Busuu vs Babbel: Which Platform Wins?

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Are you looking for a reliable, effective program for learning languages?

If you’ve already done your research, you’ve probably heard of Busuu and Babbel.

Both platforms are popular and well-designed, and they will undeniably help you improve your language skills.

And at first glance, they’re actually very similar.

However, there are some differences you should be aware of.

So, in today’s Busuu vs Babbel comparison article, we will tell you all about their unique features and highlights.

And then you’ll be able to make an informed decision and choose a program that fits your learning style and goals!

Busuu vs Babbel Review

Busuu is an award-winning language app based on short lessons, video clips, and exercises.

It’s a well-rounded program that will put you on the right track.

Busuu review

But Babbel is a great option too.

Launched in 2007, Babbel became one of the most successful language apps.

And it’s so popular for a good reason – it’s simple, versatile, and effective.

Babbel review

In terms of structure and format, Busuu and Babbel are quite similar. And they’re among the best apps to learn a new language.

So, how are you supposed to make a decision?

Well, for starters, let’s take a look at their pricing and subscription plans.

Pricing and Plans

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly language app, good news – you can use Busuu for free!

However, Busuu’s free plan is somewhat limited.

If you want to learn the basics, you’ll find it helpful.

But if you’re more serious about learning a new language, you should opt for Busuu Premium.

The Premium membership gives you access to exclusive features. You’ll get access to more content, and you’ll be able to download and access lessons in offline mode.

But there’s also a Busuu Premium Plus subscription. It’s just a bit more expensive, and it will you the possibility to get feedback from the Busuu community (we’ll explain that later.)

With the Premium Plus membership, you’ll also get a personalized study plan and a Busuu Certificate for every level passed.

And you’ll get access to 13 languages.

So, let’s summarize the options:

  • Basic free plan
  • Premium for $5.83 per month
  • Premium Plus for $6.67 per month

You should also keep an eye out for discounts and promotions.

Either way, Busuu offers a 14-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.

Babbel also offers several subscription plans to choose from.

This is their usual price:

  • 1 month for $10.70
  • 2 months for $32.09
  • 3 months for $64.19
  • 12 months for $214.44

We said ‘usual’ because Babbel offers special deals and discounts very often. So, you should keep an eye out for promotions and purchase the plan you want for a cheaper price.

You can also get the Babbel lifetime subscription, but you can opt for these monthly subscriptions if you don’t wish to commit to a long-term deal.

They also offer a free trial and a 20-day money-back guarantee.

All in all, Busuu seems to be a cheaper option. But Babbel is also very affordable, especially if you take into account what you’re getting with your subscription.

So, what does each platform offer?

Structure and Features

The main difference between these two platforms is that Busuu incorporates video clips and Babbel is based on images and texts.

Furthermore, Busuu offers more variety in terms of drills and exercises.

The program features short exercises and quizzes, verbal practice, fill-in-the-blanks, multiple-choice questions, and so on.

Busuu lessons

Busuu lessons will also provide you with fun facts. You’ll get cultural insights and some interesting information about the language. For example, you’ll learn differences in pronunciation in different parts of the country, etc.

And compared to Babbel, Busuu puts emphasis on grammar. And that’s a good thing – if you want to reach proficiency levels, learning grammar is inevitable.

Busuu will also give you a study plan. If you opt for a Busuu Premium Plus subscription, you’ll get a personalized plan based on your needs, abilities, and goals.

One thing is for sure: Busuu will provide you with a well-rounded curriculum. Although it’s not perfect, it’s more thorough than some other platforms.

Exercises include reading and listening comprehension. You’ll have to read texts and then answer some questions.

With Busuu, you can learn up to 12 languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, Polish, and Turkish. 

And you’ll have the possibility to get feedback.

Busuu’s feedback system relies on its community. Every time you do writing or recording exercises, you can submit your work and get feedback from fluent speakers.

You can also connect with people in real-time and have video or text conversations. That’s a great way to practice and improve your communication skills.

All things considered, if you want to build a solid foundation, Busuu is a great option.

And how does Babbel work?

Essentially, Babbel is a mix of short exercises and drills.

It features fill-in-the-blank exercises, flashcards, grammar lessons, repeating words, and so on. It’s a little bit of everything.

Babbel language lessons

Each Babbel lesson is about 10 to 15 minutes long. So, the app will help you incorporate language learning into your daily routine.

And if you want to gain language skills, regular practice is crucial.

Also, Babbel will allow you to work on your pronunciation. Thanks to its speech recognition engine, you’ll get immediate feedback and be asked to repeat words if you mispronounce them.

Furthermore, Babbel currently offers 14 languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English.

Languages are divided into subjects and more specific courses. You can choose a learning path that suits you, but you can always change it if you want to. With the Babbel subscription, you’ll have access to all the courses for the language you’re learning.

But before you start with your lessons, Babbel will ask you a couple of questions to create your learning profile. Therefore, you’ll find the content you need more easily.

Babbel is very user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Plus, it’s based on an effective method.

The Babbel method is centered around natural conversations, cultural insights, native pronunciation, and proven cognitive techniques.

As they say on the Babbel website, it’s the shortest path to real-life conversations.

Babbel also doesn’t neglect grammar. But it won’t overwhelm you with long, complicated explanations of grammatical concepts. The app incorporates grammar in a very elegant, comprehensible way.

And if you want to go beyond vocab and grammar and have live virtual lessons, there’s Babbel Live. You can join live group classes and learn in a friendly and productive environment.

Babbel Live

Getting started with Babbel Live is fairly easy. There are hundreds of classes offered each week, and you just need to find a perfect slot. You can choose what works best for you based on your level and interest.

Babbel also has a video section, Babbel Magazine, and Babbel Podcasts. All of these sections will allow you to immerse yourself in the language even more.

It’s fair to say that Babbel puts a lot of effort into bringing you fresh updates and new features. And it keeps growing and evolving.

Overall, Babbel is a well-rounded and comprehensive language app. But after a while, it does get a bit repetitive.

But despite the app’s several drawbacks, it’s a great resource for learning vocabulary though. And it will provide you with fun facts and insights about the culture of the language you’re learning.

And what will you actually learn with each platform?

Which app will bring you closer to fluency?

Levels and topics

When you download Busuu, you’ll first choose a level: Beginner A1, Elementary A2, Intermediate B1, or Upper Intermediate B2. They are based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR.)

With Busuu, the CEFR is broken down into six stages, ranging from complete beginner to completely fluent.

However, the C1 course content is currently only available in English.

But even if you complete upper-intermediate (B2), you can consider yourself a fantastic speaker.

What’s also important is that content on Busuu is based on real-life scenarios.

And you can learn at your own pace. You can study as much or as little as you want. 

Babbel works in a similar way.

The program also uses CEFR. With Babbel, you can receive certificates for up to B2 level in English (same as Busuu.)

To jog your memory, at the B2 level you should understand:

  • Main ideas of complex text
  • Standard spoken language
  • Texts with a broad reading vocabulary

Also, Babbel has over 60,000 lessons on a variety of topics. You’ll learn about travel, relationships, work, living abroad, and so on.

Babbel lessons are also categorized by sections. They are different for every language, but the most popular languages feature Special courses, Words and Sentences, Grammar, Countries and Traditions, and so on. 

Busuu vs Babbel

All things considered, both platforms will teach you practical vocabulary. When you complete their courses, you’ll be able to express your opinion and talk about many different (but common) topics.

You just need to keep in mind that proficiency levels work differently when it comes to apps. The thing is, learning with an app has its advantages and drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is the fact that you’re probably going to lack guidance and direct feedback.

If you want to become a fluent speaker, you need to get in touch with a real teacher or combine apps and courses with private virtual classes.

But even though you shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations and goals, apps like Babbel and Busuu are definitely great learning sources that will provide you with structure, useful tools, and motivation.

What about design?

Essentially, Busuu looks great. It’s aesthetically pleasing and engaging.

At the same time, it won’t overwhelm you with unnecessary graphics or gamification elements. Yes, it’s a gamified app, but you’ll be focused on what really matters.

And video clips are definitely a nice extra feature.

But Babbel also looks very good. It has a very modern and sleek design.

And it’s full of images and visual aids.

So, it seems that both platforms are a great choice for visual learners.

Plus, they’re also very neat and easy to navigate.

Benefits

So far it seems like it’s almost a tie. Both Busuu and Babbel have great features, content, and design.

So, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of each platform.

One of the best things about Busuu is the feeling of immersion. Unlike Babbel, Busuu features video clips of native speakers that will make you feel like you’re in another country.

Grammar lessons are more detailed than Babbel, and you’ll get cultural insights and fun facts about the language you’re learning.

Another huge difference is Busuu’s feedback system. You can get valuable feedback from fluent and native speakers, and that can be really helpful.

It’s important to get direct feedback and work on your weaknesses, especially when it comes to speaking skills and pronunciation.

But did you know that Busuu also offers live tutoring?

You can have one-on-one virtual lessons with the support of a teacher or a small group of learners in 45-minute lessons. You can also choose a teacher and time that suits you.

And joining live classes is even more effective than getting feedback from the community. With live lessons, you’ll get immediate feedback, and you’ll be able to ask questions and improve your communication skills significantly.

Plus, the app does a good job of tracking progress and motivating you to move forward.

Busuu study plan

Last but not least, Busuu also has an AI-powered Smart Review.

In their review section, you can review your vocabulary and grammar concepts. The Grammar Review contains two sections: a reference explaining the rules, and a practice to test your understanding.

Their AI-powered algorithm predicts which topics will be more difficult for you based on your native language, the complexity of the topic, and your performance. 

And what about Babbel?

Well, as we’ve already mentioned, Babbel is based on images and texts.

But it also uses speech recognition technology, and that’s something that Busuu lacks. Instant feedback is definitely a huge advantage.

And although Busuu has an AI-powered Smart Review, Babbel actually offers more flexibility in terms of reviewing what you learned. With Babbel, you can choose from flashcards, verbal practice, writing exercises, and so on.

Therefore, you can focus on what you really want.

Another advantage is that Babbel covers more languages than Busuu. The number is not much bigger, but the app still offers some languages that Busuu doesn’t.

Babbel also uses short stories to show you how your newly acquired vocabulary works in real-life situations

Another plus is the live classes option. Live classes are limited to six people, so you’ll get a personalized approach and a chance to learn from expert language teachers.

And with Babbel’s unlimited plan, you can decide when and how often you want to learn. 

But as we mentioned earlier, Busuu also offers live lessons. Therefore, Babbel Live isn’t such a unique feature.

Nevertheless, Babbel is a great learning source that will provide you with flexibility and effective lessons.

What Do Users Say?

And what do user reviews say about Busuu and Babbel?

Busuu has thousands of reviews on Trustpilot. And most of them are positive.

People generally believe that Busuu is a great app for conversational practice. Many users also like the community aspect.

However, there are some bad reviews as well, and some learners think it’s too overwhelming. But that only means that the program has a lot of content and that it’s generally more serious than some other language apps.

Busuu user reviews

Babbel has a lot of reviews on Trustpilot too.

People mostly find it very convenient, efficient, and easy to navigate.

But some users complained about Babbel’s customer support.

Babbel user reviews

Perhaps not surprisingly, even their user reviews are similar.

So, which platform should you choose, Busuu or Babbel?

Final Verdict

Well, at the end of the day, it all comes down to your preferences.

Busuu is slightly cheaper than Babbel, it features video clips, and it offers the possibility to get feedback from the community.

And Babbel provides top-notch live classes and it offers a slightly wider selection of languages.

But in terms of content, Busuu and Babbel are equally good.

However, Busuu has that community feel, and it has more variety. So, if we had to pick a winner, it would be Busuu.

But generally speaking, if you want to improve your language skills in an efficient and easy way, you can’t go wrong with either Babbel or Busuu!