You discover potential matches based on searching instead of getting match suggestions, which gives you more control over your online dating experience. For each match you see, you also see the percentage match rate you have with that individual, giving you not just another conversation starter, but an actual data-driven indication (based on the profile questions you answered) of how well you and someone you find in your search results may match. OKCupid has a fun, laid-back feel to it, and users generally adopt a similar attitude when interacting on the site, making it a legitimate choice both for people looking for casual flings, and those in search of more serious, long-term relationships.
I was also disappointed in the notifications, which I found too pushy. CMB was constantly "gently" reminding me to message users I'd matched with. I eventually disabled the app after receiving the following notification: "Show [match name] who's boss and break the ice today!" Should a potential future relationship be rooted in a hierarchical power dynamic? At the end of the day, I have friends who've had good matches on CMB, but it isn't my favorite app. 
If you're strictly looking for a hookup app, it's always best to prioritize your privacy, and Pure does just that. The free app, designed to facilitate casual flings, erases your profile every hour (although you can easily restore it if your heart desires). The app is basically a geo-location-based online personals app that allows you to list yourself to other local singles for 60-minute periods to see who you match up with. If you mutually match, you can strike up a quick chat with the matching user, but be sure to exchange contact information quickly, as you'll lose contact on the app with that user. After one hour, your profile “self-destructs,” erasing your short online personal listing so nothing traces back to you.
If the thought of signing up for an online dating service without any help is scary, you can hire a ghostwriter to help you out. You might have even encountered some of these ghostwriters yourself and not have known it. Essentially, writers are paid to build your profile in a way that’s pleasing and more likely to get you dates. Thrillist even profiled an online dating ghostwriter who took details submitted by would-be daters and turned them into dating bios and even conversation starters. If this sounds like something you would benefit from, there are numerous services you can sign up for.
Age-based niches: These sites are for people of a specific age. Baby boomers are overwhelmingly turning to the web to find a mate. Sites like Match.com and POF.com offer members a chance to search specifically for the age group that interests you, but SeniorPeopleMeet.com and OurTime.com are the two largest sites designed specifically for the baby boomer market.
One of the most nerve wracking parts of online dating (aside from literally the entire experience) is selecting which photos you'll use on your profile. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so it's a pretty important part of making a good first impression. Do you go with something that shows your adventurous side? Should you include a snapshot of your dog? Which photo will show the world you're a fun, interesting person?
After signing up, Happn showed me 68 users it said I had crossed paths with in the preceding three hours, though I hadn't left my apartment all day. This might be helpful if you're looking to date your immediate neighbors (or Uber drivers), but I don't see the attraction 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 just approach him rather than check to see 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.
The League is an "elite dating app" that requires you to apply -- and supply your job title, college and LinkedIn profile. Big cities tend to have long waiting lists, so you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs as your application is reviewed. (Of course, you can pay to expedite the process.) The exclusivity can be a draw for some and a turnoff for others, but I'll let you in on a secret: I've seen most of the profiles I come across on The League on other dating apps, too. 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.

No honorable mentions this week because the nominees dropped off pretty quickly after that - but there were plenty more nominees if you're looking for more than these five. Head back to the call for contenders to see them. One thing we'll note though—more than a few people pointed out that with dating services, you do hand over a ton of personal information when you fill out these questionnaires and fill out your profile. That's a lot of information being harvested from you, especially in the case of the free services, that's used for who-knows-what. That said, you are trading that information for a service that the dating site provides—helping you find a match. Just be eyes-open about that transaction before you sign up and fill out all the things. Finally, when you do get into online dating, don't forget toi make time for it to get he best possible results, and of course, be on your best behavior.
Zoosk offers a variety of different features to help you find dates in the way that best suits your style. The search function allows daters to set advanced filters and screen for other singles that fit any number of different criteria from religion to height to education. Daters can also look for matches through SmartPick, which offers singles that are algorithmically picked for you based on your in-app activity, and Carousel, which is a feed of singles that say yes or no to based on a trimmed down profile view. All of these come together to offer a diverse online dating experience.  
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. 
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.
One new dating scene app caters specifically to queer women. HER, available for free in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, serves as a place where female-identified and non-binary people can connect to find both friends and dates. You can sign up using your Facebook or Instagram account and swipe through profiles to find people in your area. The app is also a place to coordinate and find queer events like parties and meetups. User profiles show you photos, names, a person's sexual preference and physical attributes. Much like Tinder, once you match with a person, you can chat in the app's messaging component.

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.
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.
I was also disappointed in the notifications, which I found too pushy. CMB was constantly "gently" reminding me to message users I'd matched with. I eventually disabled the app after receiving the following notification: "Show [match name] who's boss and break the ice today!" Should a potential future relationship be rooted in a hierarchical power dynamic? At the end of the day, I have friends who've had good matches on CMB, but it isn't my favorite app. 
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.
The downside to this app is it's built-in elitism. It's meant to feel exclusive, and the language used in the marketing materials isn't exactly warm and fuzzy. For example, one of the website's taglines is, "We do the scouting and the vetting, you do the matching and the petting." Still, if an exclusive and upscale dating app experience is what you’re looking for, The League could be for you.
If you have some time to kill, we here at Top Ten Reviews have dozens and dozens of stories about going on bad dates. We’ve been ditched, dumped, ghosted and duped so we’re pretty familiar with the pain of dating. Online dating can alleviate a little of that pain because it gives everyone the chance to be upfront about their intentions and preferences.
Free doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, low quality, or bad, and these online free dating sites prove it. Every single one has a 100% free membership or trial that allows you to test everything out first. If you want to upgrade and get some premium features, you can, but you definitely don’t have to. As soon as you sign up, you’ll be equipped with all the tools you need to find that special someone — whether for a night, a month, a year, or forever.
Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don't just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.
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.
After signing up, Happn showed me 68 users it said I had crossed paths with in the preceding three hours, though I hadn't left my apartment all day. This might be helpful if you're looking to date your immediate neighbors (or Uber drivers), but I don't see the attraction 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 just approach him rather than check to see 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.
Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.
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. 

Keeping the search results wide open: If your goal is to meet someone in the immediate future for a casual drink or get together, the best option would be mobile dating apps like Tinder, JSwipe and many others. These apps allow you to quickly find similarly minded people. On most dating sites, you can use a sort feature to see which members are currently online right now and available to talk.

Signing up took us about 20 minutes during testing, which is more than twice as long as most of the websites we tested. You answer questions about not only about your appearance, but also about your religious beliefs and career. You then fill out a comprehensive survey regarding what you want in a partner. The questions even go as far to ask whether you want to have kids, which is an important thing to agree on if you're looking for a long-term commitment. You have to pay for a subscription to access most of the features on eharmony, and even though we couldn't read them with a free account, we got nine emails in 24 hours, which was a pretty decent response rate. There is also an eharmony app that's easy to use, making this a great service to try if you want a thorough experience.
How does it work? match is the most widely-used dating site in the world and has nearly 1.8 million subscribers. It works in the most traditional way: Simply create a profile, check out your potential matches, send them a few messages and then arrange to meet for a date. There are also various off-shoots of match.com with microsites for gay and lesbian dating, Asian dating, Christian dating and Polish dating. The love-gods at match also arrange singles events and provide online dating advice, so it’s easy to see what makes them one of our best online dating sites.

How does it work? A similar taste in music can be a great indicator as to whether you’re compatible with someone, so the fine folks behind Tastebuds have struck gold with their music-based online dating site. Getting started is dead simple: pick three artists or bands that you’re interested in, the gender you’re looking to date and press ‘go’. It’s a fun and relaxed site, which can introduce you to new music, concert buddies and potentially even your own real-life Caleb Followill.


Happn takes location-based dating to the next level. This hyper localized dating app serves up people that you’ve physically crossed paths with. Yep, that’s right. No more missed connections, or, at least, that’s the hope. Happn has a very quick setup through your Facebook account, then you’re free to start sending off those likes. Not too much to say, except that it tends to skew younger and there may not be  very many people on it if you’re in a more rural area, but it’s great for cities.
If you’re tired of the back and forth of trying to schedule a date that works with your busy schedule, check out Now, an app built specifically to make that easier. Available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, it matches you with people based on your schedules. This probably isn't the best app for finding a meaningful connection, as it's based solely on you having free time simultaneously with another user, but it's a good way to schedule a lot of dates and have a lot of fun. 

Last on the list is Match.com. Match was the first online dating service, and as such has one of the biggest pools of daters to choose from. They’ve also recently redesigned the service so the experience is much more smooth. Match offers a lot of profile customizability and long essay sections for sharing personal information. If you’re good at writing about yourself, then Match may be the site for you.


Online dating has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. In the past, the online dating options available to singles (or people in open relationships) were fewer and further between. Worse, at the time, free online dating options were often either highly sketchy, putting your identity and privacy at risk, or simply did not have the membership numbers to give you a worthwhile experience.

The experts say: For those nervous about dating, this site puts the control in your fingertips allowing you access to thousands of profiles and the ability to chat to potential dates at the rate which works for you. It is well known and therefore attracts a wide demographic, allowing you to widen your dating pool or limit it with their advanced matching facility.
Online dating websites offer a variety of methods on how to search for a mate. Some mobile apps will match you with people based on criteria, including age, gender and geographic proximity. More traditional sites may offer anything from a simple search to a highly specific advanced search. Some more seriously minded sites request that members fill out elaborate compatibility questionnaires. Deciding which process is right for you will largely be determined by whether you’re looking for a casual friendship, relationship or a lifelong partner.

We couldn’t give you the extensive guide to online dating without mentioning sugar babies. This term is slang for usually younger women who use online dating services to match with older, wealthier men who provide them with financial support in some way. This has become an increasingly popular way for young people to help ease the burden of student loan debt.

eHarmony is where relationship-oriented daters love to go, as the site is responsible for 4% of U.S. marriages. Co-founded by clinical psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony is probably most known for their exclusive 29 Dimensions® of Compatibility test — which is composed of four categories: Character and Constitution; Personality; Emotional Makeup and Skills; and Family and Values. For no cost, you can fill out your information, take the questionnaire, and receive like-minded matches.


Connecting Singles is a 100% FREE online dating service for singles offering free dating online, free online dating, photo personal ads, matchmaking and singles. Connect with quality singles looking for love, marriage, romance, and friendship. A 100% FREE Online dating service offering free online dating, free dating online, photo personal ads, matchmaking, free email, extensive search, and more. Connect Now! 100% FREE Online Dating...

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.
Features for introverts: You can really be yourself on OkCupid. Whether you're looking for the relationship of your dreams, a one-night stand, or a sham marriage (seriously, we’re not judging), OkCupid doesn't care unless you're being a jerk about it. On OkCupid, you’re more than just a photo, you can share stories, your passions, and pretty much anything else you want and feel totally at home. 
×