The Mezzofanti Guild Language Learning Made Simple

26 Best And Worst Online Spanish Courses In 2019


Finding the best online Spanish courses can be a real challenge.

I say it’s a challenge not because there aren’t enough options, but rather far too many to choose from! 🙂

Right now, Spanish is arguably the most popular foreign language choice in the world – so much so that Spanish education is a totally drowned and overwhelmed market.

It’s easy to see why so many people want to learn Spanish – travel to Spain and Latin America is on everyone’s bucket list – but it’s also becoming super important for business and career advancement in so many sectors.

Or for those living in the US, Spanish enables you to communicate with your neighbors since so many Spanish speakers live here.

Plus it’s just a really fun language to speak. 🙂

So today I’m going to sum up the best (and worst) of all the popular online Spanish courses for you (I’ve had the chance to use most of these courses).

I’ll give you my informed opinion as a fluent Spanish speaker.

Below you’ll find pros and cons for each course, pricing and a brief summary. If there’s a review written about a product on this site elsewhere, I’ll link to it.

Some are affiliate linked – most aren’t.

Table Of Contents:

  1. Rocket Spanish
  2. SpanishPod101
  3. Spanish Uncovered
  4. Glossika Spanish
  5. Pimsleur Spanish
  6. Rosetta Stone
  7. Mango Languages
  8. Coursera Online Spanish courses
  9. Mondly Spanish
  10. News In Slow Spanish
  11. Lingodeer
  12. Fluencia
  13. Language Transfer: Spanish
  14. Decks
  15. Coffee Break Spanish
  16. Synergy Spanish
  17. Mimic Method: Spanish
  18. Babbel Spanish
  19. Duolingo Spanish
  20. Baselang
  21. Michel Thomas Spanish
  22. Fluenz Spanish
  23. Lengalia
  24. Live Lingua
  25. Busuu
  26. StudySpanish.com

NOTE: Some of the items listed below probably aren’t necessarily considered “courses” for Spanish. The reason I’ve included them is that they’re popular enough Spanish tools to be included.

DISCLAIMER: The comments below are personal opinions.

 

The best Spanish courses online (most popular Spanish resources)

1. Rocket Spanish

Cost: Starts from $99.95 (auto-applied discount)

Summary: Rocket Spanish is perfectly suited to the structured learner type – those looking for a straight progression from the basics right through to the advanced level material. It’s always been the top of my recommendations for Spanish learners.

I should note however that you don’t have to learn in a straight progression and can choose your own path if you prefer.

The course is primarily made up of podcasts that teach Spanish in a fun, clear and relaxing way but there also natural dialogues and plenty of other content delivery styles within the courses. Rocket Spanish’s 3 courses cover all language skills equally well, and their inbuilt voice recognition is very accurate (it uses Google’s superior Web Speech technology).

If you’re looking for an all-in-one Spanish course option, Rocket Spanish is it.

Also check out this Rocket Spanish review.

What I like:

  • 3 full, comprehensive levels ranging from beginner to advanced
  • Ideal for learners wanting structure in their course learning (though not restrained by it), it has a very clear linear progression
  • Courses cover all 4 major skills evenly (listening, speaking, reading, writing)
  • Students are motivated by the inbuilt leaderboard

What I don’t like:

  • Restricted to Latin American Spanish only (no Castillian)

UNIQUE OFFER: If you sign up to my mailing list (use the ‘Join The Guild’ form below) and select Spanish as your language option, I’ll send you a personal offer for Rocket Spanish that’s exclusive to my email subscribers.


2. SpanishPod101

Cost: Starts as low as $4 a month.

Summary: SpanishPod101 is a brilliant online resource for learning Spanish (especially listening comprehension). If you’re taking a trip to a Spanish speaking country and want to understand the natives, this might be the course for you.

SpanishPod101 uses audio lessons similar to podcasts. Lessons are suitable for beginners through more advanced levels. The instruction not only includes listening skills but also incorporates essential vocabulary and grammar with loads of other useful features.

See this SpanishPod101 review.

What I like:

  • Tonnes of material for lower levels
  • Uses Spanish from several countries and provides cultural insights
  • The more you advance, the less English is used

What I don’t like:

  • Content choices become less past the beginner level
  • Lots of (often annoying) talk in English at the lower levels
  • Site is slightly overwhelming with the amount of features offered


3. Spanish Uncovered

Cost: One time purchase of $297.

Summary: Spanish Uncovered is another unique way to learn the Spanish language. Olly Richard’s program begins by immediately throwing you into an easy Spanish story and you learn through a “Guided Discovery” method.

Instead of just learning about grammar rules, learners come across them through fictional narrative. It provides a fun and unique way of learning a language, though is slightly expensive.

What I like:

  • Lessons center around a story to make learning fun
  • Clear instructions with lots of practice
  • Students take control of their own learning

What I don’t like:

  • Information can be overwhelming for new learners
  • Seemingly unrelated grammar points thrown into lessons
  • Price is quite high


4. Glossika

Cost: $30 a month.

Summary: Glossika’s one of the most unique and powerful learning tools available for Spanish. It advertises that learners will be able to speak the language better and quicker by using the latest in smart technology and adaptive learning. It uses a learning algorithm and has structured content. It comes with a 7-day free trial, but then has a $30 a month fee.

Suitable for all levels, though lower-level learners may find it difficult to understand in the beginning.

See this massive Glossika review and interview.

What I like:

  • Uses an intuitive, unique learning approach
  • The subscription allows you to learn other languages including Spanish
  • Focuses on heavy repetition

What I don’t like:

  • May be difficult to grasp for new learners
  • It doesn’t include any notes on grammar (which may not suit everyone)
  • Slightly higher priced monthly subscription


5. Pimsleur

Cost: $14.95 a month subscription (or $119.95 per level)

Summary: Pimsleur’s a timeless favorite for learning Spanish using spaced repetition recall. The lessons focus on practical vocabulary and expressions one might need in various scenarios. This includes greetings, common phrases, and vocabulary you might need when visiting a Spanish speaking country.

The Pimsleur method prepares you for the necessary Spanish you need to get by in your travels in a short period of time. This is one of the best online Spanish courses despite its age, and is an affordable program that can be subscribed to, or buy the full program which includes 30 lessons for $119.95.

Read this Pimsleur review.

What I like:

  • Pimsleur is a timeless masterpiece that is based on solid research in second language acquisition
  • The course only requires 30 minutes a day of studying
  • There is a lot of listening and repeating phrases for easy memorisation

What I don’t like:

  • Outdated scenario examples
  • Too much English


6. Rosetta Stone Spanish

Cost: Starts at $6.49 a month.

Summary: Rosetta Stone is the biggest household name in language learning and one of the most popular courses for learning Spanish.

The strength of Rosetta lies in its unique immersion process. Since there is no translation or explicit grammar, you must learn vocabulary, grammar and speaking skills through intuition. The course intuitively promotes learning Spanish through simple language patterns for a low subscription cost.

See this incredibly popular review of Rosetta Stone.

What I like:

  • No need to memorize long rules and words
  • Unique learning style that uses your intuition
  • Easy to recognise the language patterns

What I don’t like:

  • Is off-putting to people looking for explanations of Spanish grammar
  • Inappropriate images and visual cues


7. Mango Languages

Cost: $7.99 a month

Summary: Mango is a phenomenal and greatly underrate program for learning Spanish. In addition to Spanish, along with their monthly subscription, you get access to courses in 700 languages.

The design of this course is beautiful and it allows you to switch between literal and understood translations. It color codes words and lexical chunks to match the English translation which is great for visual learners. At $7.99 a month, it’s a steal in my opinion.

What I like:

  • It is easy to use and the program is beautifully designed
  • Focuses on lexical chunks rather than rules
  • Useful cultural and grammar components help you understand the language better

What I don’t like:

  • Minimal grammar focus
  • Lack of content depth for higher-level learners


8. Coursera online Spanish courses

Cost: Prices vary widely.

Summary: Coursera courses are for those who have passion for learning Spanish and need a little help for staying on track. These online Spanish courses are offered by UC Davis University of California.

The courses offer a variety of lessons involving learners from various parts of the world. This online Spanish course teaches basic Spanish with a specialization in vocabulary.

Additionally, learners can enroll in Coursera for college credit. There’s even financial aid for those who can’t afford to pay for it.

What I like:

  • Allows people from around the world to be immersed in Spanish-speaking cultures
  • Accredited courses

What I don’t like:

  • You have to go through UC Davis to enroll


9. Mondly

Cost: Starts at $9.99/month.

Summary: Mondly offers courses for loads of different languages and is similar in style to Busuu, Duolingo, and Babbel. Even hints of Rosetta Stone in its delivery.

It’s a beautifully-designed web app and a pleasure to navigate the course content.

Some of the courses aren’t that great (e.g. Arabic) but Spanish and others are done really well.

What I like:

  • Great for learning a lot of vocabulary
  • Daily lessons, weekly quizzes, monthly challenges
  • Encourages you to practice daily
  • Vocabulary drilled effectively

What I don’t like:

  • Content and exercises are the same for all levels
  • Mostly passive exercises
  • Order of lessons and topics not designed well
  • Interface not user friendly and unappealing


 

Other awesome online Spanish courses

I’ve mentioned my personal preferences for Spanish above but there are loads of other quality online course options for Spanish.

Keep reading.

10. News in Slow Spanish

Cost: Starts at $16.90 a month.

Summary: One of the more unique ways to learn Spanish, News in Slow Spanish, is one of the best online Spanish courses taught through podcasts. Introductory courses prepare beginners for understanding the language.

As learners progress, they began developing greater comprehension as they listen to the news spoken in slow Spanish. This online Spanish course uses diverse tools that include transcripts, lessons, quizzes, and pronunciation via a computer or phone app for about $17 to $27 a month.

What I like:

  • Provides an innovative way to learn Spanish
  • Learn about news and cultural events
  • Immersive learning created by journalists and linguists

What I don’t like:

  • May be challenging for beginners
  • Is more suited for those that have some knowledge of Spanish
  • Not ideal for visual learners


11. Lingodeer

Cost: Starts at $9 a month

Summary: Similar to Slow News in Spanish, Lingodeer also uses an app. Lingodeer used to be free but now charges a moderate fee ranging from around $9 a month to $42 a year.

A less known app than Duolingo, this app teaches Spanish by utilizing a wide variety of exercises. The nice part about it is that the lessons are in small, manageable chunks. The audio quality is good for an app and the wide selection of lessons keeps learning interesting.

What I like:

  • Developed by teachers and contains a grammar-based curriculum
  • Provides detailed explanations
  • Downloadable Knowledge Cards

What I don’t like:

  • Organization of the content could be better
  • Program does not effectively develop oral skills


12. Fluencia

Cost: $14.95 a month.

Summary: Fluencia is a more content-rich version of Lingodeer, Babbel, and Duolingo. In contrast, it only teaches Spanish (and does it well), making it one of the best online Spanish courses.

Lessons are similar in structure to the other app-based courses but Fluencia goes into great depth.

They include cultural information and the course is a bit more enjoyable than the other programs.

At $14.95 a month, it is a bit more expensive than its counterparts.

What I like:

  • Lessons are clearly explained with a lot of attention to detail
  • Voices are clear and spoken by native speaking Spanish instructors
  • Cultural and grammar lessons are very thorough

What I don’t like:

  • Not enough speaking practice
  • Learning should be supplemented by other sources


13. Language Transfer

Cost: Free

Summary: This is one of the free online Spanish courses that is a great resource for beginners interested in learning how a language works. Language Transfer has 90 audio lessons that last approximately 10 minutes each.

During the lessons, the hosts acts as a teacher while a student is learning from the host. The language is explained in a way that makes sense and provides lots of explanations. This course does not follow a traditional method but does go into a lot of depth. Best of all, it’s completely free.

What I like:

  • Lessons are efficient and cover a lot of material in 10 minutes
  • You get a mix of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation in each lesson
  • It’s completely free and better than some paid services

What I don’t like:

  • There are no exercises or quizzes to test learning
  • You won’t hear any native speakers or conversations in Spanish


14. Decks

Cost: Free

Summary: Decks (the free subdomain of Memrise) is one of the more popular online Spanish courses. This course may be best for those looking for a refresher or for those who are interested in building a strong vocabulary in Spanish. It’s main premise is flashcards and repetition.

For a free online Spanish course, Decks is well-designed. It covers lots of topics but you will probably need additional resources to become fluent in Spanish. The Memrise premium course can be purchased for $9 a month or $59 a year (but free Decks are great).

What I like:

  • Repetition makes it easy to learn words
  • More fun than traditional flashcard apps
  • Many courses to choose from

What I don’t like:

  • Should be used with other resources or upgrade to the paying version
  • Not a main tool for learning Spanish


15. Coffee Break Spanish

Cost: Prices vary widely depending on course option

Summary: Coffee Break is ideal for the casual learner who prefers a well-structured course. They make their audio lessons free through a podcast format. Their premium version is a bit expensive as it costs $104 for four sessions relating to the four seasons.

For those who feel overwhelmed at the idea of learning a second language, Coffee Break Spanish is a good choice. The lessons are relaxed and provide the feeling of learning with a friend. The program begins by teaching words and sentences and then progresses to putting them all together.

What I like:

  • Coffee Break offers a comprehensive, well-structured free audio course
  • It provides vocabulary and grammar with detailed explanations
  • Lessons begin slowly then progress to mainly Spanish dialogue

What I don’t like:

  • No extra materials for the free course
  • Pricey for the paid version
  • Does not have interactive exercises


15. Synergy Spanish

Cost: Starts at $67.

Summary: Synergy is marketed for those wishing to learn Spanish from “30 to 96 years of age” (this is literally how they describe it). The site is really dated in its design. It’s definitely clear that the founder, Marcus Santamaria, is trying to appeal to an older demographic (not that it matters really).

This program is fairly priced at $67.

The lessons do jump right in with prompting learners to speak. It starts with a limited vocabulary but teaches concepts, and instead of teaching grammar rules, they focus on patterns (a winning strategy).

What I like:

  • Begin speaking Spanish from the very beginning
  • Content effectively builds upon itself
  • Users can learn a fair amount of Spanish

What I don’t like:

  • Definitely outdated content and lessons
  • Content is not interesting and engaging
  • Not a good product for the price


16. The Mimic Method Spanish

Cost: The Mimic Method costs $197 and provides users with lifelong access to their materials.

Summary: Mimic advertises a course that focuses completely on pronunciation (treating language like song). The program can be technical and difficult to get through, but if your only goal is to improve your pronunciation, it may good for you.

This program has a high price tag of $197 a pop.

Some of the information in this course can be found online for free. It’s easy to navigate and well-organized but it’s still quite expensive. One of the more unique Spanish methods around and has fantastic reviews.

What I like:

  • Some of the homework is interesting and unique for language courses
  • They provide in depth instruction on elemental sounds
  • It provides a different way to learn to speak a language

What I don’t like:

  • Not a lot of material for the price
  • Is not very engaging and doesn’t do much to keep interest
  • Needs to be supplemented with other resources


 

Online Spanish courses that are low on my list and not personally recommended

Some online Spanish courses are popular but not in my opinion, not very good.

I’ve listed them all here (if you disagree, comment below).

17. Babbel Spanish

Cost: Babbel is well-priced for the services offered, with current subscriptions priced at $12.95/month.

Summary: Another option for one of the best online Spanish courses, Babbel, is a great tool for learning the language and very budget friendly. Babbel’s online Spanish course platform focuses on writing and reading, listening and spelling. It aims to give you all the tools you need to start learning the language immediately.

Babbel is available for businesses who need their employees to learn Spanish. It is also available as a gift. With a variety of packages available, it is easy to find the right one for your Spanish learning needs. Babbel charges monthly and packages range from around $6 to $12 a month.

Think of it as a paid, and slightly better version of Duolingo.

Read this extensive Babbel review.

What I like:

  • Flexibility and variety in their teaching style
  • Incorporates several different learning styles to effectively teach Spanish
  • Allows for self-paced learning

What I don’t like:

  • No one speaks with a native accent
  • No downloadable materials
  • Weak in conversational skills


18. Duolingo Spanish

Cost: Free.

Summary: Duolingo is now a household name, and is being used as a supplemental program by school in their language courses. It’s fun and free although it does have a paid subscription upgrade that removes adds and has extra resources for a few bucks a month.

The idea behind Duolingo is that they make learning Spanish fun and keep students coming back every day through a gamified learning. Spanish is learned through a variety of exercises and lots of repetition.

Not a fan personally but it’s free.

Check out this comparison of Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.

What I like:

  • Interactive lessons let you speak and listen in Spanish
  • Offers competitive events between friends and interaction with other users
  • Its great for an introduction to the language and learning the basics

What I don’t like:

  • The audio voice can sound a bit unnatural
  • Not really comprehensive enough to become fluent


19. Baselang

Cost: $149 a month.

Summary: If unlimited Spanish lessons are your goal, then Baselang offers the best online Spanish “course” for lessons.

Baselang offers a popular curriculum of its own and their courses offer unlimited one-on-one learning with a native speaking teacher over Zoom video for $149 a month.

There have been multiple, independent reports and concerns expressed online (e.g. Reddit) about this company exploiting cheap labor in Latin American countries (overworked and underpaid) which I can’t verify but it’s worth asking about before signing up.

What I like:

  • You can book a program on Baselang and get started immediately
  • Quickest ways to learn Spanish
  • Spend unlimited time learning

What I don’t like:

  • Wide reports of teacher exploitation
  • It is basically like hiring a tutor
  • Poor choice if you don’t have a lot of time to study


20. Michel Thomas Spanish

Cost: Starts from $11.99

Summary: Michel Thomas is one of the most overrated Spanish courses available in my opinion.

This strictly audio course was developed by Michel Thomas, a Polish linguist who spoke 10 languages.

This course uses no writing or memorizing – it simply builds your Spanish knowledge through teacher-led sessions. Grammar and vocabulary are discussed but are not the emphasis of the lessons.

Read this amazing review of Michel Thomas.

What I like:

  • No need to write or memorize
  • Grammar is introduced naturally and gradually

What I don’t like:

  • Teacher-led.
  • Constant error corrections.
  • Does not prepare Spanish students for real conversations and listening comprehension


21. Fluenz Spanish

Cost: Starts at $187

Summary: Fluenz does not make the list for the best online Spanish course. As far as online Spanish courses go, Fluenz does not do a great job of combining grammar and interactive learning so you really understand how to speak Spanish.

The number one selling point in my opinion is Sonia Gil – the founder and presenter.

She’s got her own YouTube travel channel and is a brilliant self-promoter. The Fluenz brand is what it is because of her.

As for course quality… meh.

What I like:

  • I respect and follow Sonia Gil, the Fluenz founder
  • Fluenz offers a mix of explanations and tests
  • Emphasizes skills in listening, reading, writing and pronunciation
  • Learner experiences repetition in vocabulary and grammar

What I don’t like:

  • Feels outdated
  • Well-marketed but shallow program for Spanish


22. Lengalia

Cost: $29.99 a month.

Summary: Lengalia offers courses for beginners through advanced Spanish levels. They split up their topics into sections such as vocabulary, grammar, and podcasts. They often link to other programs that are free and that have covered the same topic they are teaching.

A month of Lengalia will cost $29.99 a month. You do get a discount if you purchase a full year. You have access to live help with the tutors.

What I like:

  • Does a good job with organizing content
  • Lots of practice exercises
  • You can message tutors with questions

What I don’t like:

  • Doesn’t offer enough for the price
  • Mostly focuses on grammar


23. Live Lingua

Cost: Begins at $10.99 an hour.

Summary: Live Lingua matches you to a native speaking, private online Spanish tutor and allows you to learn at your own pace. You can even take a free lesson for trial.

While their lessons are affordable for a private tutor, starting at $16 an hour, you can get a discount with a bundle. For the price they charge, you may find it more economical to just use italki.

What I like:

  • Private one-on-one lessons over Skype
  • Provides a wide range of materials for learning Spanish
  • Lots of program support

What I don’t like:

  • More expensive than other personal language tutors
  • Options are not as flexible as other programs
  • Uses free courses from other sites


24. Busuu

Cost: Starts at $5.83 a month.

Summary: Busuu is another program that’s similar to Babbel, Duolingo, and Lingodeer, however it isn’t structured as well as the other courses and has less instruction in vocabulary before the important components begin.

The overall design of Busuu is beautiful but it just lacks depth.

There is a free version of Busuu which features a language exchange section. This is a good choice. However, their subscription service which charges over $8 a month with a three-month minimum, may not be a good value for the money.

What I like:

  • Learning platform is well designed
  • Language exchange is a free, easy-to-use app
  • Very popular online learning program

What I don’t like:

  • Program lessons leave a lot to be desired
  • Not enough pronunciation and grammar
  • Better courses available for free


25. StudySpanish.com

Cost: Starts at $9.99 a month.

Summary: StudySpanish.com is a subscription course that appears to take the entirely free FSI Spanish Basic course, and whack a large price tag on it. They’ve made improvements to the audio which has been re-recorded to improve the sound quality but that seems to be the only difference between it and the origin FSI material.

FSI itself is an archaic (though dense) resource that I don’t recommend.

You can get a $9.99 a month subscription to the StudySpanish.com site for additional materials. There’s no point in paying for something that is widely available to download for free.

What I like:

  • Course is extensive (FSI)
  • The sound recordings are top notch
  • There are helpful free materials on the site

What I don’t like:

  • They charge a lot for a course that has been widely and freely available for decades
  • The materials you pay for are barely better than the free resources


 

Summary: Best online Spanish courses

This list covers just about every online Spanish course option currently available (comment below if I’ve missed something).

No matter which Spanish course you go for, you need daily Spanish practice with native speakers – ideally in person if you can (even more ideal if you can do it abroad).

But if finding native speakers near you isn’t feasible, then italki is an incredible platform to find really affordable practice partners and tutors.

Overall, your success is determined by your own determination.

Even if you had every course on this list and more, you can still fail at Spanish without the right motivation and consistency.

Likewise, even poor Spanish courses can be powerful in the hands of someone with the right attitude and learning style.

If you’re looking for tips on how to learn Spanish and overcoming various language learning struggles, make sure to subscribe below by ‘Joining the Guild’.


Know of a Spanish course that I didn’t mention?

Share it below in the comment section.

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Black Friday period only lasts a few days each year.

I've collaborated with other language course creators to round up some incredible Black Friday language offers from around the web for you this week (and some are exclusive to my readers).

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