Table of contents
- Video Review of Thinkific vs. Teachable
- Thinkific versus Teachable: Major Features
- 1. Pricing
- 2. Course Creation Process
- 3. Course Player
- 4. Sales Page
- 5. Email Integration
- 6. Tax Processing
- Thinkific vs. Teachable: Minor Features Breakdown
- Extra Resources for Course Creation
Thinkific is a better online course platform than Teachable in most scenarios. (Spoiler alert, am I right?)
But I’m sure you want more detail than that. So I did an in-depth side-by-side review of Thinkific vs. Teachable.
A while ago, I created a course for authors and needed an LMS (learning management system) to host it on. I did some quick research, and Thinkific seemed like the best choice.
However, a year later, I saw a friend's class on Teachable and thought it looked a lot better.
Thinkific vs. Teachable — which one is better? Which one is cheaper? Which one offers the most capabilities?
I needed to answer these questions, and I thought I’d make a helpful article for others asking the same questions.
Considering I already had my Amazon Book Ads course (it’s free, by the way; check it out) loaded on Thinkific, I decided to load the same course on Teachable and see the difference.
In this Thinkific vs. Teachable review, you will see the same course loaded on both online course platforms and get to examine a side-by-side look at them.
- Which is better, Thinkific or Teachable?
- Side-by-side comparison of Thinkific and Teachable
- Bonus comparison to Udemy, LearnWorlds, Kajabi, and Podia
A small disclaimer… This review compares 2 very similar platforms, Thinkific and Teachable. However, after my initial review, I was introduced to Podia, a course-building platform with several additional, more robust features that work great for me as an author. While I love Thinkific and still believe it’s better than Teachable, I switched to Podia because it made the most sense for my needs.
In this article, I used affiliate links. They don’t cost you anything extra and didn't affect my decision, especially since I have affiliate links for both Thinkific and Teachable. The commission helps me continue to bring you the free, helpful articles that you know and love.
Video Review of Thinkific vs. Teachable
For all you visual learners out there, check out my handy video review showing you a Thinkific vs. Teachable side-by-side comparison.
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Thinkific versus Teachable: Major Features
When I first started researching the differences between Teachable and Thinkific, I got frustrated. Most articles I read listed loads of different features — many of which I have never used nor intend to use. It was confusing.
I decided to 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:
- Course player
- Course creation process
- Sales page
- Email integration
- Tax processing
Minor Features are features I believe could be helpful to some but are seldom deal breakers:
- Importing videos
- Content quizzes
- Groups feature
- Course reporting
- Build videos with slides
- Countdown timer
With that said, let's start by looking at the 4 significant feature differences between Thinkific and Teachable to see which one comes out on top.
There are 4 total pricing plans for Thinkific and 3 options for Teachable. All payment plans are cheaper if you pay upfront annually instead of monthly.
Is Thinkific free? Yes, there is a free version of Thinkific that lets you sell 3 courses to an unlimited number of students. (Teachable used to offer a free plan but stopped providing a free version in July 2020.)
$1 plus 10% per transaction
|3 Courses |
No Transaction Fee
5% Transaction Fee
No Transaction Fee
At first glance, it might look like they are similar with Teachable getting the win because its Basic plan pricing is $10 cheaper, and their free plan offers unlimited courses.
But this is definitely not the case.
First off, Thinkific offers a free version that is more than usable if you have 3 courses or fewer to offer.
Thinkific’s Professional Plan also beats Teachable’s Pro Plan pricing.
Finally, Thinkific does not incur transaction fees on any of its plans, whereas Teachable does.
Math Example: Say you have a course, and you charge $100 for people to take it, and 10 people signup.
- With Teachable's Basic Package: You'd pay Teachable $50 (5%), and you'd only profit $950.
- With Thinkific's Basic Package: You'd get to keep all $1000.
If you have more than 3 courses to teach, you shouldn’t be using a free version of anything. You’re diving into professional waters and should be purchasing professional tools.
Thinkific is the CLEAR winner for the Free version and Basic package.
However, when you start to get into the fourth-tier packages, I tip my hat to Teachable on this one. Thinkific doesn't offer as much as Teachable does for a comparable price.
Still, I estimate 99% of you will never need the most expensive bells and whistles that come with the top-tier packages.
However, suppose you do have hundreds of thousands of fans and intend to use advanced API, tracking, programming, etc. In that case, you want to take a deeper look at the major differences between Thinkific vs. Teachable.
Price Comparison Winner: Thinkific
2. Course Creation Process
When it comes to the course creation process in our Thinkific vs. Teachable battle, one thing is for sure; both Thinkific and Teachable have a very user-friendly interface.
With both page builders, buttons and layouts are very easy to navigate and customize, even if you’re new to course building. Drag and drop capabilities make everything easier.
Each includes free hosting, an SSL certificate, and the ability to use a custom domain. Uploading text, pictures, and video is a breeze with both platforms.
However, there are 3 more course creation differences between them:
- Thinkific natively supports more content than Teachable. For instance, you can receive feedback from course takers easily with their effortless survey capability. Teachable does not have an internal survey feature, requiring you to use an external source such as Google Forms.
- Thinkific’s video library is a huge advantage. If you have uploaded a video to Thinkific, it gets placed inside your video library. That way, you no longer have to upload the video if you need to use it again. You'd be surprised how often this happens.
- Teachable has a more intuitive user interface to operate for most customers. It gives you the capability to alter your lesson settings without having to actually enter your curriculum.
Although I love the ability to alter lesson settings with Teachable, I prefer Thinkific’s awesome video library. It saves me a lot of time, and I loved the process.
Winner of Course Creation: Thinkific
3. Course Player
With all the modern updates to the course player’s user interface and aesthetics, Thinkific wins this battle as well.
I used to hate how my Thinkific course looked. The course player appeared outdated and unprofessional.
Matters became even worse when I took Mark Dawson's Self Publishing 101 course hosted on Teachable. It was a lot more aesthetically pleasing than any of my courses. It had his colors and just looked slicker.
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. It’s cleaner and more streamlined than Teachable’s course player.
I love the navigation and how it's laid out. I'm really thrilled with being able to put my logo on the top, so extra points to Thinkific for the branding capability.
I began this journey believing this would be a significant win for Teachable. But Thinkific, always working to improve, made the right adjustments to tip the balance and bring me right back to Thinkific on this one.
When starting out with Teachable, you get a template theme you can customize:
- Button colors
- Image uploading
- Logo capability
- HTML and CSS code manipulation
Thinkific provides everything that Teachable does, 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.
Thinkific keeps adding new template designs every few months. They've made it super easy for you to customize to fit your niche, with little to no hassle.
Teachable may provide a customizable theme. But to see the legit benefit, you'll need a web designer familiar with coding.
I have to mention that both platforms allow you to customize Prerequisites, so that students have to pass specific quizzes or listen to certain lectures before moving ahead. On Teachable, it’s called Course Compliance.
Who wins the Thinkific vs. Teachable course player design battle? Thinkific nudges out the win.
Winner of Overall Look: ThinkificBattle of Builders: Which Course Creation Software will reign supreme! Thinkific vs Teachable #WIP #Teachable #Thinkific Click To Tweet
4. Sales Page
Each platform’s sales page (AKA landing page) quality is a tricky feature to judge because both Thinkific and Teachable boast insane customization options.
Thinkific has a sleek, attractive design system when it comes to sales pages. It allows for ease of arrangement and addition through drag-and-drop capabilities. You can edit:
- Calls to action
- Adding multiple authors
- Course banners
- Curriculum overview
- Ratings and reviews
- Author bio
- And much more!
Teachable offers some neat sales page functionality. However, they go about their approach a little differently than Thinkific. Teachable actually lets you go in and adjust the HTML code of your content blocks, on top of easy-to-use drag-and-drop features.
I’m not a big HTML coder, but this might be a selling point for others.
On Teachable, you can create:
- Dynamic FAQs
- Personal letters
- Featured insights blocks
- Recent results
- eCommerce plugin
Both Thinkific and Teachable offer payment gateways through PayPal and Stripe (though this depends on which level you purchased). For most everyone in the US and Canada, payouts are immediate. Both offer decent affiliate marketing/affiliate program functionality.
With Teachable 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 on sales page design doesn't hurt either.
Winner of Sales Page Creation: Teachable
5. Email Integration
Thinkific automatically integrates with more email marketing services than Teachable.
Check out my in-depth article on the Best Email Services for Authors.
Thinkific integrates with the following email services:
For a Teachable user to email students, they can use either MailChimp and ConvertKit or sign up for Zapier ($19.99/month), which will “zap” the emails from Teachable to their email account.
If you already use an email service besides MailChimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, AWeber, or ActiveCampaign, neither platform wins this battle. You’ll have to switch email services or pay extra for a service like Zapier (which, to be fair, does offer a limited free plan).
Teachable allows you to send emails to your students on a customizable drip schedule. (Drip, meaning one at a time, over the course of however long you want.)
Thinkific can send out automatic email notifications, but there seems to be a limit on what kind of drip schedule you can customize, such as onboarding and course completion.
Since Thinkific offers more than double the email integration services, it gets yet another point.
Winner of Sales Page Creation: Thinkific
6. Tax Processing
Teachable automatically calculates and collects the appropriate VAT MOSS tax. Thinkific has no automatic VAT MOSS tax processing system. This may be a deal-breaker for those of you who sell more than 10,000 Euros-worth of classes to EU citizens.
What is VAT MOSS tax? The EU’s VAT MOSS tax is a sales tax on internationally sold digital goods purchased by anyone in the EU (European Union).
In the early 2000s, the EU installed a new tax law called the EU VAT MOSS. 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 tax. That means that if you sell under 10,000 Euros a year to people who live in an EU nation, you are not liable to pay the VAT tax to the respective countries.
Teachable has an automatic system, called BackOffice, that will send the appropriate tax documentation and taxes to the relevant nation. This feature costs 2% of all sales, no matter what. It also makes it so that you don’t get your money immediately.
Thinkific offers no system to automatically collect VAT MOSS 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 tool like Quaderno, which costs about $50/month for most.
If you sell over 10,000 Euros-worth of courses each year to people in the EU, you probably need Teachable, no matter what.
Since Teachable has a system to support international sales and tax collection, here’s a big point to Teachable.
Winner of Sales Page Creation: Teachable
Thinkific vs. Teachable: Minor Features Breakdown
There are Minor Features found on Teachable and Thinkific that, while they aren't critical to me, could be vital to you. Let’s quickly go through these Minor Features:
- Importing Videos: Both allow for mass importing through services like OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive. But Thinkific also allows mass importing through Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon Cloud. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Mobile Access: Both Thinkific and Teachable have mobile access, along with apps that you can include on your phone. I've also found Thinkific's app to be much cleaner. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Content Quizzes: You can create quizzes on both Teachable and Thinkific. However, Thinkific's course content quizzes are way better looking and include answering questions via text, video, images, and multimedia; using quiz banks; and so much more. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Groups Feature: Thinkific allows you to enroll large groups of students and track their progress as a group. This group enrollment feature will enable you to make bulk sales to corporations. Only available at the Premier level. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Course Reporting: Teachable is a lot better at providing in-depth analysis of your quizzes, student demographics, video engagements, play rates, and more. Thinkific offers course reporting, but it’s not as robust as Teachable’s. (Winner: Teachable)
- Build Videos with Slides: Thinkific offers the ability to upload your slide deck and record your voice right then and there. Teachable does not provide this. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Surveys: This is something I should do more. Thinkific allows you to create surveys to see how you're performing as a teacher, how students like the course, or how everyone progresses along. With Teachable, you can only do this with custom code. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Countdown Timer: Thinkific has a one-click countdown timer for your checkout page and landing page. Sadly, Teachable doesn't. You could use Deadline Funnel, another 3rd party, or custom code as a workaround, but that increases time/cost. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Support: I personally like Thinkific Support’s responses better. I found they were faster, but I also realized that that's because they work on the weekend. Teachable doesn't. (Winner: Thinkific)
- Blogging: Teachable offers a blogging feature reminiscent of WordPress. Thinkific has no such feature. (Winner: Teachable)
Extra Resources for Course Creation
If you do decide to set up a course through Thinkific or Teachable, here are some extra resources that can help you out:
- 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, check out my list of video equipment. That way, you'll know for sure you can get that level of quality in your video marketing production.
- Video Editing Software that I Use: My favorite software for editing my videos and recording my screen 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: You must lay a good structure for your course. Here’s a great article that helps you get started developing a powerful outline for your course.
- How to Make an Online Course: This is a lengthy guide on how Foundr builds its courses. It spells out each step you can take to validate your course idea and design it with confidence.
What about Udemy?
For those of you in the know, Udemy is another LMS, but I don’t want to include Udemy in this comparison.
Udemy gives course creators less freedom when it comes to product creation, presentation, pricing, etc., when compared to Teachable or Thinkific. The entire platform is based on the strict commercialization of your course.
That’s not to say that Udemy is an inherently lousy platform. I've personally taken self-publishing courses on Udemy. Webinars are perhaps more welcome on Udemy than interactive courses.
But when comparing Udemy to other course creation platforms — such as Thinkific and Teachable — it's apples versus oranges.
Udemy is a lot better for students than it is for teachers.
What about Podia?
Podia vs. Thinkific — Thinkific may be the better free course builder. However, Podia offers more than just course building, and its premium versions are cheaper than Thinkific’s.
Check out my video on Thinkific vs. Podia. The conclusion may surprise you.
Podia allows you to sell digital products as well as courses. This gives you more marketing tools to upsell your goods. With Podia, you could sell:
Podia boasts faster, more personalized support. Podia also helps with EU VAT MOSS taxes, unlike Thinkific. Podia’s premium prices are cheaper than Thinkific.
Thinkific’s free version can create surveys, unlike Podia. (Honestly, SurveyMonkey is so easy to use that this isn’t a big deal nowadays.)
If you plan to only offer 3 or fewer courses that you aren’t sure will sell a lot, use Thinkific. If you plan to sell more than 3 courses, want to sell digital goods, or plan to sell a lot in the EU, I recommend Podia.
What about LearnWorlds?
LearnWorlds offers multiple robust plans that can undoubtedly compete with Teachable or Thinkific. They also have a budget-friendly option starting at $24.99/month.
Thinkific vs. LearnWorlds: One is essentially as good as the other. For instance, LearnWorlds may require a broader knowledge base but has better customer support.
Although I personally prefer Thinkific, LearnWorlds is an excellent alternative that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with. LearnWorlds offers a 30-day free trial, no credit card required.
What about Kajabi?
Although it’s not my personal preference, Kajabi is another excellent course-building tool.
Thinkific vs. Kajabi: Kajabi offers an iOS and Android app, plus 24/7 live chat support. Thinkific boasts better quiz answering options, the ability to sell courses in bulk, and unlimited courses on all paid plans.
The main sticking point is that Thinkific offers much friendlier prices. Kajabi’s cheapest option is $119/month, and you can only sell 3 courses on that plan.
Unless you already know you’re going to sell beaucoup courses, stick with Thinkific’s less frightening pricing options.
Did I make the switch to Teachable?
No, I did not switch to Teachable because this only confirmed my prior position: Thinkific is superior to Teachable.
In the end, here is the score of our Thinkific vs. Teachable battle:
- Thinkific Major Feature Wins: 4
- Teachable Major Feature Wins: 2
- Thinkific Minor Feature Wins: 7
- Teachable Minor Feature Wins: 3
Thinkific is the clear winner of the two. I stuck 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 2% loss of profit isn't ideal. Therefore, Teachable’s system isn't a good fit for me.
But if you have to pay VAT MOSS taxes, you need a platform that helps you with those complicated taxes, like Teachable or Podia.
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 Thinkific came out as the clear winner once they updated their aesthetics, and I really looked at their long list of online learning features.