Good Dating Apps For Relationships Or Hookups

Online Dating

12 Good Dating Apps for Relationships, Hookups & New Friends

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating expert. As an English major in college, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,600 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Separating the good dating apps from the bad is no easy task. Whether you’re asking friends for their recommendations or checking reviews online to find the right platform to change up your dating game, it’s hard to know what’s legit and what’s a gimmick.

Our dating experts have compiled a list of the best dating apps for love, sex, and friendship, so you don’t have to deal with trying a dozen different platforms to find the right one for your dating needs.

Looking for Relationships | Hookups | Friendships | FAQs

4 Good Dating Apps for Relationships

These dating apps and dating sites offer the best atmosphere for pursuing something serious. These platforms make it easy to avoid the casual daters and find something more serious whether you’re a dedicated romantic, a woman who likes to take control of her romantic life, or just want to find a new person who’s on your level.

1. Match

★★★★★
Match.com 4.8/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

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 is a consistent top choice for our dating experts because the dating site and the dating app that goes with it are straightforward, easy to use, and effective.

The online dating site launched in 1995 and has weathered the changing trends in digital dating to become one of the most successful dating platforms in the world. The features are simple, and you can test Match for free for as long as you want before taking the premium membership plunge.

★★★★★
eharmony 4.7/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

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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Long before dating apps like Tinder began to take hold, the founders at eharmony launched the site as an antidote to what they saw as the dominance of casual dating culture.

In the decades since, eharmony has introduced over 2 million couples, and in 2007 the online dating site took credit for 2% of new marriages in the U.S. alone. While the dating platform definitely plays host to many Christian singles, eharmony is also a popular choice for Jewish singles and Muslims looking for marriage, making it a solid option for faithful singles whose happily-ever-after includes matrimony.

3. Hinge

Hinge is a free dating app that takes a different angle to the problem of singles trying to meet a potential partner. Instead of swiping, Hinge users read detailed profiles and start a conversation based on what the other user has said. Your first message to a potential match must be in response to a photo or something on the profile, so the conversations are much more in-depth right away. The extra effort goes a long way to deter people just looking for a hookup. So if you want something a little more serious, Hinge is a strong option.

4. Bumble

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd left Tinder to found the first women-first dating app in 2014, and the difference is what drives so many people to download Bumble every year. On this dating app, users get to swipe through potential matches, but after a mutual match happens, it only moves forward if the single woman sends the first message.

Bumble premium memberships offer a few key perks for busy users. Those include Backtrack, which lets you take back a left swipe you didn’t mean, Busy Bee, which lets you extend the contact deadline on a match, and Bumble Boost, which makes you more visible to other members. 

4 Naughty Dating Apps for Hookups

These apps take the guessing game out of finding a casual hookup or casual dating partner by eliminating people who want something more serious. If you’re looking to play the field, these are the best options our experts recommend.

★★★★
AshleyMadison.com 4/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

4.0/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Casual Dates, Affairs

Match System: Search by age, location, appearance, and more

Our Experts Say: “With its massive user base and advanced privacy features, Ashley Madison is the #1 site for discreet hookups, dates, or relationships…” Full Review »

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Ashley Madison isn’t just the dating site for married people seeking affair partners. Elite single people also use the platform to find hookups because of the security features and privacy options that Ashley Madison implemented in the wake of its hacking scandal years ago. The dating site and app are also a good choice for any queer person who isn’t out of the closet but wants to explore their sexuality.

★★★★
4/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

4.0/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Casual Dating, Chats

Match System: Search by location, age, and appearance.

Our Experts Say: “OneNightFriend is a dating website that provides a fast track to a one-night stand with a flirty partner. The network has chat rooms, search filters, and safety features to help spark real connections…” Full Review »

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Although it’s a relative newcomer to the world of hookup sites and apps, OneNightFriend stands out by keeping things simple and straightforward. Everyone knows why everyone else is on the platform, and can get down to setting up a casual encounter without any outside expectations. Clean, simple design and features make it easy to search for a match, get in touch, and plan your next one-night romp without wasting any time.

7. Pure

If you want a no-strings-attached hookup without a lot of messing around, Pure is the platform for you. Consistently ranked one of the best apps for casual sex, Pure lets you put it all out there, while keeping your privacy. No need for a complicated dating profile, no need for a personality test. Just tell Pure your gender identity and sexual orientation, and put up a personal ad and get down to business. Your ad is automatically deleted after 24 hours, so it’s best to act fast.

8. DOWN

DOWN makes it easy to get what you want, by sorting members into two groups: Are you down to date, or down to hook up? Over half of the matches made among the dating app’s 8 million members have ended in a real-life meeting. And the app continues to evolve and adapt to the times by offering a sex-positive atmosphere for singles looking to hook up.

4 Dating Apps for Friendships

Whether you’re looking to take things slow or just don’t want to jump into romance, these dating apps make it easy to meet people who are on your level. Chat, find a new person to go to events with, or get more social on these platforms.

★★★★
ChristianMingle 4.4/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

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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Christian Mingle gets top marks in any list of the best online dating sites for Christian singles, and it’s easy to see why. According to some studies, as many as 29% of Christian marriages that began online found their start on Christian Mingle, so the platform has a high volume of success stories. The Christian dating site isn’t just for marriage prospects. It also fosters an atmosphere where Christians and Christian-friendly singles can get together and talk about their beliefs and core values.

10. Zoosk

★★★★★
Zoosk 4.5/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

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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Zoosk began as a Facebook application, so it should come as no surprise that the dating site functions as much as a social media platform as it does a dating service. Zoosk incorporates a lot of features that make it a great place to meet new people and talk — with no expectations of anything more.

The basic Zoosk membership includes some free chatting, which makes an easy prospect for anyone looking for new friends. You’ll be able to create a dating profile to meet new people and connect, though fake profiles sometimes come up as an issue in user reviews, so vetting is important.

11. Snack

Gen Z is poised to make big changes in the world, so it should come as no surprise that dating apps geared to the youngest adults on the dating scene is a gamechanger, too. Snack doesn’t follow the usual pattern of creating a platform with a few curated pictures and a written bio.

Instead, it encourages users to engage with each other through TikTok-style short videos. The app incorporates a lot of features — like tracking members who chronically ghost their matches — that make it an appealing place to make friends. And it encourages people to respond to videos with fresh video content of their own.

12. Thursday

If you want to incorporate new adventures into your social life, finding room in your schedule can be tricky. Thursday offers a unique prospect: go on a date the same day you match with a potential partner or friend, the same day every week. Guess which day — Thursday, of course!

Thursday serves up prospects for each user each Thursday, and the users have 24 hours to connect, decide on where to go, and make it happen. Once the time is up, they won’t see the potential match again. Test a new restaurant, try a new hobby, and find new friends in a low-pressure instant-date you know will fall on the same day each week.

FAQs: Is Tinder a Good Dating App?

This is kind of a loaded question, because how well Tinder works for you will depend on a several factors. Tinder is a very popular dating app, with millions of users all around the world. The free version of Tinder has everything you need to find, match, and communicate with potential partners. But a lot of people on the Tinder app are looking for a hookup rather than a long-term relationship. If you’re looking to date seriously, it’s not the app for you.

Tinder is a free app, so it sees a lot of young, casual daters seeking its swiping as a distraction or ego boost. Some older adults try to use the subscription to Tinder Plus to up their odds of finding the right match in the swiping scene.

Screenshots of Tinder
Tinder is a popular dating app geared toward young singles.

Tinder Plus is reasonably priced, and offers some real benefits to users, including unlimited likes and some extra Super Like opportunities, as well as a few other perks. But several user reviews say that the perks are not worth the extra cash.

Finally, for older singles, the Tinder membership is probably not really your crowd. If you’re 50+ and looking for love, our experts recommend senior dating sites like OurTime and SilverSingles.

All in all, our experts decided to keep Tinder off this list because it’s just too polarizing to recommend it among the best dating site and app options.

How Can I Tell If a Dating App Actually Works?

If you’re looking for the best dating app to help you find sex, love, or friendship, there are a few things you can check on to make sure you’re making a strong choice. When our experts evaluate a dating site or app, they look for a few key factors in addition to checking out all the features and benefits a platform has to offer.

Check the reviews for any online dating app you want to try. Our experts make a point of reading through user reviews, including posts on Reddit, in the Google Play Store and App Store, and elsewhere. 

Online daters should also look into how long a given dating site or app has been in business. Long-term success means that it’s more likely to be legit and a decent platform. For example, JDate launched in 1997 and is among the longest-running dating sites on the market.

★★★★★
JDate 4.7/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates and Long-Term Relationships

Match System: Search and receive matches

Our Experts Say: “JDate is a go-to dating site for single Jewish men and women, and the site doesn’t charge for browsing and flirting…” Full Review »

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You can also look for online dating success stories. Most highly successful dating apps and sites publish at least a few success stories, either on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook or in a dedicated section on the site or app itself. Not everyone who finds love on a platform is willing to go public about it, so the higher the number of published testimonials, the greater success in matching people the platform has had.

At the end of the day, though, everyone is different. A particular dating site or app may work well for several people and not at all for another person. Our dating experts recommend that you try two or three dating platforms at one time to compare and contrast what each one does and find the best fit.

Which Dating App Has the Highest Success Rate?

That depends on how you measure success. Different dating platforms have different strengths, even among the best free dating apps. If you’re looking for a casual hookup, the marriage rate of an app isn’t going to be a marker for success for you. Let’s look at some stats for a few popular dating apps.

Tinder has the highest swiping rate, which probably comes as no surprise. The free dating app has made over 60 billion mutual matches worldwide. That’s pretty staggering!

Hinge, on the other hand, has one of the highest rates of users who go on second dates, which is a good indicator for people looking for something more serious. Of course, I’m definitely biased toward Hinge because that’s where I swiped on the man of my dreams. He bought me a ring within a year of our first date!

Hinge logo
Hinge is a highly successful dating app for relationship seekers.

For LGBTQ+ singles, mainstream dating may not be the best choice. HER has the highest success rate for relationships between queer women. Woman-loving women use the dating app in huge numbers, and find each other in an understanding, open atmosphere.

Match has more successful relationships and marriages to its name than any of its competitors, especially when you take into account all of the sites on the Match Group network. If you’re looking for something serious, Match is a good fit.

Our experts have compiled a list of the most successful dating platforms to help you choose the right one for your needs.

What Are Some Good Dating Apps With Free Chatting?

Free chatting is a rare find in the online dating world, but a few sites have kept communication free for users, and it’s starting to come back into style. Our experts suggest two platforms above the rest for people who want to talk for free.

OkCupid launched as a free dating site in the early 2000s, and has offered free messaging from the very beginning. The dating site for math nerds continues to contact a potential match for free, even though it was bought by Match Group and has gone through several CEO changes.

Screenshot from Facebook Dating
Facebook Dating has 100% free messaging available to all.

Facebook Dating is a newer option on the scene, and it doesn’t have as big a user base, but the dating platform keeps messaging free for all members. The dating application requires downloading the Facebook app, and it uses your Facebook friends network to help drive your matches and build your profile.

Privacy is taken seriously by this big tech venture. Facebook Dating doesn’t post to your main account or appear in any way on your Facebook profile. Contact any man, woman, or nonbinary person you like on the platform and never get your credit card out.

Downloading a Good Dating App Could Be a Game Changer

Finding a good dating app can be a challenge, but once you know more about the players and the market, you’ll have a good idea where to go and what to download.

The right dating app or site can really help change up your dating game — I should know, because I met my partner on Hinge in 2019!

Whether you’re looking to keep things casual, or want to find The One, the best dating apps help you expand your dating pool with people who want the same things you do.

Give a new dating app a try and find your best match!

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