Best Dating Sites

By Lydia Noyes  •  Updated on Aug 20, 2020

Use our expert insights and customer reviews to research and compare popular dating apps to understand which one is right for you.

A couple smiling at each other

Getting Started with Dating Sites

If you’ve struggled to make connections in the traditional dating scene, then you’ve likely considered delving into online dating.

But, knowing where to begin is daunting. Is your time better spent swiping through hundreds of profiles, or should you devote your energy to filling out an extensive questionnaire and paying a matchmaking service to set you up with prospects instead?

Some dating apps promise to get you talking with potential matches within minutes, while others require you to commit to a multi-month membership before you can even see what your prospects look like.

If you’re going to have any luck with this style of dating, you need to know what’s important to you and how different apps can meet those requirements. Below, we’ll share some of the ways that popular dating websites compare so you can decide which one is worth your time.

Which Dating Website Should You Use? Our Top Picks

We’ve analyzed all of the major companies in the online dating industry and have put them through an unbiased testing process to determine which are best. Each dating app operates differently, and each has unique strengths.  

What follows are our recommendations for choosing a dating site based on different factors so you can make a selection based on what is most important to you.

  • Best Overall: eHarmony
    Boasting one of the biggest membership bases and the most thorough signup process, eHarmony is dedicated to helping you find a forever partner. If you’re serious about finding love online, this site is the gold standard.

  • Best for Beginners: Match.com
    If you’re intrigued by online dating but still unsure whether to dive in, Match.com lets you scope out what’s available without spending a fortune. It’s one of the few services that allow you to see full profiles (including pictures) with a free account.

  • Best for Serious Relationships: eHarmony
    Expect to spend thirty minutes alone on the personality assessment, as eHarmony is known for focusing on long-term compatibility to form matches that are more than a hookup.

  • Best for Seniors: eHarmony
    While OurTime is tailored towards adults over 50, eHarmony actually has the largest senior dating pool of any service in the United States.

  • Best for a Budget: Match.com
    This site boasts a large dating pool, full access to member’s profile information and pictures on a free account, and lots of ways to message potential love interests without signing up for a subscription.

  • Best for People Who Want Extra Support: It’s Just Lunch
    If the idea of setting up a dating profile and scrolling through options overwhelms you, then a professional matchmaking service may be ideal. You’ll share your dating goals and let the agency set up dates for you.

  • Best for Special Interests: FarmersOnly and Christian Mingle
    If you have a type in mind, these highly specific sites may help you find it. They tend to attract a particular demographic, so you have decent odds in finding someone compatible despite the smaller dating pools.

Tips to Succeed with Online Dating Sites

Regardless of which service you choose, these strategies will improve your chances of avoiding frustration so you can connect with a potential partner.

  • Take your time with personality surveys. Not only do your results affect the way that dating site’s algorithms will match you with other members, but your answers will often serve as a first impression they will get of you. Represent yourself accurately!

  • Talk with your friends first. They likely see you differently than you see yourself and can offer valuable insight into how you can best represent yourself online.

  • Choose a quality profile photo. Leading research shows that photos do best when you fill the frame, adopt an expansive posture, and make sure your face is easy to see. Above all, avoid posting a selfie!

  • Add specific details to your profile. Your dating profile offers your first chance to make an impression on potential dates, so make it memorable. Provide detailed information about yourself that will stick in people’s minds. For instance, instead of saying you “love your dog,” mention that you own a Great Dane named Dave who is a champion frisbee catcher.

  • Assume your messages will go unanswered. Especially for men, online dating often feels like you’re sending signals into space where your words will go unread forever. This can be discouraging if you don’t anticipate it ahead of time. Expect to send out many messages before you get a response, and you’re less likely to grow frustrated.

  • Don’t be afraid to pay. Many find it tempting to go the cost-effective route with online dating, but is your love life really where you want to cut corners? It’s often worth paying for premium on many sites, especially if it contains lots of the kind of people you are interested in.

  • Don’t be overly restrictive on your parameters. Stay loose with your restrictions based on age, geography, and other interests. You’ll never know who the app is preventing you from seeing otherwise.

  • Don’t dive too deep too fast. Talking online can build up a false sense of intimacy and create a sense of connection that might not exist when you meet up. Take your conversation into the real world as quickly as possible to avoid this problem.

Reviews of Popular Dating Sites and Apps

Below is our collection of editorial reviews of popular dating sites. We’ve thoroughly vetted each company to analyze their key features and value propositions. Each review looks closely at the strengths and weaknesses of each company so that you can make informed decisions.

In addition, you will find user reviews that reflect many of the common experiences that members have with these sites. Many mention issues with scammers, low response rates, and matches that don’t meet their preferences. Let their experiences guide you in your own decision-making process.

FarmersOnly.com

FarmersOnly.com

307 Reviews

FarmersOnly.com

FarmersOnly is a dating platform for those out in the country and other like-minded folks to connect and (hopefully) fall in love. The number of members is smaller compared to other dating websites,...

Elite Singles

Elite Singles

142 Reviews

Elite Singles

Elite Singles is a dating site that caters to highly educated people seeking to make a longterm love connection. While the concept is promising, there are some drawbacks.

Zoosk

Zoosk

67 Reviews

Zoosk

Zoosk is a full-featured online dating service that lets you search for matches in various ways and spend coins to catch the attention of other users. However, customer reviews indicate a lack of...

OurTime

OurTime

57 Reviews

OurTime

OurTime is a dating site focused on adults 50+ who are looking for love or lasting friendships. The features are compelling but some customers complain about the service.

It's Just Lunch

It's Just Lunch

52 Reviews

It's Just Lunch

It’s Just Lunch is a personalized matchmaking service designed to help business professionals go on dates with others. However, customer reviews indicate many members think the service overcharges...

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel

27 Reviews

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is an online dating site that claims to stop the endless scrolling and swiping on other apps by helping you make quality connections quickly. While the service is simple to use,...

AnastasiaDate

AnastasiaDate

21 Reviews

AnastasiaDate

AnastasiaDate is an online dating service designed to pair men up with women in Russia, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries. However, members report many issues with this service.

Christian Mingle

Christian Mingle

14 Reviews

Christian Mingle

Christian Mingle is an online dating website for single Christians to connect and form lasting romantic relationships that embrace the same faith and values. This review examines if this service...

Hinge

Hinge

Hinge

Hinge wants you to meet your special person and get off the app quickly, so it prioritizes conversation prompts and fun photos. But as with any dating app, you’ll get what you put into it.

eHarmony

eHarmony

eHarmony

eHarmony is an online dating site with ten million active users that promises its proprietary Compatibility Assessment will help you find love. However, customer reviews indicate the search for a...

Match.com

Match.com

Match.com

Match.com lets you browse singles in your area even without signing up for a paid subscription. Should you trust this online dating service? Many users successfully found love here, but beware of the...

Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish (POF) is an online dating site that lets you start chatting with potential partners for free. However, the low cost of entry can lead to uncommitted users, and scam accounts are...