While it used to be taboo to log on to an app or website to look for your soulmate (or even something a little less fairy tale-like), these days, online dating apps are the easiest way to meet new people. According to researchers from Stanford and University of New Mexico, nearly 40% of all heterosexual relationships begin online, with more than one-third of young and middle-aged adults using the best dating apps to find love.
With the social stigma long in the past, the volume of dating apps to hit the market can seem overwhelming. Which dating apps are right for you? Sure, you may know Tinder and Bumble, but what about the other dating apps? The explosion of dating apps brings more ways to customize your search for a relationship than ever before.
These are some of the top dating apps of 2020—whether you’re searching for a serious relationship, a casual hookup or even a partner who likes bacon cooked the same way you do. These days, there’s a dating app for just about every interest and relationship type. All that’s left is finding the right match.
The best all-around dating apps
If you’ve dabbled in online dating, you’re probably familiar with Bumble. The women-centric dating app is similar to Tinder—in fact, they share a co-founder. The main difference? Bumble requires women to make the first move.
Who it’s best for: Bumble is best for women tired of weeding through the digital equivalent of catcalling.
What they’re saying: “In the dating game, in the area of meeting strangers, men likely initiate 95% of conversations. That makes no logical sense; however, when it’s online and there’s almost nothing at stake, given the opportunity, men will basically attempt to introduce themselves to every attractive woman they see. Bumble is the ideal online dating platform for this reason. Women who are genuinely interested in a man will make the introduction."—Carter Butler
Unlike its mainstream counterparts, the goal of Hinge is to get users off the app and onto a first (and second, and third, etc.) date. The app makes it easy to start a conversation and believes vulnerability is more powerful than an algorithm.
Who it’s best for: Singles who are sick of the endless direct-message back-and-forth that comes with most dating apps.
What they’re saying: “I normally don’t write reviews, but this app changed my life. I was seriously tired of Tinder and all and was downloading dating apps to try. Came across Hinge and gave it a shot. Met a nice gal, led to a first date and 20 months later, we are newly engaged to be married. The way to connect on the app is extremely effective, as it requires the other person to truly read and respond to your profile. In the end, I found the love of my life and am truly grateful for what Hinge has done for us two."—Daniel Meltzer
The Match.com website is largely considered one of the grey beards of online dating, serving more than 25 countries in eight different languages since 1995. The Match app is essentially the same concept as the original website: an algorithm with powerful filters that matches singles with potential partners based on their location and specific interests.
Who it’s best for: Match is best for singles who are tired of the less-precise algorithms of other mainstream dating apps, or who have hyper-specific criteria for a potential partner.
What they’re saying: “It’s been years since I first tried Match, so it was a nice surprise to see the latest clean and easy-to-use version. Simple, uncluttered and full of real people, for the most part, looking for a sincere relationship rather than hookups."—Jason Eldridge
Probably the most widely recognized dating app, Tinder is a catchall for those looking for a serious relationship, to hook up or something in between. The easy-to-use app pioneered the now-popular swipe functionality, and it’s still one of the easiest apps to use.
Who it’s best for: Young singles looking for casual dating.
What they’re saying: “Straightforward dating app. Great for your self-confidence. Lots of jerks, tools and other bad adjectives… but I met my person on here. Best person I’ve ever been with, and I almost gave up on online dating. So, yeah. Thanks, Tinder. I met the love of my life."—Cici Dreamin
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel does things a little differently than other mainstream dating apps. It takes things slow, only introducing its members to one match per day, and only those in their extended network (basically, Facebook friends of Facebook friends).
Who it’s best for: Coffee Meets Bagel is best for those who haven’t fully let go of the hope of bumping into their future soulmate in a coffee shop. The app holds onto the notion of serendipitous meetings and allows users to really get to know potential matches before “swiping left.”
What they’re saying: “This was my first time using a dating app. When I joined this one, I joined two others as well to compare and to give me more options! Coffee Meets Bagel is definitely one of my favorites! It is more “calm” in the sense that you don’t have three dozen messages to go through from random, strange and, most of the time, offensive men."—carissalt10
Like Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn also holds on to the notion of serendipitous encounters. The app only matches users with those they’ve physically crossed paths with (according to your phone’s GPS)—think of it as a combination of Tinder and Craigslist’s Missed Connections.
Who it’s best for: Happn is best for people who are out and about in big cities. If you rarely leave home or live in a smaller town, you may not have the best results.
What they’re saying: “I love this site. It’s cool to find out who you cross paths with!"—Michelle Sparks
The best hookup apps
Hud prides itself on providing a safe space for you to talk, flirt, “just chat” or meet with nearby singles. It has the same convenience and ease of use as traditional dating apps, without any expectations.
Who it’s best for: Anyone looking for casual hookups who doesn’t want to sacrifice a tasteful user experience. You could easily use this app in a public place without getting side-eyed.
What they’re saying: “The concept of the app is superb because it allows you to get straight to the point."—Laquise Meigh
From curious couples to kinky singles, Feeld provides a safe and private space for people to explore nontraditional encounters—including threesomes, hookups or deeper desires.
Who it’s best for: Couples (or singles) who are looking to find and hook up with like-minded, curious individuals.
What they’re saying: “Easy to use [and] straightforward; people are frank and open about what they’re looking for."—Rhys Jones
While certain hookup apps are all about openness and vulnerability, Pure takes the opposite route. This privacy-first hookup app does not allow for social media links or email addresses, and automatically deletes chats after one hour.
Who it’s best for: Individuals who are looking for a discrete, one-time hookup with no strings attached—and no way of tracing the experience.
What they’re saying: “This is the kind of app that I have been waiting for. So far, the profiles I have seen and gotten to like are great, and I’m excited to chat with them. The app is easy to use [and] has different ways of ensuring protection for its users, which is really rare. I will be getting rid of some of my other hookup apps because this one is definitely the most promising!"—Sterling Bonnett
The best LGBT dating apps
Backed by Bumble and controlled by Bumble shareholders, Chappy is the premiere dating app for gay singles looking for a serious relationship. Their mission is to go beyond the stereotypes and provide a space for men to seek authentic connections, whether that means romantic partners or friendships.
Who it’s best for: Chappy is best for single gay men who are tired of traditional hookup apps, or for those looking for a safe space to seek out genuine friendship.
What they’re saying: “Heard about this app through social media! Love that there’s an option for Mr. Right and Mr. Right now. It’s a great idea and the app is well worth trying!"—Jordan Austin
Most gay men are probably already familiar with Grindr. The original gay dating app, Grindr leans toward hookups or casual dating over serious relationships, and uses the same swiping function as Tinder. It includes everything from group chat to location-based matches, which makes it easy to meet new people in your area.
Who it’s best for: Grindr is best for gay, bisexual, trans and queer people who want a safe space to explore casual dating and connections with like-minded individuals.
What they’re saying: “This app is any gay man’s heaven-off-to-the-side show. So not Heaven, but Heavenly adjacent. Satisfied my appetite more times over and unexpectedly."—Antonio Cowan
HER is the biggest lesbian dating app currently on the market—and for good reason. HER allows users to chat with new friends and potential matches, while also helping users find local LGBTQ events, all in a safe, judgement-free space.
Who it’s best for: Lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer people who are looking for a supportive online community.
What they’re saying: “My girlfriend and I found each other on HER. We are both shy enough and disliking of other dating platforms that I don’t know how else we would have found one another. I like that you can see everyone who likes you on the app, but you don’t see a record of everyone you like."—Danielle Olson
FEM takes chatting to the next level. The lesbian and bisexual dating app allows users to upload videos to their profile, which helps cut out catfishing and allows users to get to know potential matches much faster.
Who it’s best for: Lesbian and bisexual women who want to connect with like-minded singles without having to worry about being catfished.
What they’re saying: “Loved it, loved it, loved it!!! Very easy to navigate and makes it easy to connect with other people! Met my girl on here. Enjoy, ladies!!!"—Luisa Gala
The best mature dating apps
Eharmony calls itself the most trusted dating app, and they may have a point. The app takes the time to really get to know you and your needs by way of compatibility questionnaires and personality preferences. This allows you to match with like-minded individuals with whom you already have something in common, rather than basing your matches on looks alone.
Who it’s best for: Singles who are looking for a deeper connection, real conversations and genuine matches.
What they’re saying: “The people seem more sincere and of higher quality than other sites, in terms of thoughts and intellect."—Kevin Pease
Think of FirstMet as Tinder without the hookup undertones. This relationship-focused app allows users to meet potential matches from all over the country, not just by region, and encourages connecting and chatting before rushing into a first date.
Who it’s best for: FirstMet is open to singles of all ages who want to connect more deeply online before meeting in person.
What they’re saying: “It’s in a league of its own."—Carlos Dyer
OurTime caters to mature singles who are exclusively 50 years old and above. Their focus is to connect like-minded singles looking for anything from marriage and serious relationships to friendship and simple companionship.
Who it’s best for: OurTime is best for mature singles who prefer getting to know individuals in their area with the intention of connecting, whether on a friendly basis or something more romantic, in a space all their own.
What they’re saying: “I’ve recently started looking at online dating. One of the first things I’ve learned is how many scammers hang around on the dating sites. OurTime is the only app I have that has actually produced some decent results and isn’t overrun with the scammers."—Anonymous
The best unique dating apps
Who it’s best for: Have a beard? Want someone with a beard? Bristlr may be for you.
What they’re saying: “I love this app. It’s slower than other apps to get going, but that’s because they’ve removed the potential for nonsense, which in my opinion is perfect."—Gareth Lowe
Imagine going on a first date and realizing the person sitting across from you doesn’t like your favorite food, or even worse, is an incredibly picky eater. Foodies are flocking to the Dine app, which allows singles to match with a potential date based on their favorite restaurants.
Who it’s best for: Serious foodies who want to meet someone with whom they can share the savory side of life.
What they’re saying: “This concept just seems more direct to me, which is good because I really don’t have time to play games. Personally, I would rather read my book than swipe on the E train every morning."—Chris Dunlap
Vegetarians will want to avert their eyes for this one. Sizzl was a dating app that matched bacon-loving singles based on how they like their breakfast meat cooked… and not much else.
Who it’s best for: Backed by Oscar Mayer, Sizzl was best for singles with a sense of humor (and a love of bacon). Unfortunately, while real, the Sizzl app was just a summer fling and is no longer available for download.