Calm VS Headspace VS Everything Else: Best Meditation Apps In 2017

There are very many different meditation apps out right now.

These apps help us to meditate in many ways.

Some apps teach traditional meditation. Some apps help you track your meditation time. And a whole ton of apps offer guided meditations.

Which is the best meditation app?

To help you decide the best one for you, I’ve tested all the best apps against one another.  And you can read all about it below.

Remember, though, that everyone who has actually reached enlightenment (which is the entire point in meditation) has learned actual meditation the right way.

Meditation apps should only be used to compliment an actual meditation practice.

If you want to learn meditation for real, read Journey To The Buddha Within You, which gives genuine training in 31 f the most important traditional meditation techniques. This is the real way to meditate.

Now on with the apps.

I’ve personally tested all of the best meditation apps on the app store. And I’ve asked our Facebook readers what their personal favorite meditation apps are too.

What is the best meditation app? Let’s get this thing going.

The Best Meditation Apps Of 2017 (squaring off in a distinctly un-meditative battle to the death)

  • I continually update meditation products here. Check that link to see if there’s a new meditation app out that might be even better than the ones covered below.

Headspace (Free, optional monthly subscription)


Headspace is perhaps the most popular meditation app on the market. And it is easy to see why. It is, in my experience, one of the best ways to develop a meditation habit.

Headspace is direct, no-nonsense habit building at its best. The purpose is simple. You meditate every day in order to develop a habit. It really couldn’t be any simpler.

Actually, simplicity is what sets Headspace apart. If you look at Headspace VS Buddhify, for instance, Buddhify offers lots of different ways to meditate in your daily life, where Headspace is entirely about developing a habit of meditating each and every day.

headspace vs buddhify

As a meditation teacher, I speak to a lot of people who struggle to get into a daily habit of meditation. I recommend they use Headspace, and it does work in a lot of cases.

Another way Headspace stands out is in its personality. This app was made by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe (a truly inspirational meditation expert and a leader in the digital health field). Andy has poured his personality into Headspace, and it shows. If you look at Headspace VS Calm, for instance, you will see that Headspace has way more character. For me, that’s a real winning point as I love an app with its own sense of personality.

Overall, Headspace is the best meditation app for newcomers and for those who want to develop a habit of meditation.


Calm (Free, optional monthly subscription)

Calm is both a meditation app and website ( that is designed to help you do different types of meditation.

If you’ve looked at THE DAILY MEDITATION’s guide to 26 meditation techniques, you’ll see lots of the same meditation techniques in this app.

When you download the free version of Calm you will gain access to a number of guided meditations, and you can unlock more guided meditations by signing up to a monthly subscription.

My favorite thing about Calm is that it looks beautiful. The design is gorgeous. If we look at Calm VS Headspace I think you’ll agree that Calm has far more appealing visuals. The looks of this beauty really helps my meditation students to relax.

headspace vs calm

Not only does Calm look beautiful but it also comes with nature sounds, background music and animated backgrounds. I personally love to gaze at the visuals while the guide leads me though a meditation.

Speaking of the guide. Her voice is smooth and silky. Seductive, if you will. I find her a little distracting, actually. She’s just too… cheerful.

There are definitely meditation apps with better voices. If we look at Calm VS Insight Meditation Timer, for instance, the latter has lots of recordings with noted meditation teachers who know how to present guided meditations more effectively. But this is a relatively minor setback for a truly wonderful app.

Calm is the best meditation app in terms of presentation.

Highly recommended for anyone looking for a pretty app with stunning production values.


Buddify 2 ($2.99)

In Zen and Now I reveal how to meditate anytime, anywhere.

Buddhify 2 does a similar thing.

Buddihfy 2 is a truly impressive app. What’s best about it is that it is so unique. Even if you already have a meditation app you should probably downlod Buddhify 2 anyway. It has features no other app does.

Buddhify 2 is designed for people living in urban environments. If you live in a city, this app will help you to find mindful moments in the chaos of the city life. It does this by showing you how to meditate at different times.

Buddhify 2 has meditations to do while exercising while using the internet… basically while doing the things we do on a daily basis. Guided meditations are presented by various guides, and they range from okay to brilliant.

Oh, and on a side note, I love the colour-wheel presentation.

Buddhify 2 sets itself apart from the pack. If we look at Headspace VS Buddhify 2, or even Calm VS Buddhify 2, it’s easy to say that this app has far more unique features. The guided meditations here are useful for day to day life and it makes it easy for even the busiest of people to start meditating.

calm vs buddhify 2

Overall, this app is so unique that you might as well download it now even if you just use it as a secondary app. I would hands-down call this the best meditation app of 2017 for anybody who is looking for something a little different.





Insight — Guided Meditations (Free, optional upgrade)

  • Insight is a meditation timer  that also has guided meditations. The Tibetan Singing Bowls are particularly beautiful.

The original Insight Timer is an incredibly popular app, with more than two million users. That popularity is partly thanks to its versatility and ease of use. The ability to just time a session and use interval bells as markers.

Insight also offers guided meditations for free. There are more than 5000 different meditations published by more than 1150 meditation teachers. And they feature recordings from the likes of Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, who are two very highly respected meditation teachers.

By far the worst part of this app is its design. Take a look at Headspace VS Insight, or VS Insight VS Aura: Mindfulness, and there’s just no competition. This app desperately needs a paint job. And that’s a shame, given that everything else here is fantastic

insight vs aura mindfulness app

Even though it is not the best looking app, it is definitely one of the best functioning apps, and highly recommended.

Insight Timer offers incredible content.  I’d just prefer it if this sweet app came wrapped in better packaging.


Aware (Free with in-app purchases)

The Aware Mindfulness Meditation app offers a great introduction to mindfulness meditation with high quality guided meditation sessions.

I particularly like the friendly voice that the meditation guide has. When I consider Calm VS Aware I have to tip my hat to Aware in terms of the voice. It’s so soothing and relaxing.

Another fantastic aspect of Aware is the quality of the guides. All the instructions are presented in meticulous detail. Being a meditation teacher, this wasn’t particularly important for me. However, many of our Facebook readers have said that they found the guides on this app incredibly helpful.

If you have been looking for an app to help you manage your thoughts, boost your concentration, and achieve other personal development skills, Aware Mindfulness Meditation app is the best choice for you.

It’s also worth looking at Headspace VS Aware because both help you make meditation a habit. Personally, I find that Headspace offers more direct help, where Aware is more versatile and actually teaches you much more.

aware vs simple habit app

Simple Habit App (Free to start. $9 a month subscription)

Being a meditation teacher, you would think I could easily squeeze an hour’s meditation into each and every day. But just as I somehow haven’t managed to unpack my laundry since Sunday (it’s now Tuesday) sometimes I cannot find enough time to meditate.

If that sounds like you, then Simple Habit App will help you to develop a mindfulness habit. And it is definitely one of the best meditation apps out right now.

Simple Habit App specialises in five minute sessions, so they’re perfect for even the busiest of bodies.

These five-minute meditation sessions cover a variety of topics and they come from highly experienced meditation teachers, so you know that the instructions here are top dollar.

Simple Habit App included sessions for stress, sleep, and other common problems.

So, let’s look at Simple Habit VS Headspace VS Calm etc.

When you compare Simple Habit App to the other meditation apps in this list, you’ll find that this one is a middle-of-the-road app in almost all cases. The voices are better than Calm but not as good as Insight. The presentation is better than Insight but not as good as Calm. And the habit-forming part is about equal with Headspace. So, this app sits perfectly in the middle, making it a good choice for most people.

I consider this one of the best meditation apps of 2017 because it does everything you need and does it well.

simple habit app vs aura mindfulness

Aura: Mindfulness (free of $12.99 a month for premium subscription).

The Aura Mindfulness App offers meditation practices that help us to have a positive mindset throughout the day.

An interesting addition to this app is that it has a wonderful little gratitude-tracking function that motivates you to feel more grateful every day. It’s a truly wonderful bonus feature that helps to set Aura: Mindfulness apart.

Another fantastic aspect of the Aura app is that is uses your demographic and mood to determine the best type of meditation for you.

The Aura App sets itself apart with advanced functionality. The presentation is beautiful, too.

Overall, Aura: Mindfulness is one of the best meditation apps for anyone who wants to make mindfulness a habit. The advanced functionality helps you to know which meditation to use at any given time, and this makes Aura a powerful app for boosting your happiness.



So, which is the best meditation app of 2017?

The best thing about all these different meditation apps is that they offer different styles and different functions. There is a clear winner for near every purpose.

Best Meditation App For Habit Building: Headspace OR Simple Habit

Best Meditation App For Beginner Meditators:  Aware

Best Meditation App For Relaxation: Calm

Best Meditation App For Practical Applications Of Meditation: Buddhify 2

Best Meditation App For Learning Different Meditation Techniques: Insight

Best Meditation App For Making You Happier: Aura



I’ve recently added three more meditation apps for your consideration:

Stop, Breathe & Think

Stop, Breathe & Think is another meditation app packed full of guided meditations. It separates itself with the inclusion of yoga and acupressure videos.

Stop, Breathe & Think also offers a great way of controlling your emotions. It has trackers that let you keep track of your feelings.

This is a particularly good app for dealing with complications like depression, stress and anxiety.


Pacifica – Anxiety, Stress & Depression relief

Pacifica is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

This app is designed with the express purpose of healing people to deal with negative thoughts.  This in turn helps counteract anxiety, depression and stress.

Pacifica comes fully-loaded with thought recordings, daily challenges, mood tracker and audio lessons.



This app is similar to Headspace in the sense that it helps you develop the habit of meditation.

It comes with the standard bells and whistles—guided meditations, timer, mood trackers…

The most interesting feature in Sattva is an insight engine that shows you how your meditation practice is changing your life.



So, in my experience, there is a reason for all of these meditation apps. Each offers something different and each has its own unique features. For me personally, as a meditation teacher, I have to tip my hat to Insight Meditation Timer because it has recordings from my favorite meditation teachers. But that’s just me.

Every one of these meditation apps is perfect for a specific type of person.

Which do you think is the best meditation app?

Leave a comment.

And now you’ve got the perfect meditation app, it’s time to consider these other important tools for meditation.


Paul Martin Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book Journey To The Buddha Within You.

3 thoughts on “Calm VS Headspace VS Everything Else: Best Meditation Apps In 2017

  • August 23, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks, Paul, for writing this helpful article. I have used Calm for almost three years, since its beta phase, and love it, but I did not know about the new options. I just downloaded Insight and Stop, Breathe & Think to complement Calm – Thanks!

  • May 10, 2017 at 9:55 am

    For me personally, it has to be Aware – unarguably. I am saying this after trying out every other app you have mentioned except Aura.
    For meditation, one needs a consistent progress, guidance and a curated journey. Only Headspace and Aware offer that. Aware beats Headspace hands down in the quality of their meditation sessions. Headspace, after a while, confuses you, contradicts in their guidance; while Aware teaches mindfulness exactly the way it should be (I am saying this from the years I have spent in Bhutan learning meditation). I guess Aware is built in India, the country of origin of the practice.
    Most importantly, Aware has a terrific support team – they go beyond what is required to personally assist people. The developers of Aware personally wrote to me, called me and guided me when I wrote to them how I was suffering after my divorce. It blew me out. They really care for their users. They really do.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *