Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose in 2024?

Every person has their own way of learning. Some may learn through audio lessons, while others may do so through live classes. Learning a new language has no particular requirement. Two such platforms that are totally different from each other are Pimsleur and Babbel. Despite being different, many people get confused about which one they should choose. It may be because they don’t know the differences or how the courses are developed. To help you choose the right platform, I will share a complete guide on Pimsleur vs Babbel.

Quick Takeaways

  • The number of languages offered by Pimsleur is more than Babbel. There are 50 languages available on Pimsleur and 14 on Babbel. 
  • Both platforms have different strengths. If you want to learn essential conversation for traveling, choose Pimsleur. On the other hand, if you want a more traditional course with dialogues and flashcards, try Babbel.
Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose?

What is Pimsleur?

Pimsleur is an online language learning platform that follows the audio-based approach. That means all the lessons are created in the form of audio lessons. It is a perfect platform for those who want to become fluent in the language. The methodology used on this platform was first invented by Dr. Paul Pimsleur.

What is Babbel?

Babbel was the first language-teaching platform. I felt Babbel was like a gaming platform that teaches a new language. The teaching style of this platform is different from Pimsleur’s. It is more like other common course structures. 

Although both platforms aim to teach you a new language, they are created in different manners. Further, there are detailed differences between both of them.

Babbel vs Pimsleur: Main differences

Here are some main differences which will help to understand the perfect choice for you-

1. Number of languages 

Whenever we choose a new language, focus on how many languages there are. I always do it to understand which language I can learn from it. It was very surprising that one platform does not even have half the number of languages in others. Pimsleur offers 50 languages, whereas Babbel only offers 14 popular languages. Below I have mentioned all the common languages on both platforms-

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose?
RussianPortuguese FrenchNorwegianIndonesian

Note: All the languages in the above table are the 14 languages that are available in Babbel.

2. Pricing

The subscription plan on Pimsleur has two plans –

  • Premium Monthly – $19.95 per month
  • All-access monthly – $20.95 per month

Both plans offer similar features. I got ‘only audio’ and ‘visual tools’ in both plans. However the only difference is in the all-access plan, I could easily switch between the plans.

There is also another plan on this platform which is known as the Audio course. This course starts from $14.95. 

Whereas for Babbel, it starts from $8.45 per month for the 6-month plan. There are two more plans – Annually and Lifetime. The cost for both plans is $6.95 per month and $299.5 per month respectively.

3. Free trial

It is very usual to think that there will be a free trial with the subscription plan. But, the truth is a little different. There was a 7-day free trial on Pimsleur but no free trial was offered to me on Babbel. There was a policy known as a 20-day money-back guarantee. If you do not find it worthwhile, you can ask for a refund.

4. Duration of lessons

Everyone has their own focus level. Some can sit for 1 hour and others can only study for half an hour. So it’s important to understand the duration of the lesson. If you do not have much time or cannot sit for long hours, check on Babbel. The lessons are 10-15 minutes which makes them a great choice. If you can sit for an hour, you can check Pimsleur. The duration for each episode is 45-60 minutes.

5. Grammar

Most of the platforms fail to provide Grammatical knowledge. But these two platforms were really good at delivering it. Pimsleur was the one who helped me learn it thoroughly. However, it becomes difficult to get them at first. It was because the lessons were in audio-based form. Talking about Babbel, it also covers Grammar but again it was difficult to understand it. I think it was because it was covered as layers in the lessons. 

6. Live classes

Having a platform that offers traditional and live courses, is a blessing. You don’t have to look at other apps to get a different service. Babble is the best example of such a platform. I have enjoyed its group live classes. There are very few students in the class. It helps the tutor to focus on each student. On the other hand, Pimsleur lacks this feature. 

Note: The Rosetta stone is a mixture of both platforms. The lessons are created in the form of Audio Lessons. Additionally, there is a live class feature. 

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose?

How are the languages taught on both platforms?

Knowing the basic differences is not the only thing required to choose it. It is important to know the course overview of each of them. Further, I have mentioned the teaching style of both of them-

1. Pimsleur 

The first thing that I noticed was how the courses are designed. Each course has levels, which are again divided into lessons. The number of levels depends on the language you are studying. Some may have 5 (maximum levels), others may have less than that. Nevertheless, one common thing in each course is the number of lessons in a level. There are 30 lessons per level.

It made me think, why did the platform choose this number only? On doing some research, I find that it follows a simple ideology – to complete a single level per month. In short, we need to complete a lesson per day. So, if there are 3 or 5 levels in it, the courses can be completed in 3 or 5 months respectively.

a. Lessons in Pimsleur

Above I showed you how the courses are created. Now let me see what was there in the lesson-

There is a narrator in each lesson to develop a story. With the help of the story, it was easy for me to remember the content. There is a spaced repetition theory that helps me to review the material. In each lesson, the story is broken down into different words. All the lessons are interdependent. What I love the most about Pimsleur are the recaps. Each lesson has a recap of the old lessons. Many additional features helped me to understand, how to use them in different contexts. 

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose?

It also has reading lessons that helped me to understand the right phonetically. There is a word, just see it and say it loudly. Now hear your recording and the native speakers recording. Match them to check if both match each other. 

b. Exercises in the lessons 

There are a number of additional features and exercises that helped me to develop my fluency level. Here are some exercises that I got on the platform- 

  • Flashcards – Remember the words
  • Quick Match – Translation of sentences from English
  • Speak easy  – Play and repeat the dialogue

2. Babbel

It will start with asking questions about the motive of learning the language. Once the account is created, there is an option of placement test. Take it, to get at the right level. Each level has a unit consisting of multiple lessons. A single lesson is made of a variety of exercises, making it a fun lesson. The lessons are shorter making us more focused on the content. The grammatical coverage is a very strong point in its lessons. The lessons have a lot of exercises focusing on all the aspects of the language. 

a. Exercises in Babbel’s lessons

The exercises vary depending on the skills they are focusing on. There are multiple writing exercises in it. Here is the list of the exercises that you get on Babbel-

  • Listen and Repeat – Listen to the audio and repeat the back
  • Translations exercises – To develop vocabulary knowledge 
  • Fill-in-the-blanks – Again to develop vocabulary
Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose?

b. Additional resources in Babbel’s lessons

The above are the main exercises that help to learn the language. But the Babbel courses are not only limited to these exercises. Some interactive tools help to learn the language easily. The following are some of them-

  • Flashcards – learn vocabulary 
  • Speaking
  • Practice
  • Games

Related: Here is a detailed review of the Babbel Italian Course

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose?

Babbel is the first and the oldest language-learning platform for learning the language. Whereas, Pimsleur is the platform developed on the principle given by Dr. Paul Pimsleur. It shows how effective both platforms are. But which will suit you, depends upon your learning style and end goal. Although I have given a detailed comparison, here are only two statements I want to say for each platform-

  • Pimsleur – Best for learning essential conversation for traveling 
  • Babbel – Use it, if you want a more traditional course with dialogues and flashcards

However, it may be still confusing for you to decide which one to use. Further, I will share the benefits and drawbacks of both of them one by one.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Pimsleur?

To decide whether to choose a platform or not, it is important to know its pros and cons. Here is the table that represents the benefits and drawbacks of it-

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which one to choose?
Engaging audio lessonsAs they are audiobased, lessons become boring.
Constant reminders to motivate youLess writing exercises.
It is easy to switch on a new lesson.The duration of each lesson is long.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Babbel?

Although I have discussed the benefits and drawbacks of using Pimsleur, it is now the time to understand them for Babbel-

Layered grammar is effective.The speech recognition feature does not work well for some languages.
It also offers live classes.Less conversational practice
Lessons are short and easy to understand.Less content for advanced learners.


Babbel is the first and oldest language-learning platform, whereas Pimsleur is the platform that follows the methodology of Dr. Paul Pimsleur. Both platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses. Pimsleur offers you more conversational practice, whereas Babbel offers more writing practice. Thus, both platforms are great to use. I would suggest you choose Pimsleur if you want to improve your communication skills. On the other hand, choose Babbel if you want to have a traditional course.

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