We spent five days trying out 10 different online dating services to figure out which one is the most effective and affordable. That meant monitoring three fake profiles for 24 hours, collecting match data and using the features of every website and app. We looked at which websites give free access to other users’ profile photos and messaging, and whether you have to pay to access extra features. For on-the-go dating, we also used apps and evaluated them based on how user-friendly they are.
Some people take online dating searches very seriously. They have a specific shopping list of criteria they are looking for and will settle for nothing less than a perfect connection. While others are more open or general in their search — they will know what they are looking for when it finds them. Regardless of where you fit in the quest for fun, friendship or romance, Connecting Singles has a match or search process designed for you.
As you might have guessed from the name, coffee beans are the currency of Coffee Meets Bagel, and you earn them through daily logins and other activities. The site is very reward-driven, giving you a limited number of matches each day, based first on the mutual friends you share on Facebook, with the number of matches increasing each consecutive day you log on. With the extra beans you accumulate, you can show interest in another group of potential matches who aren't necessarily your handpicked matches of the day, but with whom you may share common interests. The concept of matching people based on mutual friends isn't new, but because of how the dating platform is designed, it simply works well — as in, without being creepy or overly forward.
SilverSingles is tailored to "mature, well-rounded men and women" above the age of 50. It debuted in 2001 as PrimeSingles.net, changed its name to Single Seniors Meet in 2009 and has been SilverSingles since 2011. SilverSingles is tailored towards long-term committed relationships for their members' golden years. The site is very clear and easy to navigate, making it a approachable for older adults who might not get online as much.
One thing to note if you don't fall into the cis-hetero dating pool: While most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive, there are those that are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. If you're a man seeking a man or a woman seeking a woman, you'll want to steer clear of eharmony: It doesn't even give you the option of a same-sex match.