6 Apps That Are Better Than Tinder (And Still Free)

A guy looking for apps better than Tinder, smiling as he chats with a girl on a new app.

Tinder gets a bad rep. And you know what? Sometimes, it deserves it. Tinder has become the hook-up app. It’s where you go when you want a one-night stand, not where you go when you want to walk down the aisle. And thanks to Tinder, free dating apps have become pretty synonymous with casual sex. But that’s not entirely fair.

While Tinder might be the hook-up hot spot, not all dating apps are created equal. Let’s take a look at a few that do a better job of helping you find a better match.

1. OkCupid
If you asked anyone maybe seven years ago if OkCupid was the place to go to meet people potential paramours, there’s a good chance that they might have laughed. In a lot of ways it was a buggy website where you get spammed with a bunch of messages from people you don’t want to talk to. But today, OkCupid works quite a bit differently.

Now a website and an app, there’s still matching and swiping like Tinder, but OkCupid redesigned so that there would be less of a focus on physical appearance and more of a focus on hobbies and interests. You’re shown more photos at first glance, plus descriptions pulled from someone’s profile and a list of some of their traits. You can click into their profile to learn a lot more and you can see questions that they’ve answered. You can dig into deeper questions to see if you’re compatible or have similar values, like if you both want kids. Or you can read to see what likes you have in common. All of this information at your disposal helps you get a better picture of who the person is beyond a profile photo. 

2. Bumble
Most women have their fair share of Tinder horror stories or Tinder harassment stories or at the very least Tinder annoyance stories. Who among us hasn’t matched with a handsome gentleman whose opening line is, “Sit on my face.” Bumble was designed to get rid of situations like this by allowing women to make the first move.

While Tinder allows women to speak first, it’s widely expected that men will make the first move. With Bumble, after you match, the woman has 24 hours to start a conversation before the match disappears, lighting a fire to start talking and not let someone sit in your matches forever.

One issue with Bumble, though, is the heteronormative design. It was originally designed for women to message men, but what if it’s two men or two women? Bumble recognized the flaw and now if two people of the same sex match, either one can message first, making the app a safer and friendlier place for both homosexual and heterosexual daters.

3. Hinge
Hinge’s tagline is, “designed to be deleted.” A weird slogan for a dating app in today’s day and age, which is why it’s pretty awesome. The goal isn’t hook ups. The goal is a relationship.

The app  does a good job of making connections about personality instead of appearance. While it doesn’t have nearly as many questions as OkCupid, profiles are pretty in depth, from whether or not they have or would ever smoke or do drugs to what they would consider the perfect date.

4. Now
Now is perhaps one of the greatest dating apps invented for anyone who is bad at making decisions or just doesn’t have a ton of time to date or to beat around the bush. How many times have you been on Tinder, matched with someone, talked for days, and then just never set up a time or place to meet?

Now is not for people who aren’t ready to date. It’s for people who know what they want and they want it now. The user matches with someone, they can chat for up to 2 hours, and then they can send an invite to go out. You set the activity, the place, and the time and they can accept or deny it. Users set their schedule so you’re able to set up a date when you know that they said they were free. It’s a great way to remove some of the friction getting to a first date.

5. Happn
Believe it or not, once upon a time, people met other people through Craigslist. Its Missed Connections feature let people post messages for a person that they wish they’d worked up the nerve to talk to in real life. And that’s what Happn is based off of. We pass hundreds of people every day. If those people have a Happn account too, they’ll show up on your account, and it will even show the number of times you’ve passed them. You can like them and, if they like you back, you can start chatting. You never know if your soulmate has literally been getting coffee at your favorite coffee shop every day, the same time as you!

6. Twindog
Just to add this in there because there are hundreds of dating apps, a lot of them end up being pretty niche. There’s one to find a travel companion, several to find a match that’s the same religion as you, and there’s this one which is basically the premise of “Must Love Dogs.” With this app, you can post a picture of your pup and match with other dog owners. You might find love, you might find friends, or you might just find a friend for Fido!

Jacqueline Gualtieri

Freelance Writer

Jacqueline Gualtieri is a writer and blogger whose best friend once told her to quit her job and become a couples and sex therapist. Since she’d miss writing too much, she figured writing for The Date Mix would be the next best thing.

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