How did you meet?
Erm… on…a…dating… app!
It’s not like this any more in 2021. Almost gone are the days when people have to lie to friends and family about the fact they’ve met their new partner online. Online dating is getting more popular with all age groups but particularly younger adults – a staggering 48% of US adults aged 18-29 use dating apps now.
Pandemic restrictions and changes in the willingness and ability to meet in public have further pushed society towards online dating and there’s been a whole host of new businesses springing up to cater for this fact.
This guide will help you navigate the increasingly crowded dating app market and discover which is the best fit with you. If you’re slightly older and looking for something serious you want to be around others looking for the same.
When reviewing all of these apps we interviewed users and did our own market research to ascertain who the app is best for, the pricing, and other additional features.
*Add new screenshots to blog when designed*
Lovestruck combines online dating with real life matchmaking. The iOS and Android app previously won the flagship dating app of the year award and dating brand of the year.
If you are serious in your hunt for a long-term relationship then Lovestruck, established in 2006, could be perfect for you. The premium dating support services are aimed at singles looking for true love. Many of the premium verified members are highly successful professionals working in top industries such as finance, legal, healthcare and entrepreneurship.
Sign up to the app and you’ll find some limited free features – and to get the most out of Lovestruck the premium Diamond memberships is where you need to be. Here, you’ll be able to get matched and chat with verified premium members, receive phone consultations with personal matchmakers and go on real dates arranged by the Lovestruck dating specialists.
With physical stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and London Lovestruck offers other offline services and support to all iOS and Android app members.
Locations: Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, London
Best for: Serious singles and high-end professionals looking for long-term genuine relationships.
The world’s best-known and popular dating app. Tinder claims to have a staggering 55 billion matches since its launch in 2012. The app generated $1.4billion of revenue in 2020 – helping to make it one of the most profitable apps in the world.
The app works by matching users to others based on geographic proximity. It was the first dating app to pioneer the ‘swipe’ for liking or the opposite way to pass. If two users like each other they match and they are then able to chat through the app. There’s the option of using the app for free – but upgraded members have access to tools such as boost profile, a dating ‘passport’ to swipe people in other locations, plus unlimited swipes.
Due to its mass market nature Tinder can be time consuming to swipe and talk to people that may meet your requirements. Most profiles are very basic and the app relies heavily on physical appearance. This makes it very popular with the younger demographic looking for ‘hook ups’. Although recently, the app seems to me making changes to appear to more serious daters looking for more refined searches.
Locations: 150+ Countries
Best for: Younger singles looking for fun and almost-instant gratification. Long-term relationships can be found here, but there’s a lot of work and dating involved to discover who is serious and who isn’t. There’s a 2:1 ratio of men outnumbering women.
Founded by the original Tinder vice president of marketing, Wolfe Herd, Bumble was originally created to allow women to be in control of communication. What began as a female-focused dating app is now a global giant.
Bumble follows a similar format to Tinder. The swipe left or right. The main difference being, when a match is made the woman must make the contact initiation – men must respond to that message within 24hours. This means a few things. One is that women are in more control of initial communications and another is that men are encouraged to work harder on their profile because women will take profile information and pictures into account when swiping and messaging. Furthermore, men on tinder can swipe endlessly and ghost women who message them. On Bumble this happens far less because men have to respond within 24hours or lose the match entirely.
Locations: 150+ Countries
Best for: Women who want control of who they communicate with after they’ve matched. The fact women flock to Bumble means the men are not far behind! The app has almost a 1:1 ratio. Bumble is more serious than Tinder but we still say it is aimed at mass market and because of that – you have to work hard to find those serious in their search for love.
What you will soon notice upon opening the OkCupid dating app is that many of the profiles are far more detailed than what you will find elsewhere. They also get you to answer a seemingly endless list of questions. This will help the app understand who you are likely to be compatible with – if you’re into that kind of thing.
Due to Tinder’s emergence as the dominant force in dating apps, OkCupid has gradually changed its stance and its features to compete.
You’ll find OkCupid far quieter and more difficult to navigate than Tinder or Bumble, for example – but generally there are some serious users here (due to the amount of time people invest in answering the huge amount of questions at profile set up). Most people who aren’t serious won’t invest the time and effort in doing so
Best for: Those looking for detailed profiles and semi-serious to serious dating
With the catchy slogan ‘the app designed to be deleted’ Hinge focuses on the pain points of some other dating apps and encourages its users to find what they want and then delete the app!
Coming at online dating from a different angle, hinge focuses on how to get its users off the app. Interesting stance, but it appears to work. Hinge also asks how your dates are going, and they will follow up to hear how it went and to make better recommendations in the future.
Originally, Hinge focused on common connections and mutual friends. They’ve gradually migrated away from this and placed more emphasis on helping user profiles become more engaging and helpful on mass-market apps like Tinder and Bumble. You’ll find plenty of extra details on profiles here, including alcohol consumption frequency. Don’t take everyone’s word for it, though. It’s not unusual for a few mistruths to be told in the online dating world!
Locations: Many places across the U.S, London, Toronto, Mumbai, Sydney and Northern Europe.
Best for: Serious relationships with personal follow-up service
A bit of a hybrid between online dating and matchmaking, CMB aims to provide users with high-quality matches each day (bagels) at noon. They provide prompts for first time messages between users, which is a handy feature for those lacking the inspiration to say anything other than ‘hi’.
The app can be a little confusing to use in comparison to the mass market options such as Tinder and Bumble but that is in part to the extra features, some of which can come across a little gimmicky.
Once signed up to Coffee Meets Bagel we recommend to manage your notifications carefully – as they are, shall we say, plentiful.
In a nutshell CMB is not the best app to use if you are looking for a hookup. It’s aimed more at people looking for meaningful connections and the fun prompts help you feel relaxed when contacting one-another. Features in free are pretty limited, and the upgrade cost is worth it if you are happy with the app when trialling it in free. Last year, CMB added video virtual speed dating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Locations: International – but Hong Kong Australia, Canada and US appear the main markets
Best for: Trendy people that like fun features and something slightly different to what else is out there
Yup, you’ve guessed it. This dating app is only available one day of the week – a Thursday. A recent launch in 2021, Thursday’s risky strategy revolves around one day. Going live in London and New York initially, the idea is to funnel interest into one small section of time. 24 hours are given to match and chat with interested parties. Speed is of the essence with Thursday – as your matches and chats will disappear when midnight on the Friday arrives. Early reviews of this app are mixed as you’d expect, and some have complained of glitches in the app but also of the concept itself.
Prices: Free – with some in app purchases
Locations: New York & London
Best for: People that like Thursdays. Seriously, people that want to act fast and focus all their dating activities in 24hours. The good thing about Thursday is – you don’t have to wait weeks to hear back from someone.
eHarmony has a great reputation for those looking for serious dating. You can expect a thorough compatibility and interests tests – and this is one of the very few dating apps that provides a guarantee. If you are not happy with their service after a fixed period of time you can actually apply for a refund! Can’t be bad. There are terms attached, of course, but it’s better than no satisfaction guarantee at all.
You’ll find members of all ages in the eHarmony app but it’s particularly good for daters 30+. Premium membership prices and duration might be a drawback for some, but if you’re looking for something serious then this barrier to entry can put off some people that are just looking for hook ups.
Locations: 200 countries
Best for: Serious singles looking for a long-term relationship and those not put off by the cost and duration of the memberships
One of the pioneers of online dating applications, POF was launched in 2003 and as such the user base is pretty huge (150million+). It is also free to use but premium features (as always) will help you get the best experience from the app.
The communication part of this app is a little more difficult to use and are lacking compared to the giants Tinder and Bumble. The user base does compensate for this somewhat though. There is love to be found here – the question is, can you find it?
Locations: International (20+ countries)
Best for: Free features and a very big user base make POF ideal for daters on a budget
The League is so elite it actually requires you to apply first before acceptance. You supply your job title, college and LinkedIn profile, for example. There is actually a waiting list for come Cities. Whether you are patient enough to wait for that is totally your choice. However, conveniently, there is a way to pay to speed up the process. Whether you find an elite group of daters on here compared to other apps is open to interpretation. Some users report seeing the same profiles on other dating apps, but the fact applications are taken before acceptance is an interesting feature. And one that almost eliminates the risk of fake users, cat fishing and bots.
Prices: $67-$299USD monthly
Locations: US, Canada, Europe + more
Best for: Elite daters looking for a serious relationshipTweet