Budget-conscious singles often look for dating apps that are free to use because, let’s face it, dating is expensive enough without adding subscription fees into the mix. According to one study, the average American single spends over $1,596 on dating every year.
That is a sizable chunk of change, and not everyone can afford such a lifestyle. Fortunately, budget-conscious daters can find ways to make the experience more economical. Joining a free dating app can be a smart way to save cash and meet people who share similar values and priorities.
We’ve scoured the dating scene to find cost-effective dating apps that give users a lot of value without straining their wallets. Take a look!
Best Overall Dating Apps (Free to Use)
Our dating experts have reviewed hundreds of dating sites and apps over the years, and they know a winner when they see one. The best dating apps give singles plenty of matching, browsing, and chatting options so they can explore their options and find that special someone they desire.
Whether you’re interested in settling down with a partner or merely locking down a date for Friday night, you can use the following free dating apps as your go-to dating ground.
Match.com has come a long way since it launched in April 1995. This well-reputed dating site has honed its (read more)
- 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 24 countries and 15 languages
The story of Match.com began in 1995, when it was one of the first dating sites in the world. Back then, singles viewed meeting people online as strange, desperate, and even unsafe. But today’s more tech-savvy generation of singles don’t mind it so much.
Match has changed with the times and developed a matchmaking system that appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds. The behemoth dating company even launched an app in 2010 to bring its services to a mobile audience.
You can download Match for free from the App Store or Google Play. From the personality assessment to the match recommendations, you’ll find a lot of great free features here to lead you to romance. Over 250,000 new members join the network every day, and no online dating service has more success stories to its name.
EliteSingles.com maintains a sophisticated network of young professionals seeking a relationship. Over 80% of (read more)
- Over 2 million monthly users
- Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
- Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits
EliteSingles is a high-end dating platform designed to help single professionals meet one another. It’s all about quality over quantity here. Over 82% of EliteSingles members have graduated from college, and over 90% say in their dating profiles that they want to find a relationship.
It is free to join EliteSingles, and premium members can view photos, see likes, and send messages on the platform. This payment system protects members from being taken advantage of by gold diggers, scammers, cybercriminals, and other unsavory characters.
“Looking for someone who is educated and motivated hasn’t always been easy for me,” said Claire, a single woman from Pittsburgh. “After checking out EliteSingles, I decided to give it a try. I had to play around with the settings a little, but the people I am being suggested are precisely who I am looking for. So far, so good.”
Zoosk is a socially savvy dating site known for its diverse membership base and behavioral matchmaking system. (read more)
- 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 fast-paced dating app designed to look and feel like a social media platform. That means you have a lot of interactive features at your fingertips, including the ability to send flirts, winks, messages, virtual gifts, and introductory greetings.
Over 30 million people have downloaded Zoosk’s app (which is free, by the way) and used it to up their dating games.
Zoosk uses a behavioral matchmaking system that pays attention to which profiles you like and then suggests similar profiles in the Carousel and SmartPick sections. As you like, match, and chat, the app will learn about your dating preferences and curate a personalized list of cuties just for you.
Since its launch in 2000, eharmony has endeavored to find the formula for love. Its 32-dimension questionnaire (read more)
- 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
When eharmony launched in 2000, it changed the dating scene by offering a psychology-based resource for singles seeking a relationship. The dating platform was designed to identify deep compatibility, pair up happy couples, and strengthen the institution of marriage.
So far, it’s been a rousing success. Most eharmony users meet their spouse within a year of creating a profile on the site
In 2010, eharmony announced the launch of the eharmony app, which currently has 3.6 stars on the App Store. “I loved this app, and it led me to meet the man I’m going to marry,” said Dolphinmb2 in a review. “At the end of it all, I found my soul mate, and I can’t think of a better review than that.”
ChristianMingle is a faith-based dating site for singles who want a relationship grounded in Christian values. (read more)
- 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
If you want to find a Christian partner, then ChristianMingle could be the answer to your prayers. This values-driven dating site and app can empower singles to date with integrity and purpose.
Christian Mingle has cultivated an online community of believers who come from all walks of life. The dating app welcomes single adults of all races, creeds, ages, and backgrounds. And, as of 2016, ChristianMingle is also open to all orientations.
Signing up to ChristianMingle is free — all that’s required is a valid email address or Facebook login. Once you’re a full member, you can mingle on this dating platform to browse Christian dating profiles until you find a match made in heaven.
Since its launch in 2002, BlackPeopleMeet has created an African-American singles network that stretches (read more)
- One of the largest black singles networks in existence
- Straightforward search and matching features
- Use Tokens to appear higher in search results
BlackPeopleMeet is a niche dating site that does exactly what its name says it does. The online tools help black people meet one another in a safe and friendly community.
The BlackPeopleMeet app is available on Google Play and the App Store. Its reviews are mostly positive, and the app seems to work best for black and biracial singles in major cities in the U.S. and Canada. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Check out these success stories to hear from real-life people who met their S.O. on BlackPeopleMeet.
“I found someone special on this site, and we’re pursuing a relationship,” said a woman from Arlington, Texas. “We would never have met if it were not for BPM.”
In 2004, OkCupid's founders decided to create a fool-proof formula for love, and they launched a free dating (read more)
- Free, unlimited communication for everyone
- Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
- Over 91 million connections every year
OkCupid has gotten a lot of good press because of its free communication features, and the dating company has promised to remain forever free until the end of time.
Anyone can send a message on OkCupid without upgrading to the A-List subscription. The only catch is that your messages won’t appear in that person’s inbox until he or she has liked your profile. Until then, your first message will appear on your profile — just waiting for his or her approval.
OkCupid’s free chatting and matching features stand out because they are personality-driven and don’t cost a thing. Every year, the dating app creates over 91 million connections worldwide, and it inspires hundreds of thousands of first dates.
Plenty of Fish prides itself on being one of the best dating site for conversations. It supports 100% free and (read more)
- Free registration, searches, and messaging
- The Chemistry Test creates a compatibility framework
- Over 1 billion messages sent per month
Plenty of Fish is another completely free dating app that has unlimited chatting features included in its free membership plan. As soon as you create a profile on POF, you can send and receive messages from anyone online.
Love don’t cost a thing on POF, and many members take advantage of the free communication system by blasting out messages to as many attractive people as possible. After all, you never know what will stick. In a single month, POF users send over 1 billion messages through the platform. That’s a lot of pickup lines!
It’s no wonder experts have hailed Plenty of Fish as the best dating site for conversations. If you’re feeling chatty and maybe a little bit flirty, POF can connect you with tons of date prospects around the world.
In 2012, Tinder pioneered a swiping-based match system that empowered singles to connect with dates who liked (read more)
- 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
Say what you will about Tinder, but it’s one of the most popular dating apps ever for a very good reason: Swiping.
In 2012, Tinder pioneered an online dating swiping system that gave singles the power to decide who showed up in their inboxes. The rest is history. To date, Tinder has made more than 30 billion matches, and it claims responsibility for over 1 million dates per week.
Tinder’s motto is “single, not sorry,” and its proactive swiping features encourage users to explore the dating scene and find romantic possibilities wherever they go. You can upgrade to Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold if you want unlimited swipes and other perks, but it’s not necessary to get a date.
Since its launch in 2014, Bumble has positioned itself as one of the queens of the online dating world. The (read more)
- 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 the feminist response to the superficial, ineffective, and chauvinistic dating apps of the world. Whitney Wolfe-Herd launched Bumble in 2014 to revolutionize the way singles met one another online with two simple words: Ladies first.
Bumble encourages women to make the first move, screen their incoming messages, and ensure every match is something they really want to pursue. Whenever a man and a woman match on Bumble, the woman has to send a greeting within 24 hours, or the connection will disappear. The pressure is on, and the game is afoot, so get out there and start matching!
Best Senior Dating Apps (Free to Use)
Singles of a certain age sometimes feel outside their comfort zone in the online dating scene. They often don’t know the rules or etiquette of online dating, and it can be difficult to attract attention when competing with 20-somethings and 30-somethings on a youth-driven dating app.
Fortunately, some senior dating apps have launched to give singles over 50 the chance to meet age-appropriate dates in their area. The following free apps cater to an older crowd and provide excellent matching opportunities.
SilverSingles offers a secure dating experience for singles of a certain age. Anyone over 50 is welcome to (read more)
- Global membership base of exclusively single seniors
- Free members can browse matches, send smiles, and favorite profiles
- 24/7 online customer service
When you sign up, you’ll have the option to complete an in-depth personality test based on the Big Five Factor model of personality. SilverSingles relies on your answers to its quiz to determine mutual compatibility in terms of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
SilverSingles recommends matches who meet your standards, line up with your values, and are in your age range. By cultivating a mature dating atmosphere, this app has helped a lot of singles find new friends, hot dates, and long-term companions.
OurTime gives singles over 50 a confidence boost by introducing them to age-appropriate dates online. The (read more)
- Thousands of success stories from all over the world
- Find senior dates using advanced search filters and match suggestions
- The Help Center offers quick tips and guidance
Thanks to the OurTime app, senior singles are never far from an attractive date. It’s free to download the app and send flirts to the people you like. You’ll have to subscribe if you want to actually have a conversation with someone though.
The OurTime team keeps its members safe from spammers and scammers by implementing a pay-to-chat system and screening all new members automatically. Members can also review these dating safety tips to learn how to avoid risky situations and spot fake profiles and suspicious characters.
OurTime makes it easy to get the hang of online dating and find a good match. “App is easy to use, nice features,” James said in a review. “I received earnest interests and dates [in my] first week.”
SeniorMatch is one of the most trusted names in the senior dating scene. Since 2003, the over-50 dating site (read more)
- Exclusively for men and women over 45
- Add a profile to your Hotlist to save it for later
- Seniors shares dating advice in members-only forums
SeniorMatch has been a leading senior dating site and app since its launch in 2003. Anyone seeking a mature relationship can join for free and use the search filters to find a senior match.
If you’re not bold enough to send a private message, you can always get involved in the discussion forums and share your thoughts, experiences, and opinions to a large audience of singles.
SeniorMatch has been around a good long while, and it has some impressive stats to back up its features. The platform has over 6,000 daily active members and inspires over 1.6 million conversations in the average month. What’s more, SeniorMatch has received more than 36,600 success stories from couples who met in this senior community.
SeniorFriendsDate is on a mission to connect singles over 50 in a safe and trustworthy online network. This (read more)
- 100% free online dating for seniors
- In-depth profiles showcase your personality and lifestyle
- Members-only groups organized around travel, currents events, and BINGO nights
SeniorFriendsDate is a completely free dating site that caters to the senior population. While it isn’t an app, the site is mobile-friendly, so you can mingle on your phone without downloading anything.
All you need is a valid email address to gain access to the SeniorFriendsDate community. Once you’ve set up your profile, you can message anyone you like without submitting your credit card information or enrolling in a costly subscription.
As the SeniorFriendsDate team says, “We take pride in being a dating site with soul. No games and no nonsense. It’s just genuine dating for real singles over 50.” Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Best LGBT Dating Apps (Free to Use)
Online dating has been a game changer to the LGBTQ+ dating scene because it has opened singles up to a world of romantic possibilities. Suddenly, you no longer have to rely on your gaydar in a gay bar to pick up a date. You can just download an app and see a rainbow of date prospects — some of whom may be questioning their sexuality or still in the closet.
Dating apps are incredibly popular among queer singles. In fact, LGBTQ+ singles use online dating at nearly twice the rate of straight singles. If you want to join this flirtatious crew, then download the following gay-friendly dating apps.
A lesbian named Robyn Exton founded HER because she recognized that not all dating sites and apps look out for (read more)
- Free private messaging to all mutual matches
- Post comments or send likes to connect with local lesbians
- A safe, friendly, and one-of-a-kind dating app
Over 4 million womxn have joined HER, and more are signing up each and every day. The lesbian dating app provides a safe haven for lesbian, bisexual, trans, and queer women — and the moderators are quick to remove any men who slip in under the radar.
HER is more like a community than a dating app. You’ll see a newsfeed of content posted by members, and you can comment on statuses or photos to make a new friend. You can also RSVP to queer events in your area. These events range in size from backyard BBQs to citywide Pride Parades.
Womxn can get involved and feel a sense of belonging on HER. If you’re proactive, good-natured, and not a jerk, you should be able to make a lot of genuine connections on the app and, potentially, join the many happy couples using the hashtag WeMetOnHER.
Grindr is one of the top dogs in the gay dating scene. It's the name everyone recognizes, and many gay men (read more)
- Among the most popular gay social networks in the world
- Men connect via private and group chats
- View nearby profiles using real-time GPS data
Grindr is one of the first apps to use location-based settings to spark real-time matches, and it also happens to be one of the popular gay dating apps of all time. Go figure.
Once you join Grindr, you’ll be able to see who’s single and in your area at all times. Wherever you go, Grindr will be behind-the-scenes scouting the dating pool and identifying date prospects who could be mere feet away from you. While many guys use this app for hookups, some Grindr users have met their boyfriends and partners on the app.
“There’s no other way but to dive into the app and really go for it,” said a 22-year-old Grindr user named Chris. “You learn what you like, what you don’t, what kind of people you’re into, and what kind of dialogue you’re into as well.”
MenNation boasts having one of the world's largest men-only hookup community, and it has 93 million dating (read more)
- Free registration and unlimited profile browsing
- Add online crushes to the Hotlist or My Network
- Enjoy private conversations in the Message Center
MenNation is definitely more of a hookup site than a dating site. The platform allows single men and gay couples to create anonymous dating profiles and post revealing photos that leave little to the imagination.
Millions of MenNation members have hit up hot guys and solicited sex through private chats and group forums. You can let go of your inhibitions when you’re here because you’re surrounded by horny guys who want to mix things up without making a big commitment.
While MenNation doesn’t have a lot of testimonials or success stories, it has been in business since 1996 and has the distinction of being the world’s longest-running gay hookup site.
LesbianPersonals is one of the most popular hookup sites for women because of its fun-loving and sexually (read more)
- Open to single women, couples, and groups interested in sex
- Private text and video chats accessible 24/7
- Women add over 25,000 photos and videos each week
The same people who made MenNation built LesbianPersonals for the lesbian singles of the world. If you’re interested in girl-on-girl action — whether it’s a monogamous relationship, threesome, or hookup — you will enjoy browsing the sexy LGBTQ profiles on LesbianPersonals.com.
LesbianPersonals allows single women, lesbian couples, straight couples, and groups to join its network and search for hot dates by age, location, fetish, and other factors.
While it’s free to browse profiles on LesbianPersonals, you have to front some cash if you want to take part in its private messaging, video broadcasts, and other titillating features.
Best Hookup Apps (Free to Use)
Some online daters want the whole nine yards — love, marriage, children, growing old together in rocking chairs — but not everyone is about that life. Dating doesn’t have to be a lifetime promise. It could just be a night of fun and passion. Nothing wrong with that! The following free hookup apps can help singles (and swingers) enjoy sexual exploits with hot partners.
When it comes to arranging hookups, BeNaughty is fast, easy, fun, and safe. This dating site has built a (read more)
- A global network of naughty singles over 18
- Ability to blur nude and explicit content, if desired
- Advanced search filters and one-on-one messaging
BeNaughty is one of the most trustworthy hookup platforms around with efficient matching tools and helpful dating filters to get you where you want to be — in the arms of a hot date.
You can start your search for romance in the Like Gallery, where users quickly swipe through profile pictures, or you can head to the search tab and find dates who meet your standards in terms of age, location, appearance, ethnicity, and lifestyle.
Another fun feature on BeNaughty is the ability to send a pre-written message to all users who fit your dating criteria. With the click of a button, you can introduce yourself to a world of flirty singles and start making something happen.
Registering for an account on Adult Friend Finder (AFF) is like speeding into the fast lane of the online (read more)
- One of the largest adults-only sex communities
- Free and fast registration process
- Dating forums and live chats foster live flirtation
With over 97 million users, AdultFriendFinder has a ton of romantic options for singles and swingers of all orientations.
The hookup site supports live one-on-one conversations, group chats, and video broadcasts where people can embrace their sexual desires and fantasies without judgment. The AFF community is all about sexual freedom, so you don’t have to hold back while flirting with someone special.
Whether you’re telling an erotic story in the dating forums or sexting someone in a private message, you can be as raunchy as you like and not offend anyone on AdultFriendFinder.
FriendFinder-X offers sexy singles the gratifying experience of meeting hot dates within a few clicks. This (read more)
- A casuals personals site for singles, couples, and groups
- Profiles have suggestive photos and strip tease videos
- Chat live via a two-way webcam or private messaging
FriendFinder-X is the dating platform where “good girls do bad things.” The open community can satisfy anyone looking for a casual encounter with a sexually active partner.
As a sex-positive space, FriendFinder-X makes people feel comfortable with their sexuality and confident in their attractiveness. It’s easy to use the search filters to identify pleasing profiles and make a hot connection in real time. If you’re feeling frisky, let FriendFinder-X be your wingman in the online dating scene, and you’ll be in good shape.
Which Dating Sites are Completely Free to Use?
Finding a completely free dating site can be a challenge because so many sites seem free until you sign up and then realize what the catch is. These free-to-join dating sites and apps aren’t always free-to-communicate — and that can be frustrating for singles who expected to use its services for free.
OkCupid doesn’t require users to pay anything to communicate online. You can download the OkCupid app for free, like and favorite profiles for free, and send as many messages to as many people as you want — you guessed it — for free!
OkCupid inspires dates and relationships by identifying specific areas of compatibility. The dating site and (read more)
- Men can leave a message to anyone they fancy
- A sophisticated match algorithm developed by Harvard math majors
- The site and app facilitate over 50,000 dates every week
That being said, a subscription fee isn’t always the worst thing in the world. Think of it like a cover charge at a bar or club — it’s meant to keep the riff-raff out and give paying customers a better experience.
Free dating sites like OkCupid can give you instant access to a lot of dateworthy folks, but you may have to sort through a few fakes and duds before you find the good ones. After all, you get what you pay for.
Which Dating App is Best for Serious Relationships?
Lots of dating apps claim to facilitate deep, real, genuine, and authentic relationships, but only a few have the success rates to back their claims.
Match is, in our humble opinion, the best dating app for singles seeking a relationship because it has been responsible for pairing up more real relationships and marriages than any other dating platform.
Match has become a trusted name in the online dating industry by catering to quality singles looking for love (read more)
- In-depth matching appeals to women with high standards
- Only premium members can send private messages to one another
- An established singles network in 24 countries worldwide
The thing about Match is that it doesn’t rush you. It gives you all the information you need to determine if you’re looking at good relationship material. You can actually get to know someone by reading his or her dating profile, and that makes it much easier to start a conversation and develop a bond based on common interests and viewpoints.
Which Dating Sites Actually Work?
There is a mountain of evidence to attest to the fact that online dating works. Some is anecdotal, as in “my friend met his or her partner/spouse/long-term squeeze online,” and some is more concrete — like the fact that 40% of U.S. couples met online.
Of course, if online dating works for you will also depend on what you put into it and what you want to get out of it. If you’re looking for a soul mate, but you never swipe right on anyone, then you may have a frustrating experience in the online dating world. However, if you make a sincere effort to put your best foot forward, choose the right dating site, and reach out to attractive folks, then you could find everything you’re looking for in a dating profile.
Is Bumble Better Than Tinder?
Now, normally we don’t like to take sides in a grudge match — particularly between spurned exes — but we get this question a lot. Since its launch in 2014, Bumble has wanted nothing more than to replace Tinder on the phones of singles everywhere. It positioned itself as the female-friendly and quality-driven alternative to Tinder’s swipe-happy system. And it honestly lives up to the hype.
Bumble may not have as large a user base as Tinder, but it has many more quality-control features for singles who are more interested in having a deep conversation than in hooking up.
So, yes, Bumble is better than Tinder if you want to stay away from creeps, take your time, and build genuine relationships.
Bumble has set up a unique matching system where women set the tone in the online dating scene, and it has successfully paired countless couples throughout the world.
As Bumble CEO and Founder Whitney Wolfe-Herd said, “Four years and many Bumble weddings and babies later, we’re celebrating over 500 million first moves. And we’re just getting started.”
Free Dating Apps Lower the Price Tag of Romance
You shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg just to get a date in your area. Dating can be expensive, but singles can cut costs by being a little more conscientious about where they put their time, energy, and money. It’s not just about going on cheap dates. You can also pinch pennies and stay on budget before the date even starts by meeting folks on a free dating app.
We’ve listed some of our favorite free dating apps to help you decide which is worth taking a chance on. You can flirt on these apps for as long as you like with no obligation to pay anything. Because they’re all free to join, you may as well create accounts on two or three of them so you can compare the costs, features, and experience.
All in all, singles on free-to-use dating apps can maintain a rich dating lifestyle without breaking the bank. Ka-ching!