While online dating has boomed in popularity in recent years, the concept itself is nearly 25 years old, with Match.com flinging opening its website doors to singles back in 1995. When you consider Google didn’t launch until three years later in 1998, Match’s emergence seems almost ancient in relative terms.

Now, dating sites and apps are seemingly everywhere, but which is the best? There may not be any one definitive winner, necessarily, but we’re doing the grunt work for you to identify the most popular dating apps today, so you don’t have to. But first, you need to determine what it is you’re looking for.

Dating in the 21st Century

What makes one dating app popular to some users may not be equally measured by others. That’s because their criteria could differ. As we said, it all depends on what you’re searching for. Today, dating sites and apps aren’t just serving the marriage-minded. Instead, they encompass a much larger audience with more diverse ideas of “dating.” Some people are just looking for hookups. Others are looking to cheat. And then there are those that simply want to date, in no hurry to bend the knee and march down the aisle. Due to these varied ideas on the subject, we’ll provide you with the best choices we’ve found.

Largest Online Dating Site

Back in November of 2015, Badoo.com was noted as the largest dating site in the world with 270 million users. Still ranking among reviewers, things change quickly in the Internet and dating world, however, and largest and most popular are not necessarily the same thing.

dating app popularity

Top 5 Most Popular Dating Apps

As far as the most popular online dating services in 2019, Zoosk.com, with 40 million users, is the top choice for the best dating apps among the 18 to 50+ crowd. In fact, Consumer-Rankings.com gave it a 9.9, and it topped the lists of many other websites investigating the topic.

Here is a combined list of four others that currently make the grade for the Top 5:

match logo online dating

1. Match

Match.com is another popular choice that has ranked with a solid 9.5 on numerous Web pages and as the leader of the pack on others. With well over 20 years of matchmaking under their belt, the service was voted “Best for Serious Relationships” by the same group in 2019 for daters 25 to 50+.

eharmony online dating logo

2. eharmony

Depending on the site, eharmony.com has been given between an 8.7 and a 9.6 in popularity for “Best in Compatible Matches” with those 25 to 50+. Because of this, it is among the top three out of five of the most popular dating apps serving singles worldwide.

EliteSingles dating website logo

3. Elite Singles

Ideal for the sophisticated set in search of fellow intellects with aspiration, EliteSingles.com is another option for daters trying to find true love. With a membership that includes an 85 percent rate of “highly educated” users, it’s best suited to mature daters between the ages of 33 to 50+. It received a 9.8 rating.

Professional Match logo

4. Professional Match

Not as much of a household name among applications designed for dating, perhaps, but ProfessionalMatch.com received a respectable 8.6 by Top10.com, a site that searches for the “Top 10” of just about anything imaginable. Users of the app tend to be just as the name suggests, professionals who are looking to make similar matches with career-minded individuals.

50-and-Up Dating Services

If you’re older and looking for love, there are dating sites that rank highly for folks in your category that have apps, too. Here are two of the most popular to choose from for adults 50 and up.

  1. OurTime — OurTime.com has been given a 9.9 rating amongst pollsters as the best dating site for older daters, followed closely by our next selection.
  2. SilverSingles — As the name suggests, SilverSingles.com is all about mature dating amongst people of the same or similar ages looking for love, but it’s also for anyone looking for a silver fox or cougar in their life.

Best Hookup Dating Apps

If love isn’t currently in your lexicon, but you still want to “make a connection,” there are plenty of mobile dating apps for hookups, most of which you’ve probably already heard about. If casual sex is more your thing, here is our list for the highest- ranked apps for hooking up—not in any particular order.

Tinder Logo full

1. Tinder

DTF? The butt of countless jokes with late-night comedians, Tinder is easily the best-known guilt-free hookup app out there, but it’s hardly the only one. Based on its popularity, there are literally dozens of others.

Pure dating app logo

2. Pure

Worried about anonymity? Pure purportedly erases user info every hour, so you needn’t be concerned about worrisome pix lingering on the net that could come back to haunt you later. It’s been likened to SnapChat for sex.

Happn dating app logo

3. Happn

An interesting little app, Happn literally tracks your movements, notifying you each time you’re in close proximity to other users. Because of this, you actually have to leave your house and be out and about for it to work.

4. OkCupid

Getting its start as an online dating site, the OkCupid app allows users to perform keyword searches to filter matches with others looking for casual hookups. Primarily intended for serious relationships, it’s still one of the App Store’s most popular choices for dating.

bumble logo

5. Bumble

Similar to Tinder, Bumble makes hooking up easy, but in this case, women have the advantage in that only they can initiate a conversation once the match is made. It’s great for the ladies.

Adult Friend Finder logo

6. Adult Friend Finder

Offering live videos and group chats, AFF sees more monthly visitors than even eharmony, making it perfect for a no-strings-attached encounter.

As stated above, there are dozens of apps for one-night stands, like Feeld, Blendr, Tap Dat, Naughty, Coffee Meets Bagel, and others. The above six consistently came up as best across the board, so they’re a good place to start. If you’re interested in learning more about any of them, Esquire magazine did a great assessment of each. The guide also includes some rather humorous commentary on who users are looking for, and who they’re more likely to find.

most popular dating apps for 2020

Note:  Much like mainstream dating sites offering apps, there are pros and cons to these casual singles services for mobile users. They all work a little bit differently, so do your homework first. More of them appear to be free, though, so that’s a plus, and they’re available on iOS and Android.

Niche Dating Sites

In addition to popular dating apps, there are others that focus on particular groups of people in search of that special person. Also popular, they embody the diversity of dating today. Here is a sampling of what you can expect to find if you’re looking for your own niche crowd.

The League dating app logo

1. The League

Much like Elite Singles, this is an app you have to apply for in order to gain admission. It admits the ambitious and successful among us, but only after an extensive screening process. Don’t let its somewhat pretentious name fool you. It’s made the list of hookup sites as well.

Black People Meet logo

2. Black People Meet

A top black dating site, it’s free to sign up and browse while catering to like-minded singles in search of that certain someone.

Dating app reviews - Christian Mingle
Dating app reviews – Christian Mingle

3. Christian Mingle

If your faith is everything to you, this site can help you find your soul mate with same or similar religious beliefs.

Farmers Only online dating logo

4. Farmers Only

While the name pretty much says it all, you don’t just have to be a farmer to find a date here. It’s for real folks with a down-home country attitude in life, so it could just as easily be a cowboy, rancher, or anyone else who shares a similar outlook.

Most Popular Dating Apps 2019

It’s important to remember that the lists of most popular dating apps can vary from site to site, poll to poll. For instance, according to ebizmba.com, the Top 15 as of July 2019 includes these apps listed in order of popularity:

  • Match
  • Plenty of Fish
  • Zoosk
  • OkCupid
  • eharmony
  • Badoo
  • Christian Mingle
  • Our Time
  • Date Hookup
  • Black People Meet
  • How About We
  • Senior People Meet
  • Speed Date
  • Chemistry
  • Date

Over half of these we’ve already covered, but speaking of Chemistry.com, the site apparently had 2.546 female users for every male using the service a few years ago, providing the largest female-to-male ratio of any app or site in operation. Knowing things like this and the rules that apply to many of the hookup applications can help you dial in the services that might work best for you.

dating apps with good results

Online Dating Stats

There are some interesting statistics in connection to online dating. Much of it has to do with the stigma once attached to the concept and the reality of these meetings turning into committed unions. For instance:

  • Pew Research Group did some digging and found that 59% of adult Americans viewed online dating as “a good way to meet people”. Furthermore, only 21 percent of them still looked upon e-daters as being “desperate” sorts.
  • According to StatisticBrain, couples that found each other online got married after only 18.5 months (on average) of dating as compared to those who met offline. Marriages based on old-fashioned methods tied the knot after an average of 42 months — over double the amount of time for the app daters.

This may have a lot to do with the vetting processes dating sites use, where matches are based on quizzes and compatibility.

  • Approximately 17 percent of U.S. couples who wed in 2015 claim to have met online. It’s also been estimated that at least 1 out of every 5 relationships termed as “committed” got its start online. As with most technology-related trends, those numbers continuing to grow daily.
  • Research showed that the average Tinder user spent over 1 hour each day back in 2015 surfing the hookup site as compared to the average Instagram user, who only spent 21 minutes per day on the photo-sharing app. 

Finding Love Online

With the lack of stigma and the increase in results, online romances could one day surpass traditional methods for success stories of the heart. It’s probably worth mentioning, online efforts are usually used to supplement the process of finding a mate. So really the sites and apps are used in conjunction as a tool, to meet “the one”.

Hookup apps raise the odds of success even higher, as people used to have to count on bars for providing spur-of-the-moment connections. Now, all you have to do is scroll an app to get lucky. Regardless, it seems to be working.

As to relationship seekers, another reason it seems to work so well for so many is, perhaps, the elimination of a lot of stress that blind dates bring.

Let’s face it.

You’ve already discovered a fair bit about one another through your online chats before ever having to meet. Unless, of course, your match is using a service that provides automated responses, of which there are plenty.

It takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of you both. You already know what to expect, if they’ve been honest, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Online Dating Food for Thought

If you’re looking for love in earnest, be aware that a number of people who use these sites and apps aren’t in it to win it, but merely to date. For them, the more dates the service supplies, the more satisfied they are with the service. It’s not about finding lasting love. These daters are usually men, and men also happen to be the largest segment of users for online ghostwriting services.

At this time, it isn’t technically illegal, but it is frowned upon by many of the top dating sites and explicitly banned under terms of service with others. Even if you’re not just looking to date, if you don’t invest in the relationship from the start, you can’t have very high hopes for a future. Why waste time on false pretenses? Instead, put in the work and reap the benefits the most popular dating apps have to offer.

You never know when you’re going to get lucky.