Sex, Dating & Relationships

What is the best dating app? This guide can help you figure it out

Tinder and Hinge aren't your only options.
By Leah Stodart  on 
Editors and writers independently select products unless marked Sponsored or Promoted. Sponsored content is a paid ad, while content marked Promoted is chosen by Ziff Davis leadership. We may earn an affiliate commission if you buy through our links. Promoted cards do not include input from individual authors.

Our Top 16 Picks

Match (opens in a new tab)

Best eharmony alternative

Everyone knows someone who's on Match — because it offers a fun-yet-serious alternative to sites that are too marriage-focused.

The Good

  • Free to get started
  • More than 20 years in the industry
  • Reasonably-sized user base
  • Clean and user-friendly layout
  • IRL group events
  • Vibe Check video dating helps avoid catfishing

The Bad

  • Ads throughout the user interface
  • Reports of bugs and glitches
  • Sude by the FTC in 2019 for conning members into making in-app purchases
  • Finding a match can be time-consuming
  • Endless emails from non-matches
  • Prices are constantly changing and hard to find
  • Free version is basically useless
  • Can get expensive

The Bottom Line

A just-plain-fun happy medium for those who are tired of the lack of seriousness on Tinder but aren't ready for eharmony.
Pros & Cons

eharmony (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for marriage

Marriage-minded folks flock to eharmony for its success rate and comprehensive compatibility score.

The Good

  • Low chance of vulgar messages
  • Compatibility score is shown for each potential match
  • High success rate speaks for itself
  • Offers video dating
  • Users make it obvious that they're ready to settle down
  • Monthly subscriptions are almost always on sale

The Bad

  • Limited free trial
  • long sign-up process
  • Historically not LGBTQ-friendly
  • No support for non-binary users
  • Too many messages from non-matches
  • Can be expensive

The Bottom Line

Settling down is the goal at eharmony, one of the most trusted dating sites with a great success rate.
Pros & Cons

AdultFriendFinder (opens in a new tab)

For those looking for sex

This sex-focused site with a massive global user base is absolutely NSFW and often includes problematic language.
Pros & Cons

Hinge (opens in a new tab)

Best app for casual dating

On Hinge, you have to actually engage with people's profiles instead of just absentmindedly swiping yes or no.

The Good

  • Free to get started
  • No longer requires a Facebook login
  • Limited scrolling rather than endless swiping
  • Features a massive, rapidly growing user base
  • Offers video chat and voice recordings
  • Tons of gender options

The Bad

  • Limited functionality for free users (e.g., only eight free "likes" per day)
  • No desktop version
  • May run into users who are on Tinder and Bumble

The Bottom Line

This is the go-to app for people to find a date that is way more thoughtful (and way less vulgar) than Tinder.
Pros & Cons

OkCupid (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for liberals

Informed people dig OKC's focus on the connection between political views and meshing romantically.

The Good

  • Free to get started
  • Offers Facebook and email sign-up options
  • Inclusive identification options, including gender-fluid, non-binary, and two-spirit
  • Offers multiple "desired relationship type" options, including short-term dating, non-monogamist relationships, hookups, and even friendships
  • In-depth questionnaire to help calculate your best matches
  • Available for iOS and Android users and on desktop
  • Cool redesign alleviates pressure with dry-humored slogans

The Bad

  • Free version includes ads
  • Doesn't offer video chat
  • Reports of data breaches in the past
  • Have to pay to see all your likes at once

The Bottom Line

OkCupid hits different with woke, *not* corny questions that make profile building fun and matchmaking more logical.
Pros & Cons

Tinder (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for quick dates and hookups

The swiping app we've all used at least once where you should be able to find a date within the hour.

The Good

  • Free to get started
  • Offers mobile sign-up (as a Facebook alternative)
  • Easy to use
  • Extra fun during traveling
  • Multiple premium options (e.g., Tinder Gold, Tinder Plus, Boosts, and "Super Likes")
  • Massive user base regardless of where you are
  • People looking for hookups will probably say so in their bio

The Bad

  • Limited functionality for free users (e.g., limited free "likes" per day)
  • Free version pushes ads
  • Next to no filters
  • No actual matchmaking algorithm
  • Amount of swiping is begging for carpal tunnel syndrome
  • People have no chill with bad pickup lines

The Bottom Line

The OG swiping app where you'll find everyone you know, a ton of people you don't know, and a date in under 10 minutes.
Pros & Cons

Bumble (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for young adults

With chats that expire in 24 hours if left untouched, Bumble encourages you to match with people you actually want to talk to.

The Good

  • Free to get started
  • No unsolicited messages from creepy dudes
  • Eliminates "dead" matches
  • Bumble Boost lets you rematch with an expired match
  • Decent selection of gender identities
  • Bumble BFF helps to meet (platonic) friends

The Bad

  • May not be for men who prefer to make the first move
  • Many of the users may also be on Tinder
  • Matches are lost within 24 hours of no communication
  • Premium options get quite pricey

The Bottom Line

With women making the first move and matches expiring after 24 hours, Bumble gets things moving by making you consider matches more seriously.
Pros & Cons

HER (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for queer women

Avoid creeps and fetishization on this queer app that aims to be a safe space and a matchmaker.

The Good

  • Free to get started
  • Inclusive 2SLGBTQ+ community (designed for lesbian, bisexual, non-binary, pansexual, and queer people)
  • Features communities and virtual events
  • Niche tags like "newly out," "in a relationship," and "travelers"
  • Minimalistic aesthetics are very on-brand for a young crowd

The Bad

  • Full of users complaining about being single
  • Too many unverified profiles and catfishes
  • Limited functionality for free users (e.g., can only filter by age and location when searching)
  • Free version includes ads
  • Not available on desktop

The Bottom Line

HER is a rapidly-growing space for queer folks to make real connections while avoiding unicorn hunters.
Pros & Cons

Grindr (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for gay men

Putting "bi" in your profile might get you some hate here, but it's *the* place to meet experienced men.

The Good

  • Free to get started
  • Easy, fast, and straightforward
  • Grindr for Equality campaign advocates for the sexual health and safety of LGBTQ+ people in unsafe countries

The Bad

  • App may be glitchy from time to time
  • No desktop version
  • Occasional biphobia and hate towards queer women
  • Level of NSFW is jarring
  • Data breaches in the past

The Bottom Line

A great option for gay men that ditches the small talk and has tons of potential matches online 24/7.
Pros & Cons

Pure (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for hooking up

The least obnoxious (and most hipster) hookup app guarantees anonymous booty calls, but needs more people.

The Good

  • Free to download
  • Anonymity guaranteed
  • No fancy algorithm, no mushy messages, no waiting
  • Artsy design and modern layout
  • Everything is deleted after 24 hours
  • Stellar reviews in the App Store

The Bad

  • No bio or profile options; just one feature photo
  • Possible catfish risk
  • Have to re-upload photos and re-type bios constantly
  • Price point is a bit high for access to such a small user base
  • Definitely won't be useful in less-populated areas

The Bottom Line

The success of this hipster Snapchat-for-sex depends on the day.
Pros & Cons

Coffee Meets Bagel (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for meeting up fast

Skip the constant inbox notifications with CMB's smaller user base and matches that the woman has already OK'd.

The Good

  • Women don't get messages from men they haven't approved
  • Different crowd than Tinder or Hinge
  • Limited, curated matches instead of endless swiping
  • Can get a lot of real dates out of it
  • Tends to attract the late 20s, early 30s crowd

The Bad

  • Only five matches per day
  • Uneven gender split
  • Small user base and recycling of profiles
  • Kind of expensive for the bland features it offers
  • Not great in small towns

The Bottom Line

With only a handful of curated matches a day, you're forced to really consider who you want to meet IRL.
Pros & Cons

NUiT (opens in a new tab)

Best astrology dating app

A magical app that takes care of asking for someone's birth time, plus a truly special feature for queer people.

The Good

  • Queer users can opt out of seeing or being seen by straight people
  • Great tool to make friends, too
  • Can see the birth chart of every potential match
  • Less rigid than Bumble's sun sign filtering
  • Many pronoun and sexuality options
  • Compatibility test before matching

The Bad

  • Crashes too often
  • Some users report login and password issues

The Bottom Line

The dating world simply needed an astrology app that looks past sun signs. Queer-friendly NUiT is it.
Pros & Cons

heybaby (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for single parents

Serious, but fun dating for people who have or want kids without weighty questions killing the vibe.

The Good

  • Completely free to download and use
  • Specifically for family-minded singles
  • Nearly half of the users are single parents
  • Nixes the awkward "kids" conversation with someone new
  • Hip graphics and a clean app layout
  • Great App Store reviews
  • Thorough verification process

The Bad

  • Currently not available for Android
  • May see repeat profiles frequently

The Bottom Line

A stylish, yet slightly vacant place for single or future parents to ditch the immature daters.
Pros & Cons

happn (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for romantics

Happn is the dating app version of a missed connections page.

The Good

  • Potential matches only stay on your map for 30 days since they crossed paths with you, so you won't feel rushed or overwhelmed
  • Doesn't require a Facebook sign-up
  • Maps show you where you might have seen someone
  • Extra features are available for purchase
  • Can feel more spontaneous than other apps out there

The Bad

  • More interesting features are locked behind a paywall
  • More risk of running into dates that didn't go great
  • Might see repeats in sparsely populated areas
  • Not available on desktop

The Bottom Line

Make your meet cute happen with this app that'll show you the local cuties you've actually crossed paths with.
Pros & Cons

Feeld (opens in a new tab)

Best dating app for threesomes

Skip the wine and dine and get right to the 69 on this inclusive hookup app for singles *and* couples.

The Good

  • Sex-positive and open-minded community
  • 20+ sexual and gender identities
  • For singles and couples
  • Users understand fluidity and respect boundaries
  • Lower chance of intentions getting blurred
  • Impressively high App Store rating
  • Incognito browsing

The Bad

  • Risk of getting catfished
  • Not available on desktop
  • Smaller userbase when compared to other dating apps
  • App has some user experience issues

The Bottom Line

Singles and couples make up Feeld's ethically non-monogamous community, where 45 percent of users identify as non-hetero.
Pros & Cons

Zoosk (opens in a new tab)

Best as a last resort

Half your matches might be bots, but hey, it's not owned by the Match Group, so there's that.

The Good

  • Short and sweet sign-up
  • Available in 25+ languages
  • Large user base
  • Behavioral matchmaking
  • Advanced search filters
  • Free trial period for new users
  • Video dating capability

The Bad

  • Tons of dead profiles
  • No support for non-binary users
  • Need two profiles to look at men and women
  • RIP your email inbox, thanks to the insane amount of notifications

The Bottom Line

Striking up a convo is easy in this low-pressure atmosphere, but it feels deserted and outdated.
Pros & Cons

Here's a hot take that's actually ice cold: dating apps are not a lesser way to meet people.

We get that, on some level, there's a certain appeal to the coffee shop meet-cute or fun situation-ship that gradually and naturally turns into something more. But frankly, we're tired of everyone ignoring the fact that dating apps give you the chance to meet a whole group of people you might not have otherwise. And once you find someone you click with, how your relationship develops in person is pretty much indistinguishable from non-app origin stories.

Are dating apps worth it?

Sentiments aside, we have some hard data to back our reasoning. Statista(opens in a new tab) predicted that the online dating audience will grow to 53.3 million(opens in a new tab) by 2025, compared to 44.2 million users in 2020. A study from Stanford released in 2019(opens in a new tab) asserted that online dating is officially the most common way for U.S. couples to meet, rounding out at nearly 40 percent of couples having first met online.

This pre-pandemic prediction came before the COVID-era dating app sign-ups surge. Though people are eager to get back to doing as many things IRL as possible now, dating apps are still a great place to find someone, whether you want a relationship or are just looking to get nasty.

And yes, though there are algorithms that dictate what profiles pop up on your screen, we firmly believe that the stars aligning still comes into play. After all, the person who signs up on the app and is looking for love at exactly the same time you are is up to fate and the universe, proving that online dating romance is very much alive and well.

Because it's not 2007 anymore, the need for mobile-friendly online dating isn't just a millennial thing — people over 40 don't have time to sit around at their home desktops, either. Dating sites that are older than most members of Gen Z (like Match and eharmony) have been forced to give serious attention to their smartphone counterparts if they don't want to be outgrown.

However, that statistical promise still requires patience and a game plan, the game plan is choosing the dating app with features that best fit your lifestyle — and the lifestyle of the type of person you're looking for. Are you looking for an app strictly for sex or an app more serious than Tinder but less serious than eharmony(opens in a new tab)? Or maybe, you'd love to find an app where queer women aren't relentlessly sexualized by creeps and pestered by unicorn hunters.

Feeling weird about dating post-Covid restrictions? Yeah, you're not alone.

Despite restaurant capacities returning to normal, swiping just for the hell of it isn't feeling so normal. COVID is still a real issue, and there's a collective Fear of Dating Again.

Despite the risks on places like college campuses, there are still lots of people that desire a connection beyond frat parties. Whether you're looking for love on campus or just looking for the next hookup, make sure to approach it safely(opens in a new tab).

Seeing humans in real life isn't something to take for granted.

But this invisible hump may play to the advantage of people looking for a connection past a booty call. After watching budding relationships stay stagnant in the "It's a match!" phase, time feels more valuable. The pent-up energy it takes to go on a date feels like it'd be better spent on someone you actually see potential with. Even the horniest of them all may be more closely considering the authenticity and personality of prospects — because, as we all learned, seeing humans in real life isn't something to take for granted.

FWIW, communication skills may have improved or at least been more important to people during the pandemic. Hashing out COVID-related issues with strangers required getting comfortable with personal boundaries and learning to discuss anxieties with someone new. Tinder thinks honesty will carry over as the new dating norm, which means you can feel comfortable knowing more people are comfortable saying exactly what they want, even if they quite don't know what that is. You can even tell if someone is vaccinated based on their profile on most dating apps, so that saves you from any awkward anti-vax conversations.

What's the best dating app?

When it comes to your dating app options, it's true that the apps you're likely to find the most success on are the ones with actual active users (this is a Zoosk subtweet).

Though we get that everyone has problems with the established choices, new apps don't always equal better apps. Every year, a slew of trendy apps try to set themselves apart from Tinder and Bumble: In 2017, apps like Hater (which matched people based on things they disliked, like slow walkers or Donald Trump) and The League (a snooty, members-only matchmaker with a ridiculous waitlist) were expected to be game-changers. Hater has since disappeared from the App Store,(opens in a new tab) while The League's reviews(opens in a new tab) have gotten increasingly questionable.

It's hard to pinpoint why such promising ideas didn't make the cut — but whether they were too exclusive, too niche, or begging for catfish, it's clear that there's a very special ingredient that makes apps like Hinge pop off. Honestly, most times, your best options will lie in established apps that intentionally try to upgrade their features and content.

How to choose a dating app

One app's secret ingredient might not be the one you necessarily want to include in your dating recipe. If you already live in a large metropolitan area, Tinder's pull of its large user base(opens in a new tab) is slightly weaker since more niche apps will likely have a decent number of profiles near you.

Some people are dedicated to keeping their search for love free of cost, so sites like Match or eharmony, where most features live behind a paywall, will likely not be your first pick. For others, behind that paywall is where they find the reassurance that users are likely not dropping cash to mess around or not go on actual dates.

Of course, knowing exactly what you want isn't always easy to say, especially when pulling from the abstract. There's nothing wrong with flying free from the Tinder nest and trying out a few apps or sites you wouldn't usually. Overall, we say embrace the messy ride that is dating.

To get you started, this handy guide breaks down the most popular dating apps, why people like them, and some (actually good) up-and-coming apps that offer a more tailored experience.

Best eharmony alternative
Credit: Match
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of Standard : $47.24
  • Three months of Standard: $34.45 per month
  • Six months of Standard: $24.48 per month
  • 12 months of Standard: $21.84 per month
  • Three months of Premium: $40.41 per month
  • Six months of Premium: $26.51 per month
  • 12 months of Premium: $23.11 per month

Who it's for

Match is ideal for anyone looking for something more serious than a one-night stand but not so serious that it feels like marriage is on the horizon. With a large and diverse user base, Mach caters to people of all ages and backgrounds interested in creating meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.

Whether you're in your 20s or 60s, Match has something to offer.

Why we picked this

As one of the first dating sites launched in 1995, Match has decades of experience and data to back up its algorithms — so no, it's not just another one of those sites that you'll forget about after a month.

These algorithms (thankfully) don't involve filling out a miserable questionnaire. This saves you time and lets you take a more casual approach than, say, eharmony. You can specify what you want (or don't want) in a partner and how important those factors are to you. It's a simple way to make sure you and your potential match are on the same page.

Check out our full review of Match.

Best dating app for marriage
Credit: eharmony
  • Free version : Yes
  • Six months of Premium Light: $65.90 per month
  • 12 months of Premium Plus: $45.90 per month
  • 24 months of Premium Extra: $35.90 per month

Who it's for

eharmony is best suited for people looking for a long-term, committed relationship. So, if you're tired of swiping through profiles and want to focus on finding a compatible partner based on personality traits, shared interests, and values, eharmony may be your best bet.

With its in-depth personality test and guided communication process, eharmony takes a more serious and thoughtful approach to matchmaking. 

Why we picked this

With a success rate that speaks for itself (a spokesperson says it accounts for 4 percent of marriages in the U.S.), eharmony is a top choice for those who want to find a partner that truly complements them.

While the compatibility quiz can be a bit introspective, this level of depth allows eharmony to match you with someone who shares your values and personality traits. The site has also undergone a recent redesign, with a new heart logo representing its 32 dimensions of compatibility and a more realistic approach to relationship questions.

However, eharmony's focus on "traditional values" can come with serious downsides, such as a lack of meaningful infrastructure for non-binary users. That being said, for those looking for a serious relationship, eharmony's reputation and commitment to compatibility make it a great choice.

Check out our full review of eharmony.

For those looking for sex
Credit: AdultFriendFinder
  • Basic version: Free
  • One month of Gold: $27.95
  • Three months of Gold: $59.85 ($19.95 per month)
  • 12 months of Gold: $179.40 ($14.95 per month)
Best app for casual dating
Credit: Hinge
  • Free version: Yes
  • One month of Hinge+: $29.99
  • Three months of Hinge+: $59.99
  • Six months of Hinge+: $89.99
  • One month of HingeX: $49.99
  • Three months of HingeX: $99.99
  • Six months of HingeX: $149.99

Who it's for

Hinge is a dating app for anyone who wants to avoid the pressure of traditional dating apps while bypassing the swiping and endless casual conversations (typically found on Tinder) to find an honest, meaningful connection.

So if you're looking for a dating app that prioritizes substance over surface-level attraction, Hinge might be the right choice.

Why we picked this

Hinge may have a reputation for being hookup-focused, but it's actually designed to help you find something more serious.

Hinge presents you with a curated selection of profiles that are tailored to your preferences and interests. You'll get to know your matches better through detailed profiles that feature unique prompts about personality traits, beliefs, and hobbies. The app offers multiple fun and stress-free ways to showcase your personality, including voice prompts, photos, and icebreakers.

With Hinge's "We Met" feature, you can give feedback on your dates, which helps the app provide you with more compatible matches. Plus, the free version lets you send eight likes per day with no limit on how many likes you can receive.

Best dating app for liberals
Credit: OkCupid
  • Free version: Yes
  • One month of OkCupid Basic: $34.99 per month
  • Three months of OkCupid Basic: $23.33 per month
  • Six months of OkCupid Basic: $17.49 per month
  • One month of OkCupid Premium: $44.99 per month
  • Three months of OkCupid Premium: $29.99 per month
  • Six months of OkCupid Premium: $22.49 per month

Who it's for

OkCupid is a dating app for people who want to be their most authentic selves and connect with others who share their values. With 22 gender identities and 12 sexual orientations, OkCupid welcomes people of all gender identities and orientations.

Plus, with the option to list your pronouns, you'll be more likely to be addressed correctly.

Why we picked this

OkCupid is a great choice for people who value inclusivity, want to express themselves authentically, and want a meaningful connection. The site's commitment to offering 22 gender identities and 13 sexual orientations and allowing users to choose their pronouns makes it a welcoming space for all.

If you're a non-monogamous user, you'll only get shown — gasp — other people interested in non-monogamy. These are only a few features that provide OkCupid understanding of the modern dating landscape much better than its other longtime competitors.

In addition to its inclusivity, OkCupid's 2017 redesign introduced features that reflect the modern dating landscape. For example, users can answer deal-breaker questions about hot-button topics like politics and vaccines to weed out incompatible matches. The algorithm that matches users is based on how similarly they answered questions during sign-up, giving users a compatibility score and details on where they disagreed.

OkCupid has something for everyone, whether you're looking for a serious relationship or want to have fun while expressing your true self. While some advanced features are only available to paying users, the site's inclusive approach and compatibility-based matching make it a standout in the online dating world.

Check out our full review of OkCupid.

Best dating app for quick dates and hookups
Credit: Tinder
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of Tinder+: $13.49
  • Six months of Tinder+: $40.50 ($6.75 per month)
  • 12 months of Tinder+: $54 ($4.50 per month)
  • One month of Tinder Gold: $22.49
  • Six months of Tinder Gold: $67.50 ($11.25 per month)
  • 12 months of Tinder Gold: $90 ($7.50 per month)
  • One month of Tinder Platinum: $26.99
  • Six months of Tinder Platinum: $81 ($13.50 per month)
  • 12 months of Tinder Platinum: $108 ($9 per month)

Who it's for

Tinder is the go-to app for adventurous singles who are looking for a fun and casual way to meet new people. Tinder's simple and addictive interface makes it easy to swipe left or right on a seemingly endless stream of profiles.

With its massive user base, you'll find a wide range of people on Tinder, from college students and recent grads to busy professionals and travelers looking for a local connection. Whether you're seeking a quick fling or a more serious relationship, Tinder's mix of features and flexibility make it a popular choice for singles of all backgrounds and orientations.

Why we picked this

Tinder is the ultimate dating app for those looking for a casual hookup or a fun fling. With its pioneering swiping feature, Tinder has transformed the way people date and has become a household name in the online dating world, boasting 1.6 billion swipes per day.

The app's straightforward formula is well-known: swipe right if you like what you see, and swipe left if you don't. When both parties swipe right, it's a match. It's simple and effective and has been widely copied in the dating app world.

Although Tinder doesn't market itself as a hookup app, it's hard to ignore its reputation. The low barrier to entry makes it easy to create a profile, and with only photos and a short bio to go on, it's no surprise that most users are looking for a casual encounter. But don't be fooled – many couples have found love on Tinder too.

Tinder is free to use but offers paid upgrades like Tinder Plus, Tinder Gold, and Tinder Platinum. These include features like the ability to undo a left swipe, send "Super Likes" to profiles you're really interested in, see who's liked your profile, and even message people before matching with them.

Read our full review of Tinder Platinum.

Best dating app for young adults
Credit: Bumble
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of Premium : $34.99
  • Three months of Premium : $69.99
  • Lifetime of Premium : $199.99

Who it's for

Bumble is a dating app that puts women (and now, non-binary) users in the driver's seat. The app's unique selling point from the beginning was that women have to make the first move, so if you're a woman who's tired of receiving unsolicited messages from men on other dating apps, Bumble could be the solution you're looking for.

In 2022, Bumble attempted to welcome non-binary people. After a bungled launch that left NB folks unable to message others, Bumble seems to have fixed the issue.

But Bumble isn't just for straight people looking for romantic relationships. The app also offers options for people looking for same-sex relationships, friendships, or business connections.

Why we picked this 

Unlike other dating apps, Bumble requires women and non-binary people to make the first move, giving them more power to choose who they want to talk to and when. This unique feature helps to filter out unwanted messages and creepy encounters that they often face on other dating apps.

Bumble also has a 24-hour expiration rule for matches, which keeps your match list fresh and up-to-date. This means you won't be wasting your time talking to someone who's not really interested, and you won't be scrolling through profiles of people you matched with months ago.

While Bumble shares a similar user base with Tinder, it attracts people who are looking for something more meaningful than just casual hookups. This makes it a great option for those who want to explore dating with a little more intention, without necessarily jumping into a serious relationship right away.

Best dating app for queer women
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of HER Premium: $14.99
  • Six months of HER Premium : $59.99
  • 12 months of HER Premium : $89.99

Who it's for

HER is a dating app designed specifically for LGBTQ+ women, queer people, and non-binary individuals seeking a safe and inclusive online dating experience. Unlike other dating apps, HER is not just an afterthought or an add-on for queer women. It's a space that centers their experiences and allows them to connect with other like-minded people in a fun and meaningful way.

The app also offers a range of features beyond just swiping, such as sharing stories and participating in community events. Whether you're looking for a casual fling, a long-term relationship, or just some new friends, HER is a great place to explore your options and connect with people who share your interests and values.

Why we picked this

If you're a queer woman looking for love, chances are you've had your fair share of frustrating experiences on heteronormative dating sites. Between straight people looking for threesomes and creepy men pretending to be women, finding a safe and inclusive space to meet potential partners can be tough. That's where HER comes in. Designed by and for queer women, this award-winning app offers a refreshing alternative to mainstream dating sites.

With a rapidly growing user base of over 4 million, HER is quickly becoming the go-to app for queer women who want to expand their dating pool beyond their existing social circles. And with cool profile features that let you get creative with your gender, sexuality, pronouns, and even your diet preferences, HER makes it easy to express your authentic self and connect with like-minded individuals.

Whether you're looking for a serious relationship or casual fun, HER has something to offer. So if you're tired of swiping left on heteronormative dating apps, give HER a try and join the growing community of queer women who are finding love and connection on their own terms.

Best dating app for gay men
Credit: Grindr
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of Grindr XTRA: $19.99
  • Three months of Grindr XTRA: $39.99
  • 12 months of Grindr XTRA: $99.99
  • One month of Grindr Unlimited : $39.99
  • Three months of Grindr Unlimited : $79.99
  • 12 months of Grindr Unlimited : $239.99

Who it's for

Grindr is the go-to dating app for gay and bisexual men who are looking for other men. If you've had enough of dating apps that don't cater to your preferences or are tired of having to explain your sexuality, Grindr is the perfect place to be yourself.

It's also a great option for those who want to experiment with their sexuality, as Grindr allows users to filter their search by sexual preferences, including bisexual men.

Why we picked this

Grindr(opens in a new tab) has been the go-to for gay and bi men since 2009, and that's because finding someone to talk to is damn near-instantaneous. Instead of swiping right or left to match, the app uses geolocation to connect users to others who are nearby.

While the abundance of users can be overwhelming, it also means that there's a large pool of men waiting for a conversation. Most users just looking to hook up will tell you that they're not trying to make small talk, and that warning may come in the form of a dick pic.

That's not to say it's not for relationships — a lot of men meet their forever person on Grindr — but on the surface, it's a tool for quick, casual encounters. If you're seeking something more serious, you can adjust your filter to look for "dates." Keep in mind, though, that this will significantly decrease the number of potential matches. Grindr is especially useful for men in small towns with a limited queer population as they are more likely to find a connection here than on other dating apps like Tinder or OkCupid.

Best dating app for hooking up
  • Free version : Yes
  • Weekly Pure membership: $14.99
  • Monthly Pure membership: $29.99

Who it's for

The Pure dating app is designed for people who are looking for casual hookups with no strings attached. It's for those who want to cut straight to the chase without dealing with the hassle of traditional dating apps and those who value their privacy and anonymity.

Whether you're single or in an open relationship, the Pure app is a great option for those looking for a fun and casual fling with like-minded individuals.

Why we picked this

Think Pure as in a purely physical experience. This is the place to find a local booty call who won't try to text you earlier than midnight. App rules urge you to "pretend like you're strangers afterward," making no-strings-attached the only name of the game here. This super millennial app is a sex-positive, 18+ safe space that features some pretty cool art — the blueprint of the truly modern hookup app. Just be sure to communicate your boundaries in your bio.

Your selfies, bio, conversations, matches, and likes self-destruct every 24 hours, promoting spur-of-the-moment, borderline anonymous hookups. No nudity is allowed in your albums, and any photos sent in messages can't be saved. (As the dry-humored comics on their website state, "Don't talk about your problems. Problems are for therapists. Pure is for fun.") The app will ask for your phone number, but that's to make sure you're a real person. The app uses your geolocation and sends out the sex version of an Uber request(opens in a new tab), though the sparse user base might have your searches suggesting the same few people. Still, the free-to-use filters make narrowing down who you're looking for easy, with the online one especially useful if you're in the mood for instant gratification.

PURE(opens in a new tab) gives all the feels of a sex-based site without the obnoxious naked parts and porn ads everywhere. (Cough *AdultFriendFinder(opens in a new tab)* cough) Running into bots and people trying to make money is likely, but the spammy stuff isn't nearly as rampant as traditional hookup sites. 

Best dating app for meeting up fast
Credit: Coffee Meets Bagel
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of Mini : $15
  • Three months of Mini : $30
  • Six months of Mini : $50
  • One month of Premium : $35
  • Three months of Premium : $75
  • Six months of Premium : $120

Who it's for

Coffee Meets Bagel is ideal for people who are tired of endless swiping on other dating apps and prefer a more curated selection of potential matches. It's also great for those who are looking for a serious relationship, as the app's algorithm focuses on quality over quantity and encourages users to take the time to get to know each other before meeting in person.

The app's "Ladies Choice" feature empowers women to make the first move and only receive messages from men they've liked. It creates a more comfortable and safe environment for women while ensuring that men receive more meaningful interactions.

Why we picked this

Grabbing coffee is the low-pressure date idea that lets you skip trying to choose a dressy-but-not-too-extra outfit for a concert or a restaurant. Coffee Meets Bagel is like the "grabbing coffee" version of dating apps, aiming to bring an easygoing atmosphere to folks who might just be a little rusty. The now-successful Shark Tank bust is one of those rare dating apps that actually gets decent feedback on Reddit. Every profile shown to men has already been okay-ed by the women, so the chance of getting unsolicited messages from creepy guys (or the worry of being seen as creepy) is drained a bit.

Each day, you'll receive anywhere from five to 21 matches depending on your gender, preferences, location, and whether or not you're a premium member. The algorithm curates these bagels based on your preferences and the bagels you weren't hungry for in the days prior. If you're in the mood to search more once you've gone through suggested matches, you can always check out more users nearby under the "Discover" tag. 

CMB is an app that prioritizes quality over quantity, which is especially apparent in one of its more intriguing premium features — the activity report. Paid users can see other people's stats at the bottom of their profile, from how active they are to how long it usually takes them to respond. Maybe that feels the slightest bit intrusive, but for an app that promotes being selective and intentional with your matches, you can't say this feature doesn't make sense. 

Best astrology dating app
  • Free version : Yes

Who it's for

NUiT is a dating app for people who believe in the power of the stars and want to use this ancient practice to find love. NUiT considers its users' birth date, time, and location to generate a detailed astrological profile, which is then used to match users with compatible partners.

If you're looking for a relationship that's rooted in shared values and cosmic connections, then NUiT might just be the dating app for you.

Why we picked this

Remember when Bumble announced filtering by zodiac sign? NUiT is the better version of that. The creators at NUiT know that, for many, birth charts can be a wildly helpful tool in maneuvering the dating world by predicting how well you'd mesh with someone in aspects like the importance of sex or argument style. NUiT also accounts for the nuances in placements outside of sun signs. It encourages daters to use astrological insights to understand why a match might act the way they do but does so while avoiding those "What fried food you are based on your zodiac sign" tactics in clickbait quizzes.

This more nuanced understanding of astrology shines through in the app's interface. Rather than swiping left or right, you can swipe through a carousel of profiles without rejecting or matching with any of them. When someone does strike your interest, you can swipe down to calculate your compatibility and see what the stars say about how you match romance, business, magnetism, and friendship. From there, you can decide to send them a like or a message.

NUiT creators also recognized another thing that turns queer users off to heteronormative dating apps: They don't want to see or be seen by straight people. Sure, Tinder and OkCupid have their share of well-meaning allies — but the lack of shared experience as a queer person can make or break a relationship's dynamic. People are pretty psyched about this unique, inclusive feature.

Best dating app for single parents
Credit: heybaby
  • Free version: Yes

Who it's for

Heybaby is a dating app designed specifically for people who want to start a family or find a partner who shares their desire to have children in the future. Heybaby is also a great option for single parents who want to find someone who understands the responsibilities and joys of parenthood.

Whether you're ready to have a child now or in the near future, Heybaby is the perfect app to connect you with like-minded singles who are looking for the same thing.

Why we picked this

Single parents shouldn't have to be worried about dropping the kid bomb on a potential date — because, with the right person, it's not a bomb at all. That's the idea behind heybaby, a dating app specifically for the huge chunk of online daters focused on raising a family.

With the children stuff given the green light by both parties ahead of time, heybaby makes it easy to move on to other fun aspects of getting to know someone. The minimalist swipe-through questionnaire dives into lots of introverts versus extrovert stuff, plus chill parenting questions like "Dirty clothes are everywhere. What do you do?" and answers like "I can't live like an animal" or "I'm neat, but I'm not a freak."While you only answer three questions at first, the more you swipe through users, the more chances you'll have to "improve your score" with them, which basically means you can answer the questions they have and you haven't. 

Heybaby also has a more intensive verification process than most other apps. Once you've uploaded photos, you send another picture to the app mimicking a pose they show you so they can confirm that your profile photos are, in fact, real. Then, you wait for an email that'll tell you whether or not you've been verified. 

Read more about heybaby.

Best dating app for romantics
Credit: Happn
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of Premium : $24.99
  • Six months of Premium : $89.99
  • 12 months of Premium : $119.99

Who it's for

Happn is for people who want to connect with others they've crossed paths with in real life but may be too shy or hesitant to make the first move. It's perfect for those who want to expand their dating pool beyond the usual online profiles that are often miles away.

Whether you're commuting to work, running errands, or exploring a new neighborhood, Happn helps you find and connect with potential matches who you may have missed in real life.

Why we picked this

If you've ever passed by someone on the street and wished you could connect with them, happn is the app that makes it possible. Unlike other dating apps that show you profiles of people within a certain radius, happn shows you the profiles of people you've actually crossed paths with in real life. 

It's like a modern-day missed connections page that allows you to shoot a like or a message to those you've recently encountered. This is especially great for those who are too shy to approach a stranger or find out they're already in a relationship. Although the app relies more on chance, it still has the usual dating app features, such as questions about smoking and drinking habits, interests, and what users are looking for in a relationship. This means that you'll be able to get a little more information about someone before deciding to connect with them.

Best dating app for threesomes
Credit: Feeld
  • Free version : Yes
  • One month of Majestic: $11.99
  • Three months of Majesitc: $23.99

Who it's for

Feeld is a dating app for people interested in exploring non-traditional relationships and sexual experiences. It's perfect for individuals and couples who are polyamorous, open-minded, or curious about alternative lifestyles.

Feeld welcomes people of all gender identities and sexual orientations and encourages users to be upfront and honest about their desires and boundaries.

Whether you're looking for a triad, a casual hookup, or to chat with like-minded individuals, Feeld provides a safe and inclusive space to connect and explore.

Why we picked this

Feeld, the brainchild of a couple that knows non-hetero non-monogamy through personal experience, is a dating app for couples and singles to find threesomes, foursomes, or however many people you want. (This isn't the first dating site to focus on non-monogamous sex, but it is the first to do it in a way that doesn't look like a pop-up ad.)

Sex positivity is the name of the game here, but not in a hyper-fetishizing way. You can get specific about boundaries, find people with the same kinks, and advertise what (who?) you're looking for in your bio without issue. People on Feeld are generally chill, respectful, and can talk about sex without frothing at the mouth. Because exploration is the entire point of the app, people are typically honest about intentions right out of the gate. Most people on the app are in their mid-twenties to thirties. Since it's more niche, people in bigger cities will probably have the best luck with Feeld.

LGBTQ folks appreciate Feeld because it appreciates them. The app offers more than 20 sexualities and gender identities, and there's a comforting understanding between users about what those identities mean. The New York Times(opens in a new tab) describes it as "a dating app with options that put the Kinsey scale to shame."

Best as a last resort
Credit: Zoosk
  • Free version : Yes, but limited
  • One month: $29.95
  • Three months: $59.95 ($19.98 per month)
  • Six months: $74.99 ($12.50 per month)
  • 12 months: $149.95 ($12.50 per month)

Who it's for

Zoosk is a dating app suitable for people looking for a diverse and active dating pool. It's also a good choice for those looking for a quick-to-set-up profile.  

Why we picked this

With such little focus on details past physique or distance, it's natural to question how the site builds any real foundations. Admittedly, something Zoosk did worked as the site keeps a meticulously-updated list of couples who met through the site(opens in a new tab) with news of new engagements and marriages — but the latest post is from June 2020.

Still, there's no denying that Zoosk is a zombie land of dead-end profiles and somewhat boring design (that looks straight out of 2009 on its mobile version). We guess some 35 million people use Zoosk because it's easy — there are no long questionnaires required to build your profile, and you have free reign over how to go about approaching matches. But being on the site also feels like witnessing an identity crisis — it's hard to tell if Zoosk wants to be taken as a place for hookups or a place to find something more serious.

When Zoosk switched from a social media app to a legit dating site, it was more or less in a league of its own. Incorporating "liking" photos and having a similar look to a Facebook feed was super attractive to young, single people... in the early 2000s. The problem is that Zoosk hasn't changed much since then. The lack of modern tweaks like OkCupid's politics-related icebreakers or Match's overhauled questionnaire makes its blandness even more obvious. Most features are behind a paywall, and bi-users can't view both men and women at the same time, forcing them to make two accounts (at that point, the site will allow you to link them, so you only pay one price, but like, come on, Zoosk. It's 2022). People are simply opting for Match Group's offerings with more premium designs, less messy email notifications, and algorithms that consider your personality type. 

Read our full review of Zoosk.

More in Dating, Sex

How we tested

We take our dating app testing seriously, so you don't have to! Our reviewers created multiple profiles on each app, from complete to almost blank, to see how the app handles different user scenarios. We also tested apps catering to the LGBTQ+ community and considered inclusivity as a factor in our evaluation.

We spent quality time swiping, liking, and messaging to get a sense of each app's user interface, matching algorithms, and overall user experience. In addition, we checked out user reviews and dug deep into any additional features offered by each app.

Every app included in our list has been extensively tested by Mashable staff writers or freelance writers with experience in researching and writing about relationships and dating.

Leah is a shopping reporter at Mashable, where she covers shopping trends, gift ideas, and products that make life easier. She graduated from Penn State University in 2012 and is watching horror movies or "The Office" when she’s not shopping online herself. You can follow her on Twitter at @notleah(opens in a new tab).

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