Free dating sites for couples

Finding your soulmate is worth every penny, but do you really need to use a paid site to find a real relationship? Does a monthly fee really weed out people who aren’t taking the process seriously?

This wasn’t really an issue before 2012, but the Tinder-led surge of 30-second profiles and instant access to all single folks within 10 miles gave sites with tedious personality analyses and upscale subscriptions a run for their money — literally.

Free dating sites for couples

Vox said what we’re all really thinking: “At what point in the completely nightmarish process of online dating does one decide that it’s worth spending money on making that experience slightly less terrible?”

Do you need to pay for dating sites?

According to Reddit and Consumer Reports, not really. This Consumer Reports survey found that free sites actually scored better than paid sites on this when it came to overall satisfaction because they’re “better value.” Unless you’re absolutely lost without those heavy-duty matchmaking algorithms, many free sites still offer the questionnaires, detailed bios, and compatibility ratings that indicate red flags and users you wouldn’t get along with.

There’s no one dating site that everyone is particularly pumped about. Swiping exhaustion and creepily persistent users are an omnipresent part of all online dating. Sorry, but a paid subscription isn’t a metal detector that pulls all of the upstanding, faithful singles up out of the crowd. When there are sites that can offer millions of users for free and success stories to prove they work, why not try them before spending £20 per month elsewhere?

A hefty price point doesn’t guarantee the absence of fakes or catfishes, either. Many free sites are just as big on privacy and safety, requiring users to verify themselves through Facebook to increase transparency about age and first names. No paid sites have the safety features that Tinder does, which is the first of the Match Group apps to offer 911 assistance and location services to make meeting a stranger safer.

The aesthetic experience certainly isn’t what your money is going toward, either. Many of the older, subscription-based sites have been slow to modernise their UX designs, still relying on the very 2000s style of bombarding you with notifications for every wink, message, and whatever else.

Can you fall in love with someone online?

We’ve all accepted that online dating is great for finding a friend with benefits, but telling family members that it’s getting serious with that person you met online still takes convincing. However, recent studies show that meeting online can foster a pretty reliable romantic foundation.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.549.0_en.html#goog_778509904https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.549.0_en.html#goog_1521920852https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.549.0_en.html#goog_116935110100:0001:38Tweet ShareThis Day in HistoryPaid Content by Connatix

A 2017 study cited in the MIT Technology Review found that people who meet online are more likely to be compatible and have a better chance at a healthy marriage if they decide to get hitched. Another study found that heterosexual couples who met online were quicker to tie the knot. These stats don’t take anything from correlation to causation, but they do make the case that people who sign up for dating sites that require thoughtful responses are in a better spot to settle down.

There’s an unspoken assumption that people on free dating sites are young, horny people with no disposable income and that people on paid dating sites are mature, employed individuals who are ready to settle down. But eharmony(opens in a new tab)Match(opens in a new tab), Tinder, and OkCupid have rather similar age demographics, all with surprisingly close splits between people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Which dating sites are actually free?

Waters get muddied when basically every dating site has some sort of paid and free version. True free apps let users do all of this as a baseline, and then offer paid perks such as the ability to see everyone who has swiped right on you or boosting your profile for a certain amount of time. Free-but-not-really apps are the ones that are technically free to use, but you have to pay to do just about anything including read or respond to messages.


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Premium memberships of free apps are an affordable way to give more control over your pool of potential partners, but they probably don’t do much to expedite the grueling swiping process. When Tinder released Tinder Gold, it beat Candy Crush as the Apple Store’s top-grossing app. People were that willing to pay to see who swiped right on them. That might be handy knowledge if you’re looking to get laid, but it’s hard to tell if it would help find someone that you like enough to share your life with. No one I know has kept a paid version of a free app for more than a month. 

At any rate, there’s a certain serendipitous feeling that comes with the possibility that, out of the millions of users Hinge could have shown you that day, your soulmate popped up in the crowd of 10 likes you can give out per day (compared to the unlimited likes that come with Hinge Preferred). 

What is the best free dating site?

To help you find the perfect free dating site for a serious relationship, we have lined up a selection of the best dating sites and apps for you to consider. There is something for everyone in this list, including seriously popular sites like Hinge(opens in a new tab) and OkCupid(opens in a new tab).

We recommend talking some time to seriously check out everything in this roundup, and consider which site fits your preferences most closely. Once you have made that decision, all you need to do is actually go online and find love. Easy, right?

These are the best free dating sites for finding a serious relationship in 2022.

Hinge(opens in a new tab)

Best For Swiping

Hinge logo

Credit: Hinge

Specs

  • Unlimited matches with free account: No
  • Unlimited messaging with free account: Yes
  • Paid perks: Extra filters like weed use or height and a grid view of everyone who has liked you

Buying Options

See Details(opens in a new tab)

Young people looking to at least go on a few dates with the same person instead of everything turning into a friends with benefits situation was a major blind spot for dating sites — until Hinge(opens in a new tab) blew up. The premise and user base might be in the same realm as Tinder and Bumble, but Hinge’s unique profile criteria and algorithm based on that criteria set the scene for matches with real-life potential.

Despite the fact that we’re actively seeking out new dating apps and feel a rush every time a cute contender swipes right back, no one looking for something serious wants to be on these. The whole point of online dating is to find your person so you can stop looking for your person. That’s the whole idea behind Hinge’s 2019 rebrand to “the dating app designed to be deleted.” But catchy slogans mean nothing without real-world success. Thankfully, these Hinge statistics offer a vote of confidence for anyone who’s skeptical about whether dating behind a screen can actually foster connections IRL. Beta trials of a feature called “We met” asked Hinge users how the first date went. Some 90% said the first date was great and 72% said they’d be down for a second date.

There’s a common understanding among users that Hinge isn’t just for sex, but there’s no pressure to rush into a relationship either. Instead of extensive cheesy questionnaires and spam emails about the 50 winks you were sent, Hinge uses your personal prompts, ethnicity, religion, education, and more to find you anywhere from five to 15 matches per day. Prompts range from “The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done” to “Two truths and a lie.” Seems like a good recipe for a first convo that’s not about sex, right? 

OkCupid(opens in a new tab)

Best For Inclusivity

OkCupid logo

Credit: Okcupid

Specs

  • Unlimited matches with free account: No
  • Unlimited messaging with free account: Yes
  • Paid perks: No ads, a list of who’s liked you, and read receipts

Buying Options

See Details(opens in a new tab)

OkCupid’s 2017 redesign is more than just millennial aesthetics: It’s geared towards ensuring that you don’t end up on a date with someone who doesn’t pay attention. The addition of 12 gender identities and 20 sexual orientations makes it a safer space for non-binary and queer individuals to find love while using the pronouns they love.

Don’t let OkCupid’s cheeky ads about being “left-leaning” (like politics, but also…you know) make you put it in the “hookup” category. The focus on such weighted issues and profiles that require thought are a pretty big deterrent for people who aren’t taking dating seriously, and you can tell that most users are putting effort into finding lasting connections. Users can illuminate the issues they hold dear and weed out people they’d want to argue with by answering deal-breakers.

Politics aren’t the only compatibility factor here. OKCupid(opens in a new tab) has in-depth user bios, but profile building isn’t long or tedious at all — the questions are smart and dive into your dating style without being too mushy. You’ll even get to see the percentage of how much you have in common based on question answers. It’s an algorithm that OKC has been perfecting since launch just a few years after eharmony. 

Her(opens in a new tab)

Best For Lesbians

Her logo

Credit: Her

Specs

  • Unlimited matching on free account: Yes
  • Unlimited messaging on free account: Yes
  • Paid perks: None, because it’s completely free

Buying Options

See Details(opens in a new tab)

Between creepy men pretending to be women and straight girls looking for another girl to have a threesome with their boyfriends, most heteronormative dating sites don’t give lesbians or bi women a great shot at finding a relationship. Her(opens in a new tab), an award-winning app made for queer women by queer women, is the perfect place to go if you’re tired of the only lesbian you know being your ex girlfriend. 

The app that wants to “introduce you to every lesbian you’ve ever wanted to meet” is growing rapidly: Her has grown to 4.5 million users since its rebrand in 2015, and according to Statista, that’s pretty damn close to what Bumble is working with — and they’re all women. If you tried Her a few years ago and were discouraged by swiping through the same people, your experience will be much different this time around.

In 2019, Her revamped its minimalistic profiles to let users get more creative in categories like gender, sexuality pronouns, diet preferences, and star signs, as well as a “What does this mean?” field in the sex, gender, and pronoun categories to create more well-rounded understanding of identity. There’s also a space for a text bio where you can showcase your sense of humor describe what type of relationship you’re looking for. 

The lack of any real science behind the matches past age and location is a bummer, but unlike Tinder, this doesn’t mean you’ll be suffocated with a hookup vibe.

Coffee Meets Bagel(opens in a new tab)

Best For Beginners

CoffeeMeetsBagel logo

Credit: Coffeemeetsbagel

Specs

  • Unlimited matching with free account: No
  • Unlimited messaging with free account: Yes
  • Paid perks: More likes per day

Buying Options

See Details(opens in a new tab)

Grabbing coffee is the low-pressure date idea that lets you skip trying to choose a dressy-but-not-too-dressy outfit for a concert or a restaurant. Coffee Meets Bagel(opens in a new tab) is aiming to bring that easy-going atmosphere to the world of dating apps. 

Millions and millions of active users is usually a plus. It is nice to know that your options are virtually limitless, but things go from flattering to chaotic real fast when people hit you up 30 seconds after matching. This happens on eharmony and Tinder alike — people want that connection, and they want it now. CMB’s slow and steady approach is great for singles who are rusty, a bit more introverted, or who simply don’t feel like scrolling every time they have a free minute. Every day, CMB offers seven of its best matches (bagels) for you, chosen by your answers to prompts, who you said yes or no to in yesterday’s batch, and who has already expressed interest with you, too. 

CMB encourages users to get the ball rolling by only keeping your match for seven days. It’s less pressure than Bumble’s 24-hour time limit but still eliminates a list full of matches who don’t care enough to plan a meet-up. Plus, not being bombarded with available hotties 24/7 gives you more time to contemplate whether you genuinely want to get to know or if you’re just messaging them because you’re bored. 

Your bagels are limited regardless of if you upgrade to a paid account, which doesn’t offer much past increasing your allowance of daily likes. Premium perks can also be earned for free just by using the app. 

Match(opens in a new tab)

Best For Finding Love

Match logo

Credit: Match

Specs

  • Free features: View matches and send and receive winks, but no messaging

Buying Options

See Details(opens in a new tab)

NOTE: Though not free, this site is great for long-term love. Dive deeper into our picks for the best dating sites for finding something serious by going here.

Long-term relationships are the name of the game at Match. You can admit that it’s kind of comforting that you’ve been seeing TV adverts about the success of Match(opens in a new tab) for the past 20-some years. Launched in 1995, its decades in the business help Match bring a comforting level of experience to the table for singles wary about online dating. The OG site is so confident in the blueprint it’s been perfecting over the years that it guarantees that you’ll find someone in six months. If you don’t, you get six months for free.

Match continues to solidify its spot as a well-rounded choice for all ages because it refuses to get lost as an antiquated, corny dating site. Match has so many online daters in its arsenal (more than the population of New York City, in fact) that it’s hard to avoid the notification onslaught even if you live in a less-populated area. However, it should slow down once the algorithm starts learning about your swiping behaviors.

Most daters would like to believe that anyone paying £15 per month is genuinely looking for a seriously relationship, but Match has had its fair share of extreme catfishing. But they’re working to make this better. In fact, Match is set to follow Tinder as the second Match Group app to utilise location-based emergency services via Noonlight as well as photo verification to authenticate users and ensure that they’re the same person that’s in their profile pictures. 

eharmony(opens in a new tab)

Best For Marriages

eharmony logo

Credit: Eharmony

Specs

  • Free features: 29-dimension personality quiz and reviewing matches, but no messaging

Buying Options

See Details(opens in a new tab)

NOTE: Though not free, this site is great for long-term love. Dive deeper into our picks for the best dating sites for finding something serious by going here.

Ever see an advert for eharmony and wonder if a dating site that corny actually works? Weirdly enough, it does. As you might expect from a site that’s all about settling down and getting married, the sign-up process is a doozy. eharmony(opens in a new tab) uses a comprehensive questionnaire with 29 dimensions to match you with people based on your long-term compatibility.  You’ll rate yourself on prompts like “I’m an honest partner,” with sliding scale responses. 

On paper, asking deep questions like these right off the bat makes total sense when pairing two people together — but they’re so basic. Then again, eharmony promises to pay for three months if you’re not satisfied after those three months, so they’re clearly pretty confident that all of those questions work. Profiles also look really nice, like a fancy CV designed by a graphic designer. You even have the option to put your favourite TV shows, music, sports, and more on your profile.

It should be noted that eharmony hasn’t always felt like a welcoming place to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Following a 2010 lawsuit, their gay and lesbian spin-off site Compatibility Partners has been folded into eharmony’s overall site, but users on Reddit as recently as 2019 say that it still seems geared more toward straight people.

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