The Best Online Dating Sites for 2. Of the seven dating apps we tested, we can confidently recommend four. It’s by far the best- looking and easiest to use of our top four, on both browser and mobile, with intuitive iconography and streamlined features. Two factors really set Ok. Cupid apart from the competition: It produces the best profiles, and it uses the best matching algorithm.
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Ok. Cupid sports a clean layout on both desktop and mobile (left) and it’s playful enough (right) to make for a fun overall experience. The standard fields you fill in on your profile are open- ended without being too general, which lets people come up with creative, interesting answers almost without trying. Yes, it includes the standard prompt to list your favorite movies, music, and TV shows, but it also asks you what six things you couldn’t live without and what you spend a lot of time thinking about. With those kinds of questions, it would be hard not to come up with unique answers that show potential dates what makes you you. Unlike on most of the other apps we tested, we didn’t find any Ok. Cupid profiles left blank or populated by “I’ll fill this out later.”In addition to the more free- form profile prompts, Ok.
Cupid also lets you answer multiple- choice questions, which it uses to produce its famous match percentage. Like many other dating sites, Ok. Cupid algorithmically compares your answers to those of other users to determine if you’re compatible. But unlike most dating sites, it (a) lets you choose the answer you want your partner to give, and (b) lets you rank how important the question is to you. Ok. Cupid uses your answers to these questions to do a bunch of math, so that whenever you look at another user’s profile, you see a “match percentage” (which measures ways you’re compatible with someone) and an “enemy percentage” (which measures ways you’re not compatible with someone). Though Ok. Cupid emphasizes high match percentages, it’s just as important to have a low enemy percentage. Ok. Cupid’s multiple- choice questions offer users an impressive amount of options.
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On the receiving end, we got 4. That’s lower than on Tinder, but still pretty good for a site where anyone can send you a message. Speaking of Tinder, if you want to get in on that swiping action while still taking advantage of Ok. Cupid’s superior algorithm, use Ok. Cupid’s new Double Take feature.
It emphasizes photos and swiping right or left, but you get to see more of a potential date’s profile info than you would on Tinder, and of course you can click through to see all their answered questions and other relevant details. Upgrading to “A- list” for $1. Ok. Cupid’s core features — messaging others, answering questions, and checking your match percentages — are free to use. Our advice: start with the free version.
If you’re not getting any hits, spring for the $2 “boost” feature — it puts your profile in front of a LOT more users in a mere 1. Instead of spending hours in front of your screen trying to find a soulmate who meets all of your criteria, you basically play a quick swiping game when you have a few spare minutes. When you find someone you think is cute, you get off the app, go on a date, and see if any sparks fly. It has evolved from its early days as a hookup app to an app for all kinds of dating, but it maintains its casual, carefree aesthetic by doing away with the extensive questionnaires of first- generation dating sites.
Your photos are by far the most prominent part of your profile, and you only get 5. That may sound a little superficial if you’re on the market for a long- term partner, but there is something to be said for the kind of chemistry that a computer can’t calculate for you.
And Tinder’s “Smart Photos” feature automatically sets your most swipe- right- able photo as your profile pic. Tinder does use an algorithm to match people, but it’s based more on attractiveness than on suitability as a partner.
To oversimplify a bit, the more people swipe right on you, the higher your desirability rating, and the app shows you people with desirability ratings similar to yours. On more traditional dating sites, men generally send a lot of messages to women, most of them pretty bad.
But on Tinder, you can only exchange messages with someone once you’ve both swiped right, which reduces the flood of messages to a more manageable stream. People (of any gender) can of course still send bad messages, but the self- selection factor tends to cut it down a bit. Our tester received a higher proportion of high- quality messages on Tinder than on any other dating app: 6 of 1. You’ll likely get fewer messages, but the ones you get will probably be higher quality.
Basic functionality — browsing, swiping, messaging — is free, interrupted by occasional ads. A paid account (one month for $2. For users under 3. After a mutual match, women have to send the first message and if she doesn’t make a move in 2.
For same- sex matches, the 2. Because of these features, the paid version of Bumble is substantially better to use than the unpaid version (unlike Tinder and Ok. Cupid, where there’s not a huge difference between paying and not paying). Bumble is $3 a week, $8 a month, $1. Tinder co- founder, Whitney Wolfe conceived Bumble as a “1. She says forcing women to make the first move is good for both genders: Women not only receive less harassment but also don’t get trapped in a passive role they don’t want, while men have to do less work and get to feel “flattered” instead of experiencing “rejection and aggression.”But the real question is: Does the ladies- first policy work? This was kind of a difficult claim for our tester, a straight woman, to evaluate.
On other dating sites and apps, men messaged her, and she could sort the messages into good, bad, and mediocre. On Bumble, she had to send the first message, in which she revealed she was just testing out the app for a review. Most men simply never replied, a few responded warmly and talked about their experiences on Bumble, and a couple responded with hostility. Those who responded also mentioned that most of the messages they received from women were just as lackluster as the ones men send on other sites.
Its users skew a little older — more thirty- and forty- somethings than those in their twenties — which means they’re more likely to be looking to settle down. And science backs that reputation up: According to one study, Match. Harmony produce the most marriages of any dating sites or apps.
It’s free to build a profile, but you have to pay to send or receive messages. It’s by far the most expensive option: $7. Like Ok. Cupid, Match. It does a decent job, but not an outstanding one. The information it asks for is more boring (how many times a week you exercise) and often too open- ended (describe yourself in your own words), which means people often don’t complete their profiles, or they fill them in with the kind of clich. But the app is more streamlined, and everything is easy enough to use, whether you’re accessing the site from a laptop or phone. In the past year, Match has tweaked their algorithm to resemble Ok.
Cupid’s, at least outwardly, even displaying a tiny match percentage in some places on the site. But without the full sophistication of that algorithm, it often matched our tester with people based on meaningless similarities: “He shares the same birth month!” Match did a decent job at showing our tester potential dates she was actually interested in (of 8. Ok. Cupid, Tinder, or Bumble. The site may be better suited to the user who wants to browse matches on their own and decide for themselves whom they consider compatible. We received 3. 5 messages — a few less than on Ok.
Cupid — and we would classify five of them as good. Eight were mediocre, and 2. That’s only 1. 4 percent good messages. So while Match is, statistically speaking, better for marriage- minded daters, not everyone using it is marriage- minded enough to take the process seriously or put in enough effort. One great feature that sets Match apart from other big dating sites is that it organizes and promotes regular in- person events like speed dating, happy hours, and game nights.
As Dolor says, “The only way people can truly evaluate whether or not they’ve made a good match is by turning online conversations into offline dates, and seeing where things go when they’re face to face with someone.” No dating site facilitates that better than Match. But we also hand- tested three more: e. Harmony, Plenty of Fish, and Zoosk. While these three are all big names in online dating, we were not impressed. Harmony. It's one of the better- known online dating sites, but Match.
As a dating site, e. Harmony has a reputation for being old- fashioned and marriage- oriented, and it likes it that way.
Like we mentioned, e. Harmony and Match. Harmony eking out the top spot by 0.
Though it’s not exorbitant, e. Harmony is the most expensive of the sites we tested. The most basic plan costs $4.
That’s $1. 38 before you have any idea whether you like its services or not. Our experience on e.
Harmony was mostly negative. The design is buggy on both the website and the app, which makes it harder to use.
Our tester got way fewer views (8) and messages (1) than on any other site, and we encountered way more blank profiles (1. That was extra disappointing considering how much money the site cost. If you’re looking for older users on a traditional dating site, Match.
Harmony often offered potential matches based on the flimsiest of connections — like a love of cats. The one interaction we did have, however, was more pleasant because of a great e. Harmony feature: Send a Question. If talking about yourself isn’t your strong suit, the Send a Question feature can help you out by providing prewritten questions like “What’s your idea of a fun date?” or “What is your dream getaway vacation?” as well as prewritten answers (although they do give you the option to use your own words if you want).