Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur: Which Platform Wins?

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

We were faced with a difficult task: to choose which platform is better, Rocket Languages or Pimsleur.

Both platforms are reliable, effective, and popular among learners across the globe.

Rocket Languages offers a full language course and utilizes smart technology and modern study tools.

And Pimsleur features useful exercises, visual aids, and cool design.

If you’re short on time, here’s a brief conclusion on the Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur debate…

Rocket Languages is overall a more well-rounded program. The structure and method are effective and the curriculum is well crafted. Pimsleur on the other hand focuses mainly on developing your speech and is significantly more expensive.

So, should you choose Rocket Languages or Pimsleur?

If we take a look at their structure, quality of content, features, and benefits, who would be the winner?

Let’s find out!

*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 Pimsleur: Which Platform Wins?

Rocket Languages has been around for a while now.

Pimsleur isn’t the new kid on the block either. In fact, Pimsleur Language Programs have been on the market in various forms since 1963.

Of course, both platforms have grown and evolved over the years.

Pimsleur looks modern and fresh.

And Rocket Languages keeps updating and adding new features with each edition.

Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur

In many ways, Pimsleur and Rocket Languages are quite similar.

And generally speaking, they are both fantastic options. In our opinion, they are among the best ways to learn a new language online. That’s why it wasn’t so easy to choose a winner.

However, they have some differences, and one platform is a little more comprehensive than the other.

Let’s take a look at their prices and subscription plans first.

Pricing and Plans

Rocket Languages offers only lifetime plans.

Their usual price is this (we took a Spanish course as an example):

  • Rocket Spanish (Levels 1, 2 & 3) for $449.85
  • Rocket Spanish (Levels 1 & 2) for $299.90
  • Rocket Spanish (Level 1) for $149.95

However, Rocket Languages offers deals and discounts almost all the time. So, if you want to purchase a course, you should keep an eye out for their promotions and save 30% or more.

They also offer a free trial and a 60-day money-back guarantee. And 60 days is definitely enough time to determine whether you like the program or not.

In terms of subscription plans, Pimsleur works in a different way. It offers monthly subscriptions.

You can choose from:

  • Pimsleur Premium for $19.95$/month
  • Pimsleur All-Access Plan for $20.95/month

If you opt for the All-Access Plan, you’ll get access to all the languages. You can easily switch between the languages. And you’ll get all the features that the Premium plan has (more on that later).

So, if you prefer one-time purchases and you’re sure you want to reach proficiency levels in a certain language, Rocket would be a great option for you.

And if you’re still not sure which language to choose or you don’t want a long-term commitment, you should consider purchasing Pimsleur.

However, your decision should mostly be based on the program’s content, format, and features. So, let’s see what each has to offer!

Structure and Features

Although it offers a ton of content, Rocket Languages is well-organized and easy to navigate.

When you purchase one of their packages, you’ll get hundreds of hours of lesson time.

In short, Rocket Languages is a combination of interactive audio lessons, exercises, quizzes, and culture lessons.

It also features useful study tools and gamified elements such as the Leaderboard. As you complete the lessons, you’ll be earning points as well.

Rocket Languages interface

Generally speaking, Rocket Languages doesn’t look like a game. At least not compared to some other programs like Duolingo.

Rocket Languages courses are more serious. After all, they are designed to take you from beginner to advanced (or rather intermediate) level.

And they are focused on the development of all the main language skills: speaking, writing, reading, and listening. So, it’s a well-rounded program that will teach you how to converse in a foreign language.

In fact, it will prepare you for real-life situations, which isn’t always the case with online language learning courses.

But, Rocket Languages puts emphasis on speaking and conversational skills.

Its audio lessons contain casual conversations between two native speakers. But you will also be asked questions – that way, you’ll keep being focused and involved. Active participation is definitely one of the Rocket’s highlights.

Another highlight is pronunciation practice.

The main difference between Rocket Languages and Pimsleur is that Rocket uses voice recognition technology (Google’s Web Speech API) to improve your pronunciation. Perhaps that’s not the same as speaking to a real person, but it’s undeniably very helpful.

Also, Rocket Languages will provide you with clear explanations and detailed grammar instructions.

And culture lessons will introduce you to the culture, traditions, and customs of the language you’re learning.

Rocket Languages culture lessons

In a way, Rocket is a perfect mix of culture, exercises, and grammar. It’s everything you need to build a strong foundation.

Plus, you can choose from a variety of languages. Rocket Languages currently offers 14 languages to choose from (including English and sign language.) You can learn Arabic (Egyptian), Chinese, French, German, English, Italian, Spanish (Latin American), Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, and Hindi.

But when it comes to the selection of languages, the medal goes to Pimsleur.

Pimsleur offers around 50 languages. There are really all kinds of languages and dialects, from Castilian Spanish to Croatian.

And it also offers English courses for speakers of different nationalities; English for Italian speakers, Vietnamese speakers, Haitian speakers, and so on.

But in terms of lesson length and format, Rocket Languages and Pimsleur are actually quite similar.

Pimsleur is also based on audio lessons and exercises. It features reading drills, speed games, flashcards, quizzes, and so on.  

And it’s centered around the Pimsleur Method. As it says on their website, it’s a ‘scientifically proven set of principles designed to take a learner directly to the heart of the language, eliminating noise, confusion, and information overload.’

The Pimsleur Method

The essential part of the Pimsleur Method is graduated interval recall. It’s an effective memory technique (usually referred to as spaced repetition system) based on recalling new words at specific time intervals.

The principle of anticipation is another important element. Pimsleur is using it by systematically asking for understanding and pausing for a response.

It’s also focused on core vocabulary and organic learning. Every new word or concept is given within the context of a conversation or exchange. And they made sure not to give you too much information at once.

All of this might sound a bit complicated. But it’s really not. Pimsleur is a user-friendly, simple program that will help you learn in an easy and engaging way.

It’s full of visual aids and graphics, and it’s very easy to navigate.

Learning a nee language with the Pimsleur app

The Saved Vocab is also a nice feature. You can easily add or remove items and see them in alphabetical order later on.

Pimsleur also has very clear course descriptions so you can know what to expect.

But what will Pimsleur teach you?

Can either of these two platforms make you fluent?

Levels and topics

First of all, the best online language courses are not created to make you a fluent speaker. They are designed to bring you closer to fluency and help you build a solid foundation.

But whether you’re going to keep improving your skills depends on your persistence and self-discipline.

Both Pimsleur and Rocket Languages will add structure to your learning process and provide you with useful study tools.

And they will certainly help you build basic conversational skills.

You will expand your vocabulary, learn important grammar concepts, and get valuable cultural insights.

Pimsleur promises to teach you a new language in 30 days though. But you shouldn’t set unrealistic goals. Sure, you can get rewarding results in just 30 minutes a day, but you won’t reach proficiency levels in a month.

You’ll learn common phrases, greetings, practical vocabulary, and cultural differences.

However, the most popular Pimsleur courses have 5 levels. So, the Spanish course can take you to an intermediate level of speaking and understanding. At level 5, you’ll learn to speak more in-depth about your personal life and emotional state and be able to structure complex sentences.

Rocket Languages also promises to take you from beginner to advanced level. And yes, you will be able to have a fluid, casual conversation about common topics. But you won’t be a fluent speaker just yet.

Generally, Rocket Languages has three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

You will start with the basics like greetings and popular expressions. You’ll learn to introduce yourself, order food, and ask for directions.

As you progress, you’ll get into more complex yet casual topics.

Let’s take Rocket Italian Level 3 as an example. The course covers the following topics:

  • Socializing
  • Food
  • Relationships
  • Italian culture
  • Travel destinations
  • When things go wrong

As you can see, Rocket Languages will teach you how to talk about common and popular topics and prepare you for situations you might find yourself in on your travels.

What about design?

In terms of design and aesthetics, Pimsleur has more graphics and it’s visually more attractive. It looks cool and simple, and it’s probably a better choice for visual learners than Rocket Languages.

And it keeps updating and improving the overall user experience.

Rocket Languages is more serious and straightforward. It has a very simple design. Perhaps it’s not very unique or eye-catching, but it works. The app will allow you to focus on what really matters.

As far as functionality is concerned, both programs are amazing. They are practical, and you can use them on different devices. And that will make your language learning process so much easier.

Learning a new language on the go

It’s important to be consistent and practice regularly. And programs like Pimsleur and Rocket Languages will help you do just that. Their simple, efficient design and portability will help you incorporate language lessons into your daily routine.

After all, if the app looks nice and runs smoothly, you’ll feel more motivated and productive.

Benefits

Speaking of good design, that’s definitely one of Pimsleur’s advantages. It uses visual aids and representations to help you memorize new words and concepts. And that’s fantastic for visual learners.

It’s very convenient. You can use Pimsleur on the go. In fact, you can use the Pimsleur Audio Only version and take lessons while you’re jogging, cooking, or traveling.

Pimsleur’s lessons are comprehensive and effective. They will introduce you to practical vocabulary, cultural differences, and key grammar concepts.

Pimsleur app

You’ll also work on your pronunciation by practicing individual sounds.

Another Pimsleur benefit is that it covers more languages and specific dialects than Rocket Languages. You can learn Ukrainian, Swahili, Dari Persian, Icelandic… you name it.

Overall, Pimsleur is a very practical and effective program that will surely help you a lot on your learning journey. It will provide you with structure, useful tools, and engaging lessons.

But Rocket Languages will do that too.

In fact, Rocket Languages is one of our favorite online language courses for a good reason. It’s just more complete than any other program.

It will help you read, speak, and write. And it will prepare you for real-world situations.

You’ll listen to native speakers converse and actively work on your pronunciation. You’ll get immediate feedback and eventually be able to have a near-native accent.

Rocket also offers more detailed grammar instructions. But at the same time, it won’t overwhelm you with boring grammar lessons.

Everything is so perfectly intertwined. Grammar, culture, vocab, games…

With Rocket Languages, you really get a whole package.

Plus, you can also use it on the go. Since it’s mostly audio-based, you can continue with your lessons while you’re doing something else.

All things considered, Rocket Languages will undoubtedly help you achieve your goals and ensure you a productive and enjoyable learning experience.

Both platforms obviously have a lot of benefits.

Also, they are designed for all types of learners. Aural learners, visual learners, people who like gamified formats… And that’s why they’re so popular among learners from across the globe.

Rocket Languages vs Pimsleur

It has never been easier to learn a new language. Apps like Pimsleur and Rocket Languages are practical and affordable.

And with so many options on the market, it might feel hard to choose the right online course. But that’s why we’re here!

Ultimately, you should opt for a course that fits your unique learning habits and goals. Some apps are created with a specific learner in mind, or they’re focused on a particular skill.

That’s why it’s necessary to do a little research first. Only then you can make an informed decision.

In this case, Pimsleur and Rocket Languages are kind of similar. But we hope our comparison helped you figure out which one suits you better.

What Do Users Say?

For all the reasons we just mentioned, Rocket Languages users are generally very satisfied with how everything works.

Users’ reviews usually point out the program’s simplicity and effectiveness.

Some users reported some faulty scores though, but that’s unfortunately inevitable when you’re learning with an app and practicing your pronunciation with software.

Rocket Languages users reviews

People are also satisfied with Pimsleur. They find it effective, simple, and useful for learning vocabulary.

Pimsleur Review

It’s useful to read other users’ reviews, but you should also bear in mind that people have different learning styles and expectations. What works for you might not work for someone else.

However, reviews (even bad ones) can give you interesting insights into certain details.

Final Verdict

It wasn’t easy to pick a winner. Both Pimsleur and Rocket Languages have quality content and useful features.

However, the medal goes to Rocket Languages.

So, why is Rocket Languages better than Pimsleur?

Well, in our opinion, it’s simply more complete. It has a thoughtfully crafted curriculum and it keeps getting better with each new edition.

But the structure and methods always stay the same. It’s an effective and well-rounded course that will guide you through the whole learning process and motivate you along the way.

And unlike Pimsleur, it has an amazing speech recognition engine and more detailed grammar instruction.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable language-learning program that will help you improve your language skills, you can’t go wrong with Rocket Languages.