Pimsleur vs Duolingo: which one is better?

Pimsleur and Duolingo are two completely different ways to learn a new language. This makes the choice between them difficult but it also means that you can use them as complimentary services.

Pimsleur evolves around audio-based learning, it tries to teach you a language the same way a baby will pick up the language by hearing it. You can use Pimsleur as a serious outlet for language learning on your commute or while you’re doing chores. And then when you need a distraction, you can use Duolingo as an educative game.

Pimsleur is like an audio book, Duolingo is a game

This difference in approaches is crucial. Pimsleur is like an audio book: it’s designed to give you a lot of speaking practice, so that you can build up your confidence in using the language. Duolingo, on the other hand, is more like a game. You might find it more fun, but its focus is on teaching you loose vocabulary and grammar rules.

Because of this, Pimsleur will end up being much more efficient. It’s a learning method, and not a game.

You can listen to Pimsleur lessons whenever, you have to be present for Duolingo

Pimsleur is all audio, so it’s great if you want to learn while commuting or doing other activities. Duolingo is mostly text-based games with some audio, so it’s better for when you have more time to sit down and focus.

Duolingo is cheaper, but you get what you pay for

Yes, Pimsleur is more expensive than Duolingo. But it’s also a lot more effective. If you’re serious about learning a language, then Pimsleur is worth the investment.

If you are on a budget, you can also buy Pimsleur teachings as second-hand tapes on Ebay. A Duolingo premium subscription over a couple of years will end up costing a lot more.

Our verdict: go with Pimsleur

You can read our detailed reviews for both Pimsleur and Duolingo. Our staff has found that Pimsleur is better than Duolingo, but this is just our opinion of course. Below you can find more details and decide which one is right for you.

Go to Pimsleur

Devices: Pimsleur is more widely available than Duolingo

Pimsleur is available on Android, iPad, iPhone or Web.

Whereas Duolingo is only available on Android, iPad, iPhone or Web. That's 0 less devices than Pimsleur.

Pimsleur's methods

The methods of Pimsleur are: Flashcards, Games, Online Courses.

Duolingo's methods

The specialties of Duolingo are: Games.

Line-up: languages on Pimsleur and not Duolingo

The languages that Pimsleur has and which are not available on Duolingo:

  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Cantonese
  • Creole
  • Croatian
  • Icelandic
  • Lithuanian
  • Mandarin
  • Ojibwe
  • Pashto
  • Persian
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Twi
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Line-up: languages on Duolingo and not Pimsleur

The languages that Duolingo has which are not available on Pimsleur:

  • Esperanto
  • Hawaiian
  • High Valyrian
  • Klingon
  • Latin
  • Navajo

Line-up: languages on both Duolingo and Pimsleur

The languages that are available on both Duolingo and Pimsleur are:

  • Chinese
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese