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This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.
Dating is a competitive game, and you should do everything you can to give yourself a chance of success. Looking your best and smelling fresh is a good place to start, but nothing shortens your odds of success like signing up to a dating site.
The problem with this tactic is that there are just so many dating sites out there to consider, each with a different set of features that will suit some people better than others. It’s difficult to know which site is best for you, and you could easily spend hours researching all of the sites on offer without a definitive answer.
We know that you don’t have time for all of that, so we’ve set out to make things a little easier for you.
What are the benefits of using dating apps?
By subscribing to a dating site, you’re shortening your odds of finding a connection. It’s as simple as that.
Dating sites and apps let you get your information out there to a massive network of like-minded individuals, and provide the opportunity to test out a potential relationship on an app before actually meeting in real life.
Subscribing to dating apps and sites is also a way less intimidating way of meeting someone compared to a face-to-face situation. If you find the idea of meeting people slightly terrifying, these apps can help you face your fears from the comfort of your own home.
Is online dating worth the hassle?
Sentiments aside, we have some hard data to back our reasoning for Why Online Dating Is Worthwhile™: Statista(opens in a new tab) predicted that the online dating audience will grow to 53.3 million(opens in a new tab) by 2025, compared to 44.2 million users in 2020. A study(opens in a new tab) from Stanford released in 2019 asserted that online dating is officially the most common way for couples to meet, rounding out at nearly 40 percent of couples having first met online.
This pre-pandemic prediction came before the COVID-era dating app sign-ups surge. Though people are eager to get back to doing as many things IRL as possible now, dating apps are still a great place to find someone, whether you want a relationship or are just looking to get nasty.
And yes, though there are algorithms that dictate what profiles pop up on your screen, we firmly believe that the stars aligning still comes into play. After all, the person who signs up on the app and is looking for love at exactly the same time you are is up to fate and the universe, proving that online dating romance is very much alive and well.
Because it’s not 2007 anymore, the need for mobile-friendly online dating isn’t just a millennial thing — people over 40 don’t have time to sit around at their home desktops, either. Dating sites that are older than most members of Gen Z (like Match and eharmony) have been forced to give serious attention to their smartphone counterparts if they don’t want to be outgrown.
However, that statistical promise still requires patience and a game plan, the game plan is choosing the dating app with features that best fit your lifestyle — and the lifestyle of the type of person you’re looking for. Are you looking for an app strictly for sex or an app more serious than Tinder but less serious than eharmony? Or maybe, you’d just really love to find an app where queer women aren’t relentlessly sexualized by creeps and pestered by unicorn hunters.
Should you use free dating apps?
The good news is that there are a lot of free dating sites and apps out there, and the likes of Tinder and Hinge are good examples of free apps with massive networks of users.
The bad news is that a lot of free apps simply don’t cut it. You get what you pay for with dating sites and apps, and for the best experience with the greatest possibility of finding exactly what you’re looking for, you are going to have to cough up the cash.
You can still find something worth your time with a free app, but if you’re looking for compatibility tests, chat rooms, videos, and a greater level of control, we recommend upgrading. Paid sites provide access to premium features that give you the best chance of finding something special.
What is the best dating site?
We’re sorry to break it to you like this, but there isn’t a single dating site that is better than the rest. Instead, there are a lot of sites and apps with similar features and packages, and the best option for you really comes down to your own set of preferences.
To make the decision process a whole lot easier for everyone, we have lined up a selection of the most popular sites in the dating game, including leading sites like EliteSingles(opens in a new tab), Match(opens in a new tab), and Eharmony(opens in a new tab). All you need to do is pick a favourite from the bunch.
These are the best dating sites in 2023.