Memrise vs Duolingo – Not An Either/Or Decision

Memrise and Duolingo are two companies that have made language learning much more accessible to people all over the planet.

A ridiculous number of people use these platforms to study. Duolingo has over 300 million users, while Memrise has over 35 million of their own.

They’ve made a mark on the world of language learning largely due to the fact that they’re free to use. While both platforms do have a premium subscription option, most users will find more than enough value in the free versions.

If you want to start learning a language but aren’t sure which one to go with, I’ll help you figure that out here.

The truth is, it’s not actually an either/or decision. These two platforms teach languages in completely different ways that complement each other very well.

Memrise is very good with the same things Duolingo struggles with. Likewise, Duolingo can help fill in the gaps where Memrise is a bit weaker.

Memrise is much better for learning and remembering individual words or phrases.

Duolingo is much better for learning how to construct sentences.

I love how both platforms make it super easy to get started and do a little bit each day. The fact that they’re available to everyone regardless of their financial situation is amazing.

Both are better for casual learners. These platforms are perfect for those who are just curious or want a low-risk way to try studying a language.

More serious students, such as those who need to learn a language for work or are planning to live abroad, would be better off using other resources. Unfortunately, that may cost some money – though not necessarily a lot.

For those students, Memrise remains pretty useful as a complementary resource, whereas it’d be better to replace Duolingo with a different, more thorough, course.

For now, let’s take a look at what it’s like to study with each of these platforms.

Babbel vs Duolingo – A Deeper Look Reveals Their Differences

Duolingo and Babbel are two language learning platforms that are pretty similar. Duolingo is completely free, and Babbel starts at $12.95 per month.

The quickest way to describe the differences between them would be…

  • Duolingo is best for casual learners who may want to dabble in a few different languages, may struggle with staying motivated, or aren’t willing to spend money.
  • Babbel is best for more serious students who are only interested in learning one language, would like clear explanations, and want to learn content that they’ll use in real conversations.

I definitely would recommend Babbel ahead of Duolingo for most people. However, there are plenty of other language learning apps worth considering besides these two.

Because our top recommendations vary so much depending on the language you’re learning, it’d be impossible to list them all here. The links in the table below can help you figure out which resources may be a better choice.


Rosetta Stone vs Fluenz: Both Expensive, Neither Amazing

Rosetta Stone and Fluenz are language-learning resources that offer learners complete study solutions.

While Rosetta Stone and Fluenz may appear to be quite similar, the manner in which they teach is completely different. Here’s what sets Rosetta Stone and Fluenz apart:

  • Rosetta Stone is completely immersive, meaning you won’t be given any explicit explanations of what you’re learning, whereas lessons in Fluenz include lots of explanations in English.

Out of the two resources, Fluenz is easily my first choice. However, I think there are plenty of other language-learning resources that offer better value than Rosetta Stone and Fluenz.

I’d recommend looking at all of your options before deciding which course is for you. The table below highlights some of our favorite tools for some of the most commonly studied languages.


Pimsleur vs Rosetta Stone – Or Possibly Neither?

If you’ve started looking for a language learning course, chances are that you’ve already come across both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.

So which one is better?

If you would have asked me that question a few years ago, I would have emphatically said…


Perhaps because of how famous both companies are, they’ve also been some of the most absurdly expensive courses around.

Pimsleur still sells CD versions of its courses for hundreds of dollars – far more expensive than other more modern products.

And since I’m not a fan of lighting money on fire, I could never recommend them.

Luckily, they’ve finally entered the modern world.  Both companies have added a subscription option which lowers the cost significantly. Plus, you won’t have to use CDs anymore – they’ve finally created decent apps.

So, now if I’m asked, “Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone?”, my answer is pretty clear…


Although I have a strong preference for Pimsleur, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be your choice. There are lots of good courses from both big-name companies and smaller content creators that you may have never heard of. Check out the sidebar/menu to find our most recommended resources in the language you’re studying.

Unfortunately, we haven’t looked at every language yet, but we’re slowly getting there. The truth is that there’s no single best course for every language. The best option is often dependent on the language you’re studying.

Before we begin: if you’d prefer, you can jump right into the individual reviews of Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone Review
Pimsleur Review

Yabla vs. FluentU vs. Others: Yabla Barely Takes the Lead

As a teaching medium, video has some serious advantages over text and audio: it’s entertaining, easy to interact with, and can make the digital learning experience more relatable and lifelike.

And given the amount of video content that’s produced every day around the world in just about any language, the potential for language learning is high.

New companies are jumping on the video-teaching train all the time, and this review will aim to sort through several options, including two heavyweights in the arena: Yabla and FluentU. In addition to those two, we also tried out 3ears, Language Learning with Netflix, LingoPie, and CaptionPop.

The unifying feature among all of these resources is that they use interactive subtitles, which are basically subtitles you can click on and translate on-demand. Some offer additional practice opportunities, some are free, and all have different types of content on hand. (more…)

Rocket Languages vs Rosetta Stone – Probably Neither

Rocket Languages and Rosetta Stone are widely-used language learning resources that teach a number of languages. They start with the basics and work up in difficulty through a variety of speaking, listening, and grammar activities.

Each tool uses different teaching methods to cover a lot of material. The key difference between the resources is:

  • Rocket Languages includes lots of English and explanations whereas Rosetta Stone only uses the target language.

Both are fairly expensive, neither is really outstanding, and both tend to get boring more quickly than other courses.

If I had to choose one, it’d probably be Rocket Languages. Some of their courses are worse than others, though, so Rosetta Stone might be better in some cases.

Generally speaking, I’d recommend that language learners check out some alternatives before purchasing either, as there are many that are better and cheaper.

We’ve outlined some of our favorite language-learning resources based on the language you want to learn in the table below. (more…)

Transparent Language vs Rosetta Stone – Both Are Lacking

Transparent Language and Rosetta Stone are two fairly popular online language learning resources. They offer courses to get beginners engaged in the language they’re learning in a matter of weeks, starting with the basics and progressively getting more challenging. They utilize a variety of different exercises for reading, writing and speaking practice.

For most learners, we wouldn’t recommend using either of these programs as there are much better alternatives available. The main differences between the two include the following:

  • Rosetta Stone only uses your target language while the lessons on Transparent language also include English.
  • Transparent Language offers courses in over 100 languages, including rare languages like Buriat, Kazakh or Turkmen. Rosetta Stone offers fewer, though still covers most popular languages.

Both programs are priced more expensively than competing (and better) resources. They’re both lacking in a number of areas, but if I had to choose one, it’d be Rosetta Stone. The only reason I’d ever consider using Transparent Language is if I were learning a very rare language, but even then, I’d probably look for a textbook first.

To find our top recommendations of language learning resources for some of the most studied languages, see the table below.


HelloTalk vs Tandem: Our Experience Testing Both Of Them

HelloTalk and Tandem are popular resources for language learners interested in language exchange. They have millions of users between them and use built-in language tools to facilitate communication between native speakers and those learning their language around the world.

Both HelloTalk and Tandem are similar in the experience you’ll gain from them, but they do have their differences, such as:

  • Aside from language exchange, Tandem offers a separate tutoring service, while HelloTalk offers audio lessons in 10 languages.
  • HelloTalk allows users to post life updates and use the app as an all-round social platform, whereas Tandem focuses more closely on its private messaging function.
  • While Tandem has a slick, modern feel to its design, HelloTalk is more cartoony and emoji-heavy.

Both resources are flexible and free to use (although both offer subscriptions for pro versions and additional services). It’s hard to recommend one over the other, and in our case, Tandem comes in slightly higher than HelloTalk, simply for aesthetic purposes. We also had better luck in finding partners on Tandem, but that’s subjective to each individual user.

HelloTalk and Tandem are great choices for people looking to learn a language through language exchange. They make good complementary resources to use alongside a structured language-learning course. You can check out our favorite resources based on the language you want to learn in the table below. (more…)

Busuu vs Memrise: One’s A Course & The Other A Flashcard App

Busuu and Memrise are popular language learning tools available online and on mobile. They teach languages in fundamentally different ways, but both can be useful for (primarily) beginner level students.

  • Busuu teaches languages in a more well-rounded manner, covering different language skills such as grammar, listening, speaking, writing, etc.
  • Memrise is more of a supplementary resource that’s better suited for learning and reviewing vocabulary rather than learning all aspects of a language.

Both Busuu and Memrise have paid plans as well as some community created features that can be used for free. The free content on Memrise is much more robust compared to the limited language exchange aspects that are free on Busuu.

As they do fundamentally different things, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the other.

But, as Busuu is more of a language course than anything else, there are other platforms that provide higher quality courses. There aren’t as many direct competitors to Memrise and Memrise compares favorably to the alternatives. You can also find more language learning apps here.

You can find our most recommended resources for some of the most popular languages from the table below. (more…)

Busuu vs Duolingo: Both Have Their Own Weaknesses

Busuu and Duolingo are online language learning platforms that are available for a wide range of languages. Both are created with beginner and lower-intermediate level students in mind.

Both tools utilize short, quick study methods to help a student to learn a language at their own pace, but their methodology differs. The key factors that set the two resources apart are:

  • Busuu offers a social aspect that allows users to get feedback on writing and pronunciation from other users, which Duolingo doesn’t have.
  • Duolingo takes a more gamified approach to lessons and aims to help students “learn a language in just 5 minutes a day”, while Busuu’s exercises have more of a serious approach.
  • Duolingo is available for free and Busuu requires a subscription.

Duolingo is a solid option for those that are just curious about language learning, but their courses aren’t suitable for more serious students. They’re lacking in quite a few areas.

Busuu does take things a step further, with more grammar explanations, better audio, and all-around more comprehensive courses, though there are still some weaknesses.

Both platforms are well-designed and make learning a bit more fun and accessible to the masses. However, they both have a few weaknesses to be aware of as well. Neither would really be my top choice, but both are fine options.

There are plenty of other resources to consider as well and you can find our favorites for popular languages from the table below. (more…)