Headspace vs. Calm: Which Is Right for You?

UPDATED: April 2, 2022
PUBLISHED: November 17, 2021
Headspace vs. Calm: Which Is Right for You?

If you are looking for the best meditation app, you’ve likely encountered Calm and Headspace. Calm is currently the most popular meditation and sleep app in the world. With millions of downloads, it often ranks in the top 10 most popular health and fitness apps overall. Headspace, on the other hand, now vies to become the most downloaded meditation app. Plus, Headspace has the highest user rating, edging out Calm with a 4.9 stars at the Apple App store and 4.8 stars overall at Google Play.

Both Headspace and Calm are worth their subscription prices for many users. In fact, their costs compare at about $70 annually for either one. Both Headspace and Calm provide guided and unguided meditations, mindfulness exercises, guided breathing routines, and sleep music and meditations to help you get to sleep faster and more soundly.

So how do Headspace and Calm differ? And which meditation app is best?

What meditation app is best?

Both meditation and sleep apps each have their own strengths. In that regard, whether Calm or Headspace is best for you depends on what you value most from a meditation and mindfulness app.

Let’s break down where Headspace and Calm each hold an advantage before drilling down.

Headspace is better than Calm in:

  • Daily guidance to build a regimen
  • Greater video element
  • More cardio exercise
  • Group meditation
  • Pro Series for advanced meditation
  • A longer free trial period

Calm is better than Headspace in:

  • Greater variety of sleep tracks
  • Cohesiveness with meditation instructor Tamara Levitt
  • Overall ambience and sound quality
  • More content for child and adolescent sleep and behavioral issues
  • Larger meditation library to explore

Where Headspace Excels 

Headspace guides you to a healthier, holistic lifestyle

Headspace helps to build a happier, healthier you…one breath at a time.

Building a routine is maybe the hardest part of building a happier, healthier lifestyle. Where previous attempts have failed, Headspace excels at guiding you through a mindfulness routine.

How does the Headspace Today feature improve your life?

The Headspace Today feature serves as more than just another selection of audio and video files. It is your daily guide, and it is your digital life coach. While not taking much of your valuable time, it brilliantly sets the course of your day… from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. And although Today offers a daily meditation, it does not ignore the importance of the whole person in building a healthy regimen. That is, it includes learning and physical activity too.

This important Headspace feature starts your morning with a mindful breathing exercise. This gets you focused in the morning when you need it most. The Wake Up then helps set you into a positive frame of mind. The Wake up is a sort of a mini-documentary, and it’s great for either morning coffee, workout or commute. And the morning closes with a guided meditation that you can access at any time.

Then, in the afternoon when many of us may start to feel sluggish, the Today feature provides Your Afternoon Lift. These range from cardio workouts to soothing music, each designed to refocus your positive energy. And lastly, you access At Night. These sleepcasts are very well-produced. They begin as a sort of radio play, using sound and visualization techniques to put in a relaxing space. From there, they gently transition into sleep meditations. Although I often have trouble falling to sleep, I’ve never stayed awake through an entire 45 minute episode. I’ve had much happier dreams, too.

This sort of structure—from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep—never feels intrusive. Even if you use push notifications, Headspace doesn’t feel invasive. It’s always there, waiting for you whatever hours you keep. In this way, Headspace provides the opportunity to build your own healthy regimen.

Get fit with an extensive library of workout videos.

Headspace also makes more use of video than most meditation and mindfulness apps. Nowhere is this more apparent than in its large library of workout videos.

While many mindfulness apps focus mostly on meditation and sleep, the Headspace app does not ignore the importance of physical fitness. In fact, few things relieve stress and increase focus so much as physical activity. Whatever your form of exercise—yoga, core strength, or even dancing—Headspace has videos for you. After first using the wellness routines you are familiar with, branch out and try others.

Try Headspace free for 14 days.

Rather than a seven-day free trial period, Headspace offers 14 days.

This is important. A 14-day free trial period means a lot more than “getting more for free.” It means Headspace is confident in the value of its product. It gives you time to learn the app and feel its benefits through greater mindfulness and happiness.

Who could benefit from the Calm sleep and meditation app?

For users with children with behavioral or depression issues, Calm’s youth content is unmatched. In fact, Calm was the app of choice for a behavioral study regarding children under 18 years old experiencing improper sleep and resulting behavioral issues. The study showed that the Calm app improved a host of mental health issues among children and teens.

Calm provides the best audio for better sleep

If you are an audiophile, Calm is the app of choice for you. The sound quality is impeccable throughout. The audio tracks also make great use of ambient nature sounds that add to the calming meditations. And the library of mindfulness meditations is vast, with over 700 guided meditations to access at any time.

Where Calm especially excels is in its abundance of sleep tracks. These include sleep meditations, bedtime stories for adults and children, soundscapes, and relaxing music. Here is where the sound quality really matters. If sleeping better, faster, and more soundly is of high priority, Calm may edge out Headspace for you.

You’ll love the voice of Calm

And finally, there is wellness and meditation expert Tamara Levitt. This author and mindfulness instructor serves to a large degree as the voice of Calm. Although she does not dominate the content—there are plenty of other instructors—she adds a unique cohesion to the app with new content daily. Her voice and style are warm, instructive, soothing, and—in a word—calming

Headspace vs. Calm: Which is the best app for you overall?

Both Headspace and Calm lead the pack in the meditation and mindfulness app space. Either Calm or Headspace are great for beginners, too. The one you choose will reflect your personal needs for wellness. If a large library of sleep sounds, music, and meditations is a top priority, Calm may be the better choice. Also, the sound quality and Tamara Levitt’s personal touch will add to Calm’s value for many.

Headspace, however, leads in building a daily regimen. It helps you integrate mindfulness and meditation into your daily life. And it does so with a regimen that nevers feels too time-consuming and with mindfulness push notifications that never seem overbearing. The 14-day trial period also provides ample time to truly build healthy habits before you decide to buy.

Where can I find the Calm and Headspace Apps?

Find Calm at:

  • The Apple App Store
  • Google Play
  • Calm Website for Desktop

Find Headspace at:

  • The Apple App Store
  • Google Play
  • Headspace Website for Desktop
Bryan Lindenberger

Bryan enjoys the digital space where arts and technology meet. As a writer, he has worked in education, health and wellbeing, and manufacturing. He also assists smaller businesses in web development including accessibility and content development. In his free time, he hikes trails in central Florida.