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It’s easy to lump various dating sites and apps together and assume they offer similar features, networks, and interfaces. You see big names, like eharmony vs Tinder, and you think, “What’s the difference?” You sign up, you chat, you go on dates — how different can the experience be from one platform to another?
Frankly, eharmony and Tinder couldn’t be more different from one another. One is known for a personality-driven matchmaking system grounded in Christian values. And the other is, well, Tinder, the original hookup app.
Since 2000, eharmony has put together in-depth psychological profiles and calculated compatibility based 32 dimensions. Meanwhile, since 2012, Tinder has asked singles to decide if they like each other based on a photo and a byline. Both matching systems have their pros and cons, so it can be hard to know which one is best for you. That’s why we’ve broken down the stats and delivered our expert assessment on how eharmony and Tinder stack up against one another.
Rating and reviewing dating sites is what we do here at DatingAdvice. There are over 8,000 dating sites in existence, and we’ve tested the major ones out so you don’t have to. Our reviews take in account multiple factors — easy-of-use, safety, reputation, and customer reviews — and provide a clear assessment of what you can expect when joining. Here are our overall reviews of eharmony and Tinder.
A clinical psychologist and Christian theologian named Dr. Neil Clark Warren founded eharmony in 2000 because he wanted to create lasting marriages between men and women. This dating site has positioned itself as one of the leading relationship-oriented platforms in the U.S. with one of the most advanced and successful match algorithms in the world.
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We give eharmony a 4.5-star rating because it is reliable, effective, and engaging. This premium dating site ushers singles into a quality-driven dating experience, and that makes it pretty remarkable in a swipe-happy world.
Tinder launched in 2012 as the brainchild of a group of friends in their 20s. They believed what online dating was missing was a way for users to control who came into their inboxes. They developed an opt-in system where both singles had to like each other (the infamous mutual match) before being able to communicate.
This system took the online dating world by storm and is now the status quo on many dating sites and apps (not eharmony).
We give Tinder 4.4 stars because it is undeniably popular, but we aren’t so sure about its effectiveness. Critics have lambasted Tinder for turning dating into a superficial game and making it hard for users to concentrate on just one match at a time. Hey, players gotta play, right?
If Tinder is the new kid on the block, then eharmony is the older and wiser adult who takes a more thoughtful approach to building relationships. We like that about it. Instead of throwing you into the deep end of online dating, eharmony walks new members through the matching process and recommends a select number of profiles based on its time-tested calculations.
Dating can cost a lot of money. Whether you’re buying cocktails at a bar or going out on multiple first-date dinners, the numbers can add up quickly and drain your bank account. It’s only natural to want to save money on your dating site or app of choice — but you don’t want to cheapen your experience and waste time on platforms that are free for a reason.
Now let’s talk dollars and cents and compare eharmony’s pricing structure with Tinder’s free-for-all platform.
Here’s the thing, eharmony doesn’t offer much free communication — its Free Communication Weekends have become quite rare — but that pay-to-play setup is one of its biggest selling points. By instituting a paywall, eharmony can essentially guarantee that the active members on the site are serious about finding someone.
You can reply to some messages on eharmony, and you can send icebreaker quizzes, create a profile, but you can’t chat with anyone you fancy unless you’re a paid member. Here’s the price breakdown for eharmony’s Standard Plan:
The premium plans on eharmony are a little pricier than the Standard Plans, but they do add some valuable features, including a dating consultation over the phone and the ability to browse profiles anonymously. You can also get read receipts for your messages.
Best of all, eharmony currently offers an ironclad guarantee for subscribers who do not find a match within three months on the site. As long as you meet its qualifications (you completed your profile, sent messages to at least five members, and complied with the terms and conditions), eharmony will give you an additional three-month subscription for free.
You can download Tinder for free, swipe on profiles for free, and communicate with mutual matches for free. That’s the beauty of a free dating app. This is a low-commitment app where singles can check out their options and see what happens.
Tinder does offer paid plans called Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold for users who want to upgrade their experiences with features such as SuperLikes and a Rewind button (this allows you to go back and change your swipes). You’ll also be featured more prominently in the app as a paid member, and that could mean more likes and matches headed your way.
The ultimate winner in this round isn’t so clear-cut because it depends on your values and budget. Some singles prefer a platform where they pay a little extra to get a high-quality experience. It gives everyone a little skin in the game and can make members feel more invested in one another.
Of course, not all singles have the money to spare on a dating site, and they’d prefer to try their luck on a free platform like Tinder.
Although eharmony offers a more personalized matching system, it also costs a lot more than Tinder, so it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the cost.
Another key factor to weigh when picking a dating site is the membership base. You need to make sure the dating site supports a thriving network so you’ll have plenty of people to chat with online. And you need to make sure their values align with yours. It doesn’t matter if the dating site has millions of people if those people aren’t looking for the same things you are. Below, we’re going to analyze the types of singles interested in eharmony vs. Tinder.
The latest estimates indicate that eharmony has around 750,000 paid subscribers and 10 million active users. This number has held steady for the last decade, and insiders say eharmony’s long sign-up process has stagnated its growth. Instead of taking 30 minutes to fill out 80 personal questions, users drop off and choose a different platform.
In terms of demographics, eharmony appeals primarily to singles over 30 — typically serious professionals who can afford its prices — and straight men and women. The site has slightly more female users (52%) than male users (48%). The bulk of the membership is in the U.S.
Tinder is significantly larger than eharmony. It has over 50 million active users around the world, including 3.8 million users who pay for a monthly subscription. The app boasts seeing more than 2 billion swipes a day and facilitating 1 million dates each week.
You’ll have no shortage of people to match with on this app. Tinder’s dating network is active in 190 countries and 83% of its user base is between 16 and 34 years old. It’s a younger crowd, so you’d expect them to be more likely to want to play the field and see where things go than take the process seriously. However, in a 2015 survey, 80% of Tinder users said they were on the app seeking a long-term relationship, so maybe there’s hope for serious singles on the app after all.
In terms of sheer size, Tinder takes the cake. Handily. It’s five times bigger than eharmony. That gives singles a lot of options — potentially too many options — but it’s better to be surrounded by singles than hunting around for someone online. While eharmony’s relationship-minded audience can suit some people’s needs, Tinder’s user base is so fantastically diverse and widespread that it’s really great for anyone, anywhere, and anytime.
When you’re on a dating site or app, you have to learn to navigate the platform’s interface if you want to find a date. Sometimes you can intuitively understand how it works, and sometimes it’s a little more complicated than you’d like.
You have to consider what matchmaking features will best help you get the experience you want. Both eharmony and Tinder bring some unique matching tools to the table, so let’s dive in and check them out.
From the beginning, eharmony has been focused on discovering the science of love and using psychological principles to strengthen marriage. It starts by delivering one of the most detail-oriented questionnaires offered by a dating site. This lengthy quiz used be mandatory and included 180 questions. Now it is optional, has only about 80 questions, and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Which is a lifetime in internet time.
“If I’m being real, that doesn’t sound super quick to me,” said Elite Daily’s Candice Jalili. “Obviously, this isn’t as quick as, say, Tinder, where it only takes users 10 seconds or less to log on.”
However, filling out the questionnaire can only benefit you in the long run because the dating site uses that personal information to calculate your match rating with other users.
When viewing eharmony’s profiles, you can see how your answers compare with theirs in the Compatibility section. If you like graphs, you’ll love this section because it gives you a percentage for how compatible you are with someone on 14 different dimensions (ranging from intellect to physical intimacy).
The in-depth profiles also contain good user-generated information about the person’s passions, hobbies, role models, and relationship goals. Compatibility is the name of the game for eharmony, so it highlights the things you have in common. Only members judged compatible with you will show up in the Matches section, and you can filter these results by age or location.
A Tinder profile is the complete opposite of an eharmony profile. On eharmony, profiles are highly informative and detailed. On Tinder, it’s pretty much just a photo, a name, and a headline. Short and sweet.
You don’t have a lot to go on, but, then, that’s sort of the point. The fast-paced dating app leaves it to users to ask follow-up questions and build on that initial attraction.
The Tinder swiping feature is popular among singles because it puts the power in your hands. You are in control of who shows up in your inbox. You have a say in your own online dating experience. But the downside of that is singles may not know how to accurately judge compatibility, or maybe they aren’t sure what they’re looking for, and then they make the wrong choices.
While eharmony offers guidance, Tinder offers freedom. Tinder doesn’t match up its users through a complex algorithm — instead, every match is the result of the user making a decision and taking action in the dating scene.
We have to give this one to eharmony. Its compatibility formula is on point, and its match recommendations and search tools make it easy to narrow down the dating scene to the most viable candidates.
While Tinder does get points for being the creator of the infamous swiping feature, that’s really it’s only claim to fame. The dating app offers a simple setup with no search options for singles looking to go beyond a game of Hot or Not. Rather than organizing dates by age or location and leaving it at that, eharmony digs deeper into personality traits and lifestyle habits to give singles the best possible chance at finding a loving partner.
Lastly, you’ve got to look at what people are saying about Tinder and eharmony to get a feel for what you can expect and how successful they’ve been in the past. We’ve compiled the testimonials and success stories we could find on these popular dating platforms to give you an insider’s look at them.
You don’t have to look very hard to find eharmony’s success stories. The site proudly publishes its love stories, and even separates them into categories, which include singles with children, re-connections, long-distance relationships, international romances, and eharmony babies, among others.
Adam and Elizabeth met on eharmony in October 2007, and now they have an 8-year-old daughter Ava. “Elizabeth and I are complete believers that eharmony and meeting someone online is the wave of the future,” Adam said. “I am humbled and sometimes in disbelief about how much I love Elizabeth and how compatible we are.”
Not only do couples come together on eHarmony, research shows that they often stay together. A study found that eharmony couples are less likely to divorce than other couples.
Jeremy and Kelly matched with one another on eharmony even though they lived in different states. Jeremy lived in Texas, and Kelly lived in Colorado. But their bond was too strong to be denied. They started a long-distance relationship and have been happily committed to making it work.
“Jeremy is my soul mate and the man I want to spend forever with,” said Kelly in a testimonial. “He is the harmony to my melody.”
Tinder’s testimonials are a little harder to find than eharmony’s. The app doesn’t publicize success stories, so you have to comb through customer reviews to find the odd love story among the complaints. Tinder has nearly 3 million reviews on Google Play, and the average rating is 4.0. Not all the five-star reviews are from happily paired-up users though.
“Well, I’ve met quite a few interesting and lovely people through this app,” said Jemima Kwok in a Google Play review. “I’ve also met one or two not super great ones.” Yikes. Not exactly a glowing review.
“From my experience with Tinder, you get all types,” said Sarahadeline in a Reddit post. “I met my SO on Tinder. We got married last summer.”
BuzzFeed used its journalistic skills to uncover 15 Tinder love stories. But, with the app claiming responsibility for 1 million dates a week, we’d expect there to be more Tinder success stories floating around.
This one was not even close. Tinder doesn’t have any official success stories to its name, and that’s pretty concerning. It took a lot of digging to find a few love stories begun on the dating app.
On the other hand, eharmony’s blog is brimming with testimonials complete with photos of happy couples and families. You can see the long-term impact this dating site has had on people’s lives, and that’s a compelling reason to sign up.
“I finally feel like I’m the person I’m meant to be,” said Christie, who met her husband Roberto on eharmony. “I’m so grateful that both of us decided to give eharmony a try. There’s no way our paths would have crossed in our day-to-day lives otherwise.”
People who are new to online dating may not understand the differences between big-name dating sites and apps, and that leads them to join a database that doesn’t suit their needs. If you don’t know that Tinder is primarily useful for short-term matching and dating, for instance, you could end up looking for a real relationship on a platform that just isn’t designed for that.
Hopefully, after mostly skimming this article, you now understand the fundamental differences between eharmony and Tinder and can make an informed decision about which one appeals to you the most. For our money, we prefer eharmony to Tinder because it offers a more values-driven experience. It’s worth the money, in our estimation, to slow down the matching process and consider profiles in a more deliberate and thorough manner.
Singles seeking a true connection with a compatible partner would be well-served by signing up to eharmony. It’s just a better option.