For all their downsides (of which there are plenty), dating apps have made it way easier to meet new people. Just a few years ago,
couples who met online were sheepish about proclaiming their humble internet beginnings, but now it’s become the norm. In fact, a 2020 report from the Pew Research Center found that three out of every 10 Americans have used a dating app or site, and nearly 40% of online daters are in a committed relationship with someone they’ve met on the internet. If you’re ready to get back in the ol’ dating saddle and hoping to make a real-deal connection with someone, experts shared the best dating apps to try in 2022.
Kimberly Hill, international dating and relationship coach, dating apps are still a “fantastic” way to meet potential romantic partners today, and there are three reasons why. For one, you can meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet through your social circle. Two, you can move at a pace you’re comfortable with before meeting up in person. Three, you’ll end up with more dates, which ups your chances of finding someone you connect with.
“Finding the right person is a unique journey for everyone,” Hill says. “While we can get introduced to new people through our
existing social circles and workplaces, dating apps extend this even further. By using dating apps, you're going to meet and match with more people, helping in your search for finding that special someone.”
With that, here are the best 2022 dating apps for anyone who’s looking to fall in love.
Best For Local Options: Tinder Pros: Easy setup and use, free version available, find matches based on location, several subscription tiers to choose from Cons: Limited features on free version, heavily appearance-based swiping
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since 2012, you’re probably familiar with
Tinder. Tinder is a dating app that gives you a ton of options local to you. If you like someone, you can swipe right to indicate your interest. Once a match is made, you can start messaging back and forth. “It's simple, easy to use, and doesn't filter based on height, education, race, or religion,” Hill says.
Plus, so many people use Tinder. It’s been downloaded over 430 million times since it was first launched, and more people equals more potential dates. The app is completely free to use, but there are also three additional subscription tiers to choose from: Tinder Plus at $4.99 for a one month subscription, Tinder Gold at $14.99, and Tinder Platinum at $19.99.
Best For Building Chemistry: Hinge Pros: Free version available, easy conversations starters, in-app “date from home” feature, video prompts for virtual dates, “most compatible” feature Cons: Only 10 profile “likes” per day with the free version, Hinge Preferred paid monthly is on the pricier side Hinge is the dating app that was “designed to be deleted.” In the Hinge app, daters are given prompts to answer, so you can get a good idea of what their personality is like. These prompts are also great conversation starters once a match is made, since you have more information to go off of than you do on an app like Tinder.
“It recently updated its software to include
voice prompts, which allow users to be creative in explaining what a great first date would look like, or making you laugh with a funny joke,” she says. “Building chemistry is important, and hearing someone's voice can do just that.” Like Tinder, the free version of the app lets you connect with people just fine, but Hinge also offers a premium version for $29.99 for one month, $19.99 per month when you sign up for three, or $14.99 a month for six — their best deal. Hinge Preferred comes with extra perks the free version doesn’t have, like unlimited likes and profile priority. Best For Lesbian & LGBTQ+ Daters: HER Pros: Free version available, geared toward deeper connections, much easier to find LGBTQ+ singles than other apps Cons: Some users complain that getting matches is difficult without a subscription, people who are attracted to cis men too will need to use multiple apps HER is the most popular queer dating app with eight million users, and was made by and for lesbian and queer women. It’s part dating app, part social network. You can view profiles, send likes, make matches, and send messages. You can also use the app to make new friends or talk about issues that are important to you. HER also hosts parties and events in 15 cities including Los Angeles, New York, and London so users can meet people in person. You can download and use the app for free, or take advantage of the nice (but not necessary) additional features and filters of HER Premium for $14.99 for one month, $59.99 for six, or $89.99 for 12. Best For Women To Make The First Move: Bumble Pros: Women won’t get messages from people they’re uninterested in, free version available, there’s a friendship version and business version of the app as well Cons: Matches expire in 24 hours, not great for women uncomfortable with messaging first Bumble is the dating app where women (in a heterosexual match) make the first move once a match is made. They have 24 hours to send a message or else the match will expire. As of January 2021, Bumble has over 42 million active monthly users, so it’s a great alternative to Tinder in terms of the size of the dating pool. It’s ideal for anyone who’s confident and has no problem taking the lead.
“Women are given the responsibility to reach out first, which is a refreshing change for most men,” Hill says. “Just make sure you're not someone who [only] checks the app once in a while or you'll miss out on possible great matches.”
If you’re looking to
make new friends around your area, Bumble has a BFF option available as well. “I personally meet one of my closest friends on Bumble, so it was absolutely worth it,” Hill says. If anything, you can bond over your dating app experiences.
Aside from the free version, you can opt to subscribe to Bumble Boost for $18.99 for one month, $39.99 for three, or $59.99 for six; or Bumble Premium for $29.99 for one month, or $59.99 for three, or $99.99 for six. It’s spendy, but the upgraded accounts do offer a ton of additional features and perks, like unlimited swiping and extra time on your matches.
Best For Compatibility: Match Pros: Successful algorithm for finding compatible matches, free version available, in-app video chats, access to dating experts Cons: Expensive premium version Match has been around since 1995, so it’s kind of the OG when it comes to dating apps. Users are asked to answer a number of questions about themselves and their preferences. The Match algorithm will then present you with people who might be a good match based on your responses.
If you’re dating to find a
serious relationship, Match is definitely worth trying due to its lengthy vetting process. “It works by showing you people who are also looking for the same likes and personality traits, but this comes with a cost,” Hill says. A standard three-month plan will cost about $31.99 per month, and you have the ability to see and respond to messages, see who’s viewed and liked you, stand out with a Super Like, attend Match Events, and more. Best For Black Daters: BLK Pros: Affordable premium subscription, free version available, large user base Cons: Some complaints of spam profiles and design issues BLK, which first launched in 2017, is part of the Match Group that includes Tinder, Hinge, and OK Cupid. It’s currently the biggest dating app for Black singles with nearly six million downloads, and its mission is to “bring Black people together to spark meaningful connections.” Using the app is simple enough. All you have to do is scroll through a personalized list of profiles, and slide right to give the person a “Yeah” or left to give them a “Nah.” If you make a match, you can start messaging right away. If you want to upgrade to a premium membership, you’ll get access to features like rewinding on profiles to get a second look and sending five “Really Likes” per day. While there is a free version, the paid subscriptions start at a comparably lower price than other dating apps at just $9.99 per month. Best For Meeting IRL: Thursday Pros: Meet people in person, free version available, dates are consistently held on Thursdays only Cons: Only available in London and NYC, app is only open for limited hours
If you’re feeling
dating app burnout, Thursday might be the platform for you. Every Thursday, the app will present you with options of daters who are available to go out later that day. It’s all in an effort to reduce small talk and increase the amount of dates that actually happen. You can download and use the app for free or pay a $14.99 monthly fee for the VIP membership. Sameera Sullivan, matchmaker and dating expert, says Thursday is a good solution for daters who haven’t previously had success with other forms of online dating. “I get a lot of clients complaining about an inability to connect with anyone, and usually it boils down to dating app burnout,” Sullivan says. “Currently, this app is only available in a few cities, but the developers are aiming to expand it.” If you live in London or NYC, this is an app you should definitely try out. Best For Parents: Stir Pros: Easily match with other single parents, free version available Cons: Paid versions can be pricey Stir is a dating app from the Match Group that was created for single parents. You start by creating a profile that allows you to showcase a bit of your personality. The app asks you a series of questions like “At social event, you tend to…”, “It’s Sunday morning and I’m…”, or “Your guilty go-to pleasure is…” It then asks more personal questions related to dating with kids such as, “When will you introduce your partner to your kids?” and whether you’d be open to having kids with a new partner.
Like other Match group dating apps, Stir is easy to use. You’re presented with some options where you can tap the heart icon to “like” someone or click “X” to move on to the next. Once you make a match, you can start messaging. The app also has premium features not available on the free version, including profile boosts and the ability to see who likes you so you can make instant matches. Pricing varies from a Standard subscription for $39.99 a month to a six-month Premium subscription for $119.99. Since the app is new, you won’t get the same amount of people as you would on other apps. But it’s definitely worth giving a shot if you’re looking for singles who are in the same boat as you.
Best AI: HILY Pros: Connect across the globe or locally, AI helps find compatible matches Cons: Some complaints of a complicated interface, can be confusing to cancel subscription HILY is another Tinder-like dating app where you can scroll through profiles of daters near you. In addition to photos, you can include fun, short videos to showcase more of your personality. It also offers ice breakers to help get the conversation going, and a compatibility test to see if you and someone you’re interested in would be a good match. “HILY is the future of dating apps because they use AI to find you the most compatible partners,” Sullivan says. “The app uses information about your preferences and in-app activity to suggest dates. Also, it comes with video calling and streaming features to complete your e-date!” When you download the app, you’ll start off with their seven-day free trial, then the plans start at $29.99 per month. Best For Latinx Daters: Chispa Pros: Easily meet other Latinx daters, free version available, affordable paid plans Cons: Small user base, some reports of crashes and bugs Chispa, another dating app that’s part of the Match Group, is the largest dating app for Latinx singles. It was created to be a community where singles can “find meaningful connections with people who share similar likes and interests.” The app will present you with a series of profiles of people local to you. All you have to do is slide right or click on the heart icon to “like” someone, or slide left if you’re not interested. You can use the app for free, but there is also a subscription option starting at $9.99 per month. Best For Double Dates: Fourplay Pros: Less pressure with double dating, free to use Cons: Only available in NYC
First dates are supposed to be a fun way to see if you click with the person you’re out with. However, they can get a little awkward if the
chemistry’s not there. That’s where Fourplay comes in. Fourplay is a dating app where singles can go on double dates with their other single friends. You can create unlimited “dating teams,” and all four people have to give a thumbs up in order to make a match. Once everyone’s on board, you can then decide on where you want to meet up on the app. Fourplay is ideal for someone with a single friend or two who are also looking to have fun and meet people. Best Astrology-Based Dating App: Stars Align Pros: Match based on your astrological compatibility, free version available Cons: Very small pool of users
If you’re really into astrology and want to find a match that’s compatible with your birth chart,
Stars Align is a dating app you may want to try in 2022. It uses an astrology-based algorithm to match daters by their birth charts. It also has a “Red Flag” feature that can alert you to potential “astrological conflicts” within two birth charts such as intense sexual chemistry, predicted chaos, and ego clashes. If anything, you can meet new people who are just as into astrology as you are. Use the free version called Sirius, or upgrade to Galaxy for $29.99 per month. Best For Muslim Daters: Muzmatch Pros: Large user base, users are verified, in-app video and voice calling, free version available Cons: Free version has a lot of ads, users have to pay for bonus features Muzmatch is a dating and marriage app for Muslims who are serious about finding a relationship. It’s the biggest community for single Muslims with four million members in 190 countries. The app is very simple and straightforward. Once you create a profile, it’ll present you with some compatible profiles and ones that match your preferences. If you’re interested, you press the heart icon, and if you’re not, press the X. Once a match is made, you can start messaging back and forth. Muzmatch also has a free video calling feature where you can chat with your match before deciding to give them your actual number. There’s a free version of the app, as well as a subscription available for $19.52 per month offering extra features. Best Video-Based Dating App: The Sauce Pros: Quickly get to know someone’s personality with video profiles, student filter mode, each match plants a tree, completely free to use Cons: Not great for introverts The Sauce was created to make “dating less dry.” Previously called Qemistry, The Sauce is an app that features video-based profiles, giving you a chance to see what someone’s personality is, what their voice sounds like, and how they might act on a date before you meet in person.
This is a great app for people who are creative and aren’t shy about putting themselves out there. It’s pretty easy to use; all you have to do is like and comment on profiles to start messaging with someone you’re interested in. You also have the option to filter profiles based on gender, location, and age.
Whether you’re looking to meet new people within a specific community or to cast the widest net possible, there’s a 2022 dating app out there that’s perfect for you.
Sources: Sameera Sullivan , matchmaker and dating expert Kimberly Hill , international dating and relationship coach
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This article was originally published on
November 30, 2021