If you haven't yet jumped on board the dating app train, there's no better time than now to get started. But first: which dating app should you choose? There's a dizzying range, so how do you know which is best for your needs? Wonder no more - we here at EliteSingles have prepared an overview of the best dating apps for every style of dating. Just click a category to read more:
According to the Pew Research Center, public perception of online dating has become more and more positive. As more people use these services, more research becomes available showing us exactly how and when people use them. In 2016, Business Insider reported dating apps saw a big spike in usage on the first Sunday of every year. Presumably that's when people are done celebrating New Year's Eve and are trying to make good on resolutions. The spike in usage continues through Valentine's Day, with another even higher spike right after. These are good times to use dating apps because of the spikes in traffic. The odds of getting a match increase.
eharmony uses a comprehensive questionnaire with a whopping 29 dimensions to match you with people based on your long-term compatibility. You'll give yourself a rating on prompts like "I'm an honest partner," with sliding scale responses. On paper, asking deep questions like these right off the bat makes total sense when pairing two people together — but they're so basic and annoying. As much as you'd like to lie to feel better about yourself, you know deep down that's not the way to a healthy relationship. Admitting that you're not as mature in a certain area is key to eharmony matching you with someone who complements you. eharmony promises to pay for three months if you're not satisfied after three months, so they're clearly pretty confident that all of those questions work.
Bumble can be accessed from their website and can be found on Google Play for Android and the Apple App store for iOS. You have the option to create a Bumble account with your phone number or by connecting your Facebook account. If you use a phone number you will be required to verify it by inputting a code that will be sent to you via text. The benefit of using Facebook is that some information will be pulled and used in your Bumble account. You can control what information is used and Bumble says they will never post to your Facebook profile. Also remember when you sign up for Bumble, you will be getting account not only on Bumble Date, but Biz and BFF as well. As mentioned above, for this review we will mainly be concentrating on the dating aspect of Bumble.
Now has a messaging feature, but chats are only visible for two hours if you and another user stop talking. You get four free access keys when you sign up, which increase your chances of meeting new people. If you want more, they're available for purchase. When you buy a Gold Key, you get unlimited access to all of the app's premium features for 60 hours.
The stigma attached to online dating is only there because, in most people's minds, online dating either means desperately looking for a spouse or desperately looking for sex. While some sites are definitely like that, Match is the place where you can find a serious, long-term relationship without the looming pressure of marriage. (Seriously, check out success stories here.)
How it works: To be honest, there aren't that many places where people who are more introspective can congregate in the outside world. That kind of goes against the idea of being shy. Sure there are clubs and parities, but if you're really shy it's nearly impossible to meet anyone there. This website is the solution. The website's matching system uses your preferences, location, and interests to match you with others. It even offers expert tips to help you overcome your shyness.
Now that you've perused the dating pool and have your eyes on that special someone, it's time to bite the bullet and actually reach out to him or her. Each app offers different ways of showing your interest, but in most instances, this is when you have to open your wallet. Match will let you Wink at a fellow member for free, and Plenty of Fish doesn't charge for messaging, but in almost all other instances you're going to get charged for the reach-out. If you're not ready to express your feelings in words, Bumble lets you send Bumble Coins to prospective matches, for $2 a pop. Zoosk offers the slightly creepy option of giving Coins to other users to express your interest (for an additional fee, of course).
Another bonus is that AdultFriendFinder is like the dating site version of New York City (AKA it never sleeps). You'll find people who work the regular 9-5, people who work the night shift, and people in other time zones, so it's nearly impossible to log on and not have people to talk to. AdultFriendFinder is like the booty call that's always awake when you text them.
Plenty of Fish isn't known for its dated interface. If you can get past that, the underpinnings are solid: There is an in-depth personality test helps provide better matches, or you can use a detailed search function to show potential dates based on anything from basics (age, ethnicity, relationship type) to very specific criteria (personality type, car ownership, level of self-confidence and ambition). As with OkCupid, it's free to communicate with others, but there's a premium membership that adds additional features (Est. $12.75 per month for four months). Those include getting your profile highlighted in searches, skipping ads, and seeing whether your emails were read.
One thing to note if you don't fall into the cis-hetero dating pool: While most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive, there are those that are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. If you're a man seeking a man or a woman seeking a woman, you'll want to steer clear of eharmony: It doesn't even give you the option of a same-sex match.
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.
The Nuts and Bolts: The user experience is not bad, but not fantastic either. You’ll probably receive more messages from the app’s concierge than potential matches. The app also pulls your LinkedIn educational and professional background—so my profile lists every job I’ve had since graduating college and where I went to high school, which is a little odd. By far, the best feature of this app is that it gives you a maximum of five potential matches a day—why in the world would you need more? The users are carefully vetted, which eliminates the mindless swiping aspect of most apps, which I really like. No one has time for endless swiping these days—and if they did, I probably wouldn’t want to date them.
Zoosk Coins: You can also earn or buy Zoosk "Coins", which unlock your matches, allow you to send virtual gifts, boost your profile, and allow you to get delivery confirmations on emails, among other features. Coins cost $19.95 for 180, up to $99.95 for 1800 coins. Coins can be earned by using or signing up to various third-party apps, surveys, services and websites.