At Top Ten Reviews, we’ve been reviewing online dating services since 2004, watching them evolve and change with the times. We looked at today’s most popular dating websites and apps and rated their matching tools, costs, ease of use, messaging features and other features. We also spoke to several insightful people, including dating experts and typical users, to get a clear view of the modern dating landscape.
Launched by clinical psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony.com is a go-to if you want a serious, long-term relationship — which explains how 4% of U.S. marriages have taken place thanks to the site, according to Harris Interactive. eHarmony is also known for their unique matching system that compares 29 dimensions of compatibility to pair their members.
Fee to join: £35/$57 for one month. Lovestruck’s service finds people who live, work or are near you using location technology that pinpoints tube stations and areas. There’s also a verification policy, meaning you’re slightly less likely to encounter weirdos than you might be on other sites. You can meet other members for dates that fit around your lifestyle (coffee mornings, lunch breaks and after work beverages). A city focus with professionals in mind is evident on this online dating site. A diary feature is available to keep a record of your online/offline activities.
Those of you who nominated POF shared your success stories, which were also great to hear, and praised it for walking that line between being detailed and smart but also super-easy to use and find people to meet with. Many of you noted that the service is free, and others bemoaned the fact that POF users aren't necessarily active and getting responses may be difficult. Read more in this nomination thread or this thread.
Hinge focuses on common connections that you and a potential partner share on Facebook. Which is great if you trust the judgment of your friends and family. Of course, some of us are trying to meet new people, far removed from our everyday lives. (Hinge may have gotten the hint, since you no longer need Facebook to sign up.) The app also asks questions to help you match with better connections, which can be a plus for serious relationship seekers.
On the upside the profiles are brief, which allows you to make decisions quickly. The downside is that short profiles make it harder to figure out what people are looking for. Knowing very little about a person can also make initial messaging more challenging. You'll need to wade through a sea of profiles, which makes it easy to pass over people you might have given a chance under different circumstances.
Have you ever crossed paths with a stranger and felt an immediate connection? Have you always regretted not introducing yourself to that cute guy in the elevator or that really funny waitress? Happn is a dating app that gives you a second chance with missed connections. Every time you cross paths with another person who has the app on their phone, you'll be able to view their dating profile. You can also see how many times you've crossed paths with a person and if you don't want to match with them, you can simply remove that profile from your timeline. If you've found someone you'd like to get to know more you can like them with the app's heart button, and if the feeling is mutual, you'll be able to message back and forth.
Make sure that your online profile offers a true reflection of who you are, and is representative of the genuine ‘you’. Provide sufficient details about yourself to let other members know who you are, but do not share more than what you are comfortable with. It is not necessary to try and pretend that you are more fun or interesting than everyone else, as a positive attitude is enough to reflect an honest image and promote your online profile. It is important to be who ‘you’ are.
Using a photo is very easy, but some members tend to take this step quite seriously. A genuine photo of yourself while doing something that you enjoy, is frequently very attractive. Try to avoid the Tinder-type selfies, and rather focus on taking a ‘photo that has good lighting, is focused, and honestly reflects you, and then don’t overdo the editing part!
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.
How does requiring members to have photos improve your dating experience? Ask any of the singles who have used other online dating sites and they'll tell you the site was filled with blank profiles, and even half of those with any information are without a photo. Studies have shown that singles with a photo on their dating profile get at least 10 times more profile views. People want to see the smiling face behind the bio and personality test.
Zoosk is a dating site that has more than 50 million users so there are no chances you cannot find your Canadian soul mate. It is well integrated in social network and smart phones. This means that you can get in touch with your virtual friends whenever and wherever you like. It is a very popular choice among young people. Here you can find casual dates or even start a long lasting relationship.
Why it's awesome: Plenty of Fish, sometime styled as POF, boasts 4 million daily active users, with 65,000 new users each day, apparently, and claims users send 1 billion messages per month. After registering for POF, hopeful daters take a personality test that then helps POF determine what they call, "Your Relationship Needs." Basically, it's a way to make sure users know what they want from their love lives, and to ensure that it serves users other profiles that meet that criteria. One unusual quirk: The site recently launched a feature that allows users to message others through Google Home. Says Spira: "They have a large user base, are a free site, and are very popular."
For those who place a heavy emphasis on education when looking for a date or partner, we’d highly recommend EliteSingles. According to the site, 80% of members hold either a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree. A free subscription, which never expires, comes with all the basics, but EliteSingles’ intelligent matchmaking algorithm will do most, if not all, of the work for you — delivering you three to seven compatible matches every day.
Most members do not immediately find a date after they register for dating online. Rather take the time to find out more about some other members before making a decision. Online dating is similar to real life, and it takes time to discover who you are interested in, and whether they share your feelings, before checking whether a connection will work.
‘Asking your date questions not only shows that you’re interested in what they have to say but it also allows you to get to know them, which is what a first date is all about! Don’t stick to small talk. More intimate questions about your date’s hopes, dreams and passions will help you forge a closer connection – and it’s a lot more interesting than talking about the weather.’
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.
If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.
For many singles, especially serial-monogamists or divorcees, signing up for a slew of online dating options and websites is an overwhelming and cumbersome process. Because there are hundreds of options readily available in your app store, deciphering which downloads will reap the most benefits requires research, trial-and-error and plenty of failed first dates. However, it doesn’t have to be.
The first thing you need to decide is how committed you are. As in, how much do you want to pay to make your heart go pitter-patter? Some apps, like Plenty of Fish, let you view profiles and send messages for free. Most of the others let you view your potential matches without charging, but make you pony up and subscribe if you want to actually reach out to them. While the monthly charges for the apps we review here range in price from $10 to more than $40, most offer a discount if you commit to a long-term subscription such as six months or a year. (You're not afraid of commitment, are you?) Then, there are all of the add-ons. Options—letting you pay to boost your ranking in search results, letting someone know that you are really, really interested in him or her or them, or undoing a dreaded left-swipe that was supposed to be a right-swipe—will cost you extra. While some apps may advertise themselves as free, all of them will try to get a buck from you in the end.
If you're willing to pay for it, The League is a dating app that does all the work for you. You’ll need active Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to log in, and you'll be assessed based on the information you've provided on these profiles, like your education and professional career. On top of that, you have to fill out an application and then are placed on a waiting list for an undetermined period of time that varies by the city you live in. Once you’re a member, you’ll have access to a personal concierge who does a lot of the work for you and helps curate your profile.
Within the first three hours of signing up, Happn welcomed me with 68 users it said I had crossed paths with, even though I hadn't left my apartment all day. It might be helpful if you're looking to date your immediate neighbors (or Uber drivers), but I struggle to see why this is much of a draw when competitors like Tinder already show the distance between you and other users. Frankly, if I saw a cute guy in a coffee shop, I'd rather just approach him than check if he's on Happn. The app seems designed for people who don't want to use online dating but who also don't want to approach people in real life. Pick a lane.
FriendFinder.com isn’t just for finding buddies. Its primary function is to help you find someone special. The site has a lot of features worth exploring, including chat rooms, message boards, blog posts and an exclusive magazine. There’s plenty to do and a real sense of community. The more you get involved, the more you’ll get from your experiences on the site and the more people you’ll be likely to meet.
JSwipe is a Jewish dating app. You upload photos of yourself and scroll through other user profiles in the hopes of matching. This app is unique in that your matches expire in 18 days, so you've got to start chatting and schedule a date quickly. Everything is free to use but you can pay extra for "super swipes" to show a person you're extremely interested in them. This is a location-based app, so it's likely to work best in large cities.
Mutual is a free dating app for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You set up a profile, and then the app works similarly to Tinder. If two people express an interest in each other while swiping through user profiles, they're matched and able to start chatting. There's even a "double take" feature where you can get a second chance to swipe right on a profile if you accidentally skip it while scrolling. Facebook is required in order for you to use the app. This is to help eliminate the presence of fake profiles or bots.
The timer is designed to encourage contact, and some people really do appreciate that feature. But if you're someone who procrastinates, Bumble may not be for you. Also because women must message first, Bumble tends to weed out the slightly more insecure males. However the rate of overly confident males tends to be higher than I've seen on other apps. Bumble also has a BFF feature, but that's really not the focus of a dating app gallery, so I'll save it for another time.
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.
The League is an "elite dating app" that requires you to apply to get access. Your job title and the college you attended are factors The League considers when you apply, which is why you have to provide your Linkedin account. Big cities tend to have long waiting lists, so you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs as your application goes through the process. (Of course, you can pay to hurry up the review.) The exclusivity can be a draw for some and a turnoff for others. Let me demystify the app for you: I've seen most of the profiles I come across on The League on other dating apps. So at the end of the day, you'll probably see the same faces on Tinder, if you aren't deemed elite enough for The League.
The site has profile verification options to ensure you are matching with real people and not fake profiles. On top of that, the site has a Smart Match system that essentially allows it to learn your preferences the more you use it, and the option to send a “Mega Flirt” that reaches dozens of inboxes every 15 minutes. It's a site you won't easily grow bored of that aims to help you become a better dater.