How to Choose The Best Online Dating Site

Looking for love online? You've come to the right place. Our experts reviewed the leading dating sites out there comparing their tools, features, pricing, and more. Results are in in and you get the first look!

Pitting the Best Dating Sites Against One Another 

It's official! Online dating is now the most popular way to find love. The best online dating sites are filled to the brim with men and women in search of all kinds of relationships, from casual hook-ups to happily ever after. Whether you're in the market for a local love interest or are more concerned with age or looks compatibility, these sites afford you the opportunity to meet singles you would not have met otherwise.

But just as not all singles are created equal, dating sites can be as different as night and day. If you need some help narrowing down which type will suit you, make sure to think about the following points before you get started:

Pricing

Some online dating sites and apps are totally free to sign up, browse and chat.

While free dating sites sound great, remember that there are often downsides to a free online dating experience:

  • More members. While this might sound like a perk, it can make standing out from the crowd much harder. This is especially true if the dating site offers a VIP experience which highlights members who pay a monthly fee, and you only sign up for the basic free experience.
  • Inactive profiles. Many singles sign up to a free dating site and then never check their account again. Others might use it for a few months, ride off into the sunset with the date of their dreams, and never think to delete their own profile. Free dating sites are often full of ‘singles’ who actually aren’t available at all, unlike paid services which people cancel once they are off the market.
  • Not as feature rich. Some of the most popular free dating sites and dating apps are very simple. They usually involve a basic swipe tool where you can search by the singles who are nearby. More extensive dating sites and apps might involve a monthly fee, but they also have search filters, matchmaking elements, personality tests and even offline events.

We recommend choosing a dating site that allows you to sign up and browse singles for free, and only asks you to upgrade to a reasonable monthly cost once you’re sure there are singles on the site you want to communicate with.

Ease of Use

Online dating should be intuitive and simple to use, and fit around your busy lifestyle. The last thing users want is to be wasting time searching to see if they have received messages, or fighting against pop ups. Lengthy sign ups or checkout procedures can also be a real turn off. All of this is true for anyone dating online, but even more so if you fit into a niche like senior dating where the users might not be as comfortable using technology.

The best sites for ease of use include an option to turn off the adverts, simple step by step instructions for signup and profile building, and an omni-channel experience where you can use desktop, app, or mobile site and feel confident you aren’t missing an interaction.

Mobile Apps

Over half of all browsing is now done by mobile phone, and it’s true - there’s an app for everything! Dating sites without their own mobile app are in danger of falling behind. Some sites like Match.com, have an app for many platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows and even Blackberry. Others offer separate apps for messaging, like Zoosk​. In fact, the Zoosk app is the #1 dating app on the iOS store.

Always check if the dating app is as feature-rich as the desktop site, and if it offers any extras, too. Our favorite bonus app features include GPS search to see what singles are nearby right now, simple to use swipe tools to browse through your matches, and real-time notifications so you never miss an interaction.

Mobile apps for online dating

Search Options

Arguably the most important feature of a dating site is how well it helps you find a match. Whether this relies on matchmaking like EliteSingles​, or thorough search tools like Match.com, you want to be sure it’s right for you.

Some of our favorite options include:

  • Keyword Search - Narrow it down to a specific interest or personality trait.
  • Deal Breakers - Whatever hard limits you have are kept out of your inbox.
  • Interested In - See at a glance whether singles want casual fun or something serious.
  • Matchmaking Extras - Like-minded singles who are likely to be a great fit.

Safety

Online dating needs a strong and safe foundation so that singles can feel secure meeting new people. EliteSingles moderates each and every profile for any inappropriate content. Match.com offers an InPrivate mode so that users can browse without being seen. Of course, all good dating sites should allow you to block and report profiles if you experience any harassment.

With so much to think about, some of the top dating sites can seem like half a dozen, six of another. Our experts have pitted the top names in online dating head to head, to help you make the right choice on the factors that really matter.

The Best Dating Sites Compared:

eHarmony vs. match.com: Discover the Right Dating Site for You

eHarmony is the perfect choice for compatibility matching, while match.com is great if you’re looking for an easy signup and large community. Find out which site is the best for you!

EliteSingles vs. Match.com: A Battle of the Brands

Match.com has been one of the world’s biggest and most successful online dating sites for over 20 years. EliteSingles is a newer player on the dating scene. But which will reign supreme when they go head to head on the elements that really matter?

Match.com vs. Zoosk: Which Will Come Out On Top?

While Match leads the way on search tools, sign up and innovative extras, Zoosk takes a narrow win here on mobile functionality, matchmaking and ease of use.

EliteSingles vs. Zoosk: Which Will Be Your Winner?

We love how simple and yet in depth EliteSingles manages to be with their streamlined design and matchmaking, but Zoosk leads the way on mobile, communication, and price.

The Best Dating Sites

The Top Dating Sites Compared