With so many options out there, what are the best dating apps for people in their 20s? We've narrowed it down to three options: AFF for straight-up hookups, eHarmony for relationships, and Zoosk for younger singles who are interested in both. But you'll need to keep reading to know exactly why.
We know that you grew up knowing about the existence of the internet. So you’re probably pretty savvy when it comes to dating apps and sites. But with so many companies coming out with some newfangled app each year, which one should you spend your time on?
We know all about the ongoing stereotype that singles in their 20s are only looking for casual fun, no strings attached. But in this guide, we’ve included a mix of both dating apps for 20-year-olds who are looking for something casual and those looking for serious relationships. So if you’re looking for either of those (or both), these are the apps you should check out.
The Best Dating Apps for 20s Singles Right Now
Bear in mind that these recommendations are for singles aged between 20 and 29. We have different recommendations for older age groups.
Best app for long-term relationships and marriage - eHarmony
eHarmony is one of the biggest names in the dating app world for a good reason. Everything about eHarmony is geared to matching you with the perfect long-term partner. For starters, it scares away people who aren’t serious about online dating with a monthly subscription cost and a 35/40 minute survey to complete before you’re able to communicate with any other users.
The results of this survey are used to measure your compatibility with other eHarmony users - and you’ll see a unique compatibility score out of 100 on each user’s profile. You’ll be limited to only sending messages to users who are the most compatible with you, although you’ll be granted access to a selection of additional matches every day.
These limits might sound like a pain, but they actually make it so your dream partner isn’t overwhelmed with messages. The end result is: you get high-quality responses from the eHarmony users that you’d get on spectacularly well with in real life. Quality over quantity--the hallmark of the best dating sites in your 20s.
This approach has led to eHarmony winning several awards, including gongs for the best quality user base and the most trusted dating website.
Best app for casual fun if you’re not in the top 10% in looks - AFF (try it free here)
AFF is another website that has continuously improved the hookup site experience through the years, and it remains one of the best dating sites for singles in their 20s. It’s essentially the polar opposite of eHarmony in terms of what you can expect to find. Everything about it is geared to helping you find someone for a quick and easy hookup.
It makes no excuses about being a hookup site. In fact, that’s made abundantly clear. The end result is that women aren’t afraid to admit that this is what they’re looking for when you chat with them on the site. Instead of women pretending that they need to be charmed, wined and dined, you’ll find some who are ready to go straight to your bedroom after sending a few messages back and forth.
AFF has the benefit of a huge international user base, meaning you’ll be able to find some short-term action wherever you go in the world. Best of all, AFF is currently running a free trial, meaning there has been no better time to see for yourself how simple it is to get laid on this website.
Best app for younger singles looking for long-term relationships - Zoosk
eHarmony’s amazing and all, but let’s face it: it might be a little too intimidating for younger 20-somethings who want a relationship but not necessarily marriage. This is where Zoosk comes in. The app matches you with singles based on your personality. You can then chat and decide if you actually are a good match.
The great thing about Zoosk is that most of its users tend to be younger. So if you’re fresh out of your teens or you’ve just graduated from college, you might find like-minded singles on Zoosk.
The best dating app for HOT 20s singles - Tinder
Tinder revolutionized the world of online dating when it launched in 2012. Before Tinder arrived on the scene, online dating was regarded as uncool by society. Only old and desperate singles were using it.
However, Tinder’s simplification of online dating - in which you swipe right for yes and left for no - proved incredibly popular with the younger generation. Even the good-looking people who had no problem meeting a partner in bars or nightclubs were signing up and swiping.
Dozens upon dozens of dating apps have stolen the “swipe right, swipe left” system since Tinder launched, but there still isn’t an app that does it better, if you’re a cool good-looking guy for casual fun.
The key advantage that Tinder has over the competition is the size of its user base. No matter where you are in the world, you can open up Tinder and be presented with an overwhelming selection of hot singles to swipe on.
You can only send messages to people you “match” with (i.e you both swiped right on each other) - and this is another concept that Tinder brought to the mainstream that has been stolen repeatedly by other apps.
Still, the main criticism of Tinder is the fact that the hottest women are usually overwhelmed with messages from dudes. It’s an incredibly popular app, but men still heavily outnumber women in almost every part of the world. The end result is only the top 10-20% of men really tend to see results.
Best app if you’re not sure what you want - Hinge
If you find looking for easy hookups on Tinder or AFF a bit icky, but you’re also overwhelmed by the idea of finding a long-term partner on eHarmony, you might be better off trying Hinge.
Hinge adopts the same “swipe right swipe left” system as Tinder, but there’s more focus on lengthy bios and starting conversations based on these. It’s a nice middle-ground for the singleton who doesn’t know what they’re looking for or those who are open to anything.
Hinge doesn’t have a gigantic user base, but it’s one of the fastest-growing dating apps in the present day, particularly in North and Europe.
Best Dating Sites for Early 20s (20-Year-Olds to 23-Year-Olds)
According to studies, one-third of all dating app users are between 18 to 24. If you’re within that age range, then you’re in luck because these apps are sure to have tons of singles your age!
Best app for long-term relationships and marriage - eHarmony
eHarmony isn’t particularly popular with the 18-23 demographic, but that’s mainly because there aren’t too many men or women of this age looking for a super-serious relationship. If you are looking for that, eHarmony is still one of the best sites for 20s singles. After all, with so many users in their early 20s on all dating apps, you’ll no doubt find a number of singles within that age range on eHarmony.
Best app for casual fun - Tinder
Tinder has more users in their early 20s than any other demographic. If you’re looking for casual fun with someone your own age, Tinder is the app for you. If you’re a student, you’ll be able to access the “Tinder University” features, which prioritizes your profile to other users on your campus.
For more options on where to find hookups in your 20s, check out our list of the best hookup apps and sites. Tinder's there but you might just find other options worth trying.
Best Dating Apps for Mid-20s (24-Year-Old to 27-Year-Olds)
You’re still pretty young, but you’re old enough to maybe want a serious long-term relationship or a casual fling that’s not with someone you met on campus. Here are the apps that you might like:
Best app for long-term relationships and marriage - eHarmony
eHarmony remains the best dating app for 20s singles who want long-term relationships. In fact, it’s so superior to its competitors that it remains the go-to app for mid-20s singles looking for a serious relationship. After all, most singles ideally want to meet their future lifelong partner in their mid-20s before they officially settle down in their 30s. eHarmony helps you with exactly that.
We also have a complete list of the best dating sites if you're looking for something serious. These recommendations are perfect if you're done with casual relationships and actually want a long-term relationship.
Best app for casual fun if you’re very attractive - Tinder
Tinder will still be popping for you if you’re attractive in your mid-twenties. It’s only when you reach 30 and beyond that you might want to consider another app for seeking casual fun. This is because a lot of younger Tinder users tend to filter out anyone older than either 29 or 30. The premium account becomes more expensive once you hit 30 too.
Best app for casual fun - AFF
AFF can be a bit overwhelming for sexually inexperienced singles in their early 20s. Most of the users are looking to be with a more experienced shagger. You’ll still be considered as fresh meat in your mid-twenties too, but you won’t struggle to find a friend-with-benefits at this point.
Best Online Dating Sites for Late-20s (27-Year-Olds to 29-Year-Olds)
There really isn’t too much of a difference as far as the best dating apps in your 20s if you're between the ages of 24 and 29. What you want in your mid-20s often applies up until you hit 30. So whether you're up for something casual, something serious or anything in between, the recommendations from the previous section are most valid.
What Makes a Dating Site Great in Your 20s
Here are the most important things to consider when you’re a 20-something choosing a dating app.
App popularity with 20-somethings
The size of the user base will always be one of the most important things to consider. The more people your profile is exposed to, the more matches you’re likely to attract. If you’re looking to date someone in their twenties, you’ll need to consider how popular the app is among that age group.
Site design and features
We know you want a bunch of fun features on your dating app of choice. Who doesn’t? But if you’re on dating apps in your 20s to actually meet people to date, you probably prefer apps that put the focus on meeting new people as opposed to other peripheral features. Games and cool chat features are fun, but they’re not really the primary purpose of dating apps.
Does the app make meeting people easy?
The ease with which you can find someone to date will always be the most important factor when you’re considering what dating app to use. This is what we consider more than anything else when comparing apps in our reviews.
Can regular people find success or just the best looking?
Some apps have user bases so large that women (in particular) are overwhelmed with choices. The end result is: only the best-looking men get attention. There are also premium dating apps for super-rich people, where average Joes will struggle to get a look-in.
If you are indeed a regular Jeffrey, it’s worth considering which apps cater best to your demographic.
Do people use it for dating or socializing/ego-boosting?
The easier it is to sign up and create an account, the more time-wasters, trolls and even scammers you’ll find. It’s a problem that free dating apps are struggling to deal with all the time.
That’s why we generally recommend signing up for a paid dating website (most of the best dating apps for 20 year olds are paid). Although there might not be as many people to choose from on these websites, you can at least be sure that most people will be taking their online dating seriously.
A Short Guide to Getting Great Results from Dating Apps
Here are the four steps to consider to secure plenty of matches and dates.
Creating a great profile
Online dating is extremely visual, so it’s crucial to make a good first impression with amazing pictures. Your bio is less important, although it will make a difference to those seeking long-term relationships.
Check out these guides for help:
- 8 Profile Pictures that Help You Meet More Women
- 25 Prompts for Writing a Great Online Dating Profile
- How To Take Great Online Dating Photos
Sending a great first message
You’ll need to catch your crush’s attention from the first message, otherwise you’re likely to be overlooked. Here are some ideas to help you send a great opening message.
- What To Say In The First Online Dating Message
- How To Message A Girl Who Has Nothing On Her Profile
- Why Hi, Hey, What’s Up, How Is Your Day Are Bad First Messages
Responding to messages
Once a prospective date messages you, you’ll need to know how to lead towards meeting for a date. These guides will help you do that.
- 7 Things You Have to Do When Texting Before a First Date
- 26 Best Tips On How To Text A Girl
- How to Message a Woman Again Even if She Didn't Reply to Your First Message
Asking them out
The final step before going on a date is to ask them out, so let’s explore how to do that.
- The Top 10 Signs She Wants You To Ask Her Out
- How To Ask A Girl Out Over Text
- What To Do On A First Date
Biggest Mistakes Singles Make on Dating Apps in their 20s
Here are the biggest mistakes to avoid at all costs on dating apps.
Putting no effort into your pictures
If you want to land the best-quality partner from a dating app, you need to make an effort to take attractive pictures. With most apps that are popular among 20-somethings, the focus is meeting a lot of people in the shortest amount of time. So when someone’s scrolling through profiles, they only pay attention to the ones with the most eye-catching photos.
So what should you do? Include a hi-res shot of your face, pictures showing off your hobbies, pictures with your friends and a candid shot of your body (if you’re in shape). Bathroom selfies aren’t going to cut it.
Boring conversation starters
Most guys open the conversation with a variant of “hi” or “sup” or a generic compliment. Chances are she’ll unmatch you or ignore you completely. Instead, try to come up with an original, interesting opener that won’t completely kill the conversation. Ask her about something in her profile, send a joke about something you have in common, or you can even give her a sincere yet witty compliment.
Being too forward
Opening with a dick pick or something just as risque is too much too soon. It kills the mystery and makes her think you’re only in it to get laid. If she’s not looking for a hook-up, it might actually disgust her. A lot of guys get banned from mainstream dating apps because so many women report them for their behavior. So save the sexual stuff for when you know for sure that she’s into it!
The exception to this rule is if you’re using hook-up apps like AFF. In this case, dirty talk might actually be welcomed.
FAQ about Dating Apps in Their 20s
Need some quick and easy questions and answers about the best dating apps in your 20s? Here are some quick ones to help you find the best app for you.
What is the best dating website for 20-year-olds?
What are the best dating apps for 24-year-olds?
What are the best dating apps for 25-year-olds?
Are dating apps good for meeting singles in your 20s?
In the present day, studies suggest that dating apps provide one of the most common ways to meet a romantic partner. They’re particularly popular with young adults.
How can I get better at using dating apps in my 20s?
The best thing you can do is to invest in a photoshoot with a professional photographer who specializes in dating app photos. After that, learn how to send messages that aren’t boring or predictable.
Where can I meet people to date in my 20s?
Dating apps for 20-year-olds are great for meeting potential partners. Here's what we recommend:
What is the best dating app for 22-year-olds?
eHarmony is one of the best dating apps for 22-year-olds who want a relationship. AFF is great if you prefer something casual.
What dating app do 25-year-olds use?
Plenty of single 25-year-olds use Zoosk to find dates. But eHarmony and AFF are also popular options.
How do 25-year-olds meet people?
Lots of young adults prefer to meet new people through dating apps. One of best dating sites for singles in their 20s is eHarmony.
Is Match good for people in their 20s?
While Match is still pretty popular, better dating sites for singles in their 20s are eHarmony, AFF, and Zoosk.