Online dating can be tough, and it’s easy to wonder if dating sites and apps are worth the effort. Over the years, studies have shown that dating apps can work effectively to help modern daters meet their partners. In fact, most newly-engaged couples in 2021 met through a dating app. 

While it’s easy to be jaded and burnt out on online dating, a single person can find plenty of dating apps that actually work. Our dating experts keep an eye on the trends and success rates in the online dating world to ensure our recommendations help real people find real romances.

Best Overall Dating Apps That Work

We’ll start this list strong with the top names in the online dating market. The following apps and sites help steer users toward a potential partner, and they’ve seen successful pairings for everything from a one-night stand to a happily ever after.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • 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

As the crown jewel of the Match Group network Match is an online dating platform that most certainly works. The dating site has some success stories on its blog, but evidence of its successful matches can be found across the web. Since its launch in 1995, Match has claimed responsibility for sparking over a million successful relationships.

Match operates in 50 countries around the world, and the international dating platform supports 15 languages, so every user has access to an extensive dating pool. 

Beyond the impressive size of the platform, Match stands out from the online dating crowd because of its quality-driven tools. Match connects members based on compatibility in personality traits, date preferences, and life goals. The algorithm also factors in how a user reacts to suggested matches and refines the potential partners list based on user behavior. You can even work with a dating expert at Match to improve your dating profile and get better results.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • 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 major driver of success on eharmony is its signature formula for compatibility. The dating site and app brings singles together based on a deep analysis of personality traits, goals, and lifestyle — rather than a few photos and a short paragraph. The eharmony team has a strong commitment to fostering long-term love, and the platform’s success rate is a testament to that. Since 2000, eharmony has introduced over 2 million couples in long-term relationships in the U.S. 

Every eharmony user can take the in-depth personality test if they want to deepen the quality of their match list. The opt-in test examines a variety of important relationship criteria to find the best possible match for eharmony users.

Although eharmony is one of the more expensive platforms in the online dating world, the team behind the site and app explain that the price tag helps deter time wasters and scammers, so you’re more likely to find a genuine connection with a genuine person.

eharmony takes a lot of the guesswork out for users by providing curated matches every day, so you don’t have to do all the legwork yourself. If you want to explore on your own, however, you’re welcome to browse using simple filters.

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0
  • Profiles require multiple photos and responses to prompts
  • Users can send a message with their match request
  • The app collects post-date feedback to improve its system

The Hinge dating app has caught attention with its slogan “designed to be deleted” and its knack for sparking conversations that lead to first dates, second dates, and real relationships. The dating app launched in 2012 with a promise to put quality first in the online dating scene. Today, it’s one of the most popular dating apps on the market.

Proof that Hinge actually works can be found in online reviews and Reddit success stories. My own love story started on Hinge — my husband and I met on the app in 2019. But beyond testimonials, the numbers back Hinge’s success. Hinge is one of the few apps that asks for post-date feedback, and their analytics show that over 70% of users who went on first dates with a Hinge match said they wanted to go on a second date. 

The Hinge dating app encourages users to go deeper than just a picture and a couple of sentences. Hinge users must like or comment on a specific part of another person’s dating profile to start a conversation, and the prompts provide plenty of icebreakers. This process helps you get to know another person and elicits more detailed responses than a quick “hey” ever could.

Best Mature Dating Apps That Work

Senior singles may not always have the best experience on a dating app like Tinder that caters to the under-30 crowd. If you’re approaching retirement and want a partner for your golden years, you should check out the following senior dating sites and apps.

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★★★★ 4.4/5.0
  • 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

OurTime offers a system that works for senior daters over 50 years old. OurTime is an online dating service that keeps things simple and secure. A senior person can sign up in minutes, and the platform’s anti-fraud protections verify the profile information to prevent fake profiles and scammers from making trouble in the network.

OurTime has proven successful when it comes to matching people of a certain age. A new user completes a dating profile by answering basic questions regarding their lifestyle, goals, and date preferences. The OurTime site and app highlight suggested matches within close proximity to the user. The algorithm learns from the senior person’s like history, so every click, swipe, and response on the platform improves its accuracy in the matchmaking game. OurTime offers several communication options, but you’ll need a premium membership to unlock unlimited messaging.

Countless success stories and testimonials demonstrate that OurTime can work and bring older singles together.

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★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

Internal data from SilverSingles suggests that the senior dating platform makes around 2,000 matches per month. The dating service has grown rapidly in the last few years, and its matchmaking gives older people the chance to start fresh in the dating scene.

SilverSingles is a top contender for senior daters looking for friendships, casual dates, and real relationships. The SilverSingles team takes many precautions to keep scammers off the platform and ensure all profiles are genuine. The platform’s ID verification takes the stress out of online dating and reduces the chances of a new user having bad experiences with scammers.

Instead of fostering an endless swiping carousel, SilverSingles suggests no more than seven compatible matches each day, based on a personality quiz and your stated preferences. Single women slightly outnumber men on the platform, and that likewise helps maintain a friendly, social atmosphere that makes falling in love easier.

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0

Christian Mingle is a faith-driven dating site and app that can definitely work as a senior dating site for older users who value Christian principles. Founded in 20001, Christian Mingle is a highly successful platform for singles who want to date and marry within the Christian faith.

The Christian Mingle site boasts plenty of success stories from happy couples, one recent survey discovered that nearly one-third of Christian marriages that began online had Christian Mingle to thank for the introduction.

Christian Mingle has impressive numbers to show that it really works, and our experts rate it among the best dating sites for senior singles in particular. Singles over 50 make up around a quarter of the user base, so it makes sense that Christian Mingle has a mature take on online dating.

Signing up takes only a couple of minutes, and the matchmaking process allows for independent browsing as well as suggested matches. The Secret Admirer feature is a unique option where a person can anonymously browse and send likes to potential partners. Such user-friendly features help Christian Mingle stay at the top of the list of the best Christian dating sites. 

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★★★★ 4.3/5.0

Elite Singles caters to sophisticated, high-value singles of the world. The dating site plays host to highly educated singles seeking a partner who will help enhance their successful lives.

Elite Singles has a mature following of relationship seekers looking to get results. And the dating site delivers for them. According to analytics by the Elite Singles team, the site has an 80% success rate, which is much better than average. Even for niche dating sites, Elite Singles performs at a high level.

New users take a personality test, which helps the Elite Singles algorithm determine the best matches in the area. The compatibility algorithm takes individual date preferences into account, including lifestyle factors, education, and goals. Users receive curated matches, and over time Elite Singles provides even more personalized matches based on how you react to the potential partners on your list. You still have the freedom to browse user profiles at your leisure in the Have You Met section, but you can stick with the suggested matches to find a good partner with no muss and no fuss.

Best Casual Dating Apps That Work

Not all single people are set upon love, marriage, and riding off into the sunset with another person. Some singles just want to get laid. Casual dating sites facilitate low-key chats and sexy encounters between daters who aren’t looking for a big commitment.

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★★★★★ 4.8/5.0
  • Discreetly arranges one-night stands and extramarital affairs
  • More than 80 million profiles worldwide
  • Travel-friendly features for seeking matches in other cities

Ashley Madison has a reputation for helping married people find an affair partner for their needs, but the discreet dating platform welcomes singles as well. The network includes married individuals seeking some action as well as single people who want to keep their dating life under wraps.

“I don’t regret my Ashley Madison affair,” wrote an anonymous person in a Guardian article. And Reddit’s Adultery thread has a good share of success stories from current and former members. Ashley Madison is a wingman for all sorts of secret desires.

Ashley Madison takes the role of affair facilitator seriously, offering users a host of privacy and security features along the way. Every profile undergoes a review process for quality control. Photo blurring and the Panic Button help users maintain privacy and discretion. Ashley Madison offers discreet billing codes and flexible payment options so people can pay for online activity without getting caught.

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★★★★ 4.4/5.0
  • The dating app of choice for millions of sexually active singles
  • Accelerating the dating process through swiping
  • Has led to over 97 billion mutual matches

It’s no secret that Tinder has some drawbacks, and critics have complained about the quality of matches on the platform. But the numbers don’t lie: Tinder is a highly successful dating app with success stories and positive reviews from people who had positive experiences.

Tinder’s appeal lies in its fast-paced swiping features. Tinder was the first dating platform of its kind in 2012, and its popularity, even more than a decade later, is undeniable. It is the app to beat.

The free membership offers the chance to swipe on profiles and chat with local singles who match with you. You can download the app from the Google Play or App Store and start swiping on potential matches in a matter of minutes, and even less if you link your Tinder profile to your Facebook account.

Once you’ve made a mutual match, you can exchange messages freely and make plans to meet at your leisure. Tinder has the reputation of a hookup app, but many users find successful long-term relationships on the platform as well.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

Adult Friend Finder is an old name in the hookup world, and the casual dating site has a strong reputation for arranging naughty encounters on and off the web. The ongoing popularity of AFF is the biggest indicator of its success, and we found some positive reviews on Reddit to back the service.

Since the 1990s, Adult Friend Finder has promoted a helpful combination of public and private communication options. As a basic member, you can participate in the chat rooms and forums to get a sense of the online membership. Free members can browse the database for a potential hookup in a judgment-free space. You’ll need a premium membership to access private messages as well as enhanced privacy features and higher visibility on the hookup site.

Best Niche Dating Apps That Work

Niche dating apps offer a targeted dating pool of people who share similar interests, values, or experiences. We’ve picked out some niche apps that have a great reputation in their communities and can actually work well for singles with a particular type.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Send messages to premium members for free
  • Over 3 million messages sent a day
  • Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts

Zoosk is a popular dating site with over 30 million users worldwide. It’s fair to say that Zoosk holds its own in the online dating world. Every day, Zoosk users send over 3 million messages, and plenty of published success stories speak to its success.

The Zoosk interface functions more like a social media platform than a traditional dating site. In fact, Zoosk started as a Facebook application, and the founding intention was to provide a social community for single people all over the world.

Zoosk offers a variety of communication methods. Free and paid members can connect in the way they prefer, whether that’s by taking a virtual date to an exotic location or simply sending private messages the traditional way. 

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★★★★ 4.3/5.0
  • Over 1.5 million monthly users from all walks of life
  • Search for Black dates by demographics, online status, or keyword
  • Up to 11 match suggestions delivered to your inbox

Although the site launched in the early 2000s, BlackPeopleMeet remains one of the top choices for Black singles looking for long-term love. The niche site keeps things fresh when it comes to its features.

BlackPeopleMeet provides curated matches based on your preferences and personality. The dating platform creates a safe space for Black singles to connect and chat without having to worry about online harassment or discrimination.

BPM doesn’t make finding your next date complicated. Success stories like Lakeisha Hall and John Branch’s show up all the time, though it’s hard to find hard numbers on the overall membership.

The key to the success of BlackPeopleMeet comes down to making it easy for singles to communicate. A premium member has unlimited access to private messaging, and free members can use likes and initial greetings to get the attention of an online crush, so you can get something started even if you’re on a budget.

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★★★ 3.4/5.0
  • 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

Grindr is probably the most well-known gay hookup platform on the market, but the online dating app has a lot more to offer besides casual sex. The Grindr team works hard to make a welcoming environment for men interested in other men, regardless of specific sexual orientation.

Despite its reputation as a hookup app, Grindr’s success stories include quite a few gay marriages and long-term relationships. 

The friendly, casual, and judgment-free atmosphere is the biggest driver of Grindr’s success. Whether you’re gay, bi, pansexual, or just curious, Grindr welcomes men to interact, connect, and chat in real time.

The basic membership comes with every feature you need to make connections within your local gay community. Grindr Xtra comes with a few perks that help men up their dating game by taking advantage of unlimited likes and swipes. Plus, premium members have the ability to swipe on profiles outside their city limits. 

14. HER

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★★★★ 3.5/5.0
  • A quirky and unapologetic womxn-only dating community
  • Queer events get users connecting IRL
  • The constantly updated Feed facilitates social networking

HER is a top-tier lesbian dating app with touching success stories that speak to the strength of its women-only community. This isn’t a mainstream swipe-happy carousel of superficial profiles. HER cultivates a friendly community of ladies with a judgment-free atmosphere and a social vibe. The app is inclusive of all single women, including femmes and nonbinary people, but the moderators will remove any male person trolling the app.

The casual, open atmosphere on HER makes it easy to chat and get to know local women without feeling pressured to jump into a new relationship. The app has a calendar of events to help queer women connect in person and find their tribe on the platform.

HER creates new love stories every day, and the app remains a popular option for the deep friendships and relationships that members forge.

15. JDate

JDate is a Jewish dating site that launched over 20 years ago and has a great reputation in the Jewish community. The online dating platform has the biggest following in its niche, and it’s easily one of the biggest names when it comes to faith-based dating. JDate has many success stories to show that the dating site really truly works. 

“Shlomit and I met on JDate only two weeks after she had joined. I, on the other hand, was a JDate member for nearly 15 years,” said a JDate user Ryan in a testimonial. Ryan and Shlomit got married in 2018 after meeting on JDate. “The idea was to find my love, my soulmate, my better half, and I finally, after 15 years searching on Jdate, did.”

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JDate is perfect for Jewish singles looking for Jewish partners.

It isn’t just the sheer size and popularity that makes JDate so successful at bringing Jewish singles together. The dating website and app cultivate a sense of community by fostering discussions over shared culture, values, and beliefs.

Plenty of matchmaking features support Jewish singles hoping to spark a new connection and arrange a first date that leads to a real relationship. The site lets emotional chemistry and conversation take center stage. And its approach definitely works. An online survey in 2011 found that JDate was responsible for over 63% of dates that started online among Jewish singles.

16. The League

The League helps discerning singles find local dates without lowering their standards. The online dating platform caters to high-value singles, and it’s been successful in sparking power couples. The League proudly posts several testimonials on its website, and it has led to more wedding announcements in The New York Times than many of the leading dating apps.

What makes this elite dating site so special? The League does all the vetting and filtering for you. The matchmaking system suggests matches based on your personality, education, lifestyle, and preferences, so you don’t have to search long to get a tailored potential match.

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The League matches singles based on personality, education, and life goals.

The League sets a high standard for membership. The vetting process weeds out undesirable candidates, and each member’s profile undergoes an extraordinary level of scrutiny to make the cut.

Every person who signs up for The League starts on the waiting list, and the moderators only approve the elite dating profiles created by genuine people who have a lot to offer potential dates. This thorough vetting process helps single professionals find a quality match who shares similar ambitions, accomplishments, and values. 

17. Facebook Dating 

Facebook Dating caused quite a stir when the social media giant announced its launch in 2018, but there’s no denying that the free online dating app works. Instead of pairing random strangers, Facebook Dating suggests matches based on your extended friends network: friends of friends, your cousin’s coworker, people who are at the periphery of your social circle. 

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Facebook offers free dating that’s seamlessly integrated with the social media network.

Facebook Dating hasn’t been in operation as long as some of the other mainstream dating apps, but it has a fair number of success stories to its name. Some singles might feel hesitant to join their dating life and social life, but the dating service has powerful tools that can help identify compatible matches based on their interests, social circles, and lifestyles.

Facebook Dating is also 100% free, so you don’t have to worry about spending money on a paid subscription to find your next date.

FAQs: How Successful is Online Dating?

Despite fears of online dating scams and other horror stories, the statistics show that online dating is pretty successful at sparking real relationships. Research conducted by The Knot shows that online dating is the most popular way for modern singles to meet their future spouse and form a lasting relationship. Divorce rates are also lower among married couples whose relationships started online.

Many people associate dating apps with one-night stands and casual hookups, but genuine human connections can start online as well.

All it takes is a quick web search to find success stories from various dating sites and apps. As long as you take the time to represent yourself authentically and put in the necessary work, you’re likely to find success on an online dating platform.

Is Bumble a Successful Dating App?

Yes, Bumble is a successful dating app, by just about any measure you can think of. The app boasts over 100 million downloads, making it one of the most popular dating apps in the world. The popularity of Bumble goes beyond casual dating or even romantic relationships. Bumble’s success as a woman-led dating platform has led the team to expand its capabilities and empower singles to form all types of meaningful connections.

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★★★★ 4.4/5.0
  • A female-friendly dating environment puts women in control
  • Zero tolerance for bullying, misogyny, and rude behavior
  • Conversations expire in 24 to 48 hours

Bumble BFF connects people who want to make new friends, and Bumble Bizz is an initiative for making business connections. The Bumble company also launched in-person events for networking and making friends in 2018. The pandemic put a damper on Bumble Hive, but CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd has said she’s interested in bringing back in-person meetups to keep the buzz going. 

How Many Dating Apps Should I Use at a Time?

Online dating is a numbers game, and there’s no way around that fact. It’s a good idea to use more than one dating app at a time for several reasons. A single app is limited in its reach and its match system may not be in sync with your dating style, so adding a second or third app to your phone gives you more options to explore.

We recommend using multiple (but no more than four) apps at a time. Choose popular dating apps that appeal to you and the type of dating experience you prefer.

If you are looking for a long-term commitment and want to delve a little deeper into a potential match, eharmony may be your ideal wingman. On the other hand if you’re looking to keep things casul and enjoy video chatting, Lovoo and Snack app may be the online dating tools that hold your interest. You should do some research and download a couple apps to maximize your chances of meeting a compatible match.

Online Dating Works Best When Singles Have Clear Goals

Many dating sites and apps are the real deal. The time-tested platforms on this list in particular have good track records and success rates.

Of course, joining dating apps that actually work will only help if you bring the right mindset to online dating. No dating app can do all the work for you. If you know what you’re looking for and don’t get distracted by endless swiping, you can get results and wind up in the long-term relationship or marriage with an online match. How do I know? Because that’s how I met my husband!

Download the right app and set off on your next dating adventure!

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