11 Best Free Grindr Alternatives (2019)

Gay Dating

11 Best Free Grindr Alternatives (2019)

Amber Brooks Amber Brooks
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Comedian Billy Eichner has been critical of Grindr in the past, calling it a time-consuming quick fix. However, he’s come out as a Grindr user now, and he even helped Conan O’Brien set up a Grindr profile in 2015.

“Grindr is for basically gay guys not pretending it’s for anything other than meeting up to have sex,” Billy said.

It’s no secret that Billy has had a somewhat rocky online dating experience. As a celebrity, his dating profile can seem fake to other users, and his account has been flagged and even removed from popular dating apps. But Billy has continued to swipe in the face of adversity.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to find the Grindr dating experience a little frustrating or unsatisfying. It’s not for everyone. Lucky for you, there are approximately 8,000 other dating sites and apps with databases full of local hot guys. We’ve listed a few of our favorite alternatives to Grindr below.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search and get match recommendations

Our Experts Say: “Gay, bisexual, and curious single men love Zoosk because it's quick, easy, and really successful...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

First up, we have Zoosk, a popular dating platform with a global footprint. Over 40 million singles have joined this dating network. The site and app have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 80 countries.

One of the things gay men say they like about Zoosk is the quick signup process. If you sign up through Facebook, you can jump on board within seconds and head to the Carousel to swipe through local date options. Free members can like and favorite profiles, while paid subscribers can send unlimited messages or virtual gifts. On average, Zoosk members send over 3 million messages per day.

Zoosk uses Behavioral Matchmaking to connect compatible singles. It suggests profiles that are similar to the ones you’ve already liked and viewed. That means the more you view, like, and message profiles, the more accurate your matches will be.

★★★★
3.5/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Chats

Match System: Search by encounter, location, and more

Our Experts Say: “We highly recommend BeNaughty to gay, bisexual, and sexually curious men because it's free, it's easy, and it really works...” Full Review »

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If you’re looking for a fast date, BeNaughty can hook you up. This adults-only site promotes thousands of sexy profiles and encourages live chatting on a discreet platform.

BeNaughty is open to anyone and everyone over 18. People of all orientations (and with all sorts of kinky fantasies) use this hookup site to bring some excitement to their love lives.

BeNaughty can make a fabulous wingman for gay daters. The search filters, anonymous messaging, and location-based Like Gallery can help gay singles find sexually compatible partners within a certain mile radius. BeNaughty is currently accessible in  the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, Sweden, Spain, Norway, and other English-speaking countries.

★★★★
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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Adult Friend Finder (AFF) boasts having a positively massive network of singles and swingers. Over 95 million profiles are in its global database, and thousands more join for free each day.

Gay men can register as a “man seeking men” to receive a curated list of hot dudes. Most AFF members are seeking straight-up sex, and they don’t waste time messing around. The live chats can quickly escalate to full-on sexting, which can lead to real-life hookups if you play your cards right.

Adult Friend Finder encourages men of all orientations to explore their sexuality and find satisfaction in a safe, judgment-free zone.

★★★
3.4/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “FriendFinder-X is a great choice for gay and bisexual singles and couples looking for casual dating because its basic membership is 100% free. Communication features include live chat and two-way video...”

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Another great resource for sexually active casual daters is FriendFinder-X. The dating site allows gay men and gay couples to create accounts and mingle online.

When you sign up, you can declare your interest in gay men, straight couples, gay couples, groups, or trans singles, and FriendFinder-X will use your dating preferences to suggest compatible dating profiles. Its streamlined interface can fuel fast-paced romances that lead directly to the bedroom.

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

★★★
3.4/5.0

Relationships: Daters & Hookups

Match System: Search by age, zip code, more

Our Experts Say: “With more than 79 million users, MenNation is among the largest gay and bisexual dating and hookup site in the world. A basic membership is 100% free, and it allows you to upload info and photos, browse, and chat...”

Browse Free: View Photos Now

MenNation is a guys-only, gay-friendly, no-strings-attached dating site, and the mood is pretty flirtatious. You won’t find many men playing hard to get here.

Single men and gay couples can connect with over 96 million active members on MenNation, which is one of the world’s leading gay hookup sites.

All members can send private emails on MenNation, and the site also has blogs, groups, and chat rooms where sexy individuals can get their flirt on. The X-rated blogs see a lot of action, particularly in the comments section, and you don’t need a formal invitation to dive into the steamy conversation.

6. Tinder

You may think Tinder is a straight people dating app, but it actually has a growing LGBTQ+ following. Tinder is a gay-friendly dating app where men can find dates, relationships, and hookups at their leisure.

Tinder has the stats to back its success. Since its launch in 2012, Tinder has made over 30 billion matches and fostered a vibrant dating network in over 190 countries. Collectively, Tinder users arrange over 1 million dates per week on the app.

Screenshot of Tinder's homepage

Tinder is a free dating app that helps closeted and openly gay men meet one another.

In the last few years, Tinder has encouraged singles to embrace #SwipeLife and live by the motto “Single is a terrible thing to waste.” That message has resonated with a lot of gay men who are in no hurry to settle down or start a family.

“I haven’t been looking for anything serious with anybody,” said college student Taylor Robbins in a video about his experiences on Tinder. “I’m not at that place right now. I thought I was, but I’m really not.” Taylor said Tinder is his dating app of choice because it gives him the freedom to play the field as an openly gay man in the American South.

7. OkCupid

Since its launch in 2004, OkCupid has given singles free, unlimited communication and generated match ratings based on deep personal information. The dating site is the creation of Harvard math nerds, so it has taken an information-rich approach to the dating world. The algorithm relies on hundreds of data points on likes, preferences, and lifestyle to power its match recommendations.

In 2014, OkCupid further distinguished itself by opening its doors to LGBTQ and non-binary daters when it added 22 gender options and 13 orientation options to its dating profile filters.

Screenshot from OkCupid

OkCupid promotes lengthy profiles, interest-based matches, and fun conversations on its dating site and app.

Gay men can use OkCupid to build relationships based on mutual interest. The Double Take section showcases one compatible profile at a time, but the site and app also have search features if you want to dig into the database on your own.

OkCupid has spurred many lengthy conversations between singles who want to create a real-life romance. In the average year, OkCupid creates over 91 million connections and 2.6 million first dates.

8. PlentyOfFish

PlentyOfFish is a completely free dating site where a casual conversation doesn’t cost a cent. From the moment you sign up, you can send messages to anyone you like, and you can read their replies instantly. No subscriptions needed.

Thanks to its free communication policy, PlentyOfFish attracts a lot of chatty gay and straight singles. According to its internal stats, POF members send over 1 billion messages a month.

Screenshot of PlentyOfFish

PlentyOfFish has 4 million daily active users.

Gay singles can get chatting on POF and discover chemistry in a private forum. Whether you’re looking for a hot date or a forever love, POF can inspire worthwhile connections with its MeetMe and Search features.

Over the years, PlentyOfFish has received hundreds of success stories from couples who fell in love, got married, and had children, but you don’t have to be a serious dater to enjoy the free communication on POF.

9. SCRUFF

SCRUFF prides itself on being a handy gay travel companion with event invitations and match recommendations around the world. The dating app allows users to publish their travel itineraries on their profiles and chat with people in their destination cities before they arrive.

Gay men can also fill their calendars with SCRUFF’s member-sponsored GBTQ events, which can include private parties, barbecues, festivals, pride parades, and everything in between.

Screenshot from Scruff

Scruff uses location-based searches and live events to connect GBTQ men.

SCRUFF has a global membership base of over 15 million gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and questioning men. Some of these guys download the app hoping to hook up, while others want to build more meaningful connections. SCRUFF encourages all types of relationships (or non-relationships) and lowers the barriers between guys with similar interests and values.

“Love this app on my phone,” said a SCRUFF user in a review. “It’s how I met my boyfriend and many friends.”

10. Hornet

Hornet strives to be more than just a gay dating app — it supports a gay social network where men can come out and have fun. The app has over 25 million users building connections by discussing hot topics online.

Since 2011, Hornet has made a name for itself as a staunch ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and it has empowered gay men to up their social game in a global community.

Screenshot from Hornet's Facebook page

Hornet generates a newsfeed to help gay singles feel included in an active community.

You can use search filters and hashtags to narrow the dating field to the most viable options in your area. Not sure what you want? Then scroll through the Feed and see if any post or any profile catches your eye. Hornet doesn’t pressure users to find The One right away. Instead, it inspires friendly conversations and lets the chips fall where they may.

Hornet has built a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community, and the team protects its users with many high-tech security features. Moderators patrol the app 24/7 to ensure everyone is minding their manners while chatting up dates.

11. Jack’d

Jack’d is one of the hottest gay dating apps on the scene. In 2019, SCRUFF’s parent company Perry Street Software acquired Jack’d from Online Buddies, and the change means big things are in store for the gay dating community.

Since 2010, nearly 5 million men have joined Jack’d, and over 10,000 new members install the app each day. You can become a beta tester of the newest version of Jack’d to make the most of your dating experience. Jack’d is currently available on all Android and iOS devices.

Screenshot of Jack'd

Jack’d serves men in 180 countries worldwide.

Jack’d is currently active in more than 2,000 cities in 180 countries. The app offers anonymous browsing and swiping in a diverse community of gay, bi, trans, and queer men.

“Inclusivity is at the core of Jack’d,” said the Jack’d team. “We believe that everyone should be proud of who they are and where they come from. We all have different backgrounds, body types, experiences, and preferences, and on Jack’d, those differences make us stronger.”

Which Came First: Tinder or Grindr?

This may come as a surprise, but Grindr actually predates Tinder by over three years. Grindr’s official launch date was on March 25, 2009, and Tinder wasn’t kicked off until September 12, 2012. Grindr was the first major dating app for men only, and it had millions of followers around the world by the time Tinder came on the scene.

Screenshot of Tinder

By the time Tinder launched in 2012, Grindr had racked up millions of users.

Due to their similar names, some people confuse Grindr with Tinder or assume they’re somehow related, but the two apps were created and operate separately from each other. Grindr pioneered location-based matches, while Tinder created the swiping-based mutual matching system now used by virtually every dating platform. You can read more about the difference between Grindr and Tinder here.

How Much is Grindr Worth?

In 2016, Grindr sold a 60% stake to a Chinese gaming company for $93 million, which now places the value of the company at $155 million. The Beijing Kunlun Tech Company added the gay dating app to its portfolio in an effort to expand its reach on a global scale.

“This acquisition by Kunlun not only reflects Grindr’s growing global prominence but also will assist Grindr and our family of brands in becoming the premium destination for LGBTQ community, news, information, and culture,” said Peter Sloterdyk, VP of Marketing at Grindr.

Grindr has since come under fire for the sale, and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has urged the company to cut ties with Beijing to eliminate the possibility that China will use the app’s personal data to blackmail or influence American officials.

Can You Use Grindr Online?

Grindr is primarily a dating app that uses GPS data to create local matches. However, its services can be accessed via a desktop — it just takes some doing.

If you want to use Grindr on a desktop, you’ll have to install and run an Android emulator on your computer and then download Grindr from the Google Play Store. Once you have the app up and running, you should verify that it is using the correct location by going to your Settings.

With the help of a reliable emulator, your online dating experience should be much the same on your laptop as it would be on your smartphone. Everything is just much bigger — which has many obvious benefits when viewing photos and profiles of guys.

“Viewing men on your large computer screen is much better than on your tiny mobile screen,” according to BlueStacks, an emulator for PC users. “When you are ready to head out and meet your latest date, you can switch back to your mobile device without any extra work. Since it is the same Grindr account, everything you do on Bluestacks will always be saved for when you hop on your phone or tablet.”

Can You See Who Views You On Grindr?

No, Grindr does not give users the ability to see who has viewed their profiles. For privacy-conscious singles, that’s a good thing. Grindr is all about anonymity, and it’s not cool to out people who are casually browsing the app. After all, if a user wanted to express interest, he would click the “Hi,” “Fire,” or “Devil” icons.

Photo of Grindr's Tap Icons

Grindr gives users the option to say hi, offer a compliment, or make a sexual overture with a single click.

Premium Grindr members have the ability to know when their messages have been read, but they cannot see profile views. Some other Grindr XTRA features include additional filters, personalized push notifications, more Grindr Tribes, and unlimited Blocks and Favorites — but seeing who’s viewed you is one step too far for Grindr. The dating app leaves a little mystery and allows daters to stay under the radar (or gay-dar) as they swipe.

Can You Hide Your Profile On Grindr?

Yes, Grindr calls this the “Go Invisible” feature. You can hide your profile pictures from Grindr’s swiping list and take a break from the dating app. While you’re invisible, you won’t receive any new likes or messages because other Grindr users won’t be able to see you. Of course, while you’re invisible, you can’t use Grindr’s swiping, matching, and messaging features either.

If you’re looking for a little privacy on Grindr, you can also disable showing your distance on your profile by going to your Settings.

If You Don’t Like Grindr, Find an Alternative

No one can deny that dating is hard. It’s hard for straight people. It’s hard for gay people. It’s hard for Billy Eichner. But a little persistence and a lot of swiping can make the journey more bearable for everyone.

Online dating has given singles the power to find compatible matches no matter where they are or what they want. These days, gay singles have a lot of options out there, and they don’t have to settle for the first dating app they see. Exploring the local dating field on multiple gay dating sites and apps can be a fun way to discover dates and build relationships.

Grindr has been a staunch ally to sexually active gay men since 2009, but it hasn’t cornered the market on romance. Any of the dating apps and sites on this list can introduce gay men to the hottest, friendliest, and sexiest dudes around. Happy swiping!