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which is better - pimsleur or babbel

Pimsleur vs Babbel – which one is better?


Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, which means you don’t have to pay more, but we get a small commission if you choose to pay for a course. This doesn’t influence our reviews in any way.

Statistics show that only 5% of language learning is done using online language learning apps. While many people still choose to use offline options instead.

To me that is a surprisingly small percentage of people using apps to learn languages, but that number is growing. More and more people have become attracted to the convenience of language apps.

So that is why we will compare Babbel vs Pimsleur in our post today. These are two very popular options if you want to learn a new language on the go.

Keep on reading to find out the differences between Pimsleur vs Babbel and which option you should choose.

Table of Contents

Pimsleur or Babbel – Which is better?

Both of these apps are popular options when it comes to people who want to learn a new language. They provide the convenience of being able to learn a new language on the go straight from your phone, instead of having to attend an open college course or an evening class.

Despite these apps both focusing on teaching you a language, there are some differences to consider. These are differences that could make one or the other a better option for you.

When looking at a language learning app, you need to take into consideration all the factors. This includes things like 

  • the type of lessons, 
  • the length of the lessons, 
  • the number of target languages available,
  • and the price.

Both Pimsleur and Babbel have different focuses when it comes to their language learning program.

Pimsleur is more focused on oral language skills and conversational capabilities.

Babbel has a more general approach, including grammar and writing skills in your target language.

Each of these apps may appeal to different people depending on your goals.

There are some striking differences that you should take into consideration. Although these apps have a similar purpose, they go about it in different ways.

Babbel and Pimsleur are both considered to be more conversational. They are not designed to help you learn a language to use in a professional space. None of these apps will take your language skills to a level where you can negotiate a million dollar deal in French or set up a business contract in Japanese. But that’s not their intention either.

Pimsleur and Babbel will help you to become near fluent in everyday speech in the language that you choose. You will be able to use it conversationally, so you can interact with native speakers comfortably and confidently.

Pimsleur App

Something that is important to consider about any language learning app is the app itself. You want to understand how user-friendly and easy to navigate it is.

pimsleur lesson
The Pimsleur interface
Pimsleur Voice Coach
Pimsleur Voice Coach

The good thing about Pimsleur is that it is very user-friendly. You do not have to worry about struggling to find lessons or maneuvering through your options.

The app itself is sleek and modern and has a simple layout that you can easily navigate. The pictures and instructions are clear, and the audio is very easy to understand.

It is also easy to contact support and get your questions answered. If you have any issues, you won’t have any problems contacting support for help resolving them.

This makes Pimsleur ideal for those who are not very tech-savvy. You won’t have very many technical issues, and if you do, you will be able to get help as there are operators available 24/7.

Babbel App

Now that you know more about the Pimsleur app, what about the Babbel app? Babble also has a very easy user interface designed to make it’s app easy to use.

babbel interest section
Babbel Interest Section
babbel course overview
Babbel course overview

You start by defining your goals and how many minutes a day you are committed to learn.

The support options are also available if you are having any issues. You can find these options within the app, where you can contact support if you have an issue.

There is even a Babbel magazine that you have access to on the app. This is where you can find all kinds of Babbel information as well as useful tips and insights into language learning.

When you log into the app, you will have access to live classes, games, and podcasts. All of these are designed to help you better learn the language that you want to become fluent in.

All of these details help to make the Babbel app very user-friendly. You do not have to worry about having difficulty finding what you want or starting your lessons.

Pimsleur’s Lessons

If you are comparing Pimsleur vs Babbel, there are a number of striking differences between the two language learning apps. Pimsleur offers you 50 different languages that you can choose from.

Because of this, you are very likely to find the language that you want to learn. This can be an issue with other kinds of apps as they may not have as many options available.

You get to choose the language that you want to learn then you’ll have access to lessons. You can also choose what level you want to start at if you already have some experience.

There are five levels for the majority of the 50 available languages. Each level will have 30 lessons, each lasting 30 minutes to complete.

One of the defining features of Pimsleur is that its lessons are audio lessons. You listen to phrases or short conversations spoken by a native speaker and then have to repeat what you just heard. These lessons are designed to be used daily, due to the repetitive pattern of the course to store the vocabulary long-term in your memory.

This concept of “listen and repeat” is Pimsleur’s main focus.

Because of this, Pimsleur is ideal for those who want the convenience of audio exercises. This allows you to listen to your lessons no matter where you are or what you are doing.

It is also very helpful to be able to hear the language you want to speak to get the hang of pronunciation and accent. Many people are able to quickly get through these levels as they can listen to their lessons on the go.

Pimsleur lessons are also very engaging and allow you to interact with them. This can be a great way to practice conversational skills when learning a new language.

Pimsleur even has an Alexa integration, so anyone who has an Amazon Echo device at home can use that to practice their language skills.

Pimsleur’s Practice Section

pimsleur practice section
Pimsleur practice section
pimsleur vs babbel - flash cards
Pimsleur’s audio flash cards

Although the Pimsleur method of teaching a language focuses on audio lessons, the app has more to offer in its practice section. There’s flash cards to repeat the vocabulary, a quiz mode and a speed round.

Apart from that there’s also the Voice Coach, which uses speech recognition to improve your speaking skills. This has traditionally been a weak spot of audio courses, but modern technology now enables you to improve your pronunciation without the need for a teacher.

Babbel Lessons

Compared to Pimsleur with its 50 year history, Babbel with its 15 years is rather a new kid on the block. But in this short time they managed to become one of the most popular language-learning apps available.

So let’s see who Babbel is going to be the right fit for and how Babbel differs from Pimsleur.

Unlike Pimsleur, Babbel has 14 different languages that you can choose from. This does not give you as many options, but it is known for having the most popular options that people want.

Something that many people enjoy about this language-learning app is that you can define your targets and the length of your lessons. You can decide between 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes. So you can choose short lessons, that are easy to get through daily.

Babbel also uses voice recognition and a dialogue trainer for assistance. Both things that help you to perfect this new language that you are learning.

The audio quality is exceptional, and voice recognition helps to make sure you are getting the words right, when it comes to pronunciation.

babbel goal definition
Define your goals in Babbel
babbel lesson
Babbel Lesson

Like Pimsleur, Babbel also has several language levels that you can begin at. If you already have some experience, you can choose more advanced levels, as there are 7 to choose from.

There is even a placement test that you can take to see what level you should be at. If you are not sure where you should start, this is a great way to find out.

Another difference between Babbel vs Pimsleur is that Babel is more interactive. You will get visual cues that help you to work through your lessons, unlike audio cues.

There are all kinds of exercises designed to help you in different areas. This includes conversational speaking so that you could hold everyday conversations in that language.

Babbel’s Review Section

Similar to Pimsleur, Babbel also has a review section where you can practice your new learned language skills with flash cards, as well as speaking and writing exercises. But while this is more of an add-on with Pimsleur, in Babbel it’s an integrated part of your learning routine. Which makes sense, as repetition is key to success when learning a new language.

You can save words or phrases you find difficult to remember, so you can practice them more often.

babbel review section
The Babbel review section
Babbel review
You can save phrases you want to repeat.

Pimsleur Prices

Now that you know more about learning a new language with these apps, you may want to know about prices. How much a language learning app costs can be a big deciding factor.

One good thing about Pimsleur is that you get a 7 day free trial to enjoy. Some language learning apps provide this but there are some options that don’t.

This allows you to get an idea of what Pimsleur is like and if you would enjoy using it. Pimsleur also offers refunds if you are not happy with it and you no longer wish to continue.

The average price is $20 a month for access to all Pimsleur software. This allows you to have access to all of the lessons and software that you need.

This might feel a bit expensive, but you do have access to 50 languages. There are also 30 lessons within each level, giving you plenty of stuff to work on.

Babbel Prices

Babbel also has a free version that you can take advantage of. This free version allows you to see what Babbel is like and if it is a good fit for you.

Keep in mind that this free version does not give you access to much. You will only be able to see what the app is like, but you won’t have access to many of the features of the software.

It also has a 20-day guarantee if you are not happy with the subscription that you bought. This allows you to get a refund as long as you request it within 20 days.

You have the option of different subscriptions to help you get a better price. The subscriptions cost between $6.95 and $13.95, depending on the length of your subscription.

The longer your subscription is, the less money it is going to be out of your pocket. Those who are committed to learning a new language will find this to be a great long-term option.

Shall I choose Babbel or Pimsleur?

If you want to use a language learning program, you may not know which one to use. There are so many different apps out there that have their own pros and cons.

Pimsleur vs Babbel are two very popular options, but they are different. Because of this, you want to choose them based on your goals and the language you want to learn.

There is no language learning app that is going to be the right fit for everyone. It is going to depend on how you learn and what kind of access you want to have.

Who Should Use Pimsleur?

For the most part, Pimsleur is considered to be ideal for those who enjoy audio learning. Pimsleur lessons focus on audio and are great for those who learn this way.

It is also more convenient and allows you to learn your lessons on the go. You don’t have to watch for visual cues like you do when using Babbel.

These are the types of lessons that you can take advantage of in the car or on your daily walk. You could also listen to them when you are working out or doing other tasks.

Who Should use Babbel?

Those who learn best with visual cues will find Babbel to be a great option for them. It makes use of all the features a smart phone has to offer, creating a much more interactive program.

Compared to Pimsleur, Babbel requires you to focus on your lessons to get through them, so you can’t use Babbel on the go like Pimsleur. On the other hand, you can choose shorter lessons, so you can squeeze in a quick learning sprint during your lunch break or between lectures.

If you prefer an app that feels more like a game, then Babbel won’t disappoint you. It’s still language learning, but with more fun than just listening to audio lessons.

If you are undecided, you can always try out the free trial to see what you think. The access is limited but it will give you an idea of what the Babbel app has to provide.

If you later change your mind, it is also great that you can get a refund. This is something available with Pimsleur as well if you want to try other options.

Pimsleur vs Babbel for Language Learning – The Verdict

If you want to learn a new language, both Pimsleur and Babbel are solid choices. They are two common language learning apps with very different approaches towards learning languages.

Which language learning app is the best? Well’s there’s no easy answer to this, as every app has its pros and cons. It depends on your preferences and what you want to achieve. To help you to decide, here are the main points summarized again.