Duolingo Cost – Is Duolingo REALLY Free?

If you’re thinking about learning a language, then it stands a good chance that you’ve come across Duolingo.

Duolingo is easily one of the biggest and most recognized names in language learning, and a big reason for this is that it’s renowned for being free.

But is this really the case? Just how free is Duolingo? Are there any hidden costs?

Is it all just too good to be true?!

These are some really common questions that, in this article, I hope to quickly answer!

Below, I’ll give you both the simple answer and the long answer. You’ll want to stick around for both.

Let’s get into it!

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Is Duolingo free?

To save you some time, I’ll give you the short-and-sweet answer first.

Yes, for the most part, Duolingo is free.

The bulk of Duolingo’s content is freely available on all platforms and devices, whether that be mobile or desktop.

It was actually Duolingo’s founding vision that it would make language learning free, fun and accessible to all.

And although the wording has changed a bit since it was first launched, Duolingo is still, on the whole, a free language-learning platform.

Free features

The beauty of Duolingo is that everything you need is included for free. This includes:

This comprises pretty much everything you need to get the most out of Duolingo.

Super Duolingo – the premium tier

However, it’s important to note that Duolingo also has a paid subscription service called Super Duolingo.

It isn’t necessary to subscribe to this as all the main features are included in Duolingo’s free membership. Super Duolingo simply adds a few new features that are designed to improve your Duolingo experience.

These include:

It also removes ads.

In the US, Super starts from $6.99 a month (or $119.99 a year), although all new Super plans currently come with a 14-day free trial.

What can you achieve with a free membership?

The good news is that you don’t need to subscribe to Super Duolingo to have a great learning experience with Duolingo.

As I mentioned, everything that you need to be successful with Duolingo is included in the free membership. You’re not missing out on any important course material or special features.

In this sense, Duolingo really is free. But there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Super makes things smoother

The reason I subscribe to Super Duolingo is that it makes my Duolingo experience a lot smoother.

If you’re new to Duolingo, then you may not be aware of the heart system. If you’re a mobile user, hearts are basically lives that limit how much time you can spend on Duolingo.

Every time you get a question wrong, you lose a life. And since you can only have a maximum of 5 at any one time, it’s not uncommon to run out in a single lesson.

At that point, you either have to watch an ad, spend gems on a heart refill, complete a practice session, or log off until your hearts replenish.

Super also removes ads, which makes lesson progression a lot speedier.

Limited legendary and personalised practice

Duolingo’s free version limits the amount of time you can spend completing legendary challenges.

A legendary challenge is basically just a hard version of a level. Whenever you complete a level, you’ll be given the chance to tackle it on legendary difficulty.

You can see a quick example of a legendary challenge in the video below:

While you can still do this as a free member, each level will set you back a whopping 100 gems, which means you won’t get to do many.

It’s also worth noting that free members don’t get full access to the personalized practice section.

You’ll still get some access, so you’ll be able to review mistakes and access the story library (if your course has stories).

But things like unit rewind, listening and speaking practice are limited to Super members only.

It won’t make you fluent

Probably the other big thing to keep in mind is that Duolingo’s free version won’t make you fluent in your target language.

Well, not by itself, anyway.

The same is true of Super Duolingo. Whether you pay for Duolingo or not, it’s not going to make you fluent on its own.

To reach fluency, you need to incorporate lots of different tools and practices into your language learning routine. Duolingo should be just one part of a varied and dynamic workflow.

That said, the free version will give you all the fundamentals of your language. Especially if you’re taking one of the more popular courses, such as French or Spanish.

These pack the most features and have the most content, so it’s realistic that, alongside other forms of learning, Duolingo’s free version can help you get to B2 on the CEFR.

It’s true that the guys at Duolingo have been pushing for more users to subscribe to Super over the last couple of years, with little things like hearts, ads and gems subtly encouraging users to upgrade.

However, as I keep stressing, Super isn’t necessary and is only something the hardcore Duolingo users will consider subscribing to.

On the whole, the main Duolingo experience is free — and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

For more Duolingo chat, feel free to follow me on Twitter.

You might also be interested in some of these articles:

Super Duolingo Review

How to get unlimited hearts on Duolingo

Duolingo Family Plan – Everything You Need To Know