Test Prep Insight is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Best Apps To Learn German

Explore the best way to learn German with these top-rated online courses and programs

German is a tough language to learn. With long words that can be a mouthful for English speakers and seemingly backwards sentence structures, it can be difficult to pick up. This in turn makes choosing the right language learning app critically important. But with so many German programs to choose from, how do you know which is best for you? Enter this guide. Our team has thoroughly evaluated over a dozen language apps at this point and assigned each one a detailed rating and grade, so you can figure out which one matches your needs and budget.

  • Price
  • Content Access Period
  • Lesson Length
  • Verbal Practice
  • Speech Recognition Software
  • Grammar Instruction
  • Rocket German SALE: 60% OFF Code: INSIGHT60
    SALE: 60% OFF Code: INSIGHT60
    Claim Discount
    • $149+
    • Lifetime
    • 45-60 Minutes
    • Heavy Emphasis
    • Dedicated Lessons
  • Pimsleur Free 7-Day Trial Sign Up Today
    Free 7-Day Trial Sign Up Today
    Claim Offer
    • $20/mo
    • Month-to-Month
    • 45-60 Minutes
    • Heavy Emphasis
    • Thorough Coverage
  • Babbel SALE: 55% OFF Applied in Cart
    SALE: 55% OFF Applied in Cart
    Claim Discount
    • $7-$14/mo
    • Monthly or Lifetime
    • 10-15 Minutes
    • Moderate Focus
    • Layered Into Lessons
  • Lingoda Free 7-Day Trial Applied w/ Link
    Free 7-Day Trial Applied w/ Link
    Claim Offer
    • $50+/mo
    • Month-to-Month
    • 60 Minutes
    • Heavy Emphasis
    • Verbal Commentary

Best German Apps Video Review

In the video above, team member John runs down our list of the best language learning apps on the market to learn German. For more detail, continue reading below.

Rocket German

Rocket German

  • Lifetime Plans Available
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Lifetime Plans Available
  • Money Back Guarantee
Our Score

9.7

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
Pros
  • Interactive audio lessons help improve your speaking skills
  • Diverse set of reinforcement drills allows material to sink in
  • Lessons utilize Google's Web Speech API
  • Rocket makes grammar content a priority within coursework
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey in comparison to other German language apps
  • Lessons require time and patience to complete
Rocket German
SALE: 60% OFF Code: INSIGHT60

Why Rocket German Is The Best Course Online

After reviewing over a dozen different German programs, Rocket Languages separated themselves as the clear winner. Their German course is the most complete and well-rounded from top to bottom. Here’s why.

Audio Lessons Help You Develop Speaking Skills

The first highlight of the Rocket German program is their series of interactive audio lessons, in which you listen to and respond to fluent speakers within the framework of mock conversations.

rocket german audio lesson
The Rocket German audio lessons are extremely helpful

In my opinion, these guided conversations are remarkably effective for improving your listening comprehension and verbal skills. You’re essentially asked to use the German language under pressure just like you would in real life situations. That’s the key point here, you get simulated real world experience with Rocket’s interactive lessons.

Diverse Reinforcement Exercises

Following the audio portion of each lesson, Rocket also provides an array of reinforcement exercises and drills to improve your reading and writing skills. These drills include flashcards, matching pairs, writing exercises, and more.

These follow-up drills really help to drive home language retention following the audio lessons. Plus, their quick-hit nature makes them kind of fun.

Feedback On Your Pronunciation

One other cool feature is that the Rocket German lessons also utilize Google’s cutting-edge Web Speech API, which many consider to be one of the best speech tools in the world.

rocket german speaking
Rocket uses Google’s Web Speech API

Here’s how it works: as you complete the audio lessons and various practice drills, Rocket (in conjunction with Google’s tech), records your voice to determine the accuracy of your German pronunciation on a scale from 1 to 100. It’s pretty neat and the immediate feedback is super helpful for ensuring you’re using the language correctly.

Detailed Grammar Instruction

I really like that Rocket emphasizes grammar content and instruction within its coursework, but without going overboard. Both their audio lessons and digital text lessons are full of useful explanations, tips and insights to help you grasp the different grammar rules and principles in the German language.

➡ Read our full Rocket German Review

Pimsleur

Pimsleur German

  • Monthly Plans Available
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Monthly Plans Available
  • Money Back Guarantee
Our Score

9.5

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
Pros
  • Highly effective and engaging audio lessons
  • Special driving mode for commuters
  • Diverse practice exercises drive home language learning
  • Plans are more affordable in comparison to Rocket German
Cons
  • No speech recognition technology
  • Somewhat light on grammar content in comparison to Rocket German
Pimsleur
Free 7-Day Trial Sign Up Today

Why Pimsleur Makes The Best German Courses List

We knew from the first lesson with Pimsleur that they would make their way onto our best list. This is a fantastic program that is unquestionably effective. Here’s why.

Top-Notch Audio Lessons

Similar to Rocket German, Pimsleur offers in-depth audio lessons focused on improving your speaking skills. For 30 minutes at the start of every lesson, an English-speaking moderator walks you through a short German conversation, breaking everything down to the last syllable.

Pimsleur German lesson
Pimsleur’s audio lessons are powerful

These lessons are long and can be intensive as you reach the higher levels, but they incredibly effective. Pimsleur packs into one audio lesson what you learn in 10 Duolingo lessons.

Better For Visual Learners (Compared To Rocket)

Though highly similar to Rocket’s audio lessons in structure, the Pimsleur lessons, exercises and drills integrate more pictures and graphics than Rocket’s. To be clear, Pimsleur doesn’t offer as many visuals as Memrise or Busuu, but compared to Rocket (the only other provider with all important audio lessons), Pimsleur is supreme.

Pimsleur German app
Pimsleur’s digital platform is awesome

Therefore if you tend to favor visual learning, Pimsleur might be a better choice for you.

Ideal For Commuters

For all you commuters and road warriors out there, the Pimsleur audio lessons are equipped with a special driving mode feature that allows you to easily complete lessons while you’re on the go.

Simply connect your smartphone to your car stereo, active the driving mode, and you’re good to go. If you usually find yourself stuck in traffic, this is a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. Plus, Pimsleur requires you to talk aloud quite a bit, and what better place than alone in your car.

More Affordable Than Rocket German

The final difference between Rocket German and Pimsleur (the two most comparable apps), is that Pimsleur offers monthly subscription plans rather than lifetime plans like Rocket.

Thus, if you want to take things slow and sort of dip your toes in the water before fully committing to any one app, Pimsleur is going to be the cheaper option to start. Plus, Pimsleur even offers a free 7-day trial period so you can take their course for a test drive.

➡ Read our full Pimsleur German Review

Babbel

Babbel German

  • Frequent Discounts
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Frequent Discounts
  • Money Back Guarantee
Our Score

9.4

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
Pros
  • Short, engaging lesson format (10-15 minutes in length)
  • Monthly subscription plans are very affordable (less than $10/month)
  • Modern, easy-to-use digital platform and mobile app
  • Streamlined grammar content and instruction
Cons
  • Verbal practice is somewhat light in comparison to Rocket and Pimsleur
  • Geared more towards beginner/intermediate learners
Babbel
SALE: 55% OFF Applied in Cart

Babbel Is The Top Budget Option For Learning German

With Rocket German offering pricier lifetime-only packages, and Pimsleur generally carrying one of the heftier monthly subscription price tags, you might be looking for a cheaper alternative. Enter Babbel. They are our pick for budget conscious learners want to keep their learning under $10/month.

Short, Engaging Lessons

Our team was crazy about Babbel’s short and engaging lessons. Compared to Rocket and Pimsleur, whose lessons each take 45 to 60 minutes to complete, Babbel’s go by in a blur.

babbel german drill
Babbel German’s lessons are fast and fun

Taking just 10-15 minutes to finish, Babbel’s lessons are perfect for those looking to learn German, but who don’t have a ton of time. Their lessons are a mix of fast-faced blended exercises, like flashcards, speed games, matching pairs, and list-and-repeat drills. They are fast, fun, and engaging.

Accurate Pronunciation Feedback

One key aspect of language learning is perfecting your pronunciation, and this is an area where Babbel shines. While most every language app provides speech software today (except for Pimsleur oddly), Babbel’s speech recognition tech stands out.

We found Babbel’s tech to be fast, accurate and unobtrusive. It consistently provided helpful feedback on my pronunciation, allowing me to work on some tougher-to-pronounce words.

Helpful Grammar Instruction

Grammar is another area that is crucial to successful language acquisition. Yet, it’s also one of the toughest concepts for language learning companies to get right. Too much grammar and you bog learners down. Too little grammar and they’ll develop poor habits early.

learn german babbel
Grammar is delivered seamlessly

Babbel, however, tends to strike a nice balance for their grammar instruction delivery. They subtly weave tips and short notes into their lessons, making grammar content delivery fairly seamless.

Sleek Mobile App & Digital Interface

Of all the language apps we’ve reviewed, Babbel has one of the coolest platforms. Their mobile app is sleek, modern and very easy to use. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also very practical.

You can quickly navigate through your lessons and find extra resources, such as games, vocab and podcasts effortlessly. But most of all, it’s just plain sharp. Apart from maybe Duolingo or Pimsleur, it’s the best in the game.

➡ Read our full Babbel German Review

Lingoda

Lingoda German

  • Free 7-Day Trial
  • Private & Group Classes
  • Free 7-Day Trial
  • Private & Group Classes
Our Score

9.2

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
Pros
  • Group classes are limited to five students or less
  • Experienced instructors that keep you engaged and accountable
  • 1-on-1 coaching available for personalized support
  • Schedule classes to work with your specific calendar
Cons
  • Not a complete language course (focus is on live classes)
  • Somewhat pricey compared to other language apps
Lingoda
Free 7-Day Trial Applied w/ Link

Why Lingoda Is The Best For Live German Classes

I should say upfront here that Lingoda is not a full-fledged language learning course in and of itself. Instead, think of Lingoda more like an online language school. Their program revolves around live classes with certified fluent teachers. So if you’re not the best self-studier and looking for something more structured and in-depth, Lingoda is our pick.

How The Lingoda German Program Is Organized

As noted above, Lingoda isn’t a traditional language learning app. Here’s it how it works: for a monthly fee you get access to a set number of live online classes. You can choose between small-group live classes (with no more than 4 students per class) or 1-on-1 tutoring, if you prefer more personalized instruction.

Lingoda German
Choose between private sessions and small group live classes

The classes are typically 60 minutes long and span beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Plus, what’s nice is that Lingoda offers hundreds of classes throughout the week so you can essentially build a study plan around your specific calendar.

Then after scheduling and completing each class, you download the relevant study materials and take a short quiz to really help the material sink in before moving on.

Why Lingoda Works For Certain Types Of Learners

Overall, I was just really impressed with the Lingoda German classes I completed. If you’re not the self-studier type, and instead need classes and a set study plan to keep yourself accountable, then I think Lingoda is an excellent option.

Lingoda
Lingoda uses video conferencing for their live classes

It’s just a terrific way to interact with other students and learn from experienced German teachers in a live class environment. I never felt pressured, embarrassed or out of place. Everyone was friendly and it was pretty fun.

Rocket German
SALE: 60% OFF Code: INSIGHT60

A Note From the Author On Learning German

The German language is not easy to learn, especially for English speakers. Even though English and German share a common etymological history, the English language and the German language maintain considerable differences.

For instance, on average, German vocabulary is typically composed of much longer words than are found in English. The average word length for all words found in German is around 8.25. By contrast, the average character count for English words is approximately 7.26 – a full character less.

And I know you may be thinking “oh wow, a full character less. Big deal.” Well, it actually is a big deal. Over the course of 20,000+ vocabulary words in each language, it really adds up.

Or in relative terms, the average German word is 13.7% longer than its English counterpart. And given that there are thousands of words that are ten or more letters long (and contain tons of consonants), German can be plain hard to learn.

Not to mention, words in the German vocabulary can be a mouthful for English speakers. In fact, I have even heard native German speakers have trouble with some words. No joke. So don’t get discouraged with your language learning as you start out.

To learn German takes serious dedication, time, and a good German language learning app. I’ve outlined some of the better apps to learn German above that I’ve tested. In fact, at this point, I’ve tested over 20 of them.

Some have a free version. Some are pricey. Some have long lessons, some have short ones. And some were so bad I quit after two days. The point is that all these German programs have different strengths and weaknesses.

But no matter which one you pick, I have found that consistency in practicing is key. You need to be doing German language lessons every single day. And I know you may be thinking that the prospect of an everyday commitment sounds brutal. But it’s not, trust me.

Just make your language learning a part of your everyday routine. To learn German, you need to treat it like a habit. For me, this meant spending 30 minutes every evening after dinner on my German language learning app. But hey, it’s better than watching mindless TV.

Seriously. Consider the cognitive benefits of learning a new language like German. Instead of mindlessly watching some show on Netflix, you’re exercising your brain with language learning exercises and memorizing German vocabulary.

It’s like exercise for your mind. Plus, I have no idea if this is somehow grounded in science, but it helped me sleep better. That’s probably just me, but something about doing the lessons drained my brain – almost like studying for a big test.

So my best advice: don’t get discouraged, stay positive, practice everyday, and make using your German language learning app a part of your daily routine.

Other Tips Beyond Language Apps To Learn German

Using your language app to learn German is just one piece of the puzzle (especially if you’re using the limited free version from a company).

Even for German language learners knocking out multiple lessons per day on their German language learning app, it’s not enough. If you want to become truly fluent in German, you’ll need to incorporate some other learning exercises and tricks into your daily habits. Here are six other tips I have to learn German.

Use Post-Its To Learn German

As I did lessons in my German language apps (again, I used multiple platforms), I routinely wrote the words on post-its. I would then leave the post-it’s all around my house.

I would place them on the refrigerator, calendar, appliances, pictures, wherever. My house was covered with German vocabulary on post-it notes.

Obviously, you won’t have a place to stick a post-it for every new German language word you learn. Verbs and adverbs are especially hard to account for with this trick.

For example, where would you stick a post-it for the verb “to remain.” Beats me too. My point is that nouns are easy, but other word types can be trickier.

Bottom line, for everyday items, which you speak about in German frequently as you start speaking German, this trick words great. Obviously, to converse with native German speakers you’ll need to elevate your German vocabulary (and corresponding hacks) at some point, but when starting out, it’s great.

Watch German Language TV

Watching television is not a new or novel language learning trick, but it does work. Obviously you will have to hit a certain threshold in your language learning journey in order to watch TV, but once you get there, this mechanism really works.

I would suggest starting with children’s shows. Sure, you can eventually switch to the German version of Two and a Half Men (my personal German favorite) and The Simpsons, but you need to start slow. Crawl before you walk.

You may feel like a fool watching German television shows made for toddlers, but they work surprisingly well.

In terms of where to find them, if you’re looking for some shows, check YouTube. There is a ton of free content on there. Sometimes the quality is a little spotty, and it can be hard to find solid recordings, but they are out there. Trust me, I’ve watched many of them myself.

Also, turn on the closed captioning subtitles. This is my pro tip here. That was especially helpful for me in learning the German language. After a while, you’ll want to turn off the closed captioning to focus on hearing the German language (and not reading it), but that will come in time.

Immersion Trip!

Who doesn’t want to travel to Germany? If I am being honest, nothing expedited my learning German like actually traveling to Germany.

I know that isn’t what some people want to hear. Some people just can’t afford to take 2 weeks off and drop thousands of dollars on a trip to Berlin or Munich. But if you can, it is 100% worth it in terms of accelerating your German language skills.

Hearing the German language being spoken around you 24 hours a day for a few weeks is an incredible experience. Total immersion isn’t cheap or easy, but it really works. No arguing that.

I was hesitant to speak with locals when I first landed, but by the time I left, I was confidently speaking German, and even my grasp of German vocabulary had vastly improved. My recall was faster, my conjugations were quicker, and I knew I had corrected a lot of my bad habits in forming grammatically incorrect sentences.

The one issue is that because you’re a tourist, many German locals will try to speak to you in English. For one, they do this because they are friendly and want to accommodate you as a visitor. But secondly, they also want to practice their own English!

They don’t get the chance to speak English that often, so they try to take advantage of having a fluent English speaker in front of them. That was my experience at least.

YouTube

I know I already mentioned YouTube above in relation to watching German children’s television shows. However, even beyond kids’ TV, YouTube can be a great resource. There are dozens of German language YouTube channels that focus on just what you’re after – learning German.

Most of the YouTube channel moderators are German language tutors and teachers, so they know their stuff. And I don’t just mean speaking the German language. I mean communicating how to learn.

This is the critical part of these videos. There are about 130 million people that speak German as their native tongue. But there are only so many that can effectively teach German to English speakers. So when you find a good channel or moderator on YouTube, stick with it.

Their videos cover basic vocabulary, grammar tips, filler words, how to conjugate, and a ton more. I especially love the videos that focus on cultural insights and tidbits. I love Germany, so learning cool cultural stuff is always fun for me.

Thus, as part of your learning routine, I would incorporate some YouTube videos, they are an awesome, free resource.

German Podcasts

There are a million German podcasts floating around the internet. However, many focus on soccer, politics, and pop culture – topics appealing to native German speakers. That said, there are also some aimed at teaching English speakers how to speak German.

They can be tough to find (especially in the US or UK podcast apps), but when you can find one that works, they’re great. In fact, many of these German podcasts are sponsored or created by the language companies themselves, like Babbel and Busuu.

That’s where I would actually start my search. Check out Babbel’s podcast, as well as those from other German app companies.

I especially liked listening to podcasts in the car on my way to work. You could just plug it in and do your best to follow along as you sit in traffic. It’s kind of like the mindless TV thing I mentioned above. Why listen to some crummy podcast talk about American pop culture when you can actually be learning something – like German.

I get that sometimes you are burned out after work, but at least on the way to work when you’re fresh, it’s a good use of time.

Reddit

My last and final tip for learning German (outside of the apps), is Reddit. The “r/German” subreddit is simply awesome.

It’s full of like-minded, eager learners of the German language. Some are advanced (I’d actually say most), but some are beginners too.

This subreddit is a great place to get questions answered, start a thread on an idea you have, or just troll around to kill time.

Rather than scrolling through Instagram when I’m sitting around, I love to go to this subreddit. There are always new threads and questions that I check out.

I rarely post, but when I have, people are very active and answer right away. I’ll check back 30 minutes after posting and will have 10+ responses. It’s kind of crazy actually. Not to mention, it has a great community feel. Not all subreddits have a community feel with positivity and collaboration, but the “r/German” subreddit definitely does.

Not to mention, sometimes as I look at some of the posts, it answers a lot of questions I didn’t even know I had. I can’t tell you how many times I saw a comment and went “oh my God that makes perfect sense. I don’t even think about that!” It’s like some people are mind readers.

In any event, it’s a great forum for engaging with like-minded German learners.

Other Thoughts On The German Language & Germany

I’ve loved Germany for as long as I can remember. Well, actually, since my first trip there when I was 17. I love the natural beauty, the food, and the people.

I know some people (namely, other Americans) say that German people are not the friendliest in the world. I beg to differ. I have never known German people to be anything but friendly, at least to me.

They always want to talk. Whether it’s to practice their own English, or because they want to make sure you like Germany and leave with a good perception of its people, I don’t know. But they’ve always been warm, engaging, and plain friendly. Almost like Southern hospitality in the United States.

In addition, I love the food. Oh my lord, I could talk about German food all day. Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Labskaus, Kartoffelknödel – I love it all. I wish there were more German restaurants here in the US. And Biergartens for that matter.

Then, of course, there is the natural beauty of Germany. From rolling green hills, to the Bavarian Alps, to the shores near Hamburg, to the shady Biergartens (I know, again with the Biergartens). There is so much natural beauty, I could spend months touring around Germany and get enough.

And one other aspect of German culture that I don’t think gets enough attention (at least not as much as other European destinations) is the architecture. The country is full of gorgeous buildings.

Obviously, the old churches and cathedrals are astounding, but even the government buildings, monuments and old houses are pretty. I particularly like Bavarian style homes in the Bauernhaus style.

Now, I’ve listed off a lot of beautiful things about Germany – the warm people, the Alps, the beer, the food. The list goes on. But you know one thing that isn’t the prettiest: the language. The German language just isn’t easy on the ears. In fact, it can be a little harsh.

But you know what I’ve discovered in it? It’s efficient and straightforward. In typical German style, it is to the point, direct, and rule-based. So even though it is not the most beautiful thing to hear (like some of the love languages), you have to appreciate its structure and effectiveness.

A Final Thought On Learning German

As I mentioned above, learning German is not easy. It takes time and consistency, so don’t get discouraged when you’re only a few months in and struggling to keep up with audio lessons. It will get easier, I promise.

FAQ

What is the best app to learn German?

After reviewing over a dozen German language programs, our team believes Rocket German is the overall most effective app for learning the language. While other apps win on price and “fun” factor, Rocket is simply the most effective.

How much do German language apps and courses cost?

German language apps range widely in price, from 100% free (like Duolingo), to lifetime membership plans that cost $500+. On average, however, most apps use monthly subscription plans that cost $8 to $20 per month.

Are online language apps effective for learning German?

There are a number of ways to learn German, but online language apps are one of the most flexible, effective and efficient means. You can generally learn from anywhere, at anytime, and on any device. This makes them very practical.

Search