COVID did a number on all of us. Isolated in our homes, with so many places shuttered, these past two years have meant that meeting others to date has been almost impossible. While online dating services have been around for years, their use has skyrocketed. And they have become much more sophisticated in terms of technology and what they offer.
Even as the pandemic subsides, many have found that online dating apps are still a great way to look for matches, no matter what they may be seeking – casual dating and hookups or more serious long-term relationships.
If you’re “game,” here are five top dating apps you may want to look at. They are all a bit different, but you will get good info and see the pros and cons.
Plenty of Fish
Here is a very early dating site/app, launched in 2003. While other dating apps were charging by subscription, POF offered a free option. It has grown to the current use of about 3 million a day, in 20 countries and 11 languages.
While its technology is not as sophisticated as others, POF relies on people setting up conversations with each other.
Registration is easy. Users answer a series of questions to set up their profiles and can limit matches by demographics, geography, and more. One big plus is that POF lets its users identify the type of relationship they are looking for – casual dating or a more serious long-term relationship. This user-friendly approach has contributed to POF’s popularity, positioning it among the best websites for casual hookups.
With the free version, users are able to engage in free messaging, get matches for their profiles, set up a favorites list, send voice messages, and participate in discussion forums.
The premium version offers more options, such as uploading as many as 16 photos or participating in a “Meet Me” feature.
Among the pros of POF, the free version offers good matching, focusing on users having conversations with each other to determine compatibility, as opposed to just swiping back and forth.
If there are cons, they include a lack of sophisticated technology and the possibility of getting inappropriate messages. Users need to report these because those accounts will be deleted.
Here is a dating app that, at first, looks like just so many others. There is one big difference. On Bumble, the power is all in the hands of the female users. They must initiate the interactions with their possible matches. The app is a publicly-traded company worth billions today. It boasts as many as 94,000 new users every day.
Users who sign up on Bumble can verify their identity via several options but this is not required. They then set up their profiles and short bios, with as many as 6 photos, and then set up matching preferences. If users have a tough time creating a bio, there are writing pros who can help with it. When a female user is given a match, she has 24 hours to initiate a conversation,
The app is free, but if a user wants to set up additional filters, the premium version is required. These filters are far more detailed and allow more accurate matches.
Among the pros of Bumble are the huge number of users, and, for a woman, control over what matches she considers. There are also video chats that serve to “verify” the truth of profiles. The biggest con is that there are plenty of fake profiles since verification is not required.
For members of the LGBTQ+ community, Taimi is the largest dating app in the world, serving only this community. Currently, there are 11.5 million registered users all over the globe.
Users can download the app and start for free. They set up a very detailed profile, and the “high-tech” algorithm immediately goes to work to present the best matches. Users then swipe right or left to accept or reject. In their profiles, users state their specific gender identity and what they are looking for in a match.
A big pro for Taimi is the size of its user database. If you visit Taimi and begin to see the number of matches you get, you will quickly see how streamlined the process is and the accuracy of matches. And given that it is present in 138 countries, being matched with someone close by is easy. The other pro is the filter for the type of relationship users want. There are also lots of other resources – a social networking feature, for example.
The only con with Taimi is its huge database. Users are likely to get more matches than they can go through in a short period of time.
Adult Friend Finder (AFF)
If you normally go to bars for hookups, AFF is a good alternative. It is definitely for singles who are not serious about dating or serious relationships. In fact, if you just access this app, you’ll see that things are a bit “R” rated.
But this website meets a need or want that many singles have and sports an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Launched in 1996, AFF is now the largest online swingers/sex dating site – over 100 million users.
AFF is open to any adult, of any sexual orientation. Users register, set up a profile, describe what they are looking for, and add photos as an option. The app does not automatically match its users. Once in the system, users conduct their own searches. The app gives them a “compatibility score” with any person they select. There are more questions for greater detail.
Among the pros of AFF, users can join group discussions, and live cam with other members. But there are cons – the monthly fee for premium versions is pricey. And the website itself is ancient – it needs to be re-designed to add a “classier” look.
This is a dating app reserved for career professionals who are interested in finding serious relationships with other career singles.
Users register and respond to a series of questions, standard at first but then becoming much more complex and probing about your personality. Registrants are also given situations and asked how they would respond. Once this is completed, new users are fully vetted before they are “matched.”
A limited number of matches are offered for free, but additional features require the premium version. Any premium version requires a 3-month subscription. The average age of users is between the ages of 33 – 50, so Gen Zer’s should avoid the site.
There are some clear pros. All users are looking for serious relationships, vetting is strong, and, once users finish the lengthy questionnaire, they get a free personality profile. The app functions well on all phones and Siri and Alexa. Some of the cons might include the lengthy amount of time to get through the whole registration process. Users are given 5-7 matches each day, no more. And in comparison to many other apps, it is pricey.
You Have Variety
These are five very different online dating apps. And that’s the point. Online dating has something for everyone – choose one that looks right for you.