Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone: What Are The Differences?

“Babbel is one of the stalwarts of the online language-learning sphere.”

“Babbel exceeds expectations, delivering high-quality, self-paced courses.”

“Exceptionally good site”

When it comes to learning a new language with an app, you want to choose the product that fits your needs best. Choosing Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone means considering your own wants and needs — like your learning style, your schedule, your ability and budget, to name a few.

Both Babbel and Rosetta Stone have their strengths, their similarities and their significant differences. Read on to learn more about which app might be the right one for you on your language learning journey.


How Babbel Works

Babbel is designed to help language learners have a conversation in their target language quickly, effectively and with confidence. Lesson content is focused on language you’ll use in real life contexts — like knowing your coffee order, booking a hotel room or greeting people in different settings.

phone and tablet showing babbel lesson

How To Use Babbel: The Typical Babbel Lesson

Babbel lessons begin by introducing single words and then quickly advancing to short phrases and entire sentences. Once you’ve practiced these phrases, you use them in a real-life conversation — one that lets you apply what you’ve just learned in an actual dialogue like one you’d have with a native speaker. Babbel’s lesson content is created by real language teachers and experts from around the world and designed to help you make quick progress in just a few minutes every day. Each lesson strengthens your skills in the four elements of language learning: reading, writing, listening and speaking. A combination of matching, fill-in-the-blank and speaking exercises are mixed in with cultural and grammar tips that bring the language into context.

Other Babbel Features And Functionality

Almost every lesson features a simulated real-life dialogue that lets you apply what you’ve learned in an actual conversation, just like one you’d have with real native speakers in real situations.

Because Babbel uses audio recordings from real native speakers in each of its lessons, you’ll hear natural pronunciation in the language you’re learning at every step, strengthening your speaking skills and helping you to hone your accent.

Babbel also features a personalized review manager that learns which words you’re at risk of forgetting most and helps you master them in multiple ways, including speaking and writing practice.

Lessons take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and with both desktop and mobile versions of the app, you can take your lessons wherever you go and download them for offline use to accommodate your schedule and flexibility.

Babbel users can also explore thousands of articles about their target language, including articles about language tips, tricks, facts and stats on Babbel Magazine and language podcasts produced by Babbel. Users can also connect with language experts for live tutoring sessions through the Babbel Live platform to accelerate their learning.


How Rosetta Stone Works

One of the main distinguishing elements of Rosetta Stone is the software’s total immersion method, which teaches you a new language only in the language you’re learning. That means native English speakers will find no English at all in their learning journey.

How To Use Rosetta Stone: The Typical Rosetta Stone Lesson

Rosetta Stone features exercises that help language learners strengthen their understanding of the foundations of a new language through structured drills and repetition of the same exercises — a combination of matching, writing and speech recognition. It’s good at teaching you the basics by holding your hand through the learning process, which can make it good for those who have never learned a new language before.

This can be helpful for users who want to learn a language without having to translate back into their native tongue in their heads. But because there are no tips or grammar explanations in your native language, users who learn a language through this “bootstrapping” method can miss out on important contextual information about key concepts.

Other Rosetta Stone Features And Functionality

Rosetta Stone’s instant download mobile model lets users learn across multiple devices.

In addition to its core lessons, users can explore Rosetta Stone’s Extended Learning, which teaches common phrases and expressions through its Phrasebook module and which also features Stories that are written and narrated by native speakers. Users of similar learning proficiencies can play games together with and against each other or by themselves to build their language skills, too.

Rosetta Stone’s Live Tutoring offers a chance for language learners to practice with up to three other learners and a native speaker in a small group. Most of these sessions must be paid for additionally on top of your Rosetta Stone subscription, however.


Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone: Similarities

  • Both Babbel and Rosetta Stone are subscription-based, so you pay for access to the app for a time period of your choosing, often ranging from as little as one month all the way to lifetime access.
  • Both products allow you to sync offline with multiple devices and complete short, 10- to 20-minute lessons wherever you go and on your own schedule.
  • Both language learning programs start out by teaching you and reinforcing the basics of a language before building from there, focusing on the different elements of language learning: reading, writing, listening and speaking.


Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone: Differences

  • Rosetta Stone courses take time drilling you on the same vocabulary and expressions, meaning lessons move more slowly than Babbel lessons, which tend to cover more material at a bit of a faster pace. While Rosetta Stone’s in-lesson repetition can be effective for helping learners remember information, this can mean that Rosetta Stone lessons are a bit more monotonous and repetitive than Babbel lessons.
  • Babbel, unlike Rosetta Stone, has a designated Review Manager feature to bring back information you’ve learned in earlier lessons in spaced intervals that help you lock in the language effectively without slowing down your in-lesson learning.
  • Babbel has pop-up culture and grammar tips in your native language that help you contextualize what you’re learning with useful and practical explanations as well as translations of the words and sentences you learn every step of the way. Rosetta Stone’s immersion method offers no explanations or tips in your native language, meaning you’re doing 100% of your learning in your target language. It’s useful for learning the basics, but as you progress through your lesson it can be harder to understand complex grammar topics without extra explanations.


Pricing: How Much Do Babbel And Rosetta Stone Cost?

Both Babbel and Rosetta Stone require the purchase of a subscription before you can fully use them, though both also offer an introductory lesson or set of lessons as a free trial so users can try out the product before committing to a full subscription.

Babbel subscription prices range between $6 and $13 a month, depending on the subscription length purchased. There are many Babbel discount promo codes available that can reduce the price of select Babbel subscriptions and that are verified by the company itself.

Depending on the subscription plan you choose and the discounts the company is running, Rosetta Stone can cost anywhere from about $12 per month of access to about $300 for a lifetime subscription.


Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone: What The Reviews Say

What Our Reviewers Say About Babbel

“This is a fun and easy way to learn a new language while maintaining a busy schedule. Thank you, Babbel.” - Lisa

I am loving my experience with Babbel. The lessons are systematic and build on each other. There is lots of positive feedback and encouragement... I would highly recommend Babbel to anyone interested in learning any one of the languages they offer.” - Mavis

“Babbel makes learning Spanish fun. The varied learning styles are incorporated into one program that has a cohesive theme and intriguing storylines that keep you coming back. Also, because you're able to track your progress and get instant feedback with vocabulary and pronunciation and spelling, etc., you're aware of the effectiveness of the program. At the end of each lesson, you want to go right onto the next one!” - Douglas

What Reviewers Say About Rosetta Stone

“I feel like Rosetta Stone is a solid program, but it doesn't give you actual definitions for words. It immerses you in an all-language approach using images to understand language. I found it most difficult to understand tenses... Overall it’s a good course for understanding the basics of a language and would better prepare you for an in-person class. But my biggest fear is without a teacher I may be practicing the wrong tenses and words, which will make me accept those falsely and I will have to forget what I learned later.” - Dylan

“Immersion training is really good but it also needs to be supplemented with characters and definition. It’s really hard to learn as an adult with just pictures and no definitions to relate.” - Daniel

“I’m following along and speaking and learning but at times I have no idea what I’m saying. So I’m not sure if this is working.” - Allyson


woman on laptop completing babbel lesson

Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone: Which Is Better For Me?

Obviously we’re a little biased on which app is a better choice. Thankfully, you don’t have to take us at our word — we have millions of users all over the world who give us feedback on what they love about Babbel every day. Here are some of the most common reasons people choose Babbel over other apps like Rosetta Stone:

  • Academic studies prove Babbel really works. A recent CUNY study cites that 15 hours of using Babbel’s app is equivalent to a college semester of Spanish. In a 2019 Yale study, every single person using Babbel improved their oral proficiency in 3 months.
  • Lessons are created using tried and true methods from people and experts who have actual experience teaching and learning languages. What you learn is modern, relevant and based on real-life language.
  • Babbel lessons represent all types of people, relationships and real life situations you’ll need to know in order to communicate in another language — wherever you go and in whatever context you find yourself.
  • Babbel was the first language app ever, and we’ve earned the trust and love of millions of users. We have thousands of Babbel reviews from happy learners all across the world.


But don’t just take it from us; try your first lesson free!