10 best Headspace 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.

Thanks to technology, more people than ever before can access guided meditations anywhere and anytime. And when it comes to meditation apps, Headspace is one of the more popular options. 

While Headspace has an easy-to-use layout and offers guided meditations, meditation programs, and more, it’s a bit expensive with very limited free content. Not only are there cheaper apps, but other meditation and mindfulness apps have more options that may better suit your needs. So, let’s explore the best alternatives to Headspace, including their features, pros and cons, and costs.

Key takeaways

  • Insight Timer is a top alternative to Headspace, with the largest collection of free guided meditations compared to any app on the market. 
  • Calm and Ten Percent Happier are also excellent options, though they require paid subscriptions for full access to meditation resources.
  • Other free apps, such as note-taking and breathwork apps, provide simpler versions of the Headspace app.

1. Insight Timer

If you’re on the hunt for a free alternative to Headspace, Insight Timer checks pretty much every box. In fact, Insight Timer users spend more time on the app than any of the other meditation apps combined — meaning you’re most likely to develop a simple daily meditation habit with Insight Timer.

With over 200,000 free tracks and 80+ new additions daily, Insight Timer offers the largest collection of meditation resources compared to any app out there. But Insight Timer is more than just a meditation app: It’s a tightly woven community of spiritual leaders, teachers, and meditators around the world.

Home to millions of users, Insight Timer’s ultimate goal is to share the beneficial effects of meditation with as many people as possible worldwide — which is why most of our meditation resources are absolutely free!

Insight Timer features

Insight Timer has an easy-to-use layout, allowing you to select guided meditations, meditation timers, breathwork sessions, visualization sessions, and more right from the home page. With over 18,000 of the world’s best meditation teachers, there are a variety of meditations and meditation courses to choose from. 

As soon as you open the app, you’ll be greeted with an inspirational quote and the option to log your mood. From the home page, you can then:

If you’re looking for a specific meditation to suit your needs — such as for improved sleep quality or reduced stress levels — the search function makes it easy to find the right track. 

You can also join groups and communities to further your journey and connect with like-minded individuals — something other apps like Headspace don’t offer.

Insight Timer pros and cons

As far as Headspace alternatives go, Insight Timer is one of the best. The pros of using this mindfulness app include:

  • 200,000+ free meditation tracks
  • access to over 25,000 community groups 
  • no subscription needed for the majority of content
  • custom meditation timer with a variety of sounds and settings 
  • free live events and workshops from top meditation and yoga experts
  • tailored content for meditators and yogis of all experience levels 
  • over 200 topic pages with tracks, courses, playlists, and more grouped by interest 

Cons may include:

  • feeling overwhelmed by so many meditation and group options
  • paid subscription needed for premium content

Insight Timer cost  

Insight Timer aims to provide widespread access to meditation and mindfulness practices without expensive cost barriers. This means the free version of the app provides countless tracks, workshops, programs, groups, and more.

The premium version, called Member Plus, is available for $60 per year. This subscription offers additional features such as access to advanced courses, offline listening, and an enhanced audio player (with options like repeat mode, fast forward, and rewind​). With just a small number of subscribers, Insight Timer can support its teachers and continue to supply free content for many more people around the world.

Explore Insight Timer’s 200,000+ meditations to achieve greater mental health and well-being. With access to over 18,000 of the world’s leading teachers, thousands of free resources, guided meditations, and a growing community of like-minded individuals, we offer a wealth of knowledge for beginning meditators and countless avenues for advanced meditators to deepen their practice.

Community reviews for Insight Timer

You don’t have to take our word that Insight Timer is the best Headspace alternative. See what users have to say about the app:

“As a teacher, I’ve been recommending different apps and music for my students and patients over the years, and I can honestly say that I have switched and used Insight Timer EVERY DAY without fail. I recommend it to everyone!”


“I’ve been through quite a few meditation apps, but Insight Timer is by far the best and the one I’ve been using constantly for months now and plan to continue using. Unlike other apps that only feature their own meditations or require you to pay to access all of them, Insight Timer allows users to upload their own meditations, and there is an enormous catalog with more added each day.”


2. Calm

Unlike the Headspace app, Calm is known for its focus on promoting better sleep, with features primarily catering to this.

With over 4.5 million subscribers, Calm is a meditation and mindfulness app that specializes in sleep meditations and sleep stories for adults and children. Some of these stories are narrated by popular celebrities, like Matthew McConaughey and LeBron James. Calm also features a collection of background music for sleep.

Calm features

The Calm app primarily aims to promote relaxation and sleep. Its features include:

  • guided meditations
  • sleep stories
  • background music and soundscapes
  • breathing exercises
  • meditation programs
  • movement (guided yoga sessions)

You can also set reminders and sleep timers to guide you toward a better sleep schedule and meditation consistency.

Calm pros and cons

As with any meditation app, Calm comes with its list of pros and cons. The advantages of this app include:

  • variety of meditations, sleep sounds, music, and sleep stories
  • free seven-day trial before the paid membership
  • includes some free meditation courses 
  • offers a 30-day meditation program for beginners 
  • features masterclasses from renowned experts
  • engaging kids’ content, based on age categories

Cons of Calm include:

  • not many options for meditation topics outside of sleep
  • access to most content (like music, kids, and movement) requires a subscription
  • no community features (even with the paid version)
  • free version has multiple pop-ups that frequently push users to upgrade

Calm cost  

Some free content is available on Calm but is very limited compared to other apps, like Insight Timer. So if you want to explore the app fully and with all of its features, signing up for a monthly, annual, or lifetime plan is best. Before committing, you can also try the paid version on a free seven-day trial.

Full access costs $14.99 per month or $69.99 per year. Alternatively, you can purchase a lifetime plan for $399.99. Calm also has family plans. For five or more people, you can get a 15% discount.

3. Ten Percent Happier

Ten Percent Happier’s goal is simple: help people achieve happier lives. Primarily viewed as an introductory meditation app for beginners, it can be a great gateway to developing a meditation habit.

What sets Ten Percent Happier apart is its shorter sessions. Available on both Apple and Android phones, it’s meant for individuals who don’t necessarily consider themselves “meditators.” Let’s take a closer look at this app’s features, pros and cons, and cost.

Ten Percent Happier features

This app keeps things fairly simple with features that include:

  • 500+ guided meditation tracks
  • sleep meditations
  • premium courses
  • podcasts and videos
  • meditation challenges 
  • personal coaching 

Like Calm and Headspace, Ten Percent Happier doesn’t have an extensive list of courses or tracks. This may be helpful for beginner meditators who don’t want to feel overwhelmed by too many options.

Ten Percent Happier pros and cons

Pros of Ten Percent Happier include:

  • free seven-day trial before the subscription
  • all meditations include an intro video
  • offers topic-specific meditations (i.e., anxiety, depression, chronic pain, etc.)
  • search function on each hub page makes it easy to navigate 
  • ideal for beginner meditators looking for a structured approach
  • meditation courses with top experts included in membership

Cons of this app include:

  • high cost for a limited amount of content (only 500 meditations)
  • no content geared toward advanced meditators
  • requires premium subscription to access most meditations and courses
  • only offers annual memberships — users can’t pay monthly
  • doesn’t have community or group features 
  • no soundscapes or ambient music available

Ten Percent Happier cost  

You can try out the Ten Percent Happier app for seven days before paying, but a subscription is necessary to access almost all meditation resources. After a week, an annual subscription costs $99.99. There’s no monthly payment option.

4. Gaia

Gaia is a “life transformative platform.” They offer 8,000+ classes, workshops, documentaries, and more from the world’s leading experts in spiritual growth and personal development. The content is available through their website or their phone app. 

Their full library also includes yoga and meditation classes. However, the premium version (Gaia+) costs over $300 annually.

5. Notefy

For those that love brain dumps and journaling, the Notefy app provides a blank note-keeping space for you to place your thoughts. This is a simplified option for individuals who time their meditation sessions on their phones and want an easy app to write and reflect in afterward.

6. Pixel Thoughts

Pixel Thoughts can provide a quick reprieve from your busy or stressful day. On their website, you place your stressful thoughts into a circle that becomes smaller and smaller over the course of 60 seconds. This is to help reframe how you view your stressors. Prompts that guide your breathing and help you relax also appear on the page.

7. Pokoy 

Pokoy is a meditation app consisting of a simple timer. As you do more sessions, the timer gradually becomes longer. Available on iOS and Android, it’s free and provides statistics to track your progress.

8. Buddhify

Buddhify takes the long tradition of meditation in Buddhism and fits it into your busy schedule by giving you a wheel to choose from. For only $30 a year, this app offers meditations based on what you’re doing or feeling, with tracks ranging from four to 30 minutes. There is, however, a more limited selection of meditations and they’re focused on Buddhist approaches, which may not suit all practitioners.

9. Breathwrk

For those who are interested in exploring breathing practices, Breathwrk provides calming breathing exercises that can help reduce pain and enhance energy. While this app has free options, these freebies are very limited. The premium subscription costs $12 a month or $69 a year with a seven-day free trial.

10. Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is a free meditation app for children. It has one-minute meditations and fun ones, like The Bubble Journey, that keep children three years old and up engaged. 

The best alternative to Headspace: Insight Timer

While the above apps offer different features for varying needs, Insight Timer stands out from the rest. Overall, Insight Timer offers the most accessible and free content, with access to tens of thousands of groups, hundreds of meditation topic pages, and courses led by renowned experts — all without a premium subscription. With millions of active users, the app can connect you with other like-minded individuals, helping you learn and grow with friends.

Download Insight Timer today in the App Store or Google Play Store. Learn from some of the best teachers worldwide and begin your transformative meditation journey free of cost.

FAQs about alternatives to Headspace

Does Headspace have a free version? 

No. Headspace doesn’t have any free content. You’ll need a subscription to access their meditations. 

Are there any free apps like Headspace?

Yes, Insight Timer is a free meditation app similar to Headspace. It offers over 200,000 tracks, with 80+ new ones added daily — not to mention additional features such as journaling, workshops, bookmarks, and more, to help propel your personal wellness journey.

What are some guided meditations available online?

Insight Timer has hundreds of thousands of online guided meditations, such as Visualize Your Happy Place, Deep Healing, and Yoga Nidra for Sleep

What are the best free alternatives to Headspace for mindfulness and meditation?

Insight Timer is the best free alternative to Headspace, with the largest collection of meditation tracks from top teachers worldwide. Calm and Ten Percent Happier offer free trials but limited free content once the trials are over.

What is the difference between Headspace and Insight Timer?

Unlike Headspace, most of Insight Timer’s content is free, meaning you don’t need a premium subscription to start meditating. Additionally, Headspace is geared toward beginner meditators, with a 30-minute limit on most sessions. Insight Timer is ideal for practitioners of all levels, from beginner to advanced. Meditation practices range from five-minute introductory sessions to hour-long visualization and manifestation sessions. 

Meditation. Free.