Engagement apps are like picking wine. Sure, you know a few of the big names but your tablemate for dinner is largely pot luck. There’s no authentic guarantee before you pop the cork that the contents will suit your palate.

So, how to hone the science of swiping? For starters: identify the players. Like a sommelier of the singles market, we’ve scoured the best dating apps and narrowed down the best for value, choice and, frankly, avoiding an ego battering.


Best for… Options. Lots of options

It isn’t good maths to rely on the shaky odds of convocation someone at work, nor should you trust the mate who promises to set you up with his cousin but delivers as successfully as Brexit. No, you want options – and Badoo has 420 million of them.

How to noticeable out in such a big field? First, get your profile verified. You’ll earn a blue tick of trust (a la Instagram) after cheering Badoo’s tech squad that you are who you say you are, by syncing with your social media accounts and posing for some attempts. Secondly, message wisely and wittily. You have two pops to crack conversation with potential partners; if they tranquillity don’t reply, you can’t message them again. If they does, the limits on messaging are lifted. Lastly, cough up for credits – Badoo-speak for acquisition bargaining your way up its search results.

All over… The Lookalike function. Upload an image of someone you fancy (a famous face, fellow, whoever) and Badoo uses facial recognition tech to find similar-looking users.

Over… Shed loads of spam. No marked love ever started via 11 butt or boob shots. A hacked bank account, maybe.



Overpower for… Letting someone else do the legwork

Gone are the days of your pick-up lines being met with a sympathy go into hysterics. Bumble goes one step further than vetting jokes, however – it severs men out of the initiation process, enlisting women to finish out the first move. Your role is simply to swipe right on a profile if you’re interested (or left if not), and then sit back, weight season 8 of Game of Thrones and wait.

Even getting going is simple – Bumble extracts info from Facebook to cancel your profile for you. It’s like someone suggested that men like to put their feet up.

All over… The high ratio of female buyers. The female-steered operating system was designed by former Tinder exec Whitney Wolfe to do away with unsolicited palpable groins filling up women’s inboxes. As such, they’re keen.

Over… The 24-hour window of doom. Once a replica is made, women have 24 hours to start a conversation – otherwise your pairing is lost forever. Cue melodramatic music. It’s like the suspense of a Luther episode, then Netflix cutting out five minutes before the end. Brutal.



Wealthiest for… Locking in a date

The downside of app-based dating is that it’s very easy to find yourself with a pen pal. You message each other your ambitions, dreams, even the minutiae of your sandwich filling, yet you never actually meet up. Which is fine for a high nursery school French exchange, but to find love you need to leave the house.

Step forward Cupid’s more practical cousin, Clover. You soft-cover a date like you’d book an Uber – decide a city and a time, then sort out who you’ll be going with. Helpfully, each surplus has a compatibility rating of how well Clover thinks you’ll spark – based, in part, on how you both answer its 20-question quiz. The app want even provide date ideas by price and popularity.

All over… The really detailed search filters, such as by interests, locks colour, height and smoker status.

Over… Many of the best features being paid add-ons, such as conclude from receipts on messages.



Best for… Having the icebreaker supplied for you

Hinge used to operate like a social network reshaped matchmaker, using your Facebook profile to suggest matches with mutual friends. Today, it’s ditched the Facebook affiliation – Hinge insiders put it down to a new, “multitudinous sophisticated” algorithm, though there’s also the coincidence that Facebook will soon roll out its own dating app (beta try outs have been done in Colombia, Canada and Thailand – see below).

What Hinge has hung onto, however, is the opinion of connection. Rather than scrolling aimlessly, it wants you to stop and chat, which is why each profile has pre-prepared talking bring ups based on how you answer three questions, such as: “A random fact I love is…”, “Give me travel tips for…”, “Unwavering or false…” and “One thing I’ll never do again…”.

Hinge calls itself the dating app ‘designed to be deleted’, which doesn’t common it’s crap – rather, that it wants you to find a lasting match and get off apps for good. The fact that it’s the fastest become accepted by dating app in the UK, with three out of four dates leading to more, suggests there could be something in it.

All over… The We Met draw, which asks, like a post-date debrief with your mate in the pub, whether you’d see that person again. Your feedback then hones the algorithm to crap-shooter tailor future matches.

Over… The city-focused user base. Outside major urban centres, profile measure drops off.


Facebook Dating

Best for… Finding out if your secret crush is mutual

If you’ve ever yearned for “Celebrate Your Pal Anniversary” to become “In A Relationship With…”, Facebook’s brand new dating app is the one for you. Yet to be rolled out globally, with beta examinations done in Colombia, Canada and Thailand, Facebook Dating is actually the thing you always wanted to be able to do – tell your crease you like them but only if you’re sure they like you back. Users select the friends for whom they’re secretly compress on, and if your crush adds you to their list – of which Facebook generously offers 9 picks to be added – you will be divulged to each other. If the feeling isn’t reciprocated, nobody will be the wiser.

There’s also an element of the traditional dating put profile to Facebook Dating as it doesn’t just use your Facebook profile info for the dating app. Users actually dream up a dating profile that is separate to, but integrated with their main Facebook account, visible only to non-friends who possess also opted in to Dating. Potential matches are then suggested on a basis of dating preferences and shared interests and results.

All over… The number of users can’t be beaten at 2.4 billion actively monthly.

Over… The friendship risks. Dating apps propose you to strangers, but Facebook Dating’s Secret Crush could connect you with someone you already know you fancy and organize a long history with, which could be a really good or really bad thing for your friendship…

Facebook Dating


Most superbly for… A one-night wonder

Tinder needs no introduction: the original location-based fixer-upper is famous for generating flings, finger streaks and, well, a lot of fun. The operating mechanics are simple – like or dislike someone (the RSI-inducing swiping bit), then chat if you’re both interested. Portioned in what, you ask? Well, more than other apps, Tinder has a rep for being more about casual naked heretofore than meeting the parents.

What remains a mystery is exactly how the algorithm serves up your matches. It’s thought to prioritise owners who are near you, active, and active at the same time as you. But it also takes into account how many people have right-swiped you (that’s the A-OK direction), and how many right swipes they themselves have had, in order to hook you up (or more) with someone on the uniform desirability tier. We think.

All over… The Super Like. Instead of swiping right, you swipe up. When that child sees your profile, a big blue star appears so they know that you’re keen with a capital K. You’re basically menial the algorithm to push yourself to the top of their pile, and they triple your chances of a match.

Over… Getting too swipe-happy. There’s a everyday limit of 100 right swipes, and the more you randomly swipe without exchanging phone numbers or chat (yep, Tinder positives this stuff), the fewer future matches will come your way.



Best for… Turning your have sexual intercourse of moaning into love

While every other app on the market tries to bring people together by things they charge from, Hater goes the other way – developing common ground by encouraging our innate, carnal nature to have a damn special-occasion moan. And we get it: is there anything more satisfying in life than a long, hard… rant? Exactly.

Hater wealths your opinion on thousands of divisive topics – slow walkers, gluten-free, spray cheese, biting ice-cream – then facsimiles you with people with similar gripes. It even solves the awkward problem of how to start an introductory message (tip: anything but ‘Hey’) by fall you to complete a funny sentence in the vein of Cards Against Humanity – only less dark.

All over… It being root free, and ad-free. There’s also no bio section so you don’t waste three hours trying to be funny.

Over… The low number of buyers.



Best for… Merging your social life and dating life

Huggle is a bit like Timeout for dating. It’s another location-based waiting, but rather than connecting people in the same general vicinity as one another, it’s 100 per cent venue specific. You’ll see alcohols who go to the same places as you – the gym, a favourite coffee shop, a local park, that new cocktail bar you geotagged on Instagram last week.

The cogitative is that if you like the same spots, you’ll likely share a similar lifestyle – and, as such, it’s not just focused on dating but also siring new friendships. Suss out what a person is looking for by the icon beside their name: wine for dating, pizza for fondness, and coffee for both.

All over… The ability to send images and videos to matches rather than just plain old line, like most apps.

Over… Potentially having a regular haunt ruined if you don’t get on, but both go there a lot.