The ease of installing custom ROMs and mods is probably my favorite feature on the Android OS and if you just managed to root your Google Nexus 5, then you should definitely consider installing a custom ROM to enhance your experience and improve the performance of your phone.
Even if you feel that your Nexus 5 doesn’t need any performance add-ons and is battery friendly, installing a custom ROM might bring in a fresh new look that will give you a feeling of buying a new phone. As Nexus 5 is one of Android’s flagship models, there are loads of developers trying to create the best possible ROMs and mods for the device.
There are several ROMs available for the Nexus 5, but if you’re new at this, then you might find it difficult to find the best ROMs. Also, installing ROMs takes time so you can’t just try out every single ROM in order to find the perfect fit for your phone. After doing thorough research, I’ve come up with what I think are currently the 10 best custom ROMs for Nexus 5.
Rooting an Android device voids warranty and installing custom ROMs is a risky process. You should only do this at your own responsibility. Even if you’ve successfully rooted your Nexus 5, installing a custom ROM without following the proper instructions can mess up your phone. Also, make sure that you create a backup of all your important files using either the default backup option or through an app from the Google Play Store.
I’ll be adding links to the XDA Forums below to all the ROMs so that you can get more information about the ROMs and get the instructions from the developers. While most ROMs use standard instructions, some ROMs require special procedures so make sure you also follow the developer specific instructions specific ROMs.
1. LiquidSmooth v3.1
Coming from XDA developer liquid0624, LiquidSmooth v3.1 is one of the most popular lightweight ROMs available for the Nexus 5. The ROM is basically a combination of AOSP and SlimROM along with some additional features in order to make the ROM faster and smoother.
The ROM features the popular SlimPIE, notification reminder and Quiet hours from SlimROM. Aside from that, it also includes a custom Clear recent button, CM Theme chooser, battery saver mode and Omni ROM app circle sidebar.
- Listview animations
- Liquid Dungeon
- Wake using the volume rocker
- Privacy guard
- Network speed indicator
- On the go mode
- Custom label for carrier
- Remove USB debugging notification
- Pin shuffler for the lock screen
NamelessROM is another popular custom ROM available for the Nexus 5. Coming from NamelessROM developers, the ROM gives users an opportunity to make their voices heard. Unlike other custom ROM teams, the NamelessROM team is active almost 24/7 working on user reviews and reports on bugs.
The ROM features a custom OTA update centre and setup wizard. The white KitKat theme is integrated within the ROM and you also get a RAM bar and a count for notifications in the status bar. Aside from that, the ROM also features Dark Toggle, animation control, icon settings for signals and screen off animations.
- Theme Chooser
- CM Quick toggles
- See through lockscreen
- Reverse lookup in the dialer
- Wake using volume buttons
- Additional audio themes
- Sleep by double tapping the status bar
SlimRoms are quite popular on various Android smartphones and while these custom ROMs offer a slimmed down version of the Android OS, they are still packed with loads of useful features. If you’re looking for something light, but also want loads of new features, then this is probably the ideal option.
Coming from the SlimTeam, the SlimKat ROM brings the original dark slim interface for a smoother, classier and more elegant experience. The sleek interface goes great with some of the best Nexus 5 cases and accessories.
- Custom shortcuts for almost everything, including navigation bar and hardware keys
- SlimCentre for all the latest downloads and feedback
- True View and Smart Capture Camera
- System wide keyboard options
4. Unofficial Beanstalk SaberMod
This Beanstalk build is made from different CM-11 builds with loads of customization and advanced features. Therefore, this ROM is known for its speed, stability and customization features. The ROM features CRT off and on animations, high graphic effects, custom label for carrier and custom Beanstalk boot animation and wallpapers.
- Dark Stalk UI
- Options for scroll elasticity
- RAM bar
- Shortcuts for notification drawer
- Different lockscreen backgrounds
- Battery warning customizations
5. Nitrous OS 1.1
At 6, we have the Nitrous OS 1.1 ROM. Based on the official stock Android 4.4 KitKat, Nitrous OS might not be the most customizable ROM, but if you’re looking for the best of Google along with some performance and battery enhancements, then this might be the right option for you.
The ROM solely focuses on performance, so speed should definitely be really impressive. Without compromising on performance, the battery life is also improved significantly. The ROM brings a custom boot animation, four way reboot, ad blocker and WiFi tether.
- Maximum image quality from the stock camera
- Pie controls
- Separate Nitrous settings menu
- Battery percentage display
- 6×5 app drawer
The C-ROM series is another popular series of custom ROMs for various Android devices. C-ROM for the Nexus 5 is a fantastic stable custom ROM that not only brings loads of customization features, but also improves the performance and responsiveness of the Nexus 5. Check out other cool Nexus 5 tips to make your phone even cooler.
Coming from XDA Developer Aways, the ROM comes pre-loaded with Peek, app side bar, Pie and on the go mode.
- Floating windows
- Animation controls
- Active display
- Ad blocker
If you’ve ever installed a custom ROM on your Android device, then chances are you might have come across CarbonRom. Coming from the Carbon Team, this particular ROM has received several positive reviews and is quite popular on various Android smartphones. The ROM is stable, fast and brings several customization features. The Carbon team releases frequent builds, meaning the support is excellent and if any bugs are found, the team is likely to take care of them instantly.
- Quick launch right at home
- Navigation bar for me
- Expanded desktop
- Status bar brightness slider
- See through navigation bar
8. Dirty Unicorns
The Dirty Unicorns ROM is based on OmniROM and features advanced customization options along with stability. The ROM features 100 cloud based wallpapers, new reboot menu, quick settings customization, status bar clock customization and active display.
The ROM also brings new system animations, gestures anywhere, lockscreen theming, driving mode, suspend and wakelock actions and blacklist for calls and messages.
- List View animation
- Hack for Facebook sync
- Download centre
- Ad blocker – Checkout another way to block ads on Android
- Quick trash screenshot
9. EHNDROIX V
EHNDROIX V is another fantastic ROM available for the Nexus 5 and is based on the Cyanogenmod 11 firmware. Even the tiniest details have been customized so that you get the best possible experience. The ROM is stable, fluid and brings excellent battery life. You can also update the ROM directly using the OTA centre.
The ROM also features Nova launcher, Dashclock lockscreen, customizable quick settings panel and system tweaks for improved performance.
- Android L heads up notifications
- Ad blocker
- Excellent development and support
- Titanium backup
- Ehndroix SMS app
- Ehndroix wallpapers – Checkout other wallpapers for Android
10. L Kat
If you installed the Android L developer preview on your Nexus 5, but had to remove it due to stability issues, then this might just be what you’re looking for. As the name suggests, this is a KitKat ROM, but features some goodness from the Android L firmware. L Kat features the attractive holo white theme and holo white backgrounds.
L Kat also brings 5×4 app drawer, smaller homescreen icons, smaller navigation bar and battery percentage.
- Apolo Player
- DSP Manager
- Overall Android L feel
- Android L keyboard
- App Ops
Google’s Nexus 5 is currently one of the most popular Android smartphones and features a vanilla Android interface that a lot of users prefer. While vanilla Android is better if you’re looking for decent battery life and solid performance, you might get tired of using the interface. Even if you’re fine with the interface, you should definitely consider installing custom ROMs for Nexus 5 in order to improve the performance and get some advanced customization features.
As the Nexus 5 is a popular smartphone, you’ll find loads of different ROMs on the XDA forums catering to different needs of users. I’ve picked out some of the best custom ROMs for Nexus 5 and the list reflects my own personal opinion. You should only install the ROM that best fits your needs. Before installing the ROM, make sure that you have a rooted Nexus 5 and have created a backup of your device. I take no responsibility if you end up messing with your phone, so please follow the developer specific instructions properly. If you feel I’ve missed your favorite ROM or if you have any questions, please mention them in the comments section below.