The first thing you need to decide is how committed you are. As in, how much do you want to pay to make your heart go pitter-patter? Some apps, like Plenty of Fish, let you view profiles and send messages for free. Most of the others let you view your potential matches without charging, but make you pony up and subscribe if you want to actually reach out to them. While the monthly charges for the apps we review here range in price from $10 to more than $40, most offer a discount if you commit to a long-term subscription such as six months or a year. (You're not afraid of commitment, are you?) Then, there are all of the add-ons. Options—letting you pay to boost your ranking in search results, letting someone know that you are really, really interested in him or her or them, or undoing a dreaded left-swipe that was supposed to be a right-swipe—will cost you extra. While some apps may advertise themselves as free, all of them will try to get a buck from you in the end.
When LuvFree.com says they’re 100% free, they really mean it. From communicating with matches to sending virtual kisses to creating a friends list to seeing who’s viewed your profile, you can do practically anything on this app. Available for Android, LuvFree.com strives to help singles meet new people near them or all across the world — the choice is yours! Whether you’re looking for friendship, dates, relationships, or even marriage, LuvFree.com is there to make your journey an easy and fun one.
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. 
eHarmony is another serious dating site that prefers to connect its users based on personality. With its focus on marriage, it's a solid choice for those in their 20s or early 30s who want to upgrade to a paid dating app. For those dating in their 40s and beyond though, it is worth noting that eHarmony's CEO has pointed out that the average user used to be ''36 to 37 years old," and that "now it's closer to 30."2 

Part of what draws some people to The League is the ability be extremely picky about the kind of people you want to match with. You can filter not only by age and location, but also by race or even education. Then every day at 5 p.m. you'll get to see five matches and decide whether to like them or not. Each user profile displays photos, location, height, age, education, career and hobbies. If both users like each other, you can strike up a conversation on the app's messaging feature. If you want more than your allotted five matches, you'll need to upgrade your membership, which costs more. The League also hosts events and group hangouts for users who feel more comfortable meeting people that way.
Clover is an up-and-coming dating app. It's a more traditional dating app. You'll search for people like you and hopefully it works out. It offers the ability to set up dates, join mixers, find events, and a lot more. Unlike most, this one boasts a free chat. You can also set your profile to just look for friends instead of dating. That makes it somewhat decent for platonic relationships as well. It's not overly popular so you may not find many results in your area. However, the reviews are more positive than most. This one has a bit of a problem with spam bots, though. We recommend some patience if you use this one.
Why it's awesome: Rather than being thrown into an endless pool of profiles, EliteSingles lets you pick out exactly what you're looking for. You'll be given a limited number of matches curated for you using 29 extremely detailed, professional-level algorithms based on the popular Five Factor Personality Test. They'll even show you your own results in comparison to those of potential matches to see how you stack up. Like eharmony, the stuff to fill out is pretty lengthy — but that's what you want if you're looking for a lasting relationship, and this helps ensure that you aren't swiping through tons of people that aren't your type. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
Dating is frustrating, exciting, awkward, and funny as hell. But more than anything, it's a learning experience of what you like, don't like, and are willing to endure—and for that I'm grateful. And when all hope is lost with a date and you find yourself hiding in a bathroom, or completely zoning out, or ghosting, at least you've got a good story to tell.

If Match is an inclusive, welcoming cocktail party full of people from all corners of the earth, then Tinder is the loud, crazy nightclub down the street that's primarily for 20- to 30-somethings looking for a bit of quick fun. Sure, older folks can hang out there too, but that's not who (or what) it's built for. The swipe left/swipe right function on profiles is intuitive and immediate; there's a reason basically everyone else adopted it. Tinder knows you're only here to make a quick snap judgment on photos, so scanning users and flicking them into the discard or keep pile is easy and addictive.

Statistically speaking, there’s plenty of evidence that dating apps work—especially for those among us whose endgame is meeting a long-term partner. There are stats that say marriages among people who met on an app are less likely to end after the first year, and despite a big cultural annoyance about the process, the vast majority of Americans think that, ultimately, apps are a good way to meet people. Even anecdotally, a lot of the people I spoke to for this piece—all of whom self-identified as dating app haters—nevertheless met their long-term partner on an app.
Who it's for: People who don't know what they want. Zoosk's algorithm takes your preferences into its own hands and suggests matches based on how you swipe — even if you have no idea why you liked or didn't like that person. Zoosk offers ease, practicality, and a clean layout, and is a good bet if you haven't had any luck on the Tinders or eharmonies of the world.
Tinder has been nothing less than a cultural phenomenon, adding "swiping" to our dating lexicon. The casual dating app is incredibly straightforward and easy to use. In fact, it's so simple that, at least for the standard free version, there are really only a few things you can do on it, including updating your profile, swiping left (to pass) or right (to like), and chatting with matches.
Dating apps generally try to give themselves a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the competition, but few have gone as far as Quiz Date Live. Essentially a cross between The Bachelorette and HQ Trivia, Quiz Date Live moonlights as a dating show within an app, as suitors compete to win a date with one particular lucky lady, the featured dater.
Statistically speaking, there’s plenty of evidence that dating apps work—especially for those among us whose endgame is meeting a long-term partner. There are stats that say marriages among people who met on an app are less likely to end after the first year, and despite a big cultural annoyance about the process, the vast majority of Americans think that, ultimately, apps are a good way to meet people. Even anecdotally, a lot of the people I spoke to for this piece—all of whom self-identified as dating app haters—nevertheless met their long-term partner on an app.

Online dating is really popular. Using the internet is really popular. A survey conducted in 2013 found that 77% of people considered it “very important” to have their smartphones with them at all times. With the rise and rise of apps like Tinder (and the various copycat models) who could blame them.  If you want to think about dating as a numbers game (and apparently many people do), you could probably swipe left/right between 10 – 100 times in the span of time that it would take you to interact with one potential date in ‘real-life’.
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