Verbling vs Italki: Which Tutoring Platform *Works* Better for You?

By Ari Helderman
January 24, 2019

italki vs verblingWhen learning a new language you have 3 options: going to local classes, finding an online course or following online classes. Local classes are often very expensive. And you can find a ton of information about several online courses on this site – but we haven’t talked much about online tutoring. And 2 of the best sites for that are Verbling and Italki. But if you’re on the verge between those 2, then should you choose Verbling vs Italki? Which one would be the better option?

In this comparison you’ll find all the information that you need to make an informed decision. We’ll discuss what makes both platforms different – and what they have similar between each other. So you will be able to make a good decision which platform will suit you better.

Note: every person learns in a different way – so what works for me might not work for you. I’ve done my best to give an objective view of both Italki and Verbling here. In the end you’ll find some questions that will help guide your decision between both platforms.

Verbling vs Italki: which one is better for online language classes?

Both programs are great for learning a new language. They’re both sites where you can find a native teacher that will teach you. Now, a couple of advantages of doing online tutoring are:

  • It’s a lot cheaper than getting 1 on 1 language classes at a local language school
  • You can do it anywhere, anytime – you just need your laptop
  • No time to travel to and back from your school
  • You can ‘sample’ a couple of different teachers with different teaching methods
  • If for some reason one teacher stops delivering good lessons, you can just switch
  • Check out teacher reviews for an easier decision

So, that’s already a whole list. Now, of course there are some disadvantages. For one, if you like personal contact, then skyping with somebody might not cut it for you. Or you simply like the idea of going somewhere every Tuesday and Thursday night at 8PM – so it becomes a habit. But in general, those are preferences. And the quality of teaching is good for both methods.

I’d argue and say that every dollar spent on learning your language will go a lot further online than offline. So unless you have unlimited money to spent on learning a language, then online is very likely the better option for you.

But enough about the benefits of online vs offline language learning. Let’s talk about Verbling vs Italki.

Watch this video where I tell you in Russian (with English subtitles) 9 reasons why Russian is actually easy to learn.

What I like about Italki: a bit cheaper + more choice

Italki is the bigger platform of the 2. Having more teachers available simply brings with it a lot of inherent benefits for the student. For one, you have more choice in teachers. This is obvious, but since it may take some trial and error before you find your ideal teacher, you want as much possible variants.

Note: I wrote a detailed Italki review before. It’s about using the platform for Russian – but the essence stays the same for every language. Click here to read it.

If one teacher doesn’t work out, then you can simply try another one. And repeat the process. Now, in any case I recommend you – when you first enter the platform – to pick out 10 teachers that you like just based on description. Just bookmark their pages.

Then, let it sink in for a day and choose 5 of them to get a practice lesson. You can often get a half hour practice lessons for a discounted price. Then, prepare some subjects and check which teacher you like most. That’s the most effective way to find the right teacher. You could of course check out more – but for many people 5 will be enough to find a good one.


Now, let’s get back to Italki. The benefit of having a lot of teachers available is price competition. Teachers feel more pressure to lower their prices, otherwise students will choose another teacher.

Also, Italki offers 2 types of teachers. You can choose between accredited teacher (they need to have a teaching certificate), or regular teachers. The first ones are a lot more expensive. But the second ones often are nearly as good – they just do it as a hobby or some side income.

If you’re on a budget, I recommend checking out some of the second type of teachers. Chances are you’ll find a great one for a low price.

italki russian prices
As you can see at the moment of publishing this post there were 354 teachers available for Russian. And the prices are also low for people in western countries.


What I like about Verbling: easy to use platform

Verbling is also a great platform for getting 1 on 1 classes. The main difference here is that all the teachers need to be accredited. So the quality (on average) is higher. Now, this also means that the prices will be higher. Because you get what you pay for.

One great thing though, is that you can choose to do lessons with several others. So if you have a friend (or 2) who are also learning the same language, you can do a single lesson with 1 teacher. This can save quite a bit of money and is a good way to make it more fun as well.

(note: I recently saw that this sharing feature has been discontinued)

Another benefit of Verbling is that it’s an all-in-1 platform. With Italki you’ve got to go to Skype for lessons, but with Verbling it’s an integrated platform. So if you like to manage everything from one place, Verbling is a good option.

You can also just pay lesson for lesson, and you don’t need to buy credits in advance. If you’re on a looser schedule and once a while just need some extra help with a specific topic, then this can be more convenient.

verbling vs italki
As you can see the prices of Verbling are a bit higher thean for Italki. But the quality on average is also higher. You can even get a free trial for each teacher.


What to base your Verbling vs Italki decision on

In the end both platforms are quite similar. They both are good for the thing that they need to be good at: connecting teachers and students. Each platform also offers a good review system, so you can easily check out which teacher would be the right fit for you (in advance). Of course you can never know for sure, but that’s when you can take trial lessons.

To make your decision easier, I have prepared the following questions

  • Do you want a large choice of teachers? Go with Italki
  • Do you want the cheapest option? Italki wins again
  • Is having an all-in-1 platform important to you? Then go with Verbling
  • And would you like to follow lesson with friend(s)? Verbling again


Verbling vs Italki conclusion

So in general Italki is a bit cheaper (although) it depends on which type of teacher you choose. So for cost/choice Italki is the better option. However, if you’re not as technically savvy, or you want to share costs with your friends – then Verbling is the superior choice.

If you still have any questions, please let me know in the comments. Or else, you can also check out the sites of both programs by clicking on the following links.

Click here for more information on Italki!


Or here to learn more about Verbling!


What should you do next?

Learning Russian does NOT need to be difficult. All you need is a solid plan that helps you improve the following things daily:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • listening skills
  • speaking skills

That's ALL you need. If you can do this for a couple of weeks, you’ll already be making great progress in your Russian skills.

And the best part? If you improve a little bit every day, soon these practices will become daily habits.

And then you will start making progress on autopilot.

This means that learning Russian is now a part of your daily routine. So you won’t even need discipline anymore to get yourself to practice.

If you like the idea of this, but don’t know where to start, go here for more information.

About the Author

My name is Ari Helderman and I help people learn Russian through videos and blog posts where I share my experience.   I have been learning Russian since 2016. I often get mistaken for a native speaker these days, so I've learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't if you want to speak Russian well.

Ari Helderman