Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Fluenz Review

Saturday, June 25th

2022 Chinese Lesson Reviews

Fluenz Review 2.5 Star Rating


2.5 Star Rating
  • Lifetime access for a one-time fee
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to 3 levels of Mandarin Chinese available
  • Can be used on mobile app and desktop
  • Can have up to 3 user accounts per household

Fluenz believes the best way to learn Mandarin Chinese - or any other new language - is by referencing the one you already speak well: English! This addresses one of the biggest frustrations many students have when taking Chinese lessons: being expected to "just pick it up as you go" by listening, with no direct explanations of what is being presented.

Plenty of help in English

Fluenz teaches Mandarin through video tutorials and "workouts" where you practice what you've learned. Everything is written in Pinyin: the approximation of the pronunciation using the Roman alphabet we use in English. The tutor, Yi Wei, offers explanations and strategies for word order, tones and pronunciation, sentence construction and vocabulary.

Three levels of Chinese lessons

There are three levels of learning available for Mandarin Chinese. Levels 1 and 2 include the basics like writing in Pinyin, identifying the tones (sounds plus marks), counting and making comparisons, and other topics to help you gain the ability to navigate through a new city. Moving up to Level 3, your Chinese lessons will include how to speak about the past and future, how to handle situations like exchanging money and dealing with technology, and so on. As far as we could see, Fluenz Mandarin doesn't delve into writing in simplified or traditional Chinese characters, relying solely on Pinyin. If it's important to you to be able to read and write in Chinese, this probably isn't going to be the right program for you.

Best Chinese Lessons

No free trial

Fluenz is the only program in our review that doesn't offer any way to "try before you buy" : no sample lesson, no week-long free access to the student dashboard, nothing. If you choose to buy Fluenz Mandarin sight-unseen, at least you can rest assured that your purchase is covered by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.


  • $258 for Fluenz Mandarin 1 + 2
  • $187 for Fluenz Mandarin 3
  • $318 for Fluenz Mandarin 1 + 2 + 3

One-time fee, no subscription needed

Unlike many Chinese lessons, Fluenz doesn't require you to pay a monthly fee to access their program. Instead, you buy the level(s) you want and then use it for as long as you like, for up to three user accounts per household. You'll pay $258 for Fluenz Mandarin 1 + 2, $187 for Fluenz Mandarin 3, or $318 for Fluenz Mandarin 1 + 2 + 3. Sometimes Fluenz has promotional discounts: we got a pop-up as we browsed that offered to send us a code via email.

Needs more transparency and content to be competitive

While Fluenz Mandarin gets a lot of positive feedback from users, so much so that it's used by the Navy's Special Warfare Command, it just doesn't measure up to most of the Chinese lessons in our review. Plus, with no apparent way to learn Chinese characters and only three levels of content, this platform doesn't seem to be as well-rounded as some of the higher-rated programs we evaluated. We'd need to see a lot more upfront - like access to a dashboard or some kind of sample lesson - to move Fluenz up in our rankings.

Where Can You Find the Best Chinese Lessons?

If you're interested in the language, you're in good company: according to recent statistics, there are more than 25 million people worldwide learning Chinese as a second language, with over 200 million people outside of mainland China who speak it! A few decades ago, eager students had to find a college offering Chinese lessons in order to learn, but today Chinese can frequently be found in high schools, enrichment programs, and even dual language or immersion programs for elementary school children.

Not one of the lucky ones to have classes nearby? Don't worry! There are many different options for taking Chinese online now too. Whether you want traditional-style lessons with detailed grammar explanations, multiple choice quizzes, and lots of repetition with flash cards, or you prefer a more modern, game-like approach, you'll have no trouble finding something that fits your learning style and your available study time.

The Best Chinese Lessons Compare Chinese Lessons Compare Chinese Lesson Reviews What are the best Chinese Lessons Best Chinese Lesson Reviews

Chinese Lesson FAQ

With China being the most populated country in the world, it will come as no surprise that an estimated 1.31 billion people speak Chinese - approximately 16% of everyone on the planet! And, that only includes those whose first or native language is Chinese, not those who are learning it as a second (or third!) language.
There are seven primary dialect groups in Chinese: Mandarin, Yue (or Cantonese), Min, Kejia, Gan, Xiang and Wu. Mandarin is the most widely used and is the dialect you'll most likely use if you travel to Taiwan, Singapore, or China, particularly in the northern regions. Most Chinese lessons are based on Mandarin.
Chinese is one of four languages ranked as a Category IV by the State Department's Foreign Service Institute: a designation that means that, for native English speakers, Chinese is "exceptionally difficult" (along with Arabic, Japanese, and Korean). However, if you're patient and hard-working, you can learn to speak and write in Chinese!
Many experts recommend focusing first on learning how to speak Chinese. The written language is extremely complex, because it's based on pictographs and not a phonetic alphabet, and most learners have a bigger need to communicate orally than in writing. Chinese is a tonal language, where shifting the "shape" of one's voice can change a syllable into a different word. (In Mandarin, for example, the syllable "ma" can mean everything from "mother" to "horse" and even "to scold" depending on the tone!) That can be very tricky for non-Asian learners to master, making it a great place to start.
There's no way to study Chinese that's more convenient than online lessons. You don't have to worry about making it to class on time, being able to register for a course, or turning in homework! Studying Chinese online is also much more affordable, and it lets you take things at your own pace.
Depending on whether you're using a Mac or PC (or an iPhone or Android), there are different steps you can take to enable a Chinese keyboard. Your best bet is to do a search based on the operating system you've got and follow the steps to turn on the Chinese language functionality.
No! You can choose classes with one-time fees for a complete course or a monthly subscription for continuous access, but both types of Chinese lessons are very affordable. For example, one popular program has a 12-month membership for just $16.66 per month, and another offers two levels of Chinese lessons for $249.90. You'll have a hard time finding an in-person class for less than that!
Sometimes. If you've subscribed to a monthly plan, you'll probably be able to cancel future recurring payments. If you've paid for a package of Chinese lessons, some platforms will allow you to request a refund within the first 30-60 days of use. However, your best option is to use any free lessons or resources that the language program offers prior to purchase: many sites have partial or full lessons you can try before you buy, or a 7-day trial you can use before your payments kick in. That's a great way to find out if the Chinese lessons you're considering are a good match for how you learn and what you want to get out of your studies.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Of course, Chinese probably isn't going to come to you as easily as a Romance language like Spanish or French. Not only do you have a completely new writing system to comprehend - one that uses characters instead of letters, too - but the tonal aspect of Chinese is notoriously difficult for English-speakers to master. (For example, a single change in tone can make the difference between saying "to buy" or "to sell" , "flower" or "painting" , or "panda" and "chest hair" !) You'll want to choose Chinese lessons that help you learn what you need most - like travel phrases or everyday conversation - while teaching you the well-rounded basics too.

How can you tell which Chinese lessons are right for you? Here are several things to look for as you consider different programs:

  • Pricing Structure. Will you be locked into a monthly membership fee, or is it a one-time cost? A recurring subscription might keep you motivated to learn, or it might go to waste if you're not diligent in your studies.
  • Approach to Teaching. Some lessons are very traditional, while others immerse you directly into Chinese with no grammar lessons at all. There is Chinese instruction that focuses mostly on conversation through memorizing important words and phrases, as well as programs that teach you how to read, write, understand and speak the language.
  • Difficulty Level. Almost all Chinese lessons are suitable for beginners. What if you've already studied the language for a while? Be sure any program you're considering has enough material for you to make progress, and take advantage of the sample lessons or free trial that may be offered so you can see for yourself.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. Once you've paid for your Chinese lessons, can you get your money back for any reason? Not every provider offers a refund policy, making it even more important to see if there's a way to try it out before you commit.

To help you get the most out of your language studies, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best Chinese lessons available online today. We're confident that this information will help you pick a program that fits your unique learning style and fluency goals.

The Best Reviews of Chinese Lessons