How Does Hinge Work? | And, Is it worth it?

In 2020, there are so many dating sites and apps available that it can be really hard to know which ones to choose, and which ones to ignore.

Before you know it, you could be signed up to 10+ dating apps all at the same time, with your phone going crazy with new messages from people who are looking for their soulmate, people who just want something casual – and even people who want something kinky. 

To ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for out of a dating app, then, it’s really important that you take the time to understand what you’re getting into. 

Hinge – a dating app that’s “designed to be deleted” – is growing in popularity. It’s only been around since 2012 but it can already rival the likes of Tinder when it comes to usage.

In this article, I’ll be taking a look at exactly how Hinge works. I’ll also be taking a look at who it’s for, its standout features, and what alternatives there are. By the end of the article, you should be in a better position to know whether or not Hinge is the dating app for you. 

How Does The Hinge Dating App Work? 

Hinge is kinda like Tinder in that it’s kinda like a swipe app. However, there are lots of crucial differences.

It all starts with the sign-up process, which takes a few minutes. Hinge walks you through the entire thing and each step is mandatory. 

The first thing you need to do is decide whether to sign up via your mobile number or your Facebook account. Then, you will be asked for basic information, such as your location, your gender, your height, your education, your work and so on.

Once that’s all out of the way, Hinge then asks you for your views on things like politics, drugs, and smoking. You can choose to keep your answers hidden from your profile. 

You then need to upload at least six photos. If you’re in a hurry, you can quickly import them from Facebook. 

Lastly, Hinge provides numerous prompts, and you must answer at least one of them. For example, a prompt might be the “most embarrassing first date moment.” Your answer needs to be short and it will show up on your profile. 

The idea behind this is that Hinge takes your answers and feeds them into its matchmaking algorithm. This algorithm crunches the data and then suggests suitable matches based on your answers and the answers given by other Hinge members. 

In this way, Hinge stands out from Tinder, which doesn’t suggest you matches based on your levels of compatibility. 

Once your profile is up and running, Hinge queues profiles up for you based on your preferences. If you’re interested in someone, you can let them know by either “liking” one of their photos or prompts, or by leaving a comment on one of their answers to a prompt. Hinge will then notify them, and it’s up to them to decide whether or not to match with you. 

If they match with you, you can then proceed with a conversation. 

Hinge is that simple. 

However, there’s no search function like there is on other dating apps. Instead, you can swipe on profiles that are queued up for you, as well as use the “Discover” feature to see who Hinge thinks is most compatible with you. Hinge will also shoot you an email each time they’ve got a potential new match for you. 

That all said, Hinge only curates ten possible matches per day for you, and you can only “like” ten profiles per day if you stick to the free version. Messaging other users is free, though, and you can also receive messages for free. You can also arrange a video call on the Hinge app with someone you’ve been chatting to (and getting along with). 

Who Is Hinge For? 

Sick of endless swiping? Tired of talking to people on an app … only to discover they’re just looking for a hookup? 

This is where Hinge comes in. 

Naturally, not every dating app is right for everyone – and this is especially true with Hinge. 

Hinge’s tagline is “designed to be deleted.”

This tells us instantly that the app is for those who are looking for a long-term relationship, and want someone to come along, romance them – and help them to delete the app for good. 

It’s also worth pointing out that, unlike Tinder, Hinge is a matchmaking service, which further suggests that it’s aimed at people who take this dating thing seriously. Everyone who signs up must upload six photos, they have to fill out mandatory information in their bio, and they must answer at least one prompt.

If you’re looking for something casual, Hinge isn’t the dating app for you. You will only be wasting your time by signing up, and you’ll also be wasting other people's time who are using the app to find someone genuine. 

Features of Hinge (Paid & Free) 

  • Prompts (Free)

Prompts are free. They’re basically questions that Hinge displays on your profile, as well as your answer. 

For example, one of the prompts is “Biggest risk I’ve taken.” You just need to fill in the answer (whilst keeping it short). 

They’re an easy way for people to add something interesting/amusing to their profile, which other users can reply to. More than anything, they showcase your interests and act as conversation starters. 

  • Who Liked Me (Paid) 

At the bottom of your profile is a heart tab. When you click on this heart tab as a free member, Hinge shows you blurred pictures of the people who “like” your profile. 

who liked me feature
Credit: Screenshot From Taruna's blog post on Hinge.

If you get lots of “likes,” you might not always know who’s liked you until you’ve swiped endlessly in order to find them. And because Hinge limits you to 10 “likes” per day, this kind of thing is going to frustrate you. 

The Who Liked Me feature is exclusive to premium members, and it shows you every single person who’s liked you. It’s then up to you to decide whether or not you wish to like them back. 

  • We Met (Free)
we met feature

The We Met is a feature for you to use after your first date with a person. The idea is that Hinge asks you how your date went, and you let them know. 

Why? 

Because Hinge then uses your answers to help its matchmaking algorithm provide you better matches in future. It’s an interesting feature that no other dating site currently offers. 

  • Unlimited Like (Paid)

As mentioned, free members only get 10 “likes” per day. That’s not really a lot if you’re trying to find romance as soon as possible. 

If you upgrade to a premium account, you get to like as many people as you want. 

  • Advanced Preferences (Paid) 

As a free member, you can only tweak your match preferences according to basic information, such as height, gender and age.

advanced preferences feature

As a premium member, you’re able to tweak the advanced preferences so that it’s quicker to find someone who shares the same interests as you. 

We like this feature as it ensures you’re not wasting your time sifting through profiles that don’t meet your standards when it comes to things like your values and interests. 

  • Dealbreakers (Paid)

A dealbreaker is there to prevent Hinge displaying you a match that doesn’t meet your preferences. 

How does it work? 

Well, despite your best efforts to tweak your preferences, Hinge will still occasionally display matches that don’t meet your preferences. It probably does this according to its algorithm that’s convinced the two of you will get along. 

However, if you’ve got a dealbreaker (for example, you would never date a smoker), you can use this feature to completely exclude smokers (or anything else that bugs you). 

The Dealbreaker feature has its pros and cons. On the one hand, it’s a good thing that you can exclude those you know you’ll be wasting your time with (perhaps they support a different political party than you). On the other hand, what if by applying a Dealbreaker you’re missing out on someone who could have been the One? It’s a conundrum. 

What Sucks About Hinge?

  • It’s free – but the free version kinda sucks 

Okay, the free version doesn’t completely suck, and you can still send and receive messages. But it has enough drawbacks to leave some users frustrated.

For instance, you can only use 10 “likes” each day, which is way less than Tinder. Hinge only suggests a maximum of ten matches per day, too, which means that if none of them take your fancy, you’ll need to wait another 24 hours before you can use the app again. 

Plus, whilst you can filter your “search” options, free filters are limited to basic info, such as height, gender, location and age. In other words, you can’t filter common interests. 

  • Hinge Re-Displays Users You Already Skipped

On other swipe apps, like Tinder and Bumble, once you’ve “passed” on someone they’re gone forever (unless they create an entirely new profile).

On Hinge, however, they sometimes reappear a few weeks later. 

Why?

We’re not completely sure. It’s either because Hinge wants to give you a chance to reconsider (maybe you made a mistake), or there aren’t enough users in your area, with Hinge filling the gaps in by showing you profiles you’ve already seen. 

Either way, we’re not fans. 

  • Profiles Lack Detail 

We like the idea of answering prompts, and it especially helps users who never know what to write in their profiles. At the same time, though, it means none of the profiles are detailed because there isn’t a proper “About Me” section. For an app that’s aimed at creating long-term, serious relationships, this seems slightly unusual.

What are Best Hinge Alternatives?

  • eHarmony 

Like Hinge, eHarmony is aimed at those who are pursuing a long-term relationship. They want something serious and genuine.

Unlike Hinge, eHarmony is a dating site, which means you can access it on your desktop.

It’s also a matchmaking service that claims to be responsible for 600,000 marriages to date. It also claims to create up to 15,000,000 matches each day, and has been around for two decades. 

When you first sign up, you must take a lengthy personality test. This takes most members around ten minutes to complete, and your answers are fed into an algorithm that uses the data to provide you with compatible matches.

And if eHarmony’s claims about them being responsible for 600,000 marriages are correct, the algorithm is pretty damn precise. 

Once your profile is up and running, you have to upgrade your account in order to send messages. This is unlike Hinge, which is free to send and receive messages. That said, free members can still send messages, but they’re limited to 5 automated questions. Once you’ve used the questions up on a match, you then need to decide whether you want to upgrade your account in order to keep talking. 

eHarmony is definitely a good alternative to Hinge, but the fact that you can’t send messages for free might put some off. 

  • Elite Singles

Elite Singles is a dating site that’s aimed at educated professionals who are ambitious, smart – and looking for something similar.

In other words, it’s for “elite” singles.

With over 80% of its members possessing a university degree of some description, Elite Singles is perfect if you like brains and beauty. In this way, it’s very different to Hinge, which doesn’t target a specific type of individual. 

The sign up process is extensive and includes a detailed personality test. The questions are quite deep and really require you to think over the answers, and you may even learn something about yourself that you didn’t even know previously. 

Once your profile is up and running, you’re free to search for other members. Unlike Hinge, Elite Singles lets you search for users but you can’t read or send a message until you upgrade your account. 

Features include Match Recommendation, Advanced Search and Wildcard Matches. 

Overall, Elite Singles is a decent alternative to Hinge, but it’s really only best used if you’re university educated. 

  • Match

Match is one of the oldest online dating sites. Like Elite Singles and eHarmony, there’s a desktop version (unlike Hinge), and it’s aimed at those who are looking for something serious, but who are prepared to take their time. 

To that end, whilst Match is a premium dating site, it comes with a guarantee whereby you’ll get your second six months free if you don’t find a suitable partner within the first six months.

The Match signup process is quick and easy, and you don’t need to fill out any personality tests. The site also comes with a Profile Builder tool that makes it easier than ever to create a bio. 

Once your profile is up and running, you can tweak the extensive search filters to help you find what you’re looking for. However, whilst you can “like” other profiles, you can’t send or receive messages until you’ve upgraded your account.

With a great user interface, a good member structure (there are currently 8,000,000 registered members), and high levels of trustworthiness, Match is a solid alternative to Hinge. 

Inside Scoop:

Hinge is ideal for those who are looking to make a genuine connection with someone special. It comes with some really great features, it’s completely free to send and receive messages, but it is mobile only. 

If you think Hinge is the right dating app for you, the next step is to sign up and create an account. 

Whatever decision you make, I wish you the very best of luck and that you find what you’re looking for!