Dating apps are now a fully accepted means of finding a partner… or having some fun, of course.
For a while dating apps were very stigmatized, with most people dismissing them as either useless or reserved for meaningless hookups. But the truth is, people do find love online. According to one recent study, 39% of straight couples and 60% of same-sex couples met online. What’s more, these are promising relationships: 17% of last years’ marriages are the result of online dating, and these relationships might actually be happier too. In other words, online dating is now both normal and successful.
The main reason dating apps have blown-up so fast is that they’re easy and convenient. You can browse potential matches in your spare time while commuting, lounging at home or pretending to work at the office. But if you want to secure some great dates, you have to pick a dating app that matches what you’re looking for. Some apps are better for LGBTQ people, while some filter by religion and others provide a good structure for more introverted daters.
Obviously, the first app that comes to mind is Tinder, but it might not be the dating app you should swipe right on. Many Tinder users are on it just for fun, collecting swipes and sending flirty messages without any intention of meeting up, while another huge chunk of users are just looking for quick hookups. If you want something a little more serious, check out some of the best dating apps below to see which one fits you best.
If you like the style of Tinder (quickly swipe on people in your area) but not the messiness, Hinge is a great pick. It has a similar interface as Tinder, but makes a few small tweaks that go a long way. Firstly, the app asks a bunch of questions to get your interests in order, so your profile isn’t defined by a 500-character bio like on Tinder. Secondly – and this is where Hinge really stands out – it utilizes your Facebook account to find mutual connections with your current friends. This way, you can almost always get the low-down on a potential match through a real person that you already know.
2. Coffee Meets Bagel
BEST FOR INTROVERTS
If you’re a little shy when it comes to online dating, Coffee Meets Bagel is a great option. It lends a helping hand with the conversation, offering prompts and letting matches know what they have in common to chat about. Instead of swiping anytime, the app sends you a bunch of potential matches (they call them “bagels”) at noon. Once you get these matches, you have 24 hours to like them or pass, and then if you like them, you have 8 days to make a move.
BEST FOR WOMEN
Bumble is another slight variation of Tinder, giving the woman more power in the matching process. When a guy and a girl match, the girl has to message the guy first, and she only has 24 hours to make this first move. Also, either party can extend the time to 48 hours if they’re really into the other person. This time limit has a big upside for guys, as ladies aren’t able to leave a match sitting for too long. Going along with their woman-first mentality, Bumble also gets top marks for having a real code of conduct to limit creeps and pornography.
For a Tinder-like interface with more fleshed-out profiles, OkCupid is a good bet. When setting up your profile, you answer a series of questions about yourself, as well as what you’d like your matches’ answers to be, and then pick which questions are important to you. Then you browse by checking out pictures, seeing a compatibility score based on the questions and swiping. But be warned: OkCupid has a downside that’s a deal breaker for some. There’s no filter for who can send you messages, so you might end up getting some unwelcome attention.
Match is the wise grandfather of online dating. It’s sleek interface, industry-leading database of singles and success rate has made it age like George Clooney. When you sign up for the app you create a unique profile (instead of transferring Facebook info) with photos, partner preferences and your bio. Then you’re free to flirt with the massive pool of online dating candidates, sending “winks” to the people you like. You can also get personalized recommendations for matches from a dating coach, or upgrade to the paid version for $21 for six months to get more features such as seeing who’s looked at your profile.
BEST LGBTQ APP
Gay or bisexual singles looking to hookup have the best app for doing just that: Grindr. It’s easy to use, efficient, and users say it leads to hookups very often – sometimes in as little as 10 minutes. This is mainly thanks to a huge database, but also a proximity feature that shows you the closest guys when you log on. But while casual hookups are common, the app does start relationships as well.
BEST JEWISH APP
One big advantage of online dating is that you can quickly narrow down your search without awkwardly questioning dates to find deal-breakers. Jdate does this immediately, offering a place for Jewish singles to meet each other. Once you’ve made a profile, Jdate sends you up to 7 personalized matches a day, but you can also browse profiles at your leisure. Jdate is mainly used by people looking for a serious relationship, and the site is quite good at doing just that. The only downside is that you have to pay for membership ($19.99/month for a 6-month plan), but that ensures that members are serious about finding a date.
8. Christian Mingle
BEST CHRISTIAN APP
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a fellow Christian to start a relationship with, Christian Mingle is the obvious choice. Like Jdate, you do have to pay a membership fee ($13.99/month for a 6-month plan), but again, that ensures a database of serious candidates. Because you’re paying for the service, you get a wide range of features and benefits including quality daily matches, great customer service and a huge database.