An appointment scheduling app allows clients to book meetings or appointments with services or businesses such as spas, salons, sales teams, and consultants. The best appointment scheduling apps are easy to use and available on iOS and Android and let staff and clients manage bookings.
Basic appointment apps typically cost $0 – $50 per month, while comprehensive business management apps with integrated appointment scheduling can cost anywhere from $50 – $500 per month.
Best Appointment Scheduling Apps in 2021
Appointment Scheduling App
(Best overall) Small businesses wanting a mobile scheduling app and booking website
Solo service workers needing a free appointment booking app
Healthcare and wellness businesses wanting a full-featured appointment app
Teams wanting a free app that can accommodate multiple team members and classes
Scheduling in-person and video meetings
Salons and spas wanting a high-end appointment app with management tools
How We Evaluated Appointment Scheduling Apps
To rank the top appointment scheduling apps, we first considered whether each one was available as a mobile app for all devices (iOS and Android). After that, we tested the apps to determine their ease of use and the tools and features available for staff and for clients. Pricing is important, of course, and while there are many free appointment scheduling platforms, they’re usually fairly limited.
Acuity gets the top spot in our best appointment scheduling app list because it is full of features in all plans and easy to use (and customize) and integrates with some of the most popular software and calendars you’re likely already using.
Click through the tabs in the box below to view our full scoring criteria for identifying the best appointment scheduling app.
40% of Overall Score
Many businesses rely on clients showing up for appointments, so we weighed automatic appointment reminders heavily. Not all businesses require payment through the app, but it helps (especially to discourage no-shows), so we prioritized that feature as well, more than video chat integration, for example.
30% of Overall Score
All the apps on our list are available for mobile devices, whether you’re on iOS or Android. An important integration we want to see in an appointment scheduling app is calendar sync for Google, Outlook, and Microsoft 365; some also work with iCloud.
15% of Overall Score
For the most part, appointment scheduling apps are affordable, and many include free plans. We gave more credit to apps that don’t lock you into long-term contracts and those that offer multiple plans so that your available services can grow as your teams do.
15% of Overall Score
Ease of use, value, and standout features can be subjective. So, we scored these areas lightly, but we want to point out unique features of apps and speak a bit about relative ease of use (at least in our experience and that of other users via reviews).
Acuity: Best Overall Appointment Scheduling App
Acuity is a powerful appointment scheduling app that works well for almost any small business that relies on client bookings. Acuity scheduling was acquired by Squarespace and has been rebranded to Squarespace Scheduling, so new users will need to register a Squarespace Scheduling account. Although, at the time of this writing, the Acuity scheduling apps are still under the Acuity brand in app stores.
There are two Acuity apps: one for clients to book and manage their appointments, and one for you. Your app lets you access your schedule in real time, so you can add new appointments on the fly (and not bump pending appointments). Use the app to manage your personal time too (block off times you’re not available). You can also enable notifications for whenever you get a new booking.
In our evaluation, Acuity earned a 4.62 out of 5. Because Acuity is now Squarespace Scheduling, it also comes with an online booking widget that can be added to your website so clients can self-book and/or purchase classes, workshops, private sessions, interviews, and more.
What Acuity Is Missing
Though easy to use, Acuity is not a very flexible or customizable solution. SimplyBook.me offers more customizable add-on features like deposits, multiple user access levels, and service add-ons. SimplyBook.me lets you pick and choose which features you need, whereas Acuity has a more rigid interface and feature set.
Square Appointments: Best for Individuals Needing a Free App
Square Appointments offers a free plan for individuals that is easy to use, packed with useful features, and available on both iOS and Android operating systems. Free features include an online booking website, automated text and email appointment reminders, detailed customer profiles, and an automated messaging tool so clients can book and reschedule 24/7.
You can sync Square Appointments with Google Calendar, customize your availability, and manage clients through the app. A newer feature for Square Appointments is recurring clients, so you can keep a card on file for your regulars. Also, you can accept prepayments through the system or swipe cards in person.
In our evaluation, Square Appointments earned 4.3 out of 5. Although it offers the best value for individuals, it also has a few standout features that make it a good fit for salons and spas needing an appointment POS including integrated commission reporting, resource booking, multi-staff appointments, loyalty programs, and messaging/marketing campaigns.
What Square Appointments Is Missing
Square Appointments is a great option for someone just starting out with a solo business, thanks to the free plan and integrated payment processor. However, it doesn’t support class or group appointments, like Acuity does. Because Square Appointments really only integrates with other Square products, it’s a somewhat limiting option if you’re already using other software you like, such as CRMs, calendars, or another payment processor.
SimplyBook.me: Best for Healthcare and Wellness Businesses
SimplyBook.me sets itself apart from other appointment scheduling apps with its structure of plans and custom features. The more you pay for a plan, the more custom features you get. For example, the free plan comes with one custom feature; the standard plan gets you eight custom features, and premium users get unlimited features.
If you have a healthcare business that requires HIPAA compliance, this is an affordable appointment scheduling app. And you get a ton of features, including all the integrations available and access to coupons and gift card features. You can also add your branding to your booking site. But perhaps the best feature from SimplyBook.me is that clients can book appointments via Facebook or Instagram. Square Appointments has an Instagram integration, but otherwise SimplyBook.me and Setmore are the only solutions on our list with integrated social media booking.
SimplyBook.me scores a 4.19 out of 5 on our list because it has lots of unique features that even our best appointment scheduling app, Acuity, doesn’t have, such as SOAP notes and integrated Facebook appointment booking. However, SimplyBook.me charges for a lot of basic features, like text reminders, which most appointment apps built into their plans.
What SimplyBook.me Is Missing
The free plan is extremely limiting. You can book only up to 50 appointments per month. For unlimited appointments, consider Acuity, Setmore, Calendly, or Square. For built-in text and email appointment reminders, check out Square Appointments.
Setmore: Best for Teams With Multiple Staff Members or Needing to Book Classes
Setmore is a popular appointment scheduling app for many types of small businesses, but its most notable feature is that it allows for up to four team members and unlimited appointments in the free plan. Most other apps, including Square, limit you to one team member in the free plan.
Setmore earned a 4.14 in our evaluation. It offers multiple types of appointment booking, including classes and one-click video calls. It also integrates with software like Salesforce and Zoom, so it’s great for software companies; and it offers unlimited appointments for all plans (unlike SimplyBook.me, which also offers a free plan but is capped at 50 monthly appointments).
What Setmore Is Missing
Setmore is lacking a couple of integrations, such as iCloud Calendar. Plus, unlike SimplyBook.me, Booker, and Acuity, there are no intake forms, so you can’t easily gather the info you need on clients unless you do it through another platform and then apply the info to your client list in Setmore (or your CRM). Setmore is easy to use, though, and fairly affordable for small teams. Like SimplyBook.me, Setmore includes social media integrations, so customers can book right from your Facebook or Instagram page.
Calendly: Best for Scheduling Meetings
Calendly is likely the best-known meeting scheduling app. It offers four different plans, including a free one that gives you a lot of features and really only limits you in working with teams or multiple calendars. If you want to add more than one calendar for scheduling purposes, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan. However, Calendly’s paid plans are some of the most affordable on this list.
In our evaluation, Calendly earned a 3.76 out of 5. The app makes it easy for you to send a scheduling link to someone via email or text—then they can choose the time and date that works best for them through your booking site. One of the standout features of Calendly is the ability to create multiple meeting types. It’s helpful for tutors, hiring teams, work meetings, and consultants, for example, who need to offer 30-minute or 60-minute video or in-person meetings.
What Calendly Is Missing
Calendly is simple to use yet feature-rich, which is why it makes our list. We did notice the app loaded slowly at times and seemed to lag here and there. Acuity and Square both have higher user review ratings, offer unlimited appointments, and automated reminders.
Booker: Best High-End, All-in-One Appointment Booking for Salons and Spas
Booker is a bit of an anomaly among the other best appointment scheduling apps. It’s more of an all-in-one salon or spa suite of apps that happens to include booking, which could be because Mindbody (the all-in-one solution) acquired Booker for scheduling in 2018. If you’re willing to pay the steep price, it could be great for a full-service salon or spa that requires management of multiple staff members, appointment types, and clients.
In our evaluation, Booker earned a 3.74 out of 5. From what we can tell, the Booker app seems to work better on iOS than Android. It’s helpful that you can manage your calendar, take payments, and apply discounts directly from the mobile apps.
There are few integrations for Booker available, so it isn’t quite as useful as other appointment schedulers that work well for salons and spas, like Setmore. Also, you have to commit to at least one year with the app, which is a lot of money upfront for something that may not work for you (and no free trial to test it out before signing on the dotted line).
See our top picks for the best spa and salon POS systems, all with built-in appointment scheduling.
What Booker Is Missing
The main drawback to Booker is its steep price point. If you need a more affordable appointment and business management solution for your spa or salon, consider Square Appointments. For healthcare and wellness businesses, particularly those needing HIPAA compliance, SimplyBook.me is a more affordable option, and has more healthcare-specific features available including HIPAA compliance and SOAP notes.
Freelancers, salons, auto shops, and software companies have two obvious needs in common: clients and appointments. Both of those needs require the best appointment scheduling app. Being able to access, book, and adjust your appointments from an app on your phone saves an entrepreneur a lot of time.
Acuity is one of the leading appointment scheduling apps because of its affordability, flexibility, and feature-rich plans. It works well for almost any small business that relies on customers booking appointments or meetings. You can try Acuity free for a week.
You May Also Like …
- If mobile scheduling is not a priority for your business, read our guide on the best appointment scheduling software.