Kajabi vs Teachable vs Thinkific—truly a battle for the online educational ages.
You’re in the throes of deciding where you want to host your next course, and you’ve been bombarded with tons of options. It’s time to narrow it down.
Kajabi, Teachable, and Thinkific are some of the best professional options that you can choose, The question is, which one is best suited for your specific course and business model?
Different students go to different course providers depending on what they’re looking to study, so it’s important to know your audience before hopping into this.
We’re going to break down the three of these so that you can better understand which one will suit you best when it comes time to host that course.
- Kajabi and Teachable and Thinkific Compared
- Course Creation
- Payment Methods
- Teaching Methods
- Customer Support
- Kajabi Pros and Cons
- Teachable Pros and Cons
- Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Mobile Apps
- Three Great Platforms, But Only One for Your Needs
Kajabi and Teachable and Thinkific Compared
Kajabi helps you sell content and memberships, while Teachable wants to help you turn your knowledge into a full-fledged business: which one will reign supreme and help you out where you need it the most?
It’s time to compare them for their pricing, content delivery, immersion, and everything that you need to know about important course hosting features.
What is Kajabi?
Kajabi is a marketing-focused online course builder. SaaS-based, just like the others on this list, it has constant updates and security protections that allow your customers to make secure payments when they sign up for a course.
With Kajabi, you can deliver content in a variety of ways, and design a course in just about any way you want. Build the course, design the modules, flood it with content and your personal knowledge, and then wrap it all up until it’s in one cohesive package.
Kajabi helps you build an online education empire from the ground up, allows you to accept payments, build websites, host them, and so much more. It’s truly an all-in-one solution just like Teachable and Thinkific.
What is Teachable?
Teachable is an all-in-one, SaaS-based online program that allows you to make your own courses, market them, sell them, and build a brand.
Create your own online courses from the ground up with their intuitive course building options, and design one of the best online education experiences in your field. Teachable offers white label solutions, meaning when you build and promote your online courses, you appear as an independent brand: you aren’t a subdomain of Teachable, and they have no presence on your website.
They act as the foundation by allowing you to market your courses, accept payments, and explore their unending platform updates to enhance and revolutionize your courses as time marches on.
What is Thinkific?
Thinkific is an online, all-in-one course building tool that also comes with some stellar marketing features. If you want to turn an idea into a course, and have help every step of the way, Thinkific was designed for you.
You take your knowledge, and put it into a linear, modular setup through the intuitive course building tools offered by Thinkific.
From there, they help you market your courses, they help you with payment portals, and everything you need to build an online education empire from the ground up. As an all-in-one service, you can choose to go with Thinkific and not require any other service.
Thinkific and Kajabi allow you to integrate your own videos, and all three services allow you to put DLC such as text-based documents, images like infographics, and more.
The thing is, Teachable does not let you host your own live videos, so that can be difficult if you’re going for a live, webinar-style teaching feel.
While we’re on that subject, the only one that lets you host videos from the service itself is Thinkific. With Kajabi, you can host videos, but it has to go through Wista, which is an extra step. We’re comparing these services based on how easy they are to use and how integrated they are, and in this department, Thinkific takes the cake.
While it might be a little harder to make a course on Thinkific due to the slew of options, it can still technically be labeled as a better option.
Course creation has two main points to look at: depth, and ease of use. Generally speaking, you don’t have an easy-to-use interface and great depth, because the deeper a program is to learn, the harder it is to use.
Thinkific definitely offers the most options here, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Teachable has a very linear system to use to access all the various points of creating a course, including uploading content. That being said, Kajabi is right behind them.
Simply because there are a ton of options, Thinkific is a little less first-time user friendly, but the added options make them better for customization. Teachable is the easiest to use here, and Kajabi sits right in the middle between them and Thinkific for in-depth features.
Templates are important, because they tell your students how they can navigate the site. You could make your own custom look and feel, but templates give you the ability to organize your site in an interactive, intuitive way that enhances the overall UI.
Thinkific has some of the most marketable templates out there, so you’ll be able to make your website design appeal to just about everyone. With multiple templates and customization options, you can mix and match features until it feels just right.
That’s a step up from Teachable and Kajabi, but not by a whole lot. With the templates that they offer, you can get close to the same look and feel of Thinkific sites, just with a few less options at the ready.
Thinkific just offers more custom features here, so they win this round. If you knew 50,000 people used one service, wouldn’t you want to make your website appear as unique and different as possible so it didn’t resemble theirs? That’s what Thinkific lets you do.
Pricing is something that we really need to discuss. While you’ll notice that a lot of features and benefits from each of these LMS systems differ, their pricing structures do as well.
Weigh the prices against the benefits and our pros and cons list so you can know what’s going to work best for you.
Kajabi has a very similar pricing structure to Thinkific. You’ll notice features are vastly different though, so this is all going to come down to which of the two platforms serves your needs better.
- Basic: At $149 per month, or $119 per month for the annual package, you have access to 1,000 monthly users, unlimited emails, unlimited landing pages, and more all wrapped up into one site.
- Growth: For $199 per month, or $159 per month for the annual package, you have access to up to 10,000 monthly users, unlimited landing pages, unlimited emails, up to 15 separately priced products and package options, all through one website.
- Pro: For $399 per month, or $319 per month for the annual package, you’ll have access to up to 20,000 monthly users, more admin privileges, and up to one-hundred separately priced products and packages. You can have up to three websites through this package.
With Teachable, the prices are packaged much more moderately than other sites, even for their highest level. While some features are restricted, you could grow to a seven-figure business on their highest plan.
- Basic: For $39 per month or $29 per month through the annual package, you get access to unlimited students, course products, coaching products, membership-exclusive community features, and custom domain support.
- Pro: For $119 per month or $99 per month through the annual package, you get access to unlimited students, no transaction fees, five admin users, priority product support, graded quizzes, and more.
- Business: For $299 per month or $249 per month through the annual package, you get access to unlimited students, zero transaction fees, instant payouts, up to 20 admins, bulk student enrollment packages, manual imports, priority product support,
Thinkific has up to five different options, but one of them is for enterprise, fortune 500 level entrepreneurs. We’ll focus on their four main packages.
- Free: Free means free. While Thinkific will try to upsell you rather frequently, you can’t really complain when you’re not paying anything. There’s no custom domain, but there are plenty of starter options that work well for first-time course builders. You can always upgrade later.
- Basic: For $49 per month or $39 per month through the annual package, you have access to a custom domain, email integration, affiliate benefits, SEO structuring, and more.
- Pro: For $99 per month or $79 per month through the annual package, you have live Zoom meeting integration, multiple course admin options, a community building feature, email integration, and more.
- Premier: For $499 per month or $399 per month through the annual package, you’ll get access to enhanced onboarding features, unlimited and dedicated customer support, up to 50 course admins, group analysts, and more.
All three platforms allow your customers to pay through PayPal, Stripe, and major credit and debit cards such as Visa and Mastercard.
There’s nothing major to report here: they’re all onboard with the most popular payment methods. That being said, if you’re going to use Teachable, you should read their FAQ on international payments and mixed gateways before signing up with them.
This is a hard one to wrap around in a single guide. There are a lot of features to go over, so we’re going to break some common ground here and discuss what all three of these services do right.
- Complete Course Building: From the ground up, use all three of these services to design, publish, and host your courses.
- Hosting: No third-party hosting at all. These services all host your sites for you so there’s no middleman.
- Marketing Tools: While the solutions are variable depending on the service, all three provide excellent marketing tools to sell your courses.
- Drip Content: Content dripping is important for any online course builder, and all three services give you the ability to do this with extreme ease.
These course builders aren’t going to meet eye to eye on every feature, but it’s important that part-way through this guide, we recognize that they each offer powerful solutions for your online education empire.
Plugins make the world of online learning go ‘round. With all-in-one sites, you’re not expected to need plugins, but… some plugins are really cool and offer certain values that LMS systems can’t always keep up with.
Thinkific doesn’t offer nearly as many third-party integrations as the other services. You can get access to Stripe, Zapier, and miniOrange though. However, Teachable actually hosts a list of different integrations, such as Zoom, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp on their site.
Kajabi allows you to integrate with WordPress and has a short list of integratable apps that you can use, falling somewhere in between the accessibility of Thinkific and Teachable. Overall, Teachable integrates apps that really matter and help boost your online education effectiveness, so they take the cake in this round.
Modular learning is one of the best (and most common) ways that we learn. Part by part, videos, text, and images are displayed to help us understand a subject.
Well, there are other teaching methods integrated into module-based learning as well. Thinkific lets you provide a voice over PowerPoint, which is a powerful tool in online teaching.
However, Teachable lets you sell individual course materials and templates for planners, as well as other education content, through a DLC-style storefront.
When you break into the courses themselves, Thinkific, Teachable, and Kajabi offer similar experiences to your students. While there are some notable differences, you’d do well with any of these services for your students.
Throughout our experience with all three of these services, Thinkific has one of the least fantastic customer service supports out of the lot.
Kajabi and Teachable came close, but Teachable just really came through with one-on-one interactions and extremely helpful information the entire way through.
Keep in mind we didn’t contact them on repeat every single day to get this information, but out of our first impressions, Teachable really shines.
Kajabi Pros and Cons
- Plenty of Integrated Tools: You have access to so many tools at your disposal that you can really customize your site. If your goal is to make sure your site doesn’t look similar to the template you chose, Kajabi’s tools will help you get there.
- Excellent UI on Both Ends: For you during course creation, and for your students during course use, you’ll both have access to a clean UI that really makes it easy to navigate everything.
- Marketing Tools: Marketing is one of the hardest things to do, especially on the internet. When it comes to your course, you need to make it stand out and make an offer that’s attractive to hungry, prospective students. You can use coupon tools, landing pages, and other fantastic marketable options to ensure your site stands out amongst the rest.
- Integrated Video Hosting: Nobody wants to make a site just to have to host their videos on a private YouTube link. That won’t do at all, but that’s okay with the Wista integration that helps you host videos in an integrated and intuitive way, giving your students primary access through your site instead of a third-party portal or page.
- You Can’t Issue Certificates: Instead of being able to issue certificates at the end of your student’s experience, you have to use a third-party tool like Accredible. Even then, these certificates don’t have credits or anything, but they give your student a sign of the end of the course and they are important to help them feel fulfilled.
- Custom Coding Options: Or rather, the lack thereof. You have minimal options here, at least at the time of writing this review, which means injectable code and custom modules are going to be a big no-go.
Teachable Pros and Cons
- First-Time Friendly: If you’ve never built a website before, let alone an online course, then you’re in luck. Teachable was designed to be helpful to first-timers, making their valuation that much higher.
- Multiple Product Sales: Don’t want to only sell courses? No big deal. You can sell spreadsheets, print-outs, lesson plans, and basically any educational material you want through the other channels of selling digital goods on Teachable.
- Automatic Affiliate Payments: You can get affiliates to help sell your courses for you, but when it comes time to give them their piece of the pie, Teachable will actually dole out the cash for you instead of you having to do extra bookkeeping. When you factor that into the lowered cost, this is pretty remarkable.
- Cheaper Than the Competition: Out of the three of these services, you can get Teachable for a lot less than their competitors, and with the highest level package available. Of course, cost isn’t everything, but the idea that you could save more than $2,000 per year compared to others (even at the annual price) is nothing to scoff at.
- Can’t Do Live Videos: Looking to host some live classes? Not on Teachable, you’re not. You can only use pre-recorded videos, so if you’re trying to make a webinar-exclusive learning experience for people, Teachable flat out just isn’t it.
- Minimal Third-Party Integration: Third-party apps can be integral to your site… if you can, you know, get them to work. There’s minimal ways for you to integrate other apps or plugins, so you can’t do as much as other platforms.
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Multiple Student Payment Options: Imagine going down a sales funnel, being ready to buy a product, and then realizing that you can’t pay because they don’t support your payment method. Thinkific gives you plenty of options to grant to your students to pay.
- Voice Over PowerPoint: An understated feature, but a powerful one. Run a PowerPoint, and use the in-app video production mode to create a voice over to explain what’s going on. This comes in handy more than you think.
- Customization Options: You choose how your students view your site. You choose how they get to interact with everything. With the customization options, you can do more than just what the templates offer.
- Powerful Marketing Tools: Thinkific earns that monthly and annual price tag based on the marketing tools they give you access to. Coupons, tiers, membership perks, content dripping—the list goes on and on.
- Zero Chat Support: For being the top of the food chain when it comes to full-scale, all-in-one LMS systems, they dropped the ball on this one. You can’t get live chat support, and the phone support is only good if there’s no waiting period. Otherwise, you’d better prepare for elevator music.
- Limited Sales Pages: You can make a landing page if you’re creative, but making a sales funnel? Forget about it. Sales funnels can be made on separate pages, but for this all-in-one service, this should be integrated as well as the other marketing features they have available.
Well considering that Thinkific doesn’t offer a mobile app, they’re out of the running in this category.
That being said, they do have a responsive website that works very well on mobile, it’s just not going to be its own separate app. You’ll have to access it through your smartphone or tablet browser.
Kajabi tool forever, but they finally have an app just like Teachable. With the Kajabi app, you can access contact information for your students and answer email as well as questions.
Last but not least, Teachable’s app might be the most intuitive yet. While you can build entire courses through the mobile application, there are limitations. The app is responsive, has a great UI, and information is laid out very evenly.
However, at the end of the day, you shouldn’t be using a mobile app to design a course. Even on an iPad Pro or something along those lines, it’s going to interfere with your ability to maintain the quality of your course. Out of all three services, nobody recommends actually building a course on their apps. These are more for checking in with students and sending out push notifications than anything else.
Three Great Platforms, But Only One for Your Needs
Three great softwares, three sets of problems, and three sets of major benefits. They’re all good, for you and your specific needs, only one of them can be great. Now it’s time for you to decide.
When you go through three separate LMS systems, it’s hard to compare everything and draw a conclusion. Ask yourself the tough questions.
Compare the budgeting options, apps, website UI, site search volume, and every little detail in between. You want your course to do the best, you have to choose the best LMS to go with. Now’s your chance.