What are the best meditation tools you have ever used?
As a mindfulness instructor, I’ve used all sorts of meditation equipment over the years. And in this list, I will show you my absolute favourite aids for meditation.
Here’s a short list of some highlights:
22 Types Of Meditation Tools & Devices To Buy
Looking for a gift? See my list of the best gifts for Buddhists.
1. Mala (Yoga Beads)
Malas are prayer beads that were first used in India 3000 years ago for Buddhist and Hindu practices. They are used for counting breaths and for Japa, which is a Sanskrit word meaning recitations.
Most malas have 108 beads. As we meditate, we count the beads from 1 to 108. This way, we know which breath we are on.
Plus, malas also help you focus.
I always find that counting my breaths with a mala helps me to focus and to stay grounded. And thay’s why, in my opinion, they are the best meditation equipment you can buy. Essential.
Andy Puddicombe from Headspace states that we need proper posture when meditating. This is especially true if you’re doing Zazen (seated Zen, as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh).
To help improve your posture, get a chair. Not only will they support your back, but they will help you meditate because good posture improves concentration.
I find that when I sit in a proper chair my spine feels stronger and overall I fell more supported. In turn, that helps me to concentrate.
Check out our collection of the best meditation chairs.
You can use a cushion either with a chair or by itself. Either way, it is another meditation tool that helps with posture.
One of the best types of cushions is a traditional Zen Zafu. You will have seen these if you have ever visited Zen monasteries. They are used to protecting the knees when kneeling to meditate. And tat’s great if, like me, you get knee tension when you kneel for a long time.
3. A Tibetan Singing Bowl
Tibetan Singing Bowls are bowl shapes instruments usually made of brass. They became incredibly popular after Yogi Bhajan brought sound healing to the West. Bhajan explained how certain frequencies of sounds can heal the mind and body.
I peesonally like to sit quietly and listen to a singing bowl. Somehow the sound they make seems to quieten my mind and help me to focus. And of course, that’s great.
Cathy Wong on VeryWellMind says, “Research does support the idea that these singing bowls can enhance practice and deep breathing, which may help maximize the stress-relieving benefits of those practices.”.
Take a look at my guide to Tibetan Singing Bowls.
5. Meditation Apps
There are many Android / iOS apps on the market, like Calm, Headspace and other daily meditation apps. Some apps work as timers. Others offer guided sessions to help you relax.
The sheer variety and versatility of mindfulness apps makes them one of the best meditation tools. Plus, many are free.
I will say that I personally never use an all because for me they spoil the experience of proper practice. Plus, according to Harvard Medical School, mindfulness apps are not as effective as proper, traditional practice.
Some of the best apps include:
6. A Meditation Book
There are many amazing books, from the Pali Canon to Peace In Every Step by Thich Naht Hanh.
I recommend the works of the following authors:
- Sharon Salzberg (New York Times bestselling author and teacher of Buddhism)
- John Kabat Zinn [American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.]
- Thich Nhat Hanh [Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition.]
- Pema Chodron [American Tibetan Buddhist., ordained nun, former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.]
- Me, obviously [duh!].
- See my list of the best meditation books.
7. Meditation Music
Music helps us to relax and focus. It is composed using specific instruments and specific frequencies of sound that heal the mind (usually the Solfeggio Frequencies). I recommend the music of Deva Premal and Krishna Das.
You can find a ton of music to listen to on SoundCloud.
Muse is a unique mindfulness tool. It works like a personal assistant. When you put the Muse headband on and start the app it plays relaxing music designed to calm the mind. You then focus on those sounds.
As you practise, Muse measures whether you’re calm or stressed and uses that information to change the sounds it’s playing. When calm, you hear peaceful sounds, when the mind wanders you hear more intense sounds that remind you to relax. This helps you to be mindful of how you are feeling, which is great because “mindfulness of feelings” is one of the Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
9. Guided Meditation Recordings
Guided meditations are the easiest way to meditate. And although they are massively limited compared to more traditional techniques, they are helpful for beginners who just want to relax.
Some of the best guided meditation artists are:
- Michael Sealey
- Jason Stephenson
- Sharon Salzbery
- Jack Kornfield
10. Buddhist Gongs
Gongs are definitely one of my favourite meditation tools. They look stunning and they sound divine. Of all the meditation aids out there, this is the most impressive one to show your friends.
Buddhist gongs are specifically designed to create frequencies that help us meditate by entering the brain into a relaxed and focused state. 
My guide to buying gongs shares everything you need to know about these beautiful instruments.
11. Zen Gardens
Zen Gardens are actually Japanese Rock Gardens. Many centuries ago, Zen monks began to turn gardening into a mindfulness practice. And the hobby took off from there.
Today there are full-size Zen gardens at temples. Some extremely cool people have them in their own garden, or even indoors. And others have desktop Zen gardens.
Zen gardens are great because:
- Creating them is an exercise in mindfulness
- We can meditate in them.
12. All The New Tech
The technology industry has created some of the best meditation tools we’ve seen in centuries.
Some of the best meditation aids include:
- Brain sensing technology
13. Meditation Crystals
If you enjoy meditating on beautiful objects, get a few crystals. [READ: Best Crystals For Beginners].
Different types of crystals hold different spiritual properties , so it is important to make sure that you meditate on the right type of crystal.
Believe it or not, there are lots of meditation video games. These are simple games that help to slow the mind. My favourites include Flower and Journey.
These gamse are relaxing and help us to get into that Zen-state that we all know and love. We are just witnessing the rise of the medi-tainment now, and there are bound to be lots more games soon.
15. Meditation Altars
Altars and shrines are becoming popular. These are small altars that we sit at to meditate. You can use them to show reverence for your deity. Or, you can decorate them with various items that make you feel peaceful and happy.
What makes them such a good meditation tool is that they give you one dedicated space to practice in. That way, you have a little spot in your home reserved for your sitting sessions.
16. Kasina Deep Vision Bundle ($$$)
Kasina is one of the most unique devices I’ve seen. The name itself, “Kasina”, refers to a type of visualization used in Theravada Buddhism. And this gadget works in a similar way: it focuses the mind on visualizations.
To use Kasina you sit comfortably, choose one of the device’s sessions, and then focus on the visions and sounds the machine makes. There are sessions for energy, concentration, trances, and more.
17. MUSE 2
Muse 2 is a brain-sensing headband. The manufacturer describes it this way: “Muse helps make meditation easy, tangible, and enjoyable to learn by offering a simple and accessible ‘work out plan’ for your practice, with incredible insights into your inner world. It offers all the same tracking and brain-sensing features as the original Muse, but now with so much more!”
Muse 2 is one of the best meditation devices. It provides you with insights into your practice and can help you to progress.
18. NOW Tone Therapy System ($)
Now Tone Therapy System is basically two speakers that play a relaxing and ever-changing sound. The idea is that you listen to the sound, and it relaxes your mind. Simple. The sound then fades, bringing you back to the present moment.
It has its limitations though. The manufacturer calls it an aid to spiritual awakening. Really, it’s just relaxing sounds.
19. Bose Noise-Masking Sleep Buds ($$$$)
Are you trying to use meditation to get to sleep at night? If so, you might like to try Bose Noise Masking Sleepbuds.
Okay, they are more a product for sleep than for mindfulness, but you can use them for both. They have two main functions: 1) cancel out background noise, and 2) play relaxing sounds. Both functions are great for both mindfulness and sleep. You can cancel out background noise to help you focus when you meditate. And you can meditate on the relaxing sounds that the buds make. Perfect!
20. 3D Illusion Lamp ($$) – Quirky Lil’ Gadget!
The 3D Illusion Lamp is a night light in the shape of a person meditating.
The lamp is beautifully designed and relaxing. Its soft edges and tranquil colours are soothing to the eye. And it makes a great night-light for kids.
If you can get past the embarrassingly bad spelling and grammar on this product’s description page (see the link above) you will find a wonderful and charming mindfulness gadget that is decorative and relaxing.
21. SkyLite ($$)
This is a really relaxing meditation tool that is perfect for nighttime. If you don’t feel like going deep in a proper session, just lie down and gaze up at the stars. The soothing blue light will help you to relax and drift off.
22. Incense and Candles
Incense has been used for centuries in various places of worship, and it is a popular item to have on your altar. Burning incense is usually done as part of spiritual practice or as a form of offering to various gods. It is also an excellent way of clearing negative energy.
In the Buddhist tradition, burning incense is part of a meditative practice that is used to help clean the mind of impure thoughts and to increase focus ready for mindfulness, according to Barbara O’Brien, who trained at Zen Mountain Monastery.
Incense is comprised of spices and oils and can be purchased in various scents and as clumps, cones, or sticks. They are burnt in metal balls that sway in the wind.
Candles are also a popular meditation tool. In particular, candles can be used in practices like Trataka, a yogic practice in which we meditate on a lit candle.
My favourite meditation tool is still my mala
My personal best meditation tool has to be my Buddhist mala. It’s the first piece of meditation equipment I ever purchased (except for books). And malas are one of the original types of equipment used by Buddhists.
My mala has travelled with me for ten years and over tens of thousands of miles. It’s been with me at the best of times, like when I returned home in 2014 to visit my family for the first time in years. And it’s been with me at the worst of times, like when my father passed away. By my estimation, I have taken over 394,000 mindful breaths with this mala. It’s helped me to take my practice to a new level. And it is deeply personal to me.
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison