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

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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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


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!

Unlimited Courses
10% Transaction Fee
10 Student Limit
3 Courses
Unlimited Students
No Transaction Fee
5% Transaction Fee
No Transaction Fee
   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


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.


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 a guide with plenty of examples for inspiration.

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.


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30 thoughts on “Thinkific vs Teachable: Which Course Builder is Right for You?

  1. Jay Artale

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

    1. Dave Chesson

      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

    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?

    1. Dave Chesson

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

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