If you're not careful, meetings can take over your life.
It goes beyond the feeling that "this could've been an email" (though that's also painful); even when you actually need to meet with a colleague or prospect, it's too easy to waste precious hours navigating the delicate scheduling dance. Does Monday at 10 work for you? No? What about Wednesday at 2?
That's where meeting scheduler apps come in. The best scheduling tools remove as much of the pain as possible by integrating with your calendar, keeping track of your availability, and letting guests book time with you on their own. If you're looking for a Doodle alternative, you have a whole slew of options.
As a freelance writer, nearly all of my professional interactions take place via phone or video conferencing app—and I've spent countless hours experimenting with tools to make managing my schedule easier. After spending several weeks testing dozens of apps, here's my list of the seven best meeting scheduler tools.
The 7 best meeting schedulers
Calendly for simplified scheduling
Calendar for appointments in a free calendar app
SavvyCal for mixing polling with a standard scheduling tool
SimplyMeet.me for a free meeting scheduler
Clara for an AI scheduling assistant
Motion for an all-in-one scheduling and project management app
Sidekick for a variety of meeting venues
What makes a great meeting scheduler?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
As I tested meeting scheduler apps, I narrowed down my recommendations according to some key criteria. Here's a look at what's important:
Ease of use. There are two groups of people that use a meeting scheduler: the event organizer and the people responding to it. A good meeting scheduler should be easy for both groups to use, with bonus points if the scheduler overlays the invitee's real calendar to show their available schedule while they're choosing a time to meet.
Integrations with other apps/services. Primarily, you'll need to connect a meeting scheduler to your calendar application, so the more calendar services an app supports the better. We also gave extra weight to apps that integrated well with project management software as well as automation tools like Zapier.
Ability to automatically set up video calls. Being able to quickly hop on a video call with people is more important than ever. Many meeting schedulers can not only add events to your calendar, but also generate links for video chats through common services like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
Appointment reminders and follow-ups. While a meeting scheduler might integrate with your calendar, there's no guarantee that any of your attendees will get a reminder to show up on time. Good meeting schedulers will be able to remind everyone that their meeting is coming up, and some will even allow you to automatically send follow-up emails with summaries of your meeting.
Value for money. Usually, the core meeting scheduler features will be free for a certain number of users, but extra features like reminders, video call setup, automation, or even scheduling multiple meetings will be part of a subscription. We weighed how much value these tools offered versus the cost of their paid plans.
When testing these apps, I signed up for each one, integrated my calendar and video conferencing apps, and set up my booking page(s). I then scheduled a meeting with myself using another email account, watching for reminder notifications, ease of use, and any other features that made the app stand out.
Best meeting scheduler for simplified scheduling
Calendly (Web, iOS, Android)
Calendly is the default meeting scheduler for a reason. It's reliable, easy to use on both sides, and the free plan is robust enough to get the job done no matter your tech stack.
Calendly users can "set it and forget it" by setting up a booking page, where invitees can choose from a selection of meeting types, see your availability, and book a meeting with you. It's an ideal app for anyone who receives a lot of meeting requests and needs a simple but clear reply.
When signing up for Calendly, you first give insight into when you're free by connecting it to your calendar (Google Calendar, iCal, Microsoft Office 365, Exchange, or Outlook). Then, create different meeting options for the types of meetings you offer, such as "30-minute phone interview" or "initial client intake meeting." Calendly has a slew of details you can add to each meeting type you offer. You can even create intake forms and, with a paid plan, create workflows for automated reminders, SMS messaging, and feedback surveys.
Once your event types are set up, you can send a link to people who need to schedule meetings with you so that they can see when you're available and request the meetings they need. The free plan supports one type of meeting, but starting on the Premium plan, you can create as many types of meetings as you need. Calendly syncs confirmed appointments to your calendar and offers to create an event on your invitees' calendars as well.
While Calendly works well for scheduling meetings with individuals or team members within an organization, its custom events and outgoing links make it ideal for connecting with external clients, customers, and colleagues. Calendly has extensive integration options, including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Zapier, but you do need to subscribe to a paid plan to get the full benefits here.
By connecting Calendly to Zapier, you can do things like create new Zoom meetings whenever a new meeting is scheduled or add new meeting attendees to your email marketing list. Here are some examples to get you started, but you can customize the workflow to use your favorite apps.
Create Mailchimp subscribers from new Calendly invitees
Overall, Calendly has a minimalist but intuitive interface for both the user and invitee. If you need something with a quick setup process that gets the job done reliably and without too much effort on your part, Calendly is a great choice.
Calendly Pricing: Free with limited features; paid plans from $8/month
To get even more out of Calendly, take a look at these automated workflows to help you be a Calendly pro. Or take a look at how one freelancer uses Calendly to qualify new leads.
Best free meeting scheduler built into a calendar app
Calendar (Web, iOS, Android)
Calendar is more than a meeting scheduler: it's a full-fledged calendar app. It offers web and mobile versions, and the whole interface feels very reminiscent of Google Calendar. It also offers meeting scheduler features, like creating customizable time slots and shareable booking links.
However, where Google puts some of its best appointment scheduling tools behind a paywall, Calendar gives them away for free. You can create up to two customizable scheduling time slots with the free plan and connect the app to one of your existing calendar services.
Calendar also lets you create multiple workspaces to stay organized, which is especially helpful if you want to use Calendar for your personal and business schedules. Within each workspace, you'll set up individual scheduling pages and time slots—plus set your availability for each meeting type. While I found the multiple levels of settings somewhat labor-intensive on setup, I can see how Calendar's robust customizability is helpful for larger teams with multiple meeting types.
Where Calendar stands out from the crowd is its extensive statistics section. It tracks every one of your meetings, spotting where trends develop. Besides obvious stats like how long you've spent in meetings over the past day, week, month, or even year, it also spots attendance records, noting what percentage of people rejected or missed a meeting. It even highlights who you're most likely to have meetings with. It's the kind of thing that could be immensely useful when trying to work toward better engagement. And it's all bundled up in a neat overview section that's attractive and informative.
Using yet another calendar app might feel a little redundant—and I found the app's navigation to be less intuitive than, say, Calendly—but if you want to analyze your meetings in depth and get some meeting scheduling without shelling out money, Calendar is the place to go.
When you connect Calendar to Zapier, you can make it talk to the rest of your work tech stack, and do things like get Slack notifications whenever someone schedules a new meeting with you or add every meeting to a new row in Google Sheets.
Send direct messages in Slack when new meetings are scheduled in Calendar
Create Google Sheets rows from new scheduled Calendar events
Calendar pricing: Free; from $6/month for more connected calendars and scheduling time slots
Best meeting scheduler for mixing polling with a standard scheduling tool
SavvyCal is a multi-use scheduling app designed to prioritize easy collaboration and finding optimal times to meet. While the free plan is limited to meeting polls, users willing to pay $12 per month can also take advantage of individual and team scheduling links.
To get started, sign up for SavvyCal, and let the setup wizard guide you through the process of connecting your favorite calendars and video conferencing apps. From there, you'll have a very intuitive and minimalist dashboard where you can quickly access all of your scheduling links and meeting polls, customize your default availability across all meeting types, and see all of your upcoming events.
If you've ever used Doodle to create a poll, you'll feel right at home with SavvyCal's polling functionality. Easily create a new meeting poll, name it and add any relevant information, and propose a few time slots from your calendar. Then, send the link to all participants and invite them to vote on meeting times that work for them.
One thing I appreciated about SavvyCal compared to many other meeting poll apps is that it offers the option for invitees to automatically overlay their calendars within the polling page, which lets them quickly choose from available slots without worrying about double-booking themselves. No more toggling back and forth between the poll and your personal calendar.
And if you're on a paid plan, you'll also have access to SavvyCal's scheduling links, which turn this polling app into a minimalist mix of Calendly and Doodle. You can easily create different scheduling links with custom meeting lengths and location, and even set unique availability hours for each meeting type if you wish. These scheduling links can be multi-use (if you have an ongoing meeting type) or single-use if you have a one-off meeting you need to schedule. Once you've created a scheduling link, you can share it with your invitees and let them book a time with you that works for them.
By connecting SavvyCal to Zapier, you can automatically update your to-do list when people schedule a meeting with you, send yourself a text whenever you get a new meeting request, and further automate your scheduling workflows.
Send SMS messages via Twilio for new SavvyCal events
SavvyCal Pricing: Free with limited features, paid plans from $12/month
If you're looking for a simpler polling app, Doodle is a great alternative. It's a popular choice for a reason; it's easy to use, integrates with top video conferencing apps, and the free plan is robust enough for the casual user. Users on the free plan have access to polls and one personal booking page, while the Pro plan provides unlimited booking pages and group polls for $6.95 per user per month.
Best free meeting scheduler
SimplyMeet.me (previously Harmonizely, which was recently acquired by SimplyBook.me) is an excellent option for those looking for a meeting scheduler that's free but can still pack a punch. This tool lets you create multiple meeting types and share one link that guests can use to schedule a meeting with you. Then, invitees can pick a date and one of your available time slots to book an appointment.
So yes, it's similar to many of the other services I tested, but what makes it stand out is that it has one of the most generous free tiers. It's free for one user and up to three calendar integrations, with unlimited meeting types and video meeting integrations, and up to 500 scheduled meetings per month.
One thing I loved about SimplyMeet.me is the granular customization options when setting up each meeting type. These options include making the meeting secret, adding intake questions, setting your availability, customizing email and SMS notifications, accepting payments, and setting the maximum number of meetings per day.
Each booking page, which can be embedded into your website, looks clean, professional, and minimalist from your invitee's point of view. As I was testing, I also appreciated that each booking page automatically shows times in the invitee's timezone, which can help avoid awkward miscommunications.
And beyond the standard Google, iCal, and Microsoft calendar integrations, SimplyMeet.me can also integrate with any CalDAV calendar (such as Zimbra, FastMail, Nextcloud, and Zoho).
You can get even more out of SimplyMeet.me by connecting it to Zapier. With these integrations, you can do things like send follow-up emails for new meetings or automatically add invitees to your customer database.
SimplyMeet.me pricing: Free for individuals; paid plans for teams start at $9.99/month per user license
Best AI scheduling assistant
It's 2022, and welcome to the world of AI scheduling. If you're looking for more advanced tech, consider Clara, your friendly robot schedule assistant who handles the back-and-forth of deciding on a meeting time.
I have to admit, I was skeptical of scheduling AI when I first started testing. But the process of using Clara is simple: once you've created an account, integrated your calendar, and chosen your preferred meeting times, the tool will provide an email address for your "assistant," Clara. (You can also change her name in the settings menu, if you prefer a different first or last name.) Then, all you need to do is email the AI calendar assistant whenever you'd like to set up a meeting. She takes it from there.
In my testing, I emailed another of my email accounts and asked Clara to set up a meeting with myself. She emailed my alter-ego with a selection of times. The email was friendly and professional, and it could have easily come from a real person. A few emails later, we had chosen a time that worked for everyone, and Clara had sent a Google Calendar invitation to both parties. The whole thing took less than 24 hours—and as the event organizer, I didn't have to do anything beyond sending the initial email instigating the meeting.
Using Clara is like hiring a virtual assistant to handle your meetings. It's likely that regular users wouldn't need to log in to the platform much; you can do everything you need to do via email, and you'll see your upcoming schedule on whatever calendar you linked to Clara. But if you do log in to the platform, your dashboard will display a list of proposed and scheduled meetings.
The main downside to Clara is the price. There's no free plan, and the lowest paid plan is $99 per user per month. But if you want an AI calendar assistant to help you manage your schedule but you don't have the budget to hire a human, Clara might be the right choice for you.
Clara pricing: $99/user/month for the Personal plan.
If you're looking for a more affordable AI assistant, I'd recommend CalendarHero (formerly Zoom.ai). It's essentially a hybrid AI and standard scheduling tool. The platform is very intuitive and comes with plenty of useful integrations. You can create and share the standard meeting links users have come to expect from meeting schedulers—but there's also an option to have your meeting assistant ("Ava") send invitations for you. Keep in mind, though, that CalendarHero's AI assistant's email language is a lot more robotic than Clara's.
Best all-in-one scheduling and project management app
Motion (Web, iOS)
If you're anything like me, you can drive yourself crazy trying to optimize your schedule and task management process. Motion is an excellent solution to the never-ending struggle to prioritize, schedule, and automate your workload. It's an all-in-one project manager and calendar, with a built-in scheduling tool for all of your meetings.
What makes Motion unique is that it uses AI to organize your schedule. Start by creating an account and telling Motion your preferred work times for each day. Then, when adding a new task or project, simply fill in its priority level, due date, and how long you expect it to take—along with whether it's okay to break up that task into chunks. The AI then takes care of your schedule for you. It breaks your task list up into manageable segments for each day, keeping in mind each task's priority and approaching deadline.
And Motion's calendar functionality constantly reorganizes itself based on new additions to your schedule. Have a surprise meeting on Monday that throws off your agenda? No worries; Motion just rearranges your tasks as you go.
But of course, we're here to talk about meeting schedulers, so let's dig into Motion's. I found that the meeting scheduler in Motion is very reminiscent of tools like Calendly. From the Scheduler tab, you can set up your booking link by choosing when guests can book meetings, picking a buffer time, and adding a few duration times that guests can choose from. You can also select the default video conferencing tool or custom location, enable and personalize email reminders, and customize your booking link.
One unique feature I appreciated about Motion's scheduling tool is that you can use it like a standard meeting scheduler—where you share your booking link with guests and let them pick a time that works for them—or you can manually choose a few time slots from your calendar. Motion will then generate a message ("Would any of these time windows work…?") that you can copy and paste into your email. The recipient can suggest from one of the times, or they can click on the included booking link to pick another time that works better for them. This unique option saves you a bit of time if you want to go the more "manual" back-and-forth route without composing a new email each time.
While I was very impressed with Motion, it does have a few drawbacks. It limits calendar integrations to Google and Microsoft calendars, so if you use a more obscure calendar tool, Motion probably isn't for you. And the platform provides quick video tutorials at each step of the setup process, but the sheer number of options may still lead to customization overload for some less tech-forward users.
Motion pricing: $19/month, billed annually
Best meeting scheduler for a variety of meeting types
If you hold a lot of meetings in person, Sidekick is a great choice. It's a free calendar and scheduling app that lets you save a variety of your favorite meeting types. Not only can you integrate with your most-used video conferencing tools like Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet, but you can also save your favorite physical meeting locations.
Like to network at your local Starbucks? Want to hold interviews at your office location? Save those under your My Locations tab, then create a unique scheduling page with that location automatically linked. Guests can book a meeting with you and receive the location's address instantly. No more back-and-forth about where to meet.
Beyond the multiple meeting venues, Sidekick is also reliable and easy to use. It has a very minimalist and intuitive dashboard layout, and you can easily set your availability preferences and default meeting durations across all meeting types.
And for paid users, Sidekick also provides a "Forward to Schedule" function, which is an AI meeting scheduler similar to Clara and CalendarHero. If you receive an email from someone requesting a meeting, you can just forward it to Sidekick. The app then takes care of emailing the requester to ask for more information (if needed) and pick a time that works for both of you. Sidekick's AI scheduling assistant is nowhere near as sophisticated as Clara or CalendarHero—the recipient can easily tell they're interacting with an automated message—but it's a handy feature nonetheless.
Sidekick pricing: Free for up to 3 scheduling pages; $15/month for unlimited scheduling pages, advanced analytics, and access to the Forward to Schedule function.
Make meetings better
The right meeting scheduler helps you get meetings onto your calendar quickly and efficiently. You can keep the productivity going by automating your scheduling workflows and even automating meeting action items. That way, it's not just the scheduling that's a breeze, but the entire process that follows.
This article was originally published in January 2019 by Jill Duffy and has had contributions from Jennifer Allen and Eric Ravenscraft. The most recent update was in July 2022.