A boy studying on his laptop.

Certainly, there are many other platforms to learn German than those two – however, today, we want to focus just on them. To help you find out which one might be more suitable for your unique language learning situation, we created this small comparison.

One big advantage of Duolingo is that it’s free to use – so you can learn German or your other target language. If you are not sure whether you really want to engage in the German language learning process or are not quite ready to commit to a subscription fee, you might want to get started with Duolingo.

On the other hand, the Pimsleur German course offers higher quality lessons that will improve your communication skills quicker and more efficiently – however, it is not free.

And this is just one thing that can impact your decision. Read on to learn more about what Duolingo can offer you and what Pimsleur focuses on – and boost your language learning process.

The Main Differences Between Duolingo And Pimsleur:

  • Duolingo is free, while Pimsleur requires a subscription or a purchase of their courses.
  • Duolingo focuses mainly on the different aspects of a language, with no proper speaking practice, while Pimsleur’s courses primarily focus on the oral practice of the language. This means that the Pimsleur course might help you speak German better, while Duolingo will aid you in learning essential phrases and memorizing new vocabulary.
  • Duolingo’s lessons are more fun with their game-like elements, while Pimsleur’s focus mainly on the learning aspects, which might not be as engaging.
A small, golden scale.

Positive Aspects Of Each Platform:


  • It’s free to use;
  • The competition element of comparing your scores to other community members is motivating;
  • The lessons feel a little bit like games, which make learning fun and entertaining – for example, every time you get a correct answer during a quiz, your daily learning score goes up.
  • Lessons are short enough to fit in on a daily basis, which is great if you don’t have much time to spare for learning German or any other foreign language.


  • There are many audio lessons that focus on oral language, which effectively gets students speaking straight away. This will help you improve your German pronunciation, boost your vocabulary, and understand German native speakers better.
  • Lessons aren’t passive. They consistently motivate you to use the language you’re learning, so you can start speaking right away.
  • The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use.
  • There’s a good natural build-up in difficulty from one lesson to another.
  • The content is quich-quality, and the lessons are always recorded by native German speakers.
  • There’s a Pimsleur app so you can learn a new language whenever and wherever you want.

Negative Aspects Of Each Platform:


  • There are no features that offer students practice speaking German.
  • The lessons often don’t give a lot of grammar instructions.
  • The text-to-speech audio sometimes sounds weird and automatic.
  • There is no opportunity to create your own sentences. On the other hand, the sentences that Duolingo offers can’t be used in a real conversation.
  • If you want to learn more about German culture, Duolingo won’t help with that.


  • There is little to no focus on the written aspect of language, which is just as important for learning German as speaking.
  • The course doesn’t cover everything. There are no grammar lessons, so you will need to look for other resources.
  • The lessons can get a little boring after a while.
  • If you skip an audio lesson, you may miss new words and get confused later on.
  • Since there are no summaries or previews for the lessons, you don’t know what is going to be covered.
Someone opening his wallet.

How Much Does It Cost?


As mentioned earlier, Duolingo’s main courses are free to access. If you want some additional features like an ad-free experience, offline lesson downloading, unlimited hearts, and monthly streak repair, you can pay for Duolingo Plus, which will give you access to those special tools.

A month-by-month subscription to Duolingo Plus costs $9.99 a month. Alternatively, you can pay $7.99 a month for a six-month subscription or $6.99 a month for a 12-month subscription.


Pimsleur has now introduced an updated subscription fee along with a brand new app. Subscription prices have definitely improved from the old prices, which were as high as $550 for five levels.

A subscription to Pimsleur’s basic plan costs $14.95 per month, and a premium subscription costs $19.95 per month. Pimsleur also offers a free 7-day trial for users to try out a course on the platform. This can be highly beneficial as you can test the platform first and then decide if it is for you.

Today, Pimsleur also offers the first lesson for free – so you can see whether their method of language learning is suitable for you.

A heart-shaped pretzel.

Let’s Summarize!

Final Thoughts Of Duolingo And Pimsleur

Both Duolingo and Pimsleur share the same goal of teaching the German basics to absolute beginners with time-saving methods. You can learn German on the go with both and fill free time doing something productive.

Both platforms have different methods, but the basic approach is very similar: you learn to use German in context. This way, you can cover a few things at once, including sentence structure, vocabulary, and more or less grammar in use (Duolingo certainly more than Pimsleur).

To be fair, Duolingo and Pimsleur both have their uses and their issues, and we wouldn’t advise against either of them. It really depends on your intention and your goal to learn German.

Which One is Right for You?

Duolingo is a good option if you’re looking for a way to dip your toe into a language without much commitment. However, if you are more of a serious learner, it might not do the job to your satisfaction. It is great as a starting point, though.

Duolingo’s lessons are bite-sized and short, offering a convenient and fun approach to start learning German. The basic exercises featured in Duolingo are fun and simple to complete. Lessons focus on teaching vocabulary, reading, and listening, with the occasional opportunity for speaking practice.

Pimsleur’s lessons are a lot more thorough, and the platform is newer. However, you might find that it doesn’t cover everything you want (grammar lessons, for example), so you will have to find additional resources.

It is a great tool to help you get by if you just want to learn some German basics for visiting the country, but if you have long-term plans for learning German and you want to make real progress, you will absolutely have to combine it with another method of learning – for example, language exchange with a native speaker or watching a YouTube channel on German grammar. We wouldn’t also recommend Pimsleur to serious language learners.

All in all, both platforms can be a good choice for people who are just at the beginning of learning a new language. They also offer some easy German lessons that will give you some basic language skills.

Do You Want More?

If you feel like neither of these resources is quite what you’re looking for, but you want to learn German or another new language on a more profound level, we would recommend using the Readle – Learn German App.

There, you can read and listen to the news and interesting stories in German based on your current language level. On top of that, you can click on each and every word in the text and see its proper translation based on the context. You’ll do quizzes after each story to help reinforce what you’ve just learned learn and get a new story every week – so that the process doesn’t get boring with time.