Love can be a swipe away—just ask some of these Over The Moon couples who first met online. The hard part is really just a matter of deciding where to start. With so many options to choose from—there’s Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, The League, Hinge, just to name a few—the online dating experience can feel overwhelming and exhausting. Do you pledge loyalty to one app or play the field and have three different profiles at once? Whether you are just starting to dip a toe into the online world of relationships or still deciding which one is best for you, below our take on today’s top dating apps.
Launched in 2012, this is the app that started the swipe movement. Tinder is probably the most widely used app for meeting people, which means there are plenty of fish in the online sea; however, whether all of those people are 1) real, 2) looking for something other than a casual hookup, or 3) well-mannered enough to make sure you get home safe, is a gamble in its own right. Expect to find all walks of life on Tinder: people you went to high school with (if you’re in your hometown), men dodging their girlfriends, people who don’t know what they want and didn’t know where to start, and people on vacation. It is not impossible to start a real, long-term relationship from swiping right on Tinder, but it is rare.
With three pillars (Date, Bizz, and BFF), Bumble has evolved into the networking and friendship spheres. Released in 2014 by Tinder co-founder, Whitney Wolfe (FYI, check out her Amalfi Coast wedding extravaganza here), the app flips the age-old standard that men need to make the first move by making it only possible for women to reach out first. (In the case of non-heterosexual swiping, either person can initiate the conversation.) With great marketing and college campus ambassadors, Bumble has been rumored to have more attractive people, and it also has a better track record with personal safety than its older counterpart. Also, as of last year, Bumble banned its 30 million and counting users from posting photos of knives or guns (unless the users are in a uniform where guns are used), plus the app has a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech and inappropriate sexual content.
With the tagline, “Designed to be Deleted,” Hinge is about relationships and going on dates. What makes this app different is that users create a detailed profile, where they divulge such personal things like if they ever want kids, smoking habits, religious beliefs, and more. Each user can then tailor their settings to only see people with specific answers. However, Hinge also provides fun prompts to answer, which allows scrollers (there is no swiping here) to read into potential date personalities way more. Some prompts include questions like, “What’s your ideal Sunday?” and “What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve done?” The people on this app are more into finding something less hookup-centered, even though that can never be completely avoided. Users can also mark the people who they’ve already gone on a date with to keep track because it can get hard remembering all of them, am I right?
I mean this in the nicest possible way: The League is the most pretentious dating app out there. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. You have to connect your LinkedIn, so it’s nice to have a second level of accountability. However, users can filter potential matches by education status, so this is as close as you can get to asking, “How successful are you?” or “What did you get on your SATs?” without coming across as intrusive. You end up on a waiting list for a period that can vary from three days to three months. There is also the option to pay to speed up entry and receive small perks within the app. As for who’s on it? A lot of finance people. There are also groups like “Yacht Week” and “Brits in NYC” that aim to get people together online and IRL with meet-ups and events. Another favorite aspect of The League is the concierge. If you have a bad date, you can literally chat with a millennial/bot who is there to make sure you have the best experience.
From the media brand Betches, Ship lets your friends swipe for you too! If you’re in a relationship, but still miss swiping, or love seeing your friends matched up, then you can get an account that only allows you to browse for others. Teal is for taken and purple is for single. Once a profile is created, you invite friends to join your crew, where you can share profiles of possible dates, chat, and see who your friends have chosen for you. This app was just released last month, so out of all the ones listed here, this one has the least amount of users, but as time goes on that should even out.
The dating app for the famous, Raya is where celebrities do the swiping. (Demi Lovato, Drew Barrymore, and Cara Delevingne have all been spotted online). Like The League, you have to apply to be accepted, but unlike The League and more like fashion week parties, only eight percent of applicants are approved out of a rumored 100,000 pool of potential users. There is also a $7.99 per month charge for using Raya, but if you’re one of the lucky ones to get accepted, that really shouldn’t be an issue.