The world’s very first language learning app, Babbel has helped millions of people across the globe master new languages with ease and enjoyment. Babbel’s emphasis on learning through real-life conversations, expansive library of learning resources, and reasonable pricing make it an appealing option for people of every learning style, fluency level and budget. But is this best-selling program the best fit for you? In this comprehensive review, we’ll explore all that Babbel has to offer. We’ll look at the available languages, how the courses work, the plans, the pricing and more—so you can decide if this leading language learning app is the right fit for your needs.
|Live online classes, original podcasts, games, videos and more|
|Over 10 million subs sold|
|13 languages available|
|Gift options and employment discounts|
About the Babbel App
Babbel is an app-based language learning program that originated in Germany in 2007, and has since expanded its reach worldwide. With 14 languages to choose from and a variety of learning resources available, including in-app lessons, live online classes, games, videos, podcasts and more, Babbel offers a comprehensive and practical solution for people of every learning style and fluency baseline.
|Comprehensive programs for 14 languages||Live classes only available for a few languages and are an added expense|
|Learn in as little as 10 minutes a day|
|Builds on the foundation of the language you already know|
|Empirically-proven techniques created by curriculum experts|
|Proven cognitive techniques promote retention|
|Learn pronunciation and culture from native speakers|
|Speech recognition software helps you perfect your accent|
|Live lessons, games, podcasts, stories & more|
|Learn about the language’s history; enjoy recipes, songs & more|
|Test first lesson of every course for free|
|20-day money back guarantee|
Babbel offers comprehensive courses in the following languages:
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
Live, virtual lessons are offered for German, Spanish, French and Italian.
How the Babbel Language Learning Program Works
Babbel is designed to get you speaking quickly with a variety of bite-sized and flexible lessons that are fun, interesting and relevant to your specific needs and interests. Here’s a look at what you can expect with this leading language program:
Once you’ve decided to give Babbel a try, getting going is a simple process:
- Set up your account
You’ll begin by visiting the App Store or Google Play Store, searching for “Babbel” and downloading the app onto your smartphone. From there, you’ll follow instructions for setting up an account.
- Select your language
Next, you’ll choose your target language from Babbel’s 14 options. (If you change your mind later, switching languages is easy).
- Determine your learning level
To ensure you get the most out of your program and that they serve up the right content for you, Babbel needs to know where you’re at in your language journey. They offer a quick placement test you can take to find out your learning level.
- Set a weekly goal
Babbel asks that you indicate how many lessons you’d like to complete per week. This helps them provide the right lesson cadence for you and is just a starting point—you can easily scale your weekly goal up or down, depending on how busy you are.
- Get ready to learn
You’ll want to enable the microphone on your device so you can take advantage of Babbel’s speech recognition software, practice your speaking skills and get real-time feedback on your pronunciation. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with all the different resources Babbel offers, including podcasts, games, stories, videos and more.
Learning with the Babbel Language App
Babbel’s mission is to get you speaking your new language as quickly as possible. They do this by building on the foundation of the language you already know, taking into account the similarities and differences between your native language and your target language as they teach vocabulary, grammar and more.
The program is rooted in empirically-proven techniques developed by curriculum experts, and the courses are built on three guiding principles:
- Learn through conversation
Unlike other language programs, which tend to teach random words and phrases you’ll never actually use, Babbel prepares you for meaningful interactions with practical and relevant language skills for real life scenarios.
- Long-term retention
You’ll never have to worry about forgetting what you learn—Babbel reintroduces words through six memory stages, using a technique called spaced repetition to ensure the information and skills you learn make a permanent home in your brain.
- Designed with you in mind
Babbel is built to help you learn in a way that is best for you—whether that’s by reading, writing, speaking, seeing or listening. They offer app lessons, live online classes, audio dialogue recordings from native speakers, games, videos, podcasts and more, so there’s something for every type of learner.
Competencies and Learning Activities
Babbel’s short, flexible lessons are tailored to your skill level and focus on the following competencies:
|Competency||Example Learning Activity|
|Listening||Match what you hear to the words you see on screen.|
|Speaking||Speak into the speech recognition tool and receive instant feedback.|
|Writing||Type out words in context and get instant feedback.|
|Grammar||Learn intuitively from real conversations.|
You can refine your skills by taking advantage of supplemental learning tools like podcasts, games and more. You can also subscribe to Babbel Live to attend live classes in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
Babbel offers three different plans, each with varying lengths and price points. All of the plans include courses in one language except the Lifetime subscription, which includes unlimited access to all 14 languages. Here’s a look at the cost of each plan at the time of this review:
|Plan||Price Per Month|
|Lifetime Subscription||One-time payment of $599 (on sale for $299 at the time of this review)|
How Babbel Compares to the Competition
In the competitive landscape of language-learning platforms, Babbel holds its own. However, how does it fare when compared directly to key competitors like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone? Here’s a look:
Babbel vs. Duolingo
Babbel and Duolingo are two of the leading platforms in the digital language-learning arena, each with its unique strengths and approaches. While both platforms offer a plethora of languages and are equipped with user-friendly interfaces, their primary methodologies differ. Babbel tends to focus on building practical conversational skills, ensuring learners can actively engage in real-world dialogues. It structures its lessons to offer a balance between vocabulary, grammar and cultural insights, often catering to users who are keen on achieving near or full fluency for personal or professional needs. On the other hand, Duolingo takes a gamified approach to learning. Its bite-sized lessons, points system, and daily streaks make it feel more like a game, which can be particularly appealing to casual learners or those seeking a fun introduction to a new language. While Babbel operates predominantly on a subscription-based model, Duolingo provides a significant amount of content for free—although it too offers a premium subscription for an ad-free experience and additional features.
Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone
Babbel and Rosetta Stone are two of the most popular language learning apps on the market today. But they take a very different approach. Whereas Babbel offers explanations and translations using your native language, Rosetta Stone takes an almost fully immersive approach, using your target language almost exclusively. The better option for you depends upon your preferred learning style. Babbel also tends to be less expensive, while Rosetta Stone offers more languages.
Bottom Line: Why We Love It
Babbel is a best-selling app that pairs proven education methods with state-of-the-art technology for a comprehensive and fun approach to language learning. Unlike other apps of its kind, Babbel empowers students with practical, real-life conversation skills and cultural insights. We especially appreciate that they offer an expansive library of resources like podcasts, games, stories and more, and love that they’ve added live lessons to their long list of offerings as well. This is a testament to their belief that no two learners are the same. Overall, Babbel is a tremendous value for anyone looking to learn a new language.
Is Babbel Free?
While registration with Babbel is completely free of charge and the first lesson in every course is free to try, a subscription is required for full and ongoing access to its courses.
How much does Babbel cost?
The cost of Babbel depends on subscription length—the longer your commitment, the less you’ll pay per month. At the time of this review, a one-month plan costs less than $15 per month, while a 12-month plan costs less than $7.50 per month. You can also opt for the Lifetime subscription, which is on sale for $349 at the time of this writing.
Is Babbel worth it?
Yes, Babbel is a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in learning a new language. With an expansive collection of learning resources, a curriculum that meets you where you’re at in your learning journey, and an emphasis on real-life conversational skills, Babbel is a great option for anyone who wants to master a new language, regardless of your learning style and fluency level. The platform’s content-rich lessons, paired with its intuitive user interface, have garnered praise from numerous learners around the globe, validating its effectiveness in the language-learning domain.
The Consumer Rating Difference
Behind Our Best Language Learning Ratings
We make choosing the best language learning app easy with expert reviews and rankings.
Here’s the methodology behind our ratings: