Ever since online dating became an option, young adults have been the largest demographic on dating sites and dating apps. Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, is growing up, and as they start entering adulthood, they’re pushing dating applications into new directions.
Gen Z and Millennial daters are demanding more from every dating platform, and the online dating industry is keeping up with the demand in a big way. But while new dating sites and apps launch every year, there are some that serve young adults better than others.
The Best Dating Apps for Young Adults
These sites and apps are the best options for a single young adult looking for a date, casual sex, or even a long-term relationship, according to our experts. Each of these online dating services features a user base with plenty of younger potential matches and features that make it easy for the most on-the-go generations to find the right person no matter where they are.
- Send messages to premium members for free
- Over 3 million messages sent a day
- Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts
Zoosk has been around since 2007, but the people behind the dating site do the work to keep the vibe fresh. The dating platform started life as an extension of Facebook, which helps explain why it was one of the first dating services to allow account setup with a Facebook login. But don’t worry: Zoosk doesn’t publish anything to your newsfeed. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still set up your Zoosk profile with your Twitter account, email address, or phone number.
Best of all, Zoosk operates on a “freemium” model, which means that, if you don’t want to spend money to connect with your prospective partner, you never have to. Core features on the site and the dating app that goes with it are free, including contacting a mutual match. But the Zoosk premium membership comes with some strong perks to step up your dating game.
- Free, unlimited communication for everyone
- Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
- Over 91 million connections every year
OkCupid is another dating site that launched at the dawn of online dating, but which has kept things fresh and young adult-friendly. As part of the Match group, OkCupid’s leadership has always liked to stay on top of the facts and figures, and respond accordingly. The site regularly publishes updates on what its membership base says and does on the site, and provides analysis of what it means for daters.
OkCupid leadership also made a commitment even after the site’s purchase by Match to keep the core features free. Build your profile, take the personality quiz, browse and swipe matches, and contact the people who interest you without paying anything. But A-list, the premium membership tier for OkCupid, does come with solid benefits.
- Free registration, searches, and messaging
- The Chemistry Test creates a compatibility framework
- Over 1 billion messages sent per month
Plenty of Fish has been around since 2003, making it one of the more old-school dating sites still on the internet. But just because Plenty of Fish is a veteran platform, that doesn’t mean that it’s old fashioned. The site regularly checks in on its members to find out what they want from the platform and how to give them the best experience possible.
For younger daters, Plenty of Fish has a lot of helpful features. The site took hits to its reputation early on, but that inspired the people behind the site to work harder to find ways to weed out fake profiles. The new verification steps don’t add much time to the free signup, which makes it more attractive to young daters on a budget. The paid membership gives you an ad-free experience, and you get perks to make you more visible to other singles.
- 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
Launched by a former top Tinder executive, Bumble distanced itself right away from hookup culture, and led the new era of feminist dating apps. Whitney Wolfe Herd set out to build a dating app that would put women in the driver’s seat, and millions of downloads later, Bumble remains a force to be reckoned with.
In the process, Bumble set itself apart as a tool for more than just finding a dating partner. The app offers a host of features that turn it into an all-purpose social tool to find mentors, friends, and lovers, among other relationships, online and in person. If you want to stick with the free experience, it’s easy to find matches, connect, and set a date without paying.
- 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
The original swipe app, or at least the original well-known swipe app, Tinder led the charge on dating apps with a simple proposition for romance seekers: swipe right for yes, swipe left for no. The app is intuitive and straightforward, which makes it easy to match with people in your area while on the go — perfect for Gen Z.
You don’t have to spend any money to browse, swipe, and contact matches, but Tinder Gold and Tinder Plus both provide perks that make finding the right person a little easier.
- Caters to Black single men and women
- Personalized swiping options
- Profile boosts and rewind options for premium members
BLK is a Black dating app where singles can flirt, match, and vibe with people who share similar values, backgrounds, and perspectives. Not everyone on BLK has the same skin tone or family life, but the vast majority of them identify as members of the Black community.
The BLK app is free to download on Google Play or the App Store, and it comes with an array of features that benefit local singles seeking a match. If you’re looking for #BlackLove, then you can state your serious intentions in your dating profile. That way, all potential matches know what to expect before they even send a message.
On the other hand, if you’re not sure what you want or prefer to keep your options open, you can opt for the “something casual” tag and filter for chill singles who like to chat and date without any commitments.
- A quirky and unapologetic womxn-only dating community
- Queer events get users connecting IRL
- The constantly updated Feed facilitates social networking
For a Gen Z queer woman, HER is much more than just a tool for finding a romantic partner. The app promises a community of lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans women all over the world, and the opportunity to explore identity safely. HER welcomes woman-loving women of all ages and types, and experience level isn’t an issue either.
All of the app’s core functions are available to every member. You can contact other members, participate in group chats and public chats on a variety of topics, and browse for your potential match without spending a single penny. Premium membership provides an ad-free experience, lets you see who’s online, and access more search filters and similar perks.
- 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
LGBTQ+ men have a lot of options when it comes to finding love and sex, but Grindr is a classic for a reason. Grindr is a safe space for young queer men to explore their sexuality and connect with the community, on top of finding the right partner.
Grindr keeps up with the young gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, and otherwise queer men who use the swiping app, constantly refining its features and policies. Because many of the app users are vulnerable to hate crimes and other dangers, the customer service team is responsive and thorough. Grindr is a great resource for young LGBTQ+ men to meet people, find love and sex, and not worry about harassment.
FAQs: What’s the Best Dating Service for a Real Relationship?
If you want to connect with people looking for a long-term relationship, your best choices are sites like Match.com and eharmony. Both of these sites focus on long-term love, rather than hookups or casual dating.
Match isn’t explicitly for serious relationships, but most of the site’s members say that they want something real, not just another hookup. The site and the dating app that goes with it are free for anyone to sign up and browse matches. You can connect with potential partners without paying, but the full range of communication options only comes with premium membership.
- 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
If you’re really serious about finding your Happily Ever After, eharmony is the best dating app and site for your goals. The online dating service is all about committed love, matching singles based on a complex personality test that covers multiple areas of compatibility. The dating website used to have some heavy requirements regarding willingness to travel to be with your perfect match and other factors, but now eharmony is open to a wide range of singles looking for a serious romantic relationship.
Are There Any Dating Sites for Teenagers?
Dating sites and apps for people under the age of 18 are a tricky proposition, but there are several choices out there for single teens. While the majority of dating platforms have a minimum age limit of 18, some sites do cater to younger teenagers. Teen dating apps like MyLOL are more like social networking platforms than dating sites, but they provide a safe environment for teenagers to explore and meet each other.
Several other teen dating sites and apps offer similar platforms, linking up to existing social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to make it easy for teens to expand their social lives without having to stay off their device of choice to do it. The platforms are more heavily moderated than their adult counterparts, and the management for the services takes care to keep dangerous and predatory people out of the virtual party.
What’s the Best Dating Site for Young Professionals?
Young professionals have a lot of options when it comes to dating sites, but a few stand out as strong choices for the career-minded young person who still wants to find love. Elite Singles is full of 20-somethings who have finished their education and started making moves in their careers. The site matches the crème de la crème of the dating world, with 80% of the membership boasting at least a Bachelor’s degree.
- Over 2 million monthly users
- Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
- Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits
Another venue where young professionals can connect with singles interested in a serious relationship is Christian Mingle. Although the site has a strong faith-based focus, it’s also a major venue for ambitious singles who want to find the right person to form a power couple. The site has been around since 2001 and has a high success rate, so it’s definitely the choice for Christian professionals who are serious about getting serious.
Do Young People Use Facebook Dating?
Facebook Dating is an increasingly popular option among several demographics because it’s free and signing up is easy. But Gen Z are no great fans of the Facebook platform as a whole, rejecting the site due to its invasive data collection practices, the perception of uneven moderation, and other issues.
So while Millennials make up a solid chunk of the Facebook Dating pool, Gen Z members are few and far between.
What Dating App Should I Use for a Casual Hookup?
There are several apps that feature people who are looking for a casual encounter. Hookup apps and sites make it easy to connect with people who don’t want anything serious, just a potential partner for no-strings-attached sex.
BeNaughty is a venue where singles can find someone locally for some down-and-dirty fun, without getting bogged down in questions about ‘what are you looking for?’ Signup is free on the site, and women get access to unlimited messaging as soon as they upload a photo. But men will need to pay for one of the premium subscription plans to get the same level of access.
- Sexually active adults in 10 countries
- Browse the Like Gallery for hot singles
- Stimulate conversation in intimate private messages
Ashley Madison is a playground for married people and the singles who want to date them. The need for discretion means that Ashley Madison users have more security for their personal information than do users on other sites, and married daters get protection on the mobile app and the online dating site alike. Keep in mind, though, that while women can send as many messages as they want for free, men on Ashley Madison have to pay for credits to get full access.
- A uniquely open-minded dating network
- Privacy-conscious features
- Over 1.4 million matches per month
Pure is all about sex positivity and safety. The popular dating app features straightforward design and an honesty-first approach to casual sex, encouraging users to be upfront about what they’re looking for. Once your ad gets a response, you can build up to your encounter via voice messages and even video chat. For women, Pure is 100% free, but men on the mobile dating app get a free trial before they must pay for membership access.
TapDat doesn’t take the approach many hookup sites and apps do, in that there isn’t a lot of porn to get the juices flowing before you meet someone. Instead, the app focuses on helping connect singles looking for a simple hookup. Founded in Norwich, TapDat consistently gets top marks on top dating site lists for the U.K.
What is the Snack App? How Does it Work?
Snack is one of the first dating apps designed with Gen Z tastes in mind. The video chat app, available on the App Store, works like a fusion of Tinder and TikTok. Instead of swiping based on a few photos and a short biography, Snack users upload video clips for potential matches to view and engage with.
The unique approach sets Snack apart among young adult dating websites. Daters are more engaged and more encouraged to put themselves out there in a way that other dating platforms don’t quite capture. Video prompts get young singles to get creative and show off special talents, and reveal niche interests, among other activities.
Where Can I Find a One-Night Stand?
Some singles are burnt out on relationships, not looking to chat forever, and really interested in online dating for one reason: sex. That’s not something to be ashamed of, in our book. As long as they’re in the right company and not catfishing anyone, singles should be able to enjoy whatever type of dating experience they want.
OneNightFriend is a casual dating site that allows single people to form low-key connections and arrange a date night on their terms. This site was built to spark one-night stands and no-strings dates.
- Quick signup for single men and women
- Free no-strings browsing of local personals
- Be the gatekeeper of your inbox with Safe Mode
As you can see, OneNightFriend has a lot of friends with benefits available, and it costs nothing to create a dating profile and take a look at the user base. You never know, you may see a local hottie currently online and spark a match that leads to casual sex tonight! Anything is possible when you have a network of singles at your disposal.
Look for Good Vibes on the Right Dating App
Not all dating apps are the best choice for all singles, and for a young person looking for sex or love, making the right choice of platform can make all the difference. These apps and sites make it easy for users to find the right audience instead of users having to wade through profiles to rule out older daters who aren’t in the same stage of life.
Take advantage of the best dating apps for young people to find your next romance!