If you’ve been looking for a meditation app you’ve probably come across Headspace and the Balance app, amongst many others. However, these two apps are some of the best if you ask me which is why they have very high user ratings on the App Store and the Play Store. The problem with having so many meditation apps however is that it makes it quite confusing to know which one to download or even pay for as some of the better meditation apps are paid or have their main features locked behind paywalls. I’ve used many meditation apps over the years and these two really stand out so it’s worth looking at what the key differences are if you’re on the fence yourself.
In this guide, we’ll look at Headspace VS Balance and what each app brings to the table so you can make the right choice when it comes to downloading the best meditation app for you and your personal goals.
Quick overview: Both Headspace and Balance are perfect for beginners to mindfulness and meditation. Overall, you’ll end up paying the same for both with an annual plan. Headspace has a much bigger catalogue than Balance but Balance is a much simpler, less intimidating meditation app for many people. Added to this, Balance has a 12-month free trial.
Table of Contents
Headspace VS Balance: Overview
Headspace VS Balance: Meditations
Headspace: Stress and Anxiety meditation example
Balance: Work Stress meditation example
Headspace VS Balance: Beginner friendliness
Headspace VS Balance: Podcasts
Headspace VS Balance: Age ranges
What are meditation apps?
First off, let’s determine what meditation apps are if you’re not too familiar.
Meditation apps have become popular in recent years due to being an easy way of practising the ancient art of meditation and mindfulness from your phone. Meditation apps usually contain mindfulness exercises, sleep exercises, breathing exercises, relaxing music tracks and sometimes one-to-one coaching.
Balance and Headspace are no different and feature many of these exercises and more.
Headspace VS Balance: Overview
$12.99 / mo.
$11.99 / mo.
7 or 14 days
Play Store rating
App Store rating
Only a few
All age ranges
Number of sleep/meditation sounds
Headspace VS Balance: Pricing
When it comes to picking the right meditation app, the price will be one of the first things you look at. Interestingly enough, Headspace and Balance have the same annual cost at $69.99 and their monthly subscriptions aren’t too dissimilar with Headspace coming out at $12.99 a month if you choose this instead of the annual plan and Balance costing you $11.99 a month. However, it’s worth pointing out at Headspace only allows you a 7-day or 14-day trial (depending on if you select the monthly or annual plan). In comparison, Balance gives you a whole year for free before they start charging you regardless of if you want to eventually want to subscribe to their monthly or annual plan. That’s right, a whole 12 months for free!
Headspace is available on both the App Store and the Play Store. When you download the Headspace app you’ll be prompted to sign up with your email address and a new password. You’ll then be able to ‘wake up’ a small number of videos that explain meditation and a few other concepts. You can then access a limited amount of meditations but most of them will be locked. So, you’ll get an idea of what you can expect if you upgrade but there’s not a lot to do if you don’t upgrade right away. If you want to start your free trial, you’ll need to first enter your card details. However, it’s worth pointing out that you can cancel at any time so you’re not locked in at all.
If you choose to sign up for an annual subscription, you can select a 14-day free trial with the annual plan. If you go for the monthly subscription, you only get a 7-day free trial.
Once you’re into the app and you’ve subscribed to a plan you can explore it at your own will. You can look around the app and find a whole host of different meditations you can try out or courses that are set over a number of days.
Balance is also available on the App Store and the Play Store. When you download the Balance app, you’ll need to go through a bunch of simple questions like what you’re trying to improve and other related questions that help to personalise your experience once you get into the app. You’ll then be asked what your meditation experience is before entering your age. You can then select a meditation reminder if you wish to and choose a reminder timeslot that suits you.
Once you’ve done this, the app will then generate a daily program that is tailored to you. You’ll then need to sign up using your email address and a new password.
You’ll then be introduced to the basics of meditation and the app will get you to complete a short meditation that involves the basics of breathing, at least it did for me after I personalised my account around improving my sleep.
Summary: Both Headspace and Balance are easy to download and get going with. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions before you’re ready to start meditating. However, both will ask for your card details first before you can start your free trials and access the main content within.
Headspace Interface What my homepage on the Headspace app looks like.
All brilliant apps have brilliant user interfaces and that’s exactly what Headspace has. Whilst there’s a lot of information to take in, the app does a pretty good job of making things as tidy as possible. The app features only 3 tabs along the bottom; Today, Explore and You.
The Today tab is what you’ll be looking at when you open the app and I love how the suggested meditations are grouped into morning, afternoon and evening slots so you’ll have ready-to-go meditations to complete all throughout the day if you want. The morning meditations usually relate to waking up, the afternoon ones can honestly be about anything and the evening meditations usually feature a sleep meditation.
The Explore tab is where you’re going to get into the meat of the Headspace meditation app. There are a tonne of meditation archives suggested like Meditate, Sleep, Move, Focus, Challenging Times, Navigating the world, Parents and Kids, Creativity and much much more.
The You tab is as you’d imagine, all about you and your progress on the app. You’ll be able to see your activity history and progress bar. There’s also a neat feature that lets you check in and write a short paragraph about your mood each day, essentially like a traditional diary.
Balance Interface What my homepage on the Balance app looks like.
Whilst I love the Headspace app’s colourful palette, the calm, pastel-like theme the Balance app has really is nice to look at, in my opinion. The interface of the app is also rather clutter-free and easy to navigate although you’ll find more tabs than the Headspace app which for me personally, makes it easier to use. At the bottom of the app, you find the Today, Plans, Sleep, Singles and Profile tabs.
The Today tab works much like the Today tab in Headspace. You’ll find your current ‘Plan’ which is essentially your current course if you’re doing one and it’ll tell you what day you’re on. All Plans are segmented courses that are spread over ten days each. You’ll also find a daily meditation to complete on this tab along with other recommendations.
The next tab is the Plans tab which as mentioned, features meditations in a daily course format. These are all completed over ten days and feature short meditations to complete in a row. There are various meditation courses to keep you busy for months.
The Sleep tab is what it says on the tin. There are 10 meditations to help you fall asleep, 3 sleep journey’s, a ‘before sleep’ meditation and 9 sleep sounds to help you drift off. You can also set the duration for each of these if you wish, all the way up to ten hours!
The Singles tab is where you’re going to find lots of interesting one-off meditations that you can do over and over again. These meditations cover a vast array of topics like anxiety, frustration, letting go, relaxing, guided and unguided meditations and breathwork.
The final tab is the Profile tab which is where you can keep track of your progress, much like the Headspace app. You can keep tabs on how long you’ve meditated for, your daily streak record and your session history so if you liked a particular meditation, it’s easy to find it again. You’ll also be able to scroll along and keep track of your skill level. Every time you complete a meditation you can go up a level in difficulty. You can also see your badges on this tab which tell you your best daily streaks, times trained, plans completed and singles completed.
Summary: Both Headspace and Balance are easy to navigate. However, the main difference here is that Headspace can sometimes feel a little cluttered with so much to do. Balance on the other hand is much more neat and tidy and you’ll be much less likely to get lost.
Headspace VS Balance: Meditations
Now let’s take a look at Headspace VS Balance in terms of the meditations they offer as a whole. After all, that’s what you’ll be making your decision on. It’s worth pointing out that what you’ll get out of each app will depend on what you want to get out of it in the first place because both apps are customisable to the subjects you’re interested in however Headspace certainly has more choice.
The Headspace meditation library is vast and unrivalled in terms of size, in my opinion. The meditations both singles and courses are broken up on the Explore tab.
The Meditate page will be your go-to tab when you want to complete a popular meditation. Here’s what you find under this tab.