The Tidy Kitten Guide to Dating Apps

Updated November 2019
The Tidy Kitten Guide to Dating Apps

By Charlotte Grainger

The modern app-centric dating world is something of a minefield. Aside from the usual horror stories (weirdly specific messages, creepy nude pics, and, frankly, odd encounters), there are just so many apps to choose from now. Remember the halcyon days of 2012 when Tinder was the only game in town? Not so, five years on. In our experience, dating app success depends on being a little selective — not only about the various men you swipe right on within any given app, but also about the app you devote your precious swiping-time to in the first place. Since every dating app has unique features (and reputations), what works for your best friend might not work for you. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a definitive guide to some of the most popular dating apps out there, so you can figure out which one is right for you.

1. Hinge

For recent college grads

Forget stereotypical hook-up apps, Hinge is the place to go if you’re looking for “meaningful connections.” Or so they say. It works similarly to old school dating apps (a la Tinder and Match) in that you can create an account using Facebook. You get 20 profiles to check out each day, but instead of swiping, the app asks you to “like” or comment on the part of a match’s profile that most appeals to you — providing a jumping off point for conversation. If you’re really serious, you can pay for a premium membership, which unlocks unlimited “likes” each day, plus access to insights and tips to make the most out of your profile. (And, full disclosure, two of the Tidy Kitten founders met through Hinge.)

2. Tastebuds

For music-lovers (or music snobs!)

“Meet people through music.” If you’re a woman who is rarely seen without headphones adorning your person, this could well be the dating app for you. Tastebuds matches you with other singles based on your music interests. So, the theory goes, if you’re both Jay-Z fans, you may share a connection. Or, if you’d rather cut off your own ears than listen to country, you’ll be spared the realization halfway through a first cocktail that your date loves the Zac Brown Band. It’s an interesting way to whittle down the competition and find someone with whom you already have things in common. What’s more, it means that the two of you won’t fight when it comes to whose Spotify playlist you have on.  

3. Tinder

For the casual dater

It simply wouldn’t be a list about dating apps without mentioning this one, right? Tinder is now the senior citizen of finding true love; it’s been around for so long that few of us remember how things were before it existed. You likely know the deal with this one. You sign up using your Facebook profile and start swiping. Once you get your first match, you can start chatting with the other person in an instant and maybe even arrange a date. It’s 2017 which means that a whole load of love stories have already started out this way. It’s so simple, and yet it just works. Want a date every night of the week (or to supposedly increase your chances of meeting prince charming)? The new Tinder Gold membership charges a small monthly fee for a host of premium features.

4. Sweatt

For total gym bunnies

If trying to hit on that regulation hottie in the gym isn’t quite working for you IRL, you may want to try Sweatt. As the name suggests, this is an app that helps you meet people who like to break a sweat now and then. It’s logical — if you happen to be a fitness lover, you’re likely to look for those traits in your partner, too. You simply have to tell the app what your particular fitness style is, e.g. whether you prefer yoga or lifting, and it will match you with potential partners. It’s a relatively new addition to the dating app scene, but, you have to admit, it’s pretty darn neat.  

5. Bumble

For the progressive woman

Should the idea of being sent unexpected (and unwanted) pictures send shivers down your spine, Bumble is the app for you. Basically, this one works like any other dating app on the market. Swipe right, swipe left. Simple. But the pull here is that, once you’ve matched with someone, you have to make the first move. Yes, it’s literally the “ladies first” of dating apps. That means that you won’t get some creep sending you message after message whether you like it or not. It’s essentially the app that’s ideal for the progressive women out there: You have to make the first move, you have no choice. Sure, the “ladies first” conceit might make the more shy among us — or those really committed to the “playing hard to get” theory of dating — a bit anxious, but that hasn’t stopped Bumble from becoming one of the buzziest (ha!) apps around.

6. Match

For those who hear wedding bells

And now, for another old-timer. Match is one of the original online dating sites, which later became an app, too. If you’re serious about wanting to find the all-elusive “one,” this could well be the app for you. Aside from the tried-and-tested typical dating app features, the company also hosts events for singles. That means that you can casually attend a bowling night or a foodie feast and potentially run into your future significant other. If you like to keep one foot firmly in IRL, then, or are looking for commitment in particular, Match is definitely worth checking out.

7. Parship

For the psychology nerds

Tired of the inane chatting endemic to most dating apps? It could be worth creating a Parship account. This app has a little twist: you have to do a personality quiz before you start using it. So, psychology and even self-help fans will adore this one. The app’s psychometric test will help you figure out your personality traits, then match you with psychologically-compatible partners. After all, finding out whether you’ll “click” with someone or not is one of the most crucial parts of building a relationship, right? And Parship thinks they have it down to a science. No more chit-chat with someone who just doesn’t suit you at all.  

8. happn

For the ultra romantics

Think about it — every single day, you walk past a whole bunch of people who could be perfect for you. You may have brushed shoulders with your soulmate ten times already. Well, that’s what happn is all about: facilitating rom-com-esque meet-cutes, but online. When you cross paths with another happn user, their profile will pop up on your timeline. Whether they shop at the same supermarket or frequent your favorite bar, you may just have enough in common with them to settle down, marry, and have kids. Or, at the very least, you could have an awesome date or get a good story out of it!

9. Coffee Meets Bagel

For dating app newbies

Let’s face it. Dating apps can be a little overwhelming, especially when you’re completely new to them. If you’re looking for an app that will ease you into this subculture, say hello to Coffee Meets Bagel. Each day, at precisely midday, you get a figurative “bagel,” or a sexy new profile to check out. You will always have mutual Facebook friends with this person which means that they are only one degree of separation away from you and promising at least some accountability. With only one potential match per day, you can be thoughtful rather than gluttonous a la Tinder. Should you and your daily bagel match, you get a chance to chat and set up a date. But, as with all good things in life, there’s one little catch here. You can only talk to them within eight days of connecting. If you fail to muster up the courage to say hey in that time, the chat will close… forever.

Kat Crookshanks