I Tried 5 (Free) Meditation Apps and Here Are the Reviews

Meditation apps that actually made it to my phone (Not Headspace)

A little on my silence

My last post was in August 2019. There are many reasons (*excuses) on why I haven’t been active on this site. One word: Expectations. In some way, I was discouraged after a lack of traffic to the site. After hours and hours of genuinely writing and reflecting, I get lots of spams and well, barely any traffic.

Well, after many months, I have gotten over it (*expectations) and I’m bursting with things to write on, which is how I decided to restart my writing here 🙂

Apps for mindfulness

2020 has been a year of #stayathome #anxietyattack #toiletpaper. Covid-19 has indeed turned out lives upside down.

This has also been a year that I resolved to get back on my meditation and it started off with me downloading all possible mindfulness, self-love, self-care, meditation apps from App Store. In today’s world, we are not limited by choices, we are spoilt by choices. There are just too many apps.

Well, take it as I’ve done the homework of sieving out the apps and these are the 5 of them that made an impression :).

1. Balance

Free. Use this for short breaks when you need a mid-day energy spur.

In terms of usage, this app surprised me the most. This is one of my frequently used app. Balance starts off with a free 10 days foundation plan, followed by Singles which are targetted 5-10 minutes meditation for different purposes. Of course, there are paid options to access all the content.


What I really like:

  • Personalised Program (the app takes into account if you have meditation experience or not which makes it more “personalised”)
  • Quick 5-10 minutes meditation singles. I enjoyed using during my afternoon slump and tune in to this for a 10 minutes work break in my WFH arrangement.

2. HERE – Interactive Meditation

Free. Use this if you prefer an activity based mindfulness practice (Good for managing anxiety and for kids!)

This is a relatively new and less known app but worth mentioning. The way meditation is done is very different. It has an optional interactive component to swipe or to control the size of your breathe orb. Something new right?

The app is versatile. If you are the traditional audio, close-your-eyes type, you can just close your eyes and listen. If you are the visual type, you can look at the visuals. If you are the kinesthetic type, you can interact with the app.


What I really like:

  • The interactive component which can be suitable for those who dislike the sitting and closing your eyes type of meditation.
  • App is free. No paid version but on a donation basis.

3. Happy Not Perfect

Free. Use this if you want a comprehensive app not just for meditation but for growing self-love and building mindfulness.

This is a quirky meditation/ mindfulness/ self-help/ self-love app. It’s similar to Calm but different. Different tools are offered here. There are courses, challenges, journal writing available in this app. I’ve been keeping this app due to all the interesting courses offered but the truth is, I haven’t been using this; not even hitting the free threshold (thankfully it is by count and not by time).


What I really like:

  • The variety of courses offered
  • Interesting tools like creating challenges, goals and diary all in one app!

4. Calm

Free. Use this for the masterclass and sleep stories. Good for families with kids.

Ah, the Calm app, I don’t think I need to expand much on this. A little overhyped but it’s popular because it works?

I enjoyed the masterclass by Elizabeth Gilbert so much that I downloaded it offline. I cried when listening to the Velveteen Rabbit in Sleep Stories.

Get a 30 days pass from my referral instead of the 7 days if you would like to try the premium version out.

What I really like:

  • Sleep Stories that have everything like bedtime stories for kids, fiction, non-fiction, nature and soundscapes
  • More section. The app is like a theme park, with Calm Masterclass, Calm Body (stretches), and Scenes (customised background for your app).

5. Insight Timer

Free. Use this when meditation is a serious business to you.

This is my default 20 minutes meditation. First, I want a countdown. The free version of the Balance app doesn’t have this. Unless I missed this “countdown” feature out somewhere, I think all the apps I mentioned do not have this. Most meditation sessions are curated and have a fixed time.

Insight Timer offers me the basic need for regular meditation. There are interval settings and the bells, they are so nice!

There are a whole lot of information in the app that I have not explored (to update when I’ve done so),

What I really like:

  • The timer feature that is 101% meant for meditation
  • How the app shows how many people in their community did meditation.


Bonus. Tapping Solutions

Free. Use this when meditation is not helping in your situation

Recently I got introduced to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Without knowing what it is, I went through it and it really made a difference! In a gist, EFT is a mindful activity to (1) tap according to the acupuncture points (2) facing your fear or anxiety by releasing them.

I combine this additional 10 minutes session with my morning 20 minutes meditation. It doesn’t help and I don’t know why, there are definitely some tension in those points and tapping does relief the tension. My suggestion is to not think so much and try it :).


What I really like:

  • A library of guided tapping sessions
  • Tapping sessions are short, around 10 minutes.

There are so many apps out there, find the one that suits you.

  • If you are totally new to meditation, try Calm.
  • If you fidget around during meditation, try Here.
  • If you are more into self-love, self-help, try Happy Not Perfect.
  • If you are already into meditation, try Insight Timer.
  • If you are trying to reduce anxiety and meditation isn’t helping, try the Tapping Solutions.

If you have kids:

  • If you have want your kids to try meditation, try Here.
  • If you want to connect with your kids during bedtime, try Calm.

If you use other apps and feel like they are awesome, do contact me and I would love to try that app out!