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Published: Jul 28, 2023 24 min read
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The best dating apps and best dating sites have three things in common: customizable profiles with prompts or icebreakers, built-in safety features and voice and video calling. Still, there are thousands of dating apps out there, which can make choosing the right app for your dating style a bit tricky.

To help you narrow down your choices, we evaluated free and premium versions of the most-used apps. These picks cover all the dating app purposes, from hookings up to LTRs (that’s long-term relationships) to networking and friendship.

Read on to find out our selections for the best dating apps, plus learn helpful tips to get the most out of your online dating experience — and stay safe while you’re doing it.

Our Top Picks for Best Dating Apps

  • Bumble: Best for Women
  • Tinder: Best for Casual Relationships
  • HER: Best for Queer, Lesbian, and Bi Daters
  • Hinge: Best for Long-Term Relationships
  • OkCupid: Best for Inclusive Dating
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Best Dating Apps Reviews

  • Women make the first move
  • Browse, match and message for free
  • Communicate through audio notes and video chat
  • Advanced filters help narrow the user pool
  • Use Snooze Mode to pause your profile without losing matches
  • 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; extra time costs extra
  • 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
Women message first when matched with people of other genders
Heightened safety features, requires users to agree to the "Bumble Pledge" of respect and kindness
$16.99/month for Boost, $39.99 for Premium
75+ options
iOS, Android

Woman-founded Bumble is the only app offering a women-message-first approach. Other genders, such as cisgender men or non-binary people, must wait to be messaged if they match with a woman. In same-gender connections, any user can message first. All matches expire after 24 hours — you can, however, use your daily free extension or pay extra for more time.

Bumble’s unique “modes” let users switch between “date” for romantic connections, “BFF” for finding new friends and “Bumble Bizz” for business networking. The rule of women messaging first applies here, too. The app uses the swipe right-or-left method for browsing profiles, and includes options like connecting Spotify to display favorite artists, adding profile prompts and sharing star signs. Users can also choose to hide their gender from their profile.

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, protecting users from unsolicited content. Bumble also offers identity verification through an in-app selfie; this can help assure others they aren’t being catfished.

Another supportive plus: Bumble’s terms of service address fatphobia and body-shaming language, with potential consequences for those engaging in such behavior. Additionally, the apps Safety and Wellbeing section offers support for dating burnout or anxiety, guidance on coping with rejection or ghosting, and connections to organizations supporting survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking.

  • Free match and chat, plus video calls
  • Connect your Spotify or Instagram
  • Search for matches based on specific interests
  • Pay for your date's ride with Lyft
  • One free Super Like per day
  • Partners with Noonlight app, Garbo and Crisis Text Line to increase user safety
  • Profiles are less customizable compared to other dating apps
  • No prompts or icebreakers for profiles
  • Garbo is not available in-app: it's a separate platform
  • Free version limits browsing to users within 100 miles of your location
Photo-centric, ideal for casual dating, flings or hookups
Showcase up to nine photos, find users with similar "vibes" via Explore
Tinder Plus - $19.99/month, Tinder Gold $29.99/month, Tinder Platinum - $39.99/month
50+ genders, about 10 pronoun choices
iOS, Android

With more than 64 million downloads in 2022, Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps in the world. The app’s “swiping” feature, credited to one of its founders, revolutionized online dating. Potential matches are shown as a card with a photo, name, age and an optional introduction. Users can swipe right to express interest or tap the photo to read the full profile. To expand dating options, Tinder lists “Top Daily Picks” for each user.

We commend Tinder’s commitment to improving the LBGTQ+ community experience by providing an extensive list of sexual orientations to choose from, from which users can add up to three terms. Users also have the option to keep this information hidden if they prefer not to display their orientation.

Addressing safety concerns, Tinder’s parent company partnered with Garbo, a non-profit platform, to provide two free background checks for every Tinder member. Additional searches cost $2.50 plus a transaction fee of $0.75.

Tinder also joined forces with Noonlight, enabling users to trigger emergency services if they need help and to post when and where and with whom they plan to meet up. Other safety features include email and photo verification, with profiles of verified users displaying a blue checkmark next to their name.

  • Pronouns prominently displayed
  • Add fun pride stickers to your profile
  • Social media-style community section
  • Attend online events with HER users
  • Connect your Spotify account
  • Unlimited swipes are only available with a Platinum subscription
  • Ads can only be removed with a paid subscription
  • 7-day Premium free trial automatically charges at expiration if you don't cancel
Tailored specifically to LGBTQIA+ people
Social-media style community area, Pride Pins for profiles
Premium - $24.99 per month
19 choices or self-describe
iOS, Android

HER, launched in 2019, was the first app designed exclusively for queer women to connect with other queer women. It’s since evolved to cater to people of all genders and sexualities, such as trans lesbians or pansexual, non-binary femmes.

Pronouns are prominently displayed on your profile, a feature that’s not offered on every dating service. (HER offers tons of pronoun choices, plus the option to self-describe.) You can also add stickers to your profile to show pride in your sexuality, gender, or interests, like gaming or plants.

HER offers guidance on building a strong profile, along with a Community section that hosts events where users can meet potential first dates, whether in person or virtually. The app’s “like” notifications page provides profile previews of users who have shown interest. (A premium subscription is required to access all likes and profile views.)

In the Community section, HER fosters connections based on specific interests, allowing users to send friend requests and include hashtags in posts. In this sense, HER functions as both a dating and social media app, giving users the freedom to engage as they choose.

  • Multiple ways to like profiles
  • Profiles can include 30-second video and voice prompts
  • Multiple writing prompts for profiles
  • Upload and pair your images with captions
  • Only available for mobile (iPhones/iPads and Android devices)
  • Free version only allows eight likes per day
  • Smaller user base than Tinder or Bumble
Swaps swiping for interactive profiles that encourage conversation
Super customizable profiles, audio/video prompts
Preferred - $34.99/month
Write-in option available, select up to four pronouns from many
iOS, Android

Hinge stands out from other dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid, Match, Plenty of Fish, thanks to its unique approach to online dating. Instead of swiping, Hinge encourages users to engage in real conversions through in-depth, interactive profiles. Users can “heart” photos or prompts to send likes or, even a rose, initiating conversations with potential matches. To move on to the next profile, simply hit the “X”.

Uploading photos is fun as users can pair their pictures with a small snippet of text to showcase their personality. That said, our favorite features are the 30-second video and voice prompts for profiles or to exchange in chat. Hinge also includes an anti-ghosting measure called “Your Turn,” which reminds users to message their matches.

During sign-up, Hinge requires users to answer three prompts, along with other questions about their preferences. The app uses this information — along with data from your Facebook profile if you choose to connect it — in conjunction with the Nobel-prize-winning algorithm called the Gale-Shapley algorithm to find potential matches based on mutual interests.

  • Match % shows compatibility likelihood with potential dates
  • Choose from a range of gender and sexual identities
  • Profile info includes eating, smoking, drinking and cannabis habits
  • 1 free SuperLike per week
  • LGBTQ+ resources
  • Available for iOS, Android and desktop
  • Cost for subscriptions is higher compared to other companies we evaluated
  • No video chat
  • Free interface includes ads
Matches users based on compatibility
Groups matches by shared interests and compatibility
$24.99 per month for Basic, $44.99 per month for Premium
22 choices
iOS, Android

OkCupid offers a wide range of dating options, including hookups, non-monogamous relationships and long-term commitments. With 22 sexual or romantic orientations and 22 gender identities to choose from, the app provides an inclusive platform for diverse preferences.

Each profile on OkCupid displays a compatibility percentage based on profile details and responses to Match Questions, which cover various personal values and relationship styles. This feature helps users gauge compatibility; a high compatibility score indicates you’re likely to have lots in common with someone. Users can “heart” profiles or like or comment on specific parts to express interest in someone before initiating a conversation.

OkCupid’s profile browsing goes beyond the basics, offering various groupings or “Stacks” to explore. “Cupid’s Picks” provides daily recommendations with high matching potential, but it requires a SuperLike, limited to one per week in the free version. Other Stacks include Popular, New People and specific interest-based groupings.

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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.


  • Free unlimited likes
  • Message your top picks for free
  • LGBTQ+ inclusive
  • Premium subscription starts at 35.90 per month
  • Free version includes ads

With more than 25 years in the online dating game, Match 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.” Messaging matches is free, but limited — unless you upgrade.

A subscription gets you the full-feature experience, such as unlimited messaging, video chat, the ability to see who’s online now, monthly profile visibility boosts, a one-on-one with a dating expert, discounts to Match events and read receipts.


  • Video date
  • Matches made through a compatibility quiz
  • Conversation starters
  • Geared toward long-term commitments
  • Thorough personality test
  • Subscriptions start at $25.90 per month
  • Pictures only visible to premium members
  • Considers your income
  • Lacks queer gender and sexuality options

An industry staple for more than 20 years, eHarmony is known for its high-tech personality matching system. To find the (hopefully) perfect match, eHarmony uses a compatibility quiz with more than 100 questions. It’s lengthy, but the “32 Dimensions” compatibility quiz feeds the algorithm the info it needs to work its magic.

There’s two deal-breakers for us, though. First, free members don’t have access to pictures and profiles unless they upgrade to a paid account. Second, there are no gender choices besides woman or man, and sexual orientation options are limited to heterosexual or woman seeking woman/man seeking man.


  • Zoosk SmartPick learns from every "❤" and "X" for better match recommendations
  • Send virtual gifts (emojis, animated emoticons) to live streamers within the app
  • Sign up using Facebook or Google account
  • Photo and Facebook verification
  • Available in 80-plus countries and 25 languages
  • Limited gender and sexuality options
  • Subscriptions start at $29.99 per month
  • You can only message with a paid subscription
  • Free trial includes ads

More than 40 million people worldwide use Zoosk. The dating app’s features include SmartPick introductions via Behavior Matchmaking technology: SmartPick learns from your "❤" and "X" votes to make more relevant subsequent recommendations. Answering the SmartPick Survey will also improve your match results. We like Zoosk’s adaptive match-making, but we dislike its lack of gender and sexuality options.


  • Join solo or as a couple
  • Showcase your profile for 24 hours using "Uplift" for $9.99
  • Feeld hosts in-person workshops and social events around the globe
  • Group chat feature for "digital polycules"
  • No identification screening to minimize likelihood of fake profiles
  • No option to self-describe gender
  • Paid subscription required for Incognito Mode, where other users won't see you until you like them first
  • No video chat or voice notes

Feeld stands out as an app that caters to queer individuals, practitioners of ethical non-monogamy (ENM) and members of the kink and BDSM communities. During sign-up, users can select up to 10 “Desires and Fantasies,” such as kink, threeway, poly, submissive, dominant, watching and group.

The free version offers unlimited profile swipes and up to 40 daily “likes,” with the paid version providing additional features like knowing who likes you and private photo viewing for connections. Messaging is available after making a match.

Coffee Meets Bagel

  • 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 nonbinary 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
  • Age range starts at 50 years old
  • Security checks on new profiles
  • Only three to seven new matches a day
  • Lack of features
  • Limited communication with basic membership
  • Subscriptions at $24.95 for a year, $44.95 for three months

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.

Christian Mingle

  • Available as a dating website and app
  • More than 15 million Christian faith-focused singles
  • Options for romantic relationships or friend/activity partners
  • Match compatibility percentage
  • Browse users by distance or online status
  • Messaging and read receipts are only available with a subscription
  • One-month subscription is $49.99
  • No trial period with full access

Christian Mingle provides a space for people looking to date within the Chrisitan faith community. The interface is simply designed and easy to use. 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
  • Available globally in five languages
  • 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 platform 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
  • Location-based profile recommendations
  • No compatibility match feature
  • Not great for users in rural areas
  • Subscriptions start at $24.99 per month

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 approximate location to show you who you’ve crossed paths with — 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.

Facebook Dating

  • Works with Facebook app
  • Doesn't notify your Facebook friends that you joined Dating
  • Informs the user of community guidelines
  • Meet people through Facebook events and groups you both like
  • 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 are dating apps?

A dating app is a software application that helps people connect and create romantic relationships, friendships, or hookups.

To use a dating app:

  • Download the app to your phone from either Google Play or the Apple app store. (Or sign up online, if it’s an online dating site.)
  • 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 do dating apps work?

Online dating websites and dating apps use algorithms to suggest profiles you might like. Algorithms vary by company, but generally, an algorithm relies on the information you’ve provided in your profile (age, location), preferences you’ve set (such as what kind of person you’re seeking), and answers to any questions provided by the app about relationship style, values, interests or other topics. That information is paired with the information of other profiles, and potential partners are delivered based on profile similarities.

Dating app algorithm

Engagement with an online dating site or dating app increases the effectiveness of the algorithm it’s using. The more thoroughly you fill out your profile, the more likely you are to be given relevant matches. The more profiles you “like” or pass on the better, because that activity is also often logged as data for the algorithm, which in turn will learn from your choices and send even more relevant matches.

How to choose a dating app

With many dating apps available, finding the right app for you can feel as challenging as meeting someone IRL (in real life) who you truly connect with. When selecting a dating app, look at what features the app offers. Consider your needs:

  • What you’re seeking in a relationship (long-term, casual, hookup, etc.)
  • Whether you’re open to long-distance dating
  • Your romantic orientations (sexual orientation, gender, monogamy, non-monogamy)
  • Your deal-breakers
  • How much you value shared interests or hobbies
  • Whether you want to invest in a paid subscription

Look at the online dating site or dating app’s offerings and compare them to your needs to find out if it’s a good fit for you. Remember you can try multiple apps at once to help narrow down which you’d like to focus on.

List of dating apps

LGBTQ+ dating apps Gay dating apps for men Lesbian dating apps Dating apps for women
Taimi Grindr Zoe Bumble
Lex Scruff Taimi Hinge
HER Hornet Lex BiCupid
Zoe Jack’d HER HER
Grindr Feeld Feeld Lex
Scruff The League Clover



Jewish dating apps Catholic dating apps Dating apps for single parents Dating apps for professionals
Jdate CatholicMatch Stir The League
Jswipe Catholic Chemistry SingleParentMeet Elite Singles


What to watch out for with dating apps

Fake dating profiles

Unfortunately, some people use virtual dating as an opportunity to catfish, or pretend to be someone they’re not. To avoid getting tricked by a fake profile, look for online dating services and dating apps that have verification processes for users, such as photo or phone verification. Another way to find out if someone’s who they say they are is to check their social media pages. You can also do a reverse image search on Google if you suspect someone is using stolen photos.

Online dating scams

When using a dating app or website, be aware of scams. One unfortunately popular scam is known as the “romance scam,” wherein a person uses a fake profile and begins to build trust with a person through frequent chatting. Once trust is established, the scammer will ask for money, oftentimes using a compelling but entirely untrue story as to why they need financial help.


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.

Potential red flags

Red flags can mean a person isn’t who they say they are, or that their intentions aren’t positive. When using a dating app, protect yourself — physically, emotionally and financially — from scammers or dangerous people by looking out for the following red flags.

  • Users who express love quickly
  • Users who ask you for money
  • After chatting for a while, the other user makes excuses for not wanting to meet in person
  • Refusal to video chat after having chatted for some time
  • Refusal to share pictures after having chatted for some time
  • Sending explicit photos without consent
  • Lack of other social media profiles or other means of verifying identity

Tips for dating apps

With more than 44 million online dating app users in the United States, standing out can feel challenging. Here are some tips to up the allure of 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.

Connect via video chat before you meet in person

Video chatting is a great way to get to know someone before meeting them in real life. While messaging and voice notes do help, with video chatting you get to actually see the person, and you’ll get a better sense of who they are and whether or not you have a connection. Additionally, video chatting before meeting up is also a means of protecting yourself from someone who may be lying about who they really are.

How to start a conversation with online dating

Just like in the in-person dating world, conversations with new people aren’t always easy. Here are some tips for breaking the ice when messaging with a match:

  • Ask about details of their profile
  • Ask what brings them to the app
  • Compare hobbies, music taste and other interests
  • Find a shared interest to discuss
  • Compliment aspects of their profile
  • Ask about their favorite places to go in their city
  • Try a prompt, whether app-suggested or one you Google
  • Ask if they usually meet up with people from the app (and coordinate a meet-up if you feel inclined!)

Related Articles

The more information you have, the better prepared you are for your virtual dating journey. That may mean learning how to avoid scams, reading up on background checks (in case someone you’ve connected with seems shady) or even visiting a new city to look for fresh faces — or even find “the one” — in a new place.

Included below are some relevant articles:

Dating Apps FAQ

What are the best dating apps?

We downloaded, used and researched various dating apps and websites. The best dating app for you will depend on what you're looking for. Check our top picks and reviews for the best dating websites and apps.

Are dating apps worth it?

As far as success rates go, using a dating app has led to a committed relationship or marriage for about 12% of U.S. adults, according to Pew Research. The same study found that nearly 60% of users had an overall positive experience using dating apps. Still, whether a dating app works for you or not depends greatly on what you're looking for and how committed you are to finding it.

What are the best free dating apps?

There are plenty of free dating sites and free dating apps. Bumble, OkCupid and Tinder all offer free basic versions. Keep in mind that free memberships are usually limited, and you only have access to what the full app offers by paying for a subscription.

What dating app has the most users?

The dating app with the most users is Tinder. According to the company site, the app has been downloaded more than 530 million times. It's available in 190 countries and in more than 45 languages. Additionally, more than 55 billion matches have been made through Tinder.

How We Chose The Best Dating Apps

To choose the top dating sites and apps, we:

  • Downloaded multiple apps - We created profiles and experienced apps firsthand.
  • Researched multiple apps - Company websites and the apps themselves were scoured for information.
  • Checked feedback - We looked at feedback from users via app reviews and forums.

When exploring the apps, we considered:

  • Profile features - We looked at offerings like prompts, video chat and voice recordings.
  • User safety - Privacy policies, verification features and safety resources were considered.
  • Gender and sexuality inclusivity - We compared options available across apps to see how inclusive they are for LGBTQ+ users.
  • Interface - User-friendly interfaces ranked best. We looked at the app and desktop versions for each app.
  • Free version - We checked to see how functional the app is without a subscription.
  • Subscriptions - We compared prices and features for paid versions of apps.

Note: Subscription prices listed are subject to change.

Summary of Money’s Best Dating Apps

  • Bumble: Best for Women
  • Tinder: Best for Casual Relationships
  • HER: Best for Queer, Lesbian, and Bi Daters
  • Hinge: Best for Long-Term Relationships
  • OkCupid: Best for Inclusive Dating