Memrise vs Anki: Which Platform Wins?

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

If you’re looking for a simple, flashcard-style language app, you’ve come to the right place.

Memrise and Anki are among the most popular language-learning apps.

And in many ways, they are quite similar.

So you’re probably wondering which one to choose.

In today’s Memrise vs Anki comparison article, we will take a closer look at each platform’s features and highlights.

And we will give you an honest recommendation.

Keep reading and find out which app is a better choice!

Memrise vs Anki: Which Platform Wins?

In essence, Anki is based on flashcards and a spaced repetition system.

It’s very practical and straightforward.

Anki review

Memrise will also help you memorize words and expand your vocabulary, but it also has some other handy tools and features.

Memrise review

So, they do have some differences.

Let’s take a look at their price first.

Pricing and Plans

One of the reasons that Anki became so popular is probably its affordability.

Anki is completely free. There are no subscription plans or packages.

To be more precise, Anki is free on every platform apart from iOS. And for iOS you can get lifetime access for $25.

Memrise offers a free plan too, but there’s also a paid version. 

The free version is useful, but it’s kind of limited. If you want more features and flexibility, you can upgrade to the Memrise Pro and choose the plan that suits you best.

You can choose from:

  • Monthly subscription for $8.49 per month
  • Annual subscription for $5 per month
  • Lifetime subscription for $119.99 (one-time payment)

Purchasing one of these plans will give you access to all courses, languages, and features.

And how does Memrise actually work?

Structure and Features

Well, Memrise is very easy to use.

But contrary to what you might think, it’s not just a simple flashcard app.

Memrise review

The app features video clips with local people. They are very short and simple, but they will give you a feeling like you’re really there, in the country of the language you’re learning.

These video clips and visual representations will certainly help you learn the language quicker.

It’s not easy to memorize words only if you see them translated on the screen. But if you connect the word with what a person is doing, you’ll instantly have a better understanding of its meaning.

Some languages also have a pronunciation feature. Pronunciation mode becomes available after you’ve learned at least three words in that course.

Also, Memrise utilizes spaced repetition system. It’s a popular memory technique that is usually performed with flashcards. The technique requires you to recall information at specific time intervals. That way, the information will move to your long-term memory.

It also relies on mnemonics and other ways to help you memorize words in an easier and quicker way.

Memrise app review

Additionally, Memrise uses adaptive tech to personalize your lessons.

So, the app will provide you with curated content that fits your level and learning habits. For example, if you’re having trouble with something, Memrise will force you to review it until you learn it.

Memrise also offers user-generated content. In fact, Memrise used to offer community-created courses, but they seem to have been removed from the “Search” function within the Memrise mobile app.

The courses themselves have not been removed or deleted, but Memrise now focuses exclusively on official courses created by their team of linguists, translators, and language researchers.

Nonetheless, you can find plenty of content focused on specific skills and topics.

And Anki works in a slightly different way.

Much like Memrise, Anki is a flashcard app with a spaced repetition system.

In the beginning, Anki was only a website. But now you can use it on different devices. The app will automatically perform backups and syncs to all your devices.

But the main idea stayed the same.

Anki review

With Anki, you can easily create your own flashcards. To do that, you just need to type what you want on the front and back of each card.

Once you have created a deck with questions and answers, you can review the Cards in the Deck.

The app will show you the question first, and if you tap again, you get the answer.

You can also make flashcards with texts, sounds, and images. And that’s really cool.

Anki app

Sounds are very useful for memorizing the alphabet of the language you’re learning.

The Anki app is also very customizable. For instance, instead of showing the question and answer, you can change it to show the answer and then the question.

When you’re ready to get more advanced, you can create custom layouts to present multiple fields of information, styled with HTML and CSS.

Either way, the app will test your knowledge in quick sessions (1 minute or less.)

And after each session, the app displays your progress, giving you a sense of speed.

Anki app progress tracking

You can also share your cards with other users through the Ankiweb online database. That also means that you can find endless decks of flashcards in there.

You can download from a selection of 80+ million pre-made flashcards. And using another deck is a good start.

Although it’s mostly used for learning languages, Anki also works for topics unrelated to languages. For example, the app is popular among medical students.

So, what you’re going to do with Anki really depends on you.

Topics and Levels

But that complete freedom and flexibility can also be a problem for some absolute beginners…

The thing is, Anki is a very helpful tool only if you already know how you’re going to use it.

You need to keep in mind that Anki is not meant to be a primary learning source. It’s a tool, not a language course.

If you use it as an additional learning resource, then it’s great. But if you expect to gain conversational skills or get cultural insights, you should opt for something else.

There’s no set curriculum on Anki, and you won’t get feedback or guidance.

It’s a simple, flashcard app created with a clear purpose: to help language learners (and other users) memorize new words and concepts.

Anki lessons

There’s no set curriculum on Anki. And you won’t be completing levels.

And it’s the same situation with Memrise.

On Memrise, course levels are just a grouping of topics in a course.

The app covers thousands of words, and when you complete the course, you’re expected to be an independent speaker. But that’s entirely true.

Yes, Memrise will teach you a ton of words. You’ll also learn basic grammar concepts. But you won’t build strong conversational skills.

On the other hand, you’ll learn practical vocabulary useful for traveling and everyday situations.

Memrise practice

And you’ll learn how to pronounce words. And pronunciation practice is something that apps like Anki lack.

So, although many people use Memrise because they want to expand their vocabulary, the app offers much more than that.

Plus, it’s visually attractive, and it will keep you motivated and engaged.

All things considered, it seems like Memrise offers a more versatile and well-rounded learning experience.

What about design?

As we just mentioned, the Memrise app looks great.

It’s full of graphics and video clips, but it also looks neat and functional.

Anki, on the other hand, doesn’t care much about appearance. But when it comes to flashcard-style language apps, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

And it does have images and photos.

So, if you’re a visual learner, you’ll find it useful, but you won’t really enjoy its design.

Benefits

Besides good design, Memrise has many other benefits.

First of all, Memrise is focused on natural language. It will teach you practical vocab and prepare you for real-life situations.

With Memrise, you can also browse lessons and focus on the skill or topic you’re interested in. As it contains user-generated courses, you can find all sorts of lessons.

You can customize the length of your lessons to match your schedule. That way, you can be consistent. And if you want to learn a new language, consistency is the key.

And along with the app’s adaptive tech, you’ll really be able to achieve your goals and gain language skills in a quick and effective way.

Memrise Phrasebook is also incredibly helpful. You can search for words and phrases and watch how native speakers pronounce it.

Memrise Phrasebook

So, Memrise perhaps won’t make you a fluent speaker, but it will certainly provide you with helpful features and give you a chance to significantly improve your language skills.

But Anki is also used among language learners around the world.

So, what makes Anki so special?

Well, you can use Anki for different purposes/topics. It’s a great tool that can help you memorize things properly.

And if you use it on the web or your Android, it’s completely free. That makes it very accessible.

After all, it’s only a tool. It’s not meant to be a language-learning program.

That said, it’s a very powerful tool. It’s exactly what you need to enrich your language learning routine.

You can download pre-made flashcards or create your own. And you can add images, texts, and sounds, which is not always the case with flashcard apps.

The app also does a great job at tracking progress.

Furthermore, when you study, the app learns how well you know each flashcard, then prioritizes them for you. Therefore, you don’t have to waste time on things you already know.

And although they might be keeping it simple, Anki continues to change stuff and improve general user experience. They claim to be open for feedback and suggestions, and that’s great to hear.

Memrise vs Anki

So, both platforms have many highlights. And they are a great learning resource as long as you don’t have unrealistic expectations.

But if you’re seeking a well-rounded, detailed language app, you should look for something else. There are some fantastic language apps (Rocket Languages, for example) that are focused on the development of all four language skills: writing, speaking, listening, and reading.

Therefore, if your ultimate goal is to reach proficiency levels, you can’t rely on apps like Memrise or Anki.

But if you want to combine them with another source or online classes, you’ll be on the right track!

Final Verdict

All things considered, both Memrise and Anki are worth giving a chance.

They are helpful, effective, and user-friendly.

At the end of the day, it all depends on what your goals are.

If you’re searching for a simple tool to help you memorize words, you can try Anki.

And if you’re hoping for a more versatile and thorough approach, Memrise would be a better option.

Nevertheless, Memrise is generally speaking a better platform. It simply has more content and features, and it will give you a chance to work on your pronunciation.

So, if you’re looking for a good additional learning source, Memrise won’t disappoint you!