Whether you were looking for a hookup or a life partner, it wasn’t that long ago that you had to go in public to meet people in person, whether that be at a bar, coffee shop, or bookstore (all the meet-cutes we’ve seen in romantic movies).
It makes sense that not everyone was so down to leave romance up to chance, so dating app usage exploded (and that was even before the pandemic necessitated it). In 2019, the Pew Research Center found that from a survey of about 4,800 adults in the U.S., 30% of them have used dating apps.
Fast forward to 2023, factor in the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our dating landscape has evolved. Even with the disillusionment these days that has led some to opt for blind dates and speed dating, dating apps are still a worthwhile way to meet a partner, even if it takes some time.
Are dating apps actually worth it?
If you’re on the fence about getting on the apps or are wondering if it’s even worth signing up, here’s why recommend giving them a shot.
Dating apps give you the rare opportunity to connect with hundreds of people you wouldn’t have known otherwise while also allowing you to explore your sexuality and find out what you want in a partner. Yes, that includes potentially connecting with hundreds of people you’d rather not have known, but we still think that the pros can outweigh the cons in a lot of cases.
Statista predicts that the online dating audience will grow to 53.3 million by 2025, a leap from 44.2 million users in 2020. It’s also becoming more and more common to meet serious, long-term partners on apps. From a 2022 survey, the Pew Research Center found that out of the nearly 6,000 respondents they heard from, one in 10 partnered adults (those who were married, in a long-term relationship, or living together) met through a dating app.
So yes, online dating can absolutely still be a bit of a slog — but that’s the case for dating in general. It takes time and effort, even if you’re using the best dating site or app possible, but that’s not a reason to avoid dating apps altogether.
Which dating apps actually work?
With so many dating apps out there, it’s easy to feel confused or overwhelmed by the options. While Match Group (Tinder, Match, Archer, OkCupid, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, and The League, among others) continues to dominate the market, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one brand when looking for the best dating app.
First Round’s On Me (FROME), for example, is a newer dating app that’s gained popularity for its date invitation feature. Choose a drink, date, time, and venue; the app will send a personalized invitation to your potential match. Once a date is confirmed, it’s locked into both users’ calendars, and the in-app chat feature is activated 12 hours before the date.
Other apps, like Feeld and Pure, cater to people open to ethical non-monogamy relationships or threesomes. There really is something for everyone out there.
The best dating apps of 2024
Finding the best dating app is purely subjective. To help you out, we’ve narrowed down some of the best dating apps of 2023 based on hands-on testing, customer reviews, overall functionality, availability (all are available on the App Store or Google Play), and user-friendliness: