basic colors and buttons without transparency.
The Unity skin does a good job of bringing Material Design to Kodi. The main menu is, by default, organized into a horizontal menu. It is basically a large gray bar with white-colored letters and menu items. As you scroll through the items, you will see related apps (add-ons) as well as movie posters and artwork in the upper portion of the screen. As you’ll see, everything is card-based, meaning that you’ll see small and large rectangles filled with different kinds of information. This skin also allows you to create shortcuts to your favorite types of content. For example, you can pull out a category of cartoon add-ons, Chinese movies and TV shows, or incredibly fun Korean movies and variety shows.
Don’t forget to check out Unity’s settings within the System Menu > Interface Settings. There, you can switch between different color schemes and different ways of presenting your content.
Black Glass Nova
If you’re not into clear-cut and flat design visuals, Black Glass Nova might offer a solution. This is a highly customizable skin that brings everything you might possibly need.
By default, Black Glass Nova transforms Kodi’s menu into a horizontal bar with large thumbnails. As you scroll left or right through different content categories, you’ll see images of what each category represents. While browsing the main menu, you’ll also see sub-menus at the bottom of the screen. For example, the Movies section comes with sub-menus that contain Playlists, In Progress, Recently Added, and more. There are many ways to browse your content, which is where this skin excels.
When it comes to is visuals, it could be said that Black Glass Nova is built upon Windows’ Aero aesthetics – if you remember that term. Dialog boxes, content sections, and images come with a transparent border with soft edges. Since there are numerous small details, our recommendation is to use this skin on a large-screen device. Otherwise, Kodi’s interface might be a bit overwhelming.
This is an incredibly user-friendly skin. As it seems, the main mission of Nebula is to bring as many options as possible and make them visible all at the same time. However, Nebula isn’t too complex since it doesn’t make the navigation too difficult to handle. In fact, it makes incredibly useful compromises.
The Home Screen of Kodi, once Nebula is applied, turns into a soft white surface with gray text. The central portion of the screen is dedicated to the main menu, which can be scrolled left or right. Once you pause at a certain category, you’ll see different options at the top and bottom of the screen. For example, you can directly enter a certain movie genre without having to enter the main category first.
Once you click on a movie or TV show title, you’ll be taken to a nicely designed overview. You can see numerous details including information about a particular media file, synopsis, artwork, and a large header image. If you’re using HD video addons, they will truly shine through every screen of this skin.
Just like other best Kodi skins, this one can also be customized, which means that almost everything about it can be changed.
Metropolis pushes the boundaries of Kodi’s customization. This incredible skin transforms Kodi into the ultimate media center. This is what makes Kodi better than its competitors.
This skin is all about presenting a lot of information about your media collection. For example, if you enter the TV Shows category, you will see how many episodes are stored and how many of those are waiting to be watched. In addition, you can see your recently added files at the bottom of the screen.
Another interesting thing about Metropolis is that it brings a lot of freedom. You can change the default layout in many different ways, and choose between different gallery-mode options. For example, you can pick horizontal or vertical sorting. Another thing we like is custom logos for TV shows. Once you enter this section, you will see a list of your locally stored TV Shows along with their logos and artwork. This is a bit different than with other skins on this list.
When it comes to dramatic overhauls, Metropolis is the best Kodi skin.
After telling you about one of the most dramatic skins, let’s switch to something simplistic. This is where Arctic: Zephyr comes into play. This is an extremely polished skin that can easily replace Kodi’s default option.
By default, this skin turns Kodi’s menu into a large, bottom-positioned bar. This is where you’ll see the main content categories, but you can also add shortcuts on your own. As you switch between different items, you’ll see that a large background image changes. Enter any category, and you’ll see a clean representation of your content. You can switch between different viewing options. For example, your movies can be presented as scrollable lists of posters or as text-based lists. No matter what option you pick, you’ll also see legible letters and nicely designed layout.
In case you watch Live TV via your Kodi, you should know that Arctic: Zephyr brings an incredibly nicely designed TV schedule where you can check out upcoming content.
Even though not everyone will like this skin, we simply must mention Chroma on this list of the best Kodi skins. This is because Chroma has been available for quite some time and managed to attract a loyal user base. It might be too overwhelming on smaller screens, but Chroma works just fine on larger screens and TVs. You can install Chroma and try it out for yourself.
By default, Chroma combines a horizontal menu with high-resolution background images. If you enter a category, you will see all of the needed information. For starters, there’s a list of available content, in addition to ratings, genres, synopses, and artwork. As you can imagine, there are different ways to organize how the content is displayed. It can be via lists (horizontal and vertical) and different kinds of grids. There’s also an option to show all your movies at once as a large interactive wallpaper.
The only thing that we’d like to see improved is legibility. At times, it can be hard to read something, especially if there’s a white background.
Eminence turns your Kodi into something that resembles LG’s WebOS. You can recognize it by a row of oddly shaped icons that can be scrolled left and right. However, this skin does an incredibly good job of creating a simple yet functional user interface.
As previously said, Eminence brings a row of large icons on the Home Page. As you enter one of the content categories, you’ll see a large grid of movie posters and artwork. However, you can turn this into a scrollable horizontal list consisted of a large image and synopsis. There are different variations to how you can present your content library. This skin also does a good job of simplifying Kodi’s Settings menu by bringing clearly visible icons. The text is often separated into blocks placed within their own background. This means that you can read synopses and other information no matter the background.
We placed Eminence on your list of the best Kodi skins due to its simplicity, ease of use, and fluidity of navigation. Try it out.
As its name says, this is the sixth generation of Bello. Without saying, you can realize how popular this skin is among Kodi users. And there are numerous reasons for this. Bello 6 is a brilliantly designed skin that overhauls your favorite media player into an elegantly designed software.
Bello 6 brings very subtle typography and plenty of subtle animations. Therefore, it looks amazing on large-screen TVs. However, you should know that the skin is also fully functional on smartphones and tablets. In case you’ve populated your Kodi with movies and TV shows, you will get to see large movie posters and plenty of additional information attached to them. The skin also brings a highly polished TV guide, in case you’re using your Kodi to watch TV.
Additional Resources: What’s Next?
Before we let you go, we’d like to provide a few useful resources. Here at TechNadu, we are passionate users of Kodi and we like to spread the knowledge about this awesome application. Therefore, here are a few articles that you might find interesting.
- First and foremost, you should know all there is about Kodi. Our Beginner’s Guide to Kodi is a place to start. Then, you can take a look at our Ultimate Kodi Guide.
- In case you’d like to modify your Kodi even further, you should take a look at the selection of best addons, fully-working builds, as well as trending Kodi repositories.
This list is focused on the very best Kodi skins. You can find more options within Kodi’s Settings menu, but we picked the ones we feel you’ll enjoy the most. As you know now, not every skin is the same. If you aren’t happy with the default one, don’t hesitate to try out something new.
As always, we are more than happy to hear what you have to say. Do you feel like we missed something? Is there an amazing Kodi skin that’s not on this list? Let us know in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share it article across social networks if you think other Kodi users might find it interesting. Thanks!