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Are you looking for a language app to learn Chinese? If so, then this article is perfect for you. We’ve compiled a list of apps that will help you learn Mandarin quickly and fluently. You can use these apps on your phone or tablet, making it easy to study anywhere at any time.
Best Overall App
Best For Beginners
Best For Vocabulary
Language apps are one of the best ways to learn Mandarin. The ones below are the best because they specialize in different skills. They offer interactive lessons with native speakers, vocabulary lists, flashcards, grammar explanations, and more. They also have features like voice recognition and handwriting input which make learning even easier. And if that wasn’t enough, you can try most of them for free!
Mandarin Chinese has the most native speakers in the world, with over 1.2 billion speakers. Learning this language can open endless doors of opportunity for you. China has one of the biggest economies in the world, and speaking Chinese can help you get a job at an international company. Knowing Mandarin is also useful for travel. China has 56 UNESCO Heritage Sites, the second-most in the world.
How Long Will It Take You To Learn Mandarin Chinese?
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
What Are The Best Apps To Learn Chinese?
The table below shows the 11 best apps to learn Chinese and what it's best for. Scroll down to learn more about each app.
|Overall Best App to Learn Chinese|
|Best Beginner Chinese App|
|Best App to Learn Chinese Vocabulary|
|Best Chinese App for Speaking|
|Best Chinese Immersion App|
|Best App to Learn Chinese by Listening|
|Best App to Learn Chinese by Reading|
|Best App to Learn Chinese Writing|
|Best App to Learn Chinese Grammar|
|Best Free App to Learn Chinese|
|Best HSK Test Prep App|
Overall Best App to Learn Chinese
Rocket Chinese Overview
The Rocket Chinese app is the best overall app to learn Chinese. It has a comprehensive course that guides you from beginner all the way to intermediate. It teaches phrases that are useful and will break down the language barrier if you plan to visit or live in China.
The lessons are interactive so that you develop an understanding of grammar rules and patterns quickly while learning vocabulary words in context. The app is easy to navigate and has clear explanations of difficult concepts. Try Rocket Chinese for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Rocket Chinese review.
- You can study at your own pace and repeat difficult lessons
- The lessons are easy to follow and don’t overwhelm you
- Cultural insights help you learn more than just the language
The Rocket Languages Chinese course has three levels, and you only need to purchase them once. There’s no monthly subscription to Rocket Languages. Level 1 costs $99.95, Levels 1 and 2 together cost $249.90, and all three levels cost $259.90.
You can try a few lessons for free before you buy to make sure you like the course. Rocket Languages also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Best Beginner Chinese App
Mondly is an app similar to some others on the list like Duolingo and Rocket Languages. It’s a great app for beginners because the Mondly Mandarin lessons focus on helping you become conversational right from the beginning.
They cover topics that are useful, and walk you through basic skills you can use right away. Mondly is a sleek app that’s well-designed and easy to use. You can even learn using Mondly’s AR (alternate reality) and VR (virtual technology) features. Try Mondly for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Mondly review.
- Perfect for complete beginners
- Learn the basics to become conversational quickly
- Focuses on teaching useful words and vocabulary
- Enhanced technology makes it stand out from other apps
A monthly subscription to Mondly costs $9.99 for one language. A yearly subscription costs $47.99, a great discount if you plan to use the app for more than a few months.
If you want to learn multiple languages at the same time, you can get a lifetime membership for $89.99. Mondly also runs special offers throughout the year, so check the website often!
Best App to Learn Chinese Vocabulary
Drops is a popular flashcard app because it takes learning vocabulary to a new level. Its sleek design, wide range of useful words, and overall user experience make it stand out from other Chinese vocabulary apps.
With Drops, you’ll focus on characters and phrases you’ll actually use, and its spaced recognition technology makes sure you remember them over time. Using the Drops app to learn Mandarin Chinese will expose you to a huge range of words and phrases that go beyond the basics like pets, politics, and emergencies.
Try Drops for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Drops review.
- Fun activities teach you new words and phrases quickly
- The design and feel of the app are better than most
- The vocab lists teach you the most useful words
- Additional features help you remember words long-term
You can use Drops for free for 5 minutes every day. However, if you want to use it longer, you’ll need a premium subscription. A one-month subscription costs $13.00, a yearly subscription costs $89.99, and a lifetime subscription costs $159.99. All subscriptions give you access to all languages available on the app.
Best Chinese App for Speaking
italki is one of the most popular language tutoring platforms in the world. It currently has over 1,100 Mandarin Chinese tutors to choose from, so you’re sure to find the perfect tutor for you.
Each tutor offers their own lesson plans and packages, although you can always choose what you want to learn about in your classes. A lot of italki tutors offer discounted trial lessons. That way you can try a few different tutors to find the best ones. You can learn more about it in this italki review.
- The app is easy to use and booking lessons is simple
- Easily filter tutors by languages, location, and more
- Find a tutor within your budget
- The platform is safe and secure
The price of private Chinese lessons on italki currently ranges from $5.00 to $42.00 per hour. For trial lessons, there is usually a 50% discount on the full price. There are tutors for every budget, although if you want to study more specialized topics like HSK test prep, the cost of lessons may be on the higher end of this range.
Best Chinese Immersion App
FluentU is an app that has a large library of Chinese videos and includes a transcription and translation of each one. It includes music videos, movie trailers, news clips, and more. It’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in the Chinese language while also learning more about Chinese culture and society.
The way FluentU blends its video content with useful and practical language learning content is unique. As you watch videos, you can read a transcription and translation of what’s happening in real-time.
If you want to learn more about a specific word or phrase, you can click on it and FluentU shows you how it can be used in different contexts. It also shows you other videos that use that same word or phrase. Try FluentU for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this FluentU review.
- Immerse yourself in native Mandarin Chinese content
- Easily follow allow with subtitles, transliterations, and translations
- Learn words in context to speak like a native
- Create flashcards to remember new words and phrases
FluentU offers a lot of value in terms of its content, but it also has a higher price point than most other language apps. A monthly subscription costs $29.99 and a yearly subscription costs $239.99 (or $20.00 per month). You can get a free 14-day trial of FluentU to see if it’s a good learning tool for you, so it’s worth checking out.
Best App to Learn Chinese by Listening
The ChineseClass101 app uses audio and video lessons to improve your conversational skills and overall language abilities. The lessons are short and easy to manage and there is a lot of flexibility in the topics you choose to study.
While the main benefit of the ChineseClass101 app is improving your listening skills, it also offers a lot of other materials like vocabulary lists, slideshows, and flashcards. There are thousands of lessons in ChineseClass101 and they cover most topics you’ll need to communicate in everyday situations. Try ChineseClass101 for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this ChineseClass101 review.
- The audio and videos always use native speakers
- Your verbal communication skills will improve quickly
- ChineseClass101 aligns its content with the HSK test to help you track your fluency
- You have the option to get feedback from a Chinese tutor on written assignments
There is a free version of ChineseClass101 that allows you to access a few lessons, but if you want to use the full version, you need a paid subscription. The cost of a Basic subscription is between $4.00 and $8.00 per month, a Premium subscription costs between $10.00 and $25.00 per month, and a Premium Plus subscription costs $22.88 to $47.00 per month.
The Chairman’s Bao
Best App to Learn Chinese by Reading
The Chairman’s Bao Overview
The Chairman’s Bao is an app that uses news stories to help you improve your Chinese reading skills. It offers over 7,000 lessons and it’s used by some of the leading schools and universities around the world. Its lessons each have an appropriate HSK level, and the lesson topics cover a wide variety of subjects, like animals, business, crime, pop culture, and world news.
The Chairman’s Bao is the best program to learn to read Chinese because it has lessons for every level. Many of the lessons also include audio of the article. If there are characters you don’t know, the Live Dictionary translates them immediately when you click on them. On top of showing you the meaning of characters, the Live Dictionary also shows you the stroke order and helps you practice writing the character.
- Offers reading practice for beginners to advanced Mandarin speakers
- Thousands of lessons available so you can always find something new to read
- Learn new characters and words, as well as how to write them correctly
- Audio is voiced by native speakers to improve your listening skills
If you want a subscription to the Chairman’s Bao, you have a few different options. The longer the subscription, the greater the discount. A one-month subscription costs $10.00, a three-month subscription costs $25.00 (10% monthly discount), a six-month subscription costs $45.00 (25% monthly discount), a yearly subscription costs $80.00 (33% monthly discount), and a two-year subscription costs $140.00 (42% monthly discount).
Best App to Learn Chinese Writing
Skritter is an app that focuses exclusively on improving your Chinese writing skills. Its advanced technology helps you learn to write new Chinese characters quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, correctly.
As you learn to write the characters, you’ll also learn their definitions, tones, and decompositions. The app includes flashcards and additional features to expand your Chinese vocabulary, as well.
- Master the stroke order for different Chinese characters
- Learn new words and definitions quickly
- Practice writing directly in the app
- Skritter checks your accuracy and provides tips to improve your writing
The cost of a Skritter subscription ranges from $14.99 for a one-month subscription to $99.99 for a yearly subscription ($8.33 per month). There is also a six-month subscription that costs $59.99 ($9.99 per month).
No matter which subscription you choose, Skritter offers a free 7-day trial so you can test out the app before committing to a subscription.
Best App to Learn Chinese Grammar
The LingoDeer app uses games to help you learn Chinese. Its grammar lessons are better than most other apps, and it divides the lessons into both the HSK levels and the CEFR levels.
It’s useful for beginners to more advanced learners and it offers a wide range of grammar topics to help you communicate more fluently. The laid-back and fun approach helps you retain the information effectively. The explanations in the grammar lessons are also in English, which ensures you’ll understand exactly what they’re describing.
Try LingoDeer for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this LingoDeer review.
- Grammar explanations make even the most difficult topics easy to understand
- It gives real-life examples in Chinese
- The game-like approach makes learning fun
- It organizes lessons by level to help you track your fluency
LingoDeer offers a free version that allows you to go through a limited amount of lessons without paying. However, to go through all of its content, you need a premium subscription. A one-month subscription costs $14.99 per month, $39.99 for 3 months, and $79.99 per year. You can also purchase a lifetime subscription for $159.99.
Best Free App to Learn Chinese
Duolingo is a free language app that has the infamous green owl as its logo. Its course is perfect for learners who want to learn Chinese in a more structured way. Duolingo also stands out among other free Chinese apps because it helps you improve all communication skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
While learning Chinese on Duolingo, you’ll go through a variety of activities that help you absorb new Chinese grammar and vocabulary. As you progress through the lessons, you’ll always build on what you previously learned. This is helpful for learners who like more guidance as they study Chinese.
Try Duolingo for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Duolingo review.
- Fun to use and helps you improve all communication skills
- The course structure is easy to follow and adds to what you’ve already learned
- Engaging games that help you remember new words and phrases
- It can help you build a strong foundation in the language
Duolingo is completely free to use, although it is ad-supported. This means that advertisements will occasionally interrupt your learning. If you want to remove all advertisements, you can subscribe to Super Duolingo, which costs between $6.99 to $12.99 per month.
Best HSK Test Prep App
HSK Online Overview
The HSK Online app is specifically for Chinese learners who want to take the HSK exam. It tells you exactly what level you’re at and offers a personalized study path to help you reach the next level. When you use HSK Online to learn Chinese, you’ll study grammar and vocabulary, as well as improve your listening and reading skills.
What makes HSK Online stand out from other test prep materials is that it includes everything you need to successfully pass the exam. It uses artificial intelligence to teach you what you need to know, it has in-depth grammar explanations to help you understand tricky topics, and it also includes mock exams.
- Specifically designed to help you pass the HSK test
- Personalized study plan focuses on what you need to practice most
- Grammar explanations prepare you for tricky exam questions
- Take mock exams to practice for the real thing
The price for the HSK Online app varies based on the length of your subscription. The price of a one-month subscription is ￥118 (around $18.15), a yearly subscription costs ￥488 (around $75.00), and a lifetime subscription costs ￥698 (around $107.50).
Why You Should Use Apps To Learn Chinese
Apps are convenient to use to learn a language. Not everyone has access to a Mandarin tutor or is able to find a class in their area. Apps let you learn from the comfort of your home whenever you want.
From interactive lessons, vocabulary lists, flashcards, and grammar explanations to voice recognition and handwriting input features, these are the highest quality apps you’ll find. You can also try most of them for free. So test out one or more to find the right choice for you.
How To Use Apps To Learn Chinese
Apps can be used alone or with another resource like a Chinese book or online course. After you find the app that is right for you, consistent practice is key to advancing in your studies. Most apps encourage you to practice every day. If that's not possible, spending some time at least a few times a week will help you improve. Some apps will let you set a daily or weekly study goal, and others have other motivational tools such as points and leaderboards. The important thing to remember is that fluency won't happen immediately. Language learning is a journey that takes time and dedication.
Best Apps To Learn Chinese: Final Thoughts
Learning Chinese is hard, but apps can make it easier. By using one or more apps, you can create an effective learning routine and steadily improve your Mandarin skills. This list of the 11 best apps to learn Chinese can help you find one that works for you. No matter what kind of learner you are, the choices on this list can help take your fluency to the next level.
Best Apps To Learn Chinese: FAQ
Duolingo is a decent app to learn Chinese, but it shouldn’t be the only app you use. It’s good for learning basic concepts, but Duolingo doesn’t teach you to write in Chinese and its speaking and listening resources are limited. There are much better apps out there that can help you learn to communicate in Chinese, like italki, Rocket Languages, and The Chairman’s Bao.
The fastest way to learn Chinese is to study consistently and focus on improving your communication skills from the beginning. Using apps like FluentU, Skritter, and ChineseClass101 can help you learn to read, write, speak, and understand Chinese quickly. By studying for short periods of time every day, you’ll be surprised how much Chinese you can learn in 6 months.
The best method to learn Mandarin is to find high-quality tools that teach you to read, write, speak, and comprehend the language. These include apps like FluentU, Rocket Languages, and italki. Using apps and programs like these on a consistent and daily basis will help you learn Mandarin effectively, efficiently, and eventually, fluently. Shorter study sessions are also better than longer study sessions because you’ll remember more over time.
It is definitely possible to learn Chinese on your own. There are a wide variety of apps, books, podcasts, and videos available that make it possible to learn Chinese online. Immersing yourself in the language is one of the best ways to learn a language, and you can always find movies, music, and TV shows online. You can also use tutoring platforms like italki and Preply to speak with native Chinese speakers online.
You can build a solid foundation in Mandarin within 6 months if you study consistently and use high-quality resources. It’s difficult to become completely fluent in a language in 6 months, but you can become conversational within this period. To learn Mandarin in 6 months, it’s best to use apps like italki and Rocket Languages because they will help you improve your communication skills as soon as you start. Six months goes by quickly, so it’s important to dive right in if you want to learn as much as possible in that time.
How long it takes to learn Mandarin depends on a variety of factors, like how much time you dedicate to learning it, how often you learn it, and the quality of the apps and other resources you use. In general, it can take around 18 months to become fluent in Mandarin if you are a serious learner who studies everyday, immerses yourself in the language every chance you get, and practices speaking with native speakers. Casual learners will take longer to learn the language.
If you want to see how long it will take you to learn Mandarin, check out our Fluency Calculator.
Look at Laoshi.io too, please ????
Technically not an app, but they do use one for their online classroom, but Instant Mandarin would be a good one to add to the list. They provide 1-to-1 online lessons. Works for me.
Chad Emery says:
Thanks for the suggestion, Dewitt! I’ll look into it. 🙂