The Best Dating Apps for 2022

Whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship or a quick booty call, there’s a dating app for everyone. From the hyper-specific—FarmersOnly, JDate, 3Fun—to the general ones we review here that cast wider nets, there are many, many options. A dating app that only works on Thursday? What a concept! Many even have special video services they’ve introduced specifically to deal with dating in a post-COVID world, as we’ll explain below.

With so many choices, how can you find your perfect, loving match? We’ve gathered our choices for the best dating apps here. Read on for our top picks, followed by everything you need to know about online dating.

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More About Our Picks

Best for Long-Term Relationships

Bottom Line:

With its easy-to-use interface and detail-rich profiles, Match makes it clear why it’s one of the most enduring dating apps. This is the service to try if you’re looking for long-term love.

Pros

  • Robust, vetted profiles
  • Intuitive interface
  • Excellent filtering tool
  • Video chat
  • Features that specifically target longer relationships

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Profile approval isn’t instant

Why We Picked It

Match makes it smooth and easy to form virtual connections. Rich and robust profiles, not just hot photos, let you know if someone is worth your time before you start talking. Thanks to the Vibe Check feature, potential partners already in a conversation can also begin a live video chat session if they both agree. 

Who It’s For

Match is for anyone looking for love. It is a premium dating app that offers a premium experience. It wants you to truly get to know a person, and judge your compatibility, before potentially entering a serious relationship. It’s the Editors’ Choice pick for finding lasting love.

Read Our Match Review

Best for Casual Dating

Bottom Line:

Tinder is the fun, easy-to-use dating app if you want to have a good time…right now.

Pros

  • Simple, modern interface
  • Swiping feature is addictive
  • Free to use the basic app
  • Video chat

Cons

  • Geared more toward hookups than relationships
  • Lots of incremental ways to spend money

Why We Picked It

Tinder’s young, online-oriented users are no strangers to forming virtual connections. It innovated the “hot or not” mobile interface now used by almost all other dating apps. Once swiping gets old, Tinder’s video chat app, Face and Face, lets consenting partners start talking and get real.

Who It’s For

Tinder is for finding love right now, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Who knows? While some hookups stay casual, others may blossom into something more. Tinder is the Editors’ Choice pick for quick, young romance that favors the physical.

Read Our Tinder Review

Best for Gamers

Bottom Line:

Kippo lets gamers and geeks express their passions and attract romantic partners through a stylish, mobile dating app that doubles as a full-blown social hub.

Pros

  • Stylish futuristic aesthetic
  • Profiles let you express geeky interests
  • Affordable premium version
  • Fascinating arcade social space

Cons

  • Only audio chat
  • No web version

Why We Picked It

A gamer-focused dating app potentially sounds like a bad idea, but Kippo pulls it off with execution worthy of an Editors’ Choice pick. You can customize your stylish profile to highlight your geeky interests, and enjoy premium features for affordable prices.

Who It’s For

Kippo’s smart design and clever features make it a welcoming haven for nerds in search of love. Its shared social space features, where you can hang out online with other people and play games together, also makes it a gentle way to try out the “metaverse.”

Read Our Kippo Review

Best for Woman-First Dating

Bottom Line:

Bumble is the dating app for women who want to be empowered, and men who want to let women make the first move.

Pros

  • Excellent privacy and safety features
  • Robust free version
  • Fun and inclusive interface
  • Video chat

Cons

  • Profiles less meaty than other apps’
  • Superfluous friend-finder and business-networking options

Why We Picked It

Bumble empowers its most vulnerable users to send the first message when looking for dates, knowing that they won’t get unsolicited messages in return. Bumble also offers many ways to communicate beyond text. You can send audio notes, add a Virtual Dating Badge to your profile, and begin a video chat when you’re ready.

Who It’s For

Bumble is for women and nonbinary folks who don’t want cis men to have all the power in online dating. It flips the script on who controls the flow of the conversation, as men can only talk to people who have already expressed interest. In an unbalanced world, Bumble helps make things a bit more fair.

Read Our Bumble Review

Best for Beautiful Profiles

Bottom Line:

Hinge lets you build beautiful profiles, participate in video chats, and interact with potential partners in a fun, flirty fashion.

Pros

  • Robust profiles
  • Multiple ways to like profiles
  • Great interplay between photos and text
  • Video chat and voice recordings

Cons

  • Very limited likes for free users
  • No desktop version

Why We Picked It

Hinge’s attractive, elaborate profiles give you a good sense of what a person’s about, and provide multiple ways to engage with their interests. Take it further through video chat. Use the “Dating From Home” menu to start video calls, and get intimate with audio recordings that answer Hinge’s creative icebreaker prompts.

Who It’s For

Hinge strikes an excellent balance for people looking for something between the youthful immediacy of modern dating apps and the deeper dives you want when looking for a stronger connection. Hinge’s profiles do it all, and look beautiful while doing it.

Read Our Hinge Review

Best for Thoughtful Questions

Bottom Line:

With its data-driven matches and inclusive ecosystem, OkCupid is a great alternative to the swipe-if-they’re-hot hookup apps.

Pros

  • Most of the app can be used for free
  • Robust profiles
  • Inclusive identification options for gender and sexual identities

Cons

  • Search function sometimes returns errant results
  • Free interface serves ads and may invite casual browsers
  • No video chat

Why We Picked It

Dating apps let us learn so much more information about a potential partner than we ever could from a random conversation at a bar. OkCupid’s wide range of questions, from fun tidbits to serious dealbreakers, make your messages that much more informed and your romantic success that much more likely.

Who It’s For

OkCupid is for people who want to choose how much they put out there. You can answer as many questions as you want to give the algorithm more data to work with, but you pick what you will and won’t answer. It feels empowering rather than overwhelming.

Read Our OkCupid Review

Best for Test Takers

Bottom Line:

A solid, if pricey, dating app for anyone looking for long-term love, eharmony lets data drive its matches rather than just photos.

Pros

  • Robust privacy and security features
  • Thorough profile-building process
  • No in-app transactions
  • Video dating

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Basic features locked behind paywall
  • Sign-up survey can be daunting

Why We Picked It

Eharmony is a somewhat old-fashioned dating service. For example, it was a little slow to add same-sex options. However, with modern features like video dating alongside the classic questionnaire, eharmony has stayed current without giving up what already works. 

Who It’s For

Eharmony is for people who want to date through data. Its extensive questionnaire uses more than 100 questions to take in as much useful information about you as possible. It then uses that data to find matches that are truly compatible in the long term.

Read Our eharmony Review

Best for Facebook Users

Bottom Line:

If you can get over the idea of sharing even more of your life (and your data) with Facebook, Facebook Dating is a solid choice that takes good advantage of its enormous ecosystem.

Pros

  • Rich profiles are easy to build
  • Connects with Instagram and other Facebook services
  • Information not shared on public Facebook
  • Completely free

Cons

  • No desktop version
  • No built-in video chat
  • Requires Facebook account

Why We Picked It

A dating app can have all the features in the world, but it won’t matter if it has no users. As the world’s biggest social network, Facebook has nearly three billion users, and a lot of them are probably looking for love. Facebook Dating uses your Facebook/Instagram data to build a profile and connect you to other users for free. Don’t worry, none of this will be revealed on your main feed.

Who It’s For

We don’t blame you if you want to keep Facebook far away from your dating life. However, if you’re interested in leveraging the massive social media to help you find romance, Facebook Dating offers a platform no other app can match. 

Read Our Facebook Dating Review

Best for Messaging Without Limits

Bottom Line:

Plenty of Fish is the dating app for singles who don’t want to dip too far into their wallets to make a connection.

Pros

  • Very few messaging limits
  • Simple onboarding
  • Lots of prompts to send quality messages
  • Live streaming

Cons

  • Free messaging could mean more spam users
  • Can’t link outside accounts like Instagram or Spotify

Why We Picked It

Plenty of Fish (POF) puts few obstacles between you and whoever you want to message in its vast dating ocean. It suggests prompts to improve your messages, too. You can even live stream yourself, to your date or to the whole POF community. 

Who It’s For

Plenty of Fish is a good dating app, especially for free users. While the low barrier to entry may invite a lot of spam (or folks not worth dating), ultimately you want a large pool to choose from, and the service delivers just that.

Read Our POF (Plenty of Fish) Review


Which Dating Apps Are Totally Free?

The first thing you need to decide is your commitment level. As in, how much do you want to pay to make your heart go pitter-patter? Some apps, like Plenty of Fish, let you view profiles and send messages for free. Most of the others let you view your potential matches without charging you a penny, but they make you pony up and subscribe if you want to actually reach out to them without limits—especially if the interest is one-sided. While the monthly charges for the apps we review here range in price from $10 to more than $40, most offer a discount if you commit to a long-term subscription, such as six months or a year. (You’re not afraid of commitment, are you?) 

Then there are all the add-ons. Options—for example, letting you pay to boost your ranking in search results, letting someone know that you are really, really interested in them, or undoing a dreaded left-swipe that was supposed to be a right-swipe—cost you extra. Although some apps may advertise themselves as free, they all try to get a buck from you in the end. Only Facebook Dating is totally free, and that’s only if you don’t consider your existing personal Facebook profile data to be currency.

Facebook Dating interface


(Credit: Facebook)


How to Make the Best Dating App Profile

When it comes time to put yourself out there and create a profile, all apps ask for the basics: name, age, location, a photo, a short blurb about yourself, and (usually) if you can stand a person who smokes. Beyond that, it can be a bit of a crapshoot. For example, Tinder values photos over personality. Eharmony makes you fill out an endless questionnaire before you can even think about browsing for your match. Still, Zoosk and other similar apps ask so little that you’re left to wonder what’s being used to match you with like-minded love-seekers.

If you don’t fall into the cis-hetero dating pool, you’ll be happy to know that most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive. Even eharmony finally embraced same-gender couples. However, some are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. Other apps target identities beyond gender and sexuality. For example, Kippo’s nerd-friendly features attract gamers, Vinylly connects matches people through a shared love of music, and SilverSingles reskins EliteSingles for a senior audience.

Bumble search


(Credit: Bumble)


Finding Matches

Once you pick that perfect selfie and write paragraphs to sell all your best attributes to your future digital Valentine, it’s time to start browsing. This is where the significant differences between these apps are apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous hot-or-not swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble, on the other hand, puts all the power in women’s hands; men can’t even contact a woman unless she’s first expressed interest. Others, such as Match and OkCupid, have robust profiles that let you dive deep into a user’s personality (or at least the one they decided to present to you), before you decide to go on the pursuit. Hinge lets users create profiles that are a beautiful blend of visuals and text.

Now that you’ve perused the dating pool and have your eyes on that special someone, it’s time to bite the bullet and actually reach out to them. Each app offers different ways of showing your interest. Match lets you Wink at a fellow member for free, and Plenty of Fish doesn’t charge for messaging. In most dating apps, messaging is typically free when both users like each other. However, free users only get so many likes per day, with Hinge being especially limited. In other instances, you’ll get charged for reaching out. If you’re not ready to express your feelings in words, Bumble lets you send Bumble Coins to prospective matches, for $2 a pop. Zoosk lets you buy coins to anonymously browse profiles, as well as reward anyone who views your own profile (for an additional fee, of course). 

Hinge like and premium


(Credit: Hinge)


Staying Safe

All of these services, even the decades-old Match, offer both iPhone apps and Android apps. Most also have desktop counterparts for when you’re at work and want to take a break from your spreadsheet to set up a weekend tryst. Just be aware that the functionality can vary substantially between the app and desktop interfaces. For example, there’s no swiping on Tinder’s browser version. Facebook Dating and Hinge are only available as mobile apps.

Once you’ve installed these apps and signed up for the services, get ready for a barrage of notifications and email. Some, like daily match suggestions, are helpful, while others, like alerts that tell you every new “like” you get, can just be annoying. The good thing is you can easily tweak these alerts by drilling down into the settings menus in each of the apps.

Any activity that involves meeting strangers from the internet carries some safety risks. If you find yourself in a toxic situation and need to cut off contact, all of these apps let you block and report users who haven’t taken the hint. These services try to vet their profiles and keep unwanted inappropriate material from appearing. Bumble blurs nudes with AI. Tinder lets you secretly alert emergency services if you’re on a particularly bad date. There are even third-party solutions. UrSafe(Opens in a new window) is a hands-free, voice-activated personal safety app with features for online daters who are looking to meet up with their matches in-person. Not having to use your hands is especially appealing during a viral pandemic, which brings us to our next section.

PCMag Logo How to go on a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19’s Impact on Dating Apps

In case dating wasn’t difficult enough, our social lives were upended by the COVID-19 epidemic. Ideally, online dating should lead to meeting up in real life. However, sometimes the responsible thing to do is to stay home, and that created quite a dilemma for dating apps. Fairytrail(Opens in a new window), a dating app for connecting via shared travel destination dreams, saw a bittersweet increase in use. Similarly, Zoosk’s Great Dates feature lets couples virtually tour exciting locales safely at home.

Recommended by Our Editors

The most straightforward virtual dating solution is video chatting, which lets you at least see each other face to face instead of just texting. Bumble, Clover, eharmony, Hinge, Match, Plenty of Fish, and Tinder all offer video chat. Apps with more specific target audiences are also adopting this feature, including the mobile-only Muslim dating app Muzmatch(Opens in a new window). Snack(Opens in a new window) introduces TikTok-style video functionality to dating profiles.

Even apps without video chat acknowledge the crisis in their own ways. OkCupid added personality questions about how you’re coping with the pandemic. Facebook Dating users can choose to use other Facebook communications apps, such as Messenger or the experimental Tuned and Sparked, apps specifically for quarantined couples and speed dating, respectively. Kippo created an entire online shared social space, a “metaverse,” where matches can connect and play games while communicating over audio chat.

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Which Dating App Should You Use?

Dating is hard work, so we did some of the legwork for you by taking a deep dive into 10 of the most popular apps. We weren’t popular enough to get into The League(Opens in a new window), the dating app for celebrities. Everyone’s needs and wants are different, so not every app will be a great fit for you. Match and Tinder are both Editors’ Choice picks because they excel in their respective lanes: lasting relationships and fast hookups. Other apps have strengths, too, and you can learn more by reading our in-depth reviews. If things don’t work out, we have a handy list of the best breakup apps, too.

For more on dating, check out: How I Ended Up in a Tinder Ad CampaignMatch vs. Tinder: Which Dating Service Deserves Your Everlasting Love?, Best Hookup Apps(Opens in a new window), and Caught in a Sham Romance: How to Spot Online Dating Scams.

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