Over the last few months SH:24 and our buds have been on a mission to try as many dating apps as we could get our grabby hands on. Between us we’ve covered 6 apps with varying degrees of success and hilarity, so read on and save yourself some time finding the app for you (no guarantees on the romance side, sorry)
So we don’t have to repeat ourselves a billion times, most of these apps are - boringly - very cisnormative and don’t take into account different sexualities or gender identities and expressions. If we don’t mention it, it’s not because we haven’t noticed, it’s because *snore*
The original gamified dating app, Tinder made the left/right swipe iconic and super-sped up the online dating process.
User experience: Tinder scores big wins because it’s so easy to use.
Who uses it?: literally everyone. You're likely to see people you know.
Cost: free but paid features can be added.
Success rate: pretty high.
Good for: mostly good for hook ups, although there are people who met on Tinder and are going steady
Her is a dating and lifestyle app for lesbian and queer women combining the standard swipe with a feed of local lesbian events.
User experience: The app is nearly as attractive as its user base. It also lets you choose your sexuality from a host of options. Unfortunately it has no gender options though… zzz...
Who uses it: hundreds of the coolest looking laydeez we’ve ever seen.
Success rate: a healthy number of matches.
Good for: dating. The events section is great for bringing together the lez community. If you want to get to know people who are going to an event, it’s easy to get in touch in advance. The team hold their own events that look bangin’.
Scruff's founder believes Scruff is a place where men can fall in love with other men. Some users have said it's home to more 'masculine' types.
User experience: select up to 5 self-description labels as well as 5 ‘what you’re looking for' labels. Has safe sex advice too - yaaas.
Who uses it: our tester noted a lot of partnered guys are on there, although not much racial diversity.
Success rate: Phone buzzin’ off the hook.
Cost: free, paid features available.
Good for: a slightly more classy hook-up than Grindr (only marginally though!)
This had so much initial promise. Like Tinder, it gamifies dating. You pick matches for your friends based on who you think they’d like. The catch is, if none of your friends use the app, you can’t either.
User experience: it looks pretty but in terms of actually navigating the app I wouldn’t know because I have no friends (on the app, I do have friends, honest!).
Who uses it: clearly not my friends
Success rate: low. Very very low.
Good for: people who have more friends than I do.
Once is a dating app promoting ‘slow dating’, showing you only one person a day so you really consider the profile you have in front of you.
User experience: it took me over a week to work out I could look back at people I’d matched with after their day was up - doesn’t say much for the usability. I set mine to match with men and women but their algorithm meant it was 4 weeks before I matched with a woman.
Who uses it: people with restrictive data contracts or swipe fatigue.
Success rate: No promising matches - don’t hold your breath.
Good for: people with no spare time and in no rush to find their lobster
Hinge only shows you people you have mutual friends with. I was expecting it to be supremely awkward - I thought I’d be presented with friends-of-friends that I’d met but didn’t know well enough to add on Facebook. I was pleasantly surprised, to find it’s actually a pretty good filtering system. It’s more likely to be people you’ve never met before, especially if like me, you have a bunch of friends on Facebook you added in 2008 and haven’t spoken to since.
User experience: pretty unremarkable.
Who uses it: your buds’ buds! The best thing about this app is the choice is dictated by your choice of friends so more often than not, you’re probably going to think someone looks cool.
Success rate: pretty good
Good for: dating.
Grindr is a free dating app for men looking to meet other men. It’s notoriously easy to find someone with people receiving up to 100 messages a day.
User experience: You pick a 'tribe', but to pick more than one you have to pay for Grindr extra. Some people get abusive on Grindr. Which isn’t great.
Who uses it: MSM, and some women (we’re not sure how welcoming it is for them).
Cost: free but premium features can be added
Success rate: prepare to be inundated with messages
Good for: hook ups. Some find something more..
Happn should be the most happn-ing app on the market. It’s designed to bring people together who share each other's favourite haunts in the big city - supposedly the perfect app except…
User experience: for me, it was completely unusable. The profile pics are so small that you end up squinting at your phone.
Who uses it: From the endless scrolling experience, seemingly everyone I pass in the street.
Success rate: nil for me, personally, because UX is so terrible.
Good for people: who have time for it.
So there you have it. Remember, if you're going to be hitting the dating circuit hard you might want to get an STI test first, check out our website for STI tests, sexual health and contraception advice and information or have a webchat with our nurse.