Best Brain Training Apps In 2023: Elevate vs Lumosity vs BrainHQ vs CogniFit

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Cartoon of brain jumping rope with other sports equipment nearby
So many brain training apps and so little time. Which ones actually work?

Do you lose your keys frequently or find yourself reading things multiple times to comprehend them? You may want to flex your brainpower muscles and improve your memory with one of these brain training apps.

Why Brain Training Apps?

These companies claim that you’ll see improvement in your memory, problem-solving, and comprehension if you spend just 15 minutes a day (or every other day) playing brain games.

Some people also believe doing puzzles and cognitive training can help keep dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other memory loss at bay. It seems like a worthwhile investment to play some games today, especially if it makes you a little sharper today and keeps you sharp into your later years for a better quality of life.

In addition to improving active memory in the casual user, many of these programs originated in scientific studies, memory, and mental health treatment. In fact, our research found that some psychologists and memory-impairment doctors use cognitive training as an important element of patient therapy.

Best Brain Training Apps

All of these programs are available as apps, too so you can use them while enjoying your morning cup of coffee, on your commute or during your lunch break. So let’s see if these games for the brain can help you find your car keys!

Winner: Elevate Review

Elevate logo

Visit Website | Apple App | Google Play

You may feel like you’re back in 11th-grade English while you’re using Elevate Brain Training. Elevate is designed to improve the way you speak, write, listen, read, and more. This is a very different focus from its competitors. The games focus on enhancing your reading comprehension, improving your vocabulary, and looking/listening for grammatical errors.

The goal is to refine your communication skills and help you focus. While competitors focus on shapes, patterns, and colors, Elevate focuses on the spoken and written word for its games. The games are short and fun though, so hopefully, it’s more entertaining than your high school English class ;).

You can truly see your improvement when using Elevate because you’ll notice a difference in the way you speak and a more rapid ability to comprehend things. However, if you aren’t confident in the English language (specifically spelling and grammar), you may struggle with this program.

Elevate brain training iphone screenshots
Here’s some iPhone screenshots so you can get an idea of the different brain games Elevate offers.
  • Available on iOS and Android
  • App of the Year for 2014 from Apple
  • Fun games for the brain
  • 4+ (our of 5) rating in the iTunes store
  • Has the feel of a mobile game
  • Track your progress
  • Poor graphics
  • English only
  • Focuses on writing vs. other brain activities

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Monthly Subscription: $4.99/month
  • Annual Subscription: $39.99/year
  • Availability: iOS and Android

Runner-Up: Lumosity Review

Lumosity logo

Visit Website | Apple App | Google Play

You probably think of Lumosity immediately when you hear brain exercise games. That’s because they’ve really upped their advertising. But are they really the best? Lumosity focuses on training your memory, making decisions, and paying attention to details.

The memory exercises are quick yet challenging at the same time. The muted colors may make you feel like it’s more of a learning tool than a fun mobile game. So, you may feel like you’re doing work instead of having fun.

These memory improvement apps all revolve around the same idea, and Lumosity was close to taking the #1 spot. However, we didn’t feel like we could justify paying 2-3 times as much as Elevate for basically the same thing.

Lumosity organic reasoning and working memory games screenshots
Here’s screenshots of two of Lumosity’s dozens of games: Organic Reasoning on the left and Working Memory on the right.
  • Progress tracking
  • Used in more than 180 countries
  • Fun games
  • Good memory improvement games
  • Strong brand recognition
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Games can feel repetitive if you use them every day
  • The app does not track progress with desktop login use

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Monthly Subscription: $14/month
  • Annual Subscription: $96/year ($8/month)

3rd Place: BrainHQ Review

brainhq posit science logo png

Visit Website | Apple App | Google Play

Brain HQ’s predecessor, Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, was used to help seniors improve their memory and listening skills. Today, BrainHQ is aimed at all adults and helps with the items above and more.

You can design your own training or have BrainHQ pick your exercises for you. The exercises help you work on your attention, memory, intelligence, navigation, brain speed, and people skills. You can track your progress as you complete exercises and get feedback on your performance.

In this BrainHQ game, Navigation: Mental Map; you are practicing the ability to remember the relative location of objects from different viewpoints.
In this BrainHQ game, Navigation: Mental Map; you are practicing the ability to remember the relative location of objects from different viewpoints.
  • Free exercises available
  • Fun brain games
  • Graphics are slow and not fun
  • Poor programming and functionality
  • No app for Android or Windows
  • Expensive

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Monthly Subscription: $13.99/month
  • Yearly Subscription: $94.99/year
  • Availability: Internet, iPads, and iPhones

Honorable Mention: CogniFit Review

Cognifit logo

Visit Website | Apple App | Google Play

CogniFit focuses on helping people with diseases, illnesses, or other impairments. The program can be purchased for individuals, clinicians, schools, researchers, and families.

It is meant to help with brain training and improve your cognitive skills with the use of brain exercises. Unfortunately, there is little about them online, so we don’t feel like we can recommend them at this time.

Screenshot of the CogniFit 'Find Your Pet' game consists of following auditory clues to find an animal.
The CogniFit ‘Find Your Pet’ game consists of following auditory clues to find an animal.
  • Focuses on helping people with impairments
  • Available for professionals and groups
  • No Windows or Android app
  • Little information about them

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Monthly Plan: $12.99/month
  • Annual Plan: $9.99/month
  • Availability: Internet, iPads and iPhones

Do Brain Training Apps Work?

Are you unsure about brain exercise games? You’re not alone! Many people are skeptical as to whether or not these memory exercises actually help you or if they’re a joke. Watch this video below to see why they work!

Have you seen improvement in your memory, processing speed, and problem-solving since using a cognitive training program? Let us know in the comments!

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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