14 Meditation Apps to Help You Keep Your Cool All Day, Every Day

Your daily grind is hard enough—finding your zen doesn't have to be.

Best Meditation Apps to Help You Stay Calm All Day, Everyday: smartphone and earbuds
Photo: Getty Images

Meditation, despite all its mood-boosting and mind-soothing benefits, isn't the easiest habit to start—but there are plenty of meditation apps out there to help pave the way. Whether you're looking for a tried-and-true meditation app, one that covers just the basics, or one that offers guided meditations, your perfect meditation app is out there; finding it might just take a little patience. (Good thing all this meditation will give your patience level a healthy boost.)

When comparing meditation apps, consider what you want from your ideal app. Do you want a good, consistent experience, no matter the cost? Or are you trying to save as much as possible (and avoid annoying in-app purchases)? Do you want a guided meditation app that will walk you through the process, or do you just want to hear soothing sounds? Should the app focus exclusively on meditation, or do you want it to explore other areas of self-care, too? Answering these questions will help you find the best meditation app for you, which will hopefully help you stick to your meditation practice.

Now for some hard truths: Most quality meditation apps aren't free. Many are free to download and then offer subscription models with recurring payments; others charge a one-time fee to download. Free meditation apps are out there, but they may offer a different quality experience or more limited options than you might get from a paid app. If you plan to make a habit out of meditation with an app, paying a small price may be worth it. (If you're just trying it, stick to meditation apps with free trials until you're sure it's worth any investment.)

When you know what you're looking for, take a look at these top meditation apps, assuming your phone has room to download another app (click here to learn how to clean out your phone if that's not the case). Your new go-to trick for calming down or keeping your cool might be just a tap away.

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Simple Habit

Mediation Apps 2020: Simple Habit meditation app

You know meditation is a good idea, but squeezing in pre-planned zone-out time between breakfast, your lunch meeting, and walking the dog seems impossible. But any effort is better than no effort. Even five minutes makes a difference, and Simple Habit has a meditation for any free stretch of time in your overpacked day. Tune into a short meditation custom-made to calm you down—there's one for symptoms like stress or depression, and for a specific part of the day, like waking up and commuting. No matter whether you prefer a traditional meditation led by a former monk or want a modern alternative (like experts trained through Google's mindfulness program), Simple Habit will give you the peace you need—in less time than it takes to finish a cup of coffee.

Pricing and details: Free to download, update to premium from $4. For iOS and Android devices.

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Meditation app - Calm

Has your practice moved beyond short meditative sprints? Cultivate your skills with Calm. Abbreviated exercises are available for busy mornings, but this app is better suited for longer sessions of up to 25 minutes. (Unguided and open-ended meditation is also available.) Hold yourself accountable: Calm tracks how much time you spent meditating and records your daily streak. And you can stop struggling to slip into slumber. A 10-minute Daily Calm soothes your worries and brushes away nighttime anxiety. Or, the app's collection of short, relaxing stories promises to take you to snooze-town.

Pricing and details: Free to download, subscriptions from $15 per month. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Headspace meditation pp

Unsure how to get started with this whole, strange, "meditation" thing? Try Headspace. This meditation app promises to get you up to speed and teach you how to slow down. Whether you're crippled with anxiety or struggling in your relationship, Headspace offers several different meditation options. Some days you might practice focusing; others, you're banishing intrusive thoughts. Headspace has a free 10-day trial, and paid subscriptions—including a monthly family plan—include expert guidance, activities for kids, short meditations to squeeze into your day, and more.

Pricing and details: Free to download, subscriptions from $13 per month. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Buddhify meditation app

Proper meditation doesn't mandate quietly sitting in a chair. Yes, you can squeeze in some zen even if you're cooking dinner, taking a long walk, or browsing the internet. Designed to be used on the go, Buddhify offers more than 200 meditations that range from three to 40 minutes. Even the interface is relaxing, letting you pick your mood and meditation on a gorgeous color wheel. Just opening this meditation app might be enough to calm you down.

Pricing and details: $5. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Shine Meditation

Started by two women of color, this self-care app feels more like a personal community of mental health cheerleaders. Start every day with a Daily Shine—a personalized motivational mantra—listen to customized meditations, journal your reflections, get self-care recommendations, and swap thoughts with a diverse, caring community of Shine experts and users.

Pricing and details: Free to download, subscriptions from $12 per month. For iOS and Android devices.

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Ten Percent Happier

Best Meditation Apps 2020: Ten Percent Happier meditation app

After the success of his best-selling book 10 Percent Happier, ABC News anchor Dan Harris launched his podcast and meditation of the same name to make the amazing benefits of mindfulness and mediation accessible to everyone. It's an especially great meditation app for skeptics and beginners. With its clear, straightforward approach, you'll learn how to meditate from the world's top experts, mental tricks for dealing with stress and anxiety, and ways to cultivate gratitude, compassion, and joy. Still on the fence? Give it a test run with a free seven-day trial before spending a dime.

Pricing and details: Free to download, subscriptions from $9. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Welzen meditation app

With a narrower focus on mindfulness techniques and activities, Welzen features both progressive programs and one-off meditations. Choose from over 500 meditation options, either guided or unguided, to help find your sense of calm, resilience, confidence, and focus.

Pricing and details: Free to download, subscriptions from $10 per month. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Breathwrk breathing exercises mindfulness app

The Breathwrk app is a highly popular tool for those who want to harness the power of different breathing exercises and techniques to boost mental and physical health. While breathing is a fundamental part of meditation, this app is less about meditation specifically and more about practicing mindfulness breath work. Learn how to breathe to increase focus, improve physical performance, fall asleep, and reduce stress, calm anxiety, and so much more.

Pricing and details: Free to download, update to premium from $2. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Sattva Vedic meditation app

Unwind, reset, and find deep peace of mind with Sattva. This app draws from ancient Vedic wisdom and principles of meditation to bring guided meditations, chants, mantras, music, and more—facilitated by Sanskrit scholars—to the palm of your hand. Meditators and yogis will find hundreds of audio experiences to help deepen their practice and a chance to connect with Sattva's meditation community. But beginners shouldn't shy away—Sattva offers short and accessible guided meditations perfect for slowly building upon, as well as handy tools to manage and track their journey, like milestones, trophies, and personal stats.

Pricing and details: Free to download, subscriptions from $13 per month. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Breethe wellness and meditation app

Insomnia, anxiety, brain fog, relationship issues—whatever you're dealing with, Breethe has over 1,500 tracks to get you through it. Fall asleep (finally) to ambient noise, nature sounds, sleep music playlists, or a soothing story. Slow a worried, racing mind with breathing exercises, short meditations, and calming videos. You can even learn to manage stress through hypnotherapy sessions. Try the 12-week daily guided meditation program to learn the basics and make steady progress toward better sleep, more energy, a brighter outlook, and a calmer mind.

Pricing and details: Free to download, monthly memberships from $13. For iOS and Android devices.

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Simply Being

Best Meditation Apps 2020: Simply Being meditation app

Don't think you can get completely relaxed, centered in the present, and maybe even fall asleep in just about 15 minutes? Simply Being users would beg to differ. This app from Meditation Oasis offers seriously relaxing voice-guided meditations and sounds; but you can customize to mute any music or background audio that distract from your relaxing experience (or choose to listen to those alone, sans voiceover). For just $2 to download, this simple, yet effective app offers a lot of bang for your buck (and the app store reviews are pretty impressive).

Pricing and details: $2. For iOS and Android devices.

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Best Meditation Apps 2020: Meditopia meditation app

Meditopia is another great, holistic app for meditation, mindfulness, and all-around wellbeing. It features personalized meditations and soothing music to help melt away general stress, build emotional resilience, and cultivate compassion. Or try mindfulness-based programs to change your habits (and form new, good ones!). Thousands of meditations are available in nine different languages and touch on a range of universal topics, from loneliness to body positivity to gratitude.

Pricing and details: Free to download, update to premium from $3 per week. For iOS and Android devices.

Updated by
Maggie Seaver
Maggie Seaver

Maggie Seaver is the digital health and wellness editor at Real Simple, with seven years of experience writing lifestyle and wellness content. She spends her days writing and editing stories about sleep, mental health, fitness, preventive health, nutrition, personal development, relationships, healthy habits, and beyond. She loves demystifying complicated health topics, debunking wellness fads, and sharing practical, science-backed solutions for healthy living.

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