Thinkific vs Teachable: Which Course Builder is Right for You?

Teachable vs Thinkific

So what prompted this Thinkific vs Teachable review?

A while ago, I had created a course, and needed a course builder to host it on. I did some quick research, and Thinkific.  However, a year later, I saw a friend's course on Teachable, and thought it looked so much better.  Darn!  Had I made the wrong choice?

Which one was better?  Which one was cheaper?  Which one offered the most capabilities?

Well, considering I already had my free Amazon Book Ads course loaded on Thinkific, I decided that I'd load the same course on Teachable and see the difference.

Therefore, in this Thinkific vs Teachable review, you will be able to see the same course on both and actually see a side-by-side look at the two. Plus, after some time with both, one of them was clearly the winner.

Heads Up: In this article, I used affiliate links.  This won't cost you anything more, and absolutely didn't affect my decision especially since both have an affiliate.  But the commission does help to fill the coffee fund and keep me writing – so thanks if you do.

Thinkific vs Teachable: Side-by-side Grading Comparison

Best Pricing
Course Player Look
Course Creation
Page & Checkout
Tax Processing
Best Quizzes
Importing Videos
Course Reporting
Countdown Timer
Best for Groups
Mobile Access
Design Features
Group Feature
Course Surveys
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   See Lowest Price   

Thinkific versus Teachable: Major Features

I'll admit, when I first started researching the differences between Teachable and Thinkific, I became frustrated.  Most articles I read listed LOADS of different features – many of which I have never used, nor intend to use.  It was confusing.

Therefore, I decided that I'd break up the features into two groups: Major Features, and Minor Features.  Major features are what I consider the most important things about a course builder.  These are things like pricing, overall look of the course to the user, ease of creating courses inside of it, and the awesomeness of the sales pages they offer.  Minor Features are features I believe that could be useful to some, but aren't most likely aren't for you.  These are things like surveys, course analytics, corporate sales features, and additional things like countdown timers.

So, with that said, let's start by looking at the four major feature differences between the two and see which one comes out on top.

1. Thinkific vs Teachable: Best Pricing

thinkific-vs-teachable-pricing

As far as the pricing model for both, there are 4 total options, with Teachable kind of hiding the fact that they too offer a free version.  But, as you'll see, the devil is in the details.  Let's take a look!

FREE
Unlimited Courses
10% Transaction Fee
10 Student Limit
3 Courses
Unlimited Students
No Transaction Fee
Basic
$39/month
5% Transaction Fee
$49/month
No Transaction Fee
Professional$99/month$99/month
Enterprise$499/month$499/month
   Check Prices   
   Check Prices   

At first glance, it might look like they are similar with Teachable getting the win because it's Basic package pricing is $10 cheaper and their free offers unlimited courses.  BUT this is definitely not the case. When digging further, I found out that while Teachable offers as many courses  in the free version, they also charge $1+10% for every purchase.  This really sucks!

Math Example: Say you have a course, and you charge $100 for people to take it, and 10 people signup

With Teachable's Free package: You'd pay Teachable $110 ($1+10%) and you'd only profit $890
With Thinkific's Free packageYou'd get to keep all $1000

Another major issue with Teachable's free package is that you're only allowed 10 students.  No, that's not a typo…that's it.  So, congrats, you get their semi free, but highly limited course.  No thanks!

Now, you could say “Yeah, but Dave, Teachable offers unlimited courses in the Free package while Thinkific only offers 3.”   I'd respond that that is true.  However, how many of you guys have more than three courses you'd be selling?  Plus, I'd also add that if you have more than three courses, you REALLY should be looking at the Basic package anyways, which is unlimited courses on Thinkific.

Another things, which we'll get into later, is the integration costs.  Thinkific integrates automatically with more email services than Teachable.  So, if you choose Teachable and want to be able to collect and email your students, you might have to signup for Zapier ($25/month) which will ‘zap' the emails from Teachable to your email account – ouch!

So, Thinkific is the CLEAR winner for the Free and Basic package

However, when you start to get into the Enterprise or Premier packages (both $499) I have to tip my hat to Teachable on this one.  Thinkific doesn't offer as much as Teachable does for that price.  Instead, they offer a “Growth package” which includes all the other things, but is in addition to your package and is based on the number of people in your course.  Essentially, you will pay more for the same thing.

So, why don't I care about this?  Because 99.9999% of you will never need those extra aspects that come with the Enterprise or Premier package, and thus aren't affected by the ‘growth package' extra cost. However, if you do have hundreds of thousands of fans, and intend to do SUPER advanced api, tracking, programming, etc…then you might want to take a deeper look.

See Teachable's Lowest Prices Here
 

See Thinkific's Lowest Prices Here

So, who wins?

Winner of Price Comparison: Thinkific
By a mile!

 

2. Best Looking Course Player: What Your Students See

thinkific-vs-teachable-course-design

I'm not going to lie, it was the Course Player look that actually got me to rethink Thinkific (no, that wasn't a Dad pun).  You see, I always hated the way my Thinkific course looked.  Matter became even worse when I took Mark Dawson's Self Publishing 101 course for a review, and so it was absolutely stunning.  It had his colors, and just looked slicker.

So, the original look of Thinkific was what really got me to do this analysis.  However, while creating this article and doing my research, Thinkific came out with a BRAND new player design and its cleaner and more streamlined than Teachable.

old-layout-vs-new-layout

I mean, look at that difference, right?  I love the navigation on next and how it's laid out.  Also, I'm really thrilled with being able to put my logo on the top (something you can't technically do on Teachable).  So, extra points to Thinkific for the branding capability.

So, I actually started off this journey believing that this was going to be a major win for Teachable, however, Thinkific, always working to improve, made the right adjustments to tip the balance and bring me right back to Thinkific on this one.

Okay, so that is the player look, but how about the overall design?

When starting out with Teachable, you get a Template theme that you can customize. You can change button colors, upload some images, and add a logo. Heck, you even have the ability to add your own HTML and CSS code. But that's about it. However, Thinkific takes this to the next level.

Thinkific can provide everything that Teachable can but with many more templates. Got a fitness blog and course? Thinkific's got a template for that. How about a course on blogging for revenue? There's a template for that too. Even Professional DJs have their own templates. And Thinkific keeps adding newer template designs.  Basically, they've made it super easy for you to customize to fit your niche, with little  to no hassle.

Teachable may a customizable theme, but in order to see legit benefit, you'll need a coder and a web designer for that.

So, if you're looking to see who wins the Thinkific vs Teachable design battle, Teachable doesn't stand a chance.

Winner of Overall Look: Thinkific
Just Barely

 

3. Best Course Creation Process

thinkific-vs-teachable-course-creationWhen it comes to course creation and our Thinkific vs Teachable battle, one thing becomes extremely apparent: Both Thinkific and Teachable have a very user friendly interface. Buttons and layouts are very easy to navigate even for those new to course building. Drag and drop capabilities also help to improve a user's quality of life. Uploading text, pictures, and video are a breeze with each platform.

However, there are some differences between the two, when it comes to creating and editing courses.

Thinkific natively supports more content than Teachable. For instance, you can receive feedback from course takers easily with their incredibly simple survey capability. Teachable does not have an internal survey feature, requiring you to use an external source such as Google Forms.

Another big advantage for Thinkific is the use of its video library. If you have uploaded a video to Thinkific, it gets placed inside your video library. That way you no longer need to upload the video if ever you need to use it again – which you'd be surprised how often this will actually happen.

Battle of Builders: Which Course Creation Software will reign supreme! Thinkific vs Teachable #WIP #Teachable #Thinkific Click To Tweet

But that doesn't mean Teachable shouldn't get the respect it deserves. Teachable actually tends to have an easier UI to operate for many users. It also gives you the capability to alter your lesson settings without having to actually enter your curriculum.

So, although I love the ability to alter the lessons like Teachable offers, I actually prefer the difference in Video libraries more.  It saves me a lot of time and I loved the process much better…and let's face it, you'll spend most of your time in the video upload process when it comes to course creation.  So, the winner is…

Winner of Course Creation: Thinkific
Just Barely

 

4. Best Course Sales Pages

thinkific-vs-teachable-sales-pageThis is may be one of the most tricky areas of the courses to judge. Because both platforms have insanely amazing customization options available!

When it comes to sales (or landing pages), Thinkific has a pretty clean cut design system. It allows for ease of arrangement and addition through drag-and-drop technology in order for you to get the cleanest, most attractive landing page available. You can edit your author bio (including multiple authors), course banners, curriculum overview, ratings and reviews, calls to action, and much more. They do a heck of a job ensuring your landing page looks just how you envision–or better.

Now, Teachable also allows for some really neat sales page creation as well. However, they go about their approach a little differently. Whereas Thinkific uses simple drag and drop, Teachable actually let's you go in and easily adjust the HTML of your content blocks along side simple drag-and-drop. This can lead to a whole new world of sales page creation.

You can see my sales pages here:

You can create Dynamic FAQs, personal letters, featured insights blocks, recent results and testimonials…literally the sky is the limit. As long as you know the HTML. But if you don't, Teachable offers pre-written code templates. All you have to do is copy and paste. Not to mention, Teachable also offers an Ultimate Sales Page Design Masterclass that you can take full advantage of absolutely free.

With Teachable being able to do everything that Thinkific can plus a bit more, I have to give the edge to Teachable on this. Also, their free Masterclass doesn't hurt either.

Winner of Sales Page Creation: Teachable
For the tech savvy

5. Best Tax Processing System

This can be a deal killer for many of you. In the early 2000’s the European Union installed a new tax law called the EU VAT MOSS. In it it states that no matter where the company or seller is located, if someone who lives in the EU buys any digital product (eBook, Courses, software, SaaS, etc), that company is liable to pay VAT tax.

However, it is important to note that there is a 10,000 Euro annual threshold before you need to start paying the VAT MOSS tax. That means that if you sell under 10,000 Euros a year to people who live a EU nation, then you are not liable to pay the VAT tax to the respective nations.

So, what does this mean with Thinkific vs Teachable?

Teachable can automatically calculate and collect the appropriate VAT MOSS tax based on where the buyer is. It also has an automatic system, called BackOffice, that will also send the appropriate tax documentation and taxes to the nation as well. However, this comes at a cost of 2% of all sales, no matter what. It also makes it so that you don’t get your money immediately.

And Thinkific? Not so much. There is no system to automatically collect VAT tax, nor a system to automatically pay the appropriate nation their due taxes. Those that do need to collect VAT tax and file paperwork can use a 3rd party called Quaderno, which will probably be about $50/month for most users.

So, what does this mean? Well, if you sell over 10,000 Euros a year to people in the EU, then you probably need Teachable, no matter what. However, is this a deal breaker for most of you? Probably not. Remember, your course is most likely in English, and you’ll be hard pressed to find shopper in the EU who would chose an English spoken course, over a native language course.

But, since Teachable has a system to support international sales and tax collection, big point to Teachable.

Winner of Sales Page Creation: Teachable
For the their BackOffice

Thinkific vs. Teachable: Minor Features Breakdown

Okay, so we covered what I think are the most important features or aspects to a course builder in that each of those are things that all course creators should consider.  However, there are some features that, while aren't very important to me, could be important to you.  I call these minor features.

It's important to note that there are other minor feature differences between the two, but I personally didn't think those would be important or used by 99% of course creators:

Importing Videos: Both allow for mass importing through things like OneDrive, and Google Drive. But Thinkific also allows mass importing through Facebook, Instagram and Amazon Cloud. (Winner: Thinkific)

Content Quizzes: You can do quizzes on both, however, Thinkific's are WAY better looking and give you more options like answering through text, video, and images, using quiz banks, and more. (Winner: Thinkific)

Course Reporting: Teachable is WAY better at this providing more in-depth analysis of your quizzes, student demographics, and video engagements and play rates. Thinkific has them, but not as good (Winner: Teachable)

Groups Feature: Thinkific allows you to enroll large groups of students and track their progress. This allows you to do bulk sales to corporations. Only available for Enterprise level. (Winner: Thinkific)

Build Videos with Slides: Thinkific offers the ability to upload your slide deck, and record your voice right there.  Teachable doesn't offer this. (Winner: Thinkific)

Surveys: This is something I should do more of, but Thinkific allows for you to create surveys to see how you're doing as a teacher, the course, or just progress of work.  Teachable does not (Winner: Thinkific)

Countdown Timer: Thinkific has a one-click countdown timer for your checkout page and landing page, and sadly, Teachable doesn't.  You could use Deadline funnels or another 3rd party, but that increases the costs. (Winner: Thinkific)

Mobile Access: While Thinkific's site is mobile friendly, Teachable goes one step further and offers a iOS app to allow your students to watch it on their phone. (Winner: Teachable)

Support: A personal preference, but I liked Thinkific's responses better.  I also found they were faster, but also realized that that's because they work on the weekend…Teachable doesn't. (Winner: Thinkific)

Video Review of Thinkific vs Teachable

So as to see the above information in action, here is a video review showing you what those features, capabilities and aspects look like side-by-side.


Want more videos like this? Then click HERE to subscribe to my YouTube channel
 

Extra Course Creation  Resources to Help

If you do decide to setup a course through Thinkific, here are some extra resources that I think will really help you:

List of Video Equipment: If you checked out any of my videos while looking at the example courses, and you want to make your video and audio as good as those, then be sure to check out my list of equipment.  That way you'll know for sure you can get that level of quality if your production.

Video Editing Software that I Use: My favorite software for editing my videos AND also recording my screen (either when I'm showing how to do something, or just recording my slides) is ScreenFlow. It's an award winning Mac software.  If you're on PC, then I'd recommend Camtasia.

How to Structure and Outline Your Course: It is extremely important that you lay a good structure for your course.  Here is an article that will help you get started and develop a good outline for the rest of your course.

How to Make a Online Course: A very lengthy guide to how Foundr built their courses and each step one could take to validate their course idea, and build with confidence.

Wait a minute… What about Udemy?

For those of you in the know, Udemy is a third course building platform. But here's why I'm not going to include Udemy in this comparison.

Udemy gives course creators less freedom when it comes to product creation, presentation, pricing, etc. The entire platform is based on the strict commercialization of your course.

Not to say that Udemy is a bad platform. I've personally taken self-publishing courses on Udemy. But when comparing Udemy to other course creation platforms–such as Thinkific and Teachable–it's apples and oranges.

A Note About LearnWorlds

For those who are looking for more alternatives, I wanted to throw out another option: LearnWorlds. LearnWorlds has several robust plans that can compete with Teachable or Thinkific. They also have a budget-friendly option starting at $29.99.

To check out all of the features and pricing options, check out LearnWorlds here.

So, Did I Make the Switch Over to Teachable?

In the end, here is the score of our Thinkific vs Teachable battle:

Thinkific Major Feature Wins:   3
Teachable Major Feature Wins: 2

Thinkific Minor Feature Wins:   7
Teachable Minor Feature Wins: 2

So, the simple answer for me:  No! I stayed with Thinkific and re-upped my contract with them.

However, I don't sell over 10,000 Euros worth of courses in Europe.  Therefore, the BackOffice system and the extra 2% cost (or loss of profit) isn't ideal and therefore, Teachables system isn't a good fit for me. But if you do, then Teachable is a MUST.

I really thought I was going to change to Teachable.  After seeing Mark Dawson's Self-Publishing 101 course hosted on Teachable, I thought I had made the mistake of choosing Thinkific all those years ago.  But as I started doing my research, I not only realized all the other benefits Thinkific had, I was also notified that Thinkific had improved their Course Player look and it was awesome!

Check Out the Lowest Price for Thinkific Here
So, I re-upped my subscription with Thinkific and am glad I know finally know which one is the best for my purposes and needs.

Cheers!

 

28 Comments

  1. Jay Artale on November 4, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Dave .. Any thoughts or opinions on LearnDash … it’s hosted on WordPress managed through a plugin.

    • Dave Chesson on November 16, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Not at the moment. I haven’t given them a try yet. But I’m also really hesitant about using a plugin on the site. This can really put a drain on speed an reliability.

  2. Ton Bil on September 29, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    My course is in Dutch. Because of tax rules in the country where I live (France), I’m exempted from adding VAT to my prices. So, from what you wrote here, I guess Thinkific would be my clear winner as far as tax is concerned, right?

    • Dave Chesson on September 30, 2020 at 11:57 am

      If you’re exempted from adding VAT, then yes.

  3. Brianne Grogan on February 28, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for this great comparison! Is it possible, on either platform, to upload videos to your course by using a vimeo or YouTube link? Also, are students able to download the course videos (to watch offline) on either platform? Lastly, I’ve heard that Teachable`s upsell on the thank you/checkout page is easy to use… Any thoughts on comparisons between the two on their upsell process? Thanks in advance, hope I’m not too late with my questions!

    • Lori on June 8, 2020 at 8:31 pm

      Wow, I really appreciate this thoughtful breakdown. I have been blogging for 12 years and giving all my content and ideas away for free. It’s time for me to build some courses to monetize, but I’ve been a deer in the headlights about it! I signed up for both Thinkific and Teachable. I’ve been leaning towards Thinkific and now your helpful post just solidified my decision. Thank you so much!!

  4. Ellie B on January 27, 2020 at 1:40 am

    Thanks so much for this excellent and concise review – I’m currently with Teachable, but looking to change to Thinkific (I do not like that Teachable charges % and takes almost 2months to process your funds on the lower Basic account) and your review almost has me tipped to changing. What I’m curious about is – do you happen to know / have an opinion about which platform is best to view, from my customer`s point of view. Which course features, videos, etc are easier to use and watch – aside from the fact that Teachable has an app, is the Thinkific viewing platform (desktop or device) as good… or perhaps they’re similar enough.

    • Dave Chesson on January 27, 2020 at 3:35 am

      Honestly, in the past, I hated Thinkifics. It had less design and looked blase (I think I even show what it used to look like in the video review in this article). But then as I was doing the review, they changed the look of their player and it is much better. So, I personally like the look of the player (what the students will see) much better and think it is easier to use.

      • Ellie B on January 27, 2020 at 10:41 pm

        Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly! So glad to have found your blog post, because It is made the decision for me. I’m switching all over now.

        • Dave Chesson on January 28, 2020 at 1:33 am

          Awesome and enjoy!

  5. Pauline Wiles on January 15, 2020 at 12:51 am

    I’m not yet at the stage of needing a course provider, but I like the approach here to comparing the two. I’ll save this and come back to it when I’m preparing to scale. Thanks!

  6. Eric Z on September 2, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Awe-Sum showdown Dave! Thanks for this.

    • Dave Chesson on September 4, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks man

  7. JeffC on August 29, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I looked at Podia a while ago, but have not found the time to set up a course yet. Have you ever looked at that platform? https://www.podia.com/

    • Dave Chesson on September 4, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      No, I have not. But I’ll check them out.

  8. Rebecca Talley on August 24, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    Can we prevent EU residents from taking our course? I went with Teachable so I wouldn ‘t have to deal with the VAT stuff. I was about ready to launch and then I read this article the day before Teachable limited students on the free plan to 10. I was planning to use Teachable ‘s free plan for a couple of months to see if there was enough interest in my course but the 10 total students makes that impossible. I ‘ve been migrating my course to Thinkific but now I ‘m worried about the VAT filing thing. Any advice?

    • Dave Chesson on August 29, 2019 at 8:29 am

      Sorry this took so long, but I had a meeting with my CPA on it, and in 1 January 2019, they now have a rule that if you have to have sold more than 10,000 Euros annually in order to hit a threshold where you’d have to start filling for VAT MOSS. So, unless you are selling more than 10,000 Euros annually to countries in the EU, you do not need to worry or go through the hassle of it all – you do not make the threshold.

      • Rebecca Talley on August 29, 2019 at 2:41 pm

        Is that per country or total in the EU? Because it ‘d only take 52 customers, if your course is $200, to meet that threshold. Teachable takes care of it for 2% of the transaction. Thinkific doesn ‘t. You can use Quaderno but that ‘s at least $29 a month for 250 transactions or less. So you ‘d have to add that to your monthly subscription fee to Thinkific. And I don ‘t think Quaderno files VAT but Teachable does. I just want ti be clear about what I ‘m getting/not getting with these platforms.

        • Dave Chesson on September 4, 2019 at 8:13 pm

          It is 10,000 Euro for the entire EU, not per country. As for costs, one thing to think about is that if you sell 52 courses at $200 each (as is your own example), you’ll pay Teachable an extra $108 for the 2% charge, which is more than $29 or even $50.But with regards to Quaderno, I’m having a meeting with them as we speak because I agree, it doesn’t sound like they pay the tax for you…just process it. I personally do not have to worry about this for my course, but it is something I need to figure out for my software.

  9. Jay Artale on August 21, 2019 at 2:01 am

    Thanks Dave .. read every word. I launched a podcast last year to get me used to presenting, as a precursor to creating a video course, but the one thing that has held me back is which platform to choose. It was just so overwhelming. I knew once I chose a platform it would be a hassle to detangle myself from it and move to another… so this is really timely. Love your side by side analysis … thanks for taking the time to help me out! https://media3.giphy.com/me

    • Dave Chesson on August 21, 2019 at 3:27 am

      Thanks and I know what you mean. It is been on my list of things to do since February. It was soooo overwhelming and a REAL pain to put the course on both. But now that I’ve seen the information between the two, I’m really happy I did and can move forward knowing I’ve got the right one.

  10. Jaden Terrell on August 21, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Hi, Dave! I wish I’d read this yesterday, as I just started the same experiment.I’ve been with Thinkific for a while, but some of my readers report having a hard time logging in. Some of them give up completely. Support is personable and fairly prompt, but they’re at a loss; they need screen shots, and my audience tends to be extremely non-techy they have no idea how to do a screen shot.Which is a long of saying I decided to put my free course in both places for at least a month and see which seems for user friendly for them.
    I do like the Teachable U and I plan to learn all I can from it while I’m deciding.Have you noticed your users having trouble logging in? If so, how did you solve it?

    • Dave Chesson on August 21, 2019 at 12:59 am

      Hi Jaden. Oh wow. No, I have not heard of that. The one thing I ran into was that I had a lot of users complain that certain videos did not show. But after a bit of investigating I found out it was their “Ad Blocker” blocking the videos (my course is on Amazon Book ‘ads’) and it was fixed when I changed the file name to something that did not say ‘ad’ in it. It would be interesting to see if a different Web Browser solved the issue for them.Also, as a heads up, but with Teachable Free, you can only have 10 students…That is it. So beware of that limit (which i personally think makes their whole ‘Free’ thing useless.)

      • Jaden Terrell on August 21, 2019 at 1:12 am

        Whoa, thanks for the heads up. That really is pretty useless unless you’re only planning to work with small groups, which I suppose is a valid model if you have an exclusive, high-ticket offer.I sprang for the $99 plan (with a wince and a barely audible ouch) for Teachable U, and it said the number of students was unlimited. So hopefully that won’t be an issue.

  11. Sonia Weyers on August 20, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks! Great article!

    • Dave Chesson on August 21, 2019 at 12:30 am

      Thanks Sonia!

  12. Dave Wernli on August 20, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you Dave! This was very timely. I was wanting to do a bake-off myself between the two, and you saved me a lot of energy. I currently use the free plan with Thinkific, and will definately stay with them as I grow. Thanks for an excellent comparison!

    • Dave Chesson on August 21, 2019 at 12:31 am

      Glad to have helped. Yeah, I’ve been putting this off because it felt daunting – been on my plan for months. But glad to have helped in that. I was actually starting this research with the belief that I’d be switching to Teachable. But once I finally dug down (and the change in Player look), it became evident I would not need to move on.

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Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.

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