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italki Review: A Look at Features, Cost and Alternatives

Chad Emery Published on August 18, 2021
italki review

Become fluent fast with native teachers

italki is one of the biggest language tutoring platforms on the internet. It connects you with language teachers from around the world for 1-on-1 lessons. italki is the best language tutor platform because there are teachers for every budget, it’s a safe and secure platform, and it has a lot of free features to enhance your lessons. Practicing with a native speaker is the best way to learn a language, and italki is the best place to find them!


User Experience 10
Quality of Content 8
Features Available 9
Value for Money 10


  • Thousands of teachers for hundreds of languages
  • Easy to filter and find the best teacher for you
  • Lesson prices fit every budget
  • The app and website are easy to use
  • Free features help you practice more


  • Quality of teachers varies a lot
  • Higher prices doesn’t mean higher quality
  • No set curriculum (could also be a pro)
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italki Overview

Online language tutoring is an excellent way to practice speaking another language, especially if there aren’t any in-person options where you live. You can take classes with a teacher from anywhere in the world. There are a lot of language apps that can help you reach a good level, but there’s no substitute for speaking with an actual person. In this italki review, I show you the different features of the app, break down the pricing, and take a closer look at some italki alternatives.

italki is one of the top platforms for learning a language online. Whether you’re a beginner or already fluent, there are italki tutors for everyone.

italki Price

italki tutors set their own rates for lessons, and they sometimes offer lower prices if you book multiple lessons at once. The cost of italki lessons generally ranges from around $4.00 to $30.00 per hour, but you can find tutors lower and higher than this price range. The price range also depends on the language you want to learn.

It’s worth taking a few discounted trial lessons to see how different tutors teach. Each one has a unique style, and the trial lessons are perfect for seeing which style works best for you.

italki Review: Features

At its core, italki connects language learners with language tutors around the world. There are a lot of different places to find online language tutors, but the quality can vary. Compared to most other tutoring websites, italki is one of the best. Here are the main features of italki:

The italki App

To take lessons, you use italki’s website or you can download the italki app. They both offer the same experience, but I find the app to be more convenient.

italki app

If you have the app on your phone, you can take lessons or complete practice activities anywhere you want. It’s easy to navigate and is really well-designed.

Finding a Language Tutor

For some languages, there are hundreds, or even thousands, of tutors available. Luckily, italki makes it easy to find one that you like. You can search and filter tutors to find your perfect match. You can filter tutors by:

  • Where they’re from
  • Other languages they speak
  • Their lesson prices
  • Availability
  • Category (Kids, Business, Test Prep, etc.)
  • Whether they’re a native speaker or not
  • Professional Teacher vs Community Tutor

Iprefer this to other platforms like Live Lingua that automatically match you to a teacher. In terms of filters, italki is ahead of its competition.

Professional Teacher vs Community Tutor

There are two types of teachers on italki: Professional Teachers and Community Tutors. Professional Teachers are certified professionals that are experts in teaching languages. They’re perfect if you have detailed questions or want to study advanced topics, like test preparation. Community Tutors are native or advanced speakers who are helpful for informal practice and conversation exchange.

italki Feedback

After you find a list of tutors, you can take a look at their profile. Most tutors make a short introduction video and write a brief description of themselves. You can see feedback from other students.

italki feedback from students

The quality of tutors varies on italki, so reading reviews from past students is important. They give you a better idea of what the tutor’s teaching style is, how they interact during their classes, and even how good their internet connection is.

italki Instant Booking

You can see a tutor’s up-to-date availability on their profile page. Tutors have the option of approving each lesson request manually or they can enable the instant booking feature. This means that when you find a tutor you like and they’re available when you want to take a lesson, you can book it just by clicking the button.

italki instant booking feature

This is convenient because you don’t have to wait for the tutor to confirm your class. It all happens automatically.

italki Classroom

When the time comes to take a class, you can choose between the following platforms: Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout, Wechat, Zoom, QQ, and the italki Classroom (which I personally think is the best).

italki classroom screenshot

You can access the italki Classroom directly on the website or in the app and it has interactive tools that you and your tutor can use. It’s safer to use than the others because italki can easily see if you or your tutor have technical problems during the lesson.

Safety and Security

One of the best reasons to find a tutor through italki is safety and security. If you find someone on social media or in other forums online, there are a lot of risks. You could pay them and they don’t show up or they could do or say something explicit to you.

This is not a risk with italki. The platform ensures you receive the lessons you pay for and it also helps solve any problems you have with a tutor. This added security is a huge benefit!

italki Review: Languages

You can study more than 150 languages on italki. They range from more popular languages like Spanish and French to uncommon languages like Basque and Tsonga. The most popular languages on italki are: Chinese (Mandarin), French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Japanese, Hindi, Italian, and Russian. There is also American Sign Language available. You can see the full italki languages list here.

If you’re not quite ready for live lessons, check out the resources below to find the best apps to learn each language.


italki Review: Overall Learning Experience

I’ve taken quite a few Spanish lessons on italki and I only have good things to say. The platform is really easy to use and the italki Classroom makes lessons more fun.

italki practice activity screenshot

In addition to taking lessons, italki also has some free practice activities you can complete to practice outside of class time. It asks questions in your target language and native speakers help correct your responses. You can also ask questions to the italki community and interact with tutors outside of your classes. These are similar to other platforms like Coursera.

It could be a good idea to use a language app like Pimsleur, Babbel or Rocket Languages to help you learn outside of your classes, as well.

italki Review: Areas of Improvement

As a platform, italki is excellent. It’s safe and secure, the technology is reliable, and it makes learning a language interactive and fun. I honestly don’t have any bad things to say about it.

italki tutor profile

The most important point I want to emphasize is to choose your tutor wisely. There are good tutors and bad tutors, and a higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality lessons. To avoid disappointment, be sure and watch the tutors’ introduction videos and read reviews from other students.

This isn’t really italki’s fault because it can’t control how people teach, but it is something to be aware of before taking lessons.

italki Alternatives & Competitors

As learning a language online becomes more popular, you’ll find an increasing number of websites like italki. There are already a lot of italki alternatives out there, but very few offer a good experience like italki. The best italki alternatives are PreplyLingodaBaselangVerbling, and Chatterbug. If you’re looking for platforms like italki, add these to the top of your list. 

Preply vs italki

Preply language app homepage

Similar to italkiPreply connects language learners and tutors around the world. It’s a huge platform just like italki and tutors set their own prices and make their own curriculum, too. Overall, italki seems to be more developed than Preply and its platform is more advanced. One way Preply stands out is its satisfaction guarantee: if you take a trial lesson and aren’t happy, Preply arranges a lesson for you with a different tutor completely free. You can read this complete italki vs Preply comparison, or learn more in this Preply review.

Lingoda vs italki

Lingoda Language School Homepage

Lingoda is similar to italki because it connects you with online language tutors, but it’s a completely different format. Lingoda has a structured curriculum that its teachers follow, so there’s a lot of guidance and consistency in your classes. The lessons also have a set price and they are group lessons. italki tutors set their own prices and classes are mainly 1-on-1. If structure is what you’re looking for, Lingoda is an excellent option. It currently offers, Spanish, French, German, and English. You can read more about it in this Lingoda review.

Baselang vs italki

Baselang Spanish School Homepage

Baselang is a website similar to italki, but it only offers Spanish classes. With Baselang, you can choose your tutors and availability just like on italki. However, Baselang also offers a complete curriculum that takes you from beginner to fluent quickly. One Baselang feature that makes it better than italki is the price. For one monthly price, you get unlimited Spanish lessons. If you’re interested, you can read my complete Baselang review.

Verbling vs italki

Verbling homepage

Verbling is an italki alternative that helps you easily find language tutors. The layout of the platform is similar to the italki website, and tutors also set their own prices on both websites. There is one big difference though. While italki lets tutors offer a discounted trial lesson, your first trial lesson on Verbling is completely free. That alone makes it worth a try! You can read more about it in this Verbling review.

Chatterbug vs italki

Chatterbug Homepage

Chatterbug is an italki alternative that offers complete courses and comprehensive practice activities. Instead of telling your tutor what you want to do each lesson, Chatterbug follows an integrated curriculum.

Both italki and Chatterbug have 1-on-1 lessons, but Chatterbug also helps you learn outside of your lessons. It offers spaced-repetition flashcards, reading activities to learn words in context, video and audio clips to improve your comprehension, and writing practice. You can read more about it in this Chatterbug review.

italki Review FAQ

Is italki safe?

The italki platform is completely safe and secure to use. Your personal information is protected and italki helps you solve any problems you have with payments or tutors. italki is much safer than finding a tutor and paying them privately.

Does italki have a free trial?

italki does not have a free trial, but most tutors offer trial lessons at a discounted rate. This is a great way to try lessons with different tutors and find the one you like best. Tutors also offer discounts if you book multiple lessons with them. This is one of the best ways to save money on language lessons.

Can italki make you fluent?

Yes, you can become fluent by using italki. Practicing with native speakers is the best way to learn a language, and italki makes this really easy. Lesson prices are affordable too, so you could even save money by learning with italki instead of subscribing to an expensive language course.

How often should I use italki?

This depends on your budget and how quickly you want to learn. Ideally, you should aim to take 2 or 3 hours of lessons per week. This makes sure you’re practicing consistently but not overwhelming yourself with new material. You can also ask your italki tutor to send you practice activities to complete outside of your lessons.

When should I start italki lessons?

You should start italki lessons as soon as you start learning a language. Practicing with native speakers is the quickest way to improve your communication skills. If you start italki lessons when you start learning a language, you’ll also learn proper pronunciation and avoid the mistakes people who only use language apps make.

About this italki review

This italki review is completely independent and I received no compensation for writing it. To write this review, I used the italki website and app myself, took several lessons with a Spanish tutor, and read user reviews on other popular websites.

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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