The stigma toward dating apps is fading, and these apps are quickly becoming the normal way to meet and connect with other single people. To help you navigate the deluge of dating apps, we’ve selected some of the best dating apps, as well as some of those that bring something unique to the table. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ll also offer our expert opinions on their accessibility, foibles, pratfalls, best intended uses, and everything else in between. Hopefully, Cupid’s arrow is in your favor!
Although you may feel a good rapport with the person you are in contact with, it sometimes happens that there is no sparkle when eventually you meet. Remember, it can take a while to meet the right person, it’s quite normal to have to wait before meeting Miss or Mister Right. Online dating is faster and, if you find the sparkle isn’t there, at least you’ll have made a great friend from another country. And . . . maybe one day this "friend" will introduce you to the person with whom you will fall in love. 
Valentine's Day has come and gone, but the search for the perfect mate goes on. And your smartphone may be able to help. Even a few years ago, Internet dating meant tethering yourself to your computer, but these days, mobile devices and location-sensing apps have turned the world into your playground for dates, hookups and long-term relationships, with even Facebook testing out a dating service of its own for its massive social network. Check out our top dating, hook-up and meet-up apps that will help you find the Right One... or the Right Now. (Image Credit: Bbenard/Shutterstock)
What's this app's deal? Hinge's thing is calling themselves the dating app for people who don't want to be on dating apps, and honestly I RELATE. They say their app is "designed to be deleted" and that's a campaign I can fucking get behind. On Hinge the profiles are a bit more built out — you have the 5-6 pictures, but then you also have to answer three questions and it gives you the ability to share more about yourself and learn more about others. You can react to people's answers on the questions OR photos, and anyone can message anyone. You can't send pictures, which is honestly probably for the best.
Why it's awesome: Grindr has been the go-to for gay and bi men since 2009, and that's because finding someone to talk to is damn near instantaneous. Instead of swiping right or left to match, you'll get a borderline infinite collage of people who are close location wise — and aside from it being overwhelming and slightly frightening, it's obvious that there are a ton of men out there waiting for a conversation. Most users just looking to hook up will let you know right off that they're not trying to make small talk. That's not to say it's not for relationships — one of my good friends met his current boyfriend on Grindr — but at the surface level, it's ideal for quick, casual encounters. However, in 2017, Grindr launched their thoughtful LGBTQ online magazine called Into, in efforts to make itself look more like a lifestyle brand and less like a hookup app. According to Mashable's MJ Franklin, Into is one of the most interesting digital magazines on the internet. Now you really can say you're just on Grindr for the articles. (Suuure.)
Whether you’re into casual encounters, new friends or a serious relationship, dating apps make it easy to make connections on the go. Instead of being limited to your desktop at home, apps enable you to check in and search for matches from anywhere -- from your morning commute to your backpacking trip through Europe. And since most apps match you with nearby users, it’s easy -- and fun -- to find a last minute date, no matter where you may be.
This site offers detailed reviews of popular dating apps and dating sites. With our member and team reviews, you’ll discover how each service works, its features, and approximate cost. Most apps and sites offer a free dating profile, searching, and matching, but to communicate with someone you will have to purchase a subscription or buy credits. None of the popular dating sites and/or dating apps are completely free.

Are you into literature? Then you may want to give Alikewise a whirl. This is the site that helps you find interesting people who are interested in books just as you are. For instance, one of the entries on this website is a 50-year-old woman who is is an apparent fan of “Animal Farm.” A person has commented on the book, and she apparently has left her opinion of the comment he has made. Indeed, it is amazing what you can find out about a person who is into similar literature that you are. Also, you find out that many more people liked that particular book than you thought. Does sharing a common love of a certain literary work constitute good grounds for romance? Maybe not in itself, but it can be a start.

Bumble was founded by Whitney Wolfe, a woman whose goal was to make dating (and now, even networking and friendship) more female-friendly. How that manifests on the app, for the uninitiated, is a Sadie Hawkins-esque interface that requires women to message their male matches first. Then men have 24 hours to respond or else the match is erased. (For women messaging other women and women-identified folks, either party can respond first.) Although this ostensibly puts the power into women’s hands, it’s also the biggest complaint I heard about Bumble while researching this piece, calling it “annoying” and “overwhelming” (and the reason a few dating-haters I spoke to defected to Tinder). But lots of respect to any app that's actually trying to make women feel safer online, and Bumble has made that its priority.
An online dating site allows you to upload a profile, often for free initially, and search and browse other member's profiles seeking someone of interest. On most sites you can filter searches based on multiple criteria, for example height, education and if someone has children or not, to find someone who has the characteristics that most appeal to you. 
Privacy is a significant concern when it comes to Tinder, as users can sign up with their Facebook profile, meaning the company can access a large amount of personal information, including your email address, likes, birthday, education history, interests, current city, personal description, your friends list, and photos of you and your Facebook friends who might be common with other users. (Although you can restrict the amount of Facebook information it has access to when you sign up.)

However, if you’re a woman and you really hate being the first person to initiate a conversation, then Bumble definitely isn’t for you. Profiles are also very short, consisting of a concise blurb and six photos or fewer. This can make it hard to gauge whether or not you’re interested, even at the most superficial level, in someone. Furthermore, because Bumble places the onus on the woman to initiate the conversation, we’ve found that it can attract a more passive crowd than other dating apps.


Dating.com also uses an anti-fraud system that scams all existing profiles and alerts the customer support team if it detects a suspicious profile. The customer team also investigates reports of abuse sent in by other members who are suspecting someone is trying to scam them. Upon receiving notifications of suspicious profiles, the security team checks each incident and deletes and bans offending profiles.
OkCupid has 8 million users. Like POF, the site is free with added features for premium members (otherwise referred to as A-list members). The one thing that puts OkCupid on the list of best free dating sites is the compatibility feature. This is a simple feature that generates questions and quizzes to determine the compatibility of a user to another. They also offer a Tindr-like feature that allows users to rate other users and get notifications when other users rate a user they have already rated.
The most notable feature of Elitesingles is their detailed personality test; the results of this test will determine the various matches that the website recommends to you on a daily basis. Members will receive anywhere from 3 to 7 new matches per day, with the matches being determined by personality and preference compatibility as well as level of activity—users who do not log onto the website and use it will be recommended far less than users who actually participate. This method of matching is ideal for people who don’t have the time to try out searches and filters to browse through endless potential matches on their own.
She’s not without her complaints about the dating app format in general, though. “On principle, I don’t really like that I’m being reduced to a Pokémon card with a few photos and stats and swiping based on that,” she says. “But I got extraordinarily lucky and met my now-boyfriend, who downloaded Bumble for nearly the same reason I did! We agree that it we both felt icky making snap judgments based on dumb things while first using the app, but I guess there was enough thoughtful info that was in each of our profiles that led us to swipe and meet.”
Similar to choosing a house, credit card, or career, choosing a dating app is a decision that’s worth taking your time on. A portion of the 5+ hours a day you spend on your phone will go toward dating, so don’t you want the app you choose to be the best one possible? We’ve provided you with all the pertinent information — now the ball is in your court. We know the right choice will come to you!
If you like the ease of Tinder but are searching exclusively for hookups and only want to match with people of the same mindset, CasualX bills itself as "Tinder minus marriage-minded daters." The app's functionalities are pretty much identical to Tinder, with the main (and, maybe only difference) being that no one here is trying to find anything serious. Using an app where everyone's on the same page undoubtedly increases your success rate for finding a warm, willing body to spend the night with, which makes CasualX an ideal app for hookups.
This is a sub-feature of daily matches that provides you with a specific daily match that might be a great connection for you. This is usually the first match provided in the daily matches, and the match is usually reviewed first. However, frequency of the singled out match depends on the accuracy of algorithms. Therefore, your chances of getting a singled out match increase as you review more daily matches.
Instead of endlessly scrolling through a bunch of people that don't bring you joy, the app will send you a select six profiles (all people who have already indicated they’re into you) every day at noon. For those you decide to message, the app will even hold your hand during conversations by suggesting icebreakers to get things started until you’re ready to take things off the app and grab coffee (or bagels) for real.
Once you pick that perfect selfie and write paragraphs to sell all your best attributes to your future mate, it's time to start browsing. This is where the big differences between these apps are apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous hot-or-not swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble, on the other hand, puts all the power in the woman's hands; men can't even contact a woman unless she's expressed interest first. Others, like OkCupid, have robust profiles that let you dive deep into a user's personality (or at least the one he or she has decided to present to you), before you decide to go on the pursuit.
Online dating websites offer a variety of methods on how to search for a mate. Some mobile apps will match you with people based on criteria, including age, gender and geographic proximity. More traditional sites may offer anything from a simple search to a highly specific advanced search. Some more seriously minded sites request that members fill out elaborate compatibility questionnaires. Deciding which process is right for you will largely be determined by whether you’re looking for a casual friendship, relationship or a lifelong partner.
Niche dating sites are for daters looking to find others with common interests, lifestyles, or beliefs due to their religious, cultural, or lifestyle choices. When signing up for a niche dating site, most people are under the impression that others on the site want similar things. This means they will have to spend less time filtering out irrelevant profiles and can spend more time connecting with like-minded people. A niche site is tailored to specific people and their interests. For example, a religious dating site (like Christian Connection) is more likely to have specific denominations of churches rather than just a generic umbrella term.
However, if you’re a woman and you really hate being the first person to initiate a conversation, then Bumble definitely isn’t for you. Profiles are also very short, consisting of a concise blurb and six photos or fewer. This can make it hard to gauge whether or not you’re interested, even at the most superficial level, in someone. Furthermore, because Bumble places the onus on the woman to initiate the conversation, we’ve found that it can attract a more passive crowd than other dating apps.
Why it's awesome: Hinge marries the modern, instantaneous feel of swiping apps with the relationship atmosphere that sites like eharmony or Match offer. Hinge literally labels itself the relationship app, or as I prefer, the "anti Tinder." You scroll like Instagram, creating a smoother (and less judge-y) feel than swiping. There's a common understanding that this app isn't just for sex, but there's no pressure to rush into a relationship either. It's chill, it's legit, and traditional swiping apps should be worried.
Setting up your profile is fast and only requires a few quick facts about yourself and your appearance. After you write six phrases about yourself and three phrases about what you like in a date, you can start using Coffee Meets Bagel. There is no desktop version of this dating service, though, so you have to have a smartphone, Facebook account and cell phone number to use it. A Facebook account is required because, according to the website, matches are more successful when two people have mutual friends. The app accesses your list of friends to do this but won’t post anything to your page, so there’s no need to worry. This dating app uses “beans” as currency. You can earn beans by logging in often, by purchasing them or by completing certain tasks like using the app’s Photo Lab. You then use beans to unlock special features in the app and to “like” other user profiles. The service gives male users 21 curated matches every day that they can either like or pass on. The women, in turn, get to see which men have liked them and decide whether to like them back. If they do, the matched pair can then chat for free. In our tests, the maximum number of profiles we could like before running out of beans was five a day, which we would think keeps most people from being flippant about their matches. In our tests, our accounts got an average of three matches, which was rather low compared to other services we tried. The messaging feature also has a seven-day time limit for conversation between two people, which kind of forces you to decide whether you want to take action on that potential love connection.
Tinder is great app for hookups mainly due to the sheer number of users that are on it (a respectable 57 million as of 2019). Finding a willing hookup buddy in your area is undoubtedly a numbers game, and while not everyone on this app is on it for a casual fling, the odds are high that you'll be able to connect with users that are looking for something casual tonight. Not to mention, it's beyond easy to use. Create a profile with some photos, choose an age and location range for the person you're looking for, and start swiping (left to reject, right to accept). If you both dig each other, you'll be able to send messages to get things started.
Like Raya, joining The League can take a bit of effort. You need to set up a profile and allow the app to access your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. The League uses these networks to verify your information and to make sure colleagues do not see your account. After you complete your application, The League will verify your eligibility, and you will either be accepted on the spot (rare), rejected (common), or waitlisted. If waitlisted, it can take several hours to several months to become a full-fledged member.
Niche dating sites are for daters looking to find others with common interests, lifestyles, or beliefs due to their religious, cultural, or lifestyle choices. When signing up for a niche dating site, most people are under the impression that others on the site want similar things. This means they will have to spend less time filtering out irrelevant profiles and can spend more time connecting with like-minded people. A niche site is tailored to specific people and their interests. For example, a religious dating site (like Christian Connection) is more likely to have specific denominations of churches rather than just a generic umbrella term.
One of the most nerve wracking parts of online dating (aside from literally the entire experience) is selecting which photos you'll use on your profile. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so it's a pretty important part of making a good first impression. Do you go with something that shows your adventurous side? Should you include a snapshot of your dog? Which photo will show the world you're a fun, interesting person?
Julia* lives in Maine and, though she says she’s had the most success meeting people via Bumble, kept Tinder for her work trips. “I’ve held onto Tinder because it’s used more internationally,” she says. “I used to travel abroad alone for work a lot and would just get super bored. I downloaded Tinder for the first time in Buenos Aires because I wanted to practice my Spanish. Even if I don’t go out with anyone, at the very least it’s entertaining to scope out people in foreign cities.”
OkCupid is willing to work to find you a mate. Throughout the signup process, it gathers enough information on you to make informed decisions before recommending potential dates. It's a good happy medium between eharmony, which makes you answer a litany of questions before signing up, and Zoosk, where you can browse after entering the most barebones of data. Better yet, OkCupid lets you do a lot for free, including messaging other members.
Instead of endlessly scrolling through a bunch of people that don't bring you joy, the app will send you a select six profiles (all people who have already indicated they’re into you) every day at noon. For those you decide to message, the app will even hold your hand during conversations by suggesting icebreakers to get things started until you’re ready to take things off the app and grab coffee (or bagels) for real.
eHarmony places a lot of emphasis on the success of a relationship being due to compatibility in various areas, including aesthetic preferences, careers, personality types, interests/hobbies, and more. The website has an in-depth preference and personality algorithm called the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility, which are designed to help the site present you with matches that are logistically compatible with you. The entire website experience is heavily tailored towards personal customization; you can choose everything from what type of information shows up on your dashboard to what type of members can view your profile if they are matched with you and more.
Why it's awesome: It's the dating app version of the Sadie Hawkins dance, created by ex-Tinder employees (ooh, drama). In an attempt to correct one of the common complaints of dating apps — that women get spammed with tons of creepy messages — women are required to message first with Bumble. It pushes some women out of their comfort zone, but it's a nice change of pace. And if you don't message, you could possibly be un-matching with the love of your life, and that's way worse than being ignored. It also takes the pressure off of dudes who feel like they need to start the conversation every time. (We knew you were gonna ask, so yes, with same-sex matches either party can start things off.) Matches expire after 24 hours so you can't agonize over that opening line for too long, and your match list won't be filled with people you forgot you matched with 57 weeks ago. This tactic is apparently working, as Bumble's founder claims that 60% of matches result in a conversation.
To find out more information about each reviewed service, please click one of the sites and/or apps listed in the Reviews section. From here you can filter the dating services by category and type. You can also use our advanced Dating Service Search tool to further narrow your selection. Our Online Dating statistics wiki section includes a wealth of referenced facts about online dating in general and the top dating sites and apps.
Passion Network is more like Tastebuds.fm. The only difference is that Passion Network has more specific niches (over 250 unique dating niches). This translates to more like smaller dating sites inside Passion Network. You can join niches like non-smoking, organic, psychic, cigar, coffee, mullets and classical (music). Their slogan is “Love Long and Prosper”. The site is 100 percent free. When registering, you will be asked to choose a niche.
eHarmony doesn't disclose the price of its plans until after you've filled out their onerous survey, by which point you may have invested hours. Furthermore, the company offers 24-month memberships, which could appeal to bargain-hunting users but lock users in for an extended period of time. The question to ask is: if I'm still using the site 24 months later, has it been worth the (not insignificant) fees charged?
Why it's awesome: When we're blinded by love, we tend to ignore red flags and can't see when someone is all wrong for us — but friends can see it clear as day and wish we would just take their damn advice. Wingman is the unique take on dating that lets your friends play cupid, essentially making it the dating app version of the "Have you met my friend?" classic bar line. Your friends want to see you get laid (or find love, obviously) as badly as you do, and sometimes, they just know us better than we know ourselves. As Mashable's Cassie Murdoch writes, "...a little bit like handing your friend your Tinder or Bumble account and saying, 'Here, you deal with this.'" And sometimes, fancy algorithms just aren't enough.
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