Babbel vs Duolingo

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: March 16, 2022  •  10 min read  •  Education
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When you’re ready to find the best language education, you might consider Babbel or Duolingo. These are two of the most popular platforms for online language learning. If you’re a self-motivated learner, you can use either one to learn a new language.

However, Babbel and Duolingo are not the same. They both offer benefits, but they also have shortcomings. Considering everything both of these apps offer is important.

Before you decide between Babbel and Duolingo, you want to make sure you have all the information. Let’s take a deep look at both and how they compare.

What is Babbel?

Known as the first language-learning app created, Babbel is a best-selling option. They offer intuitive lessons with more than 10 million subscriptions sold over the life of the company. You will learn a new language through real-life conversations.

Started in 2007, the founders of Babbel were looking to create something that wasn’t a textbook or a CD-ROM program. With very few online options, they created Babbel. Today, the company’s offices are found in New York City and Berlin.

Babbel offers app-based lessons and they also create podcasts, content about culture, games, videos, and even live online classes.

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is a company offering a way to analyze how people learn a new language. This approach provides incredible technology to help with the learning process. Through excellent content and real-life communication, Duolingo helps students learn a new language.

The company was created in 2009. Duolingo has more than 500 million users and employs over 400 people across the world. It’s known as a freemium model, which allows some access for free with upgraded premium options.

Babbel vs Duolingo: Users/Subscriptions

Both Babbel and Duolingo have many users. Duolingo has 500+ million, while Babbel has 10+ million. However, the big difference is the Duolingo free option. This allows for many more users since Babbel doesn’t offer a free option.

Regardless, when it comes to this category, Duolingo is the clear winner. There are far more people using, or at least signed up for, Duolingo than Babbel.

Babbel vs Duolingo: Number of Languages Offered

Babbel and Duolingo offer multiple language options. Babbel has 14 total languages, while Duolingo has 37 languages. There is a pretty big discrepancy here, but let’s go a bit deeper.

Languages Offered by Babbel

Languages Offered by Duolingo

Some of the languages from Duolingo are still in the beta version.

Duolingo is the clear winner in this category with far more language options than Babbel.

Babbel vs Duolingo: Teaching Style

Babble uses progressive lessons you can use to build on your skills. They also use short quizzes to help you test yourself throughout the process.

Duolingo uses short lessons and quizzes, as well. However, they tend to be much easier and the lessons are not progressive like those offered by Babbel.

Duolingo tends to fit better with beginners and those looking to experiment with new languages. They cater to those needing to learn a language when traveling or more to get by in a country for a shorter amount of time.

Babbel offers a better choice for intermediate learners. They provide a good choice for those who want to brush up on their skills or get closer to becoming fluent.

There is no clear winner when it comes to the teaching style. It really depends on what you’re looking for and your level. Babbel may be better for you or maybe Duolingo will fit better for you.

Babbel vs Duolingo: Pros and Cons

When you compare two things, it’s best to see the pros and cons of both. This can help you to make the right decision between Babbel and Duolingo.

Babbel Pros

Babbel Cons

Duolingo Pros

Duolingo Cons

Babbel vs Duolingo: The Cost

Of course, when comparing learning language programs, it’s important to look at the cost. This will likely be a part of your overall decision.

Babbel offers a few different options when it comes to learning a language. the subscription options come with different monthly prices, depending on the package. The options include:

With the lifetime package, you also gain access to all the different languages offered. All packages offer a 20-day money-back guarantee, as well.

Duolingo doesn’t use the same pricing model. They offer a free version, which will give you plenty of content, but it is supported by ads. The ads can become rather annoying when you are trying to learn.

The free version also comes with hearts. you will get five hearts per day. As you answer questions incorrectly, you will lose hearts. After you lose all five hearts, you cannot continue until the next day. However, you can go through old lessons to gain more hearts back.

With the free version from Duolingo, you also have a limited number of test outs you can use. While it’s great and it’s free, there are some serious drawbacks to consider.

You can upgrade to the Plus plan with Duolingo, however. This plan is $7 per month or $84 per year. You won’t have to worry about ads and you will get unlimited hearts and test outs. The paid version also adds in personalized lessons to help you review the mistakes you made.

Overall, the price of Babbel and Duolingo is about the same. However, Duolingo offers a free version, while Babbel offers one and three-month payment options.

Babbel gives you a 20-day money-back guarantee, while Duolingo offers a 14-day free trial of the Plus subscription.

The winner of the cost category is Duolingo due to the free option. Babbel is a great choice if you plan to upgrade, but if you’re looking for a free option, Duolingo is the right choice.

Babbel vs Duolingo: Features

Both Babbel and Duolingo offer app-based learning options. However, they do it in different ways. Babbel provides many speaking exercises and even offers live classes. These features make it a great choice for those that learn best in this type of setting.

You will also gain more flexibility with the features from Babbel. You can move around the different levels and courses with ease. Lessons with Babbel will last about 10 to 15minutes.

Duolingo, on the other hand, is packed with features. you get access to short stories, a forum filled with other learners, regular podcasts, and a translation dictionary. Online events can be a very helpful feature, too.

Babbel offers supplementary courses in each language. These may include more interesting things, such as Love letters or Countries and Traditions. They also have podcasts for those learning Spanish, French, or German. However, they tend to have quite a bit of English throughout.

Duolingo also offers a word bank to help with your learning. You can use the searchable dictionary when you need to look up a word, as well.

Both tend to offer plenty of features. The features are a bit different, however.

Babbel vs Duolingo: Review for Reinforcement

When you review something during the learning process, it helps to reinforce it in your mind. you will have to stop and observe what your real skill level is and notice any gaps. This helps you learn and remember longer.

Babbel and Duolingo both offer review options, but they do it differently. It’s important to hear the same phrase over and over to get it to stick.

Duolingo uses what is known as a spaced-repetition system. It will help you to review what you have learned quite a bit, which can be very helpful. The algorithm they used will help choose the next lesson or skill to focus on.

Babbel, on the other hand, offers four different ways to review after each lesson. you can use writing exercises, flashcards, listening exercises, or even speaking exercises. It’s also necessary to review during the lesson. If you don’t get the question right, you can’t move on to the next one.

Is Babbel the Right Choice for You?

Beginners may not like the way Babbel works. However, if you have past experience with a language or you have a decent foundation, Babbel might be the perfect choice for you.

With lessons you can actually use in real-life interactions, it can help teach you the language for business or travel. You even get accents close to those of native speakers. Babbel also works best for those looking to build upon their skills through progressive lessons.

Babbel offers a great option for building a good vocabulary base, learning grammar, and practicing your speaking skills. Grammar is certainly a higher priority with Babbel compared to Duolingo.

Is Duolingo the Right Choice for You?

For those just getting started with a new language, Duolingo might be the right choice. You can start for free, as long as you can put up with the ads and the limited learning per day. It’s going to feel a bit more like a game, so if you like that, Duolingo is the right option.

Beginners and those testing out a new language will prefer Duolingo. If the ads annoy you or you want to expand your learning, you can upgrade to the Plus subscription.

Babbel vs. Duolingo: A Quick Summary

The main difference you will find between Babbel and Duolingo is the focus. Babbel looks more at the traditional form of the foreign language and teaches more grammar through comprehensive lessons. Duolingo, on the other hand, tries to provide a modern, gaming type of experience as you learn.

Duolingo has an ad-supported free option, while Babble is a subscription model. The decision between the two may depend on the language you want to learn. Babbel offers fewer language options than Duolingo. However, they still offer many of the most popular languages to choose from.

Babbel isn’t necessarily better than Duolingo and Duolingo isn’t necessarily better than Babbel. They are two different types of language learning platforms offering different experiences.

One may fit better for your learning style than the other. Both offer money-back guarantees, so you can try them before you completely commit.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!