Choosing the best dating app for you from the hundreds of apps available can be quite a challenge. It can be really tough to decide because most of the dating app reviews and lists you see look like they were put together by someone who doesn't have the first clue about dating.
If you read a "review" that doesn't even mention the writer's personal experience 99% of the time they have never actually used the app!
Fortunately, we have a different approach. We have taken hundreds of hours to test out and review 100+ different dating apps of all kinds to figure out for ourselves which dating app is the best and can actually get you results. Your time is too valuable to spend swiping away on an app that isn't going to get you what you want. Guys need to be especially careful because it is easy to waste a lot of time on low-quality apps.
Below are the top dating apps from our own personal experiences. We intentionally provide a bit of variety because there isn't a single dating app that works for everyone. Men in their 20's are going to have a different experience on an app than a woman in her 40's for example.
The Best Dating Apps We're Using In 2021
These are the best dating apps we have found for each "category" of dating. These are apps that we have had success with and believe you will as well:
If you REALLY want a long-term relationship the best dating app is eHarmony
When it comes to finding people who are looking for a commitment, eHarmony is the best dating app around. Let's look at some numbers:
- 70% of people who use eHarmony for a year meet their future spouse (that's crazy success)
- Over 2/3rd's of all marriages that start online began on eHarmony (more crazy success)
- Over 600,000 married couples met on eHarmony
- 33 million members
Those are some pretty shocking numbers when you really think about it. When 70% of users find their long-term partner in a year you are definitely doing things right! Once you start using eHarmony it isn't hard to figure out why. For starters, you really have to be motivated to actually go through the signup process. You have to answer a lot of questions about yourself and what you are looking for before you even see any matches. This process weeds out all the attention-seeking people and only leaves people who are serious.
Once you get through the signup you are matched with several people every day that you have a decent chance of being compatible with. You don't have to spend hours every day combing through the users, just a few minutes a day taking a look at your newest matches before starting a conversation. It is a very easy app to use (though you have to invest time upfront) but you won't find a better dating app for actually finding someone for a long-term relationship.
What we like about eHarmony (Try App)
- It is a more effective way of meeting compatible people than any app we've seen
- Really does a great job of weeding out people who are not interested in a relationship
- Has a solid matching algorithm to pair up compatible people
- Doesn't overwhelm you with a ton of matches at once which helps guys who may not seem amazing on the surface get attention
- Slower process before unhindered communication gives guys a chance to stand out based on qualities aside from their looks
What we don't like about eHarmony as a dating app
- The signup process is pretty time consuming (though we think it's worth it)
- Not good at all if you are just looking for a quick fling
- Guys who are very good with women online don't have as many opportunities to standout
If you are just looking for a quick fling or friend-with-benefits - AFF
If you are not really looking for something long-term but still want to have some no-strings fun there are only two options these days, Tinder and AFF. Tinder is still very good if you are young (18-28ish) and only interested in meeting people in that age range. It has also been slowly morphing into a more general dating app filled with people who are not really looking for casual fun or are only using it for compliments and validation.
On the other hand, AFF has remained really focused on helping men and women connect for short-term sexy fun or a longer-term friend-with-benefits type arrangement. If you are ONLY looking for that, this is the dating app for you. They have been around since the early 2000s and have over 50,000,000 active members (that's a ton) spread out in most English-speaking countries. AFF is especially good for people who are 28+ or those interested in meeting people that are 28+.
What we really like about AFF is how easy they make it. You don't have to jump through a ton of hoops to get started and they don't restrict who you talk to. You put together a simple profile and can start looking for other women (or men) interested in the same things. With 50,000,000 members there are a lot of options out there and with dating apps bigger is better.
What we like about AFF (Try App)
- 50 million + active users gives you the most opportunities of any app
- Really easy to use app
- The most users 28+
- Really open to all ages
What we don't like about AFF
- The design is a little dated
- Search features could be easier to use
- With so many more people it takes more time to search and filter for the people you really are interested in
If you're under 30 and only want to date people under 30 - Tinder
While Tinder hasn't always really been about "dating" things have really changed over the past few years. Even though this dating app started off as a way to find a quick fling it has morphed more and more into a more typical dating app as it has become more popular. It is now really common to meet couples who "met on Tinder" and formed a long-term relationship. With over 50 million active members they are also one of the largest apps out there.
In our experience, how successful you will be on Tinder is really going to depend on if you are a man or a woman and how attractive you are. If you are either a reasonably attractive woman or a very attractive man (we are talking like the top 10-15% in looks) Tinder is a great option. Attractive women will be bombarded with matches but something interesting tends to happen with guys. Women mostly ignore guys in the bottom 20% and just go after the most attractive guys.
If you don't happen to be a part-time male model it can be EXTREMELY frustrating since Tinder is almost 100% about your pictures. Guys with game can still get results but the odds are not in their favor.
What we like about Tinder
- Huge number of users
- Great for very attractive people under 28
- Can be used all over the world
What we don't like about Tinder as a dating app
- Not as popular with the 30+ crowd (especially women that age)
- Really tough to get success if you are not in the top 20% in looks (for guys)
- If you don't have great pictures your success will be low
- Lots of women who are just looking for attention and will never meet up
If you're a guy who likes it when the girl takes the lead the top dating app is Bumble
Guys who tend to be a little more passive than the stereotypical "alpha male" have a rough time with even the best dating apps. Women are getting a ton of messages 24/7 and guys who can't break through the noise can get ignored. That is where Bumble turns the typical experience on it's head.
With Bumble, only women are allowed to send the first message which completely changes the dynamics. Instead of spending a ton of time scrolling through all the possible matches and sending out tons of random messages you can sit back, relax, and wait for them to come to you. This assumes that you are a decent looking guy, have a solid profile, and know how to look good in your photos. If you don't pass the "eye test" Bumble may not be the best thing for you since there isn't anything you can do to get a woman's attention.
What we like about Bumble
- Attracts a lot of women who avoid other dating apps
- Doesn't require a lot of work once a guy sets up his profile
- Has a pretty decent number of women using it
What we don't like about Bumble as a dating app
- Not a lot of opportunity for a guy to standout though messaging
- Can be rough on guys who are not particularly attractive or can write a good profile
If you're looking for a woman 35+ or you're a woman 35+ without an age preference - Cougar Life
It seems like finding attractive, and single, women over 35 is incredibly difficult to do these days (especially if you are a younger guy). Women in this age bracket as extremely busy and seem to have given up on most of the typical singles spots. Instead, many have been giving dating apps a try and getting fantastic results.
Cougar Life is the only dating app that is completely focused on connecting men with eligible women 35+. There are some other apps out there that try but none of them even come close in terms of quality and actual number of women on the app. With over 7 million users Cougar Life is definitely doing something right.
Older guys can do very well on Cougar Life but it might be even more valuable to guys 35 and under. The reason is that Cougar Life is specifically for women who are interested in both older AND younger guys. There is still a stigma attached to women dating younger guys which can prevent women from acting on their desires. When everything happens online it is much easier to connect.
When you see an attractive woman without a wedding ring at the grocery store or in a bar you never know if they are interested in a younger guy. With Cougar Life, they are almost certainly open to dating a younger guy who they connect with.
What we like about Cougar Life (Visit App)
- Very focused on helping guys connect with women 35+
- The best way we have found for younger guys to find a lot of women looking to date younger guys
- 7,000,000 users which is impressive for an app that isn't just for general dating
What we don't like about Cougar Life
- Typically guys are going to have to make the first move
- Outside of English speaking countries it isn't as popular
If you want to date your friends (or friends of friends) - Hinge
Hinge tries to be somewhat between the endless swiping of dating apps like Tinder and the in-depth profile and analytics of eHarmony. The app itself has a nice look and feel and requires you to go a bit deeper about who you are and what you are looking for. The profile creation process is still pretty fast but it isn't going to happen in a couple of minutes like Tinder where you slap up a few selfies and talk about how much you love hiking and The Office.
By actually requiring you to be a bit more reflective on what you want the matches also tend to be better and less surface level than an app like Tinder. Don't get me wrong, your pictures are still what is going to drive the number of matches you get but at least you have a chance to show a little personality as well.
One of the unique things about Hinge is that all of your matches are connected to you or your friends in some way on Facebook. Now, this can either be a good thing or a terrible thing depending on how attractive your friends are! If you are looking to date above your circle of friends you could be in for a challenge.
What we like about Hinge (Visit app)
- Easy to use and get set up with
- Quick to scroll through matches but with more depth than Tinder
- Big userbase of people in their 20's
What we don't like about Hinge
- Not a lot of people 30+ using it
- Results are very driven by your photos
- If you don't have a large or attractive Facebook friend circle your results may not be what you are looking for
You can also check out our local recommendations of the best dating apps in the US
Our local recommendations of the best dating apps in Canada
If you're looking for some unconventional fun in the bedroom - Alt.com
Anyone who has interests in the bedroom that run beyond vanilla knows it can be a gamble when looking for like-minded people. You never know how your potential partner will react if you raise the subject and how that might impact your relationship. Fortunately, Alt can provide a solution to that problem.
With over 600,000 Alt is the largest community of its size and is especially popular in English speaking countries. If you are looking for a partner interested in various types of fetishes, kinks, and fantasies there is a very good chance you can find someone on Alt.
One word of warning though for anyone who isn't familiar with apps of this kind. They do tend to attract more fake profiles than more traditional dating apps. It is, unfortunately, the same for all apps of this type but is pretty easy to work around and spot the fakes.
What we like about Alt (Visit App)
- Huge community which makes finding people with the same interests easy
- A large variety of fetishes, kinks, and interests represented
- Does a good job filtering out the darker aspects of these apps to keep it fun
What we don't like about Alt
- Fake profiles can make it take longer to find the right people (like all apps of this kind)
- Darker interface can be hard to look at for longer periods of time
If you are trying to cut down on the amount of time you spend on dating apps - Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel is an interesting app and one that we liked using. If you are a busy person that doesn't have a lot of time to spend on dating it is definitely one of the better choices. From what we have seen, it tends to attract younger professionals that are trying to fit in a little dating but not looking for just a quick fling.
We like that you get a set number of matches per day (21 for guys and 6 for girls) and once you go through them you have to wait 24 hours. For people who could waste hours and hours scrolling through endless profiles, this can be a great way to get your life back.
Women only receive matches for guys who have already "liked" them so they are not getting constantly bombarded by dozens of messages a day. With only six matches a day they can actually take their time to read through their profiles instead of just doing a quick "face check" and only matching based on appearances.
For singles in larger cities with their life together Coffee Meets Bagel is a solid choice.
What we like about Coffee Meets Bagel (Visit app)
- A limited number of daily matches allows for time to thoroughly consider a possible match
- Tends to attract users who have their lives together
- Very popular in larger cities
- Low time commitment
What we don't like about Coffee Meets Bagel
- May take a while to get a match you really like
- Outside of larger cities it isn't as popular
- Not as diverse as larger dating apps
If you want the most options possible and have a lot of free time - OkCupid
OkCupid is the largest "free" dating app out there and has been around for a long time. If you have played around at all with dating apps you have probably made a profile on OKC. It can be a great option to get acquainted with how dating apps work but it requires a pretty big time investment to see real results.
Where OKC is strongest is also what leads to its flaws. Having a huge number of users is great but when there isn't any filter in place or specific audience the site is going for you get a little bit of everything. The filtering options are pretty basic so you really do have to spend a lot of time going through profiles to find people that you might be interested in. We hate to say it, but OkCupid also tends to have a lot more people that really are not very attractive. There are a lot of profiles with people who just don't put a lot of effort into themselves or their profiles.
What we like about OkCupid (Visit App)
- A lot of users
- Great place to practice messaging and attracting women
- Easy to message anyone you are interested in
What we don't like about OkCupid
- The quality of the people on the site is lower than the other apps we recommend
- Women are getting tons of messages every day which makes standing out tough
- It takes a lot more time to find the type of people you are interested in due to limited search capabilities and filters