Dating online is increasingly prevalent. While many report meeting partners in the kombucha aisle at Whole Foods, or Whole Paycheck rather, it’s a safe bet they met online. Finding the right romantic partner involves selecting the right dating site. Check out the best datings apps 2018!

The best dating apps 2018: The research

With online dating, the pool of matches is key. Generally, in larger cities, you’ll find more users. But a main consideration is demographic. Certain sites hone in on subsets of the population. As Mental Floss reports, dating sites can become pretty niche. Notably, there’s FarmersOnly which gained fame, or infamy, with its unique commercials. There’s Alikewise for bookworms, VineaLove for wine connoisseurs, and a bevy of ultra-specific dating apps.

Aside from physical location and demographics, operating system (OS) may be a limiting factor. While most dating apps are available for both Android and iOS, still others are limited. Tastebuds, for example, is limited to iOS. Plus, some apps such as Hinge and Bumble lack web versions. Instead, you’ll need to download the mobile app. OkCupid does include a browser version.

Finally, there’s price. For this list, we’ll focus on free dating apps. Although, most of these apps operate on the freemium model. While mostly free, they do offer premium paid plans and upgrades.

Considerations:

  • Location
  • Demographic
  • Platform (Android, iOS, browser-based)
  • Price

Best free dating apps 2018

Why you should listen to me: My dating mojo is nil. But that means I’ve tried most dating sites. Yeah, dating sort of sucks, so use my bad luck to your advantage. I’ve broken down the best dating apps 2018 so just swipe right on the app of your choice.

Hinge (Android, iOS)

Originally, Hinge debuted as an app more focused on traditional dating rather than hookups. As such, matches hinged (see what they did there?) on a user’s Facebook profile and friends in common. After a massive overhaul, Hinger re-emerged with a fresh interface. It’s Instagram-like in its appearance which is heavily picture-based.

However, it’s not all visual. Hinge does include various prompts such as “Most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done,” “My simple pleasures,” and my personal favorite, “Favorite Disney movie.”  It’s refreshing that Hinge eschews the swiping model. Instead, users like a photo or prompt, and have the option to write a message along with it (hint: including a message is optional, but if you want a reply back you should probably provide a personal note of some sort).

Moreover, to avoid a cluttered inbox, you can send an initial message but can’t continue to spam a user’s inbox unless you’ve matched. Quality of matches is solid, and Hinge is perfectly usable for free. But there is a Preferred membership. With this, you benefit from unlimited likes and the user of filters under your Discover section for searching by gender, age, location, distance, ethnicity, religion, height, and more.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • Quality matches
  • Instagram-esque layout
  • Good user interface
  • Fun, inventive prompts

Bumble (Android, iOS)

Merely on its ladies-first principle, Bumble is a top dating app 2018. The idea is that anyone can swipe, but upon matching ladies message first. MakeUseOf praised Bumble as an excellent Tinder alternative, and with over one million active users, it’s evident that Bumble provides a dating scene free of dating norms. Fellas don’t message first, and instead, women guide the conversation.

When you do match, there’s a 24-hour timer after which time matches expire. This helps maintain quality over quantity. There is an extender so that the dudes may extend a match with another 24 hours. Upgrading to a paid plan affords unlimited extends and backtracks, while the free plan is limited to three backtracks in a set time limit and one 24-hour extend per day.

There’s a same-sex dating Bumble option, with no mandate on who begins the chat. Additionally, Bumble includes a friend finder for platonic matching and even Bumble Biz which is sort of like LinkedIn.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • Ladies-first model
  • Quality matches
  • Good user interface
  • Lots of options: Heterosexual and same-sex dating to finding friends and a business side

Coffee Meets Bagel (Android, iOS)

Like Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel places the onus on the ladies. Every day at noon, guys get up to 21 matches or bagels. There’s an option to like or pass on each bagel (lady). Based on your history, CMB curates a selection each day of the top potential matches.

However, you only match if a bagel accepts. In addition to curated matches, there’s a Discover section for browsing local matches and sending them a like. Again, you only match if the bagel reciprocates. There are optional paid elements such as buying beans which can be spent on taking non-curated matches.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • Ladies-first model
  • Quality matches
  • Good user interface

OkCupid (Web, iOS, Android)

best dating sites for 2017 - OKC

If you’ve even considered online dating, chances are you debated creating an OkCupid profile. It’s not necessarily the first dating app, but it’s certainly one of the most popular and resilient. However, in 2017 OKC completely revamped messaging and usernames. Where previously at sign-up users created a name, some of these were, well, less than stellar. Now, OkCupid requires that using a real name rather than something reminiscent of that AIM handle you created in elementary school.

Similarly, OKC altered its messaging system to focus on quality over quantity. Recent changes make OkCupid a top dating app 2018 option. Unlike many dating apps, OkCupid boasts a browser-based version as well as its mobile apps. Additionally, profiles are among the most robust you’ll find rather than bios on many other current dating apps which are more akin to Twitter bios.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • Lots of matches
  • Robust profile options
  • Good user interface

Happn (Android, iOS)

Depending on how you look at it, Happn is an awesome concept or super creepy. At The Next Web reveals, Happn aspires to become the Pokemon Go of the dating world. Most every dating app uses location data to find nearby matches. But Happn relies entirely on real-time geo-localization. So what does that mean, exactly? Happn shows you users with profiles that you’ve, well, happened upon. The premise is that you’ll meet matches that share similar spaces and interests, like the gym, your favorite coffee shop, or the kombucha aisle at Whole Foods.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • Real-time geo-localization of data
  • Good user interface
  • Robust profiles

Project Dragonfruit (Web, iOS, Android)

Geeks and gamers, check out Project Dragonfruit. It’s an awesome dating app which concentrates on finding your player two. Under the profile section, you’ll find options for selecting favorite fandoms and what you’re currently playing, reading, and watching. Reviewers note that there aren’t a ton of active users. Nevertheless, it’s the best dating app for geeks available.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • Good user interface
  • Robust profiles
  • Geekdom-centric

Tinder (Web, Android, iOS)

Although Tinder is typically considered synonymous with casual hookups, it remains one of the most popular dating apps around. Therefore, you’ll find a massive pool of potential matches. Since it’s so heavily used, match quality is a bit hit or miss, though this is simply from the quantity of users. The positive side of this is that you’re unlikely to run out of matches.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • Browser version
  • Lots of matches
  • Good user interface

BeLinked (Android, iOS)

Best dating sites for 2017 - belinked

As a dating app, BeLinked caters to young professionals. User profiles are populated with data from LinkedIn profiles. In theory, it’s aimed at the gainfully employed since it requires a LinkedIn account to even sign up. Chances are, nobody is going to create a LinkedIn account just to use BeLinked. It’s this professionalism which makes BeLinked a top dating app. It’s a dating site for career-driven singles. Like Dragonfruit, reviews cite low userbases, but that’s not a fault of the app itself.

Why it’s one of the best dating apps 2018:

  • For career-driven singles
  • Good user interface
  • Easy to sign up
  • Profile aggregated with data from LinkedIn profile

Top free dating sites for 2018

Because of the popularity of online dating, there’s plenty of choice in dating sites. Since some apps may feature more comprehensive userbases than others in your area, it’s a good idea to try a few apps before deciding on one. Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel get kudos for their ladies-first mentality. Hinge is a great option too and features a lush Instagram-style layout as well as engaging prompts.

OkCupid, though it’s been around a while, benefits from recent updates to modernize and shape its focus on quality over quantity. Dragonfruit is a go-to for gamers. But there are loads more choices, and if you’re willing to pay, Match.com is a solid pick for relationship-minded individuals.

Your turn: which dating apps do you suggest for 2018?