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Fluenz vs Babbel

We deliver our verdict on which language program is more effective after using both Fluenz and Babbel

Though both are popular programs for learning a foreign language online, Babbel and Fluenz are fundamentally different. While Fluenz bases their program around video lessons and  simulated tutoring, giving it more of a classroom feel, Babbel leverages fast-moving and diverse exercises in a self-study format. So which one is better? Find out in this detailed review, as we provide our thoughts after using both language apps.

  • Price
  • Content Access Period
  • Mobile App
  • Lesson Length
  • Speech Recognition Software
  • Languages Covered
  • Grammar Instruction
  • Babbel SALE: 55% OFF Applied in Cart
    SALE: 55% OFF Applied in Cart
    Claim Discount
    • $7-$14/mo
    • Monthly or Lifetime
    • 10-15 Minutes
    • 14
    • Layered Into Lessons
  • Fluenz Live Classes Check Current Offers
    Live Classes Check Current Offers
    Visit Fluenz
    • $180+
    • Lifetime
    • 45 Minutes
    • 6
    • Thorough Coverage

Babbel vs Fluenz Article Outline

As this is a detailed and lengthy comparison, please use the jump-to links above to quickly navigate this article.

Video Guide: Babbel or Fluenz?

In the above video, team member John runs through everything you need to know about the differences (and similarities) between Babbel and Fluenz. Or, keep reading for more detailed analysis.

Babbel

Babbel

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

9.4

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
Pros
  • Fun and fast-moving lessons take just 10-15 minutes
  • Sleek and intuitive app offers great user experience
  • Advanced speech recognition software offers helpful feedback
  • Quick 3-4 minute review sessions boost vocab recall
Cons
  • Not as good for visual learners as Fluenz
  • Wish there were deeper audio-based lessons
Babbel
SALE: 55% OFF Applied in Cart

How The Lessons From Both Companies Compare

To begin, let’s compare the lessons and teaching style from both companies. With Babbel, the lessons are shorter and faster moving. They usually take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and offer more of a gamified type learning experience.

They’re not as game-like as Duolingo, but they are more on the fun side and do a good job holding your attention. Each lesson is comprised of several quick-hit drills and exercises, such as flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, and mock conversations. In short, they’re fast, fun and diverse.

babbel spanish program
Babbel lessons take just 10-15 minutes

Fluenz’s lessons, on the other hand, are longer. The Fluenz lessons are about 45 minutes in length and take more of a classroom- or tutoring-type approach. The focus is on simulating a classroom environment via video lessons and drills, with the option to kick in tutoring if you desire.

Fluenz drill
Fluenz’s lessons are longer than Babbel’s

Those are two big differences between these programs: lesson length and style. Personally, I prefer Babbel’s fast-paced lessons over the longer Fluenz lessons (finding them more engaging), but I do recognize that everyone is different in this respect.

Pricing & Subscription Options

As with the lessons, the cost structure from both companies is pretty different. Let’s start with Babbel.

They offer a few different plans, ranging from around $7 per month (for the 12-month prepay plan) up to $14 per month (for the pay-as-you-go plan). Alternatively, you can purchase a lifetime pass with Babbel, which includes access to all 14 of their languages for around $300, though that does seem to be a less popular option than the monthly subscriptions.

Fluenz, on the other hand, does not offer any monthly subscription options. You can purchase access to individual levels for your specific language, or you can purchase an all-level package. For example, for Fluenz Spanish, you can purchase Level 1 for around $190 or all five levels at once for around $400.

Thus, in terms of cost, it’s sort of like comparing apples to oranges. Overall though, Babbel is the more affordable option, especially when you’re first starting out. It’s just tough to beat their $7/month price point.

Not to mention, Babbel seems to offer more frequent and steeper discounts than Fluenz, which are definitely worth looking out for.

Why Babbel Is Better Than Fluenz

With that overview in mind, let’s get to the good stuff and cover the main advantages of each platform. Let’s start with Babbel.

Speech Recognition Software

Babbel’s first advantage is their speech recognition technology. As you complete verbal practice exercises, Babbel’s tech will immediately grade you on your pronunciation, and occasionally prompt you to repeat certain words and phrases if you mispronounce them.

babbel italian lessons
Babbel’s speech tech is superior

It’s solid tech and works really well. This is in contrast with the speech recognition software from Fluenz, which is somewhat basic. By comparison, the Fluenz software really just offers recording and playback capabilities.

Or in other words, their tech doesn’t actually evaluate your pronunciation. For that reason, Babbel gets the easy win in this category.

Fast & Effective Lesson Format

As mentioned, I am a big fan of the format of Babbel’s lessons. They’re fast-paced, diverse and just plain fun. For people that don’t have 45 minutes to an hour each day to work through a lengthy lesson, and are trying to squeeze their studying in around a busy, hectic schedule, Babbel is great.

I personally really like that the lessons only take about 10 or 15 minutes to complete. They really hold your attention, and are perfect for working professionals, students or parents.

Spaced Reviews Boost Retention

Another advantage in favor of Babbel is their review sessions. Essentially, everyday when you log in to the app, Babbel hits you with a quick 3-4 minute review session.

babbel german review
You can choose how you want to review with Babbel

They’ll test you on vocabulary you learned weeks ago and make sure it’s sticking. For me, personally, I love this spaced repetition approach. It really helps you move newly-learned words from your short term memory to your long term memory, which is crucial for language learning.

Live Classes For Advanced Learning

The final advantage in favor of Babbel is that they offer live classes. Now, to be clear, these classes are not included in Babbel’s standard subscription packages, and you do have to pay extra.

However, the company offers hundreds of small group live classes per week across all different learning levels. These small group sessions are capped at 6 students per class and typically last around an hour. The class topics vary widely, which is cool, as you can join the classes that actually interest you.

babbel spanish drill
A typical Babbel drill

Overall, I just think the Babbel live classes are a fantastic way to dive deeper into specific subjects, converse with your peers, and ask experienced instructors questions, especially once you start making real progress.

Plus, since there are so many classes, you can basically pick the days and times that work for your schedule, and you don’t have to follow a rigid schedule.

Fluenz

Fluenz

  • Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Lifetime Access
  • Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Lifetime Access
Our Score

8.4

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
Pros
  • Video lessons are great for visual learners
  • Helpful dynamic drills & exercises ("workouts")
  • Structured study schedule with calendar view
  • Optional tutoring is useful once you hit advanced stages
Cons
  • Much pricier than Babbel (price tag in the hundreds)
  • Lessons are long (45+ minutes)
  • Digital platform not as clean and modern as Babbel's
Fluenz
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Why Fluenz Is Better Than Babbel

Having covered why we like Babbel, let’s turn the tables now and cover the major advantages in favor of Fluenz.

Love The Video Lessons

The first advantage in favor of Fluenz is that their lessons incorporate videos, which I think is a major plus. Each session starts with an intro video, where an instructor introduces the concepts being taught and lays the foundation for the upcoming lesson.

Fluenz
A typical Fluenz exercise

You then complete a series of practice drills, or “workouts,” as Fluenz calls them. Between these workouts, however, you’re prompted to watch additional videos that break down and further explain the materials you’re learning.

Overall, I just thought this approach was highly effective. Although they feel a little over-choreographed at times, it’s still helpful to have an instructor on-screen walking you through the lesson. In my opinion, it really improves material retention.

Classroom-Like Feel

The second advantage in favor of Fluenz is that because their lessons utilize videos with instructors on-screen, their program overall just has more of a classroom type of feel than Babbel’s DIY course. And that’s on purpose.

Fluenz even states that their lessons are designed to simulate a 1-on-1 tutoring session. Now, I don’t if I would go that far (after all, they are just pre-recorded videos), but I do have to give Fluenz credit.

Fluenz Spanish
The Fluenz course feels more intimate

The Fluenz program overall definitely has a different feel to it than most of the language learning apps out there. So bottom line, if you’re the type of person who learns best in a classroom environment, or perhaps doesn’t care for isolated self-studying, then Fluenz might be a good option for you.

Babbel
SALE: 55% OFF Applied in Cart

Final Verdict: Babbel or Fluenz?

Having covered all the important detail in this comparison, let’s get to the final verdict: should you choose Fluenz or Babbel? Well, after using each program, I have to give the win to Babbel.

Although I do appreciate that the lessons from Fluenz are thorough and incorporate videos, as well as a classroom-type feel, I still think Babbel offers the more effective language learning courses overall.

The Babbel lessons are engaging and do a really good job of holding your attention with their short length. Plus, their speech recognition technology is more advanced and the spaced reviews are highly effective for long term memory. Overall, I think how the Babbel lessons are structured are a better fit for people with busy schedules and will be the preferable choice for most folks.

FAQ

Which is better for learning Spanish, Fluenz or Babbel?

Whether Babbel or Fluenz is better for learning Spanish somewhat depends on your learning style. In terms of self-study and doing it yourself, we actually prefer Babbel for their quick-hit lessons and spaced reviews. However, if you want live classes and immersion, Fluenz is likely better.

Is Babbel cheaper than Fluenz?

Yes, Babbel is much more affordable than Fluenz. With the full Fluenz packages (levels 1 through 5) costing close to $400, Babbel is a much better value at $7-$14 per month.

Is Fluenz worth it over Babbel?

Though Fluenz’s program is good, we don’t see it as being worth the increased cost over Babbel. All else being equal, we prefer Babbel’s app on many substantive points (such as lesson format and length). Thus, with Babbel being a fraction of the price, we don’t necessarily think Fluenz is worth it over Babbel.

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