A Duolingo-style app (but much better)
Babbel is a language app that boasts over 10 million downloads from users around the world. It uses a series of activities to help you improve your reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Where it differentiates itself from competitors is the quality of its content, its sleek design, and the accuracy of its speech-recognition technology. Babbel is also adding more features to give users a more immersive experience, which definitely adds value to its subscribers.
- Easy-to-use and attractive design
- Content for everyone: beginner to advanced
- Excellent value for money
- Activities are similar to other apps
- Content quality varies between languages
Babbel currently has 14 available languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English.
Table of Contents
The language experts at Babbel create each course based on your native language to help you learn each language more effectively and efficiently. For example, the Spanish course is different depending on what language you speak. This is because native German speakers will learn Spanish differently than native French speakers.
Here’s a video about the Babbel method of language learning:
Babbel’s price point and content make it one of the most popular language apps available today. In general, the activities and content in the Babbel app are pretty similar to other language apps, like Duolingo, but are generally much higher quality and more intensive. In addition, Babbel offers other interesting features like podcasts, practice games, and even live tutoring sessions, depending on the language you’re studying. The Babbel lessons themselves can seem a little repetitive and slow-paced at times, but they actually do help you achieve a higher level of fluency in the end.
The structure of Babbel’s courses is logical and easy to follow. Some of the more common languages, like Spanish and French, have lessons for complete newcomers all the way to more intermediate and advanced levels. Lesser-studied languages, like Danish and Polish, have a lot less selection and are usually limited to newcomer and beginner levels though.
While smaller courses for less-spoken languages may seem like a downfall, it’s also understandable – Babbel’s language experts develop each course separately. The courses don’t all contain the same content, which is how some other language apps create their courses.
All in all, no matter which language you’re studying, Babbel can be an excellent place to start. It will help you build a solid foundation, and when you complete the course of your choice, there are a lot of other language apps that can pick up where Babbel leaves off (like Clozemaster).
Babbel Price and Cost per Month
Babbel has different subscription options, and the monthly cost decreases based on the length of your subscription. A one-month subscription costs $13.95, a three-month subscription costs $29.85 ($9.95 per month), a yearly subscription costs $83.40 ($6.95 per month), and lifetime access is a one-time payment of $249.00 and you have access to all languages. The discount ranges from 30% – 50% off the full monthly price for subscriptions longer than one month.
If you want to try Babbel before you buy, you can sign up and access the first few lessons of each course for free. The free version of Babbel is very limited though. To access all the features, you need a subscription. If you’re not happy, Babbel offers a 20-day money back guarantee. There’s no risk to try it!
Compared to other language learning apps, Babbel’s price and cost per month is pretty standard. Other apps like Mondly have a similar price, but aren’t as robust as Babbel and won’t teach you as much. Some other language learning programs like FluentU offer a lot more content, but may be out of reach due to their higher monthly cost (a cheaper option is Lingopie).
Babbel Discounts and Deals
In addition to offering discounts for longer subscriptions, Babbel also offers additional discounts to students (in the US only) and military personnel. There are also additional deals available on the Babbel website throughout the year, especially around major holidays.
For students who want to get a Babbel subscription, they can pay $14.99 for a three-month membership as long as they register with their school email address. This price is a 65% discount.
Military personnel or their immediate family members who choose to purchase a Babbel subscription can pay $35.00 for a six-month membership. This is about the same discount as the student price.
Now Babbel offers a new discount for healthcare workers. Nurses, medical providers, hospital employees, and first responders can get a six-month membership for $35.00.
Babbel Cost Per Language
It’s important to know that when you subscribe to Babbel, you only get access to one language. Therefore, a normal Babbel subscription has a cost of $6.95 to $13.95 per language course each month. However, instead of paying separately for access to multiple languages, you can take advantage of the Babbel Lifetime subscription, which gives you access to all of Babbel’s language courses. The Babbel Lifetime subscription is a one-time cost of $249.00
Babbel Review: Getting Started & Features
When you decide to learn a new language with Babbel, you’ll see that it’s really easy to get started. When you sign up for your account, Babbel walks you through choosing a language, determining your level, and the app has a full walkthrough the first time you open it.
I already mentioned it above, but it’s worth noting again – Each language course Babbel offers is unique. This may not seem like a big deal, but it really is. So many apps copy/paste the content of their courses and simply translate them into new languages. They use the same pictures, the same sentences, and the same lessons.
Babbel takes the time to make each course individually though. This means that when you study a language with Babbel, you’ll be learning words native speakers actually use. You’ll also cover topics that you’ll likely come across when talking to them. LingoDeer is another app that does this really well.
The Structure of Babbel Lessons
Babbel’s lessons all follow the same structure throughout the entire course. You’ll learn a few words and phrases, then complete a series of activities to practice using them. The activities are really all that engaging, but they do help you learn new vocabulary, which is what’s most important.
Throughout the lessons, you’ll practice reading and writing the words and phrases, as well as listening to them and pronouncing them using Babbel’s speech-recognition technology. As far as speech-recognition technology goes, Babbel’s is actually pretty accurate. It’s lessons can become pretty repetitive after a while though, especially when they have multiple parts.
Over time, Babbel will also remind you to review words and phrases from previous lessons. This is called spaced-repetition, and it’s a technology that most language apps use nowadays. Even though this feature doesn’t make Babbel stand out among its competitors, it is an important aspect of language learning and it’s definitely a good thing Babbel uses it.
Babbel Review: Additional Features
In addition to its regular language courses, Babbel has developed additional features to help you learn your target language. Some of these features are still pretty basic, but after they’re more developed, I can see them becoming pretty helpful.
For some languages, Babbel offers podcasts to help you improve your language skills. These podcasts are for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. However, not all languages have podcasts available. Podcast choices are still pretty limited for the languages that do have them, too.
The more common languages have a few options, like Spanish, German, and Italian. Less common languages like Swedish, Turkish, and Dutch don’t have any.
Babbel’s Culture Bites are designed to help you learn the more cultural aspects of your target language. They’re quick descriptions of unique characteristics of your target language, like how people introduce themselves, different celebrations, and important artists and historical figures. Like the 2-Minute Stories, the Culture Bites are in English. They don’t actually offer that much value to a Babbel subscription, but they’re there if you’re interested in reading through them.
Another feature available for some languages is 2-Minute Stories. These stories are short and their purpose is to teach you useful phrases. These are a bit of a missed opportunity in my opinion though. The useful phrases are bolded, but the rest of the stories are in English. I think this feature would be a lot more useful if the stories were actually in the target language, not my native language.
The most interesting and useful feature Babbel offers outside of its courses is Babbel Live. With Babbel Live, you can take 60-minute live classes with experienced language teachers. The classes cover a variety of topics and are available for all levels. Currently, Babbel Live is available for Spanish, French, and German.
Babbel Live is a separate product from the Babbel app and also has its own subscription options. For 5 classes per month, you’ll pay around $100.00 per month. 10 classes per month costs around $175.00 and 20 classes per month will run you around $300.00. The Babbel app is included in all Babbel Live subscriptions, so subscribing to Babbel Live first could save you some money.
Babbel Review: Overall Learning Experience
Overall, Babbel’s language courses are generally pretty solid. They help you build a strong foundation in your target language and they can help you start speaking. You can also learn more about culture and the people who speak your target language, which some apps completely ignore. Another app that does an excellent job of teaching the cultural aspects of a language is LinguaLift.
There’s no substitute for practicing with native speakers though. Despite Babbel’s speech-recognition technology being pretty accurate, finding a live tutor on a site like italki or Preply will help you gain fluency a lot faster. Babbel realizes this fact though, and has actually started to add features to enhance its core language courses to help you speak better.
Babbel Review: Languages
Babbel offers 14 language courses: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English. Even though Babbel offers multiple languages, a regular subscription only gives you access to one language. The quality of the courses also varies depending on the language you want to study. I decided to take a closer look at Babbel’s Spanish, Norwegian, and Polish courses to see just how different they are.
Babbel Spanish Review
The Babbel Spanish course is pretty comprehensive and consists of lessons ranging in difficulty from complete newcomer to advanced. You can choose between Mexican Spanish and Castellano (Spanish from Spain). In addition to the core course, Babbel also offers additional refresher courses, grammar lessons, Business Spanish, and other specialized Spanish courses. Overall, Babbel’s Spanish language course is definitely worth the cost because it offers a lot of special features. It can help you comfortably communicate in Spanish, but you’ll probably need to seek out other apps or resources to achieve full fluency.
Babbel Norwegian Review
The Babbel Norwegian course is best for beginners because it only includes three levels: Newcomer, Beginner 1, and Beginner 2. There are also additional courses that cover grammar, countries and traditions, and extra words and sentences. The “countries and traditions” courses may be of interest to anyone traveling to Norway because they include topics like “Norwegian for Your Vacation” and “A Year in Norway”. The Babbel Norwegian course can start you off on the right path to learning Norwegian, but it will only cover the basics.
Babbel Polish Review
Similar to other less-common languages, the Babbel Polish course is pretty limited. It can be a great way to start learning the language, but will only take you to an upper-beginner level. It includes Newcomer, Beginner 1, and Beginner 2 levels, as well as additional courses that teach you grammar, the cultures and traditions of Poland, and vocabulary. For Polish specifically, it may be better to seek out other resources or apps that provide more comprehensive lessons.
Babbel Review: Areas of Improvement
Compared to its competitors, Babbel is definitely one of the better apps. It still has plenty of aspects that can be improved though. The main one is the range of language courses. Even though Babbel specifically develops each language course individually, which is commendable, there are huge differences in the content offered in each course. Particularly for people who want to learn multiple languages with Babbel, they may be disappointed to find some courses more developed than others.
Another area of improvement for Babbel is its additional features. While they sound interesting, the actual content in them is thin and not very helpful. Learners can pick up a few tips and tricks while using them, but overall, they’re not helpful for learning a language at all. For this reason, the best way to use Babbel is to stick to its main content: the courses.
Babbel Alternatives and Competitors
Even though Babbel is an established language learning app, it still has plenty of competitors and alternatives. There are a lot of apps like Babbel out there, like Rosetta Stone, Mondly, MosaLingua, and Duolingo. In terms of content, Rosetta Stone is the most similar to Babbel. Mondly also has a similar structure, but focuses more on user statistics and date to keep you motivated. Unlike the others, MosaLingua offers more a self-directed, immersive language learning experience. If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can look into a resource like LingoDeer or Lingoda.
Rosetta Stone, like Babbel, is one of the most well-known language apps, so it’s only natural to compare them. They also have similar course and lesson structures and have similar prices. While there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are also some notable differences. Rosetta Stone opts for a more immersive approach while Babbel uses a more gradual process and provides explanations in your native language. You can learn more in this Rosetta Stone review.
Mondly and Babbel have similar structures, but the content, technology, and general pace of the apps is different. Babbel offers more useful content overall, but keeps some aspects of the language in separate lessons, like grammar. Mondly incorporates grammar into its lessons and has a more interactive approach to learning grammar. Both are good apps for beginners, but Babbel offers more content for intermediate and advanced language learners. You can read the full Mondly review to learn more.
Babbel vs MosaLingua
Babbel vs MosaLingua may not be a common comparison, but I wanted to include it because both apps are effective. They’re just designed for different types of learners. Babbel has more of a course structure and builds on what you learned in the previous lesson. MosaLingua is actually a flashcard app that helps you learn vocabulary and phrases, but it also has ebooks, videos, and audio you can use to improve your fluency. It’s completely self-directed, so you can focus on learning what you want to learn. You can read the complete MosaLingua review to learn more.
A Babbel and Duolingo comparison is necessary because both apps are pretty similar in their content, methodology, and user experience. They’re both set up as courses, but Babbel offers more flexibility and allows you to choose which lessons you do. Duolingo only lets you move forward after you complete the previous lessons. In regards to content, Babbel far outshines Duolingo because it’s content is actually useful, while Duolingo teaches more random phrases. More casual learners usually choose Duolingo because it’s free, but if you actually want to learn a language, Babbel is the better choice. You can read this Duolingo review to learn more.
Babbel Ratings from Around the Web
To save you time from scouring the web for more reviews of Babbel, I’ve compiled Babbel ratings from other leading websites. These ratings include a mix of both editor reviews and user reviews. Babbel averages an 8.7/10.0 in its ratings around the web. This table shows you each site’s independent Babbel rating as of 2023.
- Apple Store: 9.4/10.0
- Google Play Store: 9.2/10.0
- PCMag: 8.0/10.0
- TrustPilot: 8.2/10.0
- G2: 8.6/10.0
Babbel Review FAQ
Babbel and Rosetta Stone are both widely popular language apps. The main difference between the two is that Babbel uses your native language more often, while Rosetta Stone is more immersive and mostly uses your target language. Babbel teaches using longer conversations though, and Rosetta Stone uses more isolated vocabulary and sentences. Overall, each app has its strengths, but Babbel will give you a deeper understanding of your target language.
You will most likely not become fluent with Babbel. It is a solid language app and can teach you a strong foundation in your target language, but to achieve fluency, you’ll need to use other resources. While it won’t help you become fluent, Babbel can definitely improve your conversational skills. Its lessons cover reading, writing, speaking, and listening, so it’s a great way to start learning a language.
For its price, Babbel can definitely be worth it, depending on what language you’re learning. Each language course is created separately, so the quality and depth of the courses may vary. Spanish, for example, is one of the most-developed courses on Babbel and is definitely worth the subscription price. Norwegian, on the other hand, only has newcomer and beginner courses. For this reason, Babbel may not be worth it for less-common languages.
Depending on the length of your subscription, Babbel costs between $6.95 and $12.95 per month. The monthly cost of each subscription type is as follows: One month costs $12.95, a three-month subscription costs $8.95 per month, a six-month subscription costs $7.45 per month, and a yearly subscription costs $6.95 per month. The longer your subscription, the bigger your monthly discount.
Babbel is a very popular language app, but it’s certainly not the best language app available. Its courses and lessons can definitely help you build a foundation in your target language, but they won’t make you fluent. The quality of the courses also varies depending on your target language. For languages like Danish and Polish, there are definitely better apps out there.
The Babbel Spanish course has lessons for complete beginners to more advanced learners. To learn Spanish and complete the entire Babbel course, it takes around 6 months if you spend around 15 minutes per day doing the activities. However, using only Babbel won’t make you fluent in Spanish. After you complete Babbel’s Spanish course, you’ll need to find language learning tools that provide more advanced materials and help you further improve your fluency.
About This Babbel Review
This is an independent Babbel review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I purchased a one-month subscription to the app and used it for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the Babbel website to verify my findings.