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Babbel Review: A Look At Price, Languages, and Alternatives

Chad Emery Last updated on July 19, 2023
8.5 TOTAL SCORE

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 adds value to its subscribers.

LANGOLY'S REVIEW 8.9

User Experience 9
Quality of Content 9
Features Available 8.5
Value for Money 9

USER REVIEWS 8.2

User Experience 9
Quality of Content 8.8
Features Available 8.5
Value for Money 6.7

PROS

  • Easy-to-use and attractive design
  • Content for everyone: beginner to advanced
  • Excellent value for money

CONS

  • Activities are similar to other apps
  • Content quality varies between languages
Disclaimer: Langoly selects and reviews products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions that help support our testing at no extra cost to you. Please read our full disclosure for more information.

Babbel Languages

Babbel currently has 14 available languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English.

Babbel Overview

Babbel helps you practice all areas of language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Its interactive activities will get you conversational in no time. The Babbel language-learning program includes vocabulary drills, reading exercises, and live conversations in lessons that you can repeat anytime you want. The app has an innovative and adaptive algorithm that adjusts the difficulty based on your previous answers to ensure that you are getting the most out of each lesson.

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 your first language is. 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 similar to other language apps, like Duolingo, but are generally much higher quality and more extensive. 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 can help you achieve a higher level of fluency in you stick with it.

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 intermediate and advanced levels. Lesser-studied languages, like Danish and Polish, have a lot less selection and are usually limited to beginner levels only. 

babbel logo

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, Babbel is an excellent place to start. It will help you build a solid foundation, and when you complete the course of your choice, there are other language apps that can pick up where Babbel leaves off (like the Innovative Language courses).

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 $14.95, a three-month subscription costs $37.95 ($12.65 per month), and a yearly subscription costs $89.40 ($7.45 per month). A lifetime access is a one-time payment of $349.00 and you have access to all languages. Babbel pricing may differ in other countries.

Babbel Price 2023

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 comprehensive 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 Free Trial

If you want to try Babbel before you buy, you can try 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!

Babbel Discounts and Deals

In addition to the standard discounts for longer subscriptions, Babbel also gives 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 Review: Getting Started & Features

When you decide to learn a new language with Babbel, you’ll see that it’s 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. 

Babbel signup screen

It’s worth noting again that each language course Babbel offers is unique. This may not seem like a big deal, but 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. This means that when you study a language with Babbel, you’re learning words native speakers actually use. You’ll also cover topics that you’re more likely to come across when speaking the language. LingoDeer is another app that does this really well.

Babbel Features: Lessons

Babbel’s lessons are the main feature of the app. They follow the same structure throughout the entire course. You learn a few words and phrases, then complete a series of activities to practice using them. The activities aren’t that engaging, but they do help you learn new vocabulary and grammar, which is what’s most important. 

babbel review lesson structure

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 mostly accurate. The lessons can become repetitive after a while though, especially when they have multiple parts.

babbel portuguese lesson

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. This feature isn’t unique to Babbel, but it’s an important aspect of language learning and it’s a plus that Babbel uses it.

Babbel review vocabulary

Babbel Features: Podcasts

For some languages, Babbel offers podcasts to help you improve your listening skills. These podcasts are for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. Not all languages have podcasts available, and podcast choices are limited for the languages that do have them. 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 Features: 2-Minute Stories

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. The useful phrases are bolded, but the rest of the stories are in English. I think this feature would be much more useful if the stories were in the target language, not my native language.

Babbel Features: Culture Bites

Babbel’s Culture Bites are designed to help you learn 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 offer that much value to a Babbel subscription, but they’re available if you’re interested in reading through them.

Babbel review culture bites

Babbel Features: Babbel Live

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 tutor classes

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 useful and effective. They help you build a strong foundation in your target language and 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 fairly accurate, finding a live tutor on a site like italki or Preply will help you gain fluency a lot faster. Babbel has realized this, and has started to add features to enhance its core language courses to help you speak better. I’m interested to see how Babbel improves its features over time.

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 varies depending on the language you want to study. Let’s take a look at Babbel’s Spanish, Norwegian, and Polish courses to see how different they are. 

Babbel Spanish Review

The Babbel Spanish course is 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.

babbel spanish course

Overall, Babbel’s Spanish language course is worth the cost because it offers a lot of additional features. Babbel is a good choice to learn Spanish, but there are also many other Spanish language apps available if you think that Babbel isn’t the right choice for you.

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” course may be of interest to anyone traveling to Norway because they include topics like “Norwegian for Your Vacation” and “A Year in Norway”.

babbel norwegian course

The Babbel Norwegian course can start you off on the right path to learning Norwegian, but it will only cover the basics. If you’re intermediate or advanced, you might need to use a different Norwegian language app.

Babbel Polish Review

Similar to other less-common languages, the Babbel Polish course is quite 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 Polish language apps that provide more comprehensive lessons.

Babbel Review: Areas of Improvement

Compared to its competitors, Babbel is one of the best apps available. But it still has some aspects that can be improved. 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 amount of content offered in each course. Particularly for people who want to learn multiple languages with Babbel, they may be disappointed to find some courses are more developed than others. 

Another area of improvement for Babbel is its additional features. While they sound interesting, the actual content in them is lacking and not very helpful. Learners can pick up a few tips and tricks while using them, but overall, they’re not that helpful for learning a language. 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, there are plenty of competitors and alternatives. In terms of content, Rosetta Stone is the most similar to Babbel. Mondly also has a similar structure, but focuses more on vocabulary and tracking your progress to keep you motivated. Unlike the others, MosaLingua offers more of a self-directed, immersive language learning experience. If you prefer a traditional approach to language learning, you can look into an app like LingoDeer or Lingoda.

Babbel vs Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone homepage

Rosetta Stone, like Babbel, is one of the most well-known language apps. They have similar course and lesson structures and have similar prices. But there are also some notable differences. Rosetta Stone opts for an immersive approach while Babbel uses a gradual process and provides explanations in your native language. You can try them both with the free trials offered or learn more in this Rosetta Stone review.

Babbel vs Mondly

Mondly Homepage

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 an interactive approach. Both are good apps for beginners, but Babbel offers more content for intermediate and advanced language learners. You can read our full Mondly review to learn more.

Babbel vs MosaLingua

MosaLingua homepage

MosaLingua and Babbel are designed for different types of learners. Babbel has a more-developed course structure and builds on what you learned in the previous lesson. MosaLingua is 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 more about it in this complete MosaLingua review.

Babbel vs Duolingo

Duolingo homepage

Babbel and Duolingo are similar in their content, methodology, and user experience. They’re both set up as comprehensive 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. Babbel far outshines Duolingo in terms of content because it’s truly useful, while Duolingo teaches random words and 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 more about how Duolingo compares to Babbel or learn more in this Duolingo review.

Babbel Ratings from Around the Web

I’m a fan of Babbel, but don’t just take my word for it. Here are some 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. Here are 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

Is Babbel better than Rosetta Stone?

Babbel and Rosetta Stone are both popular language apps. The main difference between the two is that Babbel uses your native language more often, while Rosetta Stone is immersive and mostly uses your target language. Babbel teaches using longer conversations, 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.

Can you become fluent with Babbel?

You will most likely not become fluent with Babbel. It’s a solid language app and can give 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 help you improve your language skills. Its lessons cover reading, writing, speaking, and listening, and it’s a great way to start learning a language. 

Is the Babbel app worth it?

For its price, Babbel is 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 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.

How much does Babbel cost?

Depending on the length of your subscription, Babbel costs between $6.95 and $13.95 per month. The monthly cost of each subscription type is as follows: One month costs $13.95, a three-month subscription costs $9.95 per month, and a yearly subscription costs $6.95 per month. The longer your subscription, the bigger your monthly discount.

Is Babbel the best language app?

Babbel is a popular language app, but it’s certainly not the best language app available. Its courses and lessons can 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 better apps available.

How long does it take to learn Spanish on Babbel?

The Babbel Spanish course has lessons for complete beginners to advanced learners. To learn Spanish and complete the entire Babbel course, it takes around 6 months if you spend 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.

Chad Emery

Chad is the founder and editor of Langoly. He was a TEFL-certified English teacher for many years and has been an active language learner for many more. His articles have been featured around the web by organizations like the Government of Canada's Translation Bureau and Simon & Schuster. In his free time, Chad is an avid traveler and loves running in new places. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn.

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Have you tried this product? How would you rate it?

16 Comments

  • I paid but didn’t get the lessons and no way to get in touch with anyone

  • Hi Mary! You can get in touch with Babbel directly here: https://support.babbel.com/hc/en-us.

  • I tried Duolingo but didn’t really like it so I decided to try Babbel. I’m really happy with it so far and I’ve noticed my Spanish is actually improving.

  • I forgot my password and Babbel was supposed to help me reset witrh an email but they don´t send the email.

  • Hi Charles, you can contact Babbel here: https://support.babbel.com/hc/en-us/articles/205600518-How-can-I-contact-Babbel-

    Hope that helps!

  • I use Babbel for both Spanish and English and I personally find it very confusing. There is no building block through the languages. They start with a basic group of courses then you have to choose the different types of subjects you want to learn, travel, business, etc. They have these story type conversations you read and I have no idea how some of the verbs are conjugated or when certain words are used. I suppose you can just memorize the phrases but I want to know when, where and how to use certain words.
    I have also used Duolingo and Rosetta Stone–they seem to have a more straight forward way of learning, continually introducing new words and showing you how to use them.
    Maybe there is this type of learning in Babbel but I haven’t found it yet!

  • The Russian course started out great and I was learning a lot. I seem to have hit a wall; there is no more grammar or conversation, just long lists of vocabulary words on different subjects. The words are not used in sentences or in any context. I’m finding it frustrating and am thinking of canceling my subscription when it’s done. Is there more grammar and dialog ahead? Russian grammar is difficult and I could use the help and practice!

  • If you go to the Babbel site, a lifetime subscription is regularly $599, but available for $349, not $249.

    • Hi Maya, I just checked and you are correct! They must have recently changed their prices. I’ll update our review, and thanks for the heads up!

  • Hello. If I purchase plan for Russian, will ot be about listening and speaking, ot would I also need to read Cyrillic? Thank you.

  • When I tried to ask Babbel a question, it was just a stupid robot!! Everytime I asked it something, it would just say “I didn’t get that. Repeat the question in a different way.” But overall it’s a good app/website.

  • It’s a very good review. But have you reviewed any other language learning app

  • Hi Chad! Thanks for this eye-opening review. I was going to purchase the Babble app subscription to learn Spanish. Do you think that doing the six-month course would enable the student to then take off on his own OR would he already be able to do this if he is already very fluent in Italian?

    • Hi Etienne, I think a 6 month subscription to Babbel would be an excellent place to start. If you already speak Italian, you’ll just need to become familiar with the differences between the two languages. Babbel is a great tool for teaching the grammar and cultural aspects. After this, I’m sure you can continue learning on your own! Suerte!

  • Babbel for Japanese isn’t quite there yet. It’s impressive but does things like uses male pronouns for a female chatbot, switches between formal and informal speech from answer to answer, and oddly enough writes some words which are normally in kanji (like 俺 – I, me) in hiragana (おれ). The text to speech is much worse quality and clearly sounds robotic. It is very “intelligent”, can talk about obscure topics or teach you grammar if you specifically ask it to, etc. If you simply ask it to teach you stuff or discuss topics you’re weak in, it’s worth more than many real language teachers and textbooks. Overall I say it’s definitely worth paying for a discounted lifetime subscription, but I wouldn’t pay the full price lifetime subscription at this point in time (2023)