While each dating app serves the same basic purpose, the user experience varies greatly from app to app. From Tinder to OkCupid, no two apps are exactly the same. Based on research published by Business Insider, I tested five of the most commonly downloaded dating apps to compare and contrast the features and user experience so that you don’t have to!
Sick of looking for love in all the wrong places? Save yourself a few hand cramps from endlessly swiping and use this guide to figure out which dating app is best suited for you.
Released in 2012, Tinder is a free, swipe-based dating application. There is a paid option within the app called Tinder Plus, allowing users more enhanced features such as setting a custom location, controlling what profile information is public and allowing you to ‘rewind’ your swipes if you think that left swipe may have been a mistake!
The gist of it: Tinder users swipe left or right on other users in hopes of making a match. If you’re swiping to the left, you’re following Beyoncé’s footsteps and kicking someone to the curb. Swiping right means you’re interested in the user. If they swipe right on you, too, you are able to privately message.
-Tinder must be connected to your Facebook. No Facebook? No swiping.
-Users can also link their Instagram accounts, allowing potential matches to see learn more about each other through images on the ‘gram.
-Tinder allows you to set a gender preference, age range preference and location preference. The app allows you to interact with users ages 18 to 55+ up to 100 miles away.
-Messaging may be started by either party and can be initiated with texts or GIFs, provided within the app… no images allowed!
-Can’t get a specific user out of your mind? Send them a Super Like! By Super Liking a user, they get an instant notification that you are interested in them and your profile is highlighted with a blue border in their stream of user options. Without Tinder Plus, users are limited to one Super Like a day – so use it wisely!
-In 2016, Tinder unveiled two new features: Recommend to a Friend and Tinder Social.
Tinder Social allows you to connect with friends who are also on Tinder and make a group. This group appears in a separate stream from those looking for individuals. If one member of each group swipes right, a group chat is activated. Tinder Social even allows you to set categories of going out, such as going to the bars, a sporting event or going to the gm.
The Recommend to a Friend feature allows users to send profiles to their friends on Tinder. Maybe you don’t think John Doe is your type, but he fits the description of your best friend’s dream mean… now you can send John Doe right to her profile! No need to frantically swipe until your friend can fine him in your feed, now you can play virtual cupid.
Released in 2014, Bumble has the most similar user experience to Tinder. What caused all the buzz around Bumble? On this app, women have control. While users still swipe left or right on one another, once a mutual match is made only the female user can initiate a message. Don’t hesitate for too long, though, because matches disappear if messaging isn’t initiated within 24 hours.
The gist of it: Bumble users are still swiping away, with the same left / right mechanism as Tinder. Once a match is activated, the female users must initiate messaging within 24 hours or your prince charming will buzz right out of your match queue. There is no paid version of Bumble, all services are free within the app. Buzzin’ on a budget? Give Bumble a try.
-Users must link their profile with a verified Facebook account.
-Only women can initiate messages, but start snapping those selfies because on Bumble, picture messaging is allowed.
-Bumble’s ‘backtrack’ feature allows users to get a rejected swipe back… it may not have been love at first sight, but backtrack can help you from having a missed connection.
-Users can set a custom age range from age 18 to 80+ and interact with users up to 100 miles away.
-Looking to dance the night away? Bumble allows users to connect their accounts with Spotify, so you can view their top artists.
–Bumble BFF: Trying to reach #squadgoals? Bumble has you covered. With the Bumble BFF feature, users can swipe on people simply looking for friends. This stream is separate from those on the app for romantic reasons. The best things in life are free… just like this feature on the app.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Released in 2012, Coffee Meets Bagel allows users (Coffee) to present additional information about themselves and use ‘coffee beans’ within the app to make connections with Bagels (matches). All analogies aside, the app takes privacy into consideration and hides the user’s name until you mutually match.
The gist of it: Coffee Meets Bagel strives to be a more exclusive dating experience. Users can view as many Bagels as they’d like, you can even ‘like’ the whole baker’s dozen, but each day at noon you’ll be delivered one Bagel that you can choose to initiate a conversation with, or wait another 24 hours to see what that day’s Bagel will bring. Matches are curated through Facebook friends and users only have 8 days to chat on the app.
-Users only receive one match a day. With this app, patience is a virtue. All matches are curated based on mutual Facebook friends.
-Along with other apps, users must connect with Facebook to verify their identity.
-While you swipe throughout Bagel options, users ‘Like’ or ‘Take’ a bagel of their liking. But don’t forget, even if you like a dozen bagels in a day, you’ll only get one bagel in return.
–Coffee beans are used as credits within the app. Beans can purchased and used to reveal additional information about users. The daily Bagel not your flavor? Use some beans to unlock another.
-Feeling chatty? Coffee Meets Bagel only allows private chatting for one week before making users take conversations to another venue, such as texting.
-User’s names are kept private until a mutual match is made. He may look like a Mark, but you’ll never know unless he’s your daily Bagel!
Launched in 2004 as a dating website, OkCupid put digital dating in the palm of your hand with the launch of its mobile app in 2009. Since OkCupid still operates as an independent website, no verification through other social media platforms like Facebook is required, although it is an option.
The gist of it: OkCupid uses more complex algorithms to present you with users you may be interested in ‘liking’. Users answer questions such as ‘Cats or Dogs?’, ‘Is smoking disgusting to you?’ and ‘Are you a morning or night person?’ while setting up their profile. Users are then presented with a grid of eligible matches and are even given a ‘Match %’ and ‘Enemy %’ on users.
-No swiping here! Double tap a user’s picture on your grid to express interest.
-He likes me…he likes me not. Well, unless you pay – you’ll never know. OkCupid allows free messaging within the app, but if a user is too shy to say hi you have to pay to see all of your likes.
-No match? No problem – messaging is enabled for all users. Unlike every other app on this list, OkCupid allows anyone to send you a message, regardless of if you have matched one another.
-Your love may not cost a thing, but a lot of features will. OkCupid can charge users up to $25/month for premium features, including being able to view your likes, be able to control the attractiveness of users who can view your profile and gain message priority so you bounce to the top of user’s inboxes.
-OkCupid’s grid can get a bit overwhelming. Instead of individually viewing users, they are all presented at once. Users can sort by users who were last online, those nearby, by a Match or Enemy % and other categories.
Released in 2014, Happn is a location-based application that allows users to see who they are closest to at all times. Originally launched in France, the app made its way to the UK and United States in the two years since its launch. Worried about missed connections? No need to worry about if that cute man walking his dog could have been your future beau – if you are both on Happn and cross paths throughout the day, you’ll see him again in your user feed!
The gist of it: Happn is strictly based on location. If you cross paths with a user throughout the day, they will appear in your user feed. Interested in someone on the app, but not sure where you saw them during the day ? Click a user’s profile to see a mapped coordinate of where you saw one another and you automatically have a (semi-creepy) icebreaker to kick off a conversation! Still feeling shy? Users can anonymously ‘like’ other users or pay for app credits and send ‘charms’ to a user you’d like to cross paths with again.
-It’s all about location, baby. There is an algorithm that only pulls in users you have physically been near throughout the day.
-Users are required to link Happn to a pre-existing Facebook account. Looking for someone you match with musically, as well? Happn allows users to show off their taste in music by linking their Happn and Spotify accounts.
-Looking to chat? Send a charm! Two users can only message each other if they have mutually sent charms, which cost a small fee and can be purchased within the Happn app.
-Users who you have crossed paths with stay in your feed for more than 24 hours, so you still have time to charm that cutie you saw walking out of Starbucks a few days ago! Simply scroll down in your feed, which is sorted chronologically.