Looking for love? Or just some casual fun? We have rounded up the best dating apps available to help you meet the right match (or matches) on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year.
Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, which means you will be seeing shops filled with heart-shaped cards, expensive flowers, posh chocolates and cute teddy bears. But what do you do when you are single with nobody to love? Sit at home and cry into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? No, you pick yourself up off the ground and you drag your eyeballs across our guide to the best dating apps to help get you back in the game. It is never too late, after all.
Tinder (Android, iOS)
Even if you have never used it, you will have probably heard of Tinder – it’s all the rage, as the 10 billion matches it has created show. The app lets you find singles (or people claiming to be single, naughty) around your current location. Once connected via Facebook, all you have to do is swipe left to ‘dislike’ someone’s profile picture or swipe right to ‘like’ it. If the person likes you back, you can message each other – and who knows where that might lead? There have been claims we have reached ‘peak Tinder’ and complaints about matches never replying are plentiful, but success can still be had. Be warned that you will need to subscribe to Tinder Plus to get the most out of it, which costs US$9.99 a month.
Best for: Impatient types
Bumble (Android, iOS)
Bumble is a bit like Tinder, which makes sense because it was created by one of the co-founders of Tinder. The major difference is that only the ladies can talk first when matched, so it is up to them to initiate a chat within 24 hours. It is possible to extend this window of opportunity, but that will cost you. Though some may dislike the way it works, the end result tends to help weed out the really worst blokes, especially as pornographic images are prohibited.
Best for: Ladies who are more serious about matches
Coffee meets Bagel (Android, iOS)
Even if you dislike coffee (no one dislikes bagels), the Coffee meets Bagel app is a good one for dating. Basically, you get one bagel per day, which is another word for a potential profile match. You then get to decide if you want to pass or like said match over a 24-hour period. Two likes let you chat to each other, anything else means you both pass. Chats last up to eight days so there is a focus on making something happen sooner rather than later. It is possible to include an ‘ice breaker’ in your profile, which is sent as part of your bagel sent to other users, as well as a lot of other profile data information to help you stand out and/or find the qualities you want in a potential mate.
Best for: Those who want more time to mull over a match
OkCupid (Android, iOS)
OKCupid matches you up with people through a complicated ‘match percentages’ algorithm. Singletons answer a series of questions, at which point the service will crunch the numbers and match you with like-minded users. All questions have multiple choice answers, with each rated according to their level of importance, from irrelevant to mandatory. It’s pretty cold and clinical method of finding love, but it can work. And if it works, does it really matter how you got there?
Best for: Geeks and existing OKCupid users
Grindr (Android, iOS)
This app is for gay, bi, or curious men looking for a relationship, friendship or a casual fling. It has millions of users and its exclusivity means users will wast no time wondering if a guy is straight or not. Also you can meet guys on the go, with your mobile device’s location-based services showing you all the guys who are the closest to you.
Best for: Gay, bi, or curious men looking for fun
EHarmony (Android, iOS)
Unlike some apps, which match users for casual hookups based on a person’s looks, eHarmony claims to help you find deeper, more meaning relationships with people you’d actually want to settle down with. It promotes ‘quality dates’ and matches you with people based on character, intelligence, sense of humour, values, belief and your views on marriage and children (perhaps avoid mentioning the last two on a first date). If you are looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with and not just a quick, ultimately regrettable fumble in the nearest toilet, then this app could be for you. Just expect to part with some money to get anything from it.
Best for: Hopeless romantics (willing to spend money on apps)
Moonit (Android, iOS)
This ‘flirting’ app uses your astrological sign to help you make connections. Once you’ve found someone you’re interested in, you can send them a ‘flirt’ request and, if they accept, you will both receive your compatibility results as a conversation starter. Unlike some services, which just match star signs, Moonit claims to analyse your actual birth dates for a more accurate match, giving you a compatibility score as a percentage. Contains in-app purchases.
Best for: People who believe in fairies
Plenty of Fish (Android, iOS)
The POF Free Dating App, as it is now known, uses a ‘relationship chemistry predictor’ to measure the ‘five broad dimensions of personality that are essential for building a romantic relationship’. Users also get a ‘relationship needs assessment’ that calculates a person’s requirements from the opposite sex, giving you an action plan of questions you need to ask potential mates. It even claims to do a psychological assessment that works out what you really want versus what you say you want.
Best for: Those who are unlucky in love
Ashley Madison (Android, iOS)
This app is a bit naughty because it is for people looking to start affairs. The slogan, for instance, is ‘Life is short, have an affair’. Before getting started, you have to select what kind of affair you are looking for, whether you are a single looking for an attached, or vica versa. It also asks you to select what kind of sex you prefer, and asks you to describe your ideal partner. So that you don’t risk getting caught, you can also have ‘keys’ to your profile, and give these out to people who you trust to access your full information. It also requires a PIN for entry, and can provide a private phone line for explicit chats that you don’t want anyone else to see. Great in theory until you remember a lot of personal details were hacked, making it less anonymous than advertised.
Best for: Cheaters
Blendr (Android, iOS)
Blendr is similar to Tinder and Grindr in that it uses your location and Facebook profile to find people, but it is not specifically geared towards those looking for instant gratification. It takes a more traditional approach to matching users, although its does also feature an ‘encounters’ setting that lets you cycle through nearby people — but you will have to pay a subscription fee for ‘super powers’ that give you that privilege.
Best for: Daters between 20-30 years old
UniformDating (Android, iOS)
This app is perfect for people who have a fetish for people in uniform. So if you’re a policeman looking for a nurse, or a traffic warden who wants to hook up with an air hostess then you might want to give this a go.
Best for: Those with a fetish for uniform
The Grade (Android, iOS)
Though it seems relatively few people use this app, the idea is fantastic. Basically, users are rated on their behaviour and if you fail to raise yourself above an F, well, you are booted from the app. Getting a grade, ranging from A+ to F, is done by looking at your profile, peer review and messaging. Sent a nasty message? That will cause harm to your grade. Unfortunately the user-interface is awful and there are various other issues, but it may be worth a look.
Best for: Getting a rating for your dating