We did the research for you and have compiled a comprehensive list of the best free dating apps and sites, and will give you the lowdown on what type of person each one is best suited for. And if you land a hot date out of this, we expect a thank you. Our top pick for the best free dating app with a desktop version is OkCupid: Okay, we're totally biased because of their sweet ad campaigns, but this site has it all.
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OkCupid's matching strategies are based on non-traditional questions and push for lasting connections. Plus, since it's one of the first dating sites ever it debuted in , its trusted name brings along a robust user base. OkCupid is also geared toward liberals and is extremely inclusive and LGBTQ friendly, which is a major bonus in our eyes. Our top pick for the best free dating app without a desktop version is Hinge: How could we not choose the love child of an all-in serious dating site and a laid back, millennial swiping app as our favorite?
Hinge offers the minimalistic, download-and-go feel that impatient people love, but mixes in pinches of seriousness and a smart matching algorithm to give you a real shot at finding a long lasting relationship.
It's really the perfect recipe. Basically, Hinge is what you suggest to someone who constantly complains about the crappy match pool or vulgar messages on Tinder. It's almost impossible to find a dating site or app that doesn't have some sort of paid upgrade feature, but these are the sites where the free option gives you everything you need to experience the full site paid options simply give you more unlimited access, like unlimited swipes or returning to an accidental left-swipe.
These aren't like Match or eharmony where you need to pay to do basically anything. There are significantly more smartphone apps that offer full-fledged freemiums than there are desktop dating sites, so having a smartphone is pretty much a necessity.
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The classic dating sites that you think of where users sit down at a computer and message their boo for hours on end. These are usually aimed toward more serious relationships with extensive questionnaires, intelligent matchmaking, and significantly more features than app-only services.
These are newer services, like Hinge and Tinder, that take never-before-seen approaches to online dating. They are aimed toward young people who are glued to their phones. Layouts are much more organized and similar to a social media profile, but have fewer features than sites with desktop versions. On the plus side, this minimalistic setup makes it easier to interact with more people on a daily basis. We're using cookies to improve your experience.
Click Here to find out more. Best for something more serious than swiping. OkCupid OkCupid has a huge dating pool, and uses a whole bunch of algorithms to find your perfect match. Basic subscription with all you need: OkCupid is a seriously hip LGBT-friendly site that has won the hearts of millennial and mature singles alike.
I've said this a million times before and I'll say it again: OkCupid's advertising is outstanding. They deserve endless applause just for that, but I realize many people on dating apps care about more than the aesthetics. Good thing OkCupid is so much more than that, taking compatibility factors into account that other sites haven't even thought of. Who it's good for: This is the place for, well, pretty much everyone who takes dating seriously, but still wants to have fun. Though OkCupid's advertisements may have "DTF" plastered all over them, the site's intentions and matchmaking process are no joke.
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We also want to mention that OkCupid and its user base is pretty liberal. The ads with same-sex couples are an obvious giveaway, but OkCupid has snuck in other little features to weed out more conservative-minded people. This can help you avoid awkward date conversations in the future. It might take some time and genuine effort to make a profile, but that's what you want if you're looking for something real.
You'll fill out a questionnaire with your answers as well as what you would like your ideal match to answer. This makes the application-building process a lot more fun than other apps, making it feel like an online quiz. It asks a range of questions, from simple stuff to if you smoke and drink to more intimate things like how many dates you typically wait before sleeping with someone. The app says the the more questions you answer, the better your matches will be. The deeper you go, the more accurate your profile is — and in turn, OkCupid will have a way easier time finding matches for you.
Also, though OkCupid has a super sturdy user base around 30 million users , variety of results won't be nearly as good if you're not in a populated area. For city dwellers, this is fine, but singles in smaller towns may want to opt for a different AKA paid site. OkCupid is the perfect happy medium for people who don't want anything to do with trendy swiping apps, but who also don't want to feel like they're desperately looking for marriage.
OkCupid genuinely wants dating to be a good experience for you, and their multi-faceted matchmaking and modern vibe help you steer clear of feeling like a loser talking to people online.
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Best for people looking for good chemistry. Plenty of Fish Plenty of Fish has great matchmaking technology and a large dating pool. Though it's not the most attractive setup, Plenty of Fish is a great newbie choice for people just dipping their toes into the world of online dating. The advertising, lengthy questionnaires, and profiles are extremely traditional, making this a safe bet for non-millennials, divorcees, and single parents who are not in the mood to mess around.
Oh yeah, and its 90 million registered users beats out almost every other dating site's stats — so you're guaranteed to never get bored. This is the place where the older crowd can avoid the non-serious people and find other singles their age. Chemistry is the name of the game here, and the multiple questionnaires are no joke. This isn't a quick five-second set up like other apps, but that's only because Plenty of Fish truly wants you to dig deep so that they can give you the best quality matches.
Not only does POF attempt to match you with people who you'll statistically get along with based on how you've both answered questions , but it also wants to match you with people who are looking for the same thing as you. In the "meeting goals" section, you'll specify whether you're looking for something long term, looking to date but nothing serious, etc. The idea is to eliminate the awkward "What are we" conversations and set you up for success by pairing you with people who share your priorities.
It feels like the site is geared toward people who have been unlucky with love in the past, which offers a sliver of hope to those who claim to be "forever alone. The desktop version's setup is possibly the most boring, thrown-together-at-the-last-minute looking thing I've ever seen. Hey, maybe they're just putting all of their focus on the matchmaking.
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Since the profile building takes some time, we'd suggest answering all of the questions on a desktop, but doing the actual swiping and matching on the app. POF is also not bisexual friendly, which definitely sucks. A site with the M. If a site's janky aesthetics don't bother you, POF offers the largest variety of potential mates of all the apps on this list.
Regardless of whether you're super picky with your type or have no idea what you want, there's pretty much no way you won't find a few people out of 90 million who you find interesting. Hinge Hinge offers dating features that no other app has. Hinge gives the modern feel and no-patience-required matching like Tinder, but with the relationship rather than hookup mindset that sites like eharmony or Match offer. Pretty much everyone is on the same page and knows that that this app isn't for sex, but there's no pressure to rush into marriage either.
It's chill, it's legit, and traditional swiping apps should be worried. Hinge is the place for people who want a real relationship but don't want to commit to a full-fledged dating site with extensive questionnaires.
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Hinge literally labels itself the relationship app, or as I prefer, the "anti Tinder. While Hinge first started by showing you Facebook friends of friends, their algorithm has been getting smarter and smarter, and is now able to surpass friends of friends as a predictor of compatibility. This means you won't be matched with someone all wrong for you simply because you know the same person. Rather, Hinge will help you get to know the other person more deeply than any new app has attempted, by revealing answers to juicy personality questions and detailed information like future plans, religion, and vices.
Seems like a pretty good recipe for a strong connection past looks, right? Hinge only gives you seven matches per day, which is a slight bummer.
2. Plenty of Fish
There's a wide range of people on this app, and having a day where all seven don't interest you is a definite possibility. But Hinge isn't meant for constant swiping — and everyone I know who uses Hinge including myself hasn't ever felt the need to upgrade past the free version. It's a step up from hookup apps but the perfect level of serious for 20 and 30 somethings who want something real, but don't need anyone asking how many kids they want just yet.
Tinder Tinder is where everyone is, and the setup is easy. Free, with optional upgrades See Details. We'd look like total frauds if we didn't include Tinder. As much as we bitch about this swipe happy app, it's just too popular and works too well to leave it off the list. It has its obvious negatives, but the user friendliness, instant connecting, and massive potential match pool make it most people's first download choice when they need a quick hook up or confidence-boosting attention.
Whether you love it or think it's trash, it's going to be one of the best for the foreseeable future, and those are just facts. Tinder is place you go to find someone to flirt with ASAP. Everyone and their mother is on Tinder, and the wide variety of people means you'll never not be able to find someone close. Tinder is great for finding a quick hookup with someone nearby where you live, and it's especially handy if you're looking for a vacation fling or a local to show you around while you're traveling.
It's pretty much online dating without the commitment: You can use it when you're bored, ignore it for three weeks, and come back to find new matches and a new crowd to swipe through. This isn't to say that Tinder is only used for finding a one night stand or friends with benefits situation, though. A lot of people are truly on Tinder to find a real relationship, and it's likely that you know at least one couple that met on Tinder if you don't, just look at these mushy Tinder success stories.
Because you're making your swipe decision based on someone's photos and a tiny bio that's usually just a Parks and Recreation quote, Tinder gets a lot of shit for being superficial. And if you're only looking for a casual encounter, this speedy, no-frills process is exactly what you want. You mean, other than the obvious fact that you'll probably get carpal tunnel from having to swipe through so many profiles?
Well, there is no real matchmaking process, so Tinder will suggest literally every single person in the age range and distance radius that you set. And if you specifically opted to only see matches of the same gender, Tinder will still throw the opposite gender in there, because they apparently don't believe that you can actually just be gay. There's a disadvantage to the whole swiping-based-on-photos thing, too: Because true matchmaking is nonexistent, that face of that hottie who you matched with might be the only thing you like about them. Matching based solely on physical attraction is just asking for awkward conversations, horrendous disagreements, and unsolicited dick pics down the road.