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Are Free Dating Apps Worth Your Time?

A girl relaxing with coffee in her living room at home and smiling while video calling her partner with her smartphone.
Girl sitting indoors and smiling at her phone with coffee in hand.

Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images

Are you new to dating apps? If you’re considering signing up for the first time, you may be wondering if free dating apps are worth it. Most Dating Apps You Can Download your phone offer free versions and paid subscriptions, leaving users like you to decide whether it’s worth paying for enhanced features.

Below we explore how worth the free dating app experience. We also look at the perks and technical benefits typically associated with premium subscriptions for popular dating apps like OKCupid, which offers basic, premium, and incognito plans starting at $20 per month.

Are Free Dating Apps Worth It?

Free dating apps may offer a limited experience for anyone interested in online dating, but in almost all cases, the gist is there. The free version of apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and Her allows users of all ages do things like create a personal profile, browse potential matches, send likes, and chat with matches right within the app itself.

This is already enough to help you meet matches and chat up to a first date. Many of these apps also offer inclusivity and diversity at the ground level, so to speak. Personal information like gender identity or dating preferences isn’t locked behind a premium membership.

What’s reserved for a paid subscription are additional features that could potentially improve your dating app experience. LGBTQ+ users may appreciate extensive search filters or secure in-app access to local or community events, for example.

Take our online dating survey to find out which free dating app is best for you.

Are your chances of getting a match different with a free dating app?

If you look at the numbers, paid users and free users seem to report similar results.

A 2023 Pew Research study found that of the 35% of users who paid to use a dating app, about 58% gave positive feedback. Around 50% of users who only used free dating apps spoke positively about their experience. Premium users gained in terms of positive results, but only marginally.

Does this mean you should never pay for dating apps? No. If you’re serious about online dating, there are plenty of premium dating apps that offer new and exciting features that are worth it. Premium Match users, for example, get access to local events in person (and at a discounted price) – and that can make a huge difference for users looking for safe and interesting spaces to meet people.

Match offers two paid subscriptions as well as a free tier: standard (starting at $22 per month) and premium (starting at $24 per month).

What are the best paid features on dating apps?

Screenshot showing the benefits of Hinge+ (send unlimited likes, set more dating preferences, sort all incoming likes, browse by who's new or nearby) and the features of HingeX (improved recommendations, skip the line 'waiting, priority likes).  A button at the bottom advertises 1 week of Hinge+ for $16.99
Hinge offers a number of exclusive features for its premium plans, Hinge+ and HingeX. Package prices may differ.

Hinge/CBS Essentials/Tom Horton

Hingeone of the best dating apps for a serious relationship in 2024, offers three tier options for subscribers: a free plan plus two premium tiers, Hinge+ and HingeX.

Hinge allows free users to browse and filter potential matches by gender identity, location, or race. Free users get a limited number of likes to use per day and can only see the most recent profile for incoming likes.

Users who sign up for either premium account can unlock a more robust Hinge experience. This includes unlimited likes and extensive options and filters. HingeX (the most expensive tier of the app) goes even further with exclusive features like enhanced recommendations.

Like most premium dating apps, Hinge’s prices vary depending on the length of your subscription: basically, you pay less the more months you pay in advance.

Premium Hinge subscriptions cost between $33 and $50 per month (with lower monthly prices for three- or six-month plans). For users who don’t want to commit to a long-term premium plan, Hinge now also offers weekly plans, starting at $17 per week.

Here’s a closer look at the features that are typically behind a paywall:

  • Unlimited Likes: If your goal is to get your profile in front of as many matches as possible every day, this is the feature for you.
  • Extensive search filters and preferences for personal and lifestyle details: If you have any problems, this can help you filter out unwanted matches.
  • Different “modes”: Travel Mode is a common feature that allows you to change your location and see people outside of your immediate area. Some apps may also offer an incognito mode that hides your profile from everyone except those you like or correspond with.
  • Complete view of everyone who loves you: When it comes to incoming likes, some apps only let you see one person at a time. Others restrict this completely, making you pay to see all the likes (cough, cough, Tinder).


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