The best dating apps for Android and iOS


If you are searching for dating apps in the Google Play Store, you will end up with a long list of choices. In some regions, the selection is even larger, offering a wider pool of singles to be reached compared to the likes of Tinder, Bumble, and others. In our review, we have therefore identified the five best apps for online dating.

Since everyone has a different way of falling in love, I have highlighted a few special features across various apps. While there is much focus on heterosexual relationships, but most of these apps also offer the option to search for same-sex partners. In addition, there are a few tips for the LGBTQ community at the end.

  1. Tinder – the classic
  2. Bumble – ideal for women
  3. Once – take it slow
  4. Lovoo – complete with a dating radar and live streams
  5. Happn – Matches flirts on your smartphone while you are out and about
  6. Tips for the LGBTQ community
  7. Conclusion

Let’s begin with the platform that is the best choice for most singles!

Tinder: This ocean has the most fish

It all began with the app that made online dating on the smartphone socially acceptable. Similar to Google, Tinder even made its way into common, everyday lingo in the form of its own verb. “Tinder” works like this: You create an account, enter your name and a photo, and you’re good to go!

When setting Tinder up, you will first need to key in your phone number which is linked to your account. In addition, you will also have to state your age and your current location. This is because Tinder will search for nearby potential contacts based on your existing location. You can also determine the radius of the search and the age range of the contacts.

Tinder test NextPit
Tinder popularized the “swipe” / © NextPit

You simply begin by “swiping”: A swipe to the right indicates your interest in the person displayed while a swipe to the left indicates your disinterest. If the person whom you are interested in is also in agreement with you, then the two of you will have the opportunity to write to each other. Alongside Bumble, I like Tinder’s chat function best in this review. You can also send GIFs and video call requests.

There are also integrated security measures for that added peace of mind, allowing you to report contacts or resolve matches. This is, of course, when you encounter a problem with Tinder. Many people take advantage of the platform’s anonymity, with some of my friends informing me about tired pick-up lines and really unpleasant experiences at times. If such experiences are preventing you from trying Tinder out, there is always an interesting alternative in the form of Bumble.

But I would like to briefly point out one major disadvantage with Tinder. The app tends to urge you to money on “Tinder Gold” incessantly. In the long run, the costs do rack up quite a handsome amount at €14.99 per month. The premium version will allow you to view just which singles have liked you as well as the additional advantage of infinite swipes, letting you “advertise” yourself across different cities in addition to assigning extra “super likes”. If you decide to play it cheap, you are only limited to one per day. 

TL;DR: Tinder is the dating platform with the biggest base of users. While this is an advantage, it also ends up carrying a lot of unsavory characters. Still, Tinder is a fun app to try, but you need to be a little bit more careful while having to resist the temptation of spending money on Tinder Gold.

Bumble – Dating: A Tinder alternative with less quirks

The Bumble – Dating app shares many positive traits with Tinder. Here, you too will be able to find a wide range of users depending on the region you are in: while the principle of searching for a potential soul mate remains very similar. For instance, Bumble copied the “swiping” gesture as you go through different personalities, where you can create an account using your phone number, a profile photo, and other relevant information.

Bumble will require some rather personal information at the beginning. You will have to indicate your size, your zodiac sign, and, for instance, your political leanings in order to provide potential partners with a better basis for decision-making. You can filter two of these characteristics for free in the settings, including age and distance, just like in Tinder.

Bumble Test NextPit
Bumble is a bit more refined compared to Tinder / © NextPit

The first difference in Bumble is when you encounter your very first match. Here, Bumble gives women the advantage by forbidding men from making any contact. After a match, the lady has 24 hours to write a message, of which the match will be forfeited otherwise. A lot of the women I’ve spoken to concerning Bumble appreciate this feature immensely. 

Tip: In addition to Bumble – Dating, there are also modes to differentiate friends and professional contacts via “BFF” and “Biz” categories

This way, you won’t be surprised by unpleasant or unsavory messages when you launch the app. However, there is also more pressure if you don’t have that much time and don’t want to lose any of your matches. Bumble can be quite time-consuming if you collect a lot of matches as a woman and don’t want to lose them.

Chatting works well enough on Bumble as it is on Tinder. In addition to GIFs, there is also the option of sending voice messages, playing a question game, sending photos, and kicking off a video chat.

Unfortunately, Bumble would love to have your money as well via in-app purchases. Bumble Premium provides you with the advantage of being able to check out likes, placing yourself under the “spotlight” to be seen, while being able to extend matches to last for more than 24 hours. A lifetime subscription will cost €159.99, while those who opt for a monthly subscription will have to fork out €32.99 for it.

TL; DR: Bumble is my dating app of choice for women! This is because men are forbidden from contacting women for a match. Based on my Bumble matches, the pool of candidates here are better than those on Tinder. Unfortunately, Bumble often comes across as a premium app with limited functionality if you decide to skimp on the monthly/lifetime subscription.

Once: Taking things slow

If you spend just 10 minutes on Bumble or Tinder, it is more than enough time for you to swipe through 100 profiles easily. That alone can make you lose faith in the usefulness or effectiveness of such apps, simply because you start to ask yourself: how well can you decide in a matter of seconds whether the person shown is not your dream partner after all? If you detest this idea, Once is for you.

Because Once shows you, as the name suggests, only one profile a day! The app states that it relies on algorithms to find more suitable partners for you. In order to get the most accurate match, you will have to fill up your profile with adequate information while including ratings to recommended profiles that you receive.

Once Test NextPit
Once slows online dating down by only offering only one profile per day / © NextPit

This concept of Once is refreshingly different, but of course, there is a downside to it: it leads to a sense of achievement at a far slower pace compared to Bumble and Tinder. Across five days, I found all five recommended profiles to be of no interest to me, and therefore this meant I could not get in touch with another person via Once. However, do bear in mind that this app is more for the long term, although I am not sure whether the potential candidates would agree. 

One particular thing struck me as very negative: Once also regularly prompts you whether you want more than just the basic functions. This involves using ‘crowns’, where 15 of them will cost you €19.99 of which you can ‘spend’ in the app. In addition, there is also a premium subscription known as “Once VIP” which will set you back by €29.99 per month.

TL;DR: “Once” offers a refreshing concept compared to Tinder and Bumble! However, a recommended profile once a day might make the entire process too drawn out for you. If that doesn’t bother you, you should try Once out and urgently resist the temptation to pay huge sums for the premium functions.

Lovoo: Dating Radar and Livestreams

Have you ever encountered issues with dating apps? Lovoo might be one of them, assuming you are well aware that Lovoo used to have issues with fake profiles back in 2015. At that time, a German computer magazine discovered that the platform itself tried to use fake profiles in order to get users to pay more just to get in touch with these fake profiles. 

A few years later, Lovoo has undergone a revamp, showing up as a modern Tinder alternative that has some interesting features. If you do your due diligence to contact verified profiles only, then you can easily avoid the fake profiles – assuming they still exist six years down the road. You will also benefit from a couple of interesting functions with Lovoo.

Lovoo Test NextPit
Lovoo offers two exciting new functions – a dating radar and livestreams / © NextPit

Basically, Lovoo follows the Tinder principle of swiping, matching, messaging, you should know the drill by now. In addition, you will also find that there is a dating radar in the lower bar that shows you the approximate location of singles in your vicinity. Just how you use this feature to your advantage remains your personal choice. 

Some time ago, Lovoo also decided to offer livestreams via the platform. In one attempt, I was able to see and hear a young gentleman with a “princess” cap smoking in front of the camera songs by the band “Unheilig”. Well, the crowd seemed to like it!

As a negative point, swiping is limited with Lovoo and you will have to pay money for an expensive premium subscription if you want to use additional features such as “Best Picks” or having your profile boosted to receive more attention. As you can already guess: Lovoo Premium costs €16.98 monthly!

TL;DR: Lovoo is another Tinder alternative that introduces two fun new elements to the dating app world. However, it comes with the same major negative point as the others: There are simply too many functions that are available only when you pay for them.

Happn: Find random contacts digitally

Last but not least, I find “Happn” to be rather unique. This app runs on serendipity, by offering you chance encounters. If someone else’s eyes caught your attention when you are out for a walk, but you failed to initiate contact then, who knows? You might find the person again on Happn.

The principle is somewhat reminiscent of the coronavirus contact tracing apps. This is because Happn uses your location to record whom you have crossed paths with. You will be able to find these contacts again afterward can contact them. 

Happn Test NextPit
Happn is an attempt to combine real-life with online dating / © NextPit

As with almost all other dating apps, the entire process happens via a “Like” system, and you can only get in touch with one another when both parties like each other. Hence, you need not worry that after a walk, you end up with a thousand messages buzzing on your smartphone.

Of course, Happn urges you to permanently enable your location. Anyone with privacy concerns would definitely shun such an app. In addition, there is also a premium version available which enables functions like “Flash Notes” for more attention, more precise recommendations based on your criteria, and an unlimited number of likes. At €22.99 per month, it is a rather costly investment.

TL;DR: The principle behind Happn is pretty cool. Unfortunately, you have to give up a lot of your privacy to take full advantage of it. This is because the idea behind this app is to meet random contacts while you are on-the-go. Of course, this means having to enable your location at all times.

Tips for the LGBTQ Community

So far I have focused on dating apps that meet my own dating needs. I am a man who is on the lookout for women and not everyone feels that way. Although Tinder, Bumble, Lovoo, Once, and Happn also offer same-sex matches, for example, there are a few alternatives here that I haven’t checked out which would most probably be more useful for the LGBTQ community:

As mentioned earlier, I haven’t tried any of these apps because I don’t feel like I belong to the LGBTQ community. However, if you have had any experience with one of the apps, do let me know in the comments how your experience was!

What were our selection criteria?

As with all of our listicles, the main focus is on trying out what is offered. Hence, we didn’t look for the most popular apps or star ratings in the app store. Rather, we downloaded each app, created a profile, and made a few new contacts along the way. Of course, we focused on the user interface and experience, range of functions, and general impression of the app.

This list is by no means exhaustive or intended to reflect the app which served up the best matches for us. Our preferences are just as personal as yours, so we would highly recommend you give them a try based on your location and preferences.

To add some zest and view things from a different perspective, we will try to offer alternatives in this list that are a departure from the well-known Tinder concept. If you have any more tips for us, please let us know in the comments.

Conclusion: Dating apps are fun, but not without their problems

Probably none of our “Best of” articles deal with such a sensitive topic as this. Dating apps can be great fun and lead to wonderful relationships. At the same time, they also have the potential to break the hearts of its users. This is because while the apps promote the idea of finding your one true love, in reality, they are more interested in your money.

This becomes clear when important and useful functions can only be found in the extremely expensive subscription models. The fact that people trade money for happiness leaves a sour taste in the mouth. You should be aware that your success in dating apps doesn’t necessarily depend on you, as there are simply too many variables to take into account for which you cannot influence the outcome. 

On top of that, dating apps are a potential privacy disaster. You only have to enter your telephone number, your own profile photo, your e-mail address, and your date of birth to register. You will then have to link the entire profile to your location. This means you give up a lot of privacy in the search for love. While this might make such apps a little bit more secure and believable, it is also tough to gauge just what will happen to your personal data behind the scenes.

I signed up for around 10 dating apps for this review. Even though I’m not yet married, I will definitely be more vigilant about phishing and spam emails over the next few weeks. Was it all worth it? Let’s wait and see!



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