The Best Dating Apps For 2021

Dating has become hard because of COVID-19. There's not denying it.

The good news is that there are tons of 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 of 2020. I’ve personally tried all of them and I’m going to take a look at who they’re for, how they work, and what their costs, pros, and cons are. 

Let’s begin. 

Best Dating Apps 2021

TinderBest For Casual Dating
BumbleBest For Women First Dating
Match.comBest For Long Term Relationships
eHarmonyBest For Custom Matchmaking
EliteSinglesBest For Professional Singles
AdultFriendFinderBest For hookups
OkCupidBest For Thoughtful Questions
HingeBest For Beautiful Profiles
Plenty of FishesBest For Free Dating
ZooskBest For Serious Relationships
HappnBest For Missed Opportunities
HERBest For LGBQ community

1. Tinder 

Tinder is arguably one of the world’s most popular app for dating online. It’s a free “swipe” app that’s got more users than most other dating apps. There are paid features, but many people find that they’re able to enjoy moderate success without upgrading their account. If you strictly looking for one-night-stands then check these hookup apps.

How does it work?

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 “swiping.” 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. On that note, its’ free to send and receive messages. 

My Experience

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 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.

After a week, I had already lined up 5 dates. Girls not replying and decreasing matches with time are two main deal breakers though!

What It Costs?

It’s free to send and receive messages but features such as Tinder Gold & Tinder Super-like cost money. 

Pros: 

  • Massively popular
  • Straightforward as can be
  • Free to use

Cons: 

  • Too many users just use it for validation 
  • No search function 

2. Bumble

Bumble

Bumble is a dating app like Tinder aimed at pairing up guys and girls who are either looking for either casual or serious relationship. 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 apps – one is for dating and the other is for friends (BFF feature). 

How does it work?

Bumble requires a few things from you before your account is up and running. It needs your age, location, height, weight, hair color, and so on. Then, you just need to add a few pics and a killer bumble bi.

Then, you just need to swipe away. 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.

My Experience

Bumble is easy to succeed on 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. 

Within a week, I’d agreed to meet 3 girls. Whilst one of them eventually flaked, there’s no doubt in my mind that Bumble is one of the best apps if you’re just looking to chill with someone new. 

What It Costs?

Bumble is free to use and send messages, but you can upgrade to a Bumble Boost account for extra features.

Pros:

  • High user base
  • Can use it for dating or making friends 
  • Lots of cool features, such as voice and video call 

Cons: 

  • The algorithm can work against you 
  • Guys can’t message first

3. Match.com 

Match

Match is a serious 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.

How does it work?

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. 

My Experience

Match.com is ideal for long-term relationships. First, it’s got more traffic than most other sites. 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 hookup site, so just take your time.

It’s also a good idea to use features such as “MatchMe” which boost your account. 

What It Costs?

It is free to register an account but you’ll then need to upgrade if you want to see who’s “liked” you and send and receive messages. 

  • 1 month – $30 per month
  • 3 months – $20 per month
  • 6 months – $10 per month

Pros:

  • Premium service & experience
  • Great user interface
  • Very easy to use 

Cons: 

  • Requires patience 
  • Costs money but doesn’t guarantee success

4. eHarmony 

eHarmony

eHarmony is aimed at singles who are looking for love. 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. 

The site has now been around for two decades and claims to use scientific research to help it pair up compatible users. 

How does it work?

Signing up to eHarmony takes a little bit of time, but this is because it’s aimed at serious dates who – 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.

My Experience

eHarmony requires a lot of patience, which is why it’s ideal only for those who are looking for a soul mate.

I enjoyed my time on the site, but while I made a few connections, I didn’t take things further. However, with patience and the right mindset, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t succeed on this website. For sure, there are a lot of great features and genuine folks here. 

What It Costs?

  • 6 months – $15 per month 
  • 12 months – $10 per month
  • 24 months – $5 per month

Pros:

  • Millions of genuine, active users
  • Ideal for those looking for long term relationships
  • Excellent user interface, professional site

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
  • Requires lots of patience and effort 

5. Elite Singles

EliteSingles

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. 

How does it work?

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. 

My Experience

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.

I learned that the easiest way to success 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. 

What It Costs?

  • 3 months – $50 per month 
  • 6 months – $35 per month
  • 12 months – $25 per month 

Pros:

  • Lots of smart, educated members 
  • Professional dating app 
  • Good special features, such as a personality analysis 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
  • Exclusively for highly educated people 

6. OkCupid 

okCupid

OkCupid is one of the oldest but yet a modern dating app. 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, and OkCupid hookup, or a polygamous relationship.

How does it work?

Start by giving the usual info – your name, location, etc – there’s a questionnaire that you’ll need to complete, too. This is designed to learn more about your habits, likes, dislikes, and so on so that it can create better matches for you. 

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. 

My Experience

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. 

What It Costs?

OkCupid is free to use. You don’t have to pay to send and receive messages but there are extra features, such as a “boost” feature that costs money. 

Pros:

  • Very active app
  • Slick website/app
  • Free

Cons: 

  • Restrictions on messages 
  • Political and religion info. are two deal breakers.

7. Hinge 

Hinge

Hinge is free to use and works kinda like Tinder (it’s a swipe app) with a few differences. Hinge is an 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. 

How does it work?

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).

There’s no need to fill out a bio because Hinge doesn’t work like that. 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 Experience

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.

Also, since users can “like” your pictures to let you know they’re interested in you, it’s a good idea to ask a friend to choose your best pics for you (let’s face it, we’re never the best at picking our best photos!). 

Personally? I did well on Hinge because it’s really easy to use. It’s a “swipe” app that puts matches in front of you, and if the two of you like the look of each other, there’s no real reason not to talk. 

I also found that people on Hinge are more genuine than those using Tinder. 

What It Costs?

Free to use and send messages but there are premium packages available:

  • 1 month – $9 
  • 3 months – $6 per month 
  • 6 months – $5 per month 

Pros: 

  • Inexpensive 
  • For serious, genuine singles 
  • Great user interface and concept 

Cons:

  • Not ideal for those who enjoy writing bio’s
  • No search function 

8. Plenty of Fish 

PlentyofFish

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 while the web design is as basic as it ever has been, its simple concept is very appealing to people who want a hassle-free dating experience. 

How does it work?

As simple as POF’s concept is (it’s a straight-up dating site with very few special features barring virtual gifts), the sign-up process is rather lengthy because you need to answer 100+ questions. Your answers go into POF’s algorithm and will help you get better matches. 

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you need to write a few lines about you(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 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. 

Once you’ve sent someone a message, they’ll receive it right away and can choose to reply.

My Experience

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 is. 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. 

What It Costs?

POF is completely free to send and receive messages. There are a couple of premium features, such as the ability to see who “wants to meet you” but they hardly seem worth paying for. 

Pros: 

  • Huge user base
  • Very easy to use
  • Completely free

Cons: 

  • Barely any features 
  • Way behind the likes of Tinder in terms of being “cool” 
  • No app (just a website)

9. Zoosk

zoosk

Zoosk 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 available in 80+ countries and is aimed at 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 POF and OkCupid. 

How does it work?

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 choose to connect a social media account if you wish, too. 

Once you’re up and running, 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.

My Experience

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. 

Most people on Zoosk are active, so once you’ve matched with someone, just make sure to be fun, flirty and positive with your conversation. Before you know it, you’ll be getting updates.

What It Costs?

  • 1 month – $32 
  • 3 months – $23 per month 
  • 6 months – $18 per month

Pros:

  • Recently revamped, looks better than ever
  • A lot of users
  • Best for those who are serious about getting into a relationship

Cons: 

  • Bit pricey
  • Better alternatives

11. CoffeeMeetsBagel 

CoffeeMeetsBagel

One of the least known 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 app to help you find a few more dates. 

How does it work?

CoffeeMeetsBagel is different from most other sites and 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. 

My Experience

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 is quite low and the 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. 

What It Costs?

  • Free to send messages 
  • 1 month – $35
  • 6 months – $20 per month

Pros: 

  • Free to send messages 
  • Curated matches feature works better than you’d think 
  • Won’t take up too much of your time 

Cons: 

  • Not many users 
  • No search function 

12. Happn

Happn

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. 

How does it work?

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 app shows you matches according to proximity, as well as the preferences you’ve set. 

while browsing is free, you need to pay to send messages. 

My Experience

I found Happn a really useful 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 in the same night. 

What It Costs?

  • 1 month – $20

Pros:

  • Clean user interface 
  • Cool features, such as voice messages 
  • Great concept 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
  • Bumble might be a better alternative 

12. HER

Her

HER is aimed at lesbians and bisexual 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 app that continues to attract more users. 

How does it work?

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 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 added as a friend.

However, there is a Feed feature that lets you comment on posts who you haven’t yet matched with. 

My Experience

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.

What It Costs?

  • 1 month – $17
  • 6 months – $15 per month 
  • 12 months – $9 per month 

Pros: 

  • Fairly cheap
  • Easy to use 
  • Decent amount of active users

Cons: 

  • No search function 
  • Lags often