Dating apps are a staple of modern dating. There are more than 8,000 dating sites out there aimed at a wide variety of users from people over 50, to those seeking cross-cultural relationships, to specific gay male subcultures.
Some apps are popular with women looking for heterosexual matches, while others offer gender diverse users a wide choice in how they specify their gender identity and who they’re interested in. Some dating apps cater to a small niche, while others have a larger mainstream reach. For instance, Tinder has at least 50 million users, including 10 million active daily users.
Using the right dating app helps you meet people on the same wavelength as you. How can you tell which dating apps are the right fit for you? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for.
What Are Your Online Dating Goals?
Finding the right dating app for you depends on what you’re hoping to get out of the experience. Some dating apps cater to specific audiences while others are more general. For instance, it’s helpful to know which gender(s) you’re looking to match with, and to know if you’re looking for casual dating or more for a long-term relationship. Different apps are suited to different users so do a bit of research to find the right app (or apps) for you.
Tip: Write down your dating goals to have a clear sense of what you want.
Find The Right Dating App For You
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to find the app that works best for you. Of course, you can always use a few different apps at the same time! No need to restrict it to one if want to broaden your online dating experience.
Different apps are suited to different users so do a bit of research to find the right app (or apps) for you.
Here are some dating apps to consider:
The low-down: OkCupid gives you more control than almost any other app over where Cupid shoots his arrows. OkCupid offers an extensive profile layout as well as a broad range of gender identities to choose from if the gender binary feels too restrictive for you.
Based on a variety of criteria the site shows your percentage match with other users. For example, according to OkCupid, you might match 90% with one person, while only 20% with someone else. The average user age on OkCupid is 32 years old, but older and younger people alike also use this app, and you can specify an age range for your matches.
Pro: OkCupid’s gender options include non-binary genders such as agender, bigender, androgynous, genderfluid, and more. There are a range of different sexual orientations you can choose including ‘heteroflexible’ or ‘questioning’ which is great if you’re new to queer or bi-curious dating.
Con: Unless you get the A-list profile, you can’t see everyone who “likes” your profile. With the basic version, you can only see if someone likes your profile if you’ve both liked each other. When you and someone else both like each other, you receive a message that says, “It’s a match!”
The low-down: Lesly markets itself as “the best dating app for lesbians and bisexual women.” Like Tinder, you have to “swipe” on people and Lesly alerts you if there’s a match. Lesly has been downloaded over 20 million times, which means a lot of women are using it. Known as “Grindr for lesbian and bisexual women”, this dating app is more oriented towards casual relationships and hookups. Still, many members have found long-term partners through Lesly.
OkCupid’s gender options include non-binary genders such as agender, bigender, androgynous, genderfluid, and more.
Pro: Lesly was created by a group of lesbian dating experts. The app doesn’t allow men to join.
Con: Free users can only do so much on Lesly. You’ll need to pay to experience all of Lesly’s features such as getting more matches and being able to send/receive messages to anyone you like.
The low-down: Women have all the power on Bumble. This dating app only lets women send the first message to matches. A woman has 24 hours to message someone or else the match disappears. Bumble also follows the “swiping” model of online dating. Around 72% of Bumble users are under 35 years old. Bumble is more relationship-oriented than other dating apps. About 85% of Bumble users claim they’re “looking for marriage or a boyfriend/girlfriend.”
Pro: Bumble is your oyster if you’re a lady who likes to make the first move.
Con: On Bumble, you can only search users based on age and location, but not other information.
HER is a dating app for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. It’s the queer hotspot women have been dreaming about. Robyn Exton, a queer woman, created HER after experiencing frustration with other dating apps geared towards women who like women. Matches are based on location and your preferred age group. You can find hookups on this app, but HER also connects you to the LGBTQ+ community in other ways. Along with finding matches, users also find out about LGBTQ+ events and news.
Pro: HER has over 4 million users. That’s a lot of women and non-binary people! No men allowed.
Con: While HER has inclusive non-binary gender options, reviewers complain that this app has a lot of fake profiles. Reviews also mention this app frequently glitching and lagging.
Women have all the power on Bumble. This dating app only lets women send the first message to matches.
And of courses there's Tinder. The low-down: Tinder is a location-based dating app which lets you like (swipe right) or reject (swipe left) its users. You get to check out users’ pictures and profiles of 500 characters or less. If both users swipe right on each other, they become a match. About 85% of Tinder users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Despite Tinder’s reputation as a hookup app, many people are looking for relationships. In one study, 37% of respondents claimed their Tinder dates led to exclusive relationships.
Pro: Tinder is ideal for meeting people in your area. As one of the biggest matchmakers of the moment, Tinder has a seemingly endless sea of possible matches!
Con: Not only do men outnumber women and non-binary people on Tinder, the app only lets you identify yourself as male or female.
Don’t be shy! Get out there and start online dating. You never know what kind of sparks will fly over the internet.