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Best online meditation apps

We personally tried out the most highly rated meditation apps to uncover the best ones to help bring a sense of calm to your life.

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woman sitting on terrace at home practicing yoga

How did we pick this list?

Our editorial team selected the products on this list based on customer ratings and reviews and hands-on use.

To determine our shortlist, we looked at apps that were available for both Android (Play Store) and iOS (App Store), had a rating of 4-stars or more and were downloaded over 500,000 times. This was to ensure their popularity and quality.

We then chose categories based on consumer interest, read hundreds of reviews and trialled the shortlisted apps to identify which fit the criteria of each category the best.

More detail on methodology below.

Best free meditation app: Insight Timer

Insight Timer App

Pro

  • Thousands of free meditations, music tracks and courses to delve into
  • Timer is customisable with a library of sounds for personal meditation

Con

  • The app has a tendency to crash on users
  • Visible user reviews and ratings for each meditation is unnecessary

Price: Free
Premium service: US$92.99/year

Check availability in Google Apps
Check availability in Apple Store

With over 45,000 free guided meditations and calming music to choose from in its library, Insight Timer was chosen as the best free meditation app. Its quantity doesn't supersede its quality either, with Play Store users rating it 4.8/5 and App Store users rating it 4.7/5.

The app has been downloaded over 1 million times and offers meditations, music, talks, a timer and themed courses, including a beginners course for those just starting out. Courses generally run for as little as 10 days or as long as 50 days.

When we trialled the app, we were pleasantly surprised by the breadth of content. To ease the stress of scrolling through it all, you can filter by needs (stress, sleep, etc) and by type (meditation, music or talks).

What we particularly loved is how you don't have to commit to a course to start meditating – you can simply pick and choose sessions as you please. Most offer you the option of a male or female guide and the ability to turn the background music on or off.

Our main criticism was that you can see reviews of each meditation. We found this off-putting as we believe meditation is subjective and some reviews were quite opinionated.


Best meditation app for sleep: Simple Habit

Simple Habit App

Pro

  • Simple and approachable navigation system
  • Ability to choose one-off practises or sign-up for a themed meditation series

Con

  • A very limited library of free meditations
  • Not all meditations have descriptions, which users have said is confusing, particularly if you want to participate in a guided series

Price: Free (very limited)
Upgrade: US$94.99/year

Check availability in Google Apps
Check availability in Apple Store

While not dedicated solely to sleeping, Simple Habit has an extensive library of sleep meditations for a variety of sleeping needs. For this reason, we chose it as the best app for aiding sleep. To further its quality, it's been downloaded 1 million times and has a 4.7/5 Play Store rating and a 4.8/5 App Store rating.

For one-off sleep meditations, there are three main focuses: "Can't sleep", "Going to sleep" and "Restless". They come in 5, 10 and 20-minute meditations, depending how much time you feel you need to ease yourself into slumber.

If you want to work through a meditation series, there's an ever-growing number of journeys to choose from, including meditations to prepare for sleep, meditations to help drift off to sleep, bedtime stories, sleep music and meditations to improve sleep.

When trying the app out, we loved how simple the interface was. You'll first filter by practise type (one-off or series) or teacher. The app will then list the available practises by need (sleep, anxiety, confidence, etc). We found that this makes it very approachable and simplifies the process of choosing your ideal meditation.

Unlike other apps we tried, Simple Habit doesn't include talks and personal stories. Instead, it's all about the practice. It's meditations are introspective, instructive and heavily focused on breathing and calming techniques, which are fundamental for improving sleep.


Best guided meditation app: Calm

Calm App

Pro

  • Heavily customisable app where you're personaled welcomed each time and can check-in with how you're feeling before and after meditations
  • Sits on the more affordable end of the meditation app scale

Con

  • Once your 7-day free trial is over, the free meditations become extremely limited
  • Users complain about the music glitching

Price: Free (limited)
Upgrade: $59.99/year

Check availability in Google Apps
Check availability in Apple Store

Having been downloaded over 10 million times from the Play Store and revelling in a 4.4-star rating on the platform, there's no question why Calm is our pick for the best guided meditation app. Apple users think even more highly of it, giving it a rating of 4.9/5 stars.

Whether you want a guided meditation or just a few minutes of relaxation, the app features meditations, sleep stories and music to suit your needs. It also offers meditation for kids, breathing exercises, stretching exercises, masterclasses led by experts and guest meditations by celebrities such as Bindi Irwin and Matthew Mcconaughey.

There's a good mix of one-off sessions and long-term courses of 7+ days to keep you motivated, and the app prompts you to check in with how you're feeling for the day, which is a nice touch.

When we gave it a try we instantly fell in love. From the moment you open it, a sense of calm is created. Soft music plays in the background and a personalised message to you reads "Good morning" or "Good evening", depending on the time of day.

The quality of the meditations and audio is exemplary, the library is seemingly endless and the general look and feel is aesthetically pleasing. Then there are the meditations. They're led by friendly, likeable and positive instructors that make you feel as though you're there in a meditation classroom as opposed to listening to a tired old script.

For many, you have the option to toggle between a male or female voice, and quotes often follow your practice to leave you with the best possible headspace.


Best meditation app for anxiety: Ten Percent Happier

Ten Percent App

Pro

  • Integrates the knowledge of medical professionals
  • Wide variety of courses for even niche themes, such as COVID-19, mindful screen time and money worries

Con

  • One of the priciest meditation apps around
  • Big focus on creator Dan Harris and his journey, which could sit negatively for anyone looking to focus purely on themselves

Price: $159.99/year

Check availability in Google Apps
Check availability in Apple Store

Developed by American news anchor Dan Harris after he suffered from a panic attack, and featuring talks with medical professionals, Ten Percent Happier was chosen as the best app for battling anxiety via meditation.

And it's not just anxiety that Ten Percent Happier addresses, either. Like many other meditation apps, Ten Percent Happier features guided practises, videos, talks and sleeping aids to create a well-rounded knowledge of how to meditate for health and wellness. The options range from single meditations to long talks, and you can even contact one of the app's meditation experts if you have any questions or need advice.

For those impacted by COVID-19, Ten Percent Happier has developed Coronavirus Sanity Meditations, which are designed for crisis responders, tough moments, dealing with family at home and making the most of things.

Giving it a test run, we found Ten Percent Happier to be very professional, both in its look and its content. It offers a mix of meditations and learnings, the latter of which educate you on the more scientific side of meditation and anxiety.

There's also a wide variety of interviews and personal testimonies to tap into. In fact, the app starts by playing Dan Harris's own personal story of the panic attack that led him to establish the Ten Percent Happier app.

  • Alternative recommendation: If you like Ten Percent Happier but aren't keen on the high price point, you might consider Waking Up. It has a similar feel, with short talks and Q&A sessions on top of meditation that incorporates education.

Methodology

30
Apps considered
14
Apps tested by Finder
4
Best apps chosen
  • We considered 30 meditation apps that had over 500,000 downloads each and a rating of at least 4-stars.
  • We excluded any apps that weren't available on both the Play Store and the App Store.
  • The products on this list were chosen by our editorial team and were not selected based on commercial relationships.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best meditation app for Android?

According to the Google Play Store, these meditation apps are some of the highest recommended by users. They all have a 4.8-star rating across over 500,000 downloads.

  • Let's Meditate: Sleep & Guided Meditation
  • Insight Timer
  • Meditation Music - Relax, Yoga
  • Waking Up: A Meditation Course
  • Prana Breath: Calm & Meditate

Which is the best meditation app for iOS?

According to the Apple App Store, these meditation apps are some of the highest recommended by users.. They all have a 4.8-star rating across over 500,000 downloads.

  • Waking Up: A Meditation Course
  • Headspace: Meditation and Sleep
  • Insight Timer

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