If you were to search for dating apps in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, you will be able to see a long list of options. In some regions, there is an even larger pool of single people who can be reached via Tinder, Bumble and the like. In our review, we have therefore found the five best apps for online dating. Here is an overview of them before we break them down in detail for you:
|Unlockable premium features||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Premium subscription||Tinder Gold
|Special features||Most users:inside||Women have priority in contacting||Only one profile is displayed daily||Livestreams||Lets you find random encounters again|
Since everyone wants to fall in love differently, I have highlighted a few special features of the various services. The focus is on heterosexual relationships, but most apps also offer the option to search for same-sex partners. In addition, there are a few tips for the LGBTQ community at the end.
- Tinder – The classic
- Bumble – Recommended for women
- Once – Take it easy
- Lovoo – Features a dating radar and live streams
- Happn – Matches flirts on the go on your phone
- Tips for the LGBTQ community
Let’s begin with the platform that is highly recommended for most singles!
Let’s begin with the app that made online dating on a mobile platform socially acceptable. Similar to Google, Tinder has grown so famous that it is now its own verb. “Tinder” works like this: You create an account, enter your name and upload a photo, and you’re basically good to go.
For setup, Tinder requires your smartphone number to which the account is tied. In addition, you will have to state your age and share your location. This is because Tinder searches for potential contacts around your vicinity. You can also specify the radius in which you want to search and the age range of your contacts.
Then it’s time to “swipe”: With a swipe to the right you show interest in the person shown, and with a swipe to the left, your disinterest. If both parties find each other to be mutually interested, they then have the option to write to each other. I like Tinder’s chat function alongside Bumble’s the best in this comparison. You can send GIFs and also make video calls.
Additionally, there are security tools that let you report contacts or break up matches, which is, of course, an attempt to counteract one of Tinder’s problems. Many people take advantage of the platform’s anonymity and the rather low bar of expectations. Female friends in particular have told me about the numerous crude pick-up lines and sometimes, their really unpleasant experiences. If this puts you off Tinder, there’s an interesting alternative – Bumble.
Briefly, however, I would like to point out a major drawback with Tinder – this app requests you to spend money on “Tinder Gold” rather often. The cost is rather high at $29.99 a month. The premium version lets you see which singles who have liked you, and other advantages include unlimited swiping, digital beaming to other cities, and additional “Super Likes”. Otherwise, you only have one of these per day at your disposal.
tl;dr: Tinder is the dating platform with the most users. What is actually an advantage, also ends up with many unpleasant people in the pool. Still, Tinder is fun if you’re a little careful and can resist the temptation to spend money on Tinder Gold.
The dating app Bumble shares many positive features with Tinder. Here, too, you will be able to find a wide range of users here depending on the region, and the principle is also very similar. Bumble has copied the “swiping” feature, and you can also create an account with your smartphone number, a picture, and a few other settings.
Bumble will ask you for some additional information at the beginning. You should enter your height, your zodiac sign and your political preference, for example, in order to provide potential partners with a better basis for making a decision. You can filter out these two characteristics in the settings for free – age and distance included, just like on Tinder.
The first difference with Bumble becomes apparent when you have your first match. Here, Bumble provides women with a higher priority and prohibits men from making contact. After the match, women have 24 hours to send a message, otherwise the match expires. Many women I’ve written to on Bumble particularly appreciate this feature in the app.
- Tip: In addition to Bumble dating, there are also “BFF” and “Bizz” modes for friends and professional contacts.
That way, you will not be surprised by unpleasant messages when you launch the app. However, this also creates more pressure if you don’t have that much time and don’t want to lose any matches. So Bumble can be quite time-consuming if you’re a woman who collects a lot of matches and doesn’t want to lose them.
Chatting works just as pleasantly on Bumble as it does on Tinder. Here, in addition to GIFs, there is also the option to send voice messages, play a question game, send pictures and begin a video chat.
Unfortunately, Bumble doesn’t get by without any in-app purchases either. Bumble Premium gives you the advantage of viewing likes, allowing you to place yourself under the “spotlight” to gain better visibility, and boosts to let you extend matches beyond 24 hours. A lifetime purchase costs a whopping $229.99, with a monthly fee of $39.99.
tl;dr: Bumble is my recommended dating app for women! Since men are banned from contacting women for matches, according to my Bumble matches, there is less chauvinistic stuff to bear than on Tinder. Unfortunately, Bumble also frequently suggests premium features to you and restricts some features if you do not do so.
If you spend just 10 minutes on Bumble or Tinder, you can easily swipe through 100 profiles. That can make you lose faith in the usefulness of these apps. After all, how well can you really decide in just a few seconds whether the person shown isn’t your dream partner after all? If this idea is repugnant to you, Once is something for you.
This is because Once shows you, as the name suggests, only one profile a day! The app claims to find more and more suitable partners for you through algorithms. To train this algorithm, you will have to fill your profile with content and can also assign star ratings to suggested profiles.
This concept at Once is refreshingly different, but naturally leads to a less rapid sense of accomplishment than Bumble and Tinder. In five days, I found all five profiles uninteresting, so I couldn’t make contact with another person through Once. So the app is rather more for the long haul, which might not be everybody’s cup of tea. This makes it impossible for me to arrive at a reasonable conclusion on how effective this app is.
What struck me as strongly negative: Once also regularly asks you to pay if you want to do more than just stick to the basic functions. Here, there are crowns to purchase, where 15 of them will cost you $19.99. In addition, there is a premium subscription known as “Once VIP”, which costs a hefty $29.99 per month.
tl;dr: “Once” offers a refreshing concept compared to Tinder and Bumble! However, the successes with one proposed profile a day remain a rather long shot. If that doesn’t bother you, you should give Once a try and urgently resist the temptation to pay enormous sums for the premium functions.
If you have ever dealt with dating apps, Lovoo will certainly catch your attention. Not the least because Lovoo once had quite a few problems with fake profiles in 2015. Back then, it was revealed that the platform itself was trying to lure users using fake profiles.
Fast forward a few years later, Lovoo shows itself as a modern Tinder alternative, in which there are some interesting features. If you make sure to only contact verified profiles, you can easily avoid the fake profile problem if it still exists six years down the road. Instead, Lovoo offers you two interesting features.
Basically, Lovoo follows the Tinder principle: Swiping, matching, texting – you know the drill. But in addition, you’ll also find a radar in the bottom bar that shows you the approximate location of nearby singles. What you use this feature for in the end is up to you, of course.
Lovoo also decided to offer live streams via the platform for some time already. During one test, I was able to see and hear a young man with a “Princess” cap smoking in front of the camera and singing songs by the band “Unheilig”. Well, the numerous viewers he garnered seem to indicate that they like it!
Is there anything negative about it? Of course, swiping remains limited on Lovoo and you’ll have to pay money for an expensive premium subscription here as well if you want to use additional features like “Best Picks” or a boost for more attention. As you could already guess: Lovoo Premium costs $12.99 per month!
tl;dr: Lovoo is another Tinder alternative that brings two fun new elements to the dating app world. However, it comes with the same big minus point as all the other offerings: There are simply too many features hidden behind too high a cost.
Last but not least, I find the app “Happn” to be rather exciting. It targets precisely those contacts that you happen to have while you’re out and about. If your eyes suddenly get caught in someone else’s while you’re out walking, but there’s no contact between them, you might find the person again on Happn.
The principle is somewhat reminiscent of the coronavirus contact tracing apps. Happn uses your location to record which other user you have walked past. You can then find these contacts again and get in touch with them.
The whole thing happens, as with almost all dating apps, via a like system and contact only happens when both contacts have liked each other. So you don’t have to worry about suddenly having 1,000 messages on your smartphone after a walk in your finest threads.
Of course, Happn recommends you share your location permanently. Privacy comes to an end relatively quickly, and that is certainly the app’s major drawback. On top of that, there’s also a premium version here that gives you features like “Flash Notes” to attract more attention, achieve more precise differentiation by criteria, and unlimited likes. At $24.99 per month, the cost is also quite high here.
tl;dr: The principle of Happn is pretty cool – unfortunately, you have to give up quite a bit of your privacy to use it. The principle of the app is to meet random contacts on the go. Of course, you will have to share your location.
So far, when it comes to dating apps, I’ve focused on offerings that match my own dating desires. I’m a man looking for women, and that’s not the case for everyone by a long shot. Although Tinder, Bumble, Lovoo, Once and Happn, for example, also offer same-sex matches, there are still a few alternatives here that I haven’t checked out:
- Grindr: Most popular dating app for gay, bisexual and curious men (Android / iOS).
- Lex: Dating app specifically for queer, lesbian, trans and non-binary people (Android / iOS)
- Hornet: Another alternative for men seeking men (Android / iOS).
- Scruff: Well-known app where LGBTQ events are also shared. Sponsor of the series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Android / iOS).
- Taimi: Another alternative for LGBTQ+ (Android / iOS).
As mentioned above, I haven’t tried any of these apps because I don’t feel like I am a part of the LGBTQ community. However, if you have experience with any of the apps, feel free to let me know in the comments! Then also feel free to let us know whether we should write a separate article for the dating apps that focus on the LGBTQ+ community.
As with any of our best lists, the focus remains on trying out the different offerings. So, we just didn’t just look for metrics such as user numbers or star ratings in the app store, but the number of times the app has been downloaded, created a profile, and made a few new contacts. Of course, we focused on the app’s usability, functionality, and general impression.
This list is in no way intended to reflect which app we liked the most in terms of potential partners. Our preferences are just as individual as yours, so it’s best to try out where you like the singles and the settings best.
As a platform to offer a bird’s eye view, we try to show alternatives in this list that break away from the well-known Tinder concept a little. If you have any other recommendations for us, please let us know in the comments.
Probably none of our app best lists deals with such a sensitive topic as this list. Dating apps can be a lot of fun and lead to very nice relationships. At the same time, however, they also have the potential to make users unhappy. Because while the apps propagate finding the great love of their lives, they actually pursue a different interest.
This becomes clear at the latest when functions can only be found in super-expensive subscriptions. The fact that people’s happiness is being traded for money leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So, you should always be aware that your success in dating apps does not necessarily depend on you. There are too many variables that you simply cannot influence and remain out of your hand.
On top of all of this, dating apps are a moderately serious privacy disaster. Just to sign up alone, you already have to enter your phone number, your own picture, your email address, and your date of birth. The whole thing is then linked to the permanent availability of your location. So you give up a lot in your search for love. On the one hand, this makes the apps a bit safer, but on the other hand, it is difficult to understand what exactly happens with the data.
For this comparison, I signed up with about 10 dating apps. Even though I’m not married yet, I’ll definitely be more vigilant about phishing and spam emails in the coming weeks. I wonder if it was worth it? Let’s wait and see!