Where to find love online: Guide to dating apps & sites

It is a truth universally acknowledged: that a single person in possession of a smartphone in the 21st century️, must ‘swipe right’ at least once to the world of online dating.

Romance is in the air (or rather, in the digital clouds) as app and website developers take up the role of a modern-day Cupid, matching Australians based on similar interests and preferences in a partner. But while many companies attempt to put a true price on love in the form of a weekly, monthly or annual subscription, we believe that falling in love doesn’t have to mean landing in debt.

That’s why we’ve listed a range of dating apps and dating sites to help you strike a win. Many of these are available on iTunes and Google Play.

 

Free dating apps

Tastebuds

Honesty is one of the hallmarks of a good relationship, so why not start off strong by finding someone with a music taste as refined as yours. Meet friends and concert buddies, as well as romantic partners, by saving tracks from your Spotify profile and scanning your iPhone music library to see who’s singing along to the same tune. You can also send someone a song to break the ice… ice baby.

  • You will love this dating app if: You want a multipurpose app that goes beyond the world of dating and can be used to build fulfilling relationships in other aspects of your life.

Hater — Find Friends or Dates

Opposites may attract, but let’s face it — so does a mutual dislike for bad odour, drivers who don’t signal, or Donald Trump. That’s why Hater has decided to use the basic premise of swiping for love to match potential lovebirds, connecting people based on their pet peeves on a variety of activities, food, places, ideas and people. Swipe right for things you love, swipe left for things you can do without. The app also looks at age and location to find common ground. Plus, once you do find a match, there are a few clever prompts to help get things going. But unlike other dating apps, profiles are limited and information about the other person’s education or job is kept a mystery.

Hater is fairly new to the dating game and may still have a couple of kinks that need to be worked out. One big problem some users reportedly face is being recommended types of users they have filtered out. So… women who opt to see a list of men might also come across a few women, too. In addition, depending on where you live, the app might also have a lack of local users. Although there’s plenty of ‘global’ individuals to swipe through.

  • You will love this dating app if: You like playing mobile games and happen to be single.

Happn

What if the person you bumped into at the supermarket that one time was your soulmate? Picturing long walks on the beach with your barista after bonding over old Disney movies? Well, it must be fate because there’s now a location-based dating app designed to help reconnect people who have crossed paths and want to see what could have been. Happn suggests users you’ve encountered, or are likely to pass, in real life.

Each person’s location is hidden, and only an approximate address of where you two were spotted near each other is saved and tracked on a map only you can view. The number of times you and another user have crossed paths can be seen on their profile. Facebook Connect can also be used to show mutual friends and common interests, as well as prevent fake profiles.

Find someone you fancy, but too nervous to say anything? Like them secretly with the Heart button: they won’t find out, unless the interest is mutual. If you want to be noticed, hit them with one of your limited ‘Charms’ to send them a notification. Is someone blowing you kisses that you would rather swat back? Just click the Cross button on a person you don’t like. And don’t worry, conversations can only start if both users are interested.

  • You will love this dating app if: You want to meet people face-to-face and limit searches to people near you.

Plenty of Fish — POF Dating

Let’s face it – internet dating looks about as friendly as a Jaws film. There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but there’s also just as many weeds to swim through. Plus, there’s rarely any guarantee that the person on the other side will actually reply. Get back to the basics of dating with Plenty of Fish (POF), a free app which claims to encourage conversation… unlike other online dating services. Upgraded memberships are available to purchase, although POF doesn’t fish for paying members as much as certain dating apps.

  • You will love this dating app if: You’re tired of getting matched with interested users who don’t end up responding in conversations. It’s also recommended for people who want a big pool of singles to choose from and a variety of ways to interact with other people.

Wingman

Ever think your best mate can do better when it comes to romance? Help your single friend raise their dating game by inviting them onto Wingman by either scrolling through your contacts list or typing in their number. From there, you can create your mate’s profile on the free dating app and start browsing the feed to see who the app recommends your friend should check out. Keep in mind that your single friend will need to approve whatever you’ve written. Once someone has caught your eye, just swipe right to bring the two potential lovebirds together. A match is created when the two single individuals have shown their interest in each other.

If you’re the one looking for love, you can introduce yourself or get your wingman (or wingwoman) to step in for you. You can also add multiple people to be your wingman.

  • You will love this dating app if: You’re new to online dating or a bit shy with meeting new people.

Bumble

Next to Tinder, Bumble is the latest buzzword in the online dating community. The free dating app was one of the first digital matchmaking services to let women call the shots, empowering ladies to build meaningful relationships in what is said to feel like a much safer environment. If you need to take a break from chat up lines and pictures of guys with their dog on Bumble Date, the dating app also offers avenues to build professional relationships and friendships through the Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF modes. Monthly subscriptions are available.

  • You will love this dating app if: You’re confident with starting conversations and want an app to help you build different types of relationships.

Tinder

This list of dating apps wouldn’t be complete without Tinder, the online matchmaker that got ‘swipe for love’ trending. If you believe in love at first sight, Tinder allows users to pick potential partners based on location and what they believe is their best profile picture. Chat functions only become available if both singles are interested.

But due to the massive popularity of the app and the fact there’s no cap on the amount of people a person can show interest in on any given day, Tinder might be a little overwhelming. Only a small ratio of your compatible matches might actually respond, despite showing interest. and not every account is a legitimate suitor.

  • You will love this dating app if: You want more options to increase your chances at finding ‘the one’, even if it means coming across serious duds.

Free dating sites

eHarmony

eHarmony says it does its homework to help singles find their ideal partner. The site claims to match people by using supposedly ‘decades of research’ into long-lasting relationships, plus questionnaires designed to ‘learn about you and what you’re looking for’. Users can also filter preferences to include things like location, how far you’re willing to travel, and whether you would consider moving for the right partner, whether you’re comfortable with a smoker and the importance of religious faith.

But while eHarmony is mostly free to use, there are subscriptions available. This allows you to stay in the top spot for 24 hours for all your matches with Spotlight, as well as keep the mystery by turning on Incognito to check of all your matches anonymously. Plus, purchasing the premium service allows you to see who has visited your profile, as well as view photos and send unlimited messages. Although unlike some dating apps, eHarmony claims it won’t pressure you into paying for anything.

  • You will love this dating site if: You’re looking for a long-term relationship but have some deal breakers you’re not keen on fixing later on.

RSVP

RSVP might just be the Tinder of the dating site world, reserving a spot as one of the original online match-making services since launching on Valentine’s Day in 1997. It describes itself as “the largest and most trusted singles site in Australia”, and welcomes apparently 30,000 new members every month. The Australian-owned site promises a local customer support service through its live website chat and email seven days a week. RSVP is available as a web app as well as a dating app for iPhone and Android users.

  • You’ll love this dating site if: You want a big database of single users to choose from and don’t want to waste time on new dating apps that are still fixing glitches.

AussieCupid

Imagining living with your soulmate in a three-bedroom house and white picket fence, but don’t want geographic borders holding you back? After all, home is where the heart is. Then you’ll be glad to know AussieCupid is casting its bowen arrows across the globe, taking aim at singles searching for serious relationships and don’t see distance as a massive deal breaker.

Simply create a profile by registering for free, browse through photos and start chatting. Users can alternatively purchase either the gold or platinum membership to enjoy more perks, but these come at a cost. Compared to the free Standard plan, paying clients get extra benefits like the ability to live chat and communicate with all members. Platinum members can also enjoy supposedly ‘exclusive search features’ and ‘Advanced Matching’, as well as have the dating site translate messages and highlight your profile to give you a better chance of being noticed.

  • You will love this dating site if: You’re looking for a long-term relationship but have some deal breakers you’re not keen on fixing later on.

Paid dating apps & sites

They say nothing good comes for free, which might be why many internet dating sites and dating apps rarely shy away from the idea of eventually becoming friends with ‘extra’ benefits. Paid memberships typically provide so-called ‘premium’ features that generally remove ads, offer unlimited messaging, and access to features that are usually unavailable to non-paying members. Highlighting users’ profiles to increase visibility is also a common perk. That’s why many of these dating apps and dating sites offer free trials or unpaid versions as an alternative.

Clover

Forget about picking petals to figure out whether “he loves me, he loves me not”. Instead, pluck what you want from a partner by filtering everything from age and location, to relationship type, dress style, occupation, job type and personality type. Set up dates with On-Demand Dating, join mixers to meet other singles with common interests, attend parties and online meetups, browse through photos of singles near you. Plus, unlike some dating apps, Clover isn’t just limited to straight folks. It’s LGBT-friendly and can also be used by anyone looking for bisexual, lesbian or gay dating.

  • You will like this dating app if: You’re attracted to a specific type or person, or have a pretty clear picture of who your dream partner should be.

How much does it cost to use Clover?

Clover is free to use, unless you prefer to upgrade to Premium. If you want to take things to the next level, some extra features include access to advanced filters, multimedia chat and the ability to see who’s interested in you.

  • Free version: If you’re thinking about upgrading to Premium, you can try-before-you-buy and see if the premium perks are actually worth it by opting for the free seven-day trial. But a fee of $14.99 per week will apply once this period ends, provided you haven’t dumped the special offer before then.
  • 3 months: $4.61/week
  • 1 year: $2.31/week

Zoosk

The company uses what is described as Zoosk’s Behavioural Matchmaking technology, which is said to learn from all the members who use the service in order to “better deliver matches in real time”. Zoosk is available as a variety of apps specifically designed for iPhones, Android devices and Facebook. Users can also use Zoosk messenger to chat up singles.

One unique feature on Zoosk is the fact it actually reviews photos to prevent users coming across inappropriate images or fake accounts, which some dating apps have a reputation for having. There’s also the option of revealing the industry you work in and your income on your profile. But basic details you need to give include your postcode, height, ethnicity, body type, whether you have children and smoking status.

  • You will love this dating site and app if: You want to join a dating site or dating app that’s pretty easy to use.

How much does it cost to use Zoosk?

Zoosk allows you to sign up and use the dating site for free, although the company admits non-paying users have limited access to the service. This type of membership is intended to give you an insight as to what Zoosk can offer, but without the ability to respond to SmartPick introductions and connect with members who have viewed your profile. The free version also lacks popular perks like messaging, which is usually a standard feature available in most dating sites and dating apps.

  • Free version: available
  • 1 month: $49.99
  • 3 months: $89.99 ($30/month)
  • 6 months: $119.99 ($20/month)
  • 12 months: $229.99 ($19.17/month)

SilverSingles

If you’re over the age of 50 and looking for a serious relationship, SilverSingles is a mature dating site designed for those who would rather not waste time decoding emojis or wait four hours before texting back for the sake of ‘playing it cool’. One of the major benefits of SilverSingles is how it offers an online community of singles who the brand claims “understand your stage of life and are looking for a partner to enjoy it with”. This service is available in both website and app form, and can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices.

  • You’ll love this dating site if: You are reluctant to getting back into the dating game after ending a long-term relationship.

How much does it cost to use SilverSingles?

SilverSingles offers two types of membership packages: Basic and Premium. The basic membership allows you to use the service for free, but access to features and profiles is limited. The company encourages users to pick any of the paid premium options and instead use this affordable package as a type of ‘trial period’, although there’s no actual time limit or requirement to eventually pay. For those who want ‘unrestricted access’, there’s three payment plans to choose from.

  • Free version: Free — You can complete the personality test, create a profile and review recommended profiles, and engage in some communication with others.
  • Three-months: $44.95
  • Six-months: $34.95
  • 12-months: $24.95

Hinge

Are you a firm believer in the motto “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Unlike many other dating apps, Hinge actually tries to give you an insight into someone’s personality. Aside from their age, height and location, each profile requires six photos and answers to three statements. Some of these questions include: “The hallmark of a good relationship is…”, “Weirdest gift I’ve ever given or received…”, “I get along best with people who…”, “Biggest risk I’ve taken…” and “I’m weirdly attracted to…”. You can also view a person’s Instagram from their profile, but only if the person chooses to link it. Users can similarly choose whether to reveal if they drink, smoke or take recreational drugs, as well as say how often.

Show interest in someone by taping on the ‘heart’ to like a person’s answer or picture. But be warned, unless you’re a Preferred Member, you only have a limited amount of ‘hearts’ to give.

  • You will love this dating app if: You prefer to get to know someone before deciding they’re ‘the one’… or not.

How much does it cost to use Hinge?

Hinge is generally free to use, but you can choose to become a Preferred Member. Hinge claims paying users are more likely to get twice as many dates because you can see everyone who likes you all in one place, set more specific preferences and send an unlimited number of ‘likes’.

  • Free version: available
  • 1 month: $15.49
  • 3 months: $30.99 ($10.33/month)
  • 6 months: $46.99 ($7.83/month)

Coffee Meets Bagel

Have your previous dates seemed a bit… vanilla? Coffee Meets Bagel aims to make the perfect pair by suggesting compatible singles near you. Similar to most dating apps, tap the ‘heart’ to show your interest or hit the ‘x’ button to pass. Get to know who’s around you with details about someone’s height, ethnicity, religion, job title, employer and education.

Unlike a number of dating apps, Coffee Meets Bagel allows you to pick from a general list of local users in Discover or a smaller group of singles recommended by the app. But depending on where you live and the popularity of the dating app in your area, the amount of tailored suggestions may be a bit low and take a while to refresh with a new batch of potential partners.

  • You will love this dating app if: You want a greater chance of finding someone who is truly interested in you, and avoid matching with someone who plays fast and loose by saying ‘yes’ to anyone and everyone.

How much does it cost to use Coffee Meets Bagel?

Coffee Bagel is free to use, although there are paid subscriptions and in-app purchases available. Premium members receive eight more chances to ‘like’ in Discover.

  • Free version: available
  • 1 month: $54
  • 3 months: $110 ($37/month)
  • 6 months: $175 ($29/month)

Picture credits: Ravi_sunlight/Shutterstock.com, Kunturtle/Shutterstock.com, Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock.com and Inspiring/Shutterstock.com

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