When I first heard about Babbel and Busuu, I was having a hard time telling them apart. They both start with B, they are roughly the same length, and I had no idea about the meaning behind each word.
However, when I tried their services, differences started to reveal. They’re both great at delivering high-quality content to learn the toughest languages. But each one of them has pros and cons that might make or break your learning experience.
Like what? Read this detailed comparison between Babbel vs. Busuu to find out!
Babbel Means to Chat, And Busuu is a Language
Babbel is a german-based language learning service that runs on a website and mobile apps. They initially launched as an offline company in 2007 before going online in the following year.
The word “Babbel” is the imperative mood of “babellen”, which means “to chat” in dutch.
I don’t think they actually thought this through, though. The first time I heard their name, the word “babble” came to my mind. If you’re unfamiliar, it means to talk foolishly in an incomprehensible way!
Busuu, on the other hand, has a much more interesting backstory. Busuu is an endangered Cameroonian language. In the 1980s, there were only eight people speaking it.
With this creative concept, Busuu is able to communicate their care toward languages regardless of how famous they are.
Just like Babbel, Busuu went online in 2008. They were initially based in Spain but now their headquarter is in London.
Check Out This Babbel vs Mondly Comparison
The Languages: Babbel Offers More
So, we’re off to the actual comparison. I preferred to start with their offered languages since you can already make your decision here if one of them lacks the language you want.
As of now, both platforms offer these languages:
● Portuguese (Babbel offers the Brazillian dialect)
Babbel uniquely offers:
And Busuu exclusively offers:
So, if you kept count, this means that Babbel offers a total of 14 languages while Busuu provides 12.
As I said, we can’t really agree on a winner here since this depends on your language of choice. However, it’s worth noting that the 3 exclusive languages offered by Busuu are quite hard to find elsewhere.
The Course Outline: Busuu Is More Organized
When it comes to the actual learning materials, Babbel and Busuu are pretty similar. They’re both intended for serious learners who want to perfectly master one language at a time rather than taking short glimpses of many at once.
That said, both of them focus intensively on grammar from day 1. They take you through step-by-step lessons that break down the most difficult languages into easy, tiny bits.
But a similar content doesn’t necessarily mean identical organization.
If you like to have a clear learning path to plan up ahead, you’ll definitely love Busuu. You’ll know what each lesson includes and how much time it’s supposed to take.
Babbel, on the other hand, provides just a basic idea about the course outline. You can’t really know how much progress you’ve made and what else you still lack.
Then again, at the end of the course, the content itself doesn’t differ that much. So this is left to your personal preference.
The Learning Experience
When you pick a language and start diving through the content, you’ll start to notice the actual differences that might impact your learning potential.
Babbel Focuses on Constant AI Practice
When you’re introduced to a new grammar concept, Babbel floods you with a lot of practice until you master it.
For new vocabs, it uses illustrations at first to deliver the meaning faster. Then, it gradually decreases them until you’re able to use the new words in full sentences completely by yourself.
Moreover, it provides daily reminders for the words that you might’ve forgotten.
But Busuu Allows for Actual Human Communication
Busuu is like a textbook but in an interactive way. It introduces you to new grammar concepts and vocab with a couple of exercises.
It doesn’t nag you with constant practice. Instead, it encourages you to practice your new skills on your own with native speakers from their community. You can ask one of them to correct your writing, pronunciation, or help you with anything you might be stuck at.
Which Is Better?
Without any doubt, language necessitates practice with real people. AI learning is great. But you’re learning a new language mainly to communicate with people. So having this as part of your training is a huge plus.
Moreover, AI learning might not be the best for learning certain dialects. For instance, if you’re trying to learn Spanish, Babbel and Busuu will teach you the Castilian dialect.
On Busuu, you’ll meet natives who speak a lot of other dialects, the most interesting for readers of this blog are the various Latin American Spanish dialects. They’ll walk you through the differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and everyday expressions.
Best of all, you can even form real friendships through this feature. This way, you’ll have excellent local guides to show you around in case you decide to travel there.
All in all, Busuu easily wins this round.
The Available Plans
After covering their services, we’re left with how much you’re going to pay.
Busuu Is a Bit Generous with Free Content
Babbel and Busuu are both paid services. And I absolutely have no problem with that. Free platforms only give you basic knowledge that doesn’t qualify you for true fluency.
However, I always appreciate it when I’m offered free content with which I can get a feel of how the service works. This is crucial to decide whether I’ll opt for an alternative before committing with money.
That being said, Busuu is a lot more considerate for people like me. With a free membership, you’ll have access to almost all the lessons up to the “upper intermediate” level.
You’ll get to try their social communities but with some limitations. But you can’t learn more than one language per each free account.
On the other hand, Babbel offers only one free lesson. For example, if you try the Spanish course, it’ll teach you how to say only 3 sentences: aprendo español, no entiendo, and ¿puedes repetir?
I don’t know about you, but this isn’t enough to try the service at all.
Babbel Is a Tad More Expensive
Babbel offers one premium plan that costs around $13/mo if billed monthly. Additional options cost around $9/mo, $8.5/mo, and $7/mo for quarterly, semi-annual, and annual billing.
Busuu has more freedom in plans. You can get access to every single feature they have via the premium plus plan. It’ll cost you about $12/mo if billed monthly and around $7.5/mo if billed annually.
If you don’t want certificates, personalized study plans, and full access to the 12 languages, you can opt for their basic premium plan. It comes at about $11/mo for the monthly payment and around $6.5/mo for the annual payment.
The price difference isn’t really that big, so this is left to your personal judgment.
The Final Word
The main difference lies in training and practice. Babbel will give endless AI exercises to make sure you fully grasped each lesson. Busuu does the same but at a much less rate. Instead, it pushes you to practice with real native speakers from their community.
This fact is especially important if you want to learn a specific dialect like Colombian Spanish, Argentine Spanish, Mexican Spanish, or Peruvian Spanish. So all in all, Busuu is the clear winner of this comparison.
Check Out This Babbel vs Mondly Comparison