If you’ve been online dating in the past few years, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of both Hinge and Bumble. One is known for putting women in control, while the other was “designed to be deleted.” Although there are truly limitless options when it comes to picking a dating app, these two stand out. Compared to other popular free apps, both Hinge and Bumble have a reputation for helping to forge actual relationships. But which one is right for you? According to experts and dating app users, there are pros and cons to both.
“Bumble is what Tinder users graduate to when they’re tired of one-night stands. Being that the functionality of the apps is so similar, this is a seamless transition,” dating coach and matchmaker, Emyli Lovz tells Bustle. “Hinge attracts users that are ready to delete their dating apps and find a long-term relationship. It’s become the go-to dating app for singles looking to find a serious romantic partner.”
Although they’re both relatively simple to use, they work very differently. With Bumble, users create a profile by adding photos, writing an About Me section and filling in Basic Info Badges like their height, zodiac sign, political affiliation, and more. There’s even an option for users to fill in prompts to let their personality shine a lot more in their profile. Once your bio is complete, you’re presented with a bunch of profiles that you can swipe through. If you make a match, women have 24 hours to make a first move (in heterosexual matches) and send a message. Otherwise, it expires.
With Hinge, daters start by filling out basic info like their name, birthday, location, pronouns and sexuality. They’re also asked for their preferred age range, maximum distance, ethnicity, religion, and more. Users then have the option to choose from a variety of prompts, including both written and voice-recorded responses. Unlike swipe-based apps like Bumble and Tinder, Hinge users typically rely on prompt responses to start a conversation.
Both apps are free, but they do offer paid features that can enhance your experience. To Talia Bombola, certified psychodynamic licensed marriage and family therapist, that can be a con for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the extra money.
“I had used apps on and off for over eight years and watched them all grow and change,” Bombola tells Bustle. “Dating apps now get a bad rap because the people you meet on the basic version are not usually an ideal match. It’s not until you upgrade that you start seeing more people who are a better fit, and even then, they limit how many you can like.”
You might be wondering which app is better for you, especially if you’re considering paying for the upgraded features, so here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each.
Should I Use Hinge?
On Hinge, users get 10 likes a day, which may sound like a downside, but Lovz disagrees. “I think limiting the number of likes deters users from indiscriminately doling them out, in turn making it more likely for users to match with someone they’re truly compatible with,” she says. Hinge also has an “anti-ghosting” feature called “Your Turn,” which reminds users to message a new match back. Hinge claims its implementation has reduced ghosting by 25 percent. It’s also a fun format that’s different from the basic swipe right or left, and it can be much more interactive.
“Hinge is great if you want to put minimal effort into dating apps, which could be for a number of reasons: maybe you're busy, or maybe you really value people who take the initiative to pursue you,” love coach Suzannah Weiss, tells Bustle. “You don't have to do any swiping on Hinge if you don't want to — you'll get notifications whenever someone likes or comments on something on your profile. Another thing that's different about Hinge is that you can start a message thread with anyone; you don't need to match first. So if you think your opening messages are where you shine, this could be an advantage for you.”
One of the biggest downsides to Hinge is the amount of users. “Hinge has nowhere near as many users as Tinder and Bumble,” Lovz says. While that doesn’t really say anything about the app’s quality, it may not be your go-to option if you live in a smaller city.
To really decide which app is right for you, give both a try for at least a week or two. You may find that one is surprisingly much better for you than the other or you may get lucky and connect with someone on your first go at it. You’ll never know until you try.
Should I Use Bumble?
Bumble is one of the most popular dating apps out there today. According to a 2021 Bloomberg report, Bumble had over 42 million active monthly users as of January 2021. According to Lovz, some pros of Bumble are its image-recognition AI technology, which can detect when a d*ck pick has been sent, she says. “It’s refreshing to have an application built for and by women that lives up to its nickname as ‘the feminist Tinder.’” Bumble also has Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz features, which allow you to take a break from dating, and match with potential friends or career mentors.
One of the biggest cons of using Bumble is the fact that women have to message first and within 24 hours (again, this only applies to heterosexual matches). If you’re on the shy side, this feature might be intimidating. “Connecting with someone online is difficult enough without having one party muffled,” Lovz says. “Luckily, Bumble tries to make starting conversations easier with Bumble questions, which users can select to start a conversation.”
According to Bombola, however, even shy gals shouldn’t be too unnerved by the task of breaking the ice; men on the app are pretty happy to have the pressure taken off them. “After talking to male friends and clients, [the format] takes the fear of rejection of shooting one’s shot off the table if they know a woman is interested,” Bombola says. “Then, they can take it from her initial message and be the lead.”
Overall, it’s probably worth trying out both apps for a few days to see how you feel. You never know — you could meet someone on Hinge that you really click with right away, or you may find that messaging first isn’t as intimidating as it seems once you’ve initiated some successful flirty chats on Bumble.
Emyli Lovz, dating coach and matchmaker
Talia Bombola, certified psychodynamic licensed marriage and family therapist
Suzannah Weiss, love coach