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These Are the Best Dating Apps for Love, Sex, or a Date

An app for every stage in the dating game.

by John E. Peracchio Sep 14, 2020

Tinder on smartphone
Kon Karampelas

Dating apps are nothing new, but their many design schemes and usage methods continuously refresh what it means to connect. For starters, why dress up to potentially meet someone at a bar when you can interact via a quick finger swipe in sweatpants from your couch? You save the cash you’d otherwise spend per drink, not to mention time and possible disappointment from weeding out what could be a rather sad dating pool of available singles.

Plus, apps make it super convenient to locate someone who’s in search of the same relationship as you. Obviously, you both downloaded the app for a reason, and which app that might be is a telltale sign as to what both you and the person you match with are potentially seeking, whether it’s a casual hookup or long-term relationship.

Regardless, each app pretty much works the same. Typically, you create an account supported by a phone number or Facebook login for verification and other security purposes. Next, you’re prompted to customize your dating profile by uploading photos, adding personal details, setting your location and discovery preferences, and even addressing a series of questions based on the complexity of the app. And yes, some apps are more primitive and rudimentary, while others are more personalized and sophisticated. Ultimately, it’s for you to decide which is the best fit.

Whether you’re looking to up your sexting game, add a hot new buddy to virtual poker, or date your way into monogamy, we narrowed down five of the best dating apps to download.

1. Tinder

If an LTR isn’t in your near future, this might just be the app of your short-term dreams. Because possible connections are based on proximity (how far of a distance depends on your settings), this app is best known for casual meetings. Its design also makes it relatively easy to match with someone: Swipe Right™ if a person’s pictures and short bio appeal to you, and Swipe Left™ if you’re not interested. You’ll know once you match with someone if they also Swipe Right™ on your profile.

2. Bumble

Looking for a quick fling or spur-of-the-moment wedding date? This app makes it nearly impossible to wait on a match with its 24-hour connection limit. Like Tinder, you swipe right or left based on your level of interest but with varying rules of interaction. For heterosexual matches, females are asked to initiate the conversation. For same-sex matches, either party can engage. You have 24 hours to connect; otherwise, the match expires. Missed your chance? No worries; you can always match again in a future swipe.

3. Hinge

Over quick swipes and casual meetups? Hinge encourages meaningful connections with a series of prompts, like “Biggest risk I’ve ever taken…” and “The way to win me over is…,” to help potential matches initiate a compelling conversation. Begin by choosing up to three preformulated options to feature on your profile. In 150 characters or less, finish each sentence with something daring, witty, or just plain honest. To initiate a match, one person needs to like or comment on a profile picture or prompt to offer the receiving party the option to match or move on. (So, if you’re diggin’ someone’s profile, compliment their pic.) If matched, that person can then begin a conversation or invite the other user to start the chat.