The online dating scene is always changing. In fact, it changes so fast it’s hard to keep up with what’s hot in dating apps if you’re actively dating, let alone if you’ve taken some time off or just got out of a relationship.
As we move more and more onto our mobile devices instead of our laptops for dating purposes, and every second tech bro becomes an app developer, the number of available dating apps seems to grow exponentially from one year to the next!
To save you a bunch of head scratching, as well as saving you time and, potentially, money, I have compiled a list of 2021’s best dating apps. Some of these are just for Android and iOS, but plenty of them also have a full website.
I’ve chosen the best dating apps in several popular categories, but feel free to mix and match. These are all really high quality apps, so it’s really a matter of taste which suits you!
If you want more app advice, I have also written longer articles for each of these categories which include a whole bunch of runners-up for best app.
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Click here to see my full guide to Bumble
As Bumble is a location based app, you won’t get many matches if you’re in a rural area
- Matches timing out after 24/hours can be annoying
- The matching algorithm is reasonably basic, so you have to separate the wheat from the chaff
When you hear Bumble, you probably think ‘the dating app for women’, but Bumble’s actual slogan is “the dating app built by women, for everyone.”
This younger, more woke sibling of Tinder (it was built by a former Tinder employee) certainly began as a platform for feminist, safe dating for women but, over time, it has become much more than that.
Bumble endeavors to make all of its users feel safe and in control, offering anti-bullying and anti-ghosting features such as instant photo verification, ice breakers and, of course, letting the woman make the first move.
And these measures seem to have worked, with less harassment and antisocial behavior reported on Bumble than other similar dating apps.
If you’re looking for a safer than average space to dip your nervous toes into when it comes to online dating, Bumble might just be the app for you.
Plus, if you want to start with platonic matchmaking, you can hop on Bumble BFFs and practice the online dating thing without the pressure of romance.
To top it off, the free version of the Bumble app provides a great dating experience without you having to add the option Boost or Premium extra features for a monthly fee.
In fact, with 25 free right swipes per day offered on Bumble’s basic service it’s the most generous top-tier swiping app there is.
Adult Friend Finder
Click here to try Adult Friend Finder for free
Best For: People looking for flirting, fun, and more — either online or offline
- A huge database of user-generated content
- 8 million worldwide users
- Video chat as well as text chat
- A fun, sex-positive environment in which to explore
- You need to pay to message other members
- Site design is somewhat dated
Look, I’ve hedged my bets here and decided that ‘like Tinder’ means great for arranging hookups and fun more than it means ‘a swiping app built for mobile’.
If it’s swiping apps built for mobile you’re after, there are plenty of options. I list many of them (with a full rundown of what they offer) in my full article on the best dating apps like Tinder!
Adult Friend Finder is something else entirely. This old-guard of the online dating world was started in 1995 and is still going strong, which tells you something.
It offers an opportunity to connect with potential dates in a sex-positive environment with loads of online content and communication features.
You can chat (or do other things) over video, through messages or on the retro-but-well-organized Adult Friend Finder Forums.
On top of that, you can view private galleries, amateur vids, and even erotic stories. Adult Friend Finder is kind of a one stop shop for hooking up online and off, but you can also just use it for its vast piles of content.
Basically, if you’re looking for fun, Adult Friend Finder is a great place to find it.
It’s a friendly community, and you won’t have to beat about the bush trying to get what you want out of an evening like you might on Tinder (although of course, please everyone try to communicate your wants and needs clearly whatever app you’re on!).
Adult Friend Finder boasts over 8 million worldwide users, so there’s a deep dating pool. And as video chat is possible, you don’t even need to be on the same continent (very 2021)!
Sign up is free, but you do have to pay to make contact with other users, but prices are reasonable if you plump for a 3+ month membership.
Plus, plenty of the content is viewable by free users so you can start off with that while working out whether or not Adult Friend Finder is the site for you or you can also check out my full review on Adult Friend Finder here.
Click here to try Silver Singles for free
Best For: Older daters who still have that get-up-and-go attitude
- An easy to use, well designed site
- An in-depth personality quiz to help match-make
- 2000 couples per month meet on Silver Singles!
- You do have to pay for Silver Singles
- Most users are US or Canada based, so if you’re elsewhere Silver Singles may not be the best choice
Technically, Silver Singles advertises as a site for over 50s. As long as you’re over 40 and not looking to be a cougar or… whatever a male cougar is (whatever the term is, I’m not sure it’s flattering!) then you should be a-okay on Silver Singles.
Silver Singles is for older daters who still have some pep in their step. The site matches an amazing 2000 happy couples per month. So, more than one date!
Silver Singles’ dating pool is mostly USA based, with good coverage in every state. Most users are looking for something serious but, as with all online dating, you’re bound to find some variation and honesty is always the best policy when you’re getting to know someone new.
The site is designed with older users in mind (aka it’s not confusing or only usable on a touchscreen device) and there is no swiping involved.
Silver Singles matches are based on a really in depth personality test, 100 questions in fact, so it works a lot more like a traditional matchmaking service than most dating apps.
You do have to pay for full access to the site, but it’s not particularly expensive if you commit to three months of membership.
And you can, of course, try before you buy, creating a profile and having a look around before committing to payments.
Best Dating App USA
Click here to try eHarmony for free
Best For: Serious daters who know what they want
- eHarmony is hands down the best serious dating site out there
- Their algorithm is based on psychological matching – it might
- know more about you than you do
Someone finds love on eHarmony every 14 minutes!
- You do have to pay for eHarmony, but it works!
- This really is just a site for serious daters. If that’s not what you want, it’s not for you.
eHarmony is hands down the best app for serious dating. The caveat being, almost all of its users are in the USA and Canada.
So as long as you’re based in one of the two countries, you’re in for a treat!
eHarmony is more of a matchmaking site than it is a ‘dating app’, using psychological matching technology to decide who you will gel with on a whole variety of levels.
Of course, your stated preferences are taken into account but the dating experts behind eHarmony are well aware that we often make snap decisions based on limited information, and they’re not always good for us!
Maybe your perfect partner isn’t your exact type. I mean, how have people who are your exact type worked out for you so far?
You do seem to be single…
Plus, you don’t need to take my word for it, eHarmony is consistently voted the best dating app in the US and Canada, with someone finding the one on the site every 14 minutes.
I mean, it will take you a while to answer all the questions in the personality quiz, but if you’re lucky maybe you’ll find someone in… what… 28 minutes time? 42?
Okay, I’m obviously kidding, but it is true that the price often holds people back from committing to eHarmony.
It is on the expensive end of the spectrum, but all the stats point to it being a great investment in your long term happiness.
eHarmony is for people who are really ready to find a partner. If that’s you, why not at least sign up for a free account and take a look around?
Best Dating App for Christians
Click here to try Christian Mingle for free
Best For: Religious Christians of all stripes who are looking for (modern) love
- This is a really well put together, modern site
- The most popular and lively Christian dating site out there!
- All denominations welcome
- A fantastic matching algorithm
- You do have to pay for full access to Christian Mingle
- Obviously, this isn’t a site for anyone but Christians so if you’re not Christian probably go elsewhere
Many Christian dating apps never quite manage to hit the bigtime, leaving their membership rates sluggish and their dating pool more of a puddle.
Christian Mingle is different – in fact, 30% of all Christian marriages that begin with an online date started on Christian Mingle!
Because Christian Mingle is owned and operated by dating superstars Spark Networks it has a clean, modern feel and is really easy to use.
Christianity is central to the MO of the site, with all users looking for a God-centered relationship, but there’s no feeling that other elements of the dating site have fallen by the wayside because that’s the niche.
Christian Mingle features everything from a swiping game to algorithm based matches, so you can date how you want to date safely in the knowledge that faith will be a big part of your match’s life.
All denominations of Christian are welcome on Christian Mingle, but you can express a preference for only people in your own religion if that’s an issue for you.
Overall, if you want a Christian dating site that feels fresh, modern and well designed, then Christian Mingle is by far your best option.
Best For: Queer women and nonbinary people looking for community
- Her is a friendly, open place
- A new kind of dating app
- Groups for all sorts of interests
- The free version is very usable
- Profiles are minimal, which can be annoying
- The app and its navigation take some time to get used to
A relative newcomer to the scene, HER is a dating app for women and nonbinary people looking to date other women and nonbinary people.
Of course, that isn’t going to suit all women, so if you’re looking for something else you can check out my full article on the best dating apps for women.
HER became a solid part of the dating apps scene after a recent name change, and has gone from strength to strength since.
This is an app that aims to build community rather than just get its users laid. In fact, it even values community above romantic relationship creation, with groups for users to join based on all sorts, from location to hobbies to political leanings.
Basically, HER is attempting to create a safe, friendly space for women and nonbinary people to get to know one another without the pressure of most swiping-era apps.
And the team behind it are modern and approachable, living this friendly, open attitude. So much so that they make ‘hacks’ for a good experience on the site public!
Whether you’re looking for love, fun, or just to meet some interesting people, HER could be the app you’ve been looking for. It feels like an evolution in dating apps – something kinder than the badlands of Tinder or even Bumble and Hinge’s softened swiping experience.
You can use HER perfectly well without paying, but there are also a decent number of additional features available for a monthly fee.
It’s definitely one you can very much try before you buy, and it’s super easy to make a profile, so why not download HER now?
Click here to see my full review on Zoosk
Best For: Anyone who’s ready to start dating just a little more seriously
- Zoosk has options for fun swiping, or serious matching
- An amazing algorithm that basically reads your mind (but not in a scary way…)
- Though it costs money, Zoosk is an affordable option
- As I said, you do have to pay for Zoosk!
- Because it’s just now on the up, there may not be loads of users near you if you’re rural
Zoosk is kind of a dark horse. It has been in the shadows for a few years, neither a ‘serious dating’ site like eHarmony or Match nor a swiping situation like Tinder or Hinge.
But following its acquisition by Spark Networks in 2019 Zoosk has been starting to get noticed again.
The main joy of Zoosk is that it fits comfortably in between the ‘serious dating’ and the ‘fun swiping’ apps that make up the majority of its competition.
It manages to keep the fun of swiping and dating games going, with a modern, easy to use layout and youngish-skewing users in their 30s and 40s, whilst staying away from frivolity.
Basically, it’s fun but it also has a really advanced intelligent algorithm making the matches behind the scenes!
In fact, Zoosk’s algorithm is so advanced it picks up desires and preferences you didn’t even know you had, based on clicks and scroll time.
All this makes Zoosk a great choice if you’re graduating from Tinder and Hinge, or if you sometimes don’t quite know what you’re looking for.
A problem I think most of us have faced at one time or another!
You do have to pay for Zoosk in order to chat with your matches, but it’s less that $20 per month if you go for a 3-month subscription, making it one of the cheaper dating sites.
If you’re considering switching things up and starting to date just a little more seriously, or if you’re already doing so but want a new site to explore, you should definitely give Zoosk a chance to impress you.