As this is 2020, all of these services, even the decades-old Match, offer both iPhone apps and Android apps. Most also have desktop counterparts for when you're. The League is a dating app focusing on quality over quantity. Expensive paid membership; Profile has to be screened; Small number of matches per day to other phone-based dating services like Tinder, and the layout and typography are. My iPhone pings with a message from a match on The League, a newly that The League's “veil of exclusivity” sets it apart from other dating apps like Tinder, fairly recognisable start-ups and a fair number of finance and legal-eagle types.
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Which dating app is right for you? Use this guide to figure it out.
Online dating as the standard way to meet someone isn't even news anymore. Nowadays, "" is far more plausible than "We met at a bar."
Still, looking for love online comes with , catfish paranoia, and doubtful looks from nosy family members. To that, we ask: Is waiting around to stumble upon your soulmate in public really any better? According to a , your chances of finding love on a night out in London are three in one million. (Don't hit us with "but that's not in the U.S." excuse. Meeting people is hard everywhere). We love reality TV like and as much as the next person, but we can't all put our on hold to find a fiancé.
Consider our reasoning for Why Online Dating Is Worthwhile™: predicted that the online dating audience will grow to 37.5 million in 2023, compared to 33.9 million users in 2018. (TechCrunch calls the surge the .) asserted that online dating is officially the most common way for U.S. couples to meet, rounding out at nearly 40% of couples having first met online.
SEE ALSO: Dating app usage is changing for the better as the pandemic rages on
By 2040, that number is expected to reach 70% — a prediction came before happened. 2020's lack of access to bars, live music events, and other flirty indoor activities certainly put a damper on the first date market. But the festering loneliness and horniness also led to positive changes in dating app habits. Match's most recent Singles in America survey found that more users are spending more time actually getting to know partners, and are being more honest about intentions.
You don't need advice from a data analyst for these numbers to make sense. Technology is giving you the chance to meet thousands of nearby singles you'd never know existed otherwise, and using filters to hone in on those values, personality traits, and physical types can be done before you even meet the person IRL.
However, that statistical promise still requires patience and a game plan, the game plan being choosing the dating app with features that best fit your lifestyle — and the lifestyle of the type of person you're looking for. ? An app more serious than Tinder but less serious than ? An app where queer women aren't relentlessly sexualized by creeps and?
WATCH: How to go on a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic
The convenience of dating without actually having to socialize is only heightened when it can be done on your phone. Because it's not 2007 anymore, the need for mobile-friendly online dating isn't just a millennial thing —people over 40 don't have time to sit around at their home desktop, either. The ability to check out cute local single people while you're in line at CVS is a seamless lifestyle integration that can't be argued with. Dating sites that are older than most members of Gen-Z (like Match and eharmony) have been forced to give serious attention to their smartphone counterparts if they don't want to be outgrown.
When it comes to choosing the dating app that'll work for you, remember that not all apps are good just because they're, well, new. Every year, a slew of trendy apps try to set themselves apart from Tinder and Bumble: In 2017, apps like (which matched people based on things they disliked, like slow walkers or Donald Trump), and (a snooty, members-only matchmaker with a ridiculous waitlist) were expected to be game-changers. Hater has since while have gotten increasingly questionable. It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason as to why such promising ideas didn't make the cut — but whether they were too exclusive, too niche, or begging for catfish, it's clear that there's a very special ingredient that makes apps like Hinge pop off.
This handy guide breaks down what the deal is with each of these online dating experiences and who they're best suited for. Here are the best dating apps to try in 2020:
MatchEveryone knows someone who's on Match — because it offers a fun-yet-serious alternative to sites that are too marriage-focused.
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Premium: $35.99
- Three months of Premium: $19.99/month
- Six months of Premium: $17.99/month
- One year of Premium: $15.99/month
While many dating apps go overboard with borderline desperate advertising, Match offers a sliver of hope: They guarantee that you'll find someone in six months, and if you don't, they'll give you six months for free. Match has gained the trust of over 35 million unique monthly visitors, giving it the largest user base of any online dating site — including Tinder. Match has a wealth of success stories to brag about, too, providing some inspiration when your love life looks grim.
Why it's awesome: As one of the first online dating sites launched in 1995, Match has decades of data to back up their their algorithms — so no, it's not just another one of those sites that you'll forget about after a month. Match even uses your swipes to get a better idea of what you like to give you better matches in the future.
The cherry on top? These tried and true algorithms don't involve a miserable questionnaire. Aside from asking about personal values and interests, Match allows you to specify what you want (or don't want) in a partner and how important that is: If you'd prefer someone who doesn't smoke cigarettes but it's not a deal breaker, Match lets you specify that, and if it is a deal breaker, they try to avoid suggesting users that had that in their answers. It's a super simple way to make sure you two at least somewhat on the same page with surface-level things (just important as the mushy things), and can avoid those awkward conversations two months into the relationship.
Match recently launched Vibe Check, a social distancing era video call feature that aims to give new matches a safe alternative to a first date. Even when in-person dates are back to normal, sending a is a way to ensure that the person on the other end is legit.
HingeA great post-breakup app, Hinge is a thoughtful combo of Tinder's quick swiping and Match's relationship base.
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Hinge Preferred: $12.99
- Three months of Hinge Preferred: $6.99/month
- Six months of Hinge Preferred: $4.99/month
Why it's awesome:Hinge marries the modern, instantaneous feel of swiping apps with the relationship atmosphere that sites like eharmony or Match offer. Hinge literally labels itself the relationship app, or as I prefer, the "anti Tinder." You scroll like Instagram, creating a smoother (and less judge-y) feel than swiping. There's a common understanding that this app isn't just for sex, but there's no pressure to rush into a relationship either. It's chill, it's legit, and traditional swiping apps should be worried.
Hinge started out by showing you Facebook friends of friends, but their algorithm is so smart that it has now surpassed friends of friends as a predictor of compatibility (AKA you won't be matched with someone all wrong for you just because you have a mutual friend). Rather, Hinge helps you get to know the other person more deeply than any new app has attempted, revealing answers to juicy, detailed questions about things like future plans, religion, and vices. Seems like a good recipe for a connection past physical stuff, right? According to Hinge, 75% of their first dates lead to second dates, so it's clearly working.
You only get a seven matches per day, and yes, we know having restricted matches can be a bummer — because having a day where none of your matches are appealing is a definite possibility. But Hinge isn't meant for constant swiping, and everyone I know who uses Hinge has always felt 100% content with the free version. Having endless matches gets overwhelming, and if you're trying to find a genuine connect, there's no point to viciously rushing through every person in a 50 mile radius.
OkCupidInformed millennials dig OKC's focus on the connection between political views and meshing romantically.
- Free version: Yes
- OkCupid Basic: $19.99/month
- OkCupid Premium: $29.99/month
Why it's awesome: OkCupid the ideal place to come when you're ready to settle down but still want to feel ~hip~ and have fun. It's been offering 22 gender and 13 orientation choices since 2014 (a major step toward inclusivity that other sites hadn't even considered yet) Fast forward to 2020, when . The dedication to inclusivity and social justice is also clear with the introduction of and voter profile badges.
OkCupid's 2017 redesign goes past enlisting a horny millennial as a graphic designer. For young, left-leaning singles, personal politics aren't just a "well if we agree, it's great" thing when looking for a date. Users can people they'd hate by answering deal-breakers about things like guns, women's issues, and vaccines.
OkCupid's connections are strengthened by an algorithm that picks matches based on how similarly both parties answered questions during sign-up (yes, there are questions about communication and sappy relationship things as well as political views.) A compatibility score plus details on where you disagreed are helpful padding when it comes to evaluating what differences are make-or-breaks.
TinderThe swiping app we've all used at least once where you should be able to find a date within the hour.
- Free version: Yes
- Tinder Xtra: $20/month
- Tinder Unlimited: $50/month
Why it's awesome: Let's just get this one out of the way. If you're thinking of dating apps, you're thinking of Tinder. They pioneered the now-ubiquitous swiping function, revolutionizing the world of online dating and boasting 1.6 billion swipes per day. What started out as strictly a hookup app has turned into one of the biggest matchmakers in the world. As you're served a series of photos, swipe right if you like what you see and left if you don't. When you both indicate interest in each other, you'll get a notification that it's a match. I mean, "Tindering" is just as much of a verb as swiping at this point.
Tinder may not want to advertise as such, but we all know what it's mostly used for. You're quite literally deciding if you want to interact with someone based on nothing but profile pictures and a quote from The Office, so yeah, you can see how getting laid would be the main goal of most users — but hey, we all know those couples who met on Tinder and have been together for years. It's fast, easy, and if there's one app that even the shyest, most skeptical people will be on, it's Tinder. Hell, even celebrities can now have verified profiles on there (meaning yes, you could match with one of the if you're really lucky).
It's free for general use, but Tinder does offer two upgrades: . These like undoing a left swipe (bless), send "Super Likes" to people you're really into, and in the case of Tinder Gold, see which users have liked your profile.
eharmonyMarriage-minded folks flock to eharmony for its success rate and its comprehensive compatibility score.
- Free version: Yes
- Six months of Premium: $40 to $60/month
- One year of Premium: $30 to $40/month
- Two years of Premium: $20 to $30/month
Why it's awesome: When you think of eharmony, you probably think of marriage. So does everyone else — that's the point. The fact that it accounts for 4% of marriages in the US (as of 2018) speaks for itself. Putting the most honest picture of yourself out there requires some real introspection when taking the compatibility quiz, but that's how eharmony is able to find someone who complements you — and the whole reason people sign up for eharmony over Zoosk.
Perhaps you've noticed a logo change in the past few years: A measure to ensure that its established, decades-old name didn't get lost in the sea of new dating apps, eharmony's new logo is a heart with a colorful palette that represents the site's 32 dimensions of compatibility. These range from agreeableness (how warm and considerate you are) to altruism (how much you're willing to help others), all judged by how you answer hypothetical questions where the "correct" answer isn't obvious. The questionnaire has also been trimmed of the uselessly mushy questions about soulmates and self-ranking questions about honesty that are way too exaggerated. Instead of the deep questions that only look good on paper, eharmony's dive into how you'd act in a relationship is more realistic and tangible.
The identity change was also accompanied by a new UX design for the app — a must for any dating site looking to attract users under 30. The interface is less jumbled than it was a few years ago, with different ways to flip through or talk to matches spelled out clearly. Pricing is one aspect that could still be confusing, as Premium subscriptions are frequently changing and amended by timely discounts.
BumbleWomen are required to make the first move with this app, making it great for shy dudes.
- Free version: Yes
- One week of Boost: $8.99/week
- One month of Boost: $24.99/month
- Three months of Boost: $16.66/month
- Six months of Boost: $13.33/month
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.
Setup is basic: You'll see pictures and short bios of potential matches in your area and can swipe right if you're interested and left if you're not. It's a pretty close mock of Tinder, except for the fact that Bumble relieves the anxiety of accidentally swiping left on a hottie by letting you backtrack. Bumble also offers a BFF feature to find strictly platonic friends and a LinkedIn-ish networking feature called Bizz in attempts to remind everyone that it's not just a hookup app.
Bumble is free but also offers Bumble Boost for extra features, including rematching an expired match. Sign up here.
HERAvoid creeps and fetishization on this queer women-only app that aims to be a safe space and a matchmaker.
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Premium: $14.99
- Six months of Premium: $11.99/month
- One year of Premium: $7.49/month
Why it's awesome: Between creepy men pretending to be women, creepy men thinking you want to know about their lesbian fetish, and straight girls looking for another girl to have a threesome with her and her boyfriend, most heteronormative dating sites don't give bi women a great shot at finding a relationship. HER, an award-winning app made for queer women by queer women, is the perfect place to go if you're tired of the only lesbian you know being your ex-girlfriend.
As the user base of over four million grows at an impressive pace (especially in large cities), HER could help you widen your dating pool beyond the people you already know IRL. In summer 2019, HER revamped its minimalistic profiles to let users get more creative in categories like gender, sexuality, pronouns, diet preferences (like veganism), and star signs, as well as a "What does this mean?" field in the sex, gender, and pronoun categories to create more well-rounded understanding of identity. There's also a space for a text bio where you can showcase your sense of humor and describe what type of relationship you're looking for.
But HER goes way past being a hookup app — that is, without adding pressure to find a romantic partner. While it can be used to couple up and find local matches that you never knew existed, you can also get involved in local LGBTQ events, read LGBTQ news, and make friends through its social-media like feed.
You don't see that often, and if you do, it's some highly sexualized fantasy thing for guys to drool over.
GrindrPutting "bi" in your profile might get you some hate here, but it's *the* place to meet experienced men.
- Free version: Yes
- Grindr Xtra: $20/month
- Grindr Unlimited: $50/month
Why it's awesome: Grindr has been the go-to for gay and bi men since 2009, and that's because finding someone to talk to is damn near instantaneous. Instead of swiping right or left to match, you'll get a borderline-infinite collage of people who are close location-wise. Aside from it being overwhelming and slightly frightening, it's obvious that there are a ton of men out there waiting for a conversation. Most users just looking to hook up will let you know right off that they're not trying to make small talk, and that warning may come in the form of a dick pic.
That's not to say it's not for relationships — a lot of men meet their forever person on Grindr — but on the surface, it's a tool for quick, casual encounters. However, men in small towns with a meager queer population are much more likely to find a connection here than on Tinder or OkCupid.
The main complaint from bisexual people about Grindr isn't the aggressive horniness. It's the biphobia — toward men and the few women who dare to try their hand on the app, which is technically advertised toward the whole LGBTQ community. This thread of shared their experiences, describing the disappointment in not feeling supported by their community with messages like "vaginas are gross" at the first mention of being anything that's not strictly gay-man-oriented.
PureThe least obnoxious (and most hipster) hookup app guarantees anonymous booty calls, but needs more people.
- Free version: Yes
- One week: $14.99
- One month: $29.99
Why it's awesome: Think Pure as in a purely physical experience. This is the place to find a local booty call who won't try to text you earlier than midnight. App rules urge you to "pretend like you're strangers afterwards," making no-strings-attached the only name of the game here. This hella millennial app is a sex-positive, 18+ safe space that features some pretty cool art — the blueprint of the truly modern hookup app. Just be sure to communicate your boundaries in your bio.
Your selfies, bio, conversations, matches, and likes self destruct every 24 hours, promoting spur-of-the-moment, borderline anonymous hookups. No nudity is allowed in your albums and any photos sent in messages can't be saved. (As the dry-humored comics on their website state, "Don't talk about your problems. Problems are for therapists. Pure is for fun.") The app will ask for your phone number, but that's just to make sure you're a real person. The app uses your geolocation and sends out the , though the sparse user base might have your searches suggesting the same few people.
gives all the feels of a sex-based site without the obnoxious naked parts and porn ads everywhere. (Cough ** cough) Running into bots and people trying to make money is likely, but the spammy stuff isn't nearly as rampant as traditional hookup sites.
Coffee Meets BagelSkip the constant inbox notifications with CMB's smaller user base and matches that the woman has already OK'd.
- Free version: Yes
- One month of premium: $34.99
- Three months of Premium: $24.99/month
- Six months of Premium: $19.99/month
- One year of Premium: $14.99/month
Why it's awesome: Grabbing coffee is the low-pressure date idea that lets you skip trying to choose a dressy-but-not-too-extra outfit for a concert or a restaurant. Coffee Meets Bagel is like the "grabbing coffee" version of dating apps, aiming to bring an easygoing atmosphere to folks who might just be a little rusty. The now-successful Shark Tank bust is one of those rare dating apps that focuses on the woman's experience and actually gets decent feedback on Reddit. Every profile shown to men has already been okay-ed by the women, so the chance of getting unsolicited messages from creepy guys (or the worry of being seen as a creepy guy) is significantly drained.
Each day, you'll receive anywhere from five to 21 matches depending on whether you're a man or a woman and whether you're a premium member. These bagels are curated by the algorithm based on your preferences as well as the bagels you weren't hungry for in the days prior. CMB wants you to "spend your time on quality matches" instead of swiping endlessly, and you're only talking to people who you know also clicked on you.
If there’s a match, will set up both profiles in a private chat and will ask a "personalized icebreaker" question. Pressure to think of something witty to open with is minimized. Per the site's own survey, 86% of users are looking for a serious relationship.
NUiTA magical app that takes care of asking for someone's birth time, plus a truly special feature for queer people.
Why it's awesome: Remember when Bumble announced it would let users filter matches by their zodiac sign? NUiT is the better version of that. The creators at NUiT know that, for many, birth charts can be a wildly helpful tool in maneuvering the dating world by predicting how well you'd mesh with someone in aspects like the importance of sex or argument stye. NUiT also accounts for the nuances in different combinations of placements and houses outside of sun signs. It encourages daters to check astrological compatibility and use insights to understand why a match might act the way they do, but does so while avoiding overly-simplistic "What fried food you are based on your zodiac sign" energy that clickbait quizzes have. People who study astrology will be the first to tell you that astrology is a cosmic guide to behaviors, but it isn't tell-all as to how good of a partner or friend someone will be.
Creators also recognized another thing that turns queer users off to heteronormative dating apps: They don't want to see or be seen by straight people. Sure, Tinder and OkCupid have their share of well-meaning allies — but the lack of shared experience as a queer person can make or break a relationship's dynamic. Such a feature has been a long time coming as dating apps increase focus on inclusivity, and people on Twitter are pretty psyched about it.
ZooskA full-scale dating site that puts you in control over an algorithm, though half of your matches may be bots.
- Free version: Yes
- One month of paid: $29.95/month
- Three months of paid: $19.98/month
- Six months of paid: $12.49/month
Why it's awesome: Awesome is a loose term here. With such little focus on details past physique or distance, it's natural to question how the site builds any real foundations. But, surprisingly, something Zoosk is doing is working. The site keeps a meticulously-updated list of with cute photos and anecdotes, plus news of new engagements and marriages as recently as June 2020.
Regardless of the zombie land of dead-end profiles and somewhat boring design, some 35 million people like Zoosk because it's easy. There are no long questionnaires required to build your profile and you have free reign of how to go about approaching matches.
When Zoosk switched from a social media app to a legit dating site, it was more or less in a league of its own. Incorporating "liking" photos and having a similar look as a Facebook feed was super attractive to young, single people... in the early 2000s. The problem is that Zoosk hasn't changed much since then. The lack of modern tweaks like OkCupid's politics-related ice breakers or Match's overhauled questionnaire makes its blandness even more obvious. People are simply opting for Match Group's offerings with more premium designs, less messy email notifications, and algorithms that take your personality type into account.
ShipWhere single people with dating app burnout can get their friends to make matches for them.
Why it's awesome: Maybe your inability to pick out red flags has you gagging at the thought of re-downloading a swiping app. Maybe you don't have the time or energy to scope out a new potential S.O. Maybe your friends just really hate your ex. is the modern take on having your friend act as a wingman or wingwoman at the bar, but using swiping instead of an awkward "My friend thinks you're hot." The coolest part is that your friend doesn't have to pose as you while swiping — the whole premise is to get "your Crew" involved in the process.
App-ifying blind dates is a hella fun concept, and is probably much-needed in a time when so many dating apps can cause burnout. (You may be too fresh out of a relationship to put effort into a dating app, but you'll gladly stay up until 1 a.m. to find a date for your pal.) However, the idea of matching with someone's friend might take a while for the mainstream crowd to get behind — especially when friends can't talk to matches to feel out their intentions or sense of humor before setting the two up.
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