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Which Is Better, Calm or Headspace?

Posted on November 26 2022


  • Headspace and Calm are two of the most popular meditation apps on the market. Both offer a wide range of features, from guided meditation to mindfulness exercises.
  • Headspace focuses on teaching users how to practice mindful living through its various courses and programs. The app also provides users with mini-meditations they can do in three minutes or less.
  • Calm offers sleep stories, calming nature scenes, breathing exercises, and more. As a bonus, Calm also features masterclasses from well-known experts in various fields.
  • However, if you're looking for something more direct in its focus, you might wish to try one of the many other meditation and mindfulness apps available.


If you're looking for a meditation app or something to improve your mindfulness and well-being, you've probably already come across Headspace and Calm. But with both being relatively expensive, you're probably wondering how the two compare and which to download.

Headspace was created by an ex-Buddhist monk. It is designed to offer users various meditations and techniques to help them manage stress, focus better and improve their mental well-being. It also provides several courses and programs on parenting, relationships, and work-related stress.

Calm is a lot simpler in its approach to meditation, offering users breathing and mindfulness exercises with meditation sessions that range from 3 minutes to 25 minutes. It also has an extensive library of guided meditations and sleep stories designed to help users wind down and relax.

So which is better, Headspace or Calm?

In this article, we'll pit Headspace vs Calm. We'll look at the pros and cons of both apps, their features, and what makes them different. Finally, we'll judge whether Headspace or Calm is right for you and make suggestions if they’re not quite what you're looking for. Let's jump in!


If we're going to pit Headspace vs Calm, we need to start somewhere. While Headspace may be the first app we look at, readers shouldn't assume it's the best. Both apps have important plus points and a few cons, so let's dive in and judge at the end!

Pros and Cons of Headspace

Headspace has seen a dramatic surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It differs from other meditation and mindfulness apps because of its quality, quantity, and user experience. Headspace provides daily guided meditations that range from ten minutes to one hour in length and address a wide array of topics, including stress, anxiety, sleep, and relationships.

Headspace also focuses on providing a unique and engaging experience for users with its lively animations, videos, mindful moments between sessions, meditations for kids, and sleep stories. This means that each time you open the app, there is something new to discover-making it a more enjoyable experience overall.

But does it live up to its lofty claims? 

Here are some pros and cons of using Headspace for your mental health needs.

The Positives

  • Accessible: With over 65 million downloads, it's clear that Headspace is accessible to millions worldwide. It's available on iOS and Android platforms and Alexa-enabled devices, meaning users can access it virtually anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Comprehensive: Headspace offers many different mental health and wellness tools that help users address both their current needs and long-term goals. For instance, the app includes guided meditations, stress-relief exercises, sleep aids, breathing exercises, and more. Plus, it contains helpful tracking tools to monitor your progress over time.
  • Variety: Headspace offers a wide range of content, from short meditations to more extended programs that can span several months. This variety helps users find the right program and makes it easier to keep up with their practice over time.
  • Easy for beginners: Headspace also makes it easy for beginners to get started with meditation, as the app comes with simple instructions and colorful visuals. Plus, users don't need special equipment or knowledge to start. As you progress, you can access more advanced courses and tools.

The Negatives

  • Expensive: You'll need to sign up for a paid subscription to Headspace. After a free trial, it costs $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year. This could be considered a bit expensive for an app and not seen as worth the price for some users.
  • Lack of personalized content: While Headspace is comprehensive and offers plenty of helpful tools, it's important to note that all content is generalized. Although the app offers tracking features, it doesn't provide tailored advice or solutions based on a user's mental health journey. Equally, advanced practitioners will find little use here.
  • Overwhelming: With so much content available, users may find navigating the app challenging and deciding which programs will be most beneficial for them. This could cause some users to give up on the app altogether or become overwhelmed by all the options.
  • Paywall City: Everything in the Headspace app exists behind a paywall. While the monthly subscription package comes with a 7-day free trial (14 days for a yearly subscription), you'll soon have to pay for your mindfulness and well-being.

Overall, Headspace can be an effective tool for improving mental health and well-being. However, it's essential to consider both the pros and cons before using it as your primary source of help. It's also important to note that mental health issues should be discussed with a qualified professional to get the best possible results.

Top Features of Headspace

  • Guided meditation: Headspace offers hundreds of guided meditations for different levels of experience. The app also provides helpful information about how to get started with meditation and create a daily practice routine.
  • Sleepcasts & Music: Users can access sleepcasts and music tracks specially designed to relax their minds and body before bedtime or during stressful moments throughout the day.
  • Mindful Movement: This feature offers users a variety of mindful movement activities like yoga and mindful running.
  • Programs & Courses: Headspace has engaging courses and programs designed to help people improve their emotional awareness, build resilience, and cope with challenging situations in life.


Now that we've heard about Headspace, we have one side of the Calm vs Headspace debate. However, we need to hear about the competition to judge whether Headspace or Calm is the better app. So let's take a look!

Pros and Cons of Calm

The Calm app is designed to help users relax and reduce stress through guided meditations, music, soundscapes, sleep stories, and more. It provides a wide range of content that appeals to both beginners and experienced meditators, making it one of the most popular meditation apps on the market. Calm was launched in 2012 by co-founders Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew, best known for their previous success in creating the popular website 

Calm provides users with guided meditation programs that can be followed via audio, video, and text. It also offers a range of sleep stories narrated by celebrities such as Harry Styles and LeBron James. Other features include“Mindful Moments” that take users through breathing exercises, body scans to help them focus on the present moment, as well as tools for tracking the user’s progress. 

The Positives

  • Wide selection of content: Calm has hundreds of guided meditations for different levels, from beginner to expert. It also offers relaxing music, nature sounds, bedtime stories, and other features to aid in relaxation. This makes it an excellent choice for users who want to explore different types of content.
  • Personalization options: Users can personalize their experience by choosing the length and type of session they want and creating playlists with their favorite songs or relaxing soundscapes. These options give users greater control over their experience.
  • Well-designed user interface: Calm's user interface is straightforward, making it a great choice for users who want an app that is straightforward and hassle-free. There are also personalization options to set it apart in the Headspace vs Calm argument.
  • Free Stuff: Calm offers a few things for free, meaning you can get a good sample of what to expect. There are between 5 and 10 lessons for meditation, which cover issues such as anxiety, sleep, and stress.

The Negatives

  • Limited progress tracking features: Calm doesn't have as robust of a progress monitoring feature as Headspace, making it harder to track your practice over time. This can make staying motivated and maintaining a regular meditation routine harder.
  • Not for beginners: Many of the meditations included in Calm feel like they require some level of knowledge going in. This can make it a little harder for those just getting started.
  • Limited types of meditation sessions: Calm mainly focuses on relaxation and stress relief rather than mindfulness or other forms of meditation. This can be limiting for users who want to learn more.
  • Comparatively expensive plans: Like Headspace, Calm can be costly if you're on a budget. Calm premium costs $14.99 per month or $69.99, putting it in the same ballpark as Headspace.

Top Features of Calm

  • Daily Calm: The Daily Calm is a 10-minute session that helps you focus and relax. It includes a mix of meditations, music, and stories to calm the mind and body.
  • Sleep Stories: Sleep stories are audio-only recordings featuring calming bedtime tales to help adults and children drift off into peaceful slumber.
  • Guided Meditation: There are hundreds of guided meditations in the app, covering topics such as stress relief, gratitude, and self-love. Equally, other guided activities, such as breathing exercises, body scans, and creative visualizations, deepen your practice even further in only a few minutes.
  • The Calm Kids program: This is specifically designed for children aged 3-17 and helps them develop calm, resilient, and emotional intelligence. Equally, it can help children relax, sleep better, and create healthy habits for life, meaning it's a plus for parents too!

Calm vs Headspace-Who is the Winner?

Before we delve into answering which is better, we need to truly pit the two apps against each other-Calm vs Headspace style!

One of the significant differences between the two apps is how their meditations are structured. Headspace's meditations are usually more structured and require users to complete one session before advancing to the next. This structure creates a sense of progression and encourages users to continue with their journey through meditation. On the other hand, Calm offers a free-flowing, user-choice approach. You can choose which sessions to complete at any time without feeling restricted by a predetermined program.

Another major difference when looking at Headspace vs Calm is their approach to sleep. Headspace has a significant section on its website on how to fall asleep, focusing on meditation. In comparison, Calm only has select meditation courses focused on sleep. Most of the content dedicated to mediation are children's stories narrated by celebrities or other well-known characters.

When it comes to focusing, Headspace again has the upper hand in this Headspace vs Calm contest. With Headspace, there are different ways that you can learn how to focus, with a considerable emphasis placed on meditation. In contrast, in Calm, there is no such emphasis. The Headspace app even has an entire area devoted exclusively to "Focus" with featured sections like "For studying" and "Quick Resets."

To finish our look at Headspace vs Calm, let's discuss exercise. Although Headspace and Calm both feature exercise, Calm dedicates more time to physical activity than Headspace does. The "Movement" section of the Calm app focuses on yoga and the variety of ways it can be performed. Similarly, some meditations are designed for walking, meaning you can integrate your mindfulness practice into your everyday life. In contrast, Headspace only has a few exercises available and doesn't give attention to exercise (like Calm does).

The Verdict-Headspace vs Calm

Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for in an app when deciding which one is better-Headspace or Calm. Both are great options for anyone looking to incorporate meditation into their daily routine. 

Headspace is ideal for beginners looking for a structured system to progress through, and Calm offers more freedom and choice. Headspace is better for those wanting to learn and focus on meditation. At the same time, Calm has a larger selection of activities, including yoga and walking. 

Ultimately, the best one for you will depend on your needs and which app can better accommodate them.

What if Headspace or Calm Don't Meet Your Needs?

If you find that neither Headspace nor Calm meets all of your needs, you could consider other avenues for your meditation, mindfulness, and well-being.

For example, most towns and cities will have local mindfulness classes or meditation groups. This can be a great way to get the support of an experienced teacher who can take you through your practice in person. Equally, you could make many lifestyle changes to support your well-being, such as getting more exercise, eating well, and connecting with people.

And, of course, you may also want to try other apps, which brings us to the next section. 

Alternative Apps

If you’re looking for other apps like Headspace and Calm there are plenty of other options available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. 

Mesmerize-Visual Meditation App

Mesmerize is a visual meditation experience that will help you relax and find clarity and inner peace. Featuring engaging visuals with relaxing music and expertly crafted guided meditations, it offers an immersive audio-visual experience like no other.

Unlike apps like Headspace and Calm, Mesmerize allows you to customize the meditation experiences according to your needs. You can choose from various visuals, music, and narrated meditations to tailor the experience to what you are looking for. Unlike Calm, it's perfect for beginners, and those unhappy with how overwhelming Headspace is will also be more comfortable here. Download Mesmerize on the App Store or Google Play today. 


If you’re looking for an app that will help you fall asleep easier and feel more at peace, look no further than Pzizz. Unlike apps like Headspace and Calm, which require you to build up certain habits or practices, the Pzizz app works with the push of a button. With our unique combination of sounds, Pzizz provides a personalized experience for each user.

The most significant difference between these three solutions is their approach to helping people achieve better sleep. Apps like Headspace and Calm focus on creating habits leading to better sleep, such as breathwork techniques and mindfulness practices. On the other hand, Pzizz is designed to make falling asleep easier with its unique Dreamscapes. If you’re ready to start your journey to better sleep, download Pzizz on the App Store or Google Play today!

Happy Not Perfect

Happy Not Perfect is an interactive digital platform that makes caring for your mental health and well-being easy. It provides users with personalized tools, activities, and resources to help them manage stress, improve focus, gain clarity and reach their goals. Features include the Daily Happiness Workout, a Sleep Wind-Down tool, over 500+mindfulness sessions, and integrated tracking.

Happy Not Perfect is more of a mental self-care tool than apps like Headspace and Calm. It helps you understand your feelings, learn how to manage them, build healthy coping strategies and create an action plan. It's perfect for anyone looking to find the support they need in taking care of their mental well-being and has been backed by science.


So which is better, Calm or Headspace? Well, perhaps this is the wrong question. It all depends on which kind of experience you are looking for. If you want to focus on meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation, then Headspace or Calm may be the perfect choice for you. 

But suppose your focus is more on sleep. In that case, Pzizz could provide an excellent solution for those who find apps like Headspace and Calm lacking customization options and sound variety. Ultimately which app is best for you comes down to which one resonates with you most!


Who are the target audiences for Headspace and Calm?

Headspace and Calm both target beginners and experienced meditators alike. They offer content for users of all ages and skill levels, making them accessible to anyone interested in exploring meditation. However, Headspace is perhaps more beginner friendly.

Is Headspace or Calm better for someone who has never tried meditation before?

Headspace provides a more comprehensive introduction to meditation than Calm does. It offers beginner-friendly audio lessons that gradually introduce users to different types of meditation practices, such as mindful breathing or visualization. Additionally, it features interactive activities and exercises that make it easy to understand the basics of meditation.

Which app is more cost-effective?

Calm offers a small amount of free content, while Headspace requires a subscription fee to access all its features. However, both apps offer discounts if you opt for an annual subscription.