Once you understand the “Rules of the Road “for online dating, you’re now ready to pick up your car, aka download dating apps. Like cars, there is a wide range of dating apps to choose from, with each having a distinct vibe and intended use. As noted in Forbes, there are over 8,000 dating services worldwide with 2500 based in the U.S. alone!
As in real life in which people vary as to what they are looking for in a potential mate, each dating app is designed to find compatibility of certain criteria. For example, some may match by interests, age, religion, ethnicity, and/or type of relationship desired.
In selecting which app to choose, ask yourself:
- What criteria is most important to you?
- What is your acceptable age range?
- How much time does the app consume?
- What type of dating relationship do you want- casual, long term, sexual, etc.?
Finally, browse through the different dating apps to see whether it feels comfortable and has a positive vibe.
Based upon extensive research, Cocktail Chatter has broken the dating apps into three categories: (1) Popular Apps for the 40+, (2) Popular Apps in General, and (3) Popular Specialty Apps:
Popular Dating Apps for the 40+: Based upon a number of sources, these dating apps cater to the more mature age group. In this article, you’ll also find some lesser known dating sites geared for the 40+ crowd.
- Match: One of the first dating apps, Match.com has one of the largest number of 40+ members, and has over 39.7 Million visits per month. Easy to set up, Match will send you matches based upon your profile and stated preferences such as age, height, body type, ethnicity, interests, hobbies, political views, education, faith, background values, and even whether you like pets. A total of 26 pictures are allowed, and photos from Facebook may be imported. Click this link if you’d like to see a very insightful interview with the CEO of The Match Group, Mandy Ginsberg.
- EHarmony: With over 20% of its users being 50+ (majority of members are 30-55 years old), Eharmony is one of the earliest and successful dating apps; it has over 4.1 Million visits per month. After completing your profile and a detailed questionnaire called “The 29 Dimensions of Compatibility”, EHarmony will send users matches. What’s unique to EHarmony is that it will suggest questions to help users complete their profile. It also provides suggested icebreakers for first dates. The primary differences between Match.com and EHarmony is that EHarmony is designed for those who want a long-term relationship versus Match.com which is open to casual, short term and long-term relationships. EHarmony does not support LBGT profiles. Click here for an excellent comparison between Match.com and EHarmony.
- Silver Singles: Although Silver Singles is not as large as other dating apps with 800,000 visits per month and a higher ratio of female members (59%) versus males (41%), Silver Singles is a good app for those 50+ years because it serves exclusively this age group. It is meant for the highly educated, commitment-oriented 50+ single. Silver Singles is a sister site to Elite Singles which is aimed for busy professionals who want a serious relationship. Its focus is quality over quantity. For a more in-depth look at Silver Singles, here’s an excellent primer.
- Our Time: Created by Match.com, Our Time is much larger than Silver Singles with over 8.9 Million visits per month. Like Silver Singles, Our Time is geared for the 50+ (anyone over 18 years can join). Its members are diverse in terms of location, sexual orientation, religion, education, appearance and ethnicity. When talking about dating apps primarily aimed at the 50+, Silver Singles and Our Time are the most popular ones with satisfied members. Click this link for an in-depth comparison of Silver Singles and Our Time.
- OkCupid: With over 50 Million users since its launch (5 Million active members), Okcupid is one of the most popular dating apps for all ages with a large pool of 40+. Okcupid does have a long profile that requires a potential member to answer questions, giving both your answers, and what you’d like your potential matches answer to be. From the profile, Okcupid will create a percentile score that reflects your compatibility with potential matches. OkCupid also allows members to link its Instagram account. Click here for an in-depth look by Mashable on OkCupid.
- Senior Match: With over 260,000 members in the U.S. and 10,000 active hits per week, Senior Match has been a trusted site for not only dating but also friendship, traveling buddies, and more. For 50+ women, Senior Match offers a favorable gender ratio with 60% being male and 40% female. Senior Match has no app and must be accessed only through its website. So, for those 40+ who are tech-phobic, this may be the way to go. If you want to read reviews of Senior Match, please hit this link.
- Love Again: With over 80% of its 555,0000 members being 40+, Love Again offers great dating tools such as automatically generated match suggestions, basic search, advanced search, numerous chat room options, and the ability to add photos and videos. Love Again likes to think of itself as a “community for friendship, companionship and love”. Two other nice features are that they verify all profiles and offer an informational blog. Hit this link if you want a more in-depth review of Love Again.
- Plenty of Fish: Touting itself as the largest dating site with 150 Million registered users (4 Million active users) and averaging about 1 billion messages each month, Plenty of Fish (called POF by members) tends to attract online daters who are looking for long term relationships. One unique feature of POF is its use of the “Relationship Chemistry Predictor which asks a variety of questions and measures one’s Self-Confidence, Family Orientation, Social Dependency/Openness, and Easygoingness. Because POF doesn’t charge for sending messages, it attracts an international clientele. Learn more about POF by reading this review.
- Zoosk: With over 35 Million members, Zoosk aims to provide the most possible matches through “Behavioral Matchmaking” Technology which operates more like algorithms use in sites like Amazon. This technology vastly differs from that used in traditional dating apps like Match.com or eHarmony which seek to match members based on their responses to lengthy questionnaires. Instead of matches based upon questionnaires, Zoosk’s technology will track what you search for and what you click on, and then recommend things that are similar or related to them. The result is that Zoosk’s focus is not necessarily finding long term relationships for its members, but to provide the most amount of dating options as possible. To learn more about Zoosk, read this Mashable article and get the “10 Tips You Should Know Before Signing up on Zoosk” in this article.
Popular Dating Apps in General: If you feel young at heart and don’t necessarily want to limit yourself to dating apps geared towards the 40+, then check these dating apps out.
- Tinder: The original “swiping app” in which members swipe right to “like” someone, a match is made on Tinder when both members have swiped right on each other. From there, a “liked” person can contact the other one. Tinder is popular with all ages, from college coeds to 40+ women. Although it’s often known as the “hookup” app, Tinder has produced its fair share of relationships and marriage. Want to try Tinder? Learn more by reading this review.
- Match: As one of the earliest popular dating apps, Match is the granddaddy of the dating apps and claims to have the most love matches made of any dating app. Match is an easy, safe way for singles to try out a dating app. In addition to their original dating app Match, the Match Group owns other popular dating apps Tinder, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Our Time (largest 50+ dating app), Meetic (for French and European singles), and Pair (biggest dating app in Japan). In addition, The Match group has a ton of lesser-known brands such as PetPeopleMeet (devoted to single pet lovers) and LDSPlanet (focused on Mormons). The Match Group is part of IAC, a Dallas-based company, is expanding into Latin America, Japan, South Korea and India to tap what it estimates is a market of 600 million singles.
- Bumble: Known as the “feminist app”, Bumble is one of the fastest growing dating apps and is giving Tinder a run for its money. Launched in early 2018, Bumble racked up over 1 Million members in eleven months. Like Tinder, Bumble uses the swipe method for matching. But the big distinction is that it is the woman, not a man (in same sex pairings, either one can initiate) who initiates contact within 24 hours of a match. In many respects, Bumble is more than a dating app as explained in this post. If you’re ready to try Bumble, this article will help you setup your account and give pointers to surely make you a successful Bumble-bee!
- Ok Cupid: OkCupid shows up in many “best of dating apps” articles. This is probably due to its diverse membership. Unlike Tinder or Bumble, OkCupid uses member’s responses to a wide range of questions to make matches based upon shared values and interests. One fun fact OkCupid claims is that it has the most New York Times Wedding section mentions over other apps.
- Happn: Happn is a dating app that focuses on location-based matching. Using GPS technology, Happn will show its members people they’ve crossed paths with (literally!). Riffing about the romantic notion of destiny (think Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”), Happn will notify you of another user who may have been at the same café as you, or on the street near you, or at the same party. Some people find this fun; others may feel it’s kind of creepy. Either way, Happn will never let the proverbial “two ships passing through the night” ever happen (no pun intended) again. To get the ins and outs of this location-based app, read this article.
- Coffee Meets Bagel: As its name implies, Coffee Meets Bagel takes on a decidedly low key, less intimidating vibe with its wholesomely morning routine. It takes a more personal approach by providing lead prompts like “I am….” And “I like…” to its profile. One unique and oh, so cutesy thing is that members receive matches that Coffee Meets Bagel sends every day at noon. Ahh, this may be the perfect app for coffee lovers. If the idea of meeting partners with a dating app that is low key appeals to you, read more about Coffee Meets Bagel in this review.
- Hinge: With its motto being “Designed to be Deleted”, members love Hinge for the meaningful conversations and connections that flourish on this app. Rather than using the swipe method, Hinge uses prompts like “The key to my heart is…” to assist its users in writing their bios. Users can “like” or comment on individual profile photos and prompt answers. From there, the “liked member” can initiate a conversation. One of the knocks of Hinge is that there may be limited potential matches a day. Want to try geocaching a mate, sharpen up your tools with this article.
Popular Specialty Dating Apps by Category:
Best Elite Dating Apps: For those singles who prefer to be a little bit more discriminating in their potential mates, there are a number of dating apps catering to them. These dating apps generally offer intelligent, well-educated singles with a college degree who are relationship-oriented daters. For those singles who view dating as their investment into the future, take a look at the following dating apps.
- Elite Singles: As its name implies, Elite Singles strives to match its members with other high-powered educated professionals. It claims that over 80% of its members hold a bachelor’s, master’s and/or doctorate degree. Using an in-depth 200 question Personality Test and a Secure Fraud Detection System, Elite Singles has established itself as the crème de la crème. For a more comprehensive review of Elite Singles, read this The DatingAdvice.com article.
- The League: The League requires potential members to submit an application to have an account which may take several months to get accepted. As its name suggests, the goal of this dating app is to find someone in your “League”. Unlike other dating apps but which makes sense for an app like The League, its members can connect their LinkedIn account (as well as Facebook account). So, for those singles who prefer a more exclusive club with the opportunity to meet upper crust partners, you may be in the same league as The League!
- Raya: By most experts and singles in the online dating arena, Raya is considered to be the most elite of all dating apps usually populated by celebrities and influencers. Raya does not factor in location at all because well, of course, its members can jet set to meet their matches! Most users of Raya have at least a few thousand Instagram followers, and for their celebrity clientele, Raya has a no-screenshot policy ensuring privacy of its members. Raya will also synch your profile to a song of your choice, reminiscent of the long defunct Myspace social networking platform (RIP). For the unintimidated who think they can meet Raya’s cattle call, Raya may just be your ticket to a life of Robin Leach’s “The Rich and Famous” and high-powered hobnobbing. Get an inside look into the invite only dating App Raya in Harper’s Bazaar article.
- The Inner Circle: Started as an A-List for European citizens, The Inner Circle became so popular that it began its United States Chapter in 2017. Within its first three months in the U.S., The Inner Circle had over 32,000 sign-ups in New York City and Los Angeles. With over 1 million members, The Inner Circle is a fast growing dating app that carefully vets its applicants to ensure a membership of highly educated, upper mobile users. Read this article to learn more about The Inner Circle.
Best Queer Friendly Dating Apps: In this modern era in which there has been an explosion of non-traditional gender and sexuality groups, dating companies catering to these groups have sprung up. Since it is difficult for this community to meet partners through “real” life (many queer individuals remain underground or lack groups catering to them), online dating is particularly popular in the LGBTQ+ community which allows members to be themselves. Listed below are a few of the popular dating apps for queer, sexual and gender fluid singles.
- Grindr: Grindr is probably the most known dating app for gays. Used primarily by gay men, Grindr helps single gay men find other men within their immediate vicinity to match, or rather should I say “hookup”. Although Grindr has been a popular app for some time, it was recently bought over by a Chinese company which has The Verge writing about whether Grindr has become a national security issue. Wow, foreign influence is not only affecting global monetary and political markets, but also the online dating world!
- Her: As a dating app for queer women (from lesbians to queers, bois, to femmes, trans to fluid, and everyone in between), Her is more than a dating app. It’s a social community for woman in the queer community. To dive deeper into Her, check this review.
- Chappy: As Bumble’s brother app, Chappy aims to be Grindr’s opposite by being a relationship-oriented app for gay men. Chappy works exactly like Bumble, except that anyone of a “match” can initiate a conversation. Read more about Chappy in this article by TechCrunch.
- Match: Match is not only popular in the general dating populace, but also in the queer community. It claims to have over 1 Million lesbian women in their community. Over the years, Match.com has been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and has facilitated many same sex relationships. It also has a global database of singles to help this community find a sense of belonging and love.
- Ok Cupid: Although OkCupid has been around awhile, it has a strikingly liberal vibe. It not only caters to the LGBTQ+, but also to many non-binary profile options (you can choose 13 Orientations and 22 Gender Identities). It also one of the few dating apps to bravely mix politics with dating by letting users get badges that show support for their favorite organizations like the ACLU or Planned Parenthood.
As you can see, there is no shortage of digital dating ways to meet potential dates, friends, and like communities. So, why wait…Pick up your favorite device and start dating away!
****Cocktail Chatterers, what is your favorite dating app? ****
Let us know in the comments below