If you’re looking for the best online language courses, you’ve probably heard of Babbel and Rocket Languages.
Both platforms are popular, comprehensive, and effective.
However, they have a different approach to teaching.
So, in today’s article, we will look at their key differences, similarities, and benefits in order to make a final decision and choose a winner.
Of course, it ultimately comes down to your preferences. You should choose a course that fits your learning style and goals.
But there are some general characteristics that make one platform slightly better than the other.
If you’re short on time, here’s a brief conclusion on the Rocket Languages vs Babbel debate…
Overall, Rocket Languages is the more complete program. The courses teach vocabulary, help to improve conversation skills, and learn grammar. On the other hand, Babbel is more vocabulary focused in the form of app-based bite-sized lessons.
So, which one is it?
*Looking for a quick answer? We think Rocket Languages is the overall better platform to learn a new language, visit their website here!
But, please read the rest of our review for more info on both platforms.
Rocket Languages vs Babbel: Which Platform Wins?
The Rocket Languages platform has been around for a while now. And it actually offers one of the best ways to learn a language by yourself. It’s well-rounded and thoughtfully structured.
Babbel also had time to position itself among the best (launched in 2007.) People from across the globe love its engaging lessons and sleek design.
But when it comes to introducing learners to a foreign language, they have many differences. But more on that soon. Let’s look at their price and subscription plans first.
Pricing and Plans
For many people, it’s important to know how membership plans work. And that’s understandable – some learners don’t want to have a long-term commitment or, on the other hand, they don’t feel like paying something every month.
So, let’s see how Rocket Languages works.
First of all, they offer only lifetime plans. That means you can have a one-time purchase. And the price depends on the levels you choose.
Let’s take Rocket Spanish as an example. You can usually purchase these packages:
- Rocket Spanish (Levels 1,2 & 3) for $449.85
- Rocket Spanish (Levels 1 & 2) for $299.90
- Rocket Spanish (Level 1) for $149.95
But at this moment, they’re offering a discount coupon code. You can get Rocket Spanish (Levels 1,2 & 3) for $259.90 – you would save $189.95 or 42%!
So, you should keep an eye out for Rocket discounts. It really pays off.
Babbel also offers special deals sometimes. In fact, it currently offers 35%, 45%, and 50% discounts.
But Babbel works in a slightly different way. It has 4 options:
- 1 month for $10.70
- 2 months for $32.09
- 3 months for $64.19
- 12 months for $214.44
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.
Either way, Babbel seems to be a more affordable option.
And both platforms offer free trials and a money-back guarantee so you can always test everything first.
Structure and Features
So, what can you actually expect from one of the Babbel or Rocket Languages packages/plans?
Well, every Rocket Languages package includes hundreds of hours of lesson time, audio interactive audio lessons, language & culture lessons, and bonus survival kit lessons.
And thanks to the program’s speech recognition system, you’ll be able to work on your pronunciation.
Rocket Languages currently offers 14 languages to choose from (including English and sign language): Arabic (Egyptian), French, Chinese, German, English, Italian, Spanish (Latin American), Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Hindi, and Russian.
Whatever language you want to learn, you’ll get a thorough, well-organized online course.
The program is focused on the development of all main language skills: writing, listening, speaking, and reading. And that’s one of the best things about Rocket Languages.
It’s incredibly comprehensive and detailed but it also won’t overwhelm you with too much information at once.
Grammar lessons and cultural insights are perfectly intertwined.
But more importantly, you’ll be forced to use the language. You won’t only expand your vocabulary – you’ll learn how to use it in context.
Rocket Languages lessons are designed to prepare you for real-life situations. Core lessons are based on interactive audio and natural conversations between native speakers.
You’ll be listening to their conversation (with moderator’s explanations) and you’ll be asked questions. That way, you’ll actually be a part of the conversation.
Immersion and active participation are great ways to learn a new language.
Plus, Rocket Languages has amazing cultural lessons. They will make your learning process more interesting.
And you’ll have a chance to test your skills. You can complete Rocket Reinforcement activities at the end of each lesson.
The platform features many useful tools and exercises – digital flashcards, quizzes, writing drills, and so on.
There’s a ton of content, but everything feels very fluid and linear. And it’s quite flexible too – you can learn at your own pace.
Babbel offers a bunch of tools and interactive drills too. In fact, it has more variety in exercises than Rocket Languages.
It also has more visual aids. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll surely appreciate that.
Babbel lessons are a bit shorter though. Each Babbel lesson is about 10 to 15 minutes long.
It’s a mix of fill-in-the-blank exercises, flashcards, grammatical lessons, repeating words, and so on. It’s a little bit of everything.
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 extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate. You won’t waste time trying to figure out how everything works.
Moreover, lessons are very short and you can make progress every day. The app is very good at tracking your progress.
Generally, the Babbel Method is based on the same goals as Rocket Languages: to create the shortest path to real-life conversations.
However, Babbel doesn’t put as much emphasis on developing speaking skills as Rocket Languages. Yes, it will show you how to have good pronunciation and teach you practical vocabulary. But Rocket’s dialogue simulations are more sophisticated and effective.
On the other hand, Babbel puts a lot of effort into bringing you fresh updates and new features.
On the Babbel website, you can 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.
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.
Overall, Babbel is a very versatile app. But after a while, it does get a bit repetitive.
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.
Nevertheless, Rocket Languages is generally more complete. It will give you a chance to really understand the language. And it will give you a solid foundation to build on.
Levels and topics
In short, Rocket Languages is designed to take you from beginner to advanced level. But levels vary per language, which is not unusual for an online language program.
Nonetheless, Rocket Languages has three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
As we mentioned earlier, they are focused on practical vocabulary and everyday conversations. Therefore, they cover common topics.
Let’s look at Rocket Italian Level 3. It covers the following topics:
- Italian culture
- Travel destinations
- When things go wrong
At Level 1, you’ll learn what to say in different kinds of situations. As you progress, you’re going to learn how to express yourself and talk about different topics in a more complex way.
Babbel is focused on practical vocabulary too. You’ll start with basic phrases and move on to more complex sentences and functional conversations.
The 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. The truth is, you need to have self-discipline and inner motivation.
The most popular language learning apps and courses like Babbel and Rocket Languages are highly effective only if you know how to use them. They will provide you with knowledge and guide you through the learning process, but you should also practice by yourself.
You should also immerse yourself in the language as much as you can. Listen to podcasts, read books, watch movies (in the language you’re learning)… There are many fun and interesting ways to improve language skills.
But one thing is for sure: both Babbel and Rocket Languages will provide you with structure and guidance.
What about design?
In terms of aesthetics, Babbel looks great. It has a very modern and sleek design (both the app and the website.)
In a way, it’s more aesthetically pleasing than Rocket Languages.
Plus, it has more visual aids, so it’s a great choice for visual learners.
However, design isn’t one of the Rocket Languages’ disadvantages. All right, it doesn’t look extremely innovative or eye-catching, but it’s very simple and neat. And sometimes that’s enough.
After all, it depends on what you prefer. Babbel is generally more game-like, and Rocket Languages is more serious.
And as far as functionality is concerned, they’re both fantastic.
The new Rocket Languages 2022 edition is even more intuitive, streamlined, and neat. Each new version has small changes and updates for a better user experience.
As you can see, the Babbel vs Rocket Languages battle is very tense.
Babbel is perhaps visually more attractive than Rocket Languages.
And it’s more gamified. Although Rocket Languages does have some gamified features, Babbel literally uses games to help you strengthen skills like word order and spelling.
It also uses short stories to show you how your newly acquired vocabulary works in real-life situations.
And it uses effective methods to help you retain what you learn. Spaced repetition system is a rather popular method, and a very effective one too.
The live classes option is another huge advantage. Live classes are limited to six people, so you’ll get a personalized approach and a chance to learn from expert language teachers.
Babbel also has shorter lessons so you easily add language learning to your daily routine.
However, you can take Rocket Languages podcast-style lessons on the go. Since the program is mostly audio-based, you can learn while you’re commuting, exercising, or hiking. So, even though Rocket lessons are generally a bit longer, you can easily stay on schedule.
Also, you’ll listen to how the native speakers converse. You’ll pick up new words and expressions quite easily.
And since the course is based on active participation, you’ll be forced to actually use the language. And that should be the ultimate goal – to be able to speak with confidence.
And that’s why we generally love Rocket Languages. It will teach you how to speak another language in a rather natural and effective way – through context, repetition, and immersion.
You’ll get valuable cultural facts. Some languages even have the Travelogue section that will take you on a virtual tour to a foreign country.
And you’ll get clear grammatical explanations that will help you a lot in the long run. Everything makes much more sense once you learn how the language works.
What Do Users Say?
Rocket Languages and Babbel have millions of users worldwide.
People who use Rocket Languages are usually very satisfied. Some customers reported some faulty scores, but every program has a bug once in a while.
Other reviews (on Trustpilot) are also great. Some users are very happy with their quick progress.
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 and easy to use. But some of them complained about their customer support.
Nevertheless, people generally seem to enjoy learning with Babbel.
Without a doubt, Babbel and Rocket Languages are among the best language-learning programs out there.
Babbel is a great resource for learning vocabulary, and it’s very fun and easy to use.
But in a way, Rocket Languages is more complete. It offers a perfect blend of grammar and culture.
Rocket Languages will help you build conversational skills. It will teach you useful travel phrases and prepare you for real-life situations.
It will give you a chance to delve deeper into grammar.
And it’s very practical – with its audio lessons, you can learn on the go.
But if you like simple apps and bite-sized lessons, Babbel is also a great option.
However, we have to give the gold medal to Rocket Languages once again. Its interactive lessons, simulated conversations, and helpful tools are simply hard to beat.