The Best Tinder-Like Dating Apps
Coffee Meets Bagel
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past half decade, you'll be aware of the dating app Tinder and how it works. (If you're not, check out the AskMen Guide to Tinder ASAP.) The app is used by tens of millions of people, and, for many of us, it's the first option we turn to when it comes to app-based dating. The app's name has become virtually synonymous with getting back in the dating saddle ("I've downloaded Tinder again!" or "I've been thinking of getting on Tinder") and its cultural ubiquity alone means that it will continue to be a favored choice.
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But Tinder isn't the only option for would-be daters who prefer not to leave the comfort of their own phone. If you're becoming disillusioned with your experience after tapping the flame logo on your mobile, never fear — we've put together the five best alternatives to Tinder available on the market, using our own, specially selected criteria.
How We Chose the Best Tinder-Like Dating Apps to Use
Cost: All of the apps we selected are free to use, and offer their users a wide variety of features and access to other users without payment. That having been said, they also usually offer "premium" options, with expanded features, for a price.
Number of Users: Its simple math: the more people using the app, the greater your chances of finding a compatible match. That means that popular apps go to the front of the line.
Ease of Use: None of these apps are overly complicated, but some of them enable you to get swiping very quickly, while others require you input more information before you can browse through local singles.
Safety & Security: Was the app hacked, or is it likely to be hacked? Does it require a lot of your personal data? These are growing concerns, and for good reason.
Customer Satisfaction: How do users rate the app? Are people's experiences generally positive or negative?
The Best Tinder-Like Dating Apps to Download Now
Bumble distinguishes itself from Tinder in one key way: It aims to be more welcoming to women. The main mechanism through which it achieves this is as follows: once you have matched with a female user, she must message first — you won't be able to — and if she doesn't, the match will disappear in 24 hours. This additional protection against weak "hey sexi" openers means that the app is gaining the attention of an increasing number of women — and if Bumble is where all the women are, it's probably where you want to be.
Friendly for women
More dating-oriented than Tinder
Large user base
Less hook-up oriented than Tinder
Matches disappear within 24 hours
Read our full Bumble review and check out Bumble
The Verdict: The single best alternative to Tinder, especially for those looking to date rather than hook up
2. Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel absolutely cleaned up in its AskMen review, garnering a whopping overall score of 9.3/10 due to its quality-over-quantity ethos and friendly, non-seedy feel. This app is a better fit for users who are looking to date seriously than those who are just seeking a casual hookup, although the latter is still certainly possible. It caters for the former group by linking like-minded people with similar social circles by matching users based on their friends-of-friends on Facebook.
CMB seeks to make your app-based dating experience efficient and pleasant, so it limits your potential matches to about 30 per day. Similarly to Bumble, there's a time-limited chat section where chat opportunities expire, which helps to get things off the ground quickly and avoid the problem of dead-end matches. Perhaps the best benefit of all, though, is the fact that CMB has more female members than males — no wonder the app's user base is growing at such a rapid clip.
Out-of-the-box mechanics, to help you spice up your dating life
Forces people to meet in real life, rather than keep it digital
Fewer users, and a limited number of matches
Sometimes you want to take your time before jumping to an IRL meeting
Read our full Coffee Meets Bagel review and check out Coffee Meets Bagel
The Verdict: A great Tinder alternative if you're looking to break out of your mundane dating routine
3. The Grade
The Grade is another strong option, gaining an impressive overall rating of 8/10 in our review, including 9/10 for the important categories of 'quality of members' and 'ease of use'. The main factor setting The Grade apart from the competition is that it actively filters out creepy, time-wasting users, like men who send unsolicited dick pics or women who match with you but never respond to your messages.
It achieves this clean-out via a grading system — does the name make sense now? — based on a user's profile, messaging behaviors and feedback from other users, and offenders who are consistently annoying enough to receive an F grade are banished from the kingdom. Good riddance!
Filters out immature, unserious users
Very easy to use
Users skew young
Heavily encourages spending $
Read our full The Grade review and check out The Grade
The Verdict: A viable alternative to Tinder, especially if you're sick of rude or aggressive users
Happn is a dating app that matches you with people in your immediate physical vicinity — walking past you on the street, for example, or riding opposite you on the subway — by carefully calibrating your location and showing you other Happn users who are nearby. While this might sound a little creepy given that it's generally not advisable to hit on women in everyday public settings, women on Happn are a slightly different case: they've opted in to the service, which means they've signaled a willingness to be approached — on the app, of course.
The key benefit Happn as as an alternative to Tinder is that it skews towards matching you with women with whom you already have something in common: women who live in your building, like the same bars as you or attend your gym or improv class. So, when you end up seated opposite each other after securing a dinner date, you'll immediately have something to talk about.
Excellent use of geolocation to facilitate dating
Matches have more in common than mutual attraction
Geolocation also presents security concerns
The possibilities for awkward encounters in places you go to often is high
Read our full Happn review and check out Happn
The Verdict: If you'd rather meet people at places you frequent, Happn deserves your attention
Another strong contender in the Tinder-alternatives app market is Hinge. While the app started off similar to CMB in that it matches you with people already within your wider social circle, it's expanded to reach millions of people worldwide (and it's beautifully designed and easy to use, to boot).
“To better serve its users, Hinge conducted a survey to understand people's attitudes when it came to dating in 2020,” said a spokesperson for the app. Their research found that many users have become "pickier" about their matches as to avoid wasting time going out with the wrong person.
That led to their debut of Standouts, a feed that collects the Prompts that the app thinks you’re most likely to appreciate, based on your past in-app activity.
Standouts, which will also feature Photo Prompts, will “help daters immediately focus on the people they’ll have a great conversation with, so they can go from chatting to dating that much faster,” according to a Hinge press release. However, the press release adds, to like someone in Standouts, you’ll need to send someone a Rose — “a new, premium like meant to convey a greater level of interest.”
Promotes good behavior among matches
Use of prompts to help encourage conversation starters
Large userbase, friendly pool of people
A lot of additional features that may become too complicated in the long run
Limited to a certain number of matches per day unless you pay
Read our full Hinge review and check out Hinge
The Verdict: An excellent concept, Hinge can contend with the heavy hitters
What About Paid Dating App Options?
While free dating apps like all of the above are obviously easier on the pocket than paid dating platforms, there's often much more added value and ease of use on platforms that require you to front up a modest amount of cash. Paid sites by their nature filter out the bots, catfish and time-wasters that characterize free apps, and they guarantee a more efficient, pleasant dating experience.
If you're sick of the chaos and disappointment of free dating apps and want to try a paid option, you could give Zoosk a try. It's not as similar to the original as the five above Tinder alternatives, but it's the highest-rated paid option AskMen has reviewed and offers a truly deluxe dating experience. It's full of engaging, friendly singles, and features incredible ease of use. With its level of sophistication and high-quality pool of potential matches, we know you won't struggle to meet top-notch women on Zoosk, and it's absolutely worth the very reasonable price you'll pay for it.
Read our full Zoosk review and check out Zoosk
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