What meditation app should I use?

Hello everyone,

I established a meditation habit at some point in 2018 and used Headspace at first but cancelled because it is too expensive for me. Then I went with Calm and really liked it. I not only used the meditation content but also soundscapes and sleep stories etc. However, after my first paid year, I didn‘t renew the subscription. Unfortunately, This also affected my meditation habit which came to a halt.

Now I want to start again and ponder if I should renew my Calm subscription. I also found out about the Waking Up app which has a nice group feature but also costs twice as much as Calm.

What are your experiences? What is your favorite app and what are you willing to pay for thoughtful meditation content? Do you know of any free alternatives or interesting youtube channels?

Thank you in advance.

Have you tried Oak Meditation? Simple and beautiful little app by Kevin Rose.

Also Insight Timer is pretty good:


Let me say right up front that I don’t meditate and have no desire to start but I have no issue with anyone who does. I wanted to state that clearly so that my next comments are taken in proper context.

Why does anyone need to spend money for an app to meditate? Monks and others have meditated for centuries without an app. Why can’t one just learn to meditate without involving tech and more expense? I would assume that with a little effort and thought, reading a few good books on the issue and consistent practice would suffice. My questions are honest ones, not rhetorical. Somehow, to this non-meditator, dependence on an app and an iPhone to meditate seems ironic somehow. Again, my comments are not in anyway critical, just my initial thoughts.


I would say monks have meditated for centuries without apps, but WITH other monks/teachers showing them how to do it, helping to lead them along that journey. That is what the app does.

I use Headspace and absolutely love it. Having a guided meditation is really freeing. But don’t be mistaken, I use the things I learn through the app when I meditate and can’t have my phone with me to do so. So it’s not all or nothing.


Thank you! I‘ll look into it. :slight_smile:

These are some very valid questions and thoughts! My answer is the following: I am willing to pay money for something if it offers value to me I cannot get otherwise (or if the alternative is too time-consuming, hard etc.). That‘s why I pay a monthly fee for the gym. Could I do a nice workout in the park right next to my flat? Of course. Do I want to do it there, even when it is dark, raining, snowing or the sun is burning? No. Therefore I pay.

Same thing with meditation. I know how to look things up on the internet, how to find a channel on YouTube etc. And I am pretty sure that all the knowledge about meditation etc. is out there for free. But I like it very much to just open an app, choose a meditation and listen to it. Or to listen to a nice sleep story when I try to find sleep. I am willing to pay money for the ease of access and curation.

I hope this answers your questions. :slight_smile:


I was about to post the same question, with a little different background. I only started in summer 2019 and was using the Aware Meditation App, for which I have a (free) lifetime Premium account. Today that App got an update saying that they will discontinue this App and work on another instead. That App requires a new account with 2FA via SMS enabled, but I don’t want to give them my phone number. In fact, I could not, even if I wanted to, since only a few countries are supported in the input dialog and mine is not.

I fell of the bandwagon late spring / early winter 2019 and want to re-enforce this habit in 2020, but I’m not ready for an expensive subscription (yet?). I first want to see whether I can make it a (valuable) habit again. A reasonable single In-App purchase would be acceptable at this time though.

Looking forward to additional replies!

I understand that completely! :slight_smile: One unrelated and unsolicited thought for you regarding the gym membership. I bought a good treadmill for when it is rainy, cold, dark etc. Most days I run outside but when the conditions are bad I use the treadmill. This saves me both time and money–it is much faster to change and run at home than going to the gym, cheaper too. Of course, this requires enough room in the house for the treadmill. I don’t like the cheap treadmills sold in stores so I got a good used gym quality treadmill. They are much more durable. Just a thought for what it is worth. Saving money on the gym membership would provide money for the meditation app. Ha! :slight_smile:

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This would indeed be a good idea but I‘m more on the weightlifting side of the gym continuum. :smiley: And buying barbells for home is not very practical at all (and quite expensive, too), so you‘re stuck with bodyweight exercises. And I do them from time to time but usually I prefer to do my routine with weights and machines. So I guess I have to save the money somewhere else. :smiley:

My bad, I should have considered weightlifting, swimming, etc. :weight_lifting_man:Running is my primary exercise so a treadmill is easy. I agree, dumbbells are expensive and hard to deal with at home.

I’m using the Waking Up, by Sam Harris https://wakingup.com/. Pretty cool.


I also like Insight Timer.

Another excellent resource (subscription) is Dan Harris’s 10% Happier App. But you can also learn a lot from his podcast by the same name.



Just in case it’s of interest: Calm can get expensive, but last year when I checked the in-app subscription options in iOS rather than going online, I found a year’s premium membership for $19.99.

It’s all very puzzling, because there are lots of options under in-app purchases, at different prices. But last year’s $19.99 seems to have gotten me access to everything, and this year’s renewal at that rate seems to have worked. :woman_shrugging:


I use Breathe on my Apple Watch for 5 minutes each night. I have a Headspace subscription active, but I find Breathe works well for me.

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Excellent. Those are the two I have used. No subscriptions !

Waking Up - fantastic so far.

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I vote for Calm - really great and new content always

Late to the party, but here’s another vote for Insight Timer. I’ve been using it for years and years, and I like it. I never paid for the subscription and still find it to be valuable. If you want guided meditations, there’s loads that are free, and if you simply want a timer to help you track your progress, it’s pretty nice. Recommended.


I just had to check this and what can I say… I am flabbergasted! I went to the subscriptions section of the Appstore app, opened the entry for Calm and was presented with 15ish different options, some for a month, some for the whole year. The cheapest annual subscription would be 32,99€ the most expensive 105€ (!!).

I (obviously) chose the cheapest option and now have a subscription for Calm for the whole upcoming year for 33€. In the app directly I would‘ve gotten it for 36€ and some days ago they sent me an „offer“ for around 50$ for the year („25% off“ lmao).

What is happening here? Shouldn‘t they offer one price for everyone? And why am I able to choose the cheapest option from within the subscription section in the appstore app? :sweat_smile:

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Usually in December and January Calm offer discounts; last January Calm offered a year for US $44.99 (25% off), and a month ago they offered lifetime memberships for $159.99 (60% off).

Also FYI: educators around the world are (or at least used to be( eligible for a free lifetime Calm account to use personally or in the classroom.

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