Ever since Tinder exploded on the dating scene three years ago, debuting its then-unique swiping feature to the single masses, dozens of copycat apps—online sites’ younger, smarter cousins—have raced to get in on the left-and-right action.
And we’re happy to report: Competition is a good thing. Rather than force you to thumb your way through hordes of women you have nothing in common with but location, the latest apps add a valuable level of selection, and at the very least seek to put you into an arena of like-minded souls. “It’s important to be clear on exactly what you’re looking for,” says L.A. intimacy therapist Robert Weiss, “since these apps bring you whatever you want, immediately.”
Here's all the dating-app dope you'll need to get started.
The Sell: The ball’s in her court—swipe right if you like her, then she has 24 hours to initiate a conversation.
The Best Part: If she’s talking to you, she’s interested. Plus, it’s made by ex-Tinder folks, so the interface is familiar.
The Bug: iOS only, and filters are limited to age and location. Plus, you can’t do anything unless she initiates.
The Experts’ Take: “Other apps inundate women with messages, so this is refreshing,” says Dallisa Hocking, a Texas dating coach.
The Pro Tip: Bumble pulls your profile photos, age, job, and schooling from Facebook, so make sure you’ve edited them accordingly.
The Sell: Blind dating for millennials. Get matched up with like-minded women who are all connected to your own FB friends.
The Best Part: Vetting: Your friends can vouch for her before you click, to protect you from the many assholes trawling the Internet.
The Bug: Large U.S. metro regions only; users in smaller cities might pull few matches.
The Experts’ Take: “I’m a big fan. You avoid screwing anyone over, as you might have mutual friends,” says dating coach Patrick King.
The Pro Tip: Don’t fuck and truck: These people run in your real-life friends’ circles, and word can travel fast.
3. How About We...
The Sell: Meet a person, not a profile: Post “Yoga at 7 p.m. tonight,” and hear from women who are interested in joining you.
The Best Part: Profiles can be posted in five minutes—the fastest of the bunch—if you let the app pull stats from your FB page.
The Bug: There’s a lot of, “Hey, let’s just try a quick drink...” from women who don’t want to commit to an activity date.
The Experts’ Take: “I like that the app tries to move people offline,” says Hocking.
The Pro Tip: Suggest an active, social date that you’ll enjoy even if she’s a dud, like a trip to a rock-climbing gym.
4. OK Cupid
The Sell: The Google for relationships. Offers access to the most profiles—you rate theirs and can see who’s read yours.
The Best Part: This pond is stocked with more than 12 million users. And the “You’re a 90% match!” feature saves tons of reading.
The Bug: Profiles make it easy to include too much info—creeps can figure out where you work and who your family is.
The Experts’ Take: “Free means anyone with a pulse can sign up,” Hocking points out.
The Pro Tip: Pay for “A-List,” where the pickings are better. Apparently, girls with access to a wallet are just more together.
The Sell: Speedy like Tinder, but with more info and algorithms—it reads profiles for you and suggests good matches.
The Best Part: Things move quickly, and thanks to good filters (height, education, etc.) you can be on a date within two hours.
The Bug: It reveals who digs you, but—unlike most apps—also who gave you the thumbs down, which can sting.
The Experts’ Take: “I like that you can actually see who isn’t interested. It’s humbling but could help define where you fit in,” says Weiss.
The Pro Tip: Click “On Demand” and Clover matches you with others who like you and are available tonight. Genius.