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 Russian
Discover the best way to learn Russian in this detailed guide
There are near limitless options to help you learn Russian. However, most people start with language apps considering that they are highly affordable, convenient, and an effective way to learn a new language. But with dozens of online Russian programs to choose from, how do you know which one is best? In this article, we cover the top five Russian language apps, and explain who each might be best for.
When you stack up all of the different Russian language apps side by side, Rocket Russian clearly separates themselves from the competition. Simply put, their program is the most effective and well-rounded. To help demonstrate this, there are four main highlights to cover.
Comprehensive Audio Lessons
The first highlight is Rocket’s use of interactive audio lessons, in which an English-speaking moderator guides you a through a real conversation between fluent Russian speakers. This type of active, contextual learning is extremely effective for improving both your receptive and expressive language skills.
No other Russian app (apart from perhaps Pimsleur) comes this close to simulating real world conversations. These audio exercises are the foundation of each Rocket lesson, and they are what truly separates this course from competitors like Duolingo.
While other Russian apps tend to offer short, repetitive drills with no frame of reference, Rocket focuses on the most important aspects of language learning—contextual listening and speaking.
Robust Practice Exercises
Rocket augments each audio lesson with a diverse set of practice drills to help reinforce the material presented in the audio portion of each lesson. These drills touch on all the crucial language skills—reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
However, the most impressive and helpful drills are the mock conversations. Following each audio lesson, Rocket offers you the opportunity to replay the conversation, but with a twist—you get to take the place of one of the fluent speakers.
The next highlight of this program is Rocket’s speech recognition technology. As you participate in the conversations noted above, Rocket’s speech software is listening and will grade your pronunciation on a scale from 1 to 100.
This allows you to improve and refine your Russian pronunciation over time. Not only is the tool super easy to use, but our team also found it to be quite accurate, which shouldn’t really come as a shock considering it’s powered by Google’s Web Speech API (which many language experts consider to be the most advanced speech technology in the world).
Dedicated Grammar Lessons
Lastly, our team also likes that Rocket includes dedicated grammar lessons as well. These lessons help you better understand how sentences are formed, and feel more confident when writing in Russian.
Plus, these grammar lessons also include cultural insights as well so you can get a feel for local Russian customs and traditions.
These are the primary reasons why Rocket Russian takes the top spot on our list. Honestly, there aren’t many negatives that our team could find with this program. Rocket crushes it in pretty much every category.
If you want to nitpick, you could point to the fact that the lessons are somewhat lengthy to complete (about one full hour each), but other than that, price would be the only other concern.
Rocket, unfortunately, only sells lifetime plans. However, it’s worth noting that the prices listed on the company’s website are a little misleading as Rocket is almost always running some sort of sale or special promotion. In most cases, you can expect to save at least 50%, if not more, which makes Rocket pretty competitively priced.
Similar to Rocket, the Pimsleur Russian program is a great fit for auditory learners as the foundation of their curriculum revolves around interactive audio lessons.
In fact, when it comes to developing your listening comprehension and conversational skills, Rocket and Pimsleur are the two best apps in the entire Russian language space. With that said, Pimsleur does offer some features that differentiates it from Rocket Russian.
For one, their audio lessons are actually equipped with a special driving mode so that you can continue to make progress in your language learning journey while you’re in the car. For commuters, this could be a game changer.
Next, unlike Rocket, Pimsleur actually offers monthly subscription plans. Thus, if you plan on taking things slow or you just don’t have the money to pay for a lifetime package upfront, Pimsleur is the easier and cheaper option to start.
Plus, Pimsleur even offers a free 7-day trial period so you can take their course for a test drive without having to spend a dollar.
Bottom line, think of Pimsleur as a more affordable substitute for Rocket. Their lessons are comparable to Rocket’s in several respects, but their Russian course overall just isn’t quite as thorough.
Why Babbel Is The Best Budget Russian Language App
For the best budget option, our team gives Babbel the crown. Now, we are fully aware that some people like Duolingo in this affordable category of Russian language courses, but after using both, our team prefers Babbel.
The Babbel Russian language course is not nearly as comprehensive as Rocket’s or Pimsleur’s, but it is still very good. The only real negative with Babbel is that they just don’t offer the same level of verbal practice that you get with the Rocket Russian course.
The speaking exercises are on the basic side, but other than that, Babbel gets very high grades from our team pretty much across the board.
The company’s practice exercises are extremely diverse and engaging, their speech recognition software is quick and accurate, their lessons incorporate streamlined grammar instruction that’s easy to digest, and their mobile app and digital interface are modern and intuitive.
Plus, we really like that their lessons only take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete, making them ideal for busy individuals who are trying to squeeze in lessons over their lunch break or while their kids are asleep, for example. The Babbel lessons are easy, fun, and convenient.
Not to mention, of course, one of the biggest selling points with Babbel is that their subscription plans are very affordable. You can sometimes find their plans for less than $10 per month, which is an absolute steal.
Plus, Babbel routinely offers special sales and promotions throughout the year. All in all, if you want engaging, fast-moving Russian lessons for a reasonable price, Babbel is your answer.
Why Rosetta Stone Russian Is Ideal For Visual Leaners
Now that we’ve given you a couple solid options for auditory learners (Rocket Russian and Pimsleur), let’s discuss one that is specifically for visual learners: Rosetta Stone.
The Rosetta Stone learning framework takes an immersive approach that is built almost entirely around imagery. In fact, essentially every drill and exercise within the Rosetta Stone lessons contains some type of image or graphic. It is definitely the most image-heavy Russian course our team has tested.
Therefore, if you process and synthesize information best through visual means, then Rosetta Stone should be a good fit for your learning style.
Plus, Rosetta Stone also provides a deep well of supplemental resources to help round out and complete their Russian course. This includes short stories, videos, and phrasebooks.
Lastly, from a pricing perspective, the Rosetta Stone subscription plans are pretty affordable. You’re only looking at around $10 to $15 per month for Rosetta Stone Russian.
If you prefer video to other means of learning, our team highly recommends LingoPie. LingoPie is not a traditional language learning program. There’s no clear curriculum or set lesson plan.
Instead, it’s a video-on-demand platform that uses real TV shows and movies to help you learn Russian. In fact, the app actually reminds us of Netflix as the company offers real TV shows and movies to stream.
How it works is that once you start watching a particular show or movie, there are Russian subtitles, as well as a multitude of features to help you understand and learn what is being said by the various characters.
The idea is that by making the language learning process truly entertaining, you’ll stick with it longer than other Russian language apps since you’re doing something that you actually like.
Further, to augment the learning process, LingoPie also offers a grammar coach tool and interactive video-based flashcards to help with material retention.
Overall, our team was very impressed by their platform. Their content library is top-notch, and their subscription plans are surprisingly cheap (as low as $6 per month). Bottom line, if you’re tired of traditional language apps and you want to try something new and fun, LingoPie is an excellent option.
Verdict: Which Russian Language App Should You Choose?
The answer to which Russian language app is best largely hinges on how much money you want to spend, as well as your preferred learning style.
If you’re trying to keep things on the cheaper side, then Babbel is the clear choice for less than $10 per month. It’s a flat out awesome app for individuals on a budget.
However, if money is less of a concern and you’re more so focused on the language lessons aligning with your learning style, go with Pimsleur if you’re an auditory learner, and Rosetta Stone or LingoPie if you’re more of a visual learner.
However, if you’re truly serious about learning Russian and you’re simply looking for the best overall app or course to help you accomplish that, then Rocket Russian is the way to go.
The company offers everything you need to achieve an intermediate to advanced level of fluency. This includes interactive, contextual-based audio lessons which feature fluent Russian speakers, clear and helpful grammar instruction, a diverse set of practice drills for material retention purposes, practical speaking exercises, accurate speech recognition technology, and more. Rocket Russian is just the complete package.
Russian language apps typically cost anywhere from $5 to $20 per month. However, some companies also offer lifetime plans that range from $200 all the way up to $500.
What is the best way to learn Russian?
Generally speaking, the best way to learn Russian is by using a language learning app that offers a set curriculum, progressing from beginner to advanced. Alternatively, you could always hire a Russian tutor as well to help teach you the language.
What is the best app to learn Russian?
After testing more than a dozen Russian language apps, our team believes Rocket Russian is the best. With in-depth audio lessons, their learning framework and overall curriculum is the most effective for learning Russian.
How long does it take to learn Russian?
If you just want to learn the basics, it should only take you around 50 to 100 hours to start holding basic conversations in Russian. However, in order to reach an intermediate to advanced level of fluency, expect to put in more than 300 hours in total.