Is MasterClass worth it? It depends. Sure, the teachers are celebrities so you are “learning from the best.”
However, many of the teachers have written books or presented on a podcast. Can’t you just cherry-pick the same information from other sources for free?
We’ve had a MasterClass membership for three years. After completing 31 courses in full and watching episodes from nearly all the instructors, we’re confident in our MasterClass review.
Here are our thoughts on whether or not MasterClass is worth the money and your time.
is masterclass worth it?
As full-time, live-out-of-our-backpack nomads, we didn’t ask for anything for Christmas. So, my creative sister Anita found a wonderful gift for us to bring along on our trip: A MasterClass subscription.
If you haven’t seen their ads on Facebook or YouTube, MasterClass is an online teaching platform where you “learn from the best.”
And they’re not kidding, Gordon Ramsey teaches cooking, Natalie Portman teaches acting, and Serena Williams teaches tennis.
After enjoying the classes for the last three years, here’s a MasterClass review from a couple of lifelong learners who have made a career by exploring all avenues to optimize health and happiness.
In this article, our goal is to help you answer the question, “Are MasterClasses worth it for me?”
What Is MasterClass?
MasterClass is an online course platform for students of all levels who want inspiration and direction to master a craft. That craft could be cooking, singing, gardening, entrepreneurship, climbing, running, writing or negotiating.
The MasterClass teachers are world-renowned experts at their work and MasterClass produces courses to highlight and share their wisdom.
“Is MasterClass good,” you ask? Absolutely. The production quality and teachers are the best in the world. But that still doesn’t mean that MasterClass courses are worth it.
Who Is A MasterClass Subscription For?
MasterClass is for lifelong learners. We recommend MasterClass to everyone, of all ages. As long as you are interested in one of the following categories, MasterClass is a fit.
Also, now that there’s a MasterClass Family Plan (6 devices), you can share the gift of MasterClass with your lifelong learner friends or family members.
Before deciding if MasterClass is worth the money, browse all the class categories on the MasterClass homepage because new classes come out monthly. Here is a summary of what they’re offering as of April 2022.
How many MasterClasses are there?
Food – 22 Classes
Arts & Entertainment – 68 Classes
Music – 23 Classes
Writing – 21 Classes
Sports & Gaming – 15 Classes
Design & Style – 16 Classes
Business – 20 Classes
Science & Tech – 6 Classes
Home & Lifestyle – 25 Classes
Community & Government – 14 Classes
Wellness – 9 Classes
Total = there are 239 MasterClass classes
It’s a fun activity but we would say it’s more for inspiration and personal development than for business and step-by-step, structured learning.
Many classes are higher level, as the masters share their philosophy and methodology of approaching their life works.
Ryan and I have enjoyed every course, even when it’s not relevant to our daily life. Hearing someone like Jimmy Chin talk about his passion for adventure photography is fascinating, and you learn more about how these great masters have become great.
Discovering their personal stories and what drives them — and how they stay relevant in a competitive world — always motivates and inspires us to do better in our own lives.
Our MasterClass review in a few words: it’s time to replace your Netflix binges with a MasterClass subscription. Once you buy a MasterClass subscription, get started after reading our below list of the best teachers/courses available.
Although we’re clearly fans, MasterClass.com is not worth it for everyone. For those individuals, it’s helpful to answer who MasterClass is not for.
Who MasterClass Is NOT For
If you need the following, MasterClass is not the best online learning platform for you.
MasterClass does not give accreditation on completed courses. For example, even though MasterClasses can help with professional development, it’s unlikely that you’ll be putting your MasterClass course on your resumé.
MasterClass is not for people who want live classes, although you’ll have access to a community discussion board.
Access To Teachers
MasterClass does not give you access to the teachers.
how does masterclass work?
The MasterClass platform itself is fresh and interactive. The MasterClass app feels more like Netflix than an official course site like Coursera, SkillShare, or Udemy.
Each course comes with its own downloadable workbook and comments section (the MasterClass Hub) where students can discuss what they learned, ask questions, and share their personal stories and tips.
As of today, in April 2022, there are 239 MasterClasses available, with new courses released monthly. It’s incredible how many new classes there are, seemingly weekly.
How long is a MasterClass?
Roughly, from start to finish, a course lasts from 4-6 hours, covering 18-30 individual lessons. There’s a big range, but some classes are short while others are more involved.
In the majority of them, you’re given things to think about with each course, but not actual homework (although Annie Leibowitz’s MasterClass does).
Where are Classes held?
On your device(s), available for viewing both on and offline. Depending on your subscription, MasterClass can be streamed on multiple devices simultaneously (different lessons on each) and pre-downloaded for offline use on both iOS-operating devices and Androids.
We love to download a few courses onto my phone to listen to on long road trips.
Do I have to watch? Or just listen?
All MasterClass courses are available in both video and audio formats. We did some quick math, and estimate that 52% of the courses require video. Although, not all of the classes within those courses require video.
Some courses, such as Wayne Gretzky Teaches the Athlete’s Mindset, only require audio and you can listen to them like a podcast. Additionally, others by writers or business leaders can usually just be listened to on audio-only.
However, most courses require a mix of audio and video. For example, we listened to 90% of Joan Benoit Samuelson Teaches the Runner’s Mindset, but had to watch 10% to see the stretching and strengthening exercises she does to prevent injury.
Lastly, some courses are best viewed visually, as in the case of Bobbi Brown’s makeup and beauty course. Every cooking course we’ve completed requires video.
What Is The Best Way To Watch MasterClass?
Before writing this MasterClass review, we’ve used our subscription on our laptops, iPad, and iPhones. MasterClass can be streamed online or through their iOS and Android apps.
After logging in, you’ll be able to see all of the courses you’ve taken, your progress in each, and keep a list of the ones you want to watch next.
On the app, you’ll be able to download most classes for offline viewing with a Duo or Family subscription. Every subscription allows you to download each master’s workbook in PDF form.
What Is It Like Taking A MasterClass
Since you’re reading MasterClass reviews, we’re assuming you have never taken a class. Here is what you can expect from a MasterClass membership.
First, it’s important to mention that each MasterClass is a unique experience, with some masters recording long lessons while others do many short ones.
Some even give “homework” assignments, but they’re not mandatory (no one will check) and are for your benefit. Annie Leibovitz will ask you to take portrait shots and Joe Holder will recommend a recovery workout.
Many of the cooking classes are a little longer, with lessons over 20 minutes as the masters show you step-by-step how to cook a dish. For example, Gordon Ramsey shares his classic beef Wellington recipe in 24 minutes.
Likewise, James Suckling has fewer lessons but longer ones, including a 28 minute class on discerning wine flavors and aromas.
Whereas others, like Bill Clinton, have shorter lessons less than 10 minutes to discuss ‘facing criticism’ and ’emotional intelligence.’
Every MasterClass course we have taken is unique.
Overall, some MasterClasses are like reading an in-depth book that you want to digest and let sink in. While others can be binge-watched (like Tan France’s Style for Everyone) while others we prepped for and made an effort to keep pace with (like James Suckling’s Wine Appreciation).
All were enjoyable, and we guarantee that you’ll learn something valuable every day.
How much does masterclass cost?
This is an important consideration in deciding if a MasterClass subscription is worth it. So important that we wrote a separate article outlining the plans, what you get, and the pricing.
For more detailed information, head over to our article titled, ‘How Much Is MasterClass?‘
This article is best because MasterClass modifies its plans and pricing frequently.
Individual Subscription: $17.85/month, billed annually at $214.20 USD. This includes streaming on one device at a time.
Duo Subscription: $23.80/month, billed annually at $285.60 USD. With this plan, you can have two people watching on two devices simultaneously. You’re also able to download the classes to watch offline. This is the subscription that we have.
Family Subscription: $27.37/month, billed annually at $328.44 USD. The family subscription allows for 6 different devices to stream at once, plus you can pre-download lessons for offline viewing.
These are the only ways to buy MasterClass. There is no monthly MasterClass membership and you can no longer buy individual classes.
Are there discounts?
They often publicize a buy-one-gift-one offer. So pair up with a friend and save 50%.
This 2-for-1 offer is common during Black Friday and the holiday season in December.
Is there a MasterClass free trial
MasterClass does not offer a free trial subscription. If you see websites offering a free trial, that is a fake offering so be careful.
MasterClass does have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a refund if you’re dissatisfied.
Also, if you know someone who is already a MasterClass member, you can ask them for a “Guest Pass.”
Essentially, this is a 14-day free trial of MasterClass. However, you have to enter your credit card information and you will be charged in full if you don’t cancel in time.
Since we’re members, and you are reading our MasterClass review, feel free to email us about a guest pass. If we have one, we’ll happily share.
Is MasterClass a Ripoff?
No monthly membership, no trial, no discounts… is MasterClass legit??
Yes, and it’s definitely NOT a ripoff. Instead, it’s a highly reputable company doing amazing work and confidently charging a fair price.
At $214.20 a year for the ‘Individual’ plan, we think MasterClass is 100% worth it. It’s far more competitively priced than other online class platforms, and frankly, the teachers, content, and production quality is the best by a long shot.
We share our complete MasterClass review, why it’s worth your time and money, and a pros and cons list at the end of this article.
Next, these are the classes that have made MasterClass 100% worth it for us during the last three years.
MasterClass Review: classes ranked from Best to “worst”
Here’s what MasterClass courses we watched, in order of how much we loved each class.
Of course, we’re partial to our interests and want to clarify that all of the classes were thoughtful, deep, and engaging.
Are there classes not on our list that have made an impact on you? If so, please explain in the comments section of this post.
- Chris Voss teaches the art of negotiation
- Dr. Jane Goodall teaches conservation
- Emily Morse teaches sex and communication
- Alice Waters teaches the art of home cooking
- Ron Finley teaches gardening
- Jessie Krebs Teaches wilderness survival
- David Sedaris teaches storytelling and humor
- James Suckling teaches wine appreciation
- Kelly Wearstler teaches interior design
- Jimmy Chin teaches adventure photography
- Tan France teaches style for everyone
- Gabriela Camara teaches Mexican cooking
13. Robert Reffkin teaches buying and selling real estate
14. Malcolm Gladwell teaches writing
15. Matthew Walker teaches the science of better sleep
16. Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches mindfulness and meditation
17. Wayne Gretzky teaches the athlete’s mindset
18. Corey Damen Jenkins teaches interior design
19. Joan Benoit Samuelson teaches the runner’s mindset
20. Bobbi Brown teaches makeup and beauty
21. Sara Blakely teaches self-made entrepreneurship
22. Apollonia Poilâne teaches bread baking
23. Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein teach advertising and creativity
24. Annie Leibovitz teaches photography
25. Gordon Ramsey teaches cooking 1
26. David Axelrod and Karl Rove teach campaign strategy and messaging
27. Doris Kearns Goodwin teaches U.S. presidential history and leadership
28. Judd Apatow teaches comedy
29. Howard Schultz teaches business leadership
30. Frank Gehry teaches architecture
31. LeVar Burton teaches the power of storytelling
Our top ten teachers inspired us more than we bargained for. These are the classes that changed our lives and inspired us to share our MasterClass Review. They are also the courses that we have watched over and over again.
For a deep dive into our top 10 favorite MasterClass courses, open the below article in a new tab. No, this is not a regurgitation of the class description. Instead, we share the story that each teacher tells and how it impacted our lives.
Is MasterClass Worth It? Our Final Review
So, is MasterClass any good? Yes. Absolutely. That’s our MasterClass opinion that holds strong as we go into our 4th year with a MasterClass subscription.
Over the past three years and 31 classes, we’ve become huge fans.
We’ve also seen MasterClass.com grow significantly and change up its business model. In the past, you could buy a single MasterClass course or you could get MasterClass for one month.
These are no longer options, probably because they are not great for business.
In our experience, these options aren’t great for you either. Again, MasterClass is the best tool for lifelong learners. We love that MasterClass only offers an annual, all-access membership.
Many other online learning platforms allow you to buy individual classes and again, in the past, you were able to purchase individual MasterClasses.
Here are the key reasons why the all-access, annual MasterClass subscription is well worth our time and money.
1. We expanded our horizons
We think the Annual MasterClass Membership is an incredible value because you have the opportunity to expand your horizons. You may not like gardening, but you could become obsessed with it after listening to Ron Finley.
It also gives you a license to try classes that you would never have usually (like Penn & Teller’s magic course), and you’ll enrich your life in new ways.
2. From down time to do time
For some of the business classes, Ryan and I loved sitting down and going through each lesson, step-by-step (particularly with the Sara Blakely MasterClass).
However, for most others, we just listened to them for enjoyment while driving, cooking, or gardening.
In this sense, they replaced our usual Netflix and podcast time, while being far more productive, inspirational, and instructive.
3. Constant variety
MasterClass provides tons of variety and is releasing courses from new teachers almost monthly. We were never bored or burned out.
Instead, when it came to the eleventh month of our first yearly subscription, we felt the pressure to watch more and make the most of it!
Therefore, we were literally watching a MasterClass every time we cooked, cleaned, and even showered!
4. Individual topics are easily searchable
Another feature I love that is unique to MasterClass are the Sessions. A Session takes you on a deep dive for 30-days with actionable classes that will get you better in a month. Sessions are included in all of the memberships.
Our favorite teacher, Chris Voss, has a Session on mastering 12 negotiation tactics for the workplace.
Joanne Chang teaches you how to cook 8 incredible cakes. Sessions has only been recently introduced but it’s a fun way to get started and get some new skills… fast!
MasterClass Subscription Review: The Pros and Cons
While we are firm believers that MasterClass is worth the money, there is always room for improvement. These are the pros and cons based on our experience.
The Cons and Things We Didn’t Like
1. Downloading Lessons
Downloading lessons for offline viewing is no longer part of the ‘Individual’ payment plan. To do this, you’ll need to upgrade to either the ‘Duo’ (at $285.60 per year) or the ‘Family’ plan (at $328.44 per year).
2. Sharing Our Membership Was Hard
It’s a pro and a con, but Ryan and I shared the same membership account under the ‘Duo’ plan. While it allows for two devices to stream at the same time, if we are both watching the same MasterClass but are at different spots, it’s confusing to keep track of.
Unlike with Netflix, which offers multiple profiles when multiple people use it, when we were watching the same MasterClass separately, it was hard to remember our spots.
MasterClass allows you to watch two devices at the same time with their ‘Duo’ plan and up to six devices at the same time with their ‘Family’ plan, but this still doesn’t include separate profiles per device.
3. Hard To Gauge Beginner or Advanced
Before the class, it’s tricky to know exactly how advanced or niche the course is.
For example, as amateur photographers, we could follow Jimmy Chin’s advice immediately, but Annie Leibovitz’s went over our heads.
The good news is, though, you can preview the lesson titles in advance, which will give you an idea of how advanced they are.
4. No Free Trial
There are no free trials of MasterClass, but introductions and previews of the courses are available on their page and YouTube channel.
The Pros and Things We Loved
1. Life-Changing Content
Several of the courses we watched were truly inspirational and life-changing. After listening to Jane Goodall’s MasterClass, we won’t think about Mother Earth the same way. For real.
2. It’s Entertaining Education
MasterClass is an excellent replacement for those of us who watch too much Netflix. What’s more, is it’s about the same price. So why not instead listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson or Anna Wintour?
3. Most Credible and Best Teachers
A few of the MasterClasses that we watched had two instructors, and it was cool to see their dynamic, particularly with David Axelrod (Democrat) and Karl Rove (Republican) in their MasterClass, campaign strategy and messaging.
It’s something that you never see, and I loved how they debated and disagreed.
4. Incredibly Detailed Workbooks
Each course comes with a workbook, and I’ve referred back to several of them, over and over again.
I looked at Chris Voss’ yesterday to see his steps on negotiating a price. I also keep Alice Water’s oatmeal pancake and Gabriela Camara’s salsa verde recipes on file.
Additionally, the workbooks are all saved on my laptop and are text searchable. So that one time I was at Ryan’s cabin without wifi, I was able to find Thomas Keller’s recipe on butter-poached lobster tails. Thank you, TK!
5. Fast Growing Course List
MasterClass is especially worth it because it’s growing so rapidly! New courses come out monthly, if not weekly.
MasterClass REview FAQs
While you’re at it, feel free to share your constructive MasterClass opinion to help guide other readers.
Is MasterClass good for kids?
Any classes that contain explicit content provide a warning. Occasionally, Ron Finley (the “Gangster Gardener”) or Gordon Ramsey will drop the F-bomb so you should be careful with young kids.
Otherwise, all the classes that we’ve watched, except for Emily Morse’s excellent class on sex and communication, are fun to watch with your kids and grandparents.
Sure, if you’re super progressive, then by all means, watch Emily’s course with the family. Every young kid should watch Jane Goodall’s MasterClass!
How many classes are there?
As of November 2021, there are 133 MasterClasses available, with new courses released monthly.
How much does MasterClass cost?
The cost of an Annual MasterClass Membership is $214.20 or $17.85/month billed annually for their ‘Individual’ plan.
They also offer a ‘Duo’ plan which allows for downloadable lessons for offline viewing and using two devices at the same time for $285.60 or $23.80/month billed annually.
Finally, there is also a ‘Family’ plan which allows up to six devices to stream MasterClass at the same time, in addition to downloadable lessons for offline viewing. The price is $328.44 or $27.37/month billed annually.
Can I buy a single class or a monthly membership?
No, you can only purchase an annual membership which gives you access to all classes.
Can you get MasterClass for free?
Legally, no. Illegally, probably still no.
Does MasterClass have a free trial?
No, there is not. If you see websites offering a free trial, that is a fake offering so be careful.
Is there a 30-day money-back guarantee?
Yes, there is. So, you can give it a shot and get a refund if you don’t like it.
Are there ever discounts on MasterClass?
MasterClass often publicizes a buy-one-get-one offer. So pair up with a friend and save 50%.
This offer is the only discount we’ve seen from MasterClass since 2015 when they stopped offering coupon codes. During Black Friday and the holiday season in December, the 2-for-1 offer has been called “buy one, give one.”
How can I watch MasterClass?
MasterClass syncs with all of your devices, and you’re able to pre-download them for offline use on an iOS-operating or Android device.
Is MasterClass worth it?
At $214.20 a year for the ‘Individual’ plan, we think MasterClass is 100% worth it. It’s far more competitively priced than other online class platforms, and frankly, the teachers, content, and production quality is the best by a long shot.
Is MasterClass a good gift?
No, it’s not a good gift. It’s the best gift for you and the lifelong learner in your life. Especially not that they offer the Duo and MasterClass Family Plan. What a perfect gift for your partner or your family.
If you love learning and want the world’s most credible teacher, it’s absolutely worth your investment. Our goal with this MasterClass review was to help you see how it will benefit and enhance your life. If we succeeded, sign up for a membership today.
If not, read some other MasterClass reviews. Or, if there is a particular course you’re interested in, maybe the teacher already wrote a book on the subject?
For example, if you’re dying to watch Chris Voss teach negotiation, you could save your money and just buy his book, Never Split the Difference.
When making your own decision about a MasterClass membership, consider if there are 3-5 classes that you want to watch immediately that could help you in your life and work.
If yes, then a MasterClass subscription is a slam dunk. 110% worth it. Plus you’ll have access to every class, so give yourself permission to listen to some fun classes (Carlos Santana and guitar playing, anyone?) in your spare time.
Overall, we’ve had a great experience with MasterClass and think it’s a unique and thoughtful gift idea, for yourself or a loved one.
Plus, after watching Chris Voss’ MasterClass on negotiation, we already paid for the membership many times over! In our article titled, ‘Best MasterClass Courses,’ we explain how his teachings saved us $46,000 when negotiating our first home.
Do you think MasterClass is worth it?
Let us know in the comments below. If you have constructive MasterClass review or your own class recommendations, please share in the comments.
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