The 8 Best Meditation Apps of 2021

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The 8 Best Meditation Apps of 2021

Best Overall: Calm


Courtesy of iTunes 

What do you need to work on? Anxious thoughts? Lack of focus? A stressed-out psyche? Calm’s guided meditations have you covered. More than that, though, the app really focuses on teaching you a variety of tools and using different modalities to help you stay centered throughout the day-to-day.

What makes Calm stand out from the crowd are their wellbeing offerings that go beyond their already impressive meditation catalog. Their newest offering is Calm Body, which are 10-minute guided videos that teach gentle stretching to help you unwind. One of the best features is “Sleep Stories,” which feature bedtime stories read by the soothing voices of celebs (like Matthew McConaughey).

Looking for more ideas? Take a peek at our roundup of the best meditation books.

Best Budget: Insight Timer

Insight Timer

 Courtesy of iTunes

Insight Timer offers more than 45K free meditations—that’s a big deal, as one of the biggest complaints about other apps is their lack of free content. The library allows you to filter by need (e.g. stress, sleep, self-esteem), time (5 to 30+ minutes), or specific benefit (e.g. relationships, spiritual, kids). If you’re just getting started, opt for the seven-day free course on how to meditate. You can also join the community of fellow mindful folks for free.

Best for Sleep: Headspace: Meditation & Sleep


 Courtesy of iTunes

If you’re the type whose mind gets lost in worry (or flooded with to-do lists) the minute your head hits the pillow, then Headspace should be your go-to. This app provides breathing exercises, sleep meditations, and wind-down exercises. The screen is dimmed, so there’s no blaring, headache-inducing bright light to worry about.

While the app is free, you’ll want to take advantage of the subscription in order to access the all-important sleepcasts, to help get your mind ready for sleep.

Check out our reviews of the best books for anxiety.

Best for Beginners: Ten Percent Happier Meditation

10% Happier

Courtesy of iTunes 

Based off of the popular book by ABC news anchor Dan Harris, this app will teach you the how-to behind meditating, in a fun, easy, and accessible way. It's suited for anyone, but especially those who think they’re “not the meditation type” and can't find the time to start a meditation practice.

You'll be lead through short on-the-go meditations designed to be listened to whenever you can fit them in (like during your commute). Try to see how many consecutive “Mindful Days” you rack up: with time, these moments of calm will come second nature.

Best for Kids: Stop, Breathe & Think Kids

Stop, Breathe & Think


Designed for children and adults, anyone can use this app daily to learn to calm down, work through mood swings, effectively learn to deal with negative emotions like disappointment, and sleep better with mindfulness games.

The app has adorable animations and rewards with virtual stickers to reinforce all the work kids are doing. Ultimately, tapping into this app on the regular—the activities are short and sweet—will help build resilience and teach them to manage what’s getting under their skin, skills that they’ll take with them for life. You can also do the activities with them. Guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two, too.

Best Guided: Buddhify


 Courtesy of iTunes

What’s going on with you now? Right now? Whether you’re grabbing a minute in between to-do’s at work, taking a walk, boarding a plane, or dealing with overwhelming feelings, this app has a targeted meditation (over 200 of them) waiting for you.

It's super easy to use—you can create your own “wheel” of meditation practices for quick access when you need them. Each one lasts four to 30 minutes, so you can find time to meditate no matter how swamped you are. As you advance in your skill, you can use their timer to meditate on your own without guidance.

Best For Focus: Unplug


 Courtesy of iTunes

If you have five minutes, you have enough time to meditate. Unplug excels in guided meditations, but also allows you to self-direct with unobtrusive timers and ambient sounds. Because just a few minutes are required, it’s great to use when you need to refocus and destress during the workday. Want to commit? Tackle their 30-day challenge to make meditation a daily habit for the long-haul.

Best Selection: Simple Habit

Simple Habit

 Courtesy of iTunes

No matter your meditation goal—to boost self-confidence, shake off anxiety, get over a breakup, or simply be present—Simple Habit has a large library of meditations, all cataloged and easy to find. You’ll love how each meditation is very specifically titled, making mindfulness something you can turn to for any occasion.

One of the big perks of their premium subscription is that you can use the app offline, which makes catching a few minutes of mindfulness even more accessible. It may even be necessary for your mental health, too. The app offers special meditations designed to help you overcome panic attacks or lessen stress.

How We Chose the Best Meditation Apps

Our writers spent hours researching the best meditation apps on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered more than 20 meditation apps, read over 150 reader reviews (both positive and negative), and used 4 of the meditation apps themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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