Best dating sites 2019: Free apps and website memberships to help you find love this summer

Amelia Heathman, Georgia Chambers
1 / 13
Best dating sites 2019: Free apps and website memberships to help you find love this summer

It’s true what they say – there is someone out there for everyone.

With over eight million people in London alone, trying to find a prospective partner online can help to minimise the dating noise.

Nowadays, dating apps cater to pretty much every niche under the sun, so there’s no reason why you can’t find “the one” all from the comfort of your mobile phone. But for those just getting into the game of swiping left and right, how do you know where to start?

Here’s how the confusing virtual landscape of modern love looks today:

Badoo: to meet anyone

Launched by Russian tech entrepreneur Andrey Andreev, Badoo is the biggest dating app in the world. The app launched in 2009, three years before Tinder, and it now has 380 million+ customers, operates in 190 countries and is available in 47 different languages.

In 2017, Badoo launched a facial recognition feature which allows users to upload an image of a person they like, whether that’s a celebrity or someone they know, and find other Badoo users who look similar.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Bumble: to meet the nice guy

Bumble’s USP is that it challenges female users to make the first move, basically eliminating the bro-culture of other dating platforms. In traditional apps, when women match with guys, the unspoken rule is that they hesitate to initiate a conversation for fear of seeming weird or desperate. On Bumble, women have no choice in the matter.

Bumble's founder Whitney Wolfe told us that her feminist matchmaking tool is designed to reset the “heteronormative rules in our current landscape”, giving women the power to message their matches without stigma.

The bloke you’re likely to meet on here? Someone who’s on board with the idea of evening out the romantic playing field. Typically, those guys are keepers.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Bristlr: if you like your men hairy (or you are a hairy man)

Do you like beards? Do you sport a beard? Do you exclusively date men with beards? Then listen up, because this is the app for you. Bristlr is basically a niche dating pool of exclusively bearded men, and people who want to date them.

People of all genders and sexual orientations are welcome. It’s even open to those who are simply beard-curious.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Chappy: for Mr Right

Chappy made headlines last year as the new gating app for gay men. Made in Chelsea’s Ollie Locke co-founded the app, alongside Jack Rogers and Max Cheremkhin. Chappy is also backed by Whitney Wolfe, the CEO of Bumble.

The app has a ‘Chappy Scale’, offering Mr. Right as well as Mr.Right now. As well, it wants to make gay dating a safe space, by verifying users through Facebook and only featuring images of a Chappy user’s face.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Coffee Meets Bagel: to meet 'The One'

It’s been described as “the anti-Tinder” - and with good reason too. Coffee Meets Bagel’s radical focus is on the quality of matches it offers, rather than an endless sea of faces you find yourself vacantly swiping through elsewhere. Every day, you’ll be offered just one single ‘holy grail’ match based on information you’ve already inputted on your tastes, preferences and hobbies.

Don’t like what you see? Hold your horses, wait until tomorrow. No one said true love was easy to find.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Dating Direct: to meet someone who ticks all your boxes

With three million members across the UK, Dating Direct is one of the most popular dating websites in the country and for good reason – there’s lots of add-ons giving you permission to be as picky as you want when choosing a potential partner.

The compatibility questionnaire, for example, saves the need for aimless searching around and matches you with well-suited individuals based on your responses. You can also search based on location, age and height.

From sign up, you can also specify exactly what you’re looking for, be it dating, friendship, a long-term relationship or marriage, so you can find someone who is on the same wavelength as you.

Membership starts from £29.99 a month.

datingdirect.com

Do I Date: for rating dates

Do I Date is one of the newest dating apps on the scene, which sees users leaving reviews for the people they’ve dated, including a star rating. The app’s founders Terry Amsbury and Jamie Forsyth say it’s about adding transparency to online dating.

Received a dick pic or found out the guy has two girlfriends? Leave a review. Had a great time with a lovely girl and want to date them again? Let them know.

Download on iOS

eHarmony: if you want to get hitched

Hearing wedding bells in your sleep? eHarmony may be just what you’ve been looking for. In 2013, eHarmony ranked first in creating marriages compared to other dating sites, so you can feel confident in finding someone as committed as you.

There are lots of features that go towards making this matchmaking service happen. Users can create an in-depth profile, with the option to put in your favourite TV shows, music, sports and more on your profile.

When you sign up, you’ll have to complete a compatibility questionnaire. It takes around half an hour in total, with 149 questions in total – but hey, no one said finding the one was easy.

Membership prices start from £12.95 a month.

eharmony.co.uk

Whether you want a casual hookup or a life-long partner, there's a dating website for you. (Sweet Ice Cream Photography/Unsplash)

Elitesingles: for logical love

Elitesingles claims to have the magic formula for love, basing their algorithm on the Five Factor Model Theory. Using this, it sets users up with three to seven potential matches a day based on age, occupation and location.

Once you’ve received your matches, you can narrow your search based on height, distance, common interests and more. As an added extra, there’s also the ‘Have you Met…’ feature, which selects people who don’t necessarily meet your requirements, but elitseingles thinks could still be your cup of tea.

Keep in mind that most of its members are aged 33-50, so tends to attract a more mature crowd.

Membership is £89.95 a month or £29.95 a month when you subscribe for 12 months.

elitesingles.co.uk

Grindr: if you’re a man looking to meet a man

Before there was Tinder, there was Grindr. Having first launched in 2009, the app is credited with being the precursor to the current swathe of digital dating apps.

Things to note: it’s an all-male dating app for both gay and bisexual men, it uses your mobile device’s location-based services to show you the guys closest to you who are also on surfing the app and it’s most popular in London, meaning your living in the best city to try it out.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Happn: to meet someone at your local coffee shop

Got your eye on your local barista? Get on Happn. The French app plays on natural serendipity by flagging mutual interests in real time.

It works as simply as this: every time you cross paths with someone in real life, their profile shows up on your timeline. It captures other users within a 250m radius of your own smartphone, giving you a cross-section of Londoners around you - and potentially your coffee house crush.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Hater: for hating

Dream of finding the person who hates the same things as you? Then Hater is the dating app for you. Instead of faces, you match with people depending on topical talking points, whether that’s your feelings on Trump or Putin, or rage-inducing topics like slow walkers.

Intrigued? Sign up.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Her: if you’re a woman looking to meet a woman

Originally launched as ‘Grindr for girls’, Robyn Exton’s LGBTQ dating app has grown to be the biggest community for lesbian, bisexual and queer women worldwide. The app mixes dating and social networking, with a timeline to read the news, find out what’s happening in your city and make connections.

Meet your soulmate or just meet a new group of friends. The choice is yours.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Hinge: to meet someone sort-of-‘IRL’

Don’t want to tell your friends or future children that you met on Tinder? Hinge wants to help people find real relationships - not just sex. Instead of being matched with strangers in a nearby area, Hinge matches its users with friends of friends.

So you can basically lie and pretend you met at their last birthday party. Simple.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Lovestruck: for busy people

So many singles, so little time. Lovestruck's goal is to match busy, well-to-do professionals who are serious about finding love.

Keeping things simple is a key characteristic of this dating site, with sign-up taking no longer than five minutes to complete. Once you’ve created your profile, you can narrow down your search based on appearance, industry, income, lifestyle and more.

If you’re willing to fork out a little extra, users are also granted access to ‘Laissez-Faires parties,’ where fellow singles can meet to drink, chat and flirt. You’ll also get to use Lovestruck’s premium matchmaking service, which offers one-to-one dating advice.

Membership starts at £39 a month or £11.98 a month when you subscribe for 12 months.

dating.lovestruck.com/uk

Lumen: for over-50s

The next dating space to bet on? Dating for over-50s. There are around 80 million single men and women over 50 around the world and they now have their own dating app in the form of Lumen.

Lumen has been designed to provide a safe and age-appropriate dating community. Images go through a verification process to prevent fake profiles and cat-fishing. Badoo's Andrey Andreev has even invested in the platform.

(Lumen)

Download on iOS and Android

Match.com: for those getting back on the horse

Recently had a messy breakup? Sick of F-boys who don’t text back? Match.com could be the place to find your next serious, long-term relationship.

Whilst Match.com is all about setting you up with someone who you have a connection with, unlike other compatibility-based dating sites, you won’t spend forever completing a lengthy questionnaire. Sign up is simple and you can still specify your preferences and rate each one depending on how important they are to you.

You’ll receive one potential match at a time and get an in-depth outlook of their interests and characteristics. When you’ve made a decision, you can choose to skip, message directly or ‘fave’ to let them know you’re interested.

Membership starts at £29.99 a month.

match.com

Muzmatch: to meet Muslims

Muzmatch wins the award for the best dating ads on the tube, including 'Halal, is it meet you're looking for', and 'You had me at Halal'. Genius.

As you can probably guess, the basis for Muzmatch is to find fellow Muslims to date.

The user interface looks similar to Tinder and verifies you using your phone number and a selfie, not a Facebook account. There's also the option to choose to keep your photos blurred until you match with someone, though the app says profiles with visible photos recieve 300 per cent more matches.

Download on iOS and Android

Raya: to meet a celebrity

Ever wanted to date a celebrity? This ‘illuminati Tinder’ app is the place to go if you’re after a bedfellow with money and fame. Cara Delevingne, Ruby Rose and Elijah Wood are all reported to be members of Raya, the world’s most exclusive dating app.

Getting on there, however, is harder than finding a great date. You’ll have to be very beautiful, very successful and have 5,000-plus Instagram followers to get in. It’s basically the Soho House of dating. Good luck.

Download on iOS

Salt: to meet Christians

Like Muzmatch, Salt's USP depends on religion: helping Christians to find and date one another online.

The app launched at the end of last year by an all-Christian team who were disillusioned about trying to meet other Christians in the wild. In particular, the team behind Salt hope to make Christian dating "a little less awkward and a lot more fun."

The design of the app is gorgeous, all muted greys and subtle pinks, so you can download and get swiping.

Download on iOS and Android

Tastebuds: to meet a fellow hipster

What if there was a dating app that provided potential matches based on musical listening preferences? Now there is: Tastebuds acts as a social music network that pairs you up with people who regularly listen to the same bands as you.

Using the same API as Last.fm (remember that?) Tastebuds scans your local music library, adding your ‘favourite’ artists to your account. You are then matched with others users based on the artists you both like.

It’s all perfectly simple – you like the Pixies and Suede? Well, here are a bunch of other people that do too. Take your pick.

Download on iOS

The Inner Circle: if you’re looking for a date with money

This controversial dating website and app, bills itself as a network for "like-minded" individuals; a "high-end", "exclusive community" with an "impressive following of successful and attractive people.” Basically city bankers who want to find good looking dates without having to scour Mayfair's Whisky Mist and Barts in Chelsea.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

The League: for the elites

If you can’t get on Raya, then you can also try The League, dubbed Tinder for elites. It’s a selective dating app for young, successful individuals, which first launched in San Francisco before making its way to London at the end of last year.

You have to be between 24 and 36 to be a member on the app and many of the members work in careers such as finance, technology, consulting and fashion.

Download on iOS

Tinder: for the casual hook up

Arguably the most well-known dating app, Tinder was once the place for social introverts to meet their significant other. Now it’s a tool for swiftly finding an insignificant one-night stand - whether you're straight, gay, bi, transgender or gender-fluid.

In 2015, Vanity Fair declared Tinder as the ultimate place that twentysomethings go to “hit it and quit it”, claiming that the app was solely responsible for a “dating apocalypse”. While die-hard romantics might agree, others say the app has revolutionised the process of hunting down no-strings fun at relatively little expense. The tool basically works by swiping yes or no based on each user’s picture.

Not sure where to start? These are the 30 most right-swiped Brits on Tinder right now.

Download on iOS and Google Play Store

Of course, the beauty of online dating is its versatility - you never know who you’re going to find on each app.

But if all else fails and you can’t find the perfect match, don’t worry: there’s a whole world of people offline too.

Follow us on Instagram: @eslifeandstyle