Meditation is a way to calm the mind and has been used for thousands of years in cultures around the globe. Meditation is also a great way to incorporate self-care into your routine. So how do you get started practicing meditation? Luckily, there are tons of resources available from experts online and through apps, letting you take this practice wherever you go! We’ve compared* six meditation apps based on:
- Best feature
- Total users
- Customer reviews
According to their website, Omvana’s goal is “not to get you better at meditation – it's about getting you better at life.” This app offers a variety of meditation options, both narrated and self-guided. It boasts thousands of tracks of white noise, ambient sounds, and narrated meditations. You can also integrate Omvana with your smartwatch to track meditation sessions. Omvana breaks down sessions into categories, including fitness and health, better sleep, focus and productivity, and mastery of performance.
- Price: Free, with some premade playlists and classes behind a paywall of $0.99–$59.99
- Best Feature: Ability to create playlists by mixing multiple tracks into one continuous stream
- Total Users: 100,000+
- Customer Reviews:8/5 on the App Store, 4.9/5 on Google Play
Insight Timer provides guided meditations and motivational talks led by mindfulness and meditation experts, psychologists, and neuroscientists, with music from award-winning artists. Some of their featured teachers include IIN graduate Melissa Ambrosini, Jack Kornfield, Dr. Karolien Notebaert, Russell Brand, and Dr. Tara Brach. The app adds more than 80 free guided meditations each day. Insight Timer offers over 70,000 free meditation and music tracks to calm the mind, manage stress, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety. They even have classes for kids!
- Price: Free, but offers some additional features for $9.99/month
- Best Feature: A variety of completely free courses led by experts
- Total Users: Over 19 million
- Customer Reviews: 9/5 on the App Store, 4.9/5 on Google Play
Calm combines a large library of guided meditations with a variety of topics, including sleep, mindfulness, relationships, focus and concentration, self-esteem, and gratitude. Guided meditations range in length from three to 25 minutes, so you can always find one to fit your schedule. Calm offers free basic guided meditations, but most of their features require a subscription. The Daily Calm is a personalized 10-minute program that’s new every day for subscribers. Calm also offers over 100 Sleep Stories – bedtime stories designed to lull you to sleep, narrated by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry, and Bob Ross.
- Price: A basic free version is available, but most features require a subscription of $14.99/month, or a lifetime subscription for a onetime fee of $399.99
- Best Feature: Sleep Stories (soothing bedtime stories for kids and adults alike)
- Total Users: Over 100 million
- Customer Reviews: 8/5 on the App Store, 4.3/5 on Google Play
Buddhify focuses on mobile meditation, allowing people to practice mindfulness wherever they are. Buddhify includes over 200 guided meditations to help overcome challenges like anxiety, pain, and stress and help promote sleep and mindfulness. The app integrates with smartwatches to allow users to track Mindfulness Minutes each day. The meditation sessions last anywhere from four minutes to as long as 30 minutes, with options for children as well.
- Price: A onetime cost of $4.99
- Best Feature: Give, the ability to share free meditations with others
- Total Users: 100,000+
- Customer Reviews: 8/5 on the App Store, 3.9/5 on Google Play
Headspace promotes integrating mindfulness into everyday life. The app offers hundreds of guided meditations that cover topics like mind-body health, sleep, managing stress and anxiety, and improving focus. Headspace is a great option for meditation beginners and has sessions as short as three minutes. The program’s Move Mode helps reduce tension and stress with at-home workouts and 28-day fitness courses led by expert trainers. “Sleep” settings create a more peaceful environment to wind down in, and “Wake Up” sessions start mornings with short videos made to brighten your mood for the day ahead.
- Price: Free to download, though many features are only offered with Headspace Plus, a $12.99/month subscription
- Best Feature: SOS sessions for moments of panic, anxiety, and stress
- Total Users: Over 10 million
- Customer Reviews: 9/5 on the App Store, 4.6/5 on Google Play
Ten Percent Happier
Based on Dan Harris’s book of the same name, Ten Percent Happier provides guided meditations, videos, and lectures on beginning or improving your meditation practice. It offers a library of over 500 guided meditations on topics like parenting, anxiety, sleep, and focus. New content is released every week, and the app offers quick meditations so you can fit mindfulness into a busy schedule. The meditations and talks are led by a team of teachers that includes Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Diana Winston, and Dr. David Vago.
- Price: Free to download, though most features are only offered with a minimum $9.99/month subscription
- Best Feature: Bite-size tracks to promote inspiration and mindfulness without committing to a meditation session
- Total Users: 500,000+
- Customer Reviews: 8/5 on the App Store, 4.8/5 on Google Play
The bottom line
If you’re new to meditation, using an app that guides you is a great way to get started. The most important thing when practicing meditation is staying consistent. Working with a friend, starting slowly, and using an app are all easy ways to begin your mindfulness practice. Adding a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness to your routine can promote physical, emotional, and mental wellness and help you tackle each day with a clear head and open mind.
*The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this blog post.