8 Best augmented reality SDK for AR development for iOS and Android in 2018

Have you ever dreamed of making your own AR app? But you don’t know how to start? So, let’s see our massive investigation of Augmented reality SDK.

This article will help you increase your knowledge on Unity 3D and augmented reality development.This guide would be equally useful for beginner and for skilled IT-specialist (for example, for Ruby on Rails developer)

Using the following augmented reality frameworks and source codes let’s start your AR app right now!


Vuforia is one of the most popular platforms to help you work with augmented reality development.

Supported platforms: Android, iOS, UWP and Unity Editor.

The software implements the following functionalities: recognition of the different types of visual objects (a box, cylinder, plane), text and environments recognition, VuMark (a combination of picture and QR-code). Also, using Vuforia Object Scanner, you can scan and create object targets. The recognition process can be implemented using the database (local or cloud storage). Unity plugin is simple to integrate and very powerful.

All plugins and functionalities of the platform are free to use but include the Vuforia watermarks. The limitations just relate to the number of VuMark and the number of Cloud recognition. Paid plan without watermarks and with a certain number of recos costs 99$ per month.

Pricing tiers:

Developer Classic Cloud  Pro
Cloud Recognitions
Cloud Recognitions
Cloud Recognitions
1,000 Targets 100,000 Targets >100,000 Targets
Free $499 / one-time per app $99 / mo. Call

Get source code and explore Vuforia


EasyAR is a free and easy to use alternative to Vuforia.

Supported platforms: Android, iOS, UWP, Windows, Mac and Unity Editor.

The latest version of EasyAR (1.3.1) supports the image recognition only. Version 2.0 will include the following features:

  • 3D Object Recognition
  • Environment perception
  • Cloud Recognition
  • Smart Glass Solution
  • App Cloud Packaging

The library is completely free. To start your work with EasyAR, you only need to register the account and to generate the plugin’s key of your Bundle ID. EasyAR is quite easy to integrate. Documentation and examples are intuitively understandable.

Pricing: Free.

Get Source code and reference to EasyAR


Supported platforms: Android, iOS, Smart Glasses.

Recently Wikitude released the latest version of powerful SLAM solution for augmented reality apps: Wikitude SDK 6.

Wikitude SDK 6. implements the following functionalities: image recognition & tracking(combines top-notch image recognition and tracking), 3D tracking technology (SLAM-based), GEO Data (improved working with geo-referenced data), Cloud recognition (allows to save the image databases in Cloud for identification).

Hire AR/VR dedicated team or dedicated developer for your project

Wikitude SDK 6 provides also the additional features:

  • Improved Extended Tracking
  • Advanced camera options
  • Positioning

Wikitude offers the opportunity to try the free trial version with watermark and the full power of the platform. The cost of the Wikitude SDK 6 starts from 1990€.

Unity plugin provides tools to create a database of images and 3D objects. It does not work with the Unity Editor, which complicates the augmented reality development process.

Pricing tiers:

Pro Pro3D Cloud  Enterprise
Geo Geo Geo Geo
2D Image Recognition 2D Image Recognition 2D Image Recognition 2D Image Recognition
3D Image Recognition 3D Image Recognition 3D Image Recognition
Cloud Recognition Cloud Recognition
Multiple apps
€2490 / yr. per app €2990 / yr. per app €4490 / yr. per app Call

Get Source code and see Wikitude


ARtoolKIt is an open source tracking library for augmented reality.

Supported platforms: Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac OS and Smart Glasses.

ARtoolKit implements the following functionalities:

  • Single-camera or stereo-camera camera position/orientation tracking.
  • Tracking of simple black squares
  • Tracking of planar images
  • Camera calibration and optical stereo calibration
  • Plugins for Unity and OpenSceneGraph
  • Optical head-mounted display support
  • Free and open source software
  • Fast enough for real time AR applications

Variety of functions makes it difficult to integrate the library and takes more time to explore all options and settings.

Pricing: Free, open source.

Get Source code and look at ARToolKit


According to reviews and comparisons of efficiency, Kudan is the main rival of Vuforia and make augmented reality development very easy.

Supported platforms: Android, iOS.

Using the SLAM technology Kudan allows to recognize the simple images and 3D objects and provides easy generation of the database in the Unity Editor. Kudan also has some disadvantages: Crash Editor (sometimes it is the main reason of apps crashing on devices). There are also the difficulties with the test license key installation (not always picks up the key).

The free version is only for application testing. The cost of a license is 1230 $. The Kudan is simple to integrate, but on the other side, the problems with Unity Editor complicate the development process.

Pricing tiers:

Development  Production License Volume License
2D / 3D Recognition 2D / 3D Recognition 2D / 3D Recognition
Free £1,000 yr. per app Call

Get Source code and see Kudan


Supported platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS.

Maxst offers two different tools for image and environments recognition. The generation of a database is online via Tracking Manager. To scan 3D objects are used applications for Android and IOS. In Unity Editor Maxst only works with the 32-bit version.

The free version differs from paid only by a watermark. PRO version cost 999$. The library is very easy to use and in integration. The official website has full and easy to understand documentation.

Pricing tiers for Maxst 2D:

Free Pro
200 Target Image 200 Target Image
Image Recognition Image Recognition
Augmenting Video Augmenting Video
Watermark No watermark
Free $999 single-user license

Pricing tiers for Maxst 3D:

Free Starter Pro Enterprise Enterprise+
10 Targets 500 Targets 2000 Targets Unlimited Unlimited
1 Application license Unlimited Application licenses Unlimited Application licenses Unlimited Application licenses Unlimited Application licenses
Watermark No Watermark No Watermark No Watermark No Watermark
Free $50 / mo. $150 / mo. $400 / mo. $6500 single-user license

Get Source code and explore Maxst


Xzimg provides three products to work with AR based applications:

  • Augmented Face recognizes and tracks faces with Unity
  • Augmented Vision recognizes and tracks planar images with Unity
  • Magic Face is for face replacement and make-up applications

Supported platforms: PC, Android, iOS, Windows, WebGL.

Xzimg allows the recognizion of simple images and black&white markers. Generation of the database is local in the Unity Editor. Free trial version is only available for demonstration (inverts the color and reverses the image). Paid version includes all possibilities of the platform and costs 1600€.

Pricing tiers:

Development Professional
No Application licenses Unlimited Application licenses
Watermark No watermark
Free €1600 single-user license

Get Source code and see Xzimg


NyARToolkit Augmented reality library that based on ARToolKit.

Supported platforms: Android, iOS.

Currently used only for identification and tracking images. It is a simplified version of ARToolKit and uses the same web tool for generating the database as ARToolKit. The library is simple to integrate, but the English version is not available.

Pricing: Free.

Get source code and look at NyARToolkit

SDK Feature Comparison

Vuforia EasyAR Wikitude ARToolKit Kudan MaxST Xzimg NyARToolKit
Maximum distance capturing / holding marker (m) 1.2 / 3.7 0.9 / 2.7 0.8 / 3 3 / 3 0.8 / 3 0.5 / 0.9 0.7 / 5 0.7 / 1
Recognition stability of immovable marker 10 7 6 8 10 7 8 5
Recognition stability of movable marker 6 3 4 6 6 2 7 3
Minimum angle recognition 30 35 40 10 30 50 35 45
Minimum visibility for recognition overlapped marker 20% 10% 30% 100% 25% 50% 10% 75%
2D Recognition ✓  (bordered)
3D Recognition ✓ (beta)
Cloud Recognition
 Total (rating)
7.1 4.4 7.5 2.8 6.9 5.2 4.7 3.1

We have mentioned best tools for augmented reality development. Enjoy!

Hire AR developers at ThinkMobiles and save up to 30 % of your development budget.


While you’re here, let’s check your interest in AR. Augmented reality is slowly taking over the world. Internet did, smartphones did, and sooner or later AR apps will enter our everyday lives. Should we resist or embrace it? Is it a mark of progress for medicine, science and advertising? Or is it yet another futuristic fantasy? Let’s find out.


Joseph Schmidt

AR Evangelist, Senior Marketing Manager @ ThinkMobiles

Hire AR/VR dedicated team or dedicated developer for your project