Memrise vs Babbel: Which Platform Wins?

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

If you’ve been searching for the best online language courses, you’ve probably heard of Memrise and Babbel.

They are among the most popular language platforms.

And at first glance, they might seem quite similar.

So, it comes as no surprise if you’re wondering which app is a better choice.

That’s why we’re here! Our Memrise vs Babbel comparison article will clear things up.

We will tell you all about each platform’s highlights, special features, and content.

Without further ado, let’s see which app is a better option for you, Memrise or Babbel!

Memrise vs Babbel: Which Platform Wins?

In essence, Memrise is a popular flashcard-style app.

But it’s also so much more than that. It has a ton of useful content, and it will allow you to learn something new every day.

Memrise review

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

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

Babbel review

But which platform will bring you closer to fluency?

Let’s compare their prices and membership plans first.

Pricing and Plans

Babbel offers several subscription plans to choose from.

This is their price (usually):

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

We said ‘usually’ 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.

Memrise, on the other hand, offers a free plan. And that’s really amazing.

However, a free Memrise version is somewhat limited. It’s useful, but you’ll get so much more with the paid version of the app.

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.

So, in terms of pricing, Memrise is clearly a more affordable option. But what will you get with each subscription?

Structure and Features

Compared to many other flashcard-style apps, Memrise has a very good structure and useful features.

It’s also very immersive thanks to its video clips with native speakers.

Memrise app review

These video clips 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. And you’ll have a chance to observe native speakers’ mannerisms and gestures.

In a way, it’s like getting an illustration of each word or phrase. And that’s a great way to memorize words, especially if you’re a visual learner.

So, Memrise uses flashcards, short lessons, and videos to help you understand the language you’re learning.

And to make your learning process more effective, Memrise uses spaced repetition system.

Spaced repetition is 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.

Memrise also uses adaptive tech to personalize your lessons. 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 lessons

Additionally, you’ll learn how to pronounce words thanks to the app’s pronunciation feature. Pronunciation mode becomes available after you’ve learned at least three words in that course.

As you can see, Memrise will teach you more than a couple of new words.

Without a doubt, it’s a fantastic learning resource that will help you expand your vocabulary, master pronunciation, and learn basic grammar.

And you’ll never run out of lessons. Memrise really has a ton of content, and that’s mostly because it use to offer community-created courses.

User-generated courses 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 topics and skills.

Babbel is also a fantastic learning source. It’s one of the most popular language apps for a good reason.

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 lessons review

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

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

Babbel currently offers 14 languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English. The selection is similar to Rocket Languages.

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.

Well, one thing is for sure: Babbel is better than Memrise at developing conversational skills.

It’s simply more complete and well-rounded, and it puts emphasis on grammar, practical vocabulary, and culture.

But Babbel 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.

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

As you can see, 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 it’s focused on relevant topics and practical vocabulary useful for everyday life situations.

Levels and topics

Speaking of topics, Memrise also covers useful topics and practical vocabulary.

You’ll master the basics and learn about common topics like social life, relationships, travel, food, society, sports, and so on.

The Memrise app covers thousands of words, and when you complete the course, you’re expected to be an independent speaker. But we don’t think that’s entirely true.

The thing is, you can’t become a fluent speaker without actually using the language and practicing. And Memrise won’t provide you with enough practice.

On the other hand, if you use it as an additional learning resource, it will definitely come in handy.

Memrise vs Babbel

Babbel also won’t make you a fluent speaker, but it’s more structured and detailed than Memrise.

Babbel’s program is divided into Stages. There are six Stages in total – Stage 1 will provide you with a completely new piece of vocabulary and in Stage 6, you’ll have it in your long-term memory.

But when it comes to learning levels, Babbel uses CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Language. You can take their placement test to find your learning level.

With Babbel, you can receive certificates for up to B2 level in English.

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

But you should bear in mind that language-learning apps can’t yield results in the same way as hiring a private teacher or going to a language school. You need to have self-discipline and motivation.

Luckily, both Babbel and Memrise will keep you motivated and interested. And they will help you track your progress.

And as long as you don’t have unrealistic expectations, they will help you achieve your goals.

What about design?

In short, the Memrise app looks great. It’s neat, visually pleasing, and engaging.

And short video clips featuring the locals are a great touch.

So, if you care about what a certain app looks like, you’ll enjoy using Memrise.

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

It’s full of images and visual aids, so it’s a great choice for visual learners.

Babbel app reviews

Also, both platforms have gamification elements. Memrise has gamified vocab memorization, and Babbel will give you a score based on the number of right answers you get in each lesson.

Although they use a gamified learning system, apps like Memrise and Babbel will keep you focused on what really matters. Their game-like look is just a way to make your learning process more fun and engaging.  

So, in terms of design, it’s hard to say which platform wins.

We’ll have to take a closer look at the benefits of each platform.

Benefits

As we mentioned earlier, Babbel is better than Memrise at developing your conversational skills.

It utilizes audio dialogue examples recorded with native speakers.

And it will provide you with useful exercises, short lessons, game-like features, and all kinds of drills.

Babbel is also better at providing grammatical explanations and cultural insights. Perhaps you won’t become a culture or history expert, but the app will immerse you in the language and give you useful insights.

And Babbel combines all of that very well. Everything is intertwined: culture, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation practice.

Plus, if you want to get extra knowledge, you can read Babbel magazine articles or listen to Babbel podcasts.

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

It has a helpful pronunciation feature.

And it uses effective methods to help you retain what you learn. Spaced repetition system is a very popular method, and a very effective one too.

Another huge advantage 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.

Joining live language classes will make you feel involved and motivated. And with Babbel’s unlimited plan, you can decide when and how often you want to learn.  

Learning with Babbel

But Memrise is also a very useful learning tool.

Just like Babbel, it uses spaced repetition system and useful study tools and memory techniques.

But unlike Babbel, Memrise has a lot of different courses created by other users. So, in addition to regular lessons, you can find classes focused on all kinds of topics, skills, and areas.

Another advantage is the possibility to use it for free. Of course, the paid version (Memrise Pro) is more extensive, but the free version can also be very helpful, especially if you’re looking for a reliable flashcard app.

Plus, Memrise is very customizable, so you can adjust lesson length and some other things to your liking.

And last but not least, Memrise offers more languages than Babbel. There are more than 20 languages to choose from, whereas Babbel currently offers 14 language courses. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s something to consider.

Memrise app benefits

All in all, both platforms have many benefits. But they’re created with a specific learner in mind.

Memrise is a good option for people who want to expand their vocabulary in a quick, free, and effective way.

And Babbel is great for more serious learners who want to improve their speaking skills.

Nevertheless, neither Babbel nor Memrise won’t take you to proficiency levels. Well, unless you do the extra work.

Learning a new language is an intricate process, and if you want to become a fluent speaker, you should combine different language apps, find a well-structured online course (like Rocket Languages), or find an online tutor.

You should also surround yourself with the language you’re learning as much as you can.

At the end of the day, you should opt for a program (and a method) that fits your learning style, abilities, and goals.

What Do Users Say?

And what do users’ reviews say about Memrise and Babbel?

Well, people are generally satisfied with Memrise. They like the fact that they can use it for free, and that there’s a ton of content.

However, some Trustpilot reviews are focused on their bad translations and occasional bugs.

Some users also complained about their customer service.

Nevertheless, the platform still has many excellent reviews.

Memrise user reviews

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that people have different expectations and learning habits.

For some reason (or because the company reminded them to leave a review), Babbel has much more reviews on Trustpilot. People mostly find it very convenient, efficient, and easy to navigate.

But some users complained about Babbel’s customer support.

Nevertheless, people generally shared their positive experiences of using the app.

Babbel reviews

Final Verdict

We hope our Memrise vs Babbel helped you make the right decision.

And after looking thoroughly at each platform, we can say that both Babbel and Memrise are great apps for learning languages.

They are effective, fun, and easy to use.

However, Babbel seems to be more complete and well-rounded.

It will provide you with grammar explanations, cultural insights, and top-notch live classes.

All things considered, Babbel is better than Memrise at developing your conversational skills.

Therefore, if we had to pick one, we would give Babbel the edge over Memrise.

But in the end, it all depends on your goals and preferences. In our opinion, both platforms can help you improve your language skills and provide you with useful tools and features.