Pimsleur vs Babbel: Which One Is Best For You?

One question we often find people with is whether Pimsleur is a good option to learn a new language or Babbel. Are you struggling with the same question? You’re at the right place!

Pimsleur and Babbel are popular names in the language learning industry, and it’s not easy to choose between them since the programs are quite similar. However, there are some important differences that make each platform unique. 

The truth is both platforms are good but have different teaching strategies. It is only a matter of finding out which strategy works best for you. 

In today’s article, we are going to compare Pimsleur and Babbel and discuss the key differences between them. 

Let’s get started!

Pimsleur vs Babbel: In A Nutshell

Before we head towards a long and detailed comparison, here is a quick table for our busy readers!

Free trialYes (7 days)First lesson is free
Money-back guaranteeYesYes
Number of languages5112
GrammarFocusedIncorporated into lessons

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Key Differences

Here are the key differences between Babbel and Pimsleur.

  • Pimsleur uses the Pimsleur method mainly to improve speaking skills, whereas Babbel focuses on helping learners improve their writing and grammar skills. It also helps users in improving their speaking skills.
  • Babbel follows the holistic approach to teaching a language which includes writing tests and grammatical exercises, whereas Pimsleur does not focus on these. It only focuses on vocabulary.
  • The pricing of Pimsleur is a bit expensive compared to Babbel. Pimsleur’s all-language access costs $20.95/month, and Babbel’s all languages access costs $13.95/month.
  • Pimsleur offers access to 51 languages, whereas Babbel offers access to only 14 languages.

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Overview

Before we get into details, let’s go through a quick overview of Babbel and Pimsleur to understand what each platform offers better. 

Pimsleur Overview

Pimsleur is one of those popular names in the language learning industry. Pimsleur offers one of the best learning programs where it gets in your head and stays there. It is not just a learning tool but a method known as the Pimsleur method. 

Pimsleur vs Babbel - Pimsleur Overview

Pimsleur came up with its own Spaced Repetition System. When you listen to a Pimsleur product, you will hear about a new word or sentence. A few seconds, minutes, or hours later, you will be asked to recall it, and this happens multiple times throughout the lesson. 

There are over 50 languages to choose from and 14 programs to learn English too. The core content of Pimsleur is undeniably strong and is a top choice for language learners. 

Babbel Overview

With a comparatively lower price than other language-learning programs, Babbel is one of the best language-learning programs in the market right now. Babbel has podcasts and interactive exercises, which can sometimes become tedious but also provide better practice than most other platforms. Besides a website, it also has a web app and mobile apps to help you study on the go. 

Babbel Overview

If you find other language-learning apps “too easy,” it may be time to try Babbel. The words, phrases, and concepts are unique, unlike other platforms. It does not offer as many languages as Pimsleur but has some of the widely used ones. 

One of the best features of Babbel is that it lets you take a placement test if you already know your target language a little bit. Then, it gets you started right where you left off. 

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Key Features

Babbel and Pimsleur offer excellent features. However, there are a few key features that distinguish one platform from the other. Let’s check them below!

Pimsleur Key Features

  • Previously learned content is constantly reinforced from one lesson to the next. 
  • The main focus is on oral language and speaking skills to enhance conversations. 
  • Four ways to practice what you’ve learned: Flash Cards, Quick Match, Speak Easy, and Speed Round. 
  • Mini-cultural lessons come with facts that help students learn about the culture of their target language. 
  • Constant prompts help you stay focused and be more productive. 

Babbel Key Features

  • The interactive nature of lessons holds the user’s attention and does not let them get bored. 
  • Babbel’s 60-minute live classes with a language teacher of your target language allow you to explore some interesting topics. 
  • The content in the lessons is practical and more suited to daily life situations. 
  • Lessons are bite-sized and well-structured to avoid confusion. 
  • Speech recognition technology helps perfect pronunciation.

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Languages Offered 

When you are choosing a language learning platform, one of the vital aspects to check is the languages offered. After all, you do not want to pick a platform that doesn’t offer the language you are looking for. 

With that in mind, let’s check the languages offered by both language-learning platforms. 


Pimsleur offers 51 languages for English natives, which includes the following: 

Pimsleur Languages
  • Albanian
  • Arabic (Eastern)
  • Arabic (Egyptian)
  • Arabic (Modern Standard)
  • Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Croatian
  • Armenian (Eastern)
  • Armenian (Western)
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Farsi Persian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dari Persian
  • Dutch
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Ojibwe
  • Pashto
  • Polish
  • Turkish
  • Twi
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Portuguese (European)
  • Punjabi
  • Swedish
  • Swiss German
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish (Latin American)
  • Spanish (Spain-Castilian)
  • Swahili

It also offers English language lessons for people with the following native languages: 

  • Spanish
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Russian
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Arabic
  • French
  • Vietnamese
  • Farsi Persian
  • Korean
  • Cantonese Chinese
  • Haitian
  • German
  • Hindi

That’s quite a lot of options!


Compared to Pimsleur, Babbel does not offer many languages. The platform offers 12 languages, including the following: 

Babbel Languages
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Portuguese
  • Turkish
  • Dutch
  • Swedish
  • Polish
  • Norwegian
  • Indonesian
  • Danish
  • Spanish

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Grammar 

Pimsleur doesn’t have separate grammar lessons. Rather, it stresses introducing grammar and vocabulary through context. You won’t have to memorize words, read conjugation charts, or learn specific grammar rules. The program is audio-based and aims to teach grammar through common patterns and phrases repeated repeatedly. 

Babbel has several lessons in one language course, which also includes grammar lessons. While grammar is usually thought of as the most difficult part of learning a new language, Babbel’s interactive exercises make the process fun. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening exercises ensure the content you’re learning stays in your memory for a long time.  

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Lesson Structure 

Another crucial parameter we considered is the lesson structure. When picking a language learning platform, the lesson structure plays a crucial role. Lesson structures need to be simple yet understandable. 

Let’s go through the lesson structures of Babbel and Pimsleur. 

Pimsleur lesson structure: 

The main focus of the Pimsleur program is conversational and speaking skills. Each lesson contains a 30-minute audio exercise you must listen to first. A moderator guides you through a native conversation in English. At one time, the moderator will stop explaining the sentences to you and start questioning you to engage you in the conversation. 

Pimsleur Lesson

This is a pretty smart way to learn conversational skills in your target language, as it seems like you’re actually talking to someone. As the course progresses, the English moderator explains less and less. But, at this point, you understand more of your native language. 

After each audio lesson, you get to practice with reading drills, matching exercises, flashcards, and speed games.

Babbel lesson structure:

Babbel lessons are shorter and only 10-15 minutes long. Each lesson includes quick drills and exercises. First, you listen to a few new words and then transition to a flashcards drill. You can also read grammar and conjugation lessons and type words on your keyboard, promoting written practice. 

Babbel - Difference

The written practice benefits learning a new language, and Babbel has included much of it in its program. It has fill-in-the-blank exercises which consist of conversations. 

Like Pimsleur, if you come to Babbel knowing a bit of your target language, you can take a placement test and start where you left off.  

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Customer Support

Customer support can come in handy when you get stuck or face any issues. Technical difficulty is common with digital platforms. Therefore, you must look for a platform with excellent customer support. 

Pimsleur Customer support: 

Pimsleur has an FAQ section with various commonly asked questions where you can find the answers to common queries. If you don’t find your question there, you can contact them by phone number 1-800-831-5497 or send them an email at Pimsleur@simonandschuster.com. They usually respond within a day or two, which can be inconvenient for people seeking an immediate answer. 

Babbel Customer support:

The customer support of Babbel is much like Pimsleur. They, too, have a broad FAQ section covering various topics of queries. If you cannot find your query at the Help Center, you can submit a written request to their Contact Us page. 

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Pricing

Lastly, pricing decides if the platform you like is worth going for. Sometimes the pricing of a certain platform may not fit your budget, even if it has all the essential features. Therefore, it is essential for the platform to have affordable pricing. 

Pimsleur pricing: 

The Pimsleur subscription starts at $20.95/month and includes audio and interactive exercises. However, you may want to take advantage of the free trial before buying a plan. Most other language-learning apps are between $10-$13, which makes Pimsleur an expensive one in this regard. 

Pimsleur Pricing

Another way to purchase courses on Pimsleur is by buying MP3s. For example, Level 1 French contains beginner content with 30 lessons priced at $150. If you complete one lesson per day, you will complete Lesson 1 in a month. Therefore, it becomes obvious how the subscription version is a better deal. 

Babbel pricing: 

Babbel’s monthly subscription starts at $13.95, and the monthly price reduces when you buy the subscription for several months. You can buy it for three months, six months, or a year. While buying an individual language course gives you access only to the contents of that language, a subscription gives you access to all languages at once. 


If you want to buy the entire lesson or course for your target language at once instead of paying a subscription fee every month, you certainly have the option to do so. The cost for one program may range between $130 and $500, depending on the language and the number of lessons that come with it.  

Pimsleur vs Babbel: Pros And Cons 

All language learning platforms have advantages and disadvantages, and Pimsleur and Babbel are no different. Some of them could be subjective. For example, what might be a downside for some people may not be an issue for you. Regardless, a quick list of pros and cons helps one make better-informed decisions!  


Incredible user interfaceLack of focus on written practice
Emphasis on translations and directionsNot affordable
Effective spaced repetition methodNo advanced learning material
Practical learning approachRepetitive lessons can get boring
Tons of languages to choose fromLack of voice recognition technology


Pros Cons
Easy to useNot much emphasis on practicing skills
An organized study programNot designed for advanced learners
Engaging and fun exercisesLessons have varying quality
Bite-sized lessons (10-15 minutes)Very few language options
Live classes with a language teacherOnly for English speakers

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Conclusion: Pimsleur vs Babbel

In the end, the decision of which language learning platform is better essentially depends on your learning style, your goals, and your budget. If you have a tight budget, Babbel is clearly the better way to go. However, if a large variety of languages is what you’re looking for, then Pimsleur is the one for you. 

You also need to determine how much time you can dedicate to learning. Babbel’s bite-sized lessons that only require 15 minutes of your day are good for people with a tight schedule. However, if you don’t mind taking 45 minutes of your day to learn a new language, Pimsleur will be a better choice. 

At the end of the day, you cannot go wrong regardless of whether you choose Babbel or Pimsleur, as both of them are great in their own ways. 

We hope you liked our article on Pimsleur vs. Babbel. For any questions or suggestions, please refer to our comment section below.  


Which language learning website is better, Pimsleur or Babbel?

After thoroughly reviewing both platforms, we have determined that each has unique strengths and weaknesses, and it is difficult to declare a clear winner. Which one is better depends on the learner’s requirements and goals. 

Can you become fluent with Babbel?

No. While Babbel can help you learn a foreign language, it cannot help you reach complete fluency. It also does not have options for advanced learners. 

Is it easy to cancel your Pimsleur subscription?

Yes. If you have subscribed to Pimsleur’s monthly subscription plan, you can easily cancel it through the website by logging into your account. For any questions regarding the cancellation, you can contact their customer service. 

What are the differences in the teaching methods of Pimsleur and Babbel?

Babbel and Pimsleur use very different teaching approaches. While Babbel is more focused on engaging exercises and drills, Pimsleur is great for introductory conversation as its main focus is speaking skills. 

How far will Pimsleur get you?

While Pimsleur will not make you fluent in your target language, it will certainly teach you how to have daily life conversations with natives. You will learn how to converse in day-to-day situations graciously. 

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