Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

what are the difference between Babbel and Duolingo

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the differences between Babbel and Duolingo.

These two are probably the most well-known language learning apps out there.

We’ll also talk about another amazing Italian course: Ripeti con me.

Let’s get started!

babbel vs duolingo differences review

Babbel review

Babbel is great for beginners because it starts from the very basics of Italian.

It takes you through new and useful vocabulary, and grammar rules, such as verb conjugations and Italian tenses.

Babbel explains grammar pretty clearly with many examples. It uses conversational language that you’re likely to use in real life and there is a good variety of exercise types.

If you complete Babbel Italian you can expect to be at or close to a B1 level of proficiency. This means it won’t make you fluent but it will leave you with a functional level and the knowledge you need to structure your sentences.

However, if you have a high level of Italian, we don’t recommend it. This is simply because Babbel doesn’t offer advanced lessons.

Even though Babbel uses audio recordings from real native speakers, it won’t help you much with your pronunciation since there are not enough speaking exercises.

Babbel review italian course 1

Duolingo review

Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning apps and this is probably because it offers 37 language courses and it’s free.

Duolingo is a very entertaining and fun app. It’s basically like a game that tracks your progress and weakest words to keep you motivated.

Everything is very visual. You learn new words and phrases with lots of visual revision reminders.

However, language learning isn’t exactly like playing a game. So although Duolingo can be very fun, it won’t give you all the tools you need to learn a language.

Duolingo won’t teach how to communicate in Italian or how to understand a native speaker.

If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be disappointed with Duolingo.

Duolingo review Italian

Babbel vs. Duolingo: what are the differences?

Both language learning apps offer basic grammar and vocabulary lessons for all their languages. However, Babbel has a stronger focus on conversation phrases.

This is what pushes certain users to go premium with Babbel.

On the other side, Duolingo focuses on grammar and sentence structure whereas Babbel has a more straightforward approach to teaching you the language with easy explanations.

However, lessons on Duolingo aren’t always structured in the most logical order and don’t really focus on useful language, in fact, you’ll find lots of nonsensical sentences.

Duolingo features flashy and colorful images which are more suited for children and younger learners. Babbel’s doesn’t have as many features to keep you motivated.

This is because Babbel’s design is oriented towards more serious, adult learners who want a more straightforward approach to language learning without the extra gamification.

Also, Babbel teaches cultural tips about Italy — like regional differences — instead of just vocabulary and how to use words in sentences, whereas Duolingo ignores cultural context.

So, in a few words, if you’re looking for something easy and fun to start with, go for Duolingo. If you want to learn in a more serious way, give Babbel a go.

Babbel vs Duolingo 1
Babbel vs. Duolingo: difference in terms of price

This is a big difference between Babbel and Duolingo. While Babbel has a simple monthly subscription model, where users pay a flat fee to gain access to its language courses, Duolingo is 100% free.

However, Duolingo’s free version is supported by displaying ads in the app, which can be distracting for learners. On the other hand, Babbel offers an entirely ad-free experience, keeping the focus on learning.

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With Babbel, you can subscribe either with a one-month plan for $12.95, a three-month plan for $26.85, six months for $44.70, or a yearly subscription for $83.40.

So, Babbel subscription prices range between $7 and $13 a month, depending on the subscription length purchased.

You might be wondering how Duolingo gets financed. Well, as we mentioned earlier, it gets money with advertising campaigns; it also sells words translated by users to big corporations.

It gets financed thanks to certification tests which cost around $20; and, finally, with a paid subscription where premium users get an ad-free experience with offline access.

Babbel review Italian 1

An alternative to Babbel and Duolingo

A great alternative if you really want to learn Italian is Ripeti Con Me.

Ripeti Con Me will make you think in Italian.

Basically, you will improve your Italian just by listening and repeating sentences, meaning your listening skills will get better as well as your pronunciation.

As you listen to the course, you will notice small changes in the sentences. You may not notice the changes at first, but you’ll soon realize that just by listening, your Italian is improving.

All it takes is 20 minutes every day, and you’ll start thinking in Italian in just a few days.

And the great thing is that you can start a 7-day free trial!

Why not give it a go?

Best Italian course 1

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!


I’m originally from Argentina but grew up in Italy, so I’m bilingual. I love languages, which is why I studied French and Linguistics in London. I’m a grammar nerd and I love finding out about the meaning of words.

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