Screensavers – Best Of


Long, long time ago screensavers have been used to prevent the so-called screen-burn-effect1 — a permanent disfigurement of areas on a CRT display caused by non-moving text or graphics being displayed continuously for long periods of time. To avoid this effect, screen savers have been used to blank the screen or fill it with moving images or patterns when the computer was not in use. Today, screensavers don’t serve their original purpose and are primarily used for entertainment.

In fact, we don’t need screensavers any more, however we tend to use them as eye-candy for our coffee breaks. Particularly complex and colourful 3D-screensavers are extremely nice to look at. But also if you’d like to lift your spirit with some calm and relaxing animations screensavers can definitely be just what you are looking for.

However, if you are tired of the default screensavers brought to you by your OS you might start searching for the fresh ones in the Web. And you’ll quickly find out: the choice is enormous; freeware is usually supplied with adware, and there are literally thousands of commercial solutions. What screensaver to choose? Most companies have limited demo- and shareware-versions, but they are almost always rather disturbing than helpful and will only get on your nerves.

In fact, there are only few pearls – amazing screensavers you’d be really ready to pay for once you’ve tested them. We’ve downloaded and installed a hell of a lot of them, we’ve had many problems (mostly adware) with them, but in the end we’ve tested all of them. And we’ve selected the most beautiful, interesting and unusual screensavers for you. Among them Flickr-, RSS- and time-screensavers – in the overview below both free and commercial solutions are presented.

Please notice:

  • in the overview below you won’t find enormous screensaver collections such as (10 points for the first user mentioning this site in our comments). We’ve also tried to avoid sites filled with advertisements, pop-ups and hidden ad blocks. We also ignored cheap “discount screensaver providers” — mostly they offer just image galleries, and not real screensavers;
  • screensavers are executable programs. Therefore: caution, Windows-users! We’ve tested the software presented below, still: use them at your own risk.
  • some screensavers don’t work properly on dual-monitors;
  • you might also be interested in Selected Wallpapers For Your Desktop2 we’ve presented few weeks ago.

Selected Screensavers For Your Desktop

An elegant clock and calendar screensaver in which the circles move as the time passes – based on polar coordinates. Available in 28 languages, with a number of options such as text alignment, font size, arc properties, continuous / stepped motion (continuous was requested a lot, so that you can see a minute slowly stretching each second to become the next minute etc), appearance, colors etc. A screen saver for Mac and Windows, and also as a dashboard widget for Mac OS X Tiger.


Twingly screensaver is visualizing the global blog activity in real time. Forget RSS readers where you see only what you’re interested in. With Twingly screensaver you get a 24/7 stream of all (viewer discretion advised) blog activity, straight to your screen. Windows. Unfortunately testing didn’t work properly.


UniqLock7 – Music.Dance.Clock
Japanese girls dance focusing your attention away from the passing time. Probably one of the strangest — unique — screensavers out there.



Quartz Composer10Preview11
Outstanding visualization and visual effects in use. Screensaver for Mac OS X only.

Quartz Composer12

World Clock Screen Saver shows your local time on its big central clock and adds five major time zones (Los Angeles, New York, London, Dubai and Tokyo) on smaller clocks placed around it.


Mapped Up15
MappedUp tracks a large number of RSS news sources and displays their latest items on a world map, geographically and in real-time. You can personalize the tool by setting the tags and specific RSS feeds you want to see on your MappedUp (registration is required16). And of course, you can download MappedUp17 as a screensaver, widget or active desktop — for Windows or Mac OS X.

Mapped Up18

Kuler Screensaver19
Excellent inspiration for a coffee break: the tool reads Kuler20‘s RSS feed, extracts the data and presents color schemes on your desktop. You can choose between displaying the highest rated, most popular or newest color schemes. It’s also possible to select the color schemes by hex-code and tags. For Mac OS X only.

Kuler Screensaver21

UniveRSS is a 3D RSS feed reader for Windows Vista. It introduces a full-screen 3D universe where galaxies represent the folders of your RSS feed directory, and the stars are represented by the spinning cubes that hold the feed information. Size and position of the feed cubes indicate how many unread items they contain. RSS feeds are represented as 3D cubes spinning in a universe.


Source25, Source26

RSS Saver27
This free screensaver presents the excerpts of predefined RSS feeds in a 3D view. The text approaches you and passes away after 15 seconds. Unfortunately, the speed of displayed news can’t be changed.

RSS Saver28

Tiger RSS Screensaver29
RSS Saver for Mac OS X. Apple’s Tiger RSS Screensavers are pretty cool, but Apple news are often quite boring. So why not make your own for your obviously favorite website? With Tiger’s Quartz Composer, you can make both standalone RSS applications and Screensavers which ends up being really useful or at least handy if you’re an RSS junkie.

RSS Screensaver30

Yes, the project still exists. SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a screensaver that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. SETI@Home is currently the largest distributed computing effort with over 3 million users.


Grid-Based Clock Screensaver33
The screensaver fills rectangles as the time passes.

Grid-Based Clock34

Electric Sheep35
A widely famous and versatile screensaver. Electric Sheep is a free, open source screen saver run by thousands of people all over the world. It can be installed on any ordinary Windows or Mac. When these computers "sleep", the screensaver comes up and the computers communicate with each other via Web to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as "sheep". The result is a collective "android dream", an homage to Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”. You can also design your own sheep.


Really Slick Screensavers37
A collection of 10 colorful 3D OpenGL screensavers for Windows. Some of some have been ported to Linux and Mac OS. Including Skyrocket, an interesting fireworks-simulation.



System 4740
A Star Trek LCARS Screen Saver. Windows/Mac. LCARS is an acronym for "Library Computer Access and Retrieval System", which is the primary computer system in the universe of Star Trek’s Starfleet and Federation. The Saver runs on Dual-Systems with a different view on each monitor. And there is also Sound.


BlueScreen Screen Saver42
Bluescreen is a screen saver that not only authentically mimics a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), but will simulate startup screens seen during a system boot. Available for all Windows versions except Vista. This could be extremely irritating, watch carefully. An analog solution for Mac OS XKernel Panic Screensaver43.

Blue Screen Of Death Screensaver44

Kernel Panic Screensaver45

This one is a little different. It’s a Picture Gallery running directly in Firefox. Use FoxSaver photos, Media RSS-Feeds or your own Pictures. There is a FullScreen mode if FireFox is maximized.

Fenêtre volantes47
Fenêtre volantes puts your windows in flight. After some idle time the windows take off the screen and flutter in the void. On a mouse move, the windows immediately come back and stuck to their original position. Freeware, for Mac OS X only.

Fenêtre volantes48

Strange Pet49
Funny kids screen saver from


This is a port to Windows of Flurry, a beautiful screen saver for Mac OS X. Site looks odd and old-fashioned, but who cares?


Holding Pattern Coach Class53
Looking out from a window on the plane. There is also a first class saver with 57 aerial views, but you have to pay $17.50 for your luxury viewing experience. Windows and Mac.


A pretty one using OpenGL for 3D acceleration. Windows, Linux, Mac.


Wishlight Screen Saver V1.057


Amazing constructions are developed with LEGO-bricks — right on your personal desktop. Windows and Mac OS.


Need a watch? Same source as above. Windows and Mac OS.


SaverBeans Screensaver Pack63
This is a collection of over 30 open-source screensavers, submitted by members of the Java community. The screensavers were developed using the SaverBeans SDK, part of the JDIC project.

This one is called "ranpix"

breveCreatures Screensaver65
A screensaver that simulates the evolution of virtual creatures in a physically simulated 3D world. Beginning initially with random creatures, the screensaver uses a genetic algorithm to develop creatures capable of realistic locomotion behaviors. Windows and Mac.


Drempels psychotherapeutic Screensaver 67
Drempels makes colorful, swirling, hallucinogenic patterns that resemble a hurricane or tornado.

Screensavers To Buy

The choice of commercial screensavers is huge – and probably even greater than you thought it is. 3D-Screensavers seem to be quite popular, just as fish-, sea- and aquarius-themes. Please notice that we haven’t bought all of these screensavers to test them; we’ve simply selected the most clean and interesting ones.

  • Kaze to Desktop68
    “Kaze to Desktop” is a screensaver which moves according to the current wind (=kaze) conditions of your city. Free to try, $8.00 to Buy. Windows only.

    Kaze Screensaver69

  • Sim Aquarium 270
    Sim Aquarium screensaver brings the coral reef aquarium to your computer screen. Its photo-realistic graphics recreate 3D fish swimming freely in a 3D environment, including a reef, with live clams and swaying sea life.


  • Solar System Screensavers
    Solar System Screensaver with photo-realisitic plasma effects, floating through planets, constellations and satellites and outstanding space effects. Caution: Ads and Adware!


  • Dream Aquarium72
    An aquarium screensaver that “brings the beauty of a lush freshwater aquarium to your computer with unsurpassed realism”. Including photo-realistic effects.


  • 3PlaneSoft Screensavers74
    Over 30 various screensavers such as 3D realistic medieval clock tower, 3D screensaver of a submarine and the underwater world and a screensaver with the 3D model of Spanish Galleon, but also Fantasy and Halloween screensavers.
  • Astro Gemini75
    Dozens of 3D screensavers of different kinds – Halloween, Christmas, Marine Life, Nature, Holidays, Fantasy, Space – everything you’ll ever need.
  • Useless Creations76
    A growing and constantly updated collection of screensavers. Germany celebrates Oktoberfest…

    Oktoberfest Screensaver77

  • Fire Screensaver78
    Fire Screensaver sets the desktop on fire. Quite an interesting effect. The free test version can be download via the link at the bottom of the page. Caution: adware, the tool tries to install ad software as well.
  • Majestic Lighthouse 79
    Pretty one. This living sea-scene is fully animated with shiny water, seagulls and some rays coming from the lighthouse. It costs $19.


Flickr Screensavers

  • Clockr81
    Clockr uses random digit images from Flickr to display the current time.


  • Loopy83
    The most interesting part of Loopy is that we can randomly see the newest pictures which people all over the world uploaded and if you want to check them more, just click the thumbnails and go to Flickr’s pages.


  • slickr-dotnet85
    Flickr screen saver that shows images by Users, Tags, Favorites etc.
  • Flickr.Net Screensaver86
    Requires Windows XP with .NET.

Other Collections

  • The Top Ten OS X Screensavers87
    Screensavers have become, in a way, a relic. That having been said, they’re still enormously popular, even built-in to Mac OS X. All screenshots are top notch in coolness, quirkiness, or the relaxation factor, and ultimately gathered through what probably amounts to many hours of screensaver crawling.


  • XScreenSaver89
    A collection of free screen savers for X11 and MacOS. Including some very old stuff. A classic.


Make Yourself A Personal Screensaver!

  • InstantStorm91
    InstantStorm is a Windows freeware tool for creating Flash based screensavers with many advanced features. All you have to do is to choose a SWF file, set screensaver parameters and compile an executable installer. There are no nag screens or other annoying stuff. Unlike many other tools, InstantStorm allows you to fully customize your screensaver’s about box, installer and uninstaller including all texts.



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Co-Founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories and looking for a publisher ...

  1. 1

    Thanx for screensavers…

  2. 52

    yet another massively long list.
    what’s the point?
    couldn’t I just use google?!

  3. 103

    @jez, yeah, sure mate, go browse 63,000,000 results …

  4. 154

    PolarClock for me, installed it for a no. of people in the office

  5. 205

    Thanks for this list. I read a while back that “free screensavers” was one of the searches that brought up the highest proportion of malware-related sites. So having a list like this of tested screensavers is really useful.

  6. 256

    These look great. Too bad all of the best ones aren’t available for Linux.

  7. 307

    Guillaume, thanks for link to Johnny Castaway. It rocks!

  8. 358

    Polar clock doesn’t work properly on 31st october. It doesn’t on any month 31st either.


    Nevertheless it is an awesome screensaver!

  9. 409

    Very useful list of screensavers sites! I liked Astro Gemini products. Really quality 3D screensavers. By the way, while checking the site I found an interesting option. If you highlight all on the page, you will see a tiny cross in the upper left corner. I clicked on it and sent a message from that page with a name of any screensaver (there’s a form on the page) just to check what was that all about. In a while I received a message with the link to purchase the screensaver with a discount! I think it is a great option but it’s difficult to find so I decided to tell the others about it.

  10. 460

    HEY! ~ I Love Screensavers! WHERE the devil Is An Awesome Moving KALEIDOSCOPE Saver??? It oughta be a cinch. So – Find Me The Best, Free, Awesome, Authentic (like the glass ones we had as kids) KALEIDOSCOPE Saver! Prize in advance for the best… [smooch! there’s your Prize!] lovealadytrickster
    I may be a dinosaur, from the sounds of it, but Give Me Eye Candy! It better be sweet, Free, incredibly Incredible irresistable, Lovely & Complex, No GL, No Shareware or other garbage. What ~ Who needs psychotherapy…..?

  11. 511

    I am looking for a screensaver I saw that looked much like the ‘spaceship’ from the TV show Threshold (only ran a few episodes) (the spaceship was shown hovering over the water in the pilot episode). The screensaver I saw was perhaps in 2001, before the Threshold TV show appeared. If you know of it please post here. Thanks.

  12. 562

    3dfiction screensaver with 62 unique 3dfiction artworks

  13. 613

    I’ve burned an LCD monitor and an laptop screen in the past year. The screensaver was actually what burned the laptop screen, so choose and choose wisely.

  14. 664

    The best screensaver I’ve EVER found is still GL Gravitation.
    This link may work:

  15. 715

    Not sure if this website was out when this article was published, but what about The quality of their screensavers is simply stunning.

  16. 766

    I think “Fliqlo” is cool!

  17. 817

    These look great. Too bad all of the best ones aren’t available for Linux.

  18. 868

    If you are on a CRT monitor, make sure you use a screensaver. While all of my main computers have LCD monitors, the older machines still use CRT monitors. I didn’t think to use a screensaver and burnt in the DSL onto one nicer CRT monitor. Some of the screensavers do not look like they will really help prevent burn-in.

  19. 919

    bueno gracias por cplocar esta pagina la encontre buena

    y muy buenos lo protecores

    les digos q si coloquen ma sporq encuentro q igual son muy pocos

    ya gracias y adios


  20. 970

    Very cool screensavers I’ve used the Sim Aquarium screensaver for many years. Also, check out, they have a cool Ansel Adams screensaver.

  21. 1021

    For a amateur photographer like me, I would like a Screensaver that can display RAW images (.CRW/.CR2), on multiple monitors. Slickr (a Flickr Screensaver) is almost perfect, except that it can’t display RAW images.

    The one that came with Vista is not that bad, but doesn’t work on multiple monitors. Does anybody have the “perfect” slideshow screensaver I’m looking for ? :-D

  22. 1072

    I have over 700 deep space photos, Hubble et al, on my webshots screensaver for over 2 years, and keep adding. Helps me remember where I came from.

  23. 1123

    I just want to say that there’s a new version of the Kuler Screensaver.
    It’s for Mac and Windows now.

    Kuler Screensaver Mac and Win


  24. 1174

    I’ve been using the Really Slick Screensavers for a couple of years now. Some are a bit dull and almost quaint, but most are, well…really slick, and their display settings can be changed by the user.

    I’m glad that there are a few dozen people out there on the web producing cool stuff like this for the rest of us to enjoy.

    (That Blue Screen of Death one could be a real hoot if used properly.)

  25. 1225

    At one office I worked at a coworker got a call from the IT department. They periodically monitor the computers and they told him his computer had a problem and was continually rebooting. It was his BSOD screen saver.

  26. 1276

    It was mentioned that ‘Snoqualmie’ is no longer available, but I have re-released it as “Zen Light” available (here), and updated it for the power of today’s CPUs.

  27. 1327

    I loved Flurry which run great on my old Duron komp with almost none CPU time eating. But on my new C2D it kills system, taking almost all CPU time. Whazzup? :-(

  28. 1378

    Thanks!! Really cool!

  29. 1429

    Downloaded the PolarClock screensaver… came with a Trojan!

  30. 1480

    Really glad to see 3Planesoft ( ) on the list, been a fan of their screen savers for years. It’s too bad you didn’t show some preview images; these are the absolute best for showing off the power of a new graphics card.

  31. 1531

    The Fenetre Volante screensaver has a new link:

  32. 1582

    i got the star trek one, awesomeness… i saw that panic s.saver and got an idea.. eventually im going to be moving, and seeing as this isnt my computer, im going to do the screenshot of the desktop prank, and install the panic s.saver. so my friend will get on, wont be able to click anything, and then later the screensaver comes up when he is agitated, and has given up.. =D

  33. 1633

    we have recently launched a new site with just free windows and mac os x screensavers at

  34. 1684

    Please look at Agile Fountains Screensaver at

    Best regards,

  35. 1735

    I found today this cool screensaver, it’s name is Dash Screen Saver and it’s in trial only available from this site:

  36. 1786

    its very nice website, i like it very much

  37. 1837

    I found a website where i downloaded some beautiful images and videos i am using as background and screensaver now. They have a wide range of images of international artists.

  38. 1888

    I absolutely love the System 47 star trek screen saver. But when I tried to download it, it will show up initially, then disappear when I go to the control panel. Can anyone help me? :( I have Windows Vista – could that be the problem? Does this screen saver not work with Vista?

  39. 1939

    @anna. thanks for this tip. i really like the website my favourite artist is daniel voelker. damn, have a look at his work “overdose”. i bought them all and arrange it to a slight show on my new flatscreen in the office.

  40. 1990

    I have alway wanted and looked for a cockroach screensaver.

    There is a Terminex commercial where a roach appears to scurry across the screen, well I want one like that for my computer. I came across a cheezy one that almost worked, but never as good as that commercial.

    NE1 know of one?

  41. 2041

    I have always been a fan of Ignis Fatui from

    (both for mac and pc)

    simple and intoxicating…

  42. 2092

    all of you bastards linking us to other screensavers which you claim are nice are full of shit. stop fucking linking us to unprofessional screensavers.

    the original poster did a great jobwith a list of nicely designed and professional screensavers.

  43. 2143

    Have you seen 3D Living Clouds scree saver?
    It display slowly floating clouds on your desktop. You can adjust clouds speed and direction, select of three themes (day, sunset and night). You may try this relaxive screen saver here:

    • 2194

      Igor, thank you!

      About five years ago I have similar to this screen saver (3D Clouds or something). It was my favorite, but I have lost it after my system crash :((
      This one is even better: it is much more faster and clouds look very smooth. And the night clouds looks realy great!

      May be it possible to add more presets?

  44. 2245


    Ditto that!

  45. 2296

    well said John. and thanks …. downloaded a couple from here. i appreciate knowing which ones are good for which systems. very decent!

  46. 2347

    Gary, look up the Roaches! screen saver at It’s creepy.

  47. 2398

    I had one called ZoneRings From Outer Space, I think it had like 285 different settings and it constantly changed. Wonder if it is still around?

  48. 2449

    very nice

    and very very very good your screensaver
    my eyes freshed
    showing your screensaver
    thank you

  49. 2500

    please send me your wallpapers

  50. 2551

    wallpapers very intresting……..


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