Meditation App Match-Up: Finding the Right App For You
I meditate. A lot. It is my number one go-to for self-care and I can not imagine my life without it anymore. As a former skeptic of the practice, when I looked into apps I could use to start meditating I truly wish I would’ve found something to guide me through my options and weed through all the apps that I found in the app store. Today, I’m giving you a comparison of the three apps I use. Hopefully this clears up any confusion about the differences between three of the more common meditation apps and makes it way easier for you to decide which to use. The most important thing to remember when choosing an app is to pick based on your specific needs. Here we go!
First, a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself:
- What is my experience level?
- Am I comfortable with more or less guidance?
- How much money am I willing to spend, if any?
- Do I prefer a lot of variety in my user experience or is it better to just get straight to the point?
Headspace is the first meditation app I ever used. It was a great tool for me as a beginner and has a very extensive offering of guided meditations. In the beginning, you have to complete the foundational “pack” in order to learn the basic skills of meditation. After you’ve finished, you can pick any meditation pack to follow, depending on what you’d like to focus on. Packs consist of 10 to 30 day tracks where you focus on one specific thing, for instance, I’m currently doing the “Focus” pack. The packs have lots to offer, ranging from foundational to creativity to sports. You name it, Headspace probably has a category related to it. The user interface is simple and it can be easy to get into the habit of meditation when the app counts how long you’ve been on a streak. You can even use it in airplane mode (!) as long as the app has automatically downloaded the next meditation session. Overall, I’ve learned my most valuable lessons from using Headspace, and I do enjoy staying focused on specific packs to strengthen my practice.
This app is the most expensive out of the three I’m going to touch on today, coming in at about $96/full year (billed at once) or $13/month. At the time I bought my yearly subscription, I had come just in time for a promotion where I got it for $72 for the year. Almost $100 for a meditation app can be pretty steep pricing, especially for millennials just trying to make it out here. Though they do offer a free version, the choice is limited to the 10-day foundational pack. I find Headspace to be worth the price I paid and use it more frequently than the other two, but I can’t say I would’ve purchased it had I not gotten a little discount on it. If you’re going to buy Headspace, that’s wonderful! It’s a great app and I’ve learned so many different techniques from it. Just make SURE you are going to get your money’s worth! For those who aren’t so sure, the next two apps might be better for you.
Oh Calm, what would I ever do without your sleep stories?! As someone who tends to struggle with winding down and drifting off to sleep, I mainly use Calm for their wonderful selection of sleep stories. Because of how well they work, I actually have no clue how the stories end. If that doesn’t mean they do the trick, I don’t know what does. Stepping outside of the realm of sleep stories, the overall Calm app is also just as great, with way more free options. After entering the app, you can choose to Breathe, Meditate, or Sleep. Breathe is great when you just need to do some deep breathing and want to bring yourself back to center, and it simply guides you through that process until you want to stop. The Meditate section gives way to their extensive offers of free and subscription-based meditations. Though there isn’t as much variety as Headspace when it comes to what you might want to focus your meditation practice on, I still think the options are great. I’ve already covered the Sleep section, so we’ll move on :) What I love most about Calm is the user experience. As soon as I enter the app, I actually do feel more calm. Matter of fact, the first thing they tell you to do is to “take a deep breath.” LOVE IT!
Calm does wonders as a free or paid app. You still have access to all sections of the app, even though it’s a little more limiting. I think it’s perfect for people starting out who want to practice guided meditations but don’t feel the need to spend a lot of money for it. That being said, if you would ever like to subscribe and get access to more of their content, it’s $60/year (billed at one time) or $13/month. As you can see, it’s way cheaper than Headspace and has a lot of bang for its buck. Truth time: based on what I now look for in a meditation app, if I had known more about Calm, I probably would’ve chosen it over Headspace!
Back in my hard-headed days, Insight Timer was the first meditation app I’d ever heard of. My nutritionist recommended it to me, but when I downloaded it I was intimidated by all the options and didn’t know where to start. I used that as the reason why I deleted it, but the reality is I just wasn’t quite ready to dive into the meditating world yet. This app is very different from the above two, primarily because it’s more community-based, there are no packs to follow, and there’s a ton of variety in the selection. There’s literally over 4,800 different guided meditations to choose from, led by people all over the world. Some might be into it, others might feel the need for a little more structure. In my opinion, this app might be more useful for experienced people who don’t necessarily want to focus on developing specific techniques and instead want to explore many different options. If you want to simply see how guided meditations work and maybe try a few before taking on a more structured approach, absolutely download Insight Timer.
The timer itself is what I use the most, which allows me to meditate with no guidance. I can customize the type of music I want to hear, when I want to be reminded of how far along I am into the meditation, as well as the length. I love using this app when I truly want to be alone with my mind and just fall into the music serenading me. If you haven’t noticed, I didn’t mention price yet. That’s because this one’s completely free!
...and that’s a wrap
I hope this helped you to narrow down your decision between all these great choices! No matter which app you decide to go with, the most important part is that you’re on your way to starting what could be an amazing addition to your self-care routine. Props to you! If you have any questions after reading this, make sure to comment below.