10 Calm Meditation App Alternatives

Insight Timer is the top free meditation app on iOS and Android.
Insight Timer is the top free meditation app on iOS and Android.

The Calm app helps people find tranquility with soothing meditations, sleep-inducing stories, and calming music. Many listeners enjoy the celebrity-led narrations and emphasis on improving sleep. However, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to mindfulness and meditation. 

While Calm is easy to use and features a variety of sleep content, accessing everything the app has to offer requires a premium subscription. Moreover, Calm has fairly limited content for meditation topics outside of sleep. This article explores some Calm alternatives that may better suit your needs, covering features, costs, and pros and cons. 

Key takeaways

  • Insight Timer is the best alternative to the Calm app, featuring the largest collection of free guided meditations of any app on the market.
  • Headspace and Ten Percent Happier are also top choices, though they require paid subscriptions to gain complete access to meditation resources.
  • Other free apps, such as note-taking and breathwork apps, offer simpler mindfulness solutions.

1. Insight Timer 

Insight Timer is a free mindfulness and meditation app that checks every box! With over 200,000 free tracks and 80+ new ones added daily, Insight Timer boasts the largest collection of meditation resources of any app. Enjoy expert-led meditation techniques, soundscapes, courses, a customizable timer, live events, and more. 

But the offerings don’t stop there: Insight Timer stands out for its tight community of spiritual teachers, leaders, and meditators. Anyone around the world can make meaningful connections by joining interest-based groups on the app. 

Insight Timer’s mission is to share the positive impact of meditation with as many people as possible worldwide. That’s why almost all meditation resources are completely free! 

Insight Timer features

Insight Timer offers an easy-to-use interface, allowing you to select guided meditations, meditation timers, breathwork sessions, visualization sessions, and more right from the home page. As soon as you open the app, you’ll be greeted with an inspirational quote and the option to log your mood. From there, you can:

Using the search function, you can also find specific meditations to suit your needs, like for better sleep, chakra balancing, or stress relief

Insight Timer pros and cons

Pros include:

  • free access to almost all meditation content
  • 18,000+ world-renowned meditation teachers 
  • resources for meditators and yogis of all levels
  • custom meditation timer with different sounds and settings
  • 25,000+ community groups based on interests 
  • guided meditation content for children
  • free live events and workshops led by top mindfulness and yoga experts 

Cons include:

  • feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of meditations and groups
  • premium content requires a paid subscription

Insight Timer cost 

Insight Timer’s goal is to provide free meditations to as many people as possible. Most of the meditation content (over 200,000 tracks and resources) is free and doesn’t require a paid subscription. 

However, a subscription option called Member Plus is available. This plan costs $59.99 a year and gives you access to premium features including courses, advanced journaling, and offline listening. 

Check out Insight Timer’s 200,000+ meditations to improve mental health, sleep, and overall well-being. Get free access to over 18,000 of the world’s leading teachers, thousands of guided meditations, and a growing community of like-minded individuals to help deepen your practice.

Community reviews 

See what users have to say about Insight Timer’s numerous features and benefits:

“I was curious about meditation and simply downloaded for the trial. I’ve literally used this app every day (multiple times a day) for over a month now. This app is much more than meditations — of which there is a huge variety. The course and talks are fantastic, and the music is great also. There are live events, journaling, etc. If you are curious, just try it. Trial is a week long, and, in my opinion, the yearly subscription is well worth the price given the immense content.”

Amy Yeary

“I find these meditations very helpful, especially to help with sleep. I usually fall asleep to one and often get back to sleep with one in the middle of the night. Even when I am not able to sleep, I am more relaxed, which is restorative, too. I find listening to a short morning meditation helps me frame my day in a more positive way. The vast material offered is mostly free, with the option to give a donation to individual speakers. I am grateful to have this app!”


2. Headspace

Headspace is a meditation app with guided mindfulness and meditation sessions geared toward beginners. Available on Apple and Android devices, this app focuses on reducing stress, managing anxiety, improving sleep, and enhancing focus. Co-founder Andy Puddicombe leads most of the sessions on the app.

Headspace is known for its suggested daily meditation routine, which includes a morning breathing exercise and meditation of the day, afternoon workout, and nighttime sleepcast — though users don’t have to follow it. With an easy-to-use interface and well-structured programs, Headspace is particularly appealing for novice meditators seeking to build a meditation habit.

Headspace features

Headspace’s content falls into four main categories (which can be found in the Explore tab): meditate, sleep, move, and music. Some of the features include:

  • video meditations and activities
  • kid-friendly content
  • “SOS” sessions for immediate stress relief 
  • sleep soundtracks and guided sleep exercises
  • recommended daily guided meditations
  • yoga and exercise tutorials

Headspace pros and cons

Pros include:

  • well-organized, structured meditation programs
  • easy-to-use interface, especially for beginners
  • variety of meditation topics
  • features podcasts and tutorial videos
  • free trial available before subscription

Cons include:

  • premium subscription required after the free trial
  • no meditations longer than 30 minutes
  • too basic for advanced meditators 
  • doesn’t have community features 

Headspace cost 

Headspace offers a free version with limited content, but a subscription is required to access all features. Monthly subscriptions are $12.99, annual subscriptions are $69.99, family annual packages are $99.99, and student plans are $9.99. New users can enjoy a free trial lasting seven to 14 days depending on their membership level.

3. Ten Percent Happier 

Inspired by Dan Harris’s book of the same name, Ten Percent Happier is a meditation app for mindfulness and meditation beginners that helps people achieve happier lives. The app simplifies meditation with guided tracks, audio lessons, and video courses, helping users manage stress, improve focus, and boost happiness. 

Ten Percent Happier stands out for its shorter, structured sessions that focus on real-life uses of mindfulness, like enhancing relationships and improving sleep quality. Let’s take a closer look at Ten Percent Happier’s features, pros and cons, and cost below.

Ten Percent Happier features

This app keeps meditation fairly simple with features like: 

  • sleep meditations
  • premium meditation courses 
  • podcasts and video content
  • personal coaching from teachers
  • progress tracking (session time, streaks, etc.)

Similarly to Calm and Headspace, Ten Percent Happier is limited in its number of courses and tracks. This can be appealing to beginners who are just starting to build a meditation habit.

Ten Percent Happier pros and cons

Pros include:

  • variety of experienced meditation teachers and coaches
  • simple interface makes it easy to navigate
  • all meditations come with an intro video
  • great for beginners who want a structured approach
  • free seven-day trial before subscription starts
  • has topic-specific meditations for anxiety, pain, depression, etc.

Cons include:

  • very limited free content
  • only 500 meditations available with subscription
  • no monthly payment options, only annual
  • doesn’t have community or group features 
  • may not engage advanced meditators

Ten Percent Happier cost 

Subscribing to Ten Percent Happier costs $99 a year, or $8.33 a month. You can try it for free for seven days, but then you’ll be prompted to pay for an annual membership.

4. Gaia

Gaia is a meditation app that offers guided meditations, yoga classes, and documentaries for a balanced, spiritual life. It caters to beginners and experts. The app also provides tools to boost physical health, fitness, and spiritual exploration. To access Gaia, you can subscribe to their service and use it on web browsers, mobile apps, and smart TVs.

5. Pixel Thoughts

Pixel Thoughts is a simple meditation app. It helps you manage stress and anxiety in just 60 seconds, using a beautiful starry universe to help you relax. It can be used on any device with an internet connection. The free version has all the key features. But if you want more, you can upgrade to the paid version for even more functionalities.

6. Pokoy 

Pokoy is a meditation app that combines gaming elements to make it more interactive and enjoyable. It can be accessed on both iOS and Android devices and has a free version with optional paid features. Pokoy is great for people new to mindfulness or for those who prefer a more dynamic approach. However, it likely won’t provide the same calming meditation as traditional methods.

7. Aura

Aura is a meditation app designed specifically for each user. It uses advanced technology to suggest things for you to try based on your feedback. It has a wide range of content including bedtime stories, calming nature sounds, and helpful sessions with life coaches. Plus, it offers quick three-minute meditations for when you’re busy. There’s a free version available on iOS and Android devices, but if you want more features, you can subscribe to the premium version.

8. Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is an Australian app that helps people of all ages practice meditation. Its educational resources and programs for different age groups make it great for schools. The app also has modules to help with mindfulness at work and a feature for daily check-ins. It may not have as much content or fancy features as paid apps, but is still a great, simple meditation option.

9. Healthy Minds

Brain scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created Healthy Minds. This app provides practices that are based on science and gives personalized paths for each user. It also offers chances for learning and the ability to track your progress. It is available for free on both iOS and Android devices, thanks to generous donations and support from the community. However, some users may find that its structured approach is a bit too rigid for their liking.

10. Buddhify

Buddhify is a mobile meditation app with more than 200 different meditations to choose from. You can organize these meditations into categories, either based on what you’re doing or how you’re feeling. You can choose to meditate alone or have someone guide you through the practice. Buddhify also has a cool wheel interface for picking a meditation. It’s a one-time purchase, so you don’t have to pay a monthly fee like other apps. However, it lacks a structured meditation program.

The best free alternative to Calm: Insight Timer 

While the apps detailed above offer helpful features for different needs, Insight Timer stands out as the best app for its holistic and accessible approach to meditation and mindfulness. With the most free content of any app, tens of thousands of groups, and hundreds of meditation topic pages, there’s no doubt about it: Insight Timer can meet the needs of any meditator, from the least experienced to the most advanced.
Download Insight Timer today in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Learn from some of the top meditation experts worldwide and begin your transformative journey for free.

Alternatives to Calm FAQs 

What are the benefits of using a meditation app?

A meditation app is ideal for those looking to build a consistent meditation practice. Guided meditations can provide direction and structure for beginner meditators. Additionally, meditation apps like Insight Timer are a great place for making connections! Insight Timer has over 25,000+ groups based on meditation interests, making it easy for anyone to find community.  

Is there any other app like Calm but free?

Insight Timer is the best free alternative to Calm. With the largest collection of free meditation tracks from top experts, Insight Timer caters to a variety of needs for meditators of all levels. Headspace and Ten Percent Happier are also great options, but feature very limited free content once the trials are over. 

What are some highly rated mindfulness apps similar to Calm?

Insight Timer is one of the highest-rated mindfulness apps on the market. With millions of active users, the app features 200,000+ mindfulness meditations. Explore meditation tracks, playlists, courses, workshops, and more on the app. Other mindfulness apps include Headspace, Smiling Mind, and Ten Percent Happier.

What are some free apps similar to Calm for anxiety and sleep?

Insight Timer and Smiling Mind are free meditation apps with a variety of options to help you sleep and ease anxiety. Medito is another free app that features guided sleep meditations, but the selection of content is limited.

Meditation. Free.