Launched in 2014, Bumble has always been seen as a friendlier version of Tinder. People use it to find friends and go on dates, and only women can message first.
Usage right is super high, too: In 2021, it was estimated that 87,000,000 people were using Bumble.
That’s a lot of users and it backs up the general claim that Bumble is one of the most popular dating apps in the world, despite the fact that men might feel they have a raw deal because they can’t message first.
So, what’s the deal ultimately? Is Bumble worthy of being your next dating app? Will you get all that you need out of it?
I created a Bumble account, tweaked my profile, and started swiping. And in this Bumble review, I’ll be sharing all that I learned, including how the Bumble algorithm works, what its key features are – and what alternatives are out there.
- Free to send and receive messages: You don’t need to spend a dime or lock yourself into a subscription in order to start sending and receiving messages.
- Equal gender demographics: With almost a 50/50 split between males and females, you won’t have to worry that there’ll be too many (or too few) females – or vice versa.
- Each profile has helpful prompts: Bumble prompts help people to learn more about you before they match with you, and they give everyone something to use when coming up with an opening message.
- You can use it to make business connections: One of the really cool things about Bumble is that you don’t even need to use it as a dating app. You can also simply make new friends, meet new people – and even find a business partner.
- High usage rate: With 87 million users around the world, only Tinder can compete with Bumble when it comes to the usage rate. It’s perfect especially if you live in a bustling town or city.
- You can now do video chat with your matches to go on a virtual date or just talk with them before you meet in person.
- Only women can send the first message: This can be a positive, but it’s also going to frustrate guys who feel they could “woo” a woman with an opening message – especially if she doesn’t bother to break the ice at all. And, for this reason, Hinge, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Coffee Meets Bagel become better options.
- You only get 24 hours to send the first message: Again, this could be a positive, but it’s also going to annoy those who sometimes forget to check their app or simply can’t get around to sending a message before a match expires.
How Does Bumble Work?
On Bumble Women make the first move. After a match is established, Women get 24 hours to start the conversation with a guy otherwise match expires. However, figuring out how the Bumble algorithm works exactly isn’t easy because the owners have never stated explicitly the mechanism behind it. But what we do know from experience is that the algorithm uses things like your filters, your popularity (how many people have said Yes or No to you), and your newness (new Bumble profiles always get more visibility) to determine how frequently you will appear in peoples’ queues.
Is Bumble a Free App?
It's free to like, match, and send and receive messages – but that’s really where the free stuff ends. In order to use features such as SuperSwipe, or to ensure you never run out of “Likes,” you will need to pay a bit extra. These Bumble premium extras are not necessary but if you want to get results fast then they can be useful.
Bumble Premium Subscription Extras
If you wish to get more out of this dating app, you can upgrade. There are two premium options:
With Bumble Boost you get to backtrack on a profile you either swiped Yes or No on in your queue. The beauty of this is that all of us have swiped a little too hastily and missed out on someone we really liked the look of. With a free account, you cannot undo a swipe; with Bumble Boost, you can.
You can also extend the timeframe that a match remains a match before they disappear without you sending an opening message, and you get access to as many swipes as you want! You also get one Spotlight per week, which is designed to make your profile more visible for 30 minutes, as well as 5 SuperSwipes per week, which will ensure whoever you swipe Yes for actually gets to see your profile in their queue.
As expected, Bumble Premium gives you access to everything that a Bumble Boost member has access to. But you also get advanced filters to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, as well as Beeline, a feature that lets you see who’s already liked you. Bumble Premium members can also tweak their current location (ideal if you’re planning to travel and want to meet someone before you get to your destination), and they can also go incognito for an indefinite period.
What Does Bumble Cost?
- 1 Week: $19.99 USD
- 1 Month: $39.99 USD
- 3 Months: $76.99 USD
- Lifetime: $229.99 USD
- 1 Week: $7.99
- 1 Month: $14.99
- 3 Months: $29.99
- 6 Months: $47.99
Earlier you could make a purchase through Bumble Coins but it seems like Bumble has secretly discontinued this service.
Should You Upgrade to Bumble Premium?
Millions of people around the world who use Bumble for free are able to make new friends, go on dates – and maybe even meet the best connection they’ve ever had.
However, free Bumble can be an endless source of frustration for people who feel as though the algorithm is working against them. They don’t get many matches, no one talks – and they’re not fostering any connections with people.
Now, you can do a few things to help you get more matches on Bumble while keeping a free account. But if things really aren’t working for you, well, this is where upgrading to Bumble can help. It treats you to a few extra features that make your profile more visible while removing the hassle of having to wait to see who’s already liked you. It can also help you land higher quality matches and it can definitely improve your match rate.
That said, there are other reasons you might upgrade. For example, maybe you’re getting too many likes and you want to be able to see who’s already liked you so that you can remove 80% of people who you’re not interested in, and match with the ones who appear to be on your level. And if you’re worried that locking yourself into a long-term contract might not be worth it, you can subscribe for a month at first and see how things go.
However, if you're willing to spend money then eHarmony is a much better option. Unlike swipe dating apps, eHarmony uses a matchmaking algorithm that ensures you only see the best quality people.
Is Bumble for Hookups or Serious Relationships?
The thing about Bumble is that it can be for both. It really depends on what you’re looking for, and what someone else is looking for. Bumble isn’t really a niche-specific dating app in the way that, say, AdultFriendFinder is. It’s an all-rounder that people use to see what’s out there, be that dating, friendship, friends with benefits – or even marriage.
The trick is to amend your bio in such a way that you make it clear what you’re looking for. This will ensure you only match with people who want the same thing you want, which will save you a whole heap of time. For example, some people state “no hook-ups” in their Bumble bio, while others who are looking for a hookup might write “looking for fun!”
Is Bumble Good for Dating?
If you want to go on first dates and see who’s out there, Bumble dating app is an excellent choice. As we’ve seen, its usage right is super high, there are lots of people who are just looking to see what can happen, and the way the app works means many people are willing to chat flirt and meet up.
Getting Started With Bumble
It used to be the case that you could only create an account if you already had a Facebook profile. Now you need either a Facebook account, email address, or a mobile phone number.
That said, linking your Facebook account to your Bumble will save you a lot of time because the app pulls your information from your FB profile to set your profile up faster.
Other than that, the registration process is as easy as ABC. You will need to upload at least one photo (a minimum of three photos are recommended), and you will also need to select whether you’re using Bumble to go on dates (Bumble Date), make new friends (Bumble BFF), or for business purposes (Bumble Bizz).
Indeed, selecting one of those three will slightly alter what shows up in your profile creation in terms of the prompts (prompts are conversation starters that you just need to fill in, and it’s a smart idea to fill in as many as you can as this will help you to attract more matches).
You can also add a few lines to your “About Me” section, as well as add a job and fill out some more basic info, including your location and the distance range you want your matches to fall within.
And that’s pretty much it – there’s no need to fill out any protracted questionnaires.
We recommend spending some time on your profile so that you can get maximum right swipes on your profile.
Matching With People on Bumble
Once your profile is live, it’s time to start swiping! (There is no search function, just in case you were wondering)
It works a lot like Tinder when it comes to how you find potential matches: Profiles are queued up for you, and you just have to swipe left or right (Yes or No).
If you swipe Yes for someone who’s also swiped Yes for you, the two of you are a match.
If you think you made a mistake by swiping left or right on someone, you can shake your phone to backtrack your choice.
However, it’s at this point that Bumble sets itself apart from Tinder: On Bumble, only women can send the first message.
Not just that, but she gets just 24 hours to message a new match. If she doesn’t break the ice within that time frame, the two people are unmatched!
What if she messages within 24 hours … but the man doesn’t reply within the next 24 hours?
The two people are unmatched!
You get the idea: Bumble wants to create a dating app where someone has to make the first move at some point. Otherwise, we’re all just wasting each other’s time!
There’s another catch: If you’re looking for a same-sex relationship as a guy, you can message first. It’s the same for same-sex relationships between women – either woman can message first.
I definitely recommend working hard on your prompts when creating your profile because these are excellent ways of attracting attention. A prompt typically looks like a “Would you rather …” question, and you just need to fill in the blanks.
Women can then come along and respond to your prompt in their opening message, which means they don’t have to spend a heck of a long time trying to craft an original message based simply on your Bumble photos!
Can you unmatch someone on Bumble?
If you started chatting with someone and realized they’re not for you at all, you can unmatch them by clicking the three dots in your conversation with them, before tapping “unmatch.”
To help you better understand whether or not Bumble might be the right dating app for you, I created an account, added a few photos to my profile, answered a few prompts, and added a few lines to my ‘About Me’ section – and started swiping.
It wasn’t long before I was getting matches, and while it’s definitely true that not every person who you match with will message you (I’m a guy, so I had to wait for the woman to make the first move), I was receiving a considerable number of messages during my first week using the app. I even did virtual dates through video chat feature.
Naturally, some of these conversations drifted and never came to anything, but I was able to go on three dates after just over a week of usage. I thought that was a pretty okay strike-rate, and using Bumble for free was certainly working out. I found most profiles to be witty and engaging, and most women who contacted me were positive, open, and up for flirting.
After two weeks, I upgraded my account to Bumble Boost, primarily because I needed more right swipes. And once I’d upgraded, I started to get even more matches. I used a few of the extra features to make my profile more visible, and this also improved the quality of my matches.
What I especially liked about Bumble is how easy it is to use. There’s nothing at all that’s fussy about the interface, and while there’s no search function you really don’t miss it. Yes, you can sometimes fall into the hole of swiping endlessly, but upgrading my account negated that.
Overall, I enjoyed using this dating app to meet people for “dates and see where things go.” It’s not perfect (no app is), but its high usage rate means that, for every one person who doesn’t contact you, or where the conversation goes nowhere, there’s always someone else out there. But, if you're 30 or above, and looking for a serious relationship, then there are better dating apps out there.
Here are a couple of Bumble reviews from ConsumerAffairs. These two feedbacks will help you understand how great the experience can vary between two people.
- eHarmony – Better For Marriage Seekers
If you’re looking for a committed, serious relationship, Bumble is certainly used by people who are looking for the same thing. However, most people who use Bumble are looking to date and see what happens. eHarmony, on the other hand, is aimed strictly at those who want to settle down with a life partner. It costs to send and receive messages, but this just demonstrates how seriously people take it.
- AdultFriendFinder – Better For Hookups
The thing with Bumble is that, while some people definitely use it to find hookups, it’s not really a hookup app. If you’re looking for one-night stands, or indeed any kind of hookup, you might be better suited to AdultFriendFinder. This is a dating site that gets straight to the point, and people use it to find any kind of sexual encounter, from fuck buddies to orgies.
What’s Bumble’s Swipe Limit?
As a free member, you get access to 25 “Likes” per day. Once you run out, you must wait another 24 hours before your Likes are replenished. If you can’t wait that long, you can upgrade your account.