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

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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 make 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!

Elevate Review


Visit WebsiteElevate app screenshot
View on iTunes

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 than 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.



  • 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

Lumosity Review


Visit WebsiteLumosity app screenshot
View on iTunes

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.



  • 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 it everyday
  • App does not track progress with desktop login use

Pricing & Tech Specs

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

BrainHQ Review


BrainHQ app screenshotVisit Website
View on iTunes

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.



  • 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 app screenshot
Visit WebsiteCognifit logo
View on iTunes

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.



  • 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!

Did you know there are also apps to help with autism too? Or you might try one of these courses to challenge your mind.

Have you seen improvement in your memory, processing speed and problem-solving since using a cognitive training program?

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Disclaimer: 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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BrainHQ is close being a scam. If you have a problem, they will actually suspend your account, rather than answering your concern.

Let me share my experience, with screenshots, so people see this company for what it really is.

A huge issue with the game makes certain features unusable. (The game keeps giving me the same exercise over and over, day after day, even though I’ve completed it with maximum scores, and on top of that, it tells me that I’ve only played for 2 minutes when in fact I’ve played for 10-15, so this messes my stats up.)

So I reported this to support.

I think the support response speaks for itself:

(Short summary: Rather than answering my comment or the issue I brought up, the rep instead says that there is no question since I didn’t add a question mark in there.)

Then, I contacted their VP of marketing and explained what happened. I was expecting that they’d have someone else respond to my ticket instead, someone who’d be interested in actually solving the problem.

Instead, believe it or not, they actually *SUSPENDED MY SUPPORT ACCOUNT*.

Screenshot from the suspension as proof that I’m not making this stuff up:

So sad when a business punishes customers by suspending their account when an issue is brought up, rather than actually addressing the issue.

Yusef, so sorry to hear you had a bad experience with them but thanks for sharing and hopefully others do not have this issue!

Brain games have to be challenging.
BRAINHQ is the one that works. Lumosity was fined for false claims for 2 million dollars.

I have used both Lumosity and elevate over the years. I prefer the latter. It feels more rooted in the real world.

Diana, thanks for sharing your experience with us!

I use Lumosity and it definitely has helped me in decision making.

Howard, that’s so great to hear, thanks for sharing!

Great review, Kimberly! Recently I’ve made my own brain training app. As I teach Computer Science to Air Traffic Control students, I decided to make an app for them to train multitasking, attention and memory. The training takes a form of game. And it appears that this game became interesting for other students (even for those who don’t have to pass exams in CS to me 🙂 )

Could you, please, check it here:

Tap to open and close the mouth and make sure the required quantity of food bits is eaten: no more, no less. This soucnds easy, but controlling 2 or 3 eaters simultaneously is a real challenge.

Thanks for sharing with us. We will consider adding them in our next audit! 🙂