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Tried & Tested: The Three Best UK Dating Apps for Romance on the Go

November 16, 2022
Tried & Tested: The Three Best UK Dating Apps for Romance on the Go

Today we’re looking at dating apps – rather than dating sites! Nearly every great UK dating service offers a mobile app, but some provide basic functionality and don't live up to the customer experience you can expect from a desktop site.

What makes a fantastic dating app?

We’re talking about seamless account access from any device, mobile-optimised profiles, crystal clear imagery and the same features that land a dating site into our top ten ratings.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the three top-rated dating apps that bring everything you need to find a date or a relationship directly to your mobile screen.

1. Match: Best for Varied Mobile Dating comes out as a clear winner in terms of app performance, capacity, and functionality – and it has the highest ratings across both Android and iPhone users, with an impressive 41,900 reviews.

As one of the biggest and best-known UK dating sites, Match is a brand that most people have heard of, but the app itself stands apart from the competition, primarily because of the dating coach feature.

Memberships cost from £29.99 a month for a single 30-day subscription and drop down to around £9.99 a month if you sign up for six months – notwithstanding new member offers and discounts!

The site has roughly three million UK users at any one time, and 1.6 million have successfully met a partner, date, or spouse, so it doesn’t lag when it comes to achieving real results.

However, the contrast here is that most dating apps are overwhelmed with popups, ads, notifications, and messy layouts that make them a pain to use – and less than enjoyable.

The Match app is as well-designed as the desktop version, and you can review one profile at a time and decide whether you think you might have a 'match' or swipe past like Tinder, but more mindful and less materialistic.

Users get more detailed background info about each recommended match, so they get a good idea about whether their interests and personalities are compatible.

As a small caveat, the average age on Match is around late twenties to mid-thirties, so it might not be your go-to if you’re in your early twenties and looking for a date – although there is a brilliant mixture of casual, committed, and not-sure-let’s-see-how-it-goes profiles.

Match Google Play Store Stats:

  • over one million downloads
  • 19,500 reviews
  • 3.3 rating.

Match Apple Store Stats:

  • 22,400 reviews
  • 3.8 rating

2. eHarmony: Best for Serious Relationships

eHarmony is undoubtedly a dating powerhouse specifically designed for singles who want to meet a committed partner – in fact, a staggering 71% of female and 69% of male members meet a spouse within one year!

While we can't argue with the metrics, eHarmony is rated slightly lower than Match on the app stores, dropping into second place. Still, it's very easy to create a profile, and you get the same access to filtered matches selected by the algorithm and relying on your personality quiz.

There is a free account version (although it’s pretty limited), but the costs are also competitive with premium accounts starting at £7.95 per month if you sign up for two years.

The dating brand says it has helped over two million daters find love and works by analysing your quiz to establish core priorities and parameters. The membership is vast, so the algorithm filters through and decides who to suggest.

Downloading the app is free, although you'll need an existing account to log in, or you can sign up through the app if you prefer.

One of the great aspects of eHarmony is that it is so well established you can be confident that 99% of user profiles are authentic, and there is very little chance of being targeted by a spammer or fake profile.

Google Play reviewers say that the primary issue with the app is that if you haven't paid your subscription or have a free account, you can only see blurred-out thumbnail images and will only be able to reply to messages once your account is paid up.

On the flip side, other customers say that eHarmony is 'the best app for finding compatible matches' and advocate for the matching process, which is more personal and involved than swipe dating based on appearance alone.

eHarmony Google Play Store Stats:

  • over five million downloads
  • 52,600 reviews
  • 2.8 rating

eHarmony Apple Store Stats:

  • 2,400 reviews
  • 3.7 rating.

3. EliteSingles: Best for Single Daters Who Know What They Want

EliteSingles is another well-known dating site. It sets itself a USP by prioritising career, qualifications, wealth, and aspiration – although that by no means says you can't find hard-working people on the site!

There isn't any specific threshold for entry, so it's more about giving members the freedom to choose potential dates based on compatibility. It is perfect for those with career-focused lives or who don't want to date anybody who isn't on a defined career path.

The app costs are the same as the desktop site, and although they are a little high in relation to some of the discount dating sites, the average price comes in at £29.95, so it won't break the bank.

EliteSingles says 82% of members are university graduates, primarily 30+, but it emphasises that the goal is to concentrate on genuine matches and relationship potential rather than hook-up dating cultures.

The downside is that EliteSingles is only available on Google, and there isn't yet an Apple version of the dating app.

Google reviewers say that the main issue with the app is slow loading speeds and problems with the connectivity – but if the dating provider can iron these out, the uptake should be far greater.

EliteSingles Google Play Store Stats:

  • over one million downloads
  • 12,900 reviews
  • 1.9 rating.

EliteSingles Apple Store Stats:

  • Not available – Android only.

See also: Online Dating Subscription Costs Compared: Match, eHarmony and EliteSingles

What to Look for in a Great Dating App

Like all things digital dating, it pays to know what to look out for before investing hours of your time, not to mention subscription costs.

The thing is that the secret sauce of one dating app might be entirely irrelevant to your relationship goals, so it's never a case of recommending one fantastic app that will be the answer to every single's partnership quest!

For example, Tinder is popular in more remote areas and smaller towns because it has a colossal membership of millions of people – but that won’t be any good if you live in central London or want to meet people of a specific sexuality.

Likewise, Match or eHarmony rate among our top three dating apps, but you’ll need a paid subscription to get the most out of either service – not ideal if you need a free dating app to squeeze in a little romance on a budget.

Our advice is to do your research before you download an app, have a scroll through the reviews – both independent consumer reviews and those on the app store – and make sure you know whether a dating app is right for you.

See also: The Best Dating Sites In The UK

How to Steer Clear of App-Based Dating Scams

A highly-rated dating app from a respected brand is just as secure as a desktop dating site, but it's always a good idea to refresh your strategy for keeping yourself safe when you're dating online.

It's also true that we tend to be more relaxed and casual, flicking through messages on our mobiles, so some of those self-awareness skills might slide to one side!

Here are our golden rules:

1. Report and block any dating profile that acts strangely – that allows the app moderator to investigate and remove the user if necessary.

2. Don’t be afraid of snooping! Researching back 20 years is a little odd, but if you’re worried that a person in your dating app isn’t real, there is little harm in making sure they exist on social media.

3. Be wary of profile pictures that are of anything but a face. Fake profiles commonly use celebrity images, pets, or stock photos instead of actual photos (normally because they're pretending to be an entirely different age or gender!).

4. Only use communication methods provided by the dating app, such as an in-app message box. Don’t give out your email address, phone number or home address under any circumstances.

Provided you apply the same caution to your online dating app interactions, you'll be perfectly safe and secure – don't forget you're talking to someone you don't yet know rather than a trusted friend!

See also: Top USA Swinger Dating Sites Reviewed

Benefits of App-Based Dating

The obvious plus point is that a dating app helps you connect with single people, find dates and chat online through your mobile – you don't need to set aside time in the evening to log in through a desktop.

Millions of people don't use a PC or laptop at home, so app-based dating is accessible and easy.

The addition of biometric security and login details on your mobile make it extra-safe, so you can ensure your password can’t be hacked or copied by any malware or spyware software.

Lauren Edwards-Fowle
Lauren Edwards-Fowle
Lauren is a freelance writer passionate about how we develop rewarding experiences, and overcoming the barriers we face to living our best lives. Lauren writes regularly about the modern world of dating, relationships, parenthood, and social dynamics.