Why is it that some people struggle to find meaningful romantic connections? Is it terrible luck, or has the pandemic changed how we find love? Setting my inner Carrie Bradshaw aside, let's dive deeper into the dating app pool.
Choosing the right app can be tricky. We found that the best dating apps tend to have three things in common: customizable profiles (prompts or icebreakers), voice and video calling and built-in safety features.
And let’s not forget about inclusivity. The best dating apps celebrate users’ uniqueness and diversity by offering a safe space for women, people in the LBGTQ+ community, people with disabilities, people of color and those with varying gender identities.
That said, the first step to finding the right app is figuring out what kind of experience you're looking for. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our favorites below.
Our Top Picks for Best Dating Apps
- Bumble: Best for women
- Tinder: Best for casual dating
- HER: Best for lesbian, queer, and bi
- Hinge: Best profile features
- OkCupid: Best for inclusive dating
Best Dating Apps Reviews
Why we chose it: Bumble made our list as the best app for women for its innovative women-message-first approach, plus options for romantic and non-romantic matches.
- Browse, match and message for free
- Matches can communicate through audio notes and video chat
- Set advanced filters to sift out users
- Pause your profile while maintaining current matches with Snooze mode
- Private Detector AI system blurs unsolicited nude pics
- One month of Bumble Premium is pricey at $39.99
- Only 24 hours to connect with someone
- Profiles are limited to maximum of six pictures and a 300-character description
- Desktop version doesn't offer Bumble Bizz, Bumble BFF, Beeline or advanced filters
Bumble adds a layer of safety and comfort by allowing women to make the first move. With Bumble, women have 24 hours to contact a match before disappearing from the “Beeline.” In same-gender connections, any user can message first.
Another one of Bumble’s distinctive features are its “modes.” Users can switch between “date” for romantic connections, “BFF” for new friends, and Bumble’s most recent addition, “Bumble Bizz,” for business contacts. The rule of women messaging first applies to all. Bumble also connects users to organizations that support victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking.
Like Tinder, Bumble users can browse profiles and either swipe right (check mark) if interested or left (X) to dislike. Then you can scroll down to check out complete profiles, including bios and icebreaker prompts.
When it comes to safety and security, we like that Bumble matches can video chat or voice call without having to exchange phone numbers. Plus, an AI-powered Private Detector blurs lewd images. No more unwanted pics! The app also modified its terms and conditions to ban fatphobia and body-shaming language. Users who engage in such behavior will receive a warning and can face permanent suspension.
Bumble has two paid subscription levels: Boost and Premium. With the less expensive Boost membership, users get access to features such as backtrack, rematch and unlimited likes. Premium members get all of that, plus travel and incognito mode, advanced filters, super swipes and spotlights. You can also buy Bumble Coins (starting at $1.99). Two Bumble Coins can get you the Spotlight feature for 30 minutes, meaning higher visibility in your neighborhood.
Why we chose it: Tinder bios are short, limited to only 500 characters, and it relies more on pics, likes and swipes than other dating websites and apps. This makes it the best choice for daters interested in hookups or casual encounters.
- Free match and chat
- In-app video calls
- Search for matches based on specific interests
- Pay for your date's ride with Lyft
- Partners with Noonlight app and Garbo platform to increase user safety
- One free Super Like per day
- Profiles aren't customizable
- No prompts or icebreakers
- Garbo app is not available for iPhone
With more than 54 million downloads in 2021, Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps in the world. One of Tinder’s founders is also credited for coming up with “swiping” — the feature that changed the online-dating game forever and became a signifier of our generation.
The app’s interface is simple. Potential matches are shown as a card containing a photo, name, age and a short optional introduction. You can swipe right if you like what you see or tap the photo to read the user’s profile. To help increase your dating pool, Tinder sends a list of potential matches as “Top Daily Picks.”
We commend Tinder’s commitment to improving the LBGTQ+ community experience by providing an extensive list of sexual orientations to choose from, in which users can add up to three terms. That said, users can keep the information hidden if they don’t want to display their orientation.
As the recent scandal around Netlix’s “Tinder Swindler” made headlines, Match Group, Inc. — Tinder’s parent company — partnered with Garbo, a non-profit platform, to provide two free background checks for every Tinder member. After two free searches, users have to pay $2.50 and a transaction fee of $0.75 for each additional search.
Tinder also partnered with Noonlight, an app that allows users to trigger emergency services if they need help or post about when, where and who they plan to meet up with someone in real life. Other safety features include email and photo verification, with profiles of verified users displaying a blue checkmark next to their name.
Users looking for premium features — unlimited likes and rewinds, passport to any location, see who likes you, etc. — can subscribe to one of the app's three subscription tiers: Tinder Plus, Tinder Gold and Tinder Platinum.
Why we chose it: HER is a dating app designed for women in the LGBTQ+ community looking for romantic connections. If you identify as lesbian, queer, bisexual, non-binary, or pansexual, HER was built for you.
- Preferred pronouns are included in your profile
- "Community" is a social media-like space to share interests
- 7-day free trial (with a premium subscription)
- Sign up with your Facebook or Instagram account
- Offers social features, news and articles
- Unlimited swipes are only available with a Platinum subscription
- Ads can only be removed with a paid subscription
When it launched in 2019, HER was the first app made specifically for women to meet women. Since then, a lot has changed in the world and in the LGBTQ+ community. Today, people are accepting of more fluid identities, so the creators of the app felt they need to provide a safe space for “womxn” — trans women and feminine-identifying non-binary people, as well as cisgender women.
HER supports its users by displaying pronouns on their profiles — something not commonly found in other dating services. Users can also sign up to HER communities to connect with others based on specific interests, send friend requests and include hashtags in their posts. In this sense, HER works as a dating and social media app, leaving it to the user to decide how to engage.
To help you start the dating journey with confidence, when you register you can find suggestions on building a solid profile and look over a virtual guide with events and workshops where you can meet your first date. HER also features a “like” notifications page where you can see a profile preview of any user who “liked” you.
Users with free memberships can swipe, chat and participate in communities without limit, but you’ll have to put up with unwanted ads unless you purchase a premium subscription. Besides zero ads, premium members have access to premium search filters, incognito mode, rewind profiles and one free boost per month.
Why we chose it: Hinge stands out from the crowd for its appealing, in-depth profiles that help users to step back from the regular swiping to engage in conversations. If you like prompts (voice prompts are a powerful tool for attraction), you’ll heart Hinge.
- Multiple ways to like profiles
- Participate in video chats
- Record and listen to 30-second voice prompts
- Fun, customizable profiles with different prompts to choose from
- Upload and pair your images with a snippet of text
- Only available for mobile (iPhones/iPads and Android devices)
- Free version only allows eight likes per day
With Hinge, users can interact directly with any part of another person’s profile. No more waiting for a swipe right to talk to someone you liked. When you interact with a specific picture or prompt by hitting X or ♡, the user will be notified and then you’ll be able to start a conversation.
Uploading photos is fun as users can pair their pictures with a small snippet of text to showcase their personality. That said, our favorite feature is the voice prompt — a 30-second voice recording that users can feature in their profile and exchange in the chat. It can feel funny and weird to listen to the sound of your voice played back, but imagine the possibilities! And also, some of us have a thing for voices. Custom voice prompts include “my best celebrity impression,” “a quick rant about” and “guess the song.”
Like Tinder and Bumble, when you sign up with Hinge, you are presented with some questions (prompts) about yourself and what you’re looking for in a match. Users have to answer three prompts to complete the registration. Hinge will take this information — and your Facebook profile if you choose to connect it — and it will use the Nobel-prize-winning algorithm called the Gale-Shapley algorithm to find someone who you are likely to like, and who is likely to like you back.
In other words, over time, the algorithm will learn what type of person you engage with the most (by sending comments or having conversations). It’s these people who will show in your daily match recommendations. You can also show interest in someone by sending a rose, which will bump you to the top of their “Likes You” feed. Users get one free rose a week and can buy more.
On the downside, free users get a limited number of likes per day (10), and the app doesn’t have as many users as Tinder (7million) or Bumble (5million). However, an extensive list of features — did we mention it has an “anti-ghosting” feature called “Your Turn” that reminds you to message a new match back? — make it worthy of trying.
Why we chose it: OkCupid’s 20 sexual/romantic orientations, 22 gender identities and range of dating options — new friends, long-term relationships, hookups, or non-monogamous relationships — make it an excellent choice for users who want to experience the diversity of dating.
- Choose from a range of gender and sexual identities
- Match % shows compatibility likelihood with potential partners
- Profile info includes eating, smoking, drinking and cannabis habits
- 1 free SuperLike per week
- LGBTQ+ resources
- Available for iOS, Android and desktop
- Subscription plan starts at $44.99 per month
- No video chat
- Free interface includes ads
OkCupid is a dating website and app acquired in 2011 by Match Group Inc. — also the parent company of Tinder, Hinge, and Match.com. Over the years, the app shifted from its heteronormative perspective to make it a better fit for the LQBTQ+ community (and everyone else, really).
Back in 2014, OkCupid was the first app to offer expanded gender identities and orientations. Today, users can choose between 22 genders and 20 orientations — there’s even an “I’m open to everyone” option. The company expanded its journey towards inclusivity by launching the “I don’t want to see or be seen by straight people” privacy setting in 2021. Users have mentioned online feeling much safer thanks to this feature.
The app’s Instagram-like interface allows users to filter possible matches based on specific interests, from religion to astrology and politics, as well as topics like climate change and abortion rights. With around 500 interest-related questions to choose from, this feature keeps the app feeling fun and new. Each time you answer new questions, it opens the door to new possible matches. You can also tell the app if a particular question is more important than another — information that the algorithm considers when recommending a match.
To increase connection probabilities, OkCupid shows you the “Cupid’s Picks” — a daily list of users with whom you’ll have a higher chance of matching based on answers to your profile questions. In its free version, OkCupid also includes a Live section, where users can livestream content, watch other users’ livestreams and participate in the live chat.
While OkPremium is free for browsing and chatting with other members, Premium users enjoy an ad-free experience, unlimited likes, dealbreakers, free boots, three free SuperLikes, and the options to see who likes you and receive read-receipts from your messages.
Other dating apps we considered
The dating scene is vast and deep, and the truth is that dating apps are a great way to meet people and find a meaningful connection. When it came to our top picks, we featured the apps that charmed us with their profile features, inclusivity and user safety. The following dating apps may be worth looking into as well.
- Profiles will not be public unless you upload a close-up picture of your face
- Free unlimited likes
- Message your top picks for free
- LGBTQ+ inclusive
- Subscription packages start at $37.99 per month
- You cannot see anyone's whole profile or read messages without a subscription
- Free version includes ads
With over 25 years in the online dating game, Match.com is considered a pioneer in the industry. The site has one of the largest dating pools and a tried-and-true algorithm to help users find their “mutual matches.” On the downside, the free version lacks messaging, meaning that you can only receive messages, not send them. To get the full-feature experience — unlimited messaging, video chat, dating experts and read receipts — you must sign up for a subscription package.
- Video date
- Matches made through a compatibility quiz
- Conversation starters
- Lengthy sign-up takes more than 20 minutes
- Pictures are only visible to premium members
- Considers your income
Like Match.com, eHarmony has been in the industry for over 20 years and is known for its high-tech personality matching system. To find the right match, eHarmony uses a six-part compatibility quiz that has over 100 questions and takes around 20 minutes to complete. Yep, that’s a long time, but the “29 Dimensions of Compatibility” quiz feeds the algorithm the info it needs to work its magic. The dealbreaker for us is that free members don’t have access to pictures and profiles unless they upgrade to a paid account.
- Zoosk SmartPick learns from every "❤" and "X" you make to create better match recommendations
- Send virtual gifts such as emojis or animated emoticons to live streamers within the app
- Sign up using Facebook or Google account
- Photo and Facebook verification
- Available in over 80 countries and 25 languages
- Subscriptions start at $29.99 per month
- You can only message with a paid subscription
- Free trial includes ads
Zoosk is a dating app with over 35 million users. Features include SmartPick technology, a swiping method of looking through matches, gifts and coins to recommend better matches <OK?. Users can also connect in real-time with Zoosk Live. Its free version allows users to browse profiles and ❤ users, but messaging is only available with a paid subscription.
- New matches every day at noon
- Personalized prompts to start conversations
- Earn rewards to unlock special features
- Premium features are limited based on the user's operating system (iOS or Android)
- No gender option for non-binary people
- Read receipts are only available with a premium subscription
- No video chat
- Plain interface and limited features
Coffee Meets Bagel is not only a great name for a dating app, it’s even greater when daily matches are called “bagels.” The gist of the app is to step away from swiping to offer curated, high-quality matches. There’s no lengthy questionnaire, but you can fill out prompts, and user profiles showcase your job and school. But overall, Coffee Meets Bagel’s lack of features and limited daily picks left us wanting more.
- Filters for mature dating, gay senior dating and older women dating
- Customizable profile
- Uses encryption-based security protocols and fraud detection systems
- LQBTQ+ friendly
- Only three to seven new matches a day
- Lack of features
- Limited communication with basic membership
As the name suggests, SilverSingles is a dating app that caters to people 50+ looking for love, new friends or casual dating. The app has been around for over 17 years and is available in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Australia and the UK. SilverSingles is LGBTQ+ friendly and offers personalized customer service and security checks on new profiles. SilverSingle’s lack of features, limited free version and pricey subscription ($37.97) kept it off our list of top picks.
- Available as a dating website and app
- Meet faith-focused singles
- Options for romantic relationships or friend/activity partners
- Match compatibility percentage
- Browse users by distance or online status
- Subscription starts at an expensive $49.99 per month
- Messaging and read receipts are only available with a subscription
Christian Mingle provides a space for people looking to date within the Chrisitan faith community. The interface has a simple, easy-to-use design with a LookBook style feature. Users with free memberships can search, browse and read others’ profiles, with a single main photo as the main eye-catcher. However, they can’t send messages.
- Customizable profiles
- Purchase the Spotlight feature without a subscription
- Respond to direct messages from premium subscribers
- Articles and advice for dating within the Jewish community
- Free members only have access to other users' primary photos
- Free members can only exchange messages with paid subscribers
- Subscription prices start at $59.99 per month
JDate is a dating site for individuals looking to connect with other Jewish singles. Users can post up to six pictures and search the database (there are approximately 200,000 JDate users in the U.S.). The site and app are minimalistic in appearance and don’t have any stand-out features. Messaging, read and reply functionality and enhanced privacy controls are only available with the paid membership.
- Easy to sign up
- Use the app for free or purchase the paid option
- Video call and voice notes feature
- Pricey subscription
- No compatibility-match
- Not great for users in rural areas
Happn is one of the latest apps to step into the dating industry. It takes less than three minutes to sign up and you’re ready to swipe. You can like or dislike other users, but the chat feature is only available for matches. Happn uses your location to provide possible matches — a good choice for those living in more populated urban areas, but not great for users in rural areas or those concerned with privacy issues.
- Works with Facebook app
- Doesn't notify your Facebook friends that you joined Dating
- Informs the user of community guidelines
- Glitchy interface
- Only works on the mobile app
- Uses your Facebook profile information and other personal data
- Does not include options for non-binary/non-conforming gender identity
- Open to scammers and other security and privacy issues
Facebook Dating is a feature within the Facebook mobile app. Besides being completely free, the only thing that stood out was the “Secret Crush” feature, where you can tag one of your friends as your secret crush. If the other person marks you as well, the app will notify you both. That said, the cons outweigh the pros here. Facebook Dating is prone to the same security issues, data leaks and overwhelming number of ads as its parent company.
Best Dating Apps Guide
What is a dating app and how does it work?
A dating app is a software application that helps people connect and create romantic relationships, friendships, or hookups.
To use a dating app:
- First, you must download the app to your phone.
- Create a profile using your phone number and email address, or link to one of your social media or social networking accounts.
- Complete your profile by filling in personal information, including likes/dislikes and hobbies. Most apps usually ask users to upload at least two photos as well.
- After completing your profile, you can start liking or swiping right on anyone who catches your eye.
- Communicate, message and engage in conversation to increase your chances of finding the right person and having a good dating experience.
How to choose the right dating app
With many dating apps available, finding the right app for you can feel as challenging as meeting someone you truly connect with. When selecting a dating app, keep in mind:
- Choosing the right dating app is something very personal. It all depends on what you’re looking for and the experience you want to have.
- Some dating apps base their matchmaking only on location.
- Some apps focus on race, religion or sexual orientation as the basis for connections.
- Not all dating apps are free. Many have subscription plans to unlock extra features, messaging, and unlimited likes.
What to watch out for with dating apps
When using a dating app or website, be aware of scams. Avoid sharing personal and financial information with other users, including your exact location. Keep in mind that if you link your social media profile to your dating app, users will be able to have access and contact you through other online platforms.
If you want privacy and hope to avoid running into someone from your socials in your dating app search, we recommend you use your phone number or email address rather than a social media profile to open an account. If you want to avoid having your social media found by other dating app users, we recommend setting your profile to private.
Many dating apps include access to anonymous browsing in their premium subscriptions. This means that you can browse profiles without other users noticing it. Be wary of the images you share on your apps, since other users might be able to perform a reverse image search to verify profile authenticity and find other related images that could compromise your safety.
Tips to improve your dating profile
With more than 44 million online dating app users in the United States, standing out can feel challenging. How can you make your profile attract the one? Here are some tips on how to improve your dating app profile:
Be honest about what you’re looking for
We don’t always know what we want, but honesty is one of the best qualities that you can find in a person. Include in your profile if you’re looking for a long-term serious relationship or something more short-term. And if you’re still figuring it out, there’s nothing wrong with saying that either.
Write a short and attractive bio
You don’t have to write your whole life story in your personal bio. Include details that can spark a conversation, such as your favorite TV shows or films, traveling interests, or any other fact that can shed light on who you are.
Show your profile to a friend
One of the best ways to know if your profile reveals who you are is to show it to a friend or a family member. Another set of eyes can help you finish building an attractive and genuine profile.
How We Chose The Best Dating Apps
To choose the best dating apps, we
- Downloaded a list of apps — 19 to be exact
- Created profiles
- Explored and studied the apps and features
- Read online forums and user reviews
When exploring the apps, we considered:
- Profile features (prompts, video chat, voice recordings)
- User safety, privacy policies and features
- Options for gender and sexual orientations
- How user-friendly the interface is
- What features and perks are included for free
- Premium subscription prices and features
Summary of The Best Dating Apps of 2022
- Bumble: Best for women
- Tinder: Best for casual dating
- HER: Best for lesbian, queer, and bi
- Hinge: Best profile features
- OkCupid: Best for inclusive dating