Online dating is nothing to be ashamed of, but dating via an inferior app is something to be ashamed of. There are hundreds of dating apps out there. That means you have no excuse for settling for the first one that says, “hi.”
How do you actually find the online dating app that’s right for you, though? Much like actual dating, that requires a lot of practice. You need to try a few different kind of dating apps to really find what suits you.
Or, if you prefer, you can just let us do the legwork. Here’s a look at some of the most popular dating apps and how they measure up.
Dating Apps 2019 Ranked Worst to Best
12. The League
- Interesting Concept
- Theoretically Exclusive Users
- Fewer Fake Accounts
- Insulting Concept
- Not Really That Exclusive
- Bad Software
If nothing else, The League boasts an interesting concept. As a dating app for “the elite,” The League is a dating aimed at professionals. It accounts for your job and school when deciding whether or not to grant you access to the app. It even requires you to link your Linkedin profile when applying.
That idea helps filter out some fake accounts, but that’s about the best you can say for the service. First off, most people have found that most of The League’s users can be found on other apps. This makes it significantly less exclusive than you might think.
Not that it matters, though, because the app itself is just awful. Its premium content system is expensive and exploitative, it turns dating into more of a job interview, and the app’s interface is just lazy.
Don’t even bother with this “exclusive” dating app.
- “Women make the first move” system
- Millions of users (in theory)
- Designed for mobile use
- Many fake profiles
- Recycled matches
- Quality of actual matches is suspect
It’s not easy being a new dating app in a sea of dating apps. This tends to be why you see so many dating apps rely on some kind of gimmick.
Bumble’s gimmick is simple and somewhat welcome. It asks women using the app make the first move. That idea was born from the many, many horror stories that involve women and dating apps. To that end, Bumble also works to curb things like harassment and hate speech via its strict user policies.
That’s all nice, but the app itself is riddled with issues. First off, there are numerous reports regarding the unusual number of fake profiles on the service. Some speculate these were added to foster the appearance of a larger userbase, but regardless of their intentions, these fake profiles make actually meeting anyone through Bumble a dodgy and uneven prospect.
Ultimately, Bumble’s main gimmick just doesn’t do enough to make up for its various faults
- Actually curates matches
- Built around a simple premise
- Designed to accommodate female users
- Heavily reliant on your Facebook activity
- Not very satisfying to use/limited
- Matching algorithm remains clunky
Coffee Meets Bagel is designed around the seemingly simple premise of receiving curated matches per day instead of wading through a seemingly endless array of options. Every day at noon, it sends you some people it believes you might be interested in. If you’re a female user, it even only sends you male candidates who have already expressed an interest.
From there, you simply choose whether or not you’d like to learn more about this person. If not, then no harm done. If so, it allows you to start chatting through the app.
That’s all nice, but users report that Coffee Meets Bagel’s algorithm often feels off. It will ignore pre-set preferences and doesn’t really disclose why you’re being matched with someone.
Furthermore, its reliance on Facebook friends and friends of friends means that you almost have to modify your Facebook friends list in a certain way just to meet your dating needs. All things considered, there are apps that do similar things much better.
- Specifically made for “Casual” users
- Easy to use
- Serves a very clear purpose
- Small markets may have few to no users
- Heavily pushes premium subscription
- Limited profile options
Pure is one of a few “dating” apps that openly advertise themselves as a hook-up app. That is to say that it’s for users looking for casual encounters.
If you’re someone who uses more popular apps for that specific purpose, you’ll probably be delighted to use an app that doesn’t beat around the bush. Everyone using Pure is looking for the same thing. To the app’s credit, it does present this potentially sensitive subject in a professional manner and does a great job of maintaining user privacy.
Unfortunately, Pure falls apart once you actually start to use it. First off, this is a “free” app in the sense that you don’t have to pay anything up front. However, Pure limits users to five free requests that each last one hour. Even if your request is successful, you and your potential partner won’t have much more than a single photo and a location to work with.
Pure does what it says it will do, but it’s not a great long-term option.
- Interesting speed dating system
- Lots of categories for dates
- Good app design
- Smaller userbase
- Not great for long-term relationships
- Questionable user intentions
Clover wants to take us back to the age of speed dating with its “delivery” dating. Yes, Clover lets you order a date like you’d order takeout food.
The idea is that you meet people on Clover and immediately schedule a date. This is supposed to remove the endless back and forward chatting (and ghosting) on other dating apps. You can even search people by interest and other variables.
It all sounds good, but Clover suffers from a few problems. First off, there seem to be a lot of bots on this app. Second, the people who are using it seem to just be looking for something to do that night. Third, there are quite a few users who use this as a fetish hookup service.
Clover is based on good ideas, but the service itself just suffers from too many problems.
- Genuinely interesting matching system based on music
- Truly free
- Excellent UI
- Limited in terms of match quality
- Not specifically designed for relationships
- Some location issues.
The idea behind Tastebuds sounds kind of…iffy. See, this app promises to match you with other people based largely on your respective musical tastes. It can even scan your device for music and incorporate that into your profile.
Once your profile is set-up, you can send people music, match with people with similar tastes and even arrange to meet at a concert or wherever.
As an app designed to help you meet fellow music fans in real-life, Tastebuds is pretty great and actually really fun to use even if you don’t meet anyone outside of the app. Where the service falls apart a bit is when you start to analyze it as a dating app.
While Tastebuds can be used for that purpose, it’s pretty clear that dating is not the app’s primary function. That being the case, there can be some…awkward exchanges regarding what people actually want. The service’s location-based services can also sometimes glitch and end up casting too wide of a net.
- Very casual
- A large and varied user base
- Actually matches you with locals
- A little…shady
- More for young people
- Not really for serious or even casual ongoing relationships.
One app you won’t find on this list is Grindr. That’s because Grindr is a very specific app intended to help “gay, bi, trans, and queer people” meet-up. More accurately, it helps them hook up. The app is notoriously known as the premier destination for casual encounters.
Blendr has been referred to as some as the heterosexual version of Grindr. It’s a Grindr for everyone.
That’s somewhat accurate. Blendr does emphasize casual relationships and has been adopted by a casual community of users not looking for long-term commitments. There are some exceptions, but most of Blendr’s users aren’t looking for someone to marry.
However, you do have to realize that Blendr is really intended for a certain demographic. Namely, young and carefree people who are willing to wade through some shady profiles and users to take advantage of the app’s convenience an array of features.
If that describes you, then give Blendr a shot. Otherwise, there’s nothing to see here.
- Proximity-based matching
- Great for cities
- Great features
- Pretty much useless if you’re in a small town
- Doesn’t match based on personalities
- Can lead to awkward interactions
Happn is based on the idea that you shouldn’t leave chance encounters entirely to chance. It aims to match you with people you pass on the street or during your commute. It does that by matching users based largely on their proximity to each other.
As a social experiment, that’s quite fascinating. Many of us pass people who catch our eye every day and don’t get to meet them. Happn can’t guarantee you’ll match with those people, but it can put your neighbors on your dating radar.
As a dating app, though, Happn is limited. The idea of matching with people who catch your eye is great, but Happn can’t really promise to do that. Instead, it just cuts down on your commute for eventual dates.
There’s also the problem of your relative location. If you live in a big city, Happn can find plenty of matches for you. Small town users will not have quite as much luck.
Finally, do we need to have casual dating conversations with people we theoretically see every day?
- Service has been around for years
- Deep and customizable profiles
- Respectable discovery options
- The app is somewhat clunky
- Not great for fast/casual lookers
- Users tend to skew somewhat older
OkCupid is one of the older online dating services out there. As such, they still employ a fairly traditional online dating system. Build a profile, browse other profiles, message someone that you like, and start dating.
To be fair, that method is pretty much the basic way that all online dating services work. That’s one of the great things about OkCupid; its simplicity. There are no gimmicks or marketing hooks here. This is a simple dating profile.
However, that’s kind of what makes OkCupid a somewhat boring option. It’s not quick and intuitive like Tinder, and it actually requires a respectable degree of effort and upkeep on the part of the user.
None of that makes OkCupid bad, but it does mean that it tends to attract more serious – often older – users. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you might want to move along.
- Designed to emphasize accurate matches
- Very easy to use.
- Intended for serious relationships
- Information vulnerability concerns
- Available to people as young as 13
- Intended for serious relationships
Hinge’s most unique feature in terms of dating apps is that Hinge doesn’t really have many unique features. It’s a free, well-designed online dating service that promises to match users with Facebook friends and friends of Facebook friends. That way, you can be sure that you’re not meeting with completely random people.
That’s a good thing. In fact, it’s a great thing. Hinge is designed for serious online daters who don’t want a potential future relationship compromised by the possibility of meeting someone who isn’t what they seem.
There are some inherent issues with the service though. In the past, users have raised serious questions regarding whether or not Hinge is sharing your Facebook information even when you have told it not to. Hinge is also open to some very young users.
Ultimately, the value of Hinge is going to be determined by whether or not you’re really looking for a serious dating app. If so, then you’ll find a lot to like here. If not, then Hinge ultimately proves to lack the versatility of other services.
- Tremendous communication options
- Built-in quiz helps mMatch quality
- Shows Everybody Who Likes You
- Really demands that you pay for premium features
Clover is a dating app made by people who were generally tired of using dating apps. They saw them as little more than elaborate middle-men that often weren’t that effective.
Clover certainly feels like the creation of people tired of what’s normal. Actually, many of this app’s best features are designed to address problems with other popular dating apps. Unlike Tinder, it lets you see everyone who liked you via the app. Unlike many dating apps, it lets you upload up to 100 photos directly to your profile. It even features some “gamified” features that make using it pretty fun to do.
This is a truly deep app that lets you dive into the dating world locked and loaded for whatever may come.
All of those features do come at a price, though. Clover bills itself as a free app, but its best features are hidden behind a pretty large paywall ($89.99 for 6 months of service). Free users, meanwhile, can expect to be offered plenty of chances to spend money on the app.
If you have the money to afford Clover’s premium services…well, you should do quite well on the dating scene.
- Easy and fun to use
- Tons of users
- Good for a casual and serious dating
- Best features are hidden behind a paywall
- Still best for the under 30 crowd
Tinder is the definitive dating app. “Swipe right” has even worked its way into the modern lexicon. It’s not hard to understand Tinder’s popularity. It lets people cut through the clutter of dating and simply say that someone passes the vital first look test.
Simplicity is the name of Tinder’s game. Anyone can create a profile and match with other users in a short amount of time. In many ways, that still makes it the best dating app. It’s not intimidating to use, and it makes dating itself less intimidating.
Tinder isn’t the perfect option, though. First off, its best features – multiple locations, seeing everyone who likes you, unlimited likes – are limited to premium users. Tinder’s monthly price isn’t absurd, but it is becoming more and more necessary.
Finally, Tinder is still best for the 18-30 crowd. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but Tinder’s user base still tends to skew to the younger side. Slightly older users looking for a little more substance do have other options.
While you should feel comfortable taking any of these apps for a spin, just know that there are plenty of dating apps in the sea. That means you shouldn’t be afraid to move on from one that isn’t quite working for you.
Do you have a favorite dating app? Let us know about it in the comments below.