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Best dating apps of 2021

Updated: Sep 21

My recommendations are based on my own dating-app experiences as a woman. However some dating apps are also dependent on the country you are living in and your age. For example, Parship is popular for singles in their 30’s – 50’s in finding a serious relationship in Switzerland / Austria / Germany whereas Plenty of Fish is more popular for over 50’s living in the UK.


I believe that there are good quality singles on ALL of these apps and it’s important to try out several and see which one feels better for you.


I actually did an analysis on 17 dating apps although I’m picking out these top 7 since these are the ones I’ve used the most. Other dating apps that also deserve a mention include: Zoosk, Tantan, Grindr, eharmony, Parship, Plenty of Fish, Elite Singles, Inner circle and Luxy


1. Bumble


Release date: Dec 2014

Monthly users: ~20 million

Area / languages: Global / 19 languages


Bumble is basically Tinder for women... and on a timer. Bumble requires women to message first and if the guy doesn't message back within 24 hours, he loses the potential match. Because that's the one thing my love life was really missing... arbitrary time limits.


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 so it’s really important that the women creates enough space if she is looking to attract a masculine energy guy. She can do this by sending a first message that allows her to lean back. I have some great scrips for this!


Pros

✓ User engagement

✓ Cut down on “sleazy” messaging from men

Cons

✓ Low volume of profiles

✓ May attract feminine energy men


2. Tinder


Release date: Sept 2012

Monthly users: ~55 million

Area/languages: Global / 49 languages


Whether you're looking for a hookup or an LTR (long-term relationship), Tinder has you covered. It's basically the first stop for those entering the dating world. If you want to play the odds when it comes to online dating, you probably need to be swiping where everyone's swiping.


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.


Pros

✓ Popular app globally

✓ User engagement

✓ Fast

Cons

✓ Some people view as short term dating

✓ Repeated effort to match

✓ Superficial

✓ You have to put the work in to swipe through the haystack of singles to find the serious and quality matches



3. Hinge


Release date: 2012

Monthly users: ~6 million

Area / languages: US, UK, Canada & Australia / English only


Hinge is a great way to show many dimensions of our personality through uploading short videos with great prompting questions. Originally the app focused on common connections and mutual friends that you and a potential partner shared on Facebook, which was a gimmick I was never sold on. But it has since pivoted away from this model. Hinge has designed the app to make user profiles more engaging (and helpful) than on apps like Tinder. You have the option of displaying a lot of useful information that could be deal breakers: your political leanings, your religion, your alcohol consumption frequency or even your interest level in having children someday. And the prompts provided by Hinge do help create more engaging profiles. Hinge's current slogan is simply "Designed to be deleted," and if a serious relationship is what you're looking for, this is the dating app I would recommend.


Pros

✓ Long term relationships

✓ Dimensional – can view video’s / photos so get to know one's personality

✓ Hinge is the dating app for people who want to get off dating apps

Cons

✓ Generally for 30’s and below, not as many singles on here for over 35’s



4. OkCupid


Release date: 2004

Monthly users: ~5 million

Area / languages: unclear on area / English & Turkish


OkCupid has the potential to be an amazing app with the detailed questionnaire that allows you to review ones habits / preferences for example, how often they brush their teeth. Profiles are much more in-depth than most dating sites, and if you answer a seemingly endless series of questions, they will spit out a reasonable Match/Enemy percentage ratio on profiles to help you gauge compatibility.

Changes in the last year have made OkCupid a bit more like Tinder, focusing more on swiping and eliminating the ability to message a user without matching with them first. You can still send a message, it just won't show up in the recipient's inbox unless you match. Because who doesn't love sending a thoughtful message to someone who might never see it? However, OkCupid has pointed out that these changes did help lower the number of offensive messages users received, which might not be the worst thing.


Pros

✓ Long term relationships

✓ Great questionnaire tool

✓ Can message any account

Cons

✓ Out of date inactive profiles

✓ Shows people outside location



5. Badoo


Release date: Nov 2006

Monthly users: ~60 million

Area / languages: Global / 27 languages


Badoo is the most popular dating app globally with over 60 million monthly uses with the app being available in over 25 languages. Users can see and contact people who live in their area, as well as those they 'Bumped Into' with this feature. Users can also see who is on the app in a different city and this app seems to attract locals of the country you are located in


Pros

✓ Most popular app globally

✓ Bumped into feature

✓ Genuine profiles

✓ User friendly

Cons

✓ Membership is a must to get good feature



6. Happn


Release date: 2014

Monthly users: ~6.5 million

Area / languages: 21 languages


Happn matches you with people who are nearby physically. It's a cool concept and helpful for people who want to meet someone in a more organic manner. That said, I've never met a single person who actually uses the app.


Within the first three hours of signing up, Happn welcomed me with over 100 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, 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. 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.


Pros

✓Based on the principle of reciprocity: you will never receive a message from someone you’re not interested in.

✓ Good choice if you want dating to be a spontaneous

Cons

✓ Can feel a little intrusive



7. Match


Release date: April 1995

Monthly users: ~10 million

Area / languages: Global / 12 languages


Match has a free version, but the general consensus is that you need a paid subscription to have any luck on it. That's a hangover from the early days of online dating, when paying for membership to a site meant you were serious about settling down. Match Searches for profiles according to your criteria so you waste less time than on casual chat apps. I generally find people from the older generations using this app which is not surprising given it’s launch date however, people are generally looking for something serious.


Pros

✓ Long term relationships

✓ Good spread of age range

✓ Good algorithms

Cons

✓ Out of date

✓ Pay to enjoy benefits