Dating has become hard because of what's going on around the world. There's no denying it.
The good news is that there are tons of dating apps available these days to help you date online. However, while some of them are very good, others are distinctly average – and a total waste of your time and money.
To ensure you sign up for the app that befits your current needs and wants, I’m going to walk you through the best dating apps. I’ve personally tried all the dating apps, and I’m going to take a look at who they’re for, how they work, and what their costs, pros, and cons are.
The Best Dating Apps Of 2023
eHarmony is aimed at singles who are looking for serious relationships. With millions of members worldwide and a very precise matchmaking method, it’s easy to see why eHarmony has enjoyed so much success. In fact, according to statistics, an incredible 542 people get married each day because of eHarmony! Most members are aged between 25 and 34, though, so if you’re older than that, you may want to try another site.
It has now been around for two decades and claims to use scientific research to help it pair up compatible users. Signing up to eHarmony takes a little bit of time, but this is because it’s aimed at serious dates which – it’s assumed – are prepared to invest time and energy into finding a life partner. When you first signup, you’ll need to complete a personality test that asks a series of questions, many of which start with the line “what would you do if …?”
Once your account is up and running, you can search for users and send them “winks” if you’re still using a free account. However, if you want to send and receive messages, you’ll need to upgrade your account. eHarmony requires a lot of patience, which is why it’s ideal only for those who are looking for a soul mate.
Bumble is a dating app like Tinder aimed at pairing up guys and girls who are either looking for either casual or serious relationships. However, there’s a catch: Girls have to message first if a guy and girl match (anyone can message first if it’s a same-sex connection). Also, Bumble has two features – one is for dating, and the other is for friends (BFF feature).
Bumble requires your age, location, height, weight, hair color, and so on to set up the profile. Then, you just need to add a few pics and a bumble bio and start swiping. If you like someone who’s liked you back, the two of you are a connection and can start chatting. Because Bumble is based on an algorithm, you need to put effort to write a good dating profile. The more popular it is (ergo, the more “likes” you have), the higher up the queue you will be. Thus, you’ll be more visible.
It's fairly easy to succeed on Bumble because there are just two simple keys to success: Good pics (pics with your dog or a kitten always work well) and a brief but witty bio. Once you connect and start chatting with someone, just make sure to be cool, normal, and – if possible – funny. Banter always works.
Hinge is a free dating app to use and works similar to Tinder with a few differences. Hinge is the only dating app that's “designed to be deleted.” It’s aimed at singles who are looking for something serious. To that end, there are very few fake profiles and millions of serious, active users.
The signup process is refreshingly easy, and you’re not required to fill out any questionnaires or tests. Instead, Hinge wants the bare minimum from you at this point – your basic info and 6 photos (these are all mandatory). No bio, Instead, there are a series of questions – such as “where do you want to travel to?” – that you can pick from. Your answers then show up on your account, and other users can choose to interact with them if they wish.
My top tip is to be creative with your Hinge answers. Since another Hinge member has nothing but your photos and answers to judge your personality off, there’s no point giving one-word answers to the questions.
Tinder is the most popular dating app for dating and hookups. It’s a free dating app that’s got more users than most other dating apps. There are paid features such as Tinder boost & Tinder gold, but many people find that they’re able to enjoy moderate success without upgrading their account.
The premise of Tinder was pretty original when it was first launched. Users just need to make a quick account that consists of at least one photo and their location and gender, and – if they like – they can add a couple of lines in their Tinder bio. Then, they’re free to “swipe.” If they like the look of someone, they swipe right. If they don’t, they swipe left. If two like each other, they’re a match and can get chatting.
It's very easy to get results on Tinder. The matches flooded in when I first joined but eventually tailed off as the algorithm made things harder. However, I made sure to add my best pics and a killer one-liner to my Tinder bio, and then I “boosted” myself a few times and upgraded to Tinder Gold so that I could see who liked me. I then got a few more matches and made sure to deliver witty opening messages.
HER is aimed at lesbians, bisexuals, and queer women. It’s free to send messages, and users have to link at least one of their social media accounts. It’s a fun, open, and tolerant dating app that continues to attract more users.
The sign-up process takes a few seconds, but you need to link either your Facebook or Instagram account. You can add a few photos and ‘text items’ (not so much a bio, and your location adjusts whenever you move). Like a lot of dating apps these days, HER doesn’t have a search function. Instead, the app works like Tinder, and you can only send messages to your matches or be added as a friend. However, there is a Feed feature that lets you comment on posts that you haven’t yet matched with.
As a guy, I wasn’t able to use HER. However, I’ve checked the app out and spoken to a few buddies who have used it. The general consensus is that HER is useful for “checking throughout the day” and that it’s fairly easy to “get a few matches.” Their users tend to prefer to exchange a few brief messages before meeting up as soon as possible.
6. Elite Singles
Elite Singles is aimed at career-minded, highly educated singles who are looking for equally ambitious and intelligent partners. Most users who sign up have a college degree or better, and most users are looking for a long-term relationship or even marriage. The signup process requires you to take a personality test. This should take you around 20 minutes. The test was designed by experienced psychologists, and while it takes time to fill out, the idea is that it saves you time in the long run by improving your matches.
Once you’ve answered the questions and filled out your profile, you’re free to get to know by swapping 5 questions, sending “winks,” and composing your message from scratch. Despite the challenging nature of a site like Elite Singles, it’s very easy to land a few dates. This is because there’s no endless swiping (such as on Tinder). Instead, everyone here who has paid for their account is looking for serious dates.
Moreover, the matchmaking feature is very sophisticated and, more often than not, pairs you up with highly compatible folks. The easiest way to succeed is to use the automated 5 introductory questions before taking things off Elite Singles. Once you’ve built a rapport with someone, it’s time to arrange a date – preferably somewhere like a classy restaurant.
OkCupid is one of the oldest yet most modern dating apps. It’s been revamped a few times over the years. It’s ideal for anyone who considers themselves LGBT, and it’s especially aimed at more open-minded, non-judgemental people who are looking for just about anything, whether that be friends, an OkCupid hookup, or a polygamous relationship. Start by giving the usual info, but there’s a questionnaire that you’ll need to complete, too.
Once you’re up and running, there are two ways to look for members: You can either use the search function or you can use a feature called Double Take, which works like Tinder’s “swipe” function. If you come across someone you like the look of, you can give them a message without waiting for them to connect with you. However, OkCupid then sends them an email to tell them that “someone” has sent them a message, and it’s only when they happen to “like” you back that they can see your message.
By restricting the way we send and receive messages on OkCupid, they sure made life harder for us. They say they changed their policy to help protect users from abusive, repetitive messages from other users they’re not interested in. That said, whilst starting a conversation with someone you like is harder than ever, it’s still possible to do well on OkCupid. My advice is to only message people you’re genuinely interested in and to keep your messages fun, light, and a tad flirty.
8. Plenty of Fish
One of the oldest online dating apps, Plenty of Fish (POF) is an old favorite for singles who want a free dating app. It costs nothing to send and receive messages, and its simple concept is very appealing to people who want a hassle-free dating experience. As simple as POF’s concept is, the sign-up process is rather lengthy because you need to answer numerous questions. Your answers go into POF’s algorithm and will help you get better potential matches.
Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you need to write a few lines about yourself (a few lines are compulsory), add a few pics, and add a catchy headline. Because of the way POF’s search function works, a strong main image and an eye-catching POF headline are important. If you like the look of someone’s main pic and headline, you can visit their profile and send them a message.
There are a few things I like about POF. One is how easy it is to tweak your search according to location, age, etc. And two, I like how varied the users are. Some are looking for a bit of fun, others are looking for something long-term, but so many are open for at least a chat. If your pics are good and your profile is positive, fun, and friendly, there’s no reason you can’t succeed here.
Match.com is a dating app for people who are looking for something longer term. It’s free to sign up, but you need to upgrade to send messages. With over 8 million paying members around the world, it’s one of the most popular matchmaking sites around. The sign-up process is pretty quick, and there’s a profile builder feature that speeds things up. You need to upload a profile picture before you can continue, and there’s also a mandatory personal info form to complete.
Once you’re up and running, you can find potential dates via a Matches tab, which presents you with suggested profiles, or you can use the search function. If you like the look of someone, just hit “Like,” and they’ll receive a notification. If they’re a premium member, they’ll be able to see your profile, and you can start chatting. Match.com is the best dating app for a serious relationship. First, it’s got more traffic than most other dating apps. Two, millions of people are paying to use it, which means they’re all serious about dating. Three, the user interface is one of the best I’ve seen.
I made sure to add a couple of lines in my About Me section to make my profile as appealing as possible. And when I sent opening messages, I tailored them specifically to the person I was writing to. As long as you’re polite, respectful, and humorous, succeeding on this dating app is possible. However, most users want to build up a rapport before agreeing to meet you, so you’ll need to have a lot of patience, too. This isn’t a dating app for hookups, so just take your time.
Zoosk is a dating site that has been around for well over a decade, but it was recently given a revamp so that it looks and feels better than ever. Zoosk is for singles of all types who are looking for something short-term or long-term. With a relaxed look and vibe, it occupies the middle ground between dating apps such as POF and OkCupid. The sign-up process takes less than 5 minutes, and you don’t even need to upload a pic. You just need to enter a few personal details and a valid email address.
You can browse for free via the search function, and you can also send smiles and hearts. However, you need to upgrade your account to send messages and use the chatroom. You can use a feature called Carousel, which suggests profiles for you. Each time someone is interested in you, you’ll get an email letting you know. This way, it’s really easy to connect with someone else (unlike Tinder, where you could be swiping forever).
I landed a few matches and had a few conversations, but I found the best way to succeed on Zoosk is to fill out your profile with a story (this is a cool feature that will get you noticed by more people). You should also take the time to fill in a variety of categories so that people can see who you’re interested in.
One of the least known dating apps, CoffeeMeetsBagel, has fairly low traffic. However, while it has its limitations, it’s a cute alternative to the more “brash” dating apps and can work as a side dating app to help you find a few more dates. CoffeeMeetsBagel is different from most other dating sites and dating apps in the sense that it has no search function. Instead, it puts a limited number of curated matches in front of you each day. Then, you get 24 hours to decide if you want to swipe left or right. If you swipe right and the other person does the same, you can start messaging.
CoffeeMeetsBagel shouldn’t be your number 1 dating app. It’s a better idea to pop in and out of it every now and then. This is because its users are quite low, and the dating app only aims to pair you up with compatible people who are nearby.
As such, I didn’t get too many matches. However, due to the way it works, it also means you won’t spend your whole day endlessly swiping. Instead, you’re given several curated matches each day. Once you’ve run through them all, it’s time to either send messages or switch to another app.
Happn is a geo-location-based dating app with 50 million active users around the world. It works a bit like Tinder but with a twist: It tries to meet you with somebody you’ve already met. The sign-up process is a breeze and can be done by linking your Facebook account. You need to hand over a couple of personal details, such as your date of birth, but you don’t need to spend time creating a bio.
You’re free to swipe left or right on other members. You’ll notice that the information you can see on a person’s profile is limited until you upgrade your account. You’ll also notice that each person who is put in front of you lives fairly close by. This is because the happn dating app shows you matches according to proximity, as well as the preferences you’ve set.
I found Happn a really useful dating app that made it easy to set up dates with singles who lived nearby. Because it’s geo-location based and attempts to pair you up with somebody who you’ve maybe met before (perhaps you went to the same gig one time), it’s a lot easier to strike up an initial conversation. Moreover, because your matches are close by, it’s a lot easier to match, chat, and meet up all on the same night.