Spanish continues to rise in the ranks of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. Choosing to learn Spanish sets you up to be a more successful traveler, businessperson, and neighbor. With so many opportunities to use the words and phrases you learn throughout your daily life, you won’t regret the time invested in learning Spanish as a new language.
One of the best ways students interested in an additional language learn Spanish is through an app.
Think about it. You don’t have to keep track of books or CDs. You already have a phone, tablet, or computer with you most of the time. Now, you can complete a lesson wherever you are. That makes practicing easy instead of a hassle.
Many of the apps for learning Spanish claim that their methodology is best. We’ve broken these apps down to determine which features truly make the most effective apps and which apps are the best apps for learning Spanish on the market today.
Scroll on for our full breakdown of the best language apps for Spanish.
What Makes a Great App for Learning Spanish?
In the past, if you wanted to learn Spanish, you needed to take classes at school or buy an intensive – and expensive – formal program like Rosetta Stone. Not anymore, thanks to the developments in app technology.
You can now effectively learn Spanish through a language learning app right on your smartphone.
As with most apps, not every Spanish instruction program is worth your investment. You need a system that teaches you the Spanish foundations while still preparing you to use the language in the real world. Many programs fall short of these criteria.
We’ve created a list of objectives for you to use when choosing the best app for you on your Spanish journey. Remember, it’s most important that you find the lessons enjoyable and want to do them. Then, consider the need for grammar or conversation.
It Prepares You for Real-Life Conversations.
When you try to learn Spanish, your listening skills are arguably more important than your grammar or vocabulary. You cannot respond to someone if you don’t know what they’re saying. That’s why you need a program that develops your comprehension skills – in addition to reading and writing skills – to prepare you for conversations.
Part of the reason that Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons remained popular was the fact that you could communicate in the language when you finished the course. You had results you could use from your efforts to learn Spanish. The best language apps also teach you to communicate with native Spanish speakers.
Many language apps use audio recordings to help you adjust to different dialects. Latin American Spanish is very different from the language spoken in Spain. Some programs even use music videos or podcasts to keep the lessons current and exciting.
It Teaches Spanish Vocabulary and Grammar.
Words are the foundation of every language. You can’t learn Spanish without developing a robust vocabulary. Be sure you choose one of the language apps that gives you interactive flashcards to memorize the Spanish terms necessary to have a conversation.
Once you know enough Spanish words, then you put them together. You can’t learn Spanish without understanding grammar. The best learning programs provide understandable grammar tips along with opportunities to memorize verb conjugations and common phrases.
It Covers Spanish Pronunciation.
For most of us, just because we can understand a word doesn’t mean that we can say it. When you learn Spanish to have a conversation, you must be able to say the words correctly. If no one can understand what you’re saying, then you might as well not even try to speak the language. A lack of pronunciation feedback is one of the downsides to learning through apps.
In school or with a private tutor, you’ll experience direct feedback for every Spanish word you speak. Without a one-on-one instructor, you are never sure if your Spanish pronunciation is correct. Luckily, speech recognition technology and innovative programming help to correct this problem.
Most of the best apps for learning Spanish include audio pronunciation examples with their vocabulary words. As you learn the word, you’ll hear how it sounds. You typically can have the program repeat the phrase as many times as you need.
Choose a program to learn Spanish that, at the very least, requires you to repeat the words or phrases out loud. Mimicking someone else is an effective way to learn. However, the best way to perfect the language is through personalized feedback from a Spanish speaker or quality software.
Our Top Picks for Best Spanish Learning Apps
Ultimately, the best apps for learning Spanish are the ones that you enjoy and remember to use. Of course, it’s also ideal that the apps meet our criteria described above. If you’re going to invest in learning, you want to be able to have a conversation when you finish all of the modules.
To help narrow down your search, we’ve tried and ranked all of the best apps to learn Spanish. Every app on our list teaches both Spanish vocabulary and grammar. Most include some form of pronunciation practice. Only the best do all of that plus prepare you for real conversations with Spanish speakers.
Keep reading to see which Spanish language apps made the cut.
From $4+ per month
15+ minutes a day
Podcasts are one of the most popular platforms to learn something new for a reason: They work! The opportunity to hear people talk about one topic for an extended time allows you to immerse yourself in the information. With SpanishPod101, you listen to short podcasts by native Spanish speakers.
Each Spanish podcast is only about 15 minutes long. Some cover specific grammar rules, while others explain cultural or conversational topics. You can choose what you listen to on a given day; there’s no set schedule for lessons. If you’d rather hear how two people handle bumping into each other at the market or the intricacies of conjugating a verb, you can find a podcast that fits your mood.
When you grow up speaking English, Spanish speakers talk notoriously fast. These podcasts help you adjust to hearing people use Spanish words and phrases in their natural voice. After these podcasts, Spanish-speaking destinations or moves without subtitles will feel less overwhelming.
SpanishPod101 offers three subscription levels. Each more expensive plan includes all of the benefits of the option before it.
With a basic subscription, you have access to all of the podcasts on the platform. There are currently 1,200 Spanish podcasts and counting. Additionally, you’ll find lesson notes and checklists for the essential information your podcasts cover.
For people who learn by writing or doing, the perks of the premium plan add significant value. You have access to in-app flashcards, a Spanish dictionary, verb conjugation sheets, quizzes to check how much you have learned, a pronunciation and accent review, and more. These tools reinforce the information acquired during the podcasts.
If you want a professional instructor’s extra attention to help you learn more efficiently, consider the Premium Plus plan. An instructor will assess your Spanish level and send you a personalized lesson plan. The instructor also will provide personal instruction along the way.
30 minutes a day
Pimsleur is one of the most seasoned language learning methods. The only software more well-known is Rosetta Stone. This program uses a research-based methodology that has stood the test of time. Multiple academic disciplines combine to form this effective learning platform.
Dr. Paul Pimsleur created this platform in the 1960s. He spent years combining his linguistics and psychology degrees while researching how adults and children learned languages. Then, Dr. Pimsleur used his findings to create an effective program that remains popular today.
This teaching methodology builds upon four pillars of language acquisition:
Graduated Interval Recall
Graduated interval recall involves the use of the same words or phrases repeatedly throughout the program.
In a related theme, core vocabulary emphasizes remembering and using the key foundational words in Spanish.
Principle of Anticipation
The principle of anticipation gives you the chance to answer a question before hearing the correct response.
Finally, organic learning uses the core vocabulary and asks questions that provide context for the lesson instead of merely throwing grammar rules or vocabulary lists in your direction.
In 2019, Pimsleur underwent a redesign. It is now a subscription-based app instead of one expensive learning package. You not only listen and speak but also read and write. Users now experience a holistic path to learning the Spanish language.
Most lessons involve a call-and-response style of learning. You hear a Spanish phrase and what it means. Then, you repeat it out loud to practice pronunciation and help memorize the information. This formula uses all of your senses to cement the new words and concepts into your mind.
Because most of the lessons are audio-based, Pimsleur is one of the most accessible learning apps for busy people. You can learn Spanish while driving, working out, or waiting between meetings. You don't have to carve out yet another 30-minute, distraction-free window in your already hectic daily schedule.
Starts at $15 per month
5+ minutes a day
The FluentU app uses videos with native speakers to provide language immersion. The lesson focus is learning to use context to understand what’s happening around you. More than 1,000 videos with Spanish lessons are available, so you’re sure not to get bored with repeated content.
With the FluentU app, you, the Spanish learner, will first watch videos. Then, to be sure that you understand the information, you can work through the site’s flashcards. There is also a digital dictionary of words that your lessons cover in case you need a refresher.
One benefit of this platform is that you can do it all on the FluentU platform. You won’t have to deal with making your own flashcards or switching over to a dictionary. This addition makes your language lessons and practice much more efficient and prevents wasting time jumping between other apps or websites.
The one downside to FluentU’s method for learning Spanish is that it doesn’t teach you how to write or speak on your own. The sessions involve only listening to native speakers. When you fill out the flashcards, you must supply the words on your own, but that’s it.
With FluentU, there is no set plan or order to follow. The videos come organized by fluency level. You choose when you want to watch each one. While jumping around is ideal for some learners, this lack of structure can bother some people.
Overall, this is a great supplemental Spanish learning app. If you’re burnt out or hitting a plateau with your current program, consider FluentU to create variety.
If you’re planning on traveling, you want to be used to hearing native speakers. These videos are an excellent way to test your skills and prepare for interacting with Spanish speakers.
For students who have been learning for a while, this is a great tool to push you over the hump between beginner and intermediate Spanish. It helps you understand how natural Spanish flows and how to use your context clues to understand what’s going on in the conversations around you.
Free (with paid premium features)
5+ minutes a day
For individuals who struggle with motivation and discipline, Duolingo is the best app for applying your desire for language learning to Spanish. It includes many motivational tools to keep your practice on track. Whether you use the free app or choose the DuolingoPlus app and pay to remove ads, you’ll still benefit from the reminders and progress trackers.
That’s right. Gone are the days where you pay for an expensive learning program like Rosetta Stone. You can have all of the benefits of the Duolingo language app for free.
When you start your Duolingo account, you choose how serious you are about your studies. You can be a casual learner committed to five minutes per day or an intense student putting in 20 minutes daily. Regular (10 minutes per day) and serious (15 minutes per day) app users fall in the mid-range of time investments.
Once you begin the courses, you meet your virtual coach, named Duo. He reminds you how much you need to practice to achieve your goals. If you appreciate his help, you can earn Duolingo currency through bonus skills to buy him new outfits.
During your lessons, you have a strength bar. With correct answers, your strength increases. Incorrect answers, however, decrease your strength. If you’re competitive or a perfectionist, this tracker will keep you on your A-game.
The Duolingo app uses a variety of class formats to help you solidify your learning. Whether your preferred way to learn is listening, speaking, taking quizzes, or writing, you’ll find that the courses resonate with you. One of the keys to learning a language is repetition, and Duolingo works hard to drill the key vocabulary and grammar into you by using its variety of techniques.
Duolingo may annoy advanced Spanish students at the start. To progress past the introductory levels, you must pass a large number of quizzes with perfect scores. This app noticeably focuses on beginner and intermediate students.
Another downside to this app is the lack of interaction with native Spanish speakers. You won’t hear videos or conversations between individuals fluent in the language. The computerized voice speaks for you with perfect pronunciation, but it isn’t the same as a real person.
From $6.95+ per month
15+ minutes a day
As a busy person learning Spanish, you deserve a platform that is easy to use. With Babbel, you can access your course materials through a computer, smartphone app, or tablet. Your subscription will sync so that you open the next lesson in your course on your chosen device.
Babbel uses a quiz-based way to learn. Instead of repeating phrases or writing responses, you choose the best multiple-choice answer. Even though it’s not the most innovative program on the list, Babbel remains one of the best apps for learning Spanish.
Unlike other programs where you can set your own schedule, the Babbel app is exceptionally organized. The variety of program categories break down into individual courses. You might choose a course on beginner Spanish, grammar, special interests, or words and sentences, among other options. Each course has a series of 10- to 15-minute lessons inside.
The emphasis of each lesson is learning grammar and vocabulary basics quickly. That focus makes this program ideal for those wanting to pick up Spanish fast or trying to review the language you learned in school with a refresher course.
One of the best features of this app is the emphasis on grammar and foundational vocabulary. All of the grammar lessons include in-depth discussions in English. This emphasis guarantees that you will understand why specific sentences and phrases work the way they do. Similarly, the program emphasizes everyday words that are essential to normal conversations.
For extra practice, the review feature provides exercises and flashcards with words, phrases, and grammar rules from your previous lessons. If you take a break from your Spanish practice or need some refreshers, this is an excellent tool. You don’t have to waste time making flashcards or keeping track of your notes.
With a 20-day money-back guarantee, you can try the Babbel app risk-free. If you’re a beginner to intermediate Spanish student looking to improve your understanding of grammar or supplement your existing app for Spanish language learning, you won’t be disappointed.
If you devote yourself to consistent practice, your Spanish skills will improve with any of the apps on our list. Consistency matters the most when you’re focusing on Spanish for learning languages. For those who can afford the investment, the Spanishpod101 or Pimsleur apps will help you progress faster in learning Spanish best, way ahead of earlier methods.
Which Spanish apps have helped you to learn? Share your success or struggles using a language app with us in the comments below.