Duolingo is one of the most popular ways to learn a language. Stacks of courses, easily accessible, well-presented, and a bustling community on-hand to help with any and all questions.
And the best bit? It’s free. Every language, open to everyone, everywhere.
But nowadays everything has a ‘Plus’ — a premium service that seeks to entice you away from the basic membership — and Duolingo is no different.
So what is Duolingo Plus? How much does it cost? And is it worth it?
Let’s take a look.
Update: May 2022
The guys at Duolingo are gradually phasing out Duolingo Plus for Super Duolingo. For all intents and purposes, they’re EXACTLY the same — they just have a different name and style. If you’d like to learn more about Super, click here.
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What is Duolingo Plus?
If you’re familiar with Duolingo then you’re probably already familiar with Duolingo Plus. It’s that thing that puts the owl in a spacesuit and gives the app a galactic blue makeover.
Put simply, Duolingo Plus is Duolingo’s premium membership.
It opens the door to some fancy new features and gets rid of some annoying ones.
That’s all there is to it.
What is Super Duolingo?
Super Duolingo is a rebranded version of Duolingo Plus.
All the features are exactly the same. The only difference is the name and the theme — Super Duolingo swaps out the spacey, galactic vibe of Plus for a more colourful, futuristic appearance.
How much does Duolingo Plus cost?
The cost of Duolingo Plus depends on a few things, such as where you are, how long you subscribe for, and whether you go for an individual or family plan.
In the USA, Duolingo Plus starts from $6.99 a month.
In the UK, Duolingo Plus starts from £6.49 a month.
In Australia, Duolingo Plus starts from $10.83 a month.
And in Canada, Duolingo Plus starts from $8.91 a month.
This is based on taking out a 12-month subscription. You can also get 1-month and 6-month subscriptions that will cost a bit more per month.
There is currently no lifetime plan for Duolingo Plus.
Duolingo Plus Family Plan
One way to slash the cost of Duolingo Plus is to sign up for a Duolingo Plus Family Plan.
The Family Plan lets you club together with up to 5 other people — friends or family — to save on the yearly cost of Duolingo Plus.
The savings can be huuuuuuge.
For instance, in the UK, a Family Plan will set you back £105.99 for the year.
Spread across 6 people, that’s £17.67 a year — which works out at just £1.47 a month!
Wait, isn’t Duolingo supposed to be free?
Yes, Duolingo is 100% free. Duolingo Plus is simply an optional bolt-on.
In theory, there’s nothing stopping you from getting to where you want to go with just the free membership. It’s a brilliant offering. And if you can stomach the ads and the heart system, you probably won’t be interested in Plus.
Follow me on Duolingo!
Up for some friendly competition? Then be sure to follow me on Duolingo!
My username is DCiiieee 🙂
(If the link doesn’t work then just type my username into the ‘Search for friends’ bar on the app)
Why you might resist subscribing to Duolingo Plus
In my case, I resisted subscribing to Duolingo Plus for a long time. Several years to be exact.
As we’ve just covered, Duolingo is famed for being a free way to learn languages. It’s quite literally their mission to make language learning ‘free, fun, and accessible to all. ’
Even though it’s billed as supporting free education, I couldn’t see how a premium service was consistent with their mission.
And make no mistake: Duolingo Plus is a very premium service. Unless you go for the Family Plan, it’s pretty expensive, especially when you consider how solid a free membership already is.
That, ultimately, is why I was on the fence for so long.
The free plan gives you access to complete courses across a range of devices. 38 languages in your pocket or at your desk, free to learn anywhere at any time. It’s easily one of the best deals in language learning.
But as we all know, the owl is persuasive, so eventually I gave in and subscribed.
And I have absolutely no regrets.
So should you join me in the land of Plus?
To answer that, we’ll have to consider a couple of things: the features, and you.
What do you get with Duolingo Plus?
As mentioned, Duolingo Plus adds new features and removes others.
However, you’ll notice that Duolingo Plus doesn’t offer as much as it did when I originally published the article back in March 2021.
The additions include:
Offline lessons[update: now included with free memberships]
- Progress Tracker
- Streak Repair
- Unlimited Skips (so you can test out of any level if it’s too easy)
- Free XP Ramp Up entries (IOS)
Pronunciation Review[update: disappeared a few months ago]
- Practice Hub [update: previously Mistakes Inbox]
- Legendary Levels (unlimited attempts)
The things that Duolingo Plus removes include:
- Hearts (in the form of ‘unlimited hearts’)
It’s important to note that Duolingo have a habit of rolling out new features on IOS before Android, so some of the above might not be available on all devices.
This also applies to their A/B testing, which selects users at random to receive certain updates.
The core Plus benefits, however — specifically the unlimited hearts and getting rid of the ads — are available to all Plus subscribers, which is ideal because these are the features that make all the difference!
Why you should consider subscribing
Even so, the question remains — do these additions and omissions justify the price?
To answer this, I’ve broken it down into three areas that will affect your experience. This should help you get a better understanding of how these features stack up in context.
Let’s start with what I consider to be the biggest perk of Duolingo Plus.
As great as the free membership is, something that really grinds my gears is the heart system. Duolingo claim that it’s designed to discourage binging. But what it really discourages is making mistakes. Get too many questions wrong, and you temporarily lose your licence to learn your language.
This is problematic because making mistakes is an essential part of learning a language. Exposure, repetition, immersion — these are non-negotiable pre-requisites on the road to fluency. The heart system erects roadblocks that can eventually make you consider turning back.
Duolingo Plus clears the way with unlimited hearts.
No more worrying about making mistakes. No more avoiding the hard lessons because you’re worried about losing your licence to learn. With Plus, you are free to fully commit to learning your language.
For me, this was the big game-changer. Sure, I could always watch an ad, complete a practice, or splurge gems to refill my hearts. But these are distractions. I just want to learn a language, not mess around watching ads about energy providers I have no interest in switching to.
Let’s be honest: Duolingo’s free membership is already convenient. But Plus takes it to a new level.
It gets rid of ads, paving the way for a smoother and quicker journey between lessons.
Getting rid of the hearts is also super convenient. No more 5-hour waits for a heart refill. With Plus you’re free to dive in to your language wherever and whenever you want.
It allows you to download entire courses for offline learning, which means no more waiting for service or asking around for the WiFi password. Even if 90% of the time you have access to the internet, this gives you a welcome safety net for the 10% of the time that you wander into any dead zones.
Individually these perks might not seem like much — certainly not enough to justify the sizeable subscription fee. But together they combine to make a significant difference to the flow and feel of your lessons.
The free membership is already plenty supportive (where would we be without Duo’s daily encouragement?) but with Plus, the owl is extra determined to carry you to language learning success.
Granted, some of the premium features are a bit pointless.
If you’re on the fence, I doubt a new app icon is the thing that will convince you to hit ‘SUBSCRIBE’!
But most of the features are genuinely useful.
The Mastery Quiz, for instance, gives you a good sense of where you’re at in your target language. It measures how much of the course you’ve completed and how much of it Duolingo thinks you’ve mastered.
The Practice Hub is another feature I use a lot. It lets you revisit questions you got wrong in previous lessons and challenges you with some toughies you might not have come across yet.
It even breaks it down into listening and speaking exercises so you can get super specific with your practice sessions.
Duolingo Plus also puts you at the front of the queue for new features going forward.
Things like Pronunciation Review (which they’ve removed for some reason…) and Practice Hub are fairly experimental features that Duolingo like to roll out to their Plus members first.
This isn’t always the case — they have been known to trial new features with free users as well — but generally, the juicier features get rolled out to Plus members first.
This is why I describe Duolingo Plus as being more supportive. It gets rid of the punishing nature of the heart system and creates an environment in which making mistakes—and being able to practice them—is actively encouraged.
How to cancel Duolingo Plus
If you decide to give Duolingo Plus a go, but then decide it’s not for you, rest assured you can cancel it at any time!
If you signed up through the Apple App Store, then you’ll need to do it through your Settings app. Tap your account at the top of the page, then hit Subscriptions, Duolingo, then hit Cancel.
If you signed up through the Google Play Store, you can cancel through the Duolingo app. Just tap the Duolingo Plus icon, hit Settings, then Manage Subscription, then follow the instructions to cancel your subscription.
If you signed up through the Duolingo website, then you’ll need to do is head over to the website, login to your account, hit Duolingo Plus, and then select ‘Cancel Subscription’.
For more details click here to read Duolingo’s step-by-step instructions.
Over to you
Now for the big one. The thing that matters most. We’ve considered the features. Now we need to consider you.
Why is this the big one? Because deciding if Duolingo Plus justifies the price is a very personal decision. It all boils down to your priorities, goals and circumstances. From this side of the screen I can never know what those are. All I can do is present the facts and share my experiences.
It’s also important to be clear about what Duolingo Plus can do for you. Even though it’s a premium service, Plus won’t make you fluent in your target language. Not by itself, anyway.
That’s because learning a language requires a balanced diet of study and application. You can’t limit yourself to just one thing.
In my case, Duolingo features heavily.
LingQ to work on my reading and listening;
And HelloTalk to practice my messaging.
Duolingo Plus simply enhances that one part of my diet. It isn’t an all-in-one superfood that meets all of my language needs.
So, with this in mind, is Duolingo Plus worth it?
As unhelpful as this may sound, only you can decide.
In my case, I think Duolingo Plus is totally worth it. Because I use it so often (every day for roughly 10-30 minutes) it works out at roughly $0.22 a day over the course of the year. As far as I’m concerned this represents excellent value, as it means I can get rid of the heart system and the ads, and take advantage of the Plus-only features.
But, again, everyone’s different. So here are my recommendations:
Stick with the free membership if…
- You’re just starting out on your language learning journey
- You’re not ready to commit to Duolingo or your target language long-term
- You’d prefer to spend your money on other resources
- You’re looking to cut back on expenses
- You’re happy with the free membership (e.g. you don’t mind the heart system, ads, always online lessons etc)
Consider subscribing to Duolingo Plus if…
- You’ve been using Duolingo for a while
- You use Duolingo every day (and have done for at least 30 days)
- You’re frustrated with the heart system, ads etc
- You want the extra features
- You’re in a position where you can justify it financially
If you’re still on the fence about Duolingo Plus…
If you’re still undecided then I’d highly recommend taking advantage of a Duolingo Plus free trial. Duolingo usually offer them on a 14-day basis, which I think is plenty of time to get a feel for the service and make an informed decision as to whether it’s worth subscribing.
If the 14 days isn’t enough or they aren’t offering free trials, then it might be worth subscribing for a month to give yourself a bit more time to figure out if it’s the right membership for you.
Have your say!
So, after all that, what do you think of Duolingo Plus?
Is it something you can see yourself subscribing to or are you happy with the free membership?
Have you already subscribed to Duolingo Plus? What do you think of it?
Be sure to let me know in the comments!