Calm vs. Headspace

One of the neatest ways that technology is starting to help us with our everyday lives is through stress management. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the emergence of several stress management apps that can help you with relaxing, taking a break, guided meditation, and improving the overall quality of your mind and life. Today, we’re going to be looking at two of the biggest in the industry—Calm vs. Headspace.

If you’re on the fence about which one of these two apps is best for you, this guide is going to help. We’re going to look at the key differences and similarities between the two, what features each offers, pricing differences, and who Calm or Headspace is best for.

Let’s help you pick out the best tool to help you relax!

Key Differences Between Calm and Headspace

  • Headspace has an overall more playful feel, and Calm has a more focused and trendy feel (cartoon backgrounds vs. pictures of nature)
  • While both apps work on each, Headspace seems to focus more on building lifelong skills, while Calm seems to focus more on helping you relax and lower your stress now
  • Calm has dedicated sections for kids and adults, while Headspace is primarily targeted towards adults
  • Headspace has a section focusing on helping you get up, move, and be more active; Calm’s active section focuses on relaxing your body
  • Calm has guided Sleep Stories or music tracks you can use to relax or fall asleep at night

What’s the Same

  • Both apps have daily programs to help you relax
  • Each app is available on iOS and through Google Play
  • Each comes with a 7-day free trial (links on this page to claim)
  • Calm and Headspace are about a decade old (2012 and 2010, respectively)

Comparing the Services Offered

When it comes to the differences between Calm and Headspace, there are quite a few. While both apps are targeted at helping you relax and build stronger life skills, each takes a different approach to getting that done.

The biggest difference between the two apps is the look and feel. Headspace has a bit of a “cartoonish” feel to it. Most of the backgrounds on your phone when you use a feature are cartoon-style, which may or may not be what you’re looking for. Calm, on the other hand, takes a more focused or serious approach by having nature backgrounds and real-world pictures when you use the features.

Normally, we don’t worry too much about the look and feel of apps. But when it comes to relaxing and unwinding, it’s important.

With features, it’s another area where these two stress management apps differ. For Headspace, the focus is on guided meditations, focus skills, getting active and moving, and sleeping. It seems as though the app is more targeted towards helping you build new skills than it is on helping you relax.

Calm, on the other hand, seems to focus more on helping you relax in the moment and cope with the daily stresses that life brings. Yes, each does try and accomplish both, but it just feels that this is where each app was strongest. For this reason, an argument could be made for using both apps if it’s in the budget.

A few features we really liked that Calm had was the music offerings, the ability to build a playlist, and the Sleep Stories. It didn’t appear that there were stories to help you fall asleep on Headspace, but it’s possible we missed them. Also, Headspace seems to be very innovative with the times, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it gets added soon. We saw during the most recent election that Headspace had special resources to help people escape politics, which was cool to see.

Overall, each of these two stress management apps is going to deliver a high-quality experience to help you relax and build some great life skills. What we recommend is hopping on each app for a few minutes and clicking around to see what they have to offer. Each app comes with a free trial, as well, that you can get through the links we’ve provided below.

Also, you can check out our complete Calm App review or our Headspace review for more information on the app you’re interested in.

The Price Difference – Headspace vs Calm App

Key Takeaways

  • Both the Calm app and Headspace operate on subscription plans that you can cancel at any time
  • Calm’s monthly pricing is slightly more expensive than Headspace, but both annual plans are the same price
  • Calm offers a higher-priced option to purchase the app and future updates for life (one-time payment)
  • You pay for both services through your iOS or Google Play account on your phone or device

Calm App Cost

PlanTermPriceBilled As
Annual1 Year$69.991 Annual Payment
Monthly1 Month$14.991 Monthly Payment
LifetimeForever$399.991 Lifetime Payment

Headspace Cost

PlanTermPriceBilled As
Monthly1 Month$12.99 1 Monthly Payment
Annual (Save 60%)1 Year$69.991 Annual Payment

The Bottomline on Cost Comparison

Monthly pricing for Calm vs. Headspace is pretty close with Calm being a couple dollars more expensive. That being said, we highly recommend looking into the annual plan if you can swing it. The savings against the monthly costs are pretty big, especially if you plan on using the app for more than a couple of months.

Annual pricing for Headspace and Calm is identical. And since most users go with the annual plan, it’s hard to use pricing as a factor in deciding between the two stress management apps.

Calm also offers the ability to pay for the service for life, which is pretty cool. It’s pricey, but if you are confident this is something you’re going to use for years and it’s in the budget, it might be worth it.

Who is the Calm App Better For?

  • If you like a trendier feel and a heavier influence of nature, you’re going to like the Calm app.
  • Calm offers an option for kids, which you won’t get through Headspace.
  • The focus at Calm is more on helping you relax in the moment.
  • If you’re looking for an app that also comes with relaxing music, Calm will be your pick.
  • Users who want access to Sleep Stories (like bedtime stories read by famous people) should go with Calm.

Who is Headspace Better For?

  • If you like a more cartoon-type feel with less of an influence from nature images, Headspace is a great fit.
  • Headspace seems to put a lot of effort into providing tools and resources to help you build long-term life skills for focus and relaxation.
  • For users looking to get more active in life, Headspace has a section completely dedicated to helping.