The 3 best websites to find talented German tutors online in 2023 - and the ones to avoid
Choosing the right website to find a German tutor online can prove daunting due to the overwhelming number of options. To make things easier for you, we've researched the websites that help you find the best tutors. We've ranked the sites, showing you the best ones to try and explaining the differences between them.
You can read about our methodology and ranking criteria here. This article was fact checked by Olly Richards, polyglot and bestselling author, on 27 Oct 2022.
The Best Online German Tutoring Platforms
#1 Best Overall: LanguaTalk
LanguaTalk is recommended by some of the most trusted teachers, authors and influencers in the language learning field. Why is this? We'll explain the pros and cons below.
- Talented, reliable tutors. LanguaTalk thoroughly screens applicants, only accepting the top 10% of tutors. There are tutors from multiple countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
- It's easy to assess tutors. You can easily see reviews, live availability and pricing for each tutor. You can also use filters to instantly narrow down the choice to see the best online German tutors given your budget, availability and needs.
- Offers a free trial. Most tutors offer a 30-minute free trial session, so you can meet them before you decide whether to take lessons.
- It's fair. LanguaTalk charges lower commission than most other platforms. This helps attract the best tutors and keeps prices down.
- It's transparent. Unlike other sites, everything is transparent, including reviews and pricing. For example, payment processing fees are included in prices shown on profiles, so there are no bad surprises at checkout.
- It's flexible. You can pay for lessons one at a time and book whatever slots suit you. Refunds on unused lessons are also possible. Other sites do not allow refunds and require you to get a subscription or buy lessons in bulk.
- It's easy to use. Booking, rescheduling and cancelling lessons is simple. Available slots automatically show according to your time zone.
- Occasionally, tutors might change their availability, for example if they move to another country (though the same applies on any online tutoring website).
- Popular tutors get booked up quickly, so you may need to book a week or two in advance to secure the time slots you want.
Find the best online German tutor for your needs on LanguaTalk. Then book a free 30-minute trial session.
Cost: Prices are set by the tutors, so prices vary widely, ranging from $12 to $35 per hour (though 30-minute lessons are also available).
Who it's ideal for: As the tutors tend to be experienced and adaptable, they're typically able to personalise lessons based on individual needs. So, irrespective of your age, level or goals, you should be able to find the best German tutor for you.
View German teachers on LanguaTalk and book a free trial session.
#2 Best for businesses: Verbling
Verbling has been around since 2011 and was bought by Busuu in 2020. Despite having high quality tutors, it has been in the shadow of certain other platforms. Below you can see its pros and cons.
- Verbling has an Enterprise solution, so businesses can track the learning of their employees. This is helpful, though it should be noted that LanguaTalk and other platforms do still offer payments support for businesses.
- Experienced tutors. Verbling, like LanguaTalk, has some of the best online German tutors, due to having higher standards for teaching compared to other sites.
- It's easy to use. We like the design more than most other platforms. Booking is easy, the filters are useful when viewing tutors, and there are interesting stats on tutor profiles, like lessons per student.
- It's expensive. According to Verbling, the average online German tutor costs $34 per hour. This is around 25% more than the average price on LanguaTalk. There is no explanation for this as both platforms tend to have highly experienced tutors.
- It's inflexible. The company forces students and tutors to only learn through their calling tool, which has mixed reviews and only works on Google Chrome and Firefox. This may be particularly problematic if you try to learn on mobile. Other platforms allow you to use your video calling tool of choice. In addition, there is no option for 30-minute lessons, only 60-minutes.
- No refunds. Unlike LanguaTalk, you cannot get a refund on unused lessons.
#3 Best for number of tutors: iTalki
iTalki is one of the most popular platforms, having been founded in 2007, when there was a lack of competition. As you'll see below, it's still one of the better options but it does have some downsides.
- Big choice of tutors. It has the highest number of tutors of any platform. (However, both LanguaTalk and Verbling still have more than enough choice, and tend to have more experienced and qualified tutors).
- Some cheap prices. If you already have an advanced level and are only looking to practice conversation, there are informal 'tutors' with low prices. Note, if you need structured lessons, you will be better off choosing an experienced tutor, and these are not cheaper on iTalki than on other platforms.
- Many tutors are not reliable. iTalki allows people with little to no experience to teach, which means that compared to Verbling and LanguaTalk, there is a higher chance you'll end up with someone who is not the best teacher or who is simply not reliable.
- Pricing is not transparent. iTalki shows prices for 30-minute lessons to make it appear cheaper, despite the fact that most people need longer lessons. It also does not include payment processing fees in the prices shown on profiles, so you may get a bad surprise at checkout.
- No refunds. iTalki will not refund you on unused lesson credits. So be careful when spending.
- Booking is not intuitive. When you want to make a booking, it is called a 'Lesson Request'. These are sometimes rejected by tutors. Other sites expect tutors to show accurate availability so that students don't get messed around.
Summary: The Best Online German Tutoring Services
- Best overall: LanguaTalk
- Best for businesses: Verbling
- Best for number of tutors: iTalki
View German tutors on LanguaTalk
We've highlighted the top 3 websites to consider when looking for a German tutor online. There are other prominent websites, and to balance our analysis, we'll show you the websites that ranked in the bottom 3 below...
Websites to avoid when looking for a German tutor online
Thanks to $50m of investment, Preply is able to advertise on Google for almost any search imaginable related to language learning. Unfortunately, this has not been good news for tutors, nor students.
Unlike LanguaTalk, Preply doesn't allow tutors to offer a 30-minute free trial. Instead, learners pay for a first hour-long lesson, and Preply takes 100% of the fee (yes, you read that right). There is a petition on Change.org against this practice, which is rightly seen as exploitative. After the first lesson, the commission goes down to 33%, which is still more than double what other platforms charge.
In addition, in June 2022, Preply switched to an inflexible monthly subscription model that requires students to use their purchased lessons within a month or lose them. Preply claimed this would help, but the many 1-star reviews on the company's TrustPilot profile would suggest otherwise.
Lastly, Preply accepts literally anyone to teach, despite claiming to focus on professional tutors. This seems to lead to lots of bad experiences.
Rype was founded by Sean Kim in 2016. Thanks to his past career as a journalist with some major business magazines, Sean was able to get Rype featured in several publications. If it's in a well known magazine, it must be good, right? Well...
The company's Trustpilot profile shows a rating of 3.1 out of 5. There are only 56 reviews, which is incredibly few for a site that claims to have a community of 100,000+ learners.
We also found criticisms on Reddit from tutors who revealed that the teachers generally have no qualifications and minimal experience. Based on our research, this seems to be because Rype pays its tutors less than $10 per hour, taking a big percentage on every lesson. In addition, several teachers have highlighted that they only get paid if they hit a certain number of hours, which sounds illegal.
In Sept 2022, we saw that Sean was looking to sell the business. According to the listing, the company has a whopping 60% profit margin, which, if true, may explain why tutors aren't getting a good deal.
So if you're looking for the best German tutors online, we suggest you avoid Rype. Instead, check the top 3 platforms at the top of this page.
The last platform to avoid is Live Lingua. Live Lingua was founded in 2008 and its tech doesn't seem to have advanced much since then. Unlike modern platforms, Live Lingua does not show reviews for each tutor, nor can you view their live availability or watch a video of them. And it seems to exploit tutors.
We have been told by tutors that Live Lingua keeps 50% of the amount paid per lesson, with one tutor even claiming that Live Lingua only pays $5/h. This is despite the tutors being solely responsible for the lessons - the company does not provide lesson content. LanguaTalk, Verbling and iTalki charge less than 1/3 of Live Lingua's commission rate and allow tutors to set their own rates.
Live Lingua claims that it has "hand-picked, certified tutors", but why would the best German tutors work there when they could use platforms that don't rip them off and allow them to set their own rate? If you want to support tutors to earn a decent living and find someone talented, try booking a trial session on LanguaTalk instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find the best German tutor?
What is best for you will depend on several factors: your budget, your availability, and your needs. On LanguaTalk, you can apply filters to narrow down the choice to tutors who are likely to be suitable. For example, if you have a budget of $18 per lesson, and you're only available on Wednesdays, you can use the filters to only show tutors who fit these criteria. And when you open their profiles, you can also see which levels and needs the tutors cover. This is helpful if, for example, you're a beginner or preparing for an exam as only certain tutors will be suitable for you.
How does online German tutoring differ from face-to-face?
People who haven't taken lessons online before sometimes assume that it will be totally different to learning face-to-face. In reality, if you take a good online class, it will be almost the same as face-to-face. You'll be able to see your tutor and they'll use software that allows you to explore learning resources together. A 2021 study published in the Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics found that there was no significant difference in results between learners who had learnt a language online, compared to those who had learnt face-to-face.
What criteria did you use to assess the German tutoring websites above?
Please see below for a detailed answer to this.
Methodology & Ranking Criteria
We analysed the 10 most popular platforms for online German tutors, including testing them within our team. We graded the websites by a variety of criteria to identify the best and worst providers. The criteria were as follows:
- Quality of tutors. Does the site have a good reputation for its tutors being talented and reliable? What qualifications are typically required?
- Ease of assessing tutors. Can you easily assess tutors before booking? Features such as reviews for individual tutors, live availability calendars, video introductions, and clear pricing are helpful. In addition, are there filters to enable you to see tutors based on their budget, availability and needs? When there are lots of tutors, it can be overwhelming. The best platforms allow students to narrow down the choice easily.
- Free trial. Can you book a trial session to meet the tutor before committing to lessons? Tutors should have the choice whether to offer these for free or charge.
- Fairness. Certain platforms take a high percentage of tutors' earnings despite not providing lesson plans and materials. We believe platforms taking over 25% are not fair to tutors. These platforms also bad for students because the best tutors will work elsewhere. In addition, it pushes up prices as the commission is added onto the tutor's rate.
- Transparency. Examples of lacking transparency include not showing reviews for individual tutors, hiding commission rates, and not including payment fees in the prices shown on tutor profiles (so you only find out the full cost at checkout).
- Flexibility. Does the platform allow you to pay one lesson at a time? Does it allow refunds?
- Intuitive design. Is it easy to book, reschedule and cancel lessons?
Finally, yes, we did put our platform at #1. We know this is cheeky, but we genuinely believe that if you compare each platform's pros and cons, you will see that LanguaTalk stands out based on all of the criteria above. We wrote this article to highlight the platforms that can be trusted and do things well. We were fed up with reading bad advice on websites that are being paid to promote platforms that exploit tutors, don't screen applicants properly and lack transparency.