The best dating apps for relationships use technology to bring like-minded people together and foster real conversations. It’s a meaningful upgrade from swiping apps where casual hookups and flings are the main focus.
No single app can guarantee online dating success, but some provide a wealth of tools to get serious daters on their way to serious relationships. We’ve ranked and reviewed some of the most popular and effective apps for finding a perfect match.
If you’re tired of playing swiping games, make a fresh start by creating a dating profile on the following sites and apps for relationships.
Best Overall Dating Apps for Relationships
Online dating gets a lot of attention for promoting hookup culture and helping casual daters play the field. But it has actually proven effective at connecting long-term relationships and marriages as well. In a 2019 survey, 22% of newly engaged couples said they met on an online dating app or site, while 19% said they met through a mutual friend and 17% reported meeting at school.
The following dating sites and apps have a good reputation for facilitating real relationships that could lead to marriage.
- Match is the world's longest running dating site
- The Discover section has search filters by interests, looks, lifestyle, and more
- Match is available in 50 countries and 15 languages
Match has an incredible knack for identifying commonalities and predicting relationship compatibility. The online dating website and app recommend potential matches based on dating profile information. For instance, if you identify yourself as a dog owner, the algorithm will prioritize local dog lovers in the daily matches section.
It’s free to set up a dating profile on Match.com and explore its network. However, free members have limited chat options because they can only message members who make it into their Top Pick list.
Since its launch in 1995, Match.com has led to more relationships and marriages than any other dating service. We give Match an almost perfect rating of 4.9 stars because of its successful track record and quality-driven features.
- Over 2 million monthly users
- Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
- Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits
EliteSingles ups the caliber of online matches through its premium perks and learning algorithm. The dating website and app use a personality test to get to know new members and determine what they want and need in a potential partner. Members receive daily match recommendations based on alignments in lifestyle, education, and family values.
EliteSingles is a popular dating app among single professionals who are serious about finding love. Over 85% of members have graduated from college, and over 90% say they want a committed relationship or marriage. It’s free to swipe and like profiles on EliteSingles, but only premium members can view photos and send private messages.
- Send messages to premium members for free
- Over 3 million messages sent a day
- Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts
Zoosk launched in 2007 as a mix between a social media network and a dating service, and it quickly grew into a global sensation. The Zoosk dating app has been downloaded over 30 million times, and its members exchange millions of messages every day.
Filling out a Zoosk profile is a fun way to express yourself, but it’s your online swipes, likes, and chats that power Zoosk’s suggested matches. The dating app uses behavioral matchmaking — meaning it suggests profiles similar to those you’ve liked before — to make online dating more efficient and intuitive.
- Over 2 million people have found love here
- Users can filter their match recommendations by age or city
- Compatibility Quiz identifies common interests, lifestyles, and goals
The online dating scene got a serious upgrade in 2000 when eharmony launched on a mission to improve the quality of relationships and marriages for generations to come. The dating platform draws from psychology to find a single person’s ideal match based on their temperament, values, and communication styles.
Over the years, eharmony has become known as a place where mature daters can slow down and create heartfelt connections. The online dating service has helped over 2 million American singles get in a relationship, and it can help you as well. You can read our full review of eharmony to learn more about its membership and matchmaking features.
- For singles interested in God-centered relationships
- Over 3.5 million monthly users around the world
- Available as an app on Google Play and the App Store
Christian Mingle is a Christian dating platform where common values matter. Since 2001, the faith-driven site and app have welcomed over 15 million members and supported their serious relationship goals.
Devout Christians often look to Christian Mingle as an alternative to secular swiping apps. Christian Mingle has unique search filters that focus on shared beliefs and traditions. To further break the ice, the Christian Mingle dating profile has optional sections regarding their taste in music, preferred date activities and favorite Bible verses.
Christian Mingle has a high marriage success rate according to recent polling data. Experts estimate that the platform is responsible for about 1 in 3 Christian marriages in the U.S.
- One of the largest Black singles networks in existence
- Straightforward search and matching features
- Use Tokens to appear higher in search results
Over the last 20 years, BlackPeopleMeet has established the largest dating network for Black singles in the U.S. and Canada. Over 1 million members have used the online dating platform to make new friends and diversify their love interests. It’s free to join the BPM world through the website or app. Members do not have to have a certain skin tone or cultural background to create a BPM dating profile.
BlackPeopleMeet has proven successful when it comes to inspiring Black love and interracial relationships. Its success stories page is brimming with examples.
“I met the love of my life from your website,” said a BPM user from Lansing, Illinois, in an online testimonial. “I tried one last time before deleting my membership, and that is when I met the love of my life. We are doing quite well, and I have to say thank you.”
- Free, unlimited communication for everyone
- Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
- Over 91 million connections every year
OkCupid does not charge users a penny for any of its messaging features. As soon as you complete your OkCupid profile, you can send messages to any person on the site or app. But you cannot send a follow-up message until that person has liked you back.
Our experts rank OkCupid among the best dating apps for serious relationships because the platform features detailed profiles, interest-based matching systems, and famously accurate compatibility ratings. The original match algorithm was created in 2004 by a group of Harvard math majors, and it has only gotten better with time.
According to its internal calculations, OkCupid powers over 91 million matches and 2.5 million dates every year. It’s a safe bet for anyone looking for good conversation, engaging date opportunities, and a potential partner.
- Free registration, searches, and messaging
- The Chemistry Test creates a compatibility framework
- Over 1 billion messages sent per month
Plenty of Fish offers singles a 100% free dating site and app where love is accessible to all. The POF community boasts having over 150 million members in 20 countries. It is responsible for creating approximately 57 million matches a week.
All it takes to join Plenty of Fish is an email address, username, and profile picture. Free members can text and video chat one another without needing to form a mutual match first. POF users can send up to 55 first messages per day without paying for a premium subscription. The Live POF membership is optional and includes badges, credits, and perks to make online dating more fun and effective.
- Supports active daters in 190+ countries
- The swiping system creates over 12 million matches per day
- Tinder Plus members have unlimited likes and 5 Super Likes
Tinder has the rep of a casual hookup app, but it’s actually much more than that. In 2012, Tinder forever changed the online dating game by introducing swipe-based matching and giving singles greater control over their romantic prospects. The app has created over 55 billion matches in 190 countries, and it remains one of the most popular dating apps ever.
Tinder is particularly popular among young singles. According to its member stats, over half of Tinder users are under 25 years old, and members collectively send 4.2 million GIFs per week on the dating app. Don’t let all that swiping and GIF action fool you — Tinder inspires about 1.5 million dates a week and can spark real relationship success between like-minded people.
- A feminist dating app puts singles on equal footing
- 60% of Bumble matches turn into dates
- Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF spark non-romantic connections
Bumble is a popular dating app among progressive and feminist singles in the U.S., and it is rapidly expanding in more than 150 countries worldwide. The app is one part matchmaker, one part social experiment, and it’s a fun way to mix things up in the traditional dating scene.
A former Tinder Co-Founder named Whitney Wolfe Herd came up with the idea for Bumble because she was tired of men taking the lead and dictating the rules in online dating. She created Bumble to put women first — quite literally. Single men cannot message a woman on Bumble unless she has sent a message first.
Bumble is different from swiping apps because of its unique sensibilities and high moral standards. You won’t find any half-naked photos or underwear selfies here. The vast majority of Bumble users are more interested in real relationships than in casual hookups, so it’s a great place to get serious about the future.
Best Senior Dating Apps for Relationships
As a single person gets older, it gets harder to meet new people, and some senior singles give up hope of finding a new romance. However, senior dating apps have started bringing new life and spirit to older people from all walks of life.
Online dating apps can turn dream dates into realities by fostering connections between local singles in the same age range.
- An exclusively senior membership base
- Over 800,000 monthly users worldwide
- App available for free on Google Play
SilverSingles is a highly respectable senior dating site that facilitates conversations between people who have a lot of life experience but may not have much online dating experience. The network caters to older women and gentlemen in their 60s and up.
Free SilverSingles members can send virtual winks, photo requests, and profile likes, but they cannot use the direct messaging feature until they upgrade to a paid monthly subscription. SilverSingles asks singles to buy into its matchmaking system to ensure only serious daters can actively mingle here.
- Open to straight, gay, and lesbian singles over 50
- Free match recommendations and conversation starters
- Use Tokens to promote your profile and send virtual gifts
As a senior-friendly dating app, OurTime has brought silver-haired singles out of their shell and into the dating scene. The network includes widowers, divorcees, and other single people hoping for a second chance at love. OurTime currently has over 1 million members in the U.S., Europe, and other parts of the world.
OurTime gives seniors the opportunity to expand their social circle and build relationships with people in their age group. The premium dating app has a lot of perks to offer, especially if you’re willing to spend less than $1 per day on a subscription. Free OurTime members can browse profiles and send messages to select users, while premium members can send virtual gifts, set up private calls, review their profile views and likes, and, most importantly, exchange unlimited text messages online.
- Doesn't allow members under 45
- Available as a dating app in Google Play
- Dating advice and safety tips shared by senior daters
SeniorMatch supports mature singles who still feel young at heart. The majority of its members are in their 50s and 60s, but that doesn’t stop them from flirting like teenagers online.
A free membership on SeniorMatch is enough to spark promising love matches. Online daters even post their favorite date ideas and relationship advice in the discussion forum. The platform’s user-friendly features help newcomers get their footing in the virtual dating scene.
Over 1.6 million conversations take place on SeniorMatch every month, and the app has inspired countless relationships and marriages since 2003.
Best LGBT Dating Apps for Relationships
If you want to come out on top in the online dating world, you have to choose the right dating network. The LGBTQ+ community has thrived by uniting online and joining gay dating sites for serious relationships. You never know who you’ll meet or where a new chat could lead on these gay apps.
- One of the largest gay hookup sites in the world
- Search filters for age, location, physical attributes, and more
- Available in 12 languages and counting
MenNation supports a men-only dating network where guys can run wild and follow their hearts. The dating platform keeps things light and helps gay and bisexual men build confidence one flirtation at a time.
A lot of members head to MenNation when they’re feeling lonely at night. But not all of them are only interested in a short-term connection. It’s possible to find a serious love in this horny crowd. The online dating site certainly makes it easy to solicit sex from strangers; however, sometimes those casual hookups grow into something more.
- Free membership includes viewing profiles and sending likes
- Exchange revealing photos and videos privately online
- Simple search filters by interests and appearance
LesbianPersonals connects female users in a vivacious and flirtatious dating scene like no other. Single women and couples can browse personal ads, discussion forums, video broadcasts, and other X-rated features to satisfy their lust for romance.
Women are the main attraction on LesbianPersonals. The online dating site highlights attractive ladies of all types, and it has millions of sexy photos in its database. Polyamorous and nonmonogamous daters can use the search filters and live chat tools to pursue female companionship on their terms. Since 1996, LesbianPersonals has catered to lesbian, bisexual, and bi-curious women who want to build sexual relationships quickly and privately.
- A quirky and unapologetic womxn-only dating community
- Queer events get users connecting IRL
- The constantly updated Feed facilitates social networking
HER is a female-led dating app where queer women can build new friendships and relationships without meeting a single man or creepy couple. The membership base includes over 5 million women and zero men.
HER began in 2013 as a U.K. dating app for lesbian women, and it has expanded into a global network populated entirely by singles who identify as female. The app is open to people across the sexuality spectrum, but it uses Facebook to verify the new user’s womanhood. Transgender and genderqueer folk can shelter under this LGBTQ+ umbrella, but all straight men will be deleted on sight.
- Social networking for gay, bi, trans, and queer men
- Location-based matches spark instant chemistry
- Grindr Equality advocates for LGBTQ+ interests on the global stage
Since 2009, Grindr has created meaningful connections between single men in the LGBTQ+ community. The gay dating app has over 27 million registered members, and nearly 4 million men visit the app every day in search of the perfect match.
Most guys use Grindr as their wingman at the club. It has a casual hookup vibe that makes every chat and match more exciting. However, not all Grindr dates are all about sex. A Reddit user said he fell in love thanks to Grindr, and it took less than a month for him to go from casual sex buddy to committed relationship.
How Do Dating Apps for Relationships Really Work?
It takes less than five minutes to download a new dating app, set up a dating profile, and start swiping or searching for a potential date. The virtual dating list typically prioritizes folks in the same city or ZIP code, but it’s often possible to expand the search parameters to a wider mile radius — or even search for matches in another country if desired.
Mainstream dating apps typically have basic match criteria based on age, location, gender identity, appearance, and background. Some platforms may include a personality test or icebreaker prompts to help compatible couples find one another more quickly and easily.
The messaging rules will differ from app to app. Sometimes only female users can chat for free, while male users have to pay to chat. Apps like Tinder require users to form a mutual match before they can send messages. Premium dating apps may limit messaging to paid users only or put a cap on how many free messages can be sent in a day.
Why Do Some Dating Apps Ask for a Facebook Login?
Dating apps feature a Facebook login option to speed up the signup process. Connecting to your Facebook profile allows the app to pull demographic details about your age, education, and background, and it can also recommend profile pictures from your Facebook albums. It’s a quick and easy way to verify a new user’s identity.
Joining a dating app with Facebook will not impact your social media life. Your Facebook friends will not be able to see your online dating activity (unless they happen to be on the same app), and dating apps do not post or send messages on Facebook on a user’s behalf.
If you’re not comfortable connecting your Facebook profile to your dating profile, it’s easy enough to avoid. Plenty of dating sites work without Facebook and require only an email address or a phone number to get started.
Can You Search by Relationship Preference on Dating Apps?
No, it’s typically not an option to search by relationship preference on a dating app. Some apps don’t even ask users to declare what type of relationship they’re looking for online. However, you can get a relationship vibe if you know what to look for. Singles who want something serious tend to take the online dating process seriously, write robust dating profiles, and make an effort to get to know real people.
It takes time to complete every section of a dating profile and come up with witty and thoughtful content. A lengthy and detail-oriented profile is a pretty good indication that the person isn’t just looking for an easy lay or casual fling.
Is It Safe to Use Dating Apps to Find a Relationship?
Online dating is one of the fastest and safest ways to meet local singles and find a real relationship. It’s natural to feel nervous about it when you download a dating app for the first time, but the security features should soon set your mind at ease.
Do not feel pressured to chat or meet up with anyone if you’re getting bad vibes. In fact, you can hit the block button to delete any person from your online dating universe for any reason whatsoever. Blocked profiles will not appear in your matches or chats, and they cannot view your dating profile.
Online daters have ample screen time to vet a new person and discover commonalities. It’s generally a good idea to do some background research on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms. Just to make sure the stories line up, and the person isn’t hiding anything, particularly regarding their relationship status, career, or family life.
Most dating apps have security systems in place to identify and remove fake profiles. But you should be on the lookout for unsavory characters who don’t post clear pictures or provide much personal information about themselves in the profile or private chat.
How Should I Choose the Best Dating App for Relationships?
Choosing the absolute best dating app is a matter of personal preference. There are literally hundreds of dating sites that can work for singles of all ages and types. And they all have different pros and cons.
Relationship-centered dating apps often have more sophisticated matchmaking features to upgrade the experience. But they may also require users to invest more time — or more money — in the site or app.
Hinge is a completely free dating app that endeavors to satisfy relationship seekers with its detailed profiles and personalized matching. Can it live up to its “designed to be deleted” hype? Signs point toward yes. The Hinge app has recorded a 72% satisfaction rate from users who went on first dates, and it has a good reputation for success when it comes to long-term relationships and marriages.
Is Coffee Meets Bagel a Good Dating App?
Yes, Coffee Meets Bagel is a decent dating app for making new friends and building close relationships. The platform is the passion project of three sisters who became fed up with superficial swiping apps and decided to create something better. Coffee Meets Bagel aims to bring civility back to online dating by putting quality matches first.
“Met my life partner here. Engaged to be married next month,” said Theo in an online CMB review. “Would choose this app over other swiping apps if you’re more serious about a long-term match.”
The CMB team has worked tirelessly to put an end to endless swiping and chatting. The app has placed a cap on how many likes and matches a single person can make in a day, and it also puts a time limit on how long users can chat. Once a mutual match is formed on Coffee Meets Bagel, the couple has seven days to chat on the app. After that, they’ll have to exchange numbers or say goodbye.
Coffee Meets Bagel has made over 100 million matches in less than 10 years, and it shows every sign of continuing to inspire meaningful connections for years to come
Online Dating Apps Can Inspire Real Relationships
Singles who are looking for a casual fling can join any free dating app and flirt without regard for the future. But that kind of hit-it-and-quit-it experience isn’t going to satisfy relationship-driven singles. It takes more concerted matchmaking to inspire honest love connections, and the best dating apps for relationships have perfected the formula through decades of testing.
Whether you’re a student, a single mom, a busy professional, or a retiree, your search for love can benefit from sophisticated match algorithms and quality introductions. The online dating networks on this list have a great reputation for cutting through the nonsense and allowing relationships to blossom. And, best of all, it’s totally free to download multiple dating apps on the same mobile device and see if any promising matches come your way. Best of luck!