Top Free, Paid Mobile Dating Apps + Websites For Men, Women, Serious Relationships Based On Gender, Age, Preferences: Coffee Meets Bagel vs. Hinge vs. Bumble vs. Tinder
In 2019, there are countless online dating sites and with that obscure, niche sites that claim to specialize in specific demographics and interests: Farmer’s Only, eHarmony (the first marriage focused dating app), Lumen (Dating Over 50), J-Date (Jewish Singles), Zoosk (not sure who uses this or why), The League (“professionals, with acceptance and matches based on LinkedIn and Facebook profiles”) and so on and so forth. For those that are new to online dating it can be daunting task to figure out which dating sites and apps to use.
10 years ago, OkCupid and Match.com were safe bets with enough market share that you could safely use the sites and not worry about not having enough profiles to explore. Dating apps then were straightforward – create a profile, upload photos, write a bio, browse profiles, message said person and ask them out on a date. These days, users are segmented across more apps than ever before which dilutes the user bases across all apps.
Unfortunately apps and technology companies like UberEats and Amazon have altered the mindset of all consumers thinking they can get exactly what they want with a few swipes and clicks (read this post about the dystopian state of dating in San Francisco). However, dating apps are not like food-ordering or other shopping apps, they are merely introduction apps.
Dating apps should not be expected to screen users, filter out creeps nor weed out hook-up focused individuals – nothing will nor should replace the due diligence and social skills needed to analyze people and profiles, ask questions, be patient and meet in person.
No dating app is perfect but there are some great dating apps out there if you know how to approach them, know which photos are effective, know how to write a bio and have realistic expectations based on your own looks, education, height, age and location. Below are my favorite mature dating apps right now that I recommend most to clients:
Bumble not only has a great female to male ratio of users on the site, there is verification process that other apps do not have and that is in the photo verification process of the registration process. Users must take a photo of themselves in the pose that is requested and user profiles are reviewed.
The other reason I like this dating app is that women no longer have to worry about getting messages from unwanted profiles. You decide which profiles you like and only those are allowed to match with you. If you don’t like a profile, they cannot message you. The trade-off here are that women need to send the first message to matches to engage in conversation – additionally the window to do so before matches expire is 24 hours. Many women I know hate this part of the app but some like the control here.
Recommended Demographics: 27-45, bigger U.S. cities.
For tips on photos, prompts, first messages and how to reply to messages, check out my Bumble blog posts here: https://eddie-hernandez.com/category/dating-apps/bumble/
Hinge Dating App
Hinge is perhaps my favorite dating app at the moment given it’s non-swipe focus (requires you to tap vs swipe) but also because of the quality of users. This dating app requires 6 photos which is great at eliminating profiles without enough photos and also provides excellent prompt possibilities facilitating conversations.
The biggest con about this dating app is that it is extremely buggy. There is a lot of confusion on whether likes and messages were sent and received as well as profiles appearing too much or if they ever will again if you accidentally mark no.
The other complaint is with profile bans and creating new accounts or using different login methods. If you lose phones, use a phone number you don’t have access to, have different info on Facebook than is actually true, your account might be flagged. Also, if you try to re-create your account to often in an attempt to game the system so your new profile is shown to more people, your profile can be banned or at least penalized and shown to fewer users possibly.
Don’t be creepy, don’t try to game the system, don’t lie about yourself and don’t lose access to your phone, email or Facebook account and you will be ok.
Additional Reading: Best Hinge Prompts / Questions – https://eddie-hernandez.com/best-hinge-questions/
Recommended Demographics: 23-45, bigger for U.S. cities
Coffee Meets Bagel Dating App
CMB is a great dating app for relationship focused users. It throttles the number of profiles shown and thus requires more review and time to analyze profiles before you. There are profiles served to you based on your demographics as well as search function as well.
The whole concept of beans and currency is confusing and a bit immature (as you can see in their strong demographics of millennials) but it is popular among 20 and 30 year old in the U.S.
Recommended Demographics: 23-35, bigger U.S. cities. A strong Asian community of users is on this dating app, perhaps more than any other.
For additional tips and insight into CMB: https://eddie-hernandez.com/category/coffee-meets-bagel/
OkCupid Dating Website
OkCupid is one of the older kids on the block and sometimes overlooked. It is still a solid app for introverts, quirky folks, polyamorous invididuals, open-relationships, throuples, shy people, people who lead alternative lifestyles, non-monogamous folks, and people who are a little more expressive than the character limits allow on sites like Tinder.
Other Dating Apps To Consider
In addition to these apps listed above, there are several other apps worth considering. The League which requires a review process claims to have 25% of Jewish users on its platform. This is a great alternative to J-Date and J-Swipe.
–>The best Jewish dating apps: https://eddie-hernandez.com/the-best-dating-apps-for-jewish-singles/
Match.com despite its current lawsuits and investigations is still popular among late 30s-60s year olds primarily because of its desktop option. A paid subscription is required to read and send messages but at least you can browse all profiles at once and see if its worth spending time and money on.
For additional tips, advice using Match.com: https://eddie-hernandez.com/category/match-com/
Lumen is the latest dating app marketed at the 50+ crowds. It has gotten rave reviews but still a niche site and many users in their early 50s still use the other apps above but worth checking out. Farmers Only claims to have a 70% female demographic base on the site – you have to like that if you are a guy (most dating apps are made up of only 25-45% female users).
Tinder is mostly known for casual connections, sharing memes, witty banter, immature conversations and hookups but it is definitely quite possibly to meet a quality person for serious relationships on Tinder. In some remote areas or those that don’t embrace technology as much as SF or NYC, Tinder is the only app with traction among users. It’s also the most widely used app out there (based on accounts not necessarily on actual users). Some people who are new to dating apps will find Tinder at the top of search results and won’t think twice. Yes, it can be inefficient and frustrating but you can definitely find diamonds in the rough that are bombarded by creeps and welcome a breath of fresh air. More info on Tinder here: https://eddie-hernandez.com/tinder-dating-app-review/
Best Interracial Dating Apps
As I have mentioned countless times, niche apps are generally sketchy, gross, fetish-filled or scammers. With any app, you can see someone’s photo and swipe accordingly. No need to try an unproven app. Use the main ones and filter accordingly.
Top LGBT, Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Open Relationship, Non-Monogamous Dating Apps
My focus is on relationship focused individuals and those that are open about their intentions. With that said, apps like Grindr are geared toward hookups. Apps like Hinge are popular with Gay and Lesbian folks ever since Pete Buttiegieg found his husband on the app. Sites like OkCupid are popular among folks seeking open relationships, non-monogamous relationships, individuals who are bi-sesxual.
Which dating site, app is best for serious relationships?
There is no one best answer rather it is more dependent on you to analyze profiles, present yourself in a manner which reduces chances of unwanted attention and filter out people based on their communication skills, date ideas. With that said, Tinder is used for more casual relationships, hookups, tour guides, entertainment, banter etc. but that doesn’t mean you cannot find a significant other or spouse on the app.
Read this guide on how to identify red flags in dating profiles: https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-red-flags/
What are the best free dating sites?
Most dating sites are free but require a subscription or fee to send messages, use additional filters or view more profiles. You can have a good experience for free on apps like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble without paying for extra bells and whistles.
Coffee Meets Bagel is free but you will run out of free options sooner than later. You will have a better ROI if you invest in yourself, your photos, app choice, bio, communication skills, wardrobe, lifestyle, eductation, personality than any additional fee from any dating app.
Virtual Dating Apps
All apps are essentially virtual dating apps but more of the courting and getting to know you process is being done online. Read more about virtual dating here: https://eddie-hernandez.com/virtual-dating-and-video-dates/
Sketch Dating Apps & Website To Be Cautious Of
Any site or app that seems a little too specific should approached with caution. Sites like AdultFriendFrinder, ChristianMingle, MillionaireMatch, FarmersOnly, EliteSingles, SeekingArrangements are often associated with creepy and suspicious behavior. Adult Friend Frinder, Christian Mingle, Millionaire Match, Elite Singles, Seeking Arrangements, Farmers Only, Badoo, MeetMe may have decent or good ratings on app stores but those ratings can be bought easily.
Although these are my favorite dating apps with a focus on dating and relationships, these apps do not screen folks and some people are not always truthful about what they seek. It’s up to you to ask questions, be patient, evaluate dates and use good judgment. For additional dating tips, check out this post on how to stay safe when online dating. https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-safety-tips/
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
Dating Profile Critique
For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.
For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog for more helpful advice: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/
Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/
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