There are so many different great dating sites out there that choosing the right option for you can be EXTREMELY difficult and stressful. You want a dating site that's easy to use, allows you to meet a LOT of compatible people, and doesn't take up too much of your time. Sounds easy right?
It's REALLY hard to tell which of that 100's of options that all claim to be the best dating site around is actually worth your time. That's where we can help!
A lot of the reviews and recommendations you find online were made by people who haven't even used the sites they're talking about. They don't want to put in the time it takes to really see what sites work. We did and this is what we found.
Since everyone has a different reason for using dating sites and a different goal we're going to break out recommendations up into a few different categories. If we missed any categories or you want to share your experiences with these sites leave us a comment below.
A lot of us are looking for that long-term relationship with someone compatible. We're tired of dating around and we want to find that special person that we can grow with. eHarmony (which has a great trial) is the best option for you by far.
If you're on the fence about using eHarmony we have a statistic to throw at you that is going to blow you away:
More than 75% of all online relationships that go the distance start on eHarmony!
Now, if you're deciding between two top dating sites and one is 300% more successful in helping its members find amazing partners is it really that hard of a choice? Fortunately, it's even easier than that since they have a great trial offer that should eliminate a lot of your concerns.
What we really like about eHarmony is that it does most of the work for you. It matches you up with compatible people from their 30 million members, help you spark some attraction with their guided communication process, and their signup process eliminates all the time-wasting people who aren't serious about dating.
If a relationship is your goal, eHarmony should be your first option and it isn't even close. Check them out here and see what we mean. It doesn't get any better.
Coming in second after eHarmony, Match is another great option if a relationship is your goal. It's a lot more casual than eHarmony and has a much more traditional approach to profile creation and matching.
If you enjoy scrolling through profiles, reading about new people, and have a good messaging game Match can really work great. They have a ton of members (over 15,000,000 active monthly users) and have been around for a long time. If you want to get up and running a quickly as possible and still get good results Match is a good option for you.
Now, unlike eHarmony, you are going to have to spend a fair amount of time looking for new matches yourself. They don't do all the work for you (like with eHarmony) but you also have the option to message everyone on the site from day 1.
It's a great idea to check out Match's trial offer and see how you like it. It's going to be worth your time and there are plenty of people who are only on Match that don't use eHarmony (and vice versa) so you'll be expanding your options.
Relationships are great and all but what if you just want a little short-term fun with someone who has the same thing in mind? If that's what you're looking for you need to check out Adult FriendFinder's free trial.
When it comes to hookups there are really only two high-quality dating sites to consider; Tinder and Adult FriendFinder. We have used both extensively and unless you are really young and REALLY good looking (for guys) Tinder really falls flat. There has been a lot of research done on it and it tends to be the top 10-15% of guys get all of the attention from 80%+ of the women. Not great odds for guys who aren't underwear models.
What we really like about AFF is that it's MUCH easier for most guys to connect with women. They have a huge number of users (over 60 million) and it's a much easier process for guys to get noticed. It isn't just your profile picture that gets you noticed, women actually read profiles.
If you haven't had great luck with Tinder in the past or just want to find some short-term fun give Adult FriendFinder's free trial a look. You have nothing to lose and could end up having a lot of fun.
If you're over 50 and looking to give online dating sites a try there are two really good options for you; eHarmony and Our Time. We already talked about eHarmony at the beginning of our recommendations so we won't go into more detail here. Suffice to say that eHarmony is the best option for you and checking out their trial here is a great way to start.
If you want to broaden your dating pool and try something with a different user experience, OurTime is also well worth checking out. They have a much smaller number of users but all of them are 50+ which can make things a bit easier on you.
Another benefit is pretty much everyone on this site is ONLY looking to date people 50+ as well. If you're tired of competing with younger singles this can be a huge relief.
Any time you have two solid options it makes sense to give them both a shot and see which one works out best. It doesn't take a lot of time and their free trial is a good place to start.
If finding someone who shares the same Christian faith is most important to you Christian Mingle should be the first dating site you try. With over 3,500,000 members it's the biggest Christian dating site out there and tends to attract the most devout believers.
When finding a partner who shares your faith is important you know have difficult it can be. On most general dating sites people will list their religion as Christian but they often aren't even practicing Christians. They grew up Christian or are culturally Christian but don't make their faith a priority.
If you want to meet other singles Christians who have the same priorities you should give Christian Mingle a try. There isn't another option out there with as many members so you won't find a larger pool of fellow believers to meet.
We still think eHarmony is going to be the best option for most Black singles but if you want to expand your dating options even further Black People Meet is your clear #2. With over 1.5 million users you are going to have a lot of extra options here, many of whom don't use eHarmony (and vice versa).
This site is almost exclusively used by black singles looking for other black singles. If your interests are broader than that you are going to be better off using a more general site. If you are 100% set on finding a Black partner this is one of the best options out there for you.
The site is pretty easy to use but you are going to have to do most of the work yourself. It's easy to navigate and search so finding a lot of other singles is easy, it's the filtering process of figuring out who is a good match that will take some time. Give their trial offer a shot and see what we mean.
Most of the dating sites on our list are going to be great options no matter where you live. They are all large sites that give you a lot of options. However, there are some sites that are useful in some areas that haven't made it onto our list.
Check out our local guides to the top dating sites in your area:
Those are the dating sites that we most recommend if you're serious about finding success. We tend to prefer sites that are a little more selective and actually have a monthly fee. The big reason for this is that the vast majority of people using these sites are serious about dating. They aren't there for an ego boost or to waste peoples time, if they were they would save their money and hit up the free options.
It isn't impossible to get results from free dating sites it's just much harder (in our experience). If you're strapped for cash and can only look at free sites as an option there are a few you should consider:
As we mentioned above, even the best free dating sites can't really compare to our favorites above. Free sites attract a lot of people who aren't really interested in actually dating but they like the attention they get from the other users. Attractive women are especially guilty of this and many free dating sites have a lot of women who have NEVER met up with a guy in real life from the site.
It isn't impossible, but guys especially tend to have way worse results on the free dating sites vs. the proven sites above. If you are dead set on using a free app there are three that are worth considering. You are going to spend a lot more time and deal with a lot of flakey people but you can do OK with these, especially if you're very attractive.
When it comes to the sheer size of a site and the most users Plenty of Fish stands alone. They have over 120 million profiles on their site which is pretty amazing. The downside is that most of the profiles are empty or long abandoned.
There are still a lot of active users on this site but you're going to have to put in some work to find people you're interested in, are actively using the site, and respond to messages.
They actually have some pretty fun quizzes that you can use to find people you're compatible with and using the site is very easy. We actually had a lot of fun searching for people based on the various criteria but the actual time spent vs. the number of dates that actually happened wasn't impressive for our team.
Another solid option if you have a lot of time without a lot of extra funds is OkCupid. Like PoF this is another site that has a ton of profiles but the engagement from those members isn't very good.
The usual steps for people who just start using dating sites seems to be:
There seem to be a TON of abandoned profiles on this site and what's left is a little underwhelming. You can still do OK if you have good messaging game and a great profile but it's very competitive (especially for guys). You get what you pay for when it comes to free sites but if you're willing to put in a lot of time you can squeeze out some success.
You can't talk about free dating sites without throwing Tinder in there. Tinder is still really popular though it's evolved more into a general dating app instead of revolving around hookups. We've seen a lot of success using Tinder, mostly when dating people in their early 20's but it's tough for a lot of guys.
The main problem with Tinder is that the top 10-15% of guys get all the attention from 90% of the women. It's a problem we seen time and time again that more normal guys just don't get a chance with women they're actually interested in. There are exceptions of course but overall it's not very productive.
If you've got a good looking profile and know how to flirt with women through dating apps you can do well. Guys who don't have the looks and the skills are fighting an uphill battle.
We've said it a lot but guys tend to really struggle on free dating apps. They do a lot better on the paid apps where the competition is MUCH less and the women are WAY more engaged.