Best Dating Sites For 20 Somethings

Women's Dating

21 Best Dating Sites for 20-Somethings (Free to Try)

Amber Brooks
Amber Brooks Posted:
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When I turned 20, I felt like I had nothing but time to date and enjoy myself. Dating was just one of the many adventures in my life, and I wasn’t in a hurry to commit to anyone. Then I reached my mid-20s, established my career, and became more serious about finding a romantic partner — which means I joined a bunch of dating sites and apps.

Online dating gave me the chance to stay in my comfort zone and chat with 20-somethings who shared similar lifestyles and goals. I met a lot of singles and had many, well, interesting experiences until I found someone special enough to stop my swiping in its tracks.

Below, we’ve reviewed some of our favorite dating sites for 20-somethings seeking a romantic adventure of their own. All these platforms are totally free to try, so don’t hesitate to sign up and see what’s out there.

★★★★★
4.8/5.0

Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »

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Match launched over 25 years ago — before some of its users were even born — and it has been a love-oriented leader in the online dating world. This premium dating site (and its companion app) have gotten matchmaking down to a science.

Generations of singles have found their perfect match on Match.com, and you could be next. As long as you are honest, kind, and respectful, you’ll always have a place in the Match membership base, which includes millions of active profiles.

It’s free to join Match.com, and you can browse for dates in the Discover section or Search tab. If you see someone you like, go ahead and send a heart to get his or her attention. Only premium members can send unsolicited messages on Match, but free members can respond to certain messages in their inboxes.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “EliteSingles is a leading dating site just for busy, single professionals. More than 80% of members have earned a college degree, and most are looking for a serious commitment...” Full Review »

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When it comes to premium dating sites, EliteSingles is the cream of the crop. The majority of its members are well-educated, love-oriented, and high-earning professionals who just happen to be single.

EliteSingles uses an intelligent matchmaking system to inspire that instant chemistry that leads to a fulfilling relationship. Every month, it is responsible for introducing over 2,000 couples. You can adjust your Dating Preferences to help the dating site get it right and find the perfect match for you.

Because it’s a paid dating site, EliteSingles appeals to serious and genuine singles in their upper 20s or early 30s. These folks have a steady job and can afford to shell out a few dollars on a subscription plan.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “Accounting for 2% of U.S. marriages, eharmony's compatibility-based system and commitment-minded user base are ideal for those seeking a serious relationship...” Full Review »

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Again, eharmony is more of a relationship site than a dating site, so it works best for singles who are willing to invest their time and energy in a steady relationship.

Creating an eharmony profile can take less than five minutes if you’re just zipping through it, but our dating experts recommend thinking through your answers and completing the in-depth Compatibility Quiz to give yourself the best shot at meeting “The One.”

As a matchmaking service, eharmony stands out because it does all the searching for its members. Rather than throwing you into the deep end of an endless swiping pool, the site delivers a curated list of matches (complete with compatibility scores) for you to review. Free members can’t view photos, but they can read profiles, see the compatibility breakdown, and send likes or Icebreakers.

4. Zoosk

★★★★★
4.5/5.0

Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search and get match recommendations

Our Experts Say: “Zoosk is integrated with social media sites, like Facebook and Google+, so it's very popular with singles on the go...” Full Review »

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Since 2007, Zoosk has made a name for itself as one of the most popular and lively dating platforms in the world. The Zoosk database is active in over 80 countries and includes more than 35 million members.

Zoosk has a vast user base and a lot of communication options (many of which are free), so it’s easy to get your flirt on here. You can make your profile pop by adding pictures and videos, tagging your favorite movies, bands, books, and TV shows, and writing about your ideal date and perfect match. Zoosk moderators can also verify your photos and give you a Photo Verified badge to show you’re the real deal.

“When we both subscribed to Zoosk, we found each other almost immediately,” said Matthew in a Zoosk success story. “I never thought I would find my soul mate online, and I’m sure Mary would agree we are exactly that!”

★★★★
4.4/5.0

Relationships: Dates and Serious Relationships

Match System: Search by gender, age, education, more

Our Experts Say: “ChristianMingle is among the largest dating sites in the industry that only caters to single Christian men and women, and the site has some of the best search filters and safety features...” Full Review »

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ChristianMingle is a great resource for 20-somethings who are Christian, single, and ready to settle down. This dating site was designed to bring Christians together and create faith-driven marriages in the U.S. and abroad.

Since 2001, ChristianMingle has become one of the most recognizable names in the Christian dating community. Millions of singles have created dating profiles here, and you can sort them by online activity, distance, match percentage, or newness. According to a survey, only 55% of 20-somethings identify as Christian, so it’s worth using a niche dating site to find people who share your beliefs and values.

When you sign up for a free basic membership, make sure to fill out your Discovery Preferences with the gender, age range, location, religion, and relationship type you desire most. This helps the ChristianMingle match algorithm narrow things down and cater to your needs.

★★★★
4.1/5.0

Relationships: Deep Relationships or Just Casual Dates

Match System: Search by location, age, more

Our Experts Say: “BlackPeopleMeet.com is the one of the largest and most popular dating sites for black and biracial singles, and the site is used by more than 5 million people a month...” Full Review »

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BlackPeopleMeet does exactly what its name suggests and helps black people meet one another in a flirtatious setting. The niche site welcomes people of all creeds, religions, orientations, and backgrounds, and the majority of its users identify as black, biracial, or multiracial.

BlackPeopleMeet may strike 20-somethings as a bit old-school — it was founded in 2002 — but its time-tested features have proven effective year after year. Members can use Tokens to get extra features, including ranking higher in search results, and they can sign up for a monthly subscription plan to view flirts and read and reply to messages.

“The site is wonderful, and I met the guy for me,” said a BlackPeopleMeet member from Ohio. “The chemistry was unbelievable. We hit it off great, and I want to give it a chance.”

★★★★
3.9/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Chats

Match System: Search by encounter, location, and more

Our Experts Say: “BeNaughty is a premier hookup app where you can feel comfortable expressing your desires. Plus, it's free to join, browse, and flirt...” Full Review »

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BeNaughty is a hookup site where singles don’t have to hide their libido or feel ashamed of their kinks and fantasies. Everyone here is a little bit naughty and experimental.

Sex-driven singles can use BeNaughty as their flirtatious hunting ground, and it doesn’t cost a thing to send likes and messages to local hotties. If you’re really in a hurry to match with someone, you can even send a mass email to everyone who fits your search criteria for gender, age, location, body type, and appearance.

BeNaughty also has a Like Gallery where singles can quickly sort through potential dates by viewing photos and rating them “Cute” or “Not.” This is a great way to catch someone’s attention and create a mutual match.

★★★★
3.5/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “Make no mistake: this site isn't about making friends, it's about short-term "hookups" and affairs only. Note that a basic account costs $14.95/month, but it's well worth it if casual sex is your goal...”

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Feeling horny? Then Adult Friend Finder is the site for you. This free-wheeling hookup platform can connect you with attractive singles, couples, and groups who know how to rock your body right, as Backstreet Boys would say.

The AFF site supports the world’s largest sex and swinger community, and it is always hopping with activity. Members have uploaded over 98 million sexy photos, and hundreds of live video broadcasts (i.e. strip teases) can excite people’s imaginations. You can stay in the background and watch all the fun from the safety of home, or you can dive into the forums and chat rooms to find a sexy partner in your area.

AFF’s dating forums have hosted over 14 million group discussions about sex, love, relationships, and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for a threesome, a one-night stand, or just a bit of sexting, you can find satisfaction on your terms thanks to AFF.

★★★
3.4/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “A hookup site specializing in casual encounters, secret affairs, live chats, and member videos, FriendFinder-X skips the awkward "dating" stage of a relationship and fast-forwards straight to the sex...”

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Studies have found that today’s generation of 20-somethings are less sexually active than their predecessors, but you wouldn’t know it by glancing at the sexually active singles and couples on FriendFinder-X. This hookup site is a hub of sexual energy, and it doesn’t take long to discover chemistry and get intimate with someone here.

FriendFinder-X liberates men and women to pursue their pleasures and lose themselves in the embrace of a sexy stranger. The site encourages local encounters and casual relationships that center around hot sex. There’s no beating around the bush or playing coy on this sex-driven channel.

As the team says, “FriendFinder-X isn’t just a site; it’s a community of people looking to add a little more passion into their lives.”

10. MenNation

★★★★
4.0/5.0

Relationships: Daters & Hookups

Match System: Search by age, zip code, more

Our Experts Say: “MenNation is a well-established gay dating and hookup brand, having been founded in 1996. It's totally free to join, view profiles, receive matches, and flirt...”

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So far, we’ve covered a lot of mainstream dating sites where straight singles hold sway, but queer singles deserve love, too. This dating site is for them. MenNation supports a men-only membership base that stretches all around the world.

Millions of gay, bisexual, questioning, and queer men have joined MenNation because they’re interested in anonymously browsing profiles, sending flirtatious messages, and hooking up.

It’s free to create an account on MenNation, but you’ll be able to get more bang for your buck (maybe literally) with a monthly subscription under your belt.

★★★★
4.0/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “LesbianPersonals provides a fun, quick, and easy experience for gay and bisexual women looking for sex online. Join for free, and you'll be able to search and communicate immediately...”

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Ladies, this one’s for you. LesbianPersonals is a dating site where lesbian women and couples can mix and mingle freely.

LesbianPersonals has created a sex-positive space where lust and romance rein supreme. People come here searching for hookups, threesomes, and other sexual encounters, and they’re not disappointed by the virtually endless list of profiles available.

As a full-fledged LesbianPersonals member, you can send instant messages, exchange photos or videos, and engage in private webcam chats to build chemistry with that special someone.

12. Tinder

If you’re looking for sheer numbers, it’s hard to beat Tinder. Since 2012, this swipe-crazed dating app has facilitated over 30 billion matches in 190 countries. It also claims responsibility for more than 1 million dates per week.

A lot of 20-somethings use Tinder as their go-to wingman, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Tinder gives you a lot of choices, and its mutual matching system makes it easy to land a local date. No lengthy profiles. No compatibility ratings. No pressure to swipe right or left. It’s online dating on your terms.

Screenshot of Tinder's homepage

Singles can use Tinder to find dates, make friends, build relationships, and have fun conversations.

Tinder is a casual dating app that’s all about exploring your options and living the #SwipeLife. The median age on Tinder is 26, and it’s constantly updating and adapting to appeal to a new generation of singles as they come of age.

Tinder is definitely one of the most popular dating apps ever, but all those options and conversations can lead to online dating fatigue if you’re not careful.

13. Bumble

On Bumble, women come first. This feminist dating app has made a splash in the online dating scene by requiring women to send the first message to men once a match has been formed. A former Tinder Co-Founder named Whitney Wolfe Herd came up with the idea for Bumble because she wanted to empower women to take the lead in personal relationships and rid their inboxes of creepy come-ons and pickup lines.

Today, Bumble sees over 5 million active monthly users, and its database includes over 55 million singles, including actress Sharon Stone.

Screenshot of Bumble

Bumble is a female-friendly dating app designed to create authentic relationships.

According to dating app statistics, Bumble has the highest percentage of 20-somethings in its membership base, and 62% of its users are between 18 and 29. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has the highest number of 20-somethings online. There are larger dating sites and apps out there with more members and more diversity in age.

14. OkCupid

OkCupid is a forever free dating site and app that has won over many 20-somethings (including me) since its launch in 2004. As a penny-pinching college student, I was drawn to OkCupid because it offered unlimited messaging and personality-driven matchmaking for free. The platform blew me away with how many prompts, questions, and search filters it had, and I liked that I could let my quirkiness shine on my profile.

Although messaging is free, you’ll have to create a mutual match (meaning both people like each other) if you want to have a conversation on OkCupid. You can send an initial message when you like a profile, but that person can only respond if he or she likes you back. Pro tip: Women who send the first message on OkCupid often get the best results.

Screenshot of OkCupid

OkCupid facilitates over 91 million love connections in an average year.

The OkCupid team is committed to supporting relationships of all types and being inclusive of singles of all stripes. OkCupid gives members the option to identify with 22 genders and 13 orientations, and you can always put “questioning” or “non-binary” if you’re really not into labels.

OkCupid creates over 50,000 dates per week, and it’s perfect for singles who are on a budget and eager to meet up.

15. Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish (POF) is another free-to-chat dating platform with a lot of success stories to its name. The dating site and app invite singles to strike up a conversation and see what happens, and there aren’t any match requirements or paywalls keeping members apart.

Over 150 million people have joined the POF community, and the platform creates over 57 million connections per week.

Screenshot of PlentyOfFish

Every day, more than 4 million people log in to Plenty of Fish seeking love and romance.

Plenty of Fish gives singles the freedom to chat at their leisure and discover common interests with someone new. Sometimes POF users find a casual online chat that turns into a full-blown relationship.

Camille and Nigel met on Plenty of Fish in 2018, went on their first date at Five Guys, and now they plan to tie the knot in May 2020. “We recommend POF to any and all singles looking for their perfect match,” Camille said.

16. Hinge

Hinge is a dating app that’s “designed to be deleted,” which means its goal is to get singles off the app and into relationships as soon as humanly possible. My boyfriend was only on Hinge for a week when I snapped him up, and he deleted his profile after our third date. I deleted mine soon after that. We’ve gotten what we wanted from the swiping scene and count ourselves as a Hinge success story.

As a relationship-oriented app, Hinge gives users a lot of good personal information about each other’s interests, habits, education, upbringing, and lifestyle. The Hinge profile includes six photos and three personal prompts, which range from silly to serious. Singles have to like or comment on something specific on a Hinge profile to generate a mutual match.

Screenshot of Hinge's homepage

Hinge is a quality-driven dating app where 20-somethings can get to know one another.

Hinge is one of the few apps to actually get feedback from users about their dating experiences. You can go to the We Met feature to tell Hinge how your first date went and if you’d consider going out with that person again. This information not only helps the app curate your match list, but it also lets the team know how successful and satisfied people are with the app.

“In today’s digital world, singles are so busy matching that they’re not actually connecting, in person, where it counts,” the Hinge team said. “Hinge is on a mission to change that.”

17. Happn

Happn has taken the idea of serendipity — a chance meeting with a soul mate — and run with it. This dating app uses a smartphone’s location data to inspire matches with people you encounter every day without realizing it.

When viewing a Happn profile, you can see where you cross paths with that local single (maybe you frequent the same bar, enjoy the same restaurants, or work in the same area), and that makes it easy to find common ground in a real-time conversation.

Screenshot of Happn

You never know who you’ll meet when you create a Happn profile.

Many singles are drawn to the prospect of finding a date who’s within walking distance, and it’s no wonder that Happn users frequently check the app for updates on their matches. The average Happn user opens the app 10 times a day.

Within its first two years (from 2014 to 2016), Happn accumulated over 10 million users, and it has continued growing year after year.

18. Grindr

Since 2009, Grindr has become a rallying point for single men and gay couples looking for a queertastic good time. Many guys have written this gay dating app as a hookup-only space, but we’ve heard plenty of stories about Grindr relationships, and 84% of surveyed Grindr users said they’d fallen in love with someone on Grindr.

Whether you’re interested in sex, love, or friendship, you can use Grindr to connect people with the local LGBTQ+ community.

Screenshot of Grindr's homepage

Grindr has given LGBTQ+ men the chance to meet partners who live and work in the same area.

Grindr has over 27 million users, and many of them are in their 20s. Young people can use Grindr to boost their visibility in the gay dating scene and flirt with guys who are in the same bar, club, or neighborhood.

Grindr’s location-based matching can give you the opportunity to match, chat, and meet up with someone special right away.

19. HER

HER has over 4 million verified members, and 100% of them are LGBTQ+ womxn. The dating app does not tolerate creepy dudes or fake profiles, and it goes to great lengths to ensure its members can enjoy a safe online space.

The HER community includes a queer event calendar and a newsfeed of photos and personal stories. The app’s vibe is part all-girl hangout and part romantic meet-cute, and the friendly atmosphere can make newcomers feel welcome immediately.

Screenshot of HER's website

HER helps lesbian, queer, and bisexual womxn find their person online.

HER currently has a 4-star rating on the App Store, and hundreds of womxn have shared their HER success stories on social media using #WeMetonHER.

“Huge thank you to the HER social app for a successful first date to now marriage,” said Jessica when announcing her engagement. “Ladies looking to meet ladies should have this app! I mean, look how beautiful my wife is!”

20. Badoo

Badoo isn’t a bad place to swipe on profiles and pick up a date. Over 459 million people have joined the Badoo community so far, and the dating site and app see over 300,000 new signups every day.

The Badoo team has harnessed the power of technology to bring singles together in new and innovative ways. As the team says, “We have become the largest social discovery network in the world because we have created the best tools to connect people.”

The Badoo logo

Badoo connects singles across 190 countries and 47 languages.

Badoo puts instant messaging and video chatting at your fingertips and prioritizes matches based on their proximity to you. Plus, Badoo users can set up a livestream to grab attention and make a splash in the online dating scene. Check out our full review of Badoo to learn more about its features and user base.

21. Friendsy

Last of all, we have Friendsy, the dating app for college students. The app requires users to state their university and graduation year up front, and they can choose to invite friends to the app via social media. Friendsy is a relatively new app, so private colleges and smaller schools may not have a large selection, and that’s why the “invite friends” button is so important — to help spread the word.

By definition, Friendsy is populated almost exclusively by 20-somethings, and thousands of singles use the app to flirt with their classmates.

Friendsy logo

Friendsy is a new dating app built by 20-somethings for 20-somethings.

Friendsy may be the new kid on the block, but it’s growing at a rapid rate. “We have about 1,700 users at our school, and that has happened over the course of about a month and a half,” said Sarayu Srinivasan, a marketing manager at Friendsy. “When I brought Friendsy here, we had about 15 users.”

Which Dating Site is Best for Serious Relationships?

Plenty of dating platforms are geared toward serious relationship seekers. The eharmony site claims to give its members the highest likelihood of finding a relationship, while the Hinge app boasts having the highest success rate when it comes to turning first dates into second dates.

Screenshot of Hinge

Hinge’s main goal is to get users off the app and into serious relationships.

Our dating experts would also rank EliteSingles as one of the best sites for serious relationships because over 90% of its users say they’re looking for a long-term partner.

Both eharmony and EliteSingles have paywalls to ensure singles are genuinely invested in the online dating process; however, Hinge is completely free to swipe to chat, so you don’t have to spend a dime to get a date.

What is the Most Successful Dating Site?

Success is in the eye of the beholder, but our experts typically rank Match.com as one of the most successful dating sites around. Not only has it been in business longer than its competitors — the company got started in 1993 — but it also has more success stories to its name.

Match.com is active in 24 countries, and its reputation as an international matchmaker is beyond compare. The free Match membership includes unlimited searches and limited communication options, and it never expires nor requires you to upgrade.

What Age Should You Join a Dating Site?

Any age! As long as you’re over 18, you can join pretty much any dating site or app out there. Some sites cater specifically to singles in their 20s — about 60% of Tinder users are under 24 — while others support a more diverse range of ages. You’re never too young, or too old, to join the online dating scene, so start your membership whenever you’re ready to meet someone special.

Are Paid Dating Sites Better?

Paid dating sites are better if you’re looking for a more quality-driven dating experience. In my experience, paid dating sites cultivate a more mature and serious crowd, and its online conversations tend to move quickly because singles have more skin in the game. This isn’t a place for casual daters or flaky conversationalists.

Generally speaking, paid dating sites also tend to be safer than free dating sites. Just by instituting a fee to chat, dating sites can deter scammers, criminals, and unsavory folks from setting up accounts and harassing members. Paid sites typically have more resources to invest in security measures, too.

Photo of an online payment

Some paid dating sites can offer greater security and quality match recommendations.

If you have the cash to spare, a paid dating site may be worth checking out. It could give you an overall better experience with more hands-on features and discerning dates. However, you should definitely try a free trial membership first to make sure that particular site or app can meet your needs — because you never really know what options will be available until you sign up.

Think of it as paying a cover to get into a club or bar. You’re not guaranteed to have a great time once you get inside, but you’ll at least have the opportunity to mingle in a fun-loving space and meet a lot of people at once.

Online Dating in Your 20s Can Lead to a New Chapter in Your Life

Dating in my 20s was certainly an adventure, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without dating sites and apps offering virtually unlimited chances to meet someone new.

I learned a lot about myself and what I want by matching with so many different people, and the sites and apps helped me focus on dates who had real relationship potential. Now I’m happily in a relationship and entering my 30s with no regrets about how I spent my time as a 20-something single.

Whether you’re looking for a Saturday night date or a long-term love, you can find a lot of romantic opportunities by diving into the online dating pool. Good luck!

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