Once upon a time, we had to rely on good old luck, wit, and charm to find love. Today, it’s a little easier to woo potential partners without putting ourselves out there, out there. Thanks to the ever-evolving landscape of dating and technology, finding love or a quick fling is as simple as downloading a dating app.
Dating apps give you the rare opportunity to connect with hundreds of people you wouldn’t have known otherwise while also allowing you to explore your sexuality and find out what you want in a partner. Yes, that includes potentially connecting with hundreds of people you’d rather not have known, but we still think that the pros can outweigh the cons in a lot of cases.
Statista predicts that the online dating audience will grow to 53.3 million by 2025, a leap from 44.2 million users in 2020. It’s also becoming more and more common to meet serious, long-term partners on apps. From a 2022 survey, the Pew Research Center found that out of the nearly 6,000 respondents they heard from, one in 10 partnered adults (those who were married, in a long-term relationship, or living together) met through a dating app.
Which dating apps actually work?
With so many dating apps out there, it’s easy to feel confused or overwhelmed by the options. While Match Group (Tinder, Match, Archer, OkCupid, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, and The League, among others) continues to dominate the market, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one brand when looking for the best dating app.
How to stay safe on dating apps
First Round’s On Me (FROME), for example, is a newer dating app that’s gained popularity for its date invitation feature. Choose a drink, date, time, and venue; the app will send a personalized invitation to your potential match. Once a date is confirmed, it’s locked into both users’ calendars, and the in-app chat feature is activated 12 hours before the date.
Other apps, like Pure and FetLife, cater to people open to ethical, non-monogamous relationships or threesomes. There really is something for everyone out there. There are even more traditional dating apps like eharmony, Facebook Dating (think Tinder Lite for your grandma), and Christian Mingle that swap endless scrolling for compatibility quizzes and faith-based connections.
The best dating apps of 2024
Finding the best dating app is purely subjective. To help you out, we’ve narrowed down some of the best dating apps of 2024 based on hands-on testing, customer reviews, overall functionality, availability (all are available on the App Store or Google Play), and user-friendliness:
How we tested
Our team gets hands-on with each dating app we vouch for. We create profiles, browse the user base, and see just how user-friendly the interface is while exposing which features are tucked behind paywalls.
We’re not shy about getting down to business — swiping, liking, and messaging our way through to grasp the user interface, matching algorithms, and overall app vibe.
We frequently test apps catering to the LGBTQ+ community and consider inclusivity a factor in our evaluation.
Every app on our list isn’t just there by chance. It’s been meticulously tested, not by bots, but by Mashable’s seasoned staff writers and freelance experts who eat, sleep, and breathe relationships. Why? Because we’re on a mission to help you find love, and we’re dead serious about ensuring your journey with our dating app recommendations is exceptional.