Best Dating Sites and Apps
ByMorgan MandriotaJan. 02, 2020
Finding love in the digital era is not easy. I did the research and tried, tested and compared all the dating sites and apps out there—to give you this handpicked list of the top 10 best online dating sites and apps with free subscription. Just in time to prepare you for Valentine’s Day.
So what are you waiting for? Get swiping!
How I Rated The Best Dating Websites and Apps?
I get asked this question a lot: “Which dating sites actually work?” Or, “Which dating site should I use to find a serious relationship?” And I always answer—it depends. While apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are for people usually looking for something casual, there are other sites for serious relationships like eharmony and Match. As a sex and relationships writer and a perpetually single woman, I’ve tested plenty of different dating sites over the years, and I’m STILL left wondering: What is the best dating site?
I rated each online dating service on this list based on select important factors:
Ease of use
Number of features available
Subscription, pricing and affordability
How the dating pool actually stacks up once you start swiping
With over 40 million eligible singles who regularly use the Zoosk app, there is a wide dating pool to choose from. It’s easy to use with a built-in Behavioral Matchmaking™ engine and profile verification feature to prove that users are who they claim to be. I chose Zoosk as the best overall dating site. In addition you can break the ice with Zoosk’s SuperSend feature and get email updates about singles who liked your profile with the SmartPick feature.
Subscriptions range in price from a 1-month plan at $29.95 to a 6-month subscription at $74.95 ($12.49/month).
If you’re a smart, single professional who’s looking for love, then EliteSingles is the dating app for you. EliteSingles claims that 85% of users are “highly educated,” which is perfect for sapiosexuals.
Its intelligent matchmaking algorithm presents up to 7 potential matches per day based on your location, dating preferences, and profile personality.
Match.com is recognized as one of the more “serious” dating websites you use when you’re ready to settle down. That’s actually one of the first questions they ask you when signing up: “What type of relationship are you looking for?” You can choose from a sliding scale of “just browsing singles” to a “long-term relationship.”
Pricing is a bit expensive with Standard or Premium plans ranging up to $36.99/month for 3 months or 1 full month for $62.65. As a fully subscribed member, you can email and chat with people, check profile visitors, get an annual profile review, receive monthly boosts, and attend in-person Match Events.
SilverSingles uses a Five Factor personality test to connect compatible seniors over the age of 50. This personality test, which covers more than 100 questions, is worth spending some time on: these answers will play a big role in your suggested matches, which figure more prominently into the user experience than other dating sites.
After signing up and completing the personality test, members will receive daily match suggestions. With its combination of in-depth matching and low-investment tech requirements, SilverSingles is a good route for seniors looking to find deep connections without having to spend their time learning how the website works.
OurTime is one of the best dating sites for women and men over 50. This dating service can be used for singles over 50 looking to find other singles over 50, or by someone younger seeking a mature partner with more life experience and wisdom to share.
Six-month memberships offer the most benefits, including profile and message highlights and message read notifications.
Someone finds love every 14 minutes using eharmony, the #1 trusted dating app for serious relationships. Signup takes 3 steps: Profile Set Up, Match Preferences, and Compatibility Quiz.
eharmony is not only one of the most popular online dating apps, but it’s also one of the most affordable websites with 6-, 12-, or 24-month plans for as low as $6.97/month. There are Standard Lite, Premium Plus, and Premium Extra plans, each with its own perks like unlimited messaging, anonymous browsing, and access to more matches.
BlackPeopleMeet is the go-to dating site to find single black men and women in your area. Singles of any age looking for a serious relationship, travel partner, or friendship can use this app with ease.
All members can view profiles and swipe to meet people in their area, flirt, send messages, track profile visitors, and rate daily matches. Subscribing to a paid membership unlocks additional features like email accessibility, read receipts, view who’s interested in you, and highlight your profile in Search and Inbox locations. Plans start at $18.99/month and range up to $69.99 for 6 months.
Millions of singles have flocked to OkCupid for its quirky yet accessible approach to online dating. Free to use, OkCupid sets itself apart with a matchmaking system that’s fueled by fun, offbeat questions that may not be as far-fetched as they first appear.
Even on its free version, OkCupid offers a lot of customization options. You can set your match and search filters by age, gender, orientation, interests, and keywords. A-listers (OkCupid’s term for paid subscribers) can also search by body type, attractiveness, and how a person answered their match questions.
One of the pioneers of online dating, Plenty of Fish hasn’t stopped growing. Since its founding in 2003, the site has grown to more than 80 million members. Its diverse user base features singles from all walks of life looking to connect for serious relationships, casual dating, and everything in between.
The sheer abundance of users is by far POF’s most alluring feature, but not its only one. For one thing, the site offers more options for free users than the competition, making it an ideal place to begin for anyone looking to try out online dating.
Billed as a site where women have more control, Bumble turns the tables on the dynamics of online dating. Using a similar swipe process as Tinder, Bumble gives women the power to make the first move.
Bumble is free to download and use. One-time payments and BumbleBoost subscriptions offer additional benefits. You can extend a particular match or renew an expired one, or view people who have liked you.
How to Choose the Right Dating App for You: 4 Questions to Guide Your Decision
1 - What Type of Relationship Are You Looking For?
Before deciding which dating site to sign up for, consider your desired outcome. Whether you’re looking to meet interesting people, start dating again after a heartbreak, or searching for that person to start a family with, dating sites aren’t a “one size fits all” deal.
No matter what type of relationship you’re looking for, there’s a dating site or app to meet your needs.
Some dating sites will help you find Mr. or Mrs. Right, while others are better at helping you find Mr. or Ms. Right Now.
2 - Do You Prefer Being Matched or Searching Independently?
Personal preferences matter with online dating—just as they do with offline dating. Some people want to search through profiles before deciding who to chat with, while others feel more comfortable being set up. Luckily, the world of online dating has answers for both.
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match:
One of the major benefits of using a dating site is the ability to filter potential matches according to the values and characteristics that matter most to you. This immediate screening saves time and energy by ruling out people who aren’t compatible.
For singles who want to be set up, sites like Zoosk bring matches straight to your inbox on a daily basis. With Zoosk’s patented Behavioral Matchmaking technology, the site studies your likes, interests and disinterests to provide the most compatible matches.
Another benefit of online dating is the options. Black dating sites, senior dating sites, and dating apps for every romantic persuasion are now connecting singles who may have otherwise never met. Using the search filters, you can explore your options based on specific preferences.
Match offers extensive search filters and sorting functionality. Basic filters include parameters such as gender, age, and location, along with more specific fields such as background, interests, and lifestyle.
3 - Which Features Matter Most?
While dating sites all provide singles with the same essential service—a platform to meet new people and find a potential partner—each site does it in a different way.
Compare the features available on the best dating sites to choose the right one for you. Differentiating features include online chat or video chat, safety features like photo verification, and dating games. Choose a dating site that offers the features which are most important to you.
For people with safety concerns, Zoosk offers a photo verification feature to ensure that users are honest, and Match offers offline events where singles can meet up in a group setting.
As you begin your online dating journey, explore the features available on different sites. Use the comparison table above, reviews, and relevant articles to guide your decision.
4 - How Much Will it Cost Me?
Many of the best dating sites for women and for men offer free sign up or a free trial period. However, to unlock all features and communication tools, you’ll need to subscribe. Consider the features, matchmaking and search capabilities, and overall quality of the sites as you compare prices. As with most things, you get what you pay for.
Joining a dating site is a smart investment. If you put yourself out there, you won’t need to subscribe for long. After all, it’s worth it — this is your future and happiness at stake.
Why is this good for the single seeking love online?
More people on dating apps means a better selection
People are more likely to seek something serious in this period
Valentine’s Day is a great opening message subject
So, don’t wait until the spring time to look for love online, take advantage of the Valentine’s Day rush.
I’m a freelance sex and relationships writer, which means that it’s my job to research, try, and report back on all things… wait for it... sex and relationships! I also have a lot of dating experience as somebody who’s been single for most of her adult life. I’ve basically used all of the new, the tried-and-true, the worst, and the best online dating websites.
From one serial dater to you, dear reader, here are 3 expert tips on how to navigate this wild world of online and IRL dating in 2019:
1. Know What You’re Looking For Before Signing Up For A Dating App
Think about what you want out of a dating app. Do you want to hookup with someone new? Are you looking for something serious? Maybe you don’t need anything specific and you’re simply wondering who’s out there.
Knowing what you’re looking for prior to downloading the most popular dating sites will help you decide which services are best for YOU. You should think about how much money you’ll pay to access premium features and how committed you really are to the dating game right now.
2. Be Honest And Clear About Your Intentions With Potential Matches
Start your relationship on the right foot by communicating your wants, needs, and fears before planning to meet someone off a dating app. Honesty also includes featuring recent photos on your profile that actually look like you.
Be true to yourself. Don’t catfish anybody. Convey your intentions. Respect people’s boundaries. Don’t waste anybody’s time. We’re all just trying to find love out here.
3. You Can’t Rush Love
If the timing isn’t right or if a match isn’t your ideal partner, don’t give up. Be patient. As badly as you may want to be with somebody, you can’t rush the process.
When you swipe right on someone who makes your heart skip a beat, and they right swipe you too, it’ll be worth all of the stress and heartache that led you to that point. Have faith and put in the time and effort involved in dating to give yourself a fair chance at finding a genuine connection.
The days of blind dates and meeting on the street are over. Dating apps are the easiest way to find a relationship in 2019. They’ve worked for thousands of couples around the world, and they can work for you too! Test out different websites until you find one that works for you and scores you the type of relationship you’ve been seeking for so long. We wish you the best of luck in your dating journey.
ByMorgan MandriotaOct. 07, 2019
Morgan Mandriota is a freelance sex and wellness writer with bylines at Betches, Health.com, and BuzzFeed. Her insight has been quoted in Cosmopolitan, Tinder, The New York Times, and more. When Morgan isn't writing about orgasms, dating struggles, or CBD, she loves traveling, eating tacos, and training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.