Insight Timer free vs. Medito

Being unsatisfied with the renewal policy of the Black Lotus app (see Meditation YES, Black Lotus app NO), I was looking for a new, and what is more free, mediation app. After going through many forums and reviews, I ended up choosing two potentially good options: Insight Timer and Medito. Here is a side-by-side comparison.

Before starting, it is worth stressing that I am using and referring to the free version of Insight Timer (i.e., without a subscription), but most of the reviews tend to present Insight Timer Plus (i.e., the paid one). Another important aspect worth mentioning is the huge difference in the number of articles and/or videos on the former vs. the scarcity of those on Medito. To avoid any bias, I tried to limit my analysis to sources in which both apps were reviewed.

On the paper

Self-appraisal

The best meditation app with the world’s largest FREE library of more than 200k guided meditations, 17k teachers & the world’s most loved meditation Timer.Insight Timer

If you try to find any info on their website, you will be frustrated. I had to look on Google Play’s About this app to find something else than the self-proclaimed “best meditation app” above statement. Here, I could at least find the list of the free features:

  • 100,000+ guided meditations
  • Select by time for short meditations when on the go, helping you to build a simple daily habit
  • Thousands of music tracks and ambient sounds to calm the mind, focus, sleep better and relax
  • Customizable meditation Timer
  • Follow your favourite teachers
  • Thousands of discussion groups
  • Stats and milestones for tracking your progress
Free-forever meditation app. Made for people, not for profit.Medito

On the website of the Medito Foundation, you can find that the app comes with No ads, no spam, no need to sign up or pay. Importantly, you can download your session for offline use (a premium feature for Insight Timer). The list of features can be summarized as follows:

The app includes courses to help you develop your practice, including a 30-day challenge. It also includes a sleep section with sounds, stories & meditations to help you drift off to a peaceful slumber. There are hundreds of sessions to choose from, including breathing exercises, walking meditations, mantra meditations and sessions to help you deal with stress, anxiety, pain and low-mood.

As a non-profit initiative, we’re dedicated to offering free meditation resources, aiming to improve access to mental health tools for everyone. Our mission is to support individuals in managing stress, anxiety, and depression, promoting better sleep, focus, and overall wellbeing.Medito Foundation

Reviews (by others)

With a similar 4.8 score on Google Play, both ranked quite well. But it is hard to know if Insight Timer Free would be scored as well as Insight Timer Premium.

Kristel Roper, a licensed psychotherapist, reviewed 14 highly-rated meditation apps to help you decide which app might be the right one for you. In her article, she included both Insight Timer and Medito. Of note, not all apps were free, meaning that the big ones like Calm or Headspace were treated on an equal basis with others. Concerning Insight Timer, she highlighted that there were lots of options to choose from so you can find audios that resonate with you and that you can tell the app how much time you have, and it will give you recommendations, but stressed that it was not clear what is free vs. premium until you’ve already tried to start the audio or video. For Medito, she acknowledged that there are Lots of options to choose from and that you can download tracks for offline listening, as opposed to the free version of Insight Timer. However, she pointed out that the app doesn’t offer a personalized experience nor mood check-ins, as opposed to Insight Timer. Here are her conclusions:

After testing all 14 apps, my favorite free app was Medito as it offers the most features and options of all the free meditation apps I reviewed.

Insight Timer probably offers the best free version of the paid apps, as many of the meditations and features are still included, although there are still lots of elements behind a pay wall.

Overall, I would say that with all of the free options out there, there is no reason to spend money on a mindfulness app unless you have found one that you really feel is worth the investment.Kristel Roper, LMFT, LPCC

Forbes recently published their 10 Best Meditation Apps Of 2024, after [analyzing] data on 40 apps, scanning an array of metrics including cost, types of meditations offered, added features and more. Both Insight Timer and Medito were on that list, as Best Value and Best Budget, respectively. With a rating of 5 stars, Insight Timer was praised mainly for its paid features; still, it was acknowledged that it offers plenty at no cost. As for the cons, the only one listed was that Premium features such as offline listening and high-quality audio come at an additional cost. As for Medito, with a score of 4.2, it can tap into a variety of needs in the space of mindfulness and is completely free to use, but it does not have as many additional features as other apps on this list.

In the video below, Sonam Hoani – a meditation teacher – presents the four apps he would recommend out of the many 1 he reviewed over the years. Among them, the first two were Medito and Inside Timer. As he states This video is not part of a paid promotion or partnership. You can rest assured this review is entirely my own opinion, it is worth watching it.

By Sonam Hoani

In an article entitled The Best Meditation Apps, Caira Blackwell (a senior staff writer at Wirecutter) recommended – out of the 28 apps they researched (and the 19 they tested) – four; neither Insight Timer (even the premium version) nor Medito was among them! Yet, she had this to say about these two:

Medito is a completely free app that has some features we’ve found in paid programs: the option to choose between three coaches and to download meditations to listen to them offline. But the sessions had too much lead up about the mission of the program instead of jumping straight into the meditation itself.

Insight Timer offers a free version that boasts 100,000 meditations, and we like that it emphasizes community and enables you to engage with other users in real time. You can watch teachers’ mediation and yoga sessions live, or you can host your own group meditation within the app. It also has thousands of discussion groups, music options, a very popular timer feature (you can choose from different sounds), and the ability to track your progress—all for free. However, Insight Timer is not as organized as any of our picks, and it can feel frustrating trying to navigate its large collection.

First impression

After installing both apps, I was pleasantly surprised that neither forced me to create an account. Granted, there is a constant reminder inside Insight Timer that You are not signed in. If you lose your phone or delete the app, all your progress will be lost, but that’s it. Not meditating to break a streak record but to improve my well-being instead, I didn’t care. Biased by the overload of resources about Insight Timer over Medito, I decided to use the former for my morning meditation – the most important of my day – and the latter for the evening (as a transition from work frame of mind to family quality time mood).

After a few questions 2, I was oriented to a 7-day course Learn How To Meditate in Seven Days. Despite the presumptuous title, I really enjoyed meditating every morning, with no struggle to get out of bed – quite the contrary. The voice of the Certified Yoga Instructor might have something to do with it. I don’t have to complain about the voices in the Medito app – yes, you can pick from a few choices – but it was not sounding as nice. That being said, the course Learning to sit was exactly what you should expect from a beginner course, as opposed to the aforementioned one.

On day 8, when I clicked on the FEATURED meditation (where the 7-day course was the day before), I was directed to a new course. I thought naîvely that the app was guiding me to what was next in my training to meditate (as a beginner – despite my two years with the practice already). Remember the initial questions when you use the Insight Timer app for the first time. But when I wanted to meditate…

Start Day 1 for Free

There is a free version of the app that provides access to over 146,000 guided meditations, talks, podcasts, and music tracks. However, it doesn’t allow access to any of the app’s courses, offline listening, or the option to rewind or fast-forward. You can opt for a free seven-day trial of the paid version.Julia Childs Heyl, MSW

Yep, NO ACCESS to any of the courses! So, I tried to do the mediation MADE FOR YOU that was just below the featured one. Oh my! What happened to my answers to these initial questions? This suggested meditation was so random that I could not believe it. After trusting the suggested meditations for a couple of days, I gave up the idea that the app was orienting me through their catalog based on my needs. I therefore moved to the Explore tab and started to experiment with the very few mediations that are actually free.

When you’re new to meditation, it can be overwhelming to choose from the countless experts and various techniques.Sara Lindberg, M.Ed

After a month with Insight Timer, my disenchantment grew to the point that I replaced it (for my morning meditation) with the Healthy Minds Program app. I kept it installed to explore their catalog and try to find some meditations that suit me, but I cannot recommend this app for beginners. On the other side, Medito’s courses keep me coming daily to the app to enjoy a step-by-step journey to meditation.

With so many meditation options in the [Insight Timer] app, it could be overwhelming to someone who has never meditated before. True beginners of meditation would benefit from structured meditation courses like those in the [OBFUSCATED] app.Caitlin Bell, M.A.

1 While not explicitly naming them, he showed 11 apps’ logos while saying that. Among them, I could easily recognize the usual suspects – Calm and Headspace – but also Balance, Oak, Plum Village, Simple Habit, Ten Percent Happier, and Waking Up. One remains a mystery. ^
2 Why I am seeking out meditation, types of meditations I am interested in, my previous experiences with meditation, and so on. ^

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