Calm App Review (Pros/Cons, Pricing, and More)

calm-app-review

Meditation, mindfulness, and related topics have become buzzwords in the health and wellness world in the past few years. To capitalize on this demand, many apps have risen in popularity as convenient and easy ways to help individuals as they achieve a regular (or customizable) meditation practice.

In this article, I provide you with a complete review of Calm, including pros and cons, key features, and pricing packages.

What is Calm?

Calm is a mindfulness app that offers a range of services including meditation, music, mindful movement, audio programs to learn about wellness concepts, and scenic backgrounds all geared toward improving relaxation, focus, and sleep.

Founded by Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith in 2012, Calm has over 50 million downloads and more than 700,000 5-star reviews. Also, Calm was given the “Best of 2018” award from Apple, Google Play Editor’s Choice award in 2018, and Apple’s App of the Year in 2017.

The narrations that Calm offers are mainly provided by Tamara Levitt, who is the Head of Mindfulness and plays a large role in content development. Furthermore, Calm pools together resources from a wide range of experts in the field to provide users with a well-rounded mindfulness experience.

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Calm = mindfulness anywhere

One of the most convenient features of Calm is the option of app, tablet, or desktop use. With categories such as sleep, anxiety, meditation for beginners, stress management, self-care, inner peace, focus, emotions, relationships, personal growth, open-ended scripts, and kids’ meditation, Calm focuses on a wide range of hot-button topics that individuals of all ages can benefit from.

Calm features celebrity guest instructors

Another feature that is especially interesting is Calm’s meditation sessions with guest instructors, including LeBron James, Jeff Warren, Tara Brach, Oren Jay Sofer, and Shinzen Young.

Each of these individuals offers a specific specialty for users looking to boost performance or are established leaders in the field of meditation.

Calm for children

Calm also offers a wide range of narrated children’s stories, both classics and new releases, read by celebrities and other public figures such as Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry, Jerome Flynn, Lucy Liu, and many more.

This is just one of Calm’s main features that appeal to children of all ages as they begin or deepen their ability to relax and learn about meditation.

RELATED: Headspace Review

Free Calm resources

Calm offers free resources on their website in the form of blogs, videos, tips, webinars, and other resources from their qualified and certified counseling staff.

For individuals who are interested in learning more about the mechanisms behind why Calm is effective, Calm Science is a free portion of their website dedicated to educating users on the evidence base behind meditation and mindfulness. Their researchers and scientific advisory board continually support Calm’s efforts to provide well-informed resources that foster health and happiness in all individuals.

Calm sounds and educational audio recordings

Calm also utilizes realistic backgrounds of mountains, water, meadows, and more to enhance the experience of its users, which is an option that most other meditation platforms do not provide.

Experts in the field also provide audio recordings that educate users on how to improve their happiness and well-being. These recordings cover areas such as radical self-compassion, embracing stillness, conscious parenting, peak performance, breaking bad habits, mindful eating, rethinking depression, screen addiction, and more.

Calm on YouTube

Calm’s YouTube channel also provides a daily live stream for non-members and members to participate in their signature ten-minute meditation alongside users across the world.

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Is Calm right for you? 

Pros

  • The Calm team has experts with a range of experience and specialty areas.
  • There is a range of information and content on their website that is available to everyone, regardless of their membership status.
  • Calm can be accessed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • A premium subscription costs the same on a yearly basis as its leading competitors ($69.99).
  • Calm has group discounts available for workplace or corporate settings.
  • Calm offers more kid-friendly resources and packages than their competitors.

Cons

  • Their selection for music and sleep radio is not as wide as their leading competitors.
  • Calm does not offer as many free resources as compared to their competitors.

What are people saying about Calm?

  • “Winston Wellness offered all firm members a free subscription to the Calm Premium app as part of our 2019 Year of Mental Health resources. Our attorneys and professional staff have found Calm to be such an effective stress management tool that we plan to offer it again next year.” – Winston & Strawn Benefits Team
  • “Calm is a great tool for our students, faculty, and staff to improve their relaxation, stress management, and restorative sleep.” – Sarah Cunningham, Johns Hopkins University

How much does Calm cost?

The Premium Calm subscription costs $69.99 annually, but they offer a 7-day free trial that allows access to 100+ meditations, the full library of sleep stories and sounds, and all music tracks. This equals about $5.83 per month, which is an affordable option.

Calm’s basic membership, which is free, includes limited access to content on their website along with the free resources such as blogs and research studies. In an effort to encourage the use of this resource in the workplace, Calm offers a 15% off discount when you buy Calm Premium for a team of 5 or more individuals, costing $60 per year for each individual. When you provide your email address to sign up for the free/basic membership, Calm emails you an introductory discount that allows you to access Calm Premium for $41.99 for the first year. 

While these offers significantly reduce the overall cost of a subscription, Calm is not running any promotions specific to COVID-19. This places them at a disadvantage compared to their leading competitor, Headspace, who has been offering free memberships to numerous populations, including those who are unemployed, healthcare providers, and frontline workers.

My personal experience using Calm

Personally, I found the free trial of Calm to be very effective, and something that I benefited from using each day.

In fact, there is a wide range of Calm resources I utilize throughout the course of my day. First thing in the morning I really enjoyed the live stream meditation. On my lunch break, I listen to Calm’s educational audio recordings. While cooking dinner, I take in Calm’s confidence series meditation. Lastly, before bed, I listen to the Lindsey Stirling Lunar Lullaby.

With the wide range of resources that Calm offers, I’ve been more than pleased to incorporate it within my daily schedule.

Final thoughts

Calm’s premium subscription is incredibly affordable, especially considering the wealth of resources and tools that this membership provides users with.

I consider Calm to be a more kid-friendly resource, but also provide a range of great options for adults wishing to begin a meditation practice, deepen their existing routine, and simply dip their toes in the world of meditation.

In the end, I feel that Calm is a better meditation resource than some of its competitors and is a worthwhile investment for anyone wishing to learn more about meditation.

What are your thoughts on Calm? Share your feedback in the comments below?

Calm Review
Overall
4.8
  • Cost
  • Content
  • Effectiveness
  • Variety
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

Calm is an affordable, kid-friendly mindfulness resource that also provides a range of great options for adults wishing to begin a meditation practice, deepen their existing routine, and simply dip their toes in the world of meditation.

Pros

  • The Calm team has experts with a range of experience and specialty areas.
  • There is a range of information and content on their website that is available to everyone, regardless of their membership status.
  • Calm can be accessed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • A premium subscription costs the same on a yearly basis as its leading competitors ($69.99).
  • Calm has group discounts available for workplace or corporate settings.
  • Calm offers more kid-friendly resources and packages than their competitors.

Cons

  • Their selection for music and sleep radio is not as wide as their leading competitors.
  • Calm does not offer as many free resources as compared to their competitors.
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Brittany Ferri, MS, OTR/L, CCTP, CLT
Brittany Ferri is a registered and licensed occupational therapist with clinical experience in mental health, cognitive rehab, and complementary health. She is the founder of Simplicity of Health, LLC where she provides wellness education, consulting, health writing, program development, and teletherapy for children and adults. Brittany is passionate about health promotion and disease prevention for all, which has led her to publish several books educating others about wellness. She has authored a textbook called "Effective Occupational Therapy Documentation", a children's book called "Why is there a person in my computer?" that educates kids about teletherapy, and "Complementary Health Approaches for OTs", which is coming in the fall of 2020. She is also a PhD candidate in Integrative Mental Health from Saybrook University, as well as an adjunct professor at Nazareth College. Check out her website at https://www.simplicityofhealth.com

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