Diving headfirst into the digital love pool, I’ve swiped, typed, and giggled my way through the UK’s dating app scene to bring you the lowdown on what’s hot (and what’s not). From epic emoji exchanges to unexpected digital butterflies, I’ve got the scoop on five apps that have been through the wringer (a.k.a. my love life).

Dating app 1: Hinge

Hinge has ben my most successful dating app to date, and what’s better is that it’s free! 

It’s certainly a visual app with handsome men by the bucket load. The Dating profiles offer little written information about users, instead using 2-3 prompts to questions like ‘A shower thought I’ve had recently’ or ‘This year I want to’. 

What I like about Hinge:

  1. The use of video clips. With Tick Tock being so huge now, it’s no wonder that Hinge launched this feature, and I’m sure the other dating apps will follow. You can really see someone’s personality shine through. Also the environment they are recording from can tell us a lot. (Men, no messy bedrooms, LOL)
  2. The use of voice prompts. It’s amazing how we can instantly be attracted to users from a very short and sexy sound message.
  3. It’s free! Upgrade options are available for profile boosts and gifting roses (the equivalent of a super like)

It’s by far the dating app that I’ve used for the longest and one that I continue to use today. And don’t worry if you’re not feeling the video, you can just upload photos. In all honesty, I’ve not uploaded my voice or video yet either.

dating app; 5 tried at tested in the UK

Dating app 2: Tinder

There’s no doubt about it, Tinder is best known for hook ups, but with 5 million users it’s also the most popular dating app in the UK.

However big, I was skeptical about it until I attended my cousin’s wedding this year, where one swipe right resulted in her meeting the man of her dreams. So, the very next day, I downloaded it. Still in Cyprus, I was surprised to receive likes from what I can only explain as Greek Gods that were located within just a few miles. I had no idea the dating app took your current location, but I see the advantages.

I paid about £30 for 1 month’s subscription as unfortunately Tinder won’t show you your likes without a paid subscription. Back in the UK, within the first few hours I kid you not, I received 900 likes. The sheer size of this app is immense! That being said, likes were from all over the world, but don’t panic as there are easy to use filters to control age, location etc.

Can I use Tinder for free?

Yes, if you’re happy to do all the chasing, then it is possible to have a free Tinder account, but you will lose the ability to look at any likes, and some of the feel-good factor of using a dating app.

My overall experience

My initial perception of Tinder was to stay clear, but it isn’t all bad. It isn’t just full of users looking for a one-night stand. In fact, I’ve matched with several men looking for relationships. I even met someone I really connected with until he announced he was moving 300 miles away (doh!).

If you’re wanting to find love, I do believe it is possible with Tinder, but be ready for very raunchy messages, lots of men wanting sex, fake profiles (as with all dating apps) and let’s just say profile photos that might make you blush. It’s main purpose after all is for easy meet-ups.

Dating app 3: Facebook Dating

Sadly, with Facebook Dating I just found fake profile after fake profile.  If you’re going to use this platform, you’ll need to have your wits about you. I was so naive starting out that I managed to get scammed.

I wasn’t as attracted to the users and the only date I did get out of it stood me up.

One feature that does make it safer is that it recommends dating users who are friends with the same people you know, so background checks are easier.

Other than that, sadly my experience with the Facebook dating app was very poor. 

Dating app 4: Match

I subscribed to Match for 6 months and it wasn’t cheap. The app prides itself on attracting older users who are looking for romance/long term relationships. Setting up your profile takes longer, because you are required to add hobbies/ interests in order to help match you with people of similar taste.

All of my suggested match profiles I found were 8+ years older, unattractive and overweight. Their professions were generally very good though. So, successful businessmen who work so hard they don’t have time to exercise? Often the locations were miles away too, and I wasn’t about to re-locate that’s for sure.

In all, a disappointing experience for me.

Dating app 5: Playdate

Designed for single parents, the app was in its early days when I used it, and I experienced a few technical issues, but I think it has potential if they can get user numbers up and bugs fixed. 

It’s free, and a very simple app to navigate and match with users. I did meet with one dad who was on his first date post separation, and it was all a bit too raw for me. However, if you’re a single parent, and fearful of using a dating app, this would be a good one to ease you into dating slowly.

tinder, hinge, facebook - what dating apps have you tried?

Staying safe on dating apps

Whatever app you decide to go with, please be safe! Here’s my top 10 tips for staying safe whilst using dating apps:

  1. Having been catfished again and again, I now believe that all profiles are fake unless proven otherwise. Early in conversations I ask matches for a video call so that can prove they are the person in their pictures. If they’re not willing to do it, it’s usually because it’s not them!
  2. This sounds excessive, but if someone looks too good to be true, they probably are. Often scammers use stock photos so run their profile photos through Google image search to see what comes up.
  3. Don’t give too many personal details to matches. This starts from the moment you set up your profile…i.e. don’t use your surname in your username. Protect yourself from Fraud!
  4. Don’t go on a date until you’ve video called or at least spoke to someone on the phone.
  5. When going on a first date, meet somewhere very public.
  6. Don’t share a lift to collect your date.
  7. Tell a friend where and when your date is.
  8. If you don’t feel safe on your date, most restaurants and bars support the ‘Ask Angela’ campaign. By asking for Angela at the bar you’re alerting staff that you feel vulnerable, and they will ensure you get home safely.
  9. If you find yourself in a toxic conversation online, you don’t owe it to anyone to put up with that crap! All dating sites have the ability to block users and report their behavior. 
  10. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to ask more questions!

I hope this has been of some help! I wish you the very best of luck in your dating journey!

Check out my ‘First Step to Dating Online’ blog if you’re looking to set up your first dating profile.

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