I was on Clover for quite some time, but had since forgotten it existed until I started to compile this list. It strikes me as a less-successful hybrid of OkCupid and Tinder with a relatively small user base, even though I live in an urban area with plenty of people who use a wide variety of dating apps. Clover says it has nearly 6 million users, 85 percent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 30.
A lot of dating websites and apps advertise the fact that they’re free, but be careful what you’re signing up for. Setting up a profile is always free, but most of the websites we tested offered only some of their matching services free of charge. Many dating websites make you pay to view user photos and send messages. Apps, on the other hand, are predominantly free. Upgrades are available if you want to use the app’s extra features, but for the most part a free account is all you need.
Setting up your profile involves a rather in-depth chemistry assessment of more than 70 questions. This means you'll have to think a little bit about your own personality, how others perceive you and what you want in a mate. Questions include whether you consider yourself productive and whether you're seen as stubborn. You answer on a scale, which is nice because it means your answers can be more nuanced than yes or no. There are several other questionnaires available to continue to flesh out your profile, but they're not required. Messaging and viewing user profiles is all free on Plenty of Fish. While our reviewers don't think the website is very well designed, the free mobile app is also an option that's super easy to use. The one downside to any service with free messaging is that you could feel overwhelmed if you find yourself with a flooded inbox. On average, the three fake accounts we set up for testing got 40 matches in 24 hours, the second highest of any service we tested. Of those, 22 percent were "top prospects," which is the site's way of saying those users are highly compatible with you.
As a result, when considering what's available these days in free online dating terms, the message is pretty clear: Finding people online to go on dates with doesn't cost you much money — or any money, for that matter — so you can save your hard-earned cash for the dates you actually go on. If online dating is something you're thinking about, you really have nothing to lose by trying out a free dating site.
Matches are location-based so you only see people near the city you set in your profile. If you travel and want to see if there are any matches in your area, you need to change where you are in your profile. The app also has a "We Met" section where you can leave feedback after any Hinge date. It's almost like leaving a Yelp review for a person. Users can also specify whether they have kids, want kids, have any strong religious beliefs or vices. This gives you a little more of an in-depth look at a potential mate than some dating apps. Hinge is only available as an app and it's free, but you can pay for a membership if you want extra perks like being able to use additional filters, see likes you've received and access Hinge experts to help you along the way.
It’s important to be upfront about what you’re looking for online. If you’re interested in something casual, free sites that require less information to sign up could work perfectly. It’s probably not worth paying for a membership if you’re not looking for anything long term and are willing to risk going on a couple of potentially bad dates. If marriage is what you’re after, then you might have better luck on paid sites that pair you with people who have the same priorities.
OkCupid is completely free, meaning you don't have to pay to see more matches or to unlock specific features that may make it easier for you to find someone interesting. At the same time, because it's completely free, the array of potential matches you get can be wild and varied, to say the least. There are entire blogs around the web dedicated to the types of people you'll find on OkCupid, and part of it is because the service is rapidly growing, free, and accessible to everyone. Granted, that also means that if you're looking for the most possible matches, and the service is very proud of its matching algorithm. When you sign up, you fill out a remarkably lengthy profile full of questions that will be used to help other people find you, and to help you match other people. Mobile apps for iOS and Android help you take your search with you on the go, and stay in touch with people you plan to meet.
Once you pick that perfect selfie and write paragraphs to sell all your best attributes to your future mate, it's time to start browsing. This is where the big differences between these apps are apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous hot-or-not swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble, on the other hand, puts all the power in the woman's hands; men can't even contact a woman unless she's expressed interest first. Others, like OkCupid, have robust profiles that let you dive deep into a user's personality (or at least the one he or she has decided to present to you), before you decide to go on the pursuit.
Plenty of Fish (or POF) tries to combine the ease-of-use of a simpler matching service with some of the brains of a more robust, comprehensive dating site. It matches based on mutual likes, but the more information you add to your profile, the more intelligently it'll try to match you. It has a speed matching feature, called MeetMe, which will present you with singles in your area that match your interests quickly, so you can cut through the fluff and contact someone about a date. Alternatively, you can browse matches by interest or by people who live nearby. At the same time though, it retains some of the simplicity of other services—if two people like each other's profiles, you'll get a notification to connect right away. How much effort you put into finding a good match—whether you go by mutual likes and location only or you fill out your profile with tons of information—is entirely up to you. Oh, POF is also free, and offers mobile apps, just like the other services.
Perfect match comes with many free benefits. By only singing in you can read dating advices, receive daily matches and browse for people on your own. If you do not feel confident about starting a conversation with a stranger you can use the ice breaker option with pre-established questions. In order to benefit of all the features and get in touch with men/women you like you need to subscribe. The best deal is the six months access with $33.33/month.
For women who know what they want out of a long-term partner, EliteSingles prides itself on its intelligent matchmaking algorithm. EliteSingles presents you matches based on your personal preferences and the Big Five Personality Traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (sometimes called Emotional Stability).
Are you tired of finding what looks like that special someone, then having to pay to send him or her a message? Not only does POF let you send notes for free, but it offers helpful tools to make messaging easier and faster. This includes the Spark function, which prompts you to talk about parts of other users' profiles that you find interesting. That said, the interface feels plain and clunky, and serves up ads more often than other services.
Features for introverts: Anomo is 100% about keeping things casual, at least at first, giving you time to feel out the situation. Unlike other dating apps out there, Anomo starts you off with just an avatar. In fact, all of your personal information is locked from the start, so only you can see it. You can play games with other hopefuls and over time, the app matches you with people who share similar interests. Over time, as you get to know someone better, you can decide to reveal yourself.