Lavalife: Review of the Site and 3 Alternatives

Online Dating

Lavalife: Review of the Site and 3 Alternatives

Hayley Matthews Hayley Matthews
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Lavalife isn’t a new name in the online dating industry. Actually, it’s one of the oldest names. For almost two decades, Lavalife has been pairing singles with similar passions, personalities, and life goals, so breaking the ice is fun, not awkward.

There’s more to Lavalife than just the matching system, though. Hear our experts’ thoughts on the site’s signup process, pricing, and everything in between. We’ve picked out a few other dating sites you’ll want to look into as well — because, when it comes to finding love, you can never have too many avenues.

Lavalife Review | 3 Alternatives

Lavalife Has a Large User Base, But You Have to Pay to Communicate With People (4.3/5.0 Rating)

Lavalife launched in 2001 with a mission to “make dating fun again.” The site wants to take the pressure off singles, matching them based on their interests so it’s easier to start a conversation. More than 2,000 people visit the homepage every month, and the app is available for iOS and Android devices.

It’ll take you less than 10 minutes to fill out your profile, and then you can start searching for matches. New members receive a free seven-day trial that’ll allow them to access all of Lavalife’s features. First, you’ll provide your full name, your gender, the gender you’re interested in, your birthday, email address, and password. You could also sign up through Facebook to make the process go even faster.

Photo of the Lavalife app

You can sign up for Lavalife for free via the desktop or download the app via iTunes or Google Play — the latter of which will give you access to other features like LavaLounge.

The next part is choosing a username, typing in your zip code, and selecting your height, body type (athletic, average, curvy, plus size, or slim), ethnicity (black, Caucasian, East Asian, European, First Nations, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern, Mixed, Pacific Islander, South Asian, or other), and religion (agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, New Age, Other, Sikh, or Spiritual).

Lavalife also wants to know what you’re looking for (casual dates, relationship, long-term, friends, or hookups), your education level (high school, trade, college, university, post-graduate, or other), your smoking habits (never, socially, regularly, or trying to quit), drinking habits (never, socially, or often), if you have children (no or yes), if you want children (yes or no/no more), and your annual income (under $30K, $30K-$40K, $40K-$60K, $60K-$80K, $80K-$100K, $100K-$150K, or over $150K).

For all of these questions, you can choose Ask Me Later and come back to them whenever you want. The About Me and My Ideal Date sections can be filled out any time as well. However, your profile pic, an opening line, and city are all mandatory.

Once all of this information is submitted, Lavalife offers a quick tutorial to show you how everything works, but you can jump right into browsing if you feel ready to go.

Basic search has filters for username, what you’re looking for, age, and distance. Advanced search has filters for recently online, interests (e.g., pets, travel, fitness), and Find Me At (e.g., concert, movies, work), among other things. Save your searches for more efficient browsing the next time you log in.

When you find someone who catches your eye, use the In Common feature to see what makes you two click. You can also “like” profiles, see who’s viewed your profile, send smiles and chat requests, and send and receive messages.

However, once your free trial is up, you won’t be able to initiate messages anymore. This is the part about Lavalife that seems to bother singles the most. You’ll need to upgrade your membership, and prices include one month for $19.99, three months for $49.99 (saving you 17%), and six months for $89.99 (saving you 25%). Note: The three- and six-month memberships must be paid in full upfront.

3 Alternatives to Lavalife

Lavalife is a longstanding name in the industry, but just like you shouldn’t limit yourself in dating, you shouldn’t limit yourself to one site. We’ve got three other options that can stand up to what Lavalife is offering. Let’s start with the king of dating sites:

Match the company was founded in 1993, and the site was launched in 1995 — six years before Lavalife. Match also sees more than 13.5 million visitors a month — not to mention the 30 million people who’ve already signed up.

★★★★★
4.9/5.0

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 »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

You can take Match with you wherever you go by downloading the app from iTunes or Google Play, and features like Missed Connections will make sure you find your perfect date or partner. In fact, Match has led to more dates and relationships than any of its competitors.

Our next alternative is Elite Singles, which focuses on quality instead of quantity. The site is meant for relationship-minded, highly educated, upper-income singles. More than 80% of members hold bachelor’s, master’s, and/or doctorate degrees.

★★★★★
4.6/5.0

Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “Elite Singles 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 »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Most of Elite Singles’ members are also at least 30 years old (90%), so you won’t find the hookup crowd here. The site is responsible for more than 2,500 love stories every month, and you could be next.

Zoosk rounds out our list, and it’s the most tech-savvy of the bunch. One of the first to offer signup via your existing social profiles (Facebook and Google+), Zoosk has been a favorite of on-the-go daters since 2007.

★★★★★
4.6/5.0

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 »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

In terms of matching, Zoosk has a unique way of bringing compatible people together. The site has a carousel of singles that you can like, pass on, or come back to later, and a majority of these singles are what Zoosk calls SmartPick™ matches. Zoosk tracks your online behavior, such as the words you use in your profile and the type of people you message, so you can receive the most compatible match suggestions possible.

Lavalife: Definitely Worth Trying, But Keep Your Options Open

As a whole, Lavalife gets the job done, but there are a couple of areas for improvement. We’d recommend that you sign up for that free seven-day trial, so you can make up your own mind about the site. If it’s not your cup of tea, take a look at Match, Elite Singles, or Zoosk. In a lot of ways, they make up for what Lavalife lacks. Good luck!