Duolingo vs Babbel: A Comprehensive Comparison of Language Learning Apps


In this informative guide, we’re going to delve into a comparison between two leading language learning apps – Duolingo and Babbel. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, the value of learning various languages is gaining prominence. Language-learning applications have actually transformed the manner in which we develop new skills and broaden our understanding. In this article, we shall examine various aspects including features, cost, learning methods, user interface, and user feedback of Duolingo and Babbel. This in-depth analysis will facilitate your decision making and guide you on which app is best suited for your language learning journey.

Getting to Know Duolingo

Origins and Heritage of Duolingo

Set up in 2011 by Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker, Duolingo was devised with the purpose of democratizing language learning. The founders envisaged a platform that blended education with collective translations. The journey from its inception has seen Duolingo blossom into a leading language learning app worldwide, registering millions of active users.

Key Features of Duolingo

Duolingo has a plethora of features aimed at making language learning both effective and appealing. One of the distinctive features is its game-like learning style. Duolingo employs a point system, advancing levels, and success badges to retain user engagement and keep motivation levels up. The app integrates several types of interactive exercises, such as listening, reading, speaking, and writing, to foster comprehensive language skill development in users.

Cost and Subscription Details of Duolingo

One of the massive plus points of Duolingo is the availability of a free version of the app, making it accessible to anyone with a smartphone or computer. The free version comes accompanied by ads and some restrictions on features. The app also provides a premium subscription known as Duolingo Plus, which offers an ad-free experience, offline accessibility, and bonus features. Duolingo Plus comes with a monthly or yearly subscription plan.

Photo by Malik Skydsgaard/Unsplash

Deciphering Babbel

Origins and Background of Babbel

Unveiled in 2007 by Markus Witte and Thomas Holl, Babbel was created with the target of developing a language learning application that focused on functional conversational skills. Babbel has since risen to popularity among language learners, offering a variety of language courses.

Major Features of Babbel

Babbel is recognized for its emphasis on practical conversational abilities. The app is designed to enable learners to gain confidence in speaking from the outset. It offers a variety of interactive lessons, spanning basic topics like greetings, food and drink, travel, and so on. Language experts meticulously curate Babbel’s lessons to ensure learners are exposed to pertinent and useful vocabulary and grammar.

Cost and Subscription Details of Babbel

Babbel operates on a subscription-based model, offering subscription plans on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Pricing depends on the subscription duration, with longer-term plans offering a lower monthly cost. Babbel also occasionally extends special offers and discounts to newcomers.

Language Options

Languages Provided by Duolingo

Duolingo offers an extensive list of language courses, including popular languages such as Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese, as well as less-spoken languages like Esperanto, Welsh, and High Valyrian.

Languages Provided by Babbel

Babbel delivers courses in 14 languages, ranging from widely spoken languages like English, Spanish, French, and German to less common languages like Indonesian, Danish, and Turkish.

Photo by Malik Skydsgaard/Unsplash

Learning Styles and Techniques

Learning Style Adopted by Duolingo

Duolingo employs a fusion of gamification, repetition, and contextual learning to help users acquire language skills. The app impels users to practice regularly, rewarding them with points and streaks for consistent learning. Duolingo also uses spaced repetition, gradually presenting new vocabulary and grammar concepts over time to reinforce learning.

Learning Style Adopted by Babbel

Babbel concentrates on conversational learning, giving priority to practical language skills. Lessons are structured to simulate real-life conversations, aiding learners to develop their speaking and listening skills. Babbel also emphasizes the importance of grammar and vocabulary, providing explanations and exercises to reinforce language fundamentals.

Technical Aspects

User Interface and User Experience in Duolingo

Duolingo boasts a user-friendly interface, full of vibrant visuals and intuitive navigation. The app’s interface aims to make language learning feel akin to playing a game, thereby keeping users engaged and motivated. Duolingo’s offers a seamless user experience, allowing learners to progress through lessons at their own speed.

User Interface and User Experience in Babbel

Babbel presents a clean and minimalist user interface, focusing on simplicity and ease of use. The app’s interface is efficiently organized, making it effortless for learners to navigate through lessons and track their progress. Babbel’s user experience is designed to be interactive and engaging, providing immediate feedback and guidance to keep learners motivated.

Photo by Alexander Grey/Unsplash

Pros and Cons

Advantages and Drawbacks of Duolingo

Positive Aspects:

  • Duolingo provides a free version, making it accessible to all learners.
  • The game-like approach keeps learners motivated and engaged.
  • Duolingo covers a vast range of languages, including less common ones.
  • The app is suitable for beginners and intermediate learners.

Negative Aspects:

  • The free version contains ads and restrictions on some features.
  • Duolingo’s concentration on gamification may not be desirable to all learners.
  • The app’s speaking and listening exercises are not as extensive as Babbel’s.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Babbel

Positive Aspects:

  • Babbel highlights practical conversational skills from the outset.
  • The app provides a structured and comprehensive learning experience.
  • Babbel’s lessons are curated by language experts.
  • The app delivers a variety of interactive exercises for all skill levels.

Negative Aspects:

  • Babbel requires a subscription for unrestricted access to all features.
  • The range of languages offered is not as extensive as Duolingo’s.
  • The app’s focus on conversational skills may not be to everyone’s liking.

User Feedback and Ratings

User Feedback and Ratings for Duolingo

Duolingo has a substantial and loyal user base, which is reflected in its favorable user feedback and ratings. Users appreciate the game-like learning style and the ability to make language learning fun and engaging. The free version of Duolingo is particularly popular among cost-conscious learners. There are, however, complaints from some users regarding the lack of depth in the app’s speaking and listening exercises.

User Feedback and Ratings for Babbel

Like Duolingo, Babbel also receives positive user feedback and ratings, particularly for its emphasis on practical conversation skills Users often commend the app’s structured lessons and their gradual inductions of previously learned material. Conversely, some users have noted that the subscription model is a downside as it requires continuous payments to gain access to all features.

Photo by John Appleseed/Unsplash


Duolingo and Babbel both offer valuable tools for language learners, each with its distinctive strengths and weaknesses. Duolingo’s game-like approach and free version make it a favorite choice for beginners and those on a tight budget. In contrast, Babbel’s focus on practical conversation skills and curated lessons make it a strong contender for learners who prioritize speaking from early on.

In summary, if you are attracted to a game-like learning experience and want access to an extensive range of languages, Duolingo is an excellent option. If, however, you prefer a structured approach focusing on practical conversation skills, Babbel might be the better choice. The best language learning app for you will depend on your personal tastes, learning style, and objectives. Whether you pick Duolingo or Babbel, either can facilitate your journey to learn a new language.

So, are you ready to take the initial step towards multilingual ability? Start exploring Duolingo or Babbel today and unlock a world of new possibilities.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.