Are you looking for that special someone and are starting to worry you’ll never meet them? Don’t worry! The internet is here to help.
Once stigmatized as being the last resource for those who “couldn't find a date,” online dating has officially gone mainstream and is often the preferred way of meeting people. In fact, online dating has become the primary way in which US couples meet, with around 39 percent reporting they used some sort of internet dating service to start their relationship.
Because it’s become so popular and socially acceptable, there are now more dating apps than ever, all of which take a different approach to matchmaking or focus on a specific group of people. If you’re new to online dating or have been at it for a while, you may be wondering which one is most likely to help you find a match.
Personal preference will end up playing a big role in the decision. But to help you sift through the countless options, we put together a list of the best dating apps to use in 2023.
The apps on this list are not necessarily ranked in order. Each one is different, and so it’s impossible to say “this one is the best.”
However, all of these apps offer something of value and should be considered if you are looking to find someone special.
A relative newcomer to the online dating world, Hinge has become a bit of a sensation in the past few years. It is primarily a free app, which appeals to people who believe they shouldn’t have to “pay for dates,” but it goes a lot deeper than some of its competitors, such as Tinder.
On Hinge, you’re asked to provide several photos and also answer a couple of prompts from a long list of options. You will also have the option of publicizing certain things about yourself, such as your height, political or religious views, occupation, interest in having kids/getting married, and even if you smoke, drink, or do drugs, all useful information when searching for a partner.
From there, the app will present you with potential matches. If you’re interested, you can respond to one of the prompts or photos by “liking” it or sending a message. Should the other person also be interested, they can agree to match, a chat window opens, and the rest is up to fate.
Video and phone call options are integrated right into the app, for those who are still a little pandemic shy.
All in all, people like the app because it comes across as less superficial than other apps but also doesn’t require a subscription or an hours-long compatibility test. You can pay to unlock certain features, but most people get on just fine without these.
Speaking of dating apps that seem superficial…
Tinder is the infamous “swipe right, swipe left” dating app. What this means is that after you join you will be presented with profiles made by other people that include a few photos and a short bio. If you’re interested in that person, you swipe right, otherwise, you swipe left. If they also swipe right, it’s deemed a “match” and then a chat window opens where you can start a conversation.
Most people who are on Tinder claim to hate it. The profiles are super short and don’t provide lots of opportunities for people to share who they are. Plus, the whole swiping thing means you have to make quick decisions, usually based on appearances, about whether or not you want to date someone, which can be difficult for some.
Also, Tinder has a bit of a reputation for being “hookup central,” as in, it’s the place where people go when they want something quick with few strings attached. This isn’t always the case, but it often is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But just keep it in mind if you decide to download and start using the app. All of this has led some to wonder if swiping apps such as Tinder do more harm than good.
However, having said all that, it is by far the most popular dating app out there. So, if you want something that is going to expose you to the most people, then it might be worth a try. Plus, Tinder also shows you how far away you are from potential matches, which makes it a great option for those who want to try and meet someone nearby. Or not.
The next most popular dating app being used by singles in the United States is Bumble. On the surface, it’s quite similar to Tinder except it does a few things differently. The biggest thing that makes it unique is that it requires women to make the first move. And when they do, men have 24 hours to respond otherwise the match disappears.
Some claim that this time limit is arbitrary and doesn’t help anyone. What if you were on a camping trip and didn’t have service? Your lack of response had nothing to do with interest. On the other hand, some people like this because it encourages the conversation to move forward and prevents people from waiting around to see if someone they liked online is ever going to respond.
On the whole, women have to make the first move. Well, that’s really up to you. The reality is that there are a lot of weirdos out there, and that puts honest men actually looking to find a relationship at a bit of a disadvantage. How do you prove to someone online through a handful of messages that you’re normal and actually interested in someone? Oftentimes, you can’t. So when the woman makes the first move, the ice is broken and you can proceed.
Bumble also allows for more customizable profiles than Tinder, so you can know a little bit more about a person before you reach out to them.
If you’ve ever been through a particularly difficult breakup, chances are someone has used this phrase to try and calm you down. “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” they will say. And while at the time it might have seemed contrite and perhaps even a bit insulting, the reality is that it’s completely true. There are seven billion people on this planet, and everyone is looking for love.
Not all of them are using the Plenty of Fish app, but quite a few of them are. It’s the third most popular dating app in the United States.
Overall, POF is very similar to other dating apps out there. When you make an account (the base plan is free) you will answer some questions about yourself and then based on these answers the app’s algorithm will present you with some possible matches, which you can agree to and start a chat or ignore.
Probably the biggest thing that distinguishes Plenty of Fish from other dating apps is that the crowd tends to be a bit older, usually above 35. This isn’t necessarily the result of any specific marketing effort but rather the fact that the app first launched in 2003 and caught on with people who were getting into dating at that time. You will find younger people, but the majority of them are using some of the other apps mentioned on this list.
Most dating apps use some sort of algorithm to present you with singles who you could possibly date. And if you know anything about algorithms, you know that the more information you provide, the more accurately they can (or at least should) understand you and provide you with the information you seek.
This is something that makes OKCupid unique as compared to other dating sites and is also why it’s one of the more preferred options for those looking a bit more “seriously” for a relationship and not just something casual.
When you make an account on OKCupid, you fill out a somewhat lengthy survey that will ask you all sorts of different questions about your interests, desires, goals, dislikes, etc. Then, it will toss you into the pool of singles and based on your results present you with a “compatibility percentage.” The more compatible the app thinks you are, the higher the percentage will be.
However, no matter the number, you still have the chance to look through someone’s profile, and if you want to connect, you can. It’s just there to give you an idea of how good the match might be so that you can save some time and focus on people with whom you’re more likely to have a genuine connection.
Speaking of getting serious, if you want to weed out the riff-raff and focus only on people who are seriously looking for a long-term relationship, then eHarmony might be the right choice for you.
When you sign up for this app, you have to fill out an extremely detailed survey, one that will take you at least an hour to complete. The app says this not only helps it better determine compatibility but that it also gives users the chance to learn a lot more about someone before they reach out and connect.
Some of the questions you have to ask are quite personal. Reading the answers of others will allow you to get rather deep rather quickly, which gives you a lot more to talk about when the connection is made.
This might sound all well and good, but the reality is that to use eHarmony, expect to pay upwards of $500 per year. Yes, you read that correctly.
A lot of the apps we’ve included on this list have a paid version, but it’s usually no more than $10-$15 per month. eHarmony goes beyond that, hoping to position itself as a true matchmaker that is more likely to lead to a relationship. Some people claim this is just marketing and that you can get results with free apps.
It’s up to you. But the reality is that the price tag weeds out people who are “just-looking” and narrows the pool to only those who are truly serious about finding a partner.
Match.com was the first-ever dating site, launching back in the 1990s during a time when we couldn’t use the phone and the internet at the same time. (Anyone born after 1996 is saying…what!?) But while the app has been around for some time, it’s doing its best to remain relevant, and what it’s come up with is something rather similar to a lot of the other dating apps that are out there.
The basic version of the app is free, and it allows users to upload some pictures of themselves as well as write up a bio about themselves. You can also include voice and video snippets of yourself so that potential matches can get a better look at you before they reach out.
If and when you find someone you like, you can send them a “wink,” which they can reciprocate if they want to start a conversation.
All in all, Match is quite similar to other apps such as Hinge and Tinder, but it’s also the third most popular app available today, which means there are more possibilities for matches. Often you’ll find a lot of the same people across the different apps you use, but if you’re looking for some new faces and haven’t tried Match, it’s worth a shot.
If you’re someone who identifies with the Christian faith and is interested in meeting someone who shares your religious views, then Christian Mingle might be the right option for you. It operates pretty much in the same way as any other dating app, with the only exception being that it is specific for Christians.
Of course, you can find Christians on other dating apps, especially on those such as Hinge that allow people to include their religious beliefs right in their profile. But on these other apps, you’re going to encounter lots of people who aren’t from your religion. Using an app such as Christian Mingle is just going to save you some time.
In theory, there is nothing wrong with this. Those who consider religion to be an important part of their lives often take solace in knowing that the people they are considering dating are aligned with their faith.
However, the one thing to be aware of is that just because someone is Christian does not mean they are right for you to date. Make sure to factor in all of someone’s characteristics and qualities when considering dating them. But this is not an issue with the app itself. On its own, it’s a fine way to meet like-minded people.
It’s often, though not always, important for people from Jewish communities to date someone who is also Jewish. To help cater to this need, JDate was created. It’s an online dating service designed specifically for Jewish people.
The one downside to JDate is that it is a paid subscription. You can start with a free trial, but after a month, you will need to pay. But the maximum subscription you can purchase is six months, which is the app's way of telling you that you’re going to find someone.
Whether or not this is true is difficult to verify. But most people who use this app seem to like it and have reported having success with it. If you’re Jewish and interested in meeting someone Jewish, it’s worth giving it a try.
Although all modern dating apps have versions designed for those who aren’t heterosexual, the reality is that they are geared towards this demographic, and the majority of users identify in this way.
Her jumped on this reality and is an app that is entirely for women. Whether you’re lesbian, bisexual, or queer, you can use Her to meet other women without having to sift through all the noise often found on other apps.
In addition to dating, Her also has several community-building events, such as virtual meetings and mixers, all designed to help bring people together and encourage connection.
One of the first dating apps to hit the market, Grindr has since become focused on one of the go-to apps for gay and bisexual men to use to meet. Like other dating apps, you’ll be asked to upload some photos and answer some questions. But one thing the app does differently is that it asks you to choose a “Tribe,” which is a group of people with whom you most identify.
The app will then show you matches from inside your “Tribe,” though you can set it to show you other people, too. There’s nothing wrong with stepping outside your comfort zone.
Something else Grindr does is allow you to create groups, which you can use to meet new people and also expand your network.
Grindr is free but it comes with ads. If you want to get rid of ads and receive push notifications for messages, you’ll need to upgrade to Grindr Xtra, which costs about $10 per month.
Now that you have the list of the best dating apps in 2022, you’re ready to put yourself out there and have some fun. But before you do, know that it’s not always the app that will lead you to love but rather your approach to dating. Because of that, when you start to venture into this digital world of connection, here are some tips to help you out:
Although dating is about more than looks, most of these apps are visual in nature. Potential matches will see your photo first and then decide if they want to reach out. So, make sure the photos you choose to cast you in a good light.
And we don’t just mean the photos in which you look your best. Choose ones that highlight your personality and show who you really are. People will recognize this and will be more likely to respond.
Don’t have any photos you love on your phone right now? Don’t be afraid to go out and take some. Don’t force it and take super curated shots. But maybe let a friend know you need some new shots and let them snap a few candid ones of you that will help you stand out in potential matches.
As with anything in life, you get out of online dating what you put into it. If you throw together a bio in a few minutes, this will be clear to potential matches and might indicate you’re not very serious. Instead, when you download an app and go to make a profile, give yourself some time to answer the questions thoughtfully. Even just a little effort can go a long way.
Dating is all about intimacy. Let’s be honest. It’s not about projecting an image but rather showing off your true self to someone else and letting them into your “weird little world.”
Therefore, when you’re making your profile, don’t be afraid to show off a little bit of your true self. Post that photo of you dancing like a fool, or answer that prompt in a brutally honest way. You may turn some people off, but you don’t want those people anyway. Ultimately, you’ll attract someone who likes you for you, and that’s really what it’s all about.
Of course, you want to meet someone. That’s why you’re using these apps. But connection can’t be forced. It’s either there or it’s not, and that’s all there is to it.
Put some time and effort into your dating profiles, respond to messages thoughtfully, but don’t go crazy. If someone doesn’t respond or doesn’t like you back, don’t take it personally. It’s part of the game.
Online dating exposes you to a lot more people, but this naturally exposes you to a lot more rejection. Don’t stress about this part, try to have some fun, and let good things come your way.
With the number of people out there using online dating and the number of apps available to use, there are a lot of opportunities for connection. While you might not find true love on your first day, month, or even year using the app, you will find someone. This will give you the chance to meet new people, experience new things, and, perhaps, learn something about yourself along the way.