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Busuu vs Babbel
Busuu and Babbel are pretty similar concepts, and not just because they sound so similar (two 2-syllable words that start with ‘b’ and reference a language learning app that focuses on grammar? Yeah, I’m confused too). Busuu vs Babbel is a difficult comparison because, when it comes to language learning, they both satisfy a lot of the same needs.
Both programs (and apps) focus heavily on grammar and take you from the beginning of the language to the end. They’re both honestly really smooth programs, and help make learning grammar – which is notorious for being really painful for language learners – pretty fun.
So, between Busuu vs Babbel, what’s the difference? And if you’re stuck between the two, which program should you spend your time and money on? I’ve tested all that out for you, so here’s my Busuu vs Babbel review.
Busuu vs Babbel: languages
First things first, as always, it’s important which language you’re studying. Both Busuu and Babbel offer their content in the following languages:
You can also use Busuu to learn:
And Babbel offers:
So these two resources aren’t incredibly heavy on the number of languages they offer, but they do offer the more popular Romance languages as well as a couple of fun ones.
Which makes sense, since I always say that the resources that only offer a few languages do those languages really, really well. Which they do! As opposed to something like Duolingo which has content in an overwhelming number of languages, but also drops you off once you’re done learning A1 stuff.
Busuu vs Babbel: how they start
Busuu and Babbel both focus very heavily on taking you step-by-step through grammar, and they both do it in a similar way.
Because they’re likely more popular with more goal-oriented learners (ie. language learners really diving into the language and figuring it out, as opposed to just touching 17 different languages until it gets difficult, like Duolingo fans), they really cater to that mindset.
For example, Busuu shows you all your content, from beginning to end, including how long each lesson will take, so you can plan out your goals and even skip ahead if you’re already familiar with some things.
Babbel is similar, though not quite as…straight forward. Babbel does organize its content into the different CEFR levels (A1-C2), but they don’t show you all the content as conveniently as Busuu does.
Keep in mind that this isn’t really a huge deal for most people. It’s just a difference between the two platforms, and unless you feel like you need to be able to see everything on one page, I wouldn’t necessarily count this as a con.
Babbel also doesn’t show you your “percentage of fluency” or how long each lesson will take you to complete, which makes it a tad more difficult to plan. Babbel feels like more of a “pick the lessons you need to practice and skip the ones you don’t” kind of thing than a structured timeline.
Busuu vs Babbel: the meat
Okay, let’s get right into it. What is the actual difference between using Busuu vs Babbel? There is a pretty significant difference, which is why it’s important that you understand each of them and apply them to your own language learning strategy as such.
Let’s start with Busuu.
Busuu kind of acts as a study plan more than anything else (I discuss the actual study plan they offer more in my Busuu review). They’ll introduce concepts to you, give you a couple of practice swings, and then it’ll be up to you to get actual practice in.
This strategy has its pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide if it works for you or not. There’s not a whole lot of hand-holding; it’s more like touching briefly on a subject and letting you fly with it, so it’s great for experienced learners who just need a baseline.
Once they’ve introduced a new concept to you, they’ll push you to practice it in conversation, using their own community of language learners. Even though you have to be a paid member to use this community, I really love how it really forces you to actually use the language, something that most of us struggle with at the beginning.
Most beginner language learners fall back on “I’ll practice speaking when I know more words” or some such excuse, so I’m a huge fan of getting pressured into getting the actual practice that I actualy need from the get-go!
For each practice, you get to choose how to actively use the language, either by writing or speaking. Then your response is sent to the Busuu community to be checked by native speakers. Your submissions are limited to your lessons, either; whenever you feel the inspiration, you can jump into the Busuu community and talk/write about whatever you want and submit it to native speakers.
All that being said, Busuu is a good way to basically launch yourself into a community of native speakers, which can be great for a lot of us. Honestly, peer pressure like that can be really successful when it comes to conquering your fear of using a language!
Then, once you make it through all the content that Busuu has to offer, you can take their exam and receive a certificate, which I talk about more in my Busuu review.
Where Busuu gives you the framework to base your language learning strategy, Babbel supplies all of your grammar needs. Babbel doesn’t just run the concepts by you, but also insists that you practice over and over and over again.
If you’re already familiar with the family of the language you’re studying or are just trying to brush up on concepts you’re already fairly comfortable in, this’ll get annoying. BUT, if this is all new information for you, it’s a great way to get your drills in.
Babbel dives real deep in the language for you, helping you with key concepts that you might not find somewhere else.
Which, again, pros and cons. This is an incredible method of digesting new and important information. However, even if Babbel has a ‘listening and speaking’ section, there is no option to actively practice using the language, so don’t get sucked into depending on Babbel for all your language learning needs.
Busuu vs Babbel: the price point
Ah yes, money. Well, you get what you pay for, right? Both Busuu and Babbel are paid services. If you want to just give one of them a shot real quick, they do each offer a bit of free content.
What’s offered for free
Babbel offers the first lesson for free. It’s not a lot, and it most likely won’t teach you much, but you do get a feel for the program, I guess. They are definitely in the business of making money, though.
Busuu, on the other hand, is a bit less stingy. You are much more limited in what you can access for free (vocab flashcards for 1 language), but it is more than just one lesson, so they’ve got that going for them.
So, if you can’t pay, you do have to find other means to both learn and practice the grammar and actively use the language. You also can’t download lessons for offline use, which might make it harder to practice on your way home or during breaks.
What they cost
So there’s a couple of differences between Busuu vs Babbel, but I will say that they’re both reasonably priced for what they offer.
Babbel, who offers pretty much nothing to free members, has one paid membership with a few different ways to pay.
Like I said, pretty reasonably priced. You’ll pay between $7-$12 per month, depending on how many months you want to commit (multiple months of membership require all the payment upfront).
If it doesn’t end up working out for you? Just ask for a refund within 20 days and you’ll get it. In my opinion, 20 days is an incredibly long time period to decide whether or not you like something like this, so good for them!
Busuu Premium, on the other hand, offers 2 different types of membership, with almost just as many ways to pay.
So the price point is essentially the same. Busuu only offers a 7-day guarantee, but that’s still better than nothing! In both cases, there is ab solutely zero risk involved if you realize that it’s just not right for you.
Busuu vs Babbel
At the end of the day, the choice you make depends entirely on what you’re looking for in a language learning resource. Are you a beginner language learning, or at least not familiar with the family of the language you want to learn? Babbel is a great way for you to learn grammar.
Are you already pretty comfortable with language learning, and looking for a more stable study plan and/or a dedicated community of language learners that can help correct your speaking and writing practice? Busuu‘s got what you need.
Either way, both Busuu and Babbel are honestly really great and very helpful options to complement a language learning journey, if they offer material in the language you’re interested in learning.
They are, however, definitely not the same and should not be treated as such!