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LingQ vs Pimsleur

Detailed comparison of the language apps from Pimsleur and LingQ

Although the language learning programs LingQ and Pimsleur overlap in several categories, there are also several distinct differences that make each one unique. In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of each of these language apps so you can quickly figure out which one better suits your budget, and individual learning style.

  • Price
  • Lesson Length
  • Verbal Practice
  • Speech Recognition Software
  • Languages Covered
  • Grammar Instruction
  • Pimsleur Free 7-Day Trial Sign Up Today
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    • $20/mo
    • 45-60 Minutes
    • Heavy Emphasis
    • 50+
    • Thorough Coverage
  • LingQ SALE: 40% Off Applied In Cart
    SALE: 40% Off Applied In Cart
    Visit LingQ
    • $8-$15/mo
    • Varies By Lesson
    • None
    • 40+
    • Limited Instruction

Outline: Pimsleur vs LingQ

Given that this is a lengthy, detailed comparison, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.



  • Free Trial
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Free Trial
  • Money Back Guarantee
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Clear, structured lesson progression
  • Audio lessons are extremely effective for developing verbal skills
  • Complete lessons on-the-go (no need to look at screen)
  • New voice recognition software provides feedback on your pronunciation
  • Modern, easy-to-use digital platform and mobile app
  • Wide variety of practice drills and exercises
  • Lessons take time to complete (~1/hr each)
  • Not an ideal program for visual learners
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Why Pimsleur Is Better Than LingQ

To kick this comparison off, let’s discuss what the Pimsleur learning method is all about, and the strengths of the Pimsleur language courses in relation to LingQ.

How Pimsleur Works

In comparison to LingQ, Pimsleur follows a more conventional approach with a structured learning path. Each Pimsleur lesson begins with a 30-minute audio exercise, where an English-speaking moderator guides you through a conversation step-by-step (similar to Rocket Languages).

Pimsleur German audio
Example audio lesson from Pimsleur

You’ll hear sentences in your target language, followed by explanations of the situation by the moderator, and then you’ll participate by answering questions and repeating phrases. This audio exercise is the core of Pimsleur’s lessons and what they are renowned for.

After the audio lesson, you reinforce what you’ve learned through various drills and exercises, akin to a class followed by homework. These reinforcement drills include reading exercises, digital flashcards, quizzes, pronunciation training, and speed games.

Additionally, Pimsleur offers supplementary features such as vocab bonus packs and direct speaking exercises with their Voice Coach tool.

In summary, Pimsleur’s approach consists of core audio lessons followed by comprehensive review exercises, supplemented by additional tools. This learning method holds true regardless of whether you want to learn Spanish, Japanese, or Russian, for example.

Price Comparison

Before I delve into what I like and dislike about each app, let’s quickly address the cost, as it’s a primary concern for many learners.

LingQ offers a free version of their app, but it’s quite limited. Ultimately, they encourage users to sign up for one of their Premium plans, which range from $8 to $15 per month, depending on whether you opt for a 6-month, 12-month, or 24-month subscription.

On the other hand, Pimsleur’s flagship plan costs around $20 per month. In summary, while pricing between the two companies is similar, technically, LingQ is the more affordable option.

If you are seeking a language app that is more affordable than Pimsleur, you may want to consider Babbel.

Clear Lesson Progression

The first major difference is that Pimsleur provides a well-defined lesson plan and curriculum, whereas LingQ does not.

Pimsleur takes a traditional approach to language learning, offering a structured path, while LingQ is more of a collection of various materials like books, podcasts, and news articles packaged to aid language learning.

Pimsleur Italian dashboard
A look inside the Pimsleur course

However, having a set lesson plan and curriculum is advantageous for two main reasons. Firstly, a structured approach helps you progress through language acquisition systematically, preventing you from feeling overwhelmed.

Secondly, within a structured environment, clear objectives and goals are set for each lesson, aiding consistency and motivation. Therefore, if you prefer guidance and direction, Pimsleur’s organized courses may be more suitable than LingQ’s free-flowing approach (or Lingopie for that matter).

Verbal Skills

Another reason is that Pimsleur excels at jumpstarting your conversational skills. One of the most effective methods of learning a language is through frequent, intensive verbal practice.

Consistently hearing and speaking the new language helps you become comfortable with it, and Pimsleur provides more opportunities for this than LingQ. While LingQ emphasizes listening practice, which is foundational to their program, it falls short in helping you develop your speaking abilities.

Pimsleur Russian voice coach
The Pimsleur Voice Coach tool

In contrast, Pimsleur’s audio exercises and Voice Coach tool are excellent for enhancing your speaking skills. With Pimsleur, you receive daily exposure to real conversations and receive feedback on your pronunciation through their speech recognition technology (similar to Rosetta Stone).

Lesson Format

Lastly, let’s discuss lesson format. While each Pimsleur lesson takes much longer to complete than a LingQ lesson—close to an hour compared to an average of 5 minutes with LingQ—the 30-minute audio portion of each Pimsleur lesson offers a unique advantage: you’re not tied to your phone for half of the lesson.

With Pimsleur’s audio lessons, you can press play and continue with your daily activities. Whether you’re on the treadmill, doing laundry, or washing dishes—essentially any mindless task—you can be productive with your time while still engaging in a lesson.

This flexibility is a significant advantage. Moreover, Pimsleur offers a special driving mode, allowing you to do an audio lesson while driving, which is incredibly convenient.

➡️Want more detail? Read our full review of the Pimsleur app



  • Free Version Available
  • 40+ Languages
  • Free Version Available
  • 40+ Languages
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Slightly cheaper than Pimsleur
  • Impressive library of content (books, news articles, podcasts, etc.)
  • Import your own content and turn them into lessons
  • SRS flashcards are great for material retention
  • Fun, gam-like learning experience
  • Free version is quite limited
  • Program lacks a structured learning path
  • Limited grammar instruction
  • User generated lessons may contain errors
SALE: 40% Off Applied In Cart

Why LingQ Is Better Than Pimsleur

Now that you have a clear understanding of what Pimsleur brings to the table, let’s flip the script and discuss the major reasons to go with LingQ to help you learn a new language.

How LingQ Works

In essence, LingQ transforms a range of written and audio content into language learning lessons. You have the option to import your own materials or select from a library of community-contributed books, news articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, and more.

These resources are primarily presented as written texts with corresponding audio, all in the language you’re studying, without translations into English.

lingq language lesson
Example LingQ lesson

The aim is to create an immersive learning environment by exposing learners to a wide array of authentic content, aiding in the natural acquisition of the language through contextual vocabulary learning (somewhat like LingoPie and FluentU).

Impressive Library Of Lessons

One standout feature of LingQ is its extensive content library, which is truly impressive and offers a plethora of choices. Within the LingQ platform, you can easily find yourself immersed in a vast array of lessons, including current news articles, books, cartoons, podcasts, and more.

Moreover, you can further refine your search by topic, such as sports, technology, food, science, travel, history, and many others. This allows you to concentrate on lessons and topics that genuinely interest you, which is fantastic.

lingq content library
A look inside the LingQ program

Learning with relevant content not only provides context for language use, helping you understand how the language is used in real-life situations, but it also aids in retaining new vocabulary more effectively. When you’re interested in the content, you’re more likely to focus and relate the new information to what you already know.

Create Your Own Lessons

Another benefit is LingQ’s feature that allows you to import your own content and create personalized lessons. This process is simple: you can copy and paste the text or upload a file, and LingQ will generate a transcript and convert your content—whether it’s an article, book, podcast, or another type—into a lesson tailored to your preferences.

This capability reinforces the significance of relevant content, as learning with material that interests you enhances engagement and effectiveness. Importantly, using familiar content enables you to focus on understanding the language itself rather than struggling to grasp the content’s meaning.

Moreover, familiar content provides context for learning new words and phrases, aiding in their retention and proper usage.

Game-Like Experience

I like how LingQ uses gamification to enhance learning. By completing activities like reading, listening, and learning new words, you earn points and coins. Accumulating these points helps you progress through different levels, giving you a sense of achievement.

LingQ also tracks your streaks, offers challenges and contests to keep you focused, and provides leaderboards for comparing your progress with others. This competitive aspect motivates you to improve and makes learning more enjoyable and engaging.

lingq language games
LingQ offers contests for users

Overall, these features boost your confidence and sense of accomplishment, encouraging you to keep learning. LingQ deserves credit for integrating these motivating elements into its platform.

➡️Also Worth Reading: LingQ vs Babbel

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Verdict: Which Language App Is Best?

When it comes to choosing between LingQ and Pimsleur for language learning, in my view, the decision is clear – Pimsleur stands out as the superior program.

With its structured learning path, detailed audio lessons, reinforcement drills, Voice Coach feature, and supplementary tools, Pimsleur offers a much more comprehensive language learning experience.

On the other hand, LingQ appears to be more of a collection of content aimed at teaching vocabulary without a clear overall strategy. While I appreciate LingQ for what it offers, I believe it is better suited as a supplementary tool.

Therefore, if you are serious about learning a new language, I highly recommend Pimsleur over LingQ.

➡️Read Next: Pimsleur vs Duolingo


How do LingQ and Pimsleur compare?

LingQ offers a vast library of content and allows users to import their own material for personalized lessons, but its approach lacks a structured curriculum. In contrast, Pimsleur provides a clear lesson plan and curriculum, along with intensive speaking practice, making it a more comprehensive program for language learning.

Which language app is better - LingQ or Pimsleur?

Pimsleur’s structured curriculum, intensive speaking practice, and comprehensive approach make it a superior choice for language learners seeking a clear learning path. In contrast, LingQ’s emphasis on vocabulary acquisition through diverse content lacks the structured progression and depth of Pimsleur’s program.