Generally speaking, I like Babbel’s courses. I think they do a good job of teaching languages in a relaxing manner that is effective and fairly priced.
Although I’ve used Babbel for other languages, I had never checked to see if they have a Mandarin course.
Since starting the website, I’ve tried out over 40 different resources for learning Chinese online. I decided that it’s finally time that I get around to writing an incredibly thorough and honest review of Babbel Chinese.
That’s when I realized – it doesn’t exist. Luckily, there are quite a few good alternatives, some of which are free.
Why doesn’t Babbel have a Chinese course?
I have no idea.
But, perhaps it’s a good thing that they don’t. Not long ago I tried Duolingo’s Chinese course and was caught off guard by just how bad it was.
Maybe Babbel looked into creating a Chinese course and realized that, in order to do it well, it would take an absurd amount of work.
Another possible reason that Babbel doesn’t have a Chinese course is that there are already a bunch of other options.
There are lots of good alternatives to Babbel
Since starting this website, I’ve been surprised to find that the resources for learning Chinese are much better than those for most other languages. Let’s take a look at some of the alternatives now.
Most similar to Babbel
HelloChinese is a really good app and course that targets beginner students. It’s extremely well-designed, fun to use, and just all around good. While there are premium and a premium+ versions, you’ll find that the free version contains a ton of content. While I don’t think it’s necessarily the best course on this list, it’s super easy to get started using and you can learn quite a bit from it. Use the coupon code “hcalr15” to save 15% on all Premium+ plans and yearly Premium plans. HelloChinese Review.
LingoDeer is a newer and popular language learning app that initially started focused on Asian languages, though they’ve since been expanding. It’s a completely free course that’s well made and all around good. It’s quite similar to the free part of HelloChinese, though I personally like HelloChinese more.
The most unique app/course
Ninchanese is a resource that I’m sometimes not sure where to include. It’s an app and it’s a course, but it’s a bit different than more typical courses like Babbel. It’s sort of like a game where you follow the characters into different worlds while learning Chinese.
It doesn’t follow as strict of a structure with the course content, sometime teaching less common words earlier. Doing this lets them craft a story and you’re provided lots of opportunities to practice every part of the language. Ninchanese may come across as a playful game but it might actually be the most in-depth and comprehensive course there is. Use the coupon code “ALR15OFF” to get 15% off any plan. My review of Ninchanese.
Some good courses that aren’t apps
If you were only interested in Babbel because it’s an app, then maybe these following three courses won’t be a good fit for you. But, they’re all very good and you can always use them on your phone’s browser anyway.
Chinese Zero to Hero! Is actually my personal favorite course but it’s not necessarily the one I would recommend most to others. It’s best for independent learners who prefer to use a bunch of different resources to study Chinese. I like jumping around between lots of apps, podcasts, and other resources but doing this can sometimes lead to lots of gaps.
Chinese Zero to Hero! Isn’t the course with the most depth, but it does cover everything as it’s based off the HSK textbooks. The courses are also really affordable. Use the coupon code “ALR15” to get 15% off any course. My review of Chinese Zero to Hero!
Chinese For Us is a fairly new course and they’ve still only covered the beginner levels. That said, they’ve covered these levels extremely thoroughly. The depth with which they cover the content in their courses is really impressive. This is probably the course I recommend most often to beginners because you’ll end up with a very strong foundation. Use the coupon code “alr15off” to get 15% off your subscription. My review of Chinese For Us.
Yoyo Chinese is the most popular and established Chinese course. It’s also really good. They have courses for lots of different levels, from beginners up to upper-intermediate. The reason I prefer other resources is that Yoyo Chinese uses a bit more English in their lessons than I like. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though since it means that all of the content will be very clear and easy to understand. Use the coupon code 10NRES to get 15% off any course. My review of Yoyo Chinese.