Best Christian Dating Apps :: Surveying the Scene
The app stores have blown up with all kinds of dating apps. No, really, like exploded. So many that we need to state up front that we are doing our best to test as many of the dating apps as possible in an effort to find the best Christian dating app. It takes a while, you know? Especially because you can’t try out a dating app without setting up an account.
We survey apps based upon the criteria that we use to judge our best Christian dating sites. Whether or not they lead you to a good date or even marriage—well, we can’t predict that.
A lot of these apps can make dating fun, but we see 3 main problems with using them solely, meaning using a mobile-only dating app and not a traditional online dating website or its app.
Best Christian Dating Apps :: 3 Problems
Many of the mobile-only dating apps are location-based. This isn’t a problem because we’re scared of letting people know where we are. With check-ins and location-based services on our phones and computers, this is something most people are used to by now.
However, location-based apps can be a problem if you aren’t living in a metropolitan area. It stands to reason that the larger the population, the more matches you’re likely to find in your area. If you live in a small town or rural area, they probably won’t help you much.
Another problem is many committed Christians don’t want to date people who are not as serious about faith as they are. So while there may be novel apps that are connecting people in different ways and making the dating process more fun and even game-like, we’re trying to weed through them to find the ones most likely to pair us with other like-minded Christians.
And then there’s dating app fatigue. Because these apps are free and in such large supply, it’s not unusual for people to have several going at one time. It seems like those odds would be in a user’s favor, but in reality, it has a tendency to numb them to the actual process and makes them more likely to just keep swiping out of boredom and less likely to take action.
Best Christian Dating Apps :: Judge That Book by Its Cover
We prefer apps that link to your Facebook account. Mainly because if you have Facebook friends in common, you’re better able to judge a profile. Are we telling you to judge a book by its cover? Absolutely. When you’re dating online, it’s all you have. And the mutual friends you share with a match speaks volumes about that person. C’mon, you know it’s true. Women are 40% more likely to message someone when they see friends in common, according to Forbes.
But the glitch with using an app that connects you to people via Facebook is that you have to be comfortable admitting you are dating online. At times, you’ll be using your real first name and you will see people you know—especially if you live in a less populated area.
Of course, that could happen if you’re on eharmony or Christian Mingle or whatever service, but depending on how your Facebook profile settings are set or if you connect it to your other social media accounts like Instagram—which several apps offer you the option to do—you could be allowing matches to see much more information about your life than they could by looking at your traditional online dating profile.
Best Christian Dating Apps :: Reviews by Christian Singles
If you’re searching for the Best Christian Dating app out there, well, there isn’t one. At least not at the moment as far as we’re concerned. They all have pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which one is the best fit for you. But don’t worry, we did the hard work and took a look at 12 of the most popular dating apps—both mobile-only and traditional dating sites with apps—and made a list of the pros and cons for you. Here’s what we found:
Tinder :: Mobile-Only Dating App
First on the scene, Tinder used to be (and pretty much still is) the biggest deal in dating apps right now. It has made more than 15 million matches and more than 60% of their users log in daily, according to ABC News. Basically, it uses an algorithm of your Facebook friends, your interests, and your location and matches you with people nearby it thinks you might be interested in. It gives you the choice to anonymously “like” or “pass” on that match. If they “like” you too, then you can learn more about each other and strike up a conversation within the app. There’s also a premium version that allows you to rewind your last swipes, turn off ads, send Super Likes, and match around the world. Tinder Plus runs from $8-20/month depending on how many months you purchase. (For more discussion on Tinder, check out our Tinder Dating App Review.)
Pros: It’s a free app. If they don’t “like” you back, they’ll never know you liked them. You can block users.
Cons: It’s a numbers game, and it all depends on where you are at the moment. It can feel like a game of “Hot or Not,” and a lot of people view it as a hook-up app primarily. But, we do know Christians who have used the app and went on decent dates.
Hinge :: Mobile-Only Dating App
Hinge might be a better alternative to the other apps out there like Tinder, and the basic version is free. If you want the premium service, which gives you more than 10 matches a day, it’s $7/month. Basically, Hinge uses your Facebook friends of friends to connect you with one new match each day. They focus on transparency; you see the person’s first name and other details like pictures and answers to icebreaker-like questions. Plus, you get to vet matches based on the people you have in common instead of geography, like Tinder. Hinge allows you to put religious preferences in your profile, and they send you an allotment of matches per day. Those matches are friends of friends or at least third generation friends. However, if they run out of matches for you, they might toss you anyone–meaning matches that you’re not 2-3 degrees separated from. (For more discussion on Tinder, check out our Hinge Dating App Review.)
Pros: It feels more like a dating app than a hook-up app (like some other free ones).
Cons: If you want to really use all of its features, it’s not free.
Coffee Meets Bagel :: Mobile-Only Dating App
Coffee Meets Bagel is like the eharmony of the mobile-only dating apps. You are given one “bagel” (match) a day. You have 24 hours to like/pass that “bagel.” You aren’t given their name unless a connection from both sides is made. You can see their pics, any mutual Facebook friends, and more details about them than a typical Tinder profile (if they fill the details in). You can also see their religion. An interesting aspect is that it’s “Ladies’ Choice,” meaning females are notified if a bagel has liked them already. Coffee Meets Bagel also gamifies the mobile dating process, giving you coffee beans in your account for your daily log ins, as well as more beans when you invite more friends to use the app. And, if your one bagel isn’t enough for you, you can always use your coffee beans to take another bagel that catches your eye. In turn, they’ll send your profile to that person. You can also gift bagels to friends if you think they’re a good match. We’ve heard from Christians who say that they’ve received more Christian matches from their settings on Coffee Meets Bagel than any other app.
Pros: You’re rewarded for using the app regularly. You’re able to express your faith a little more clearly on Coffee Meets Bagel than other sites.
Cons: One bagel a day keeps you in suspense, but the whole coffee/bagel thing get old after a while. At least it’s free, though. Some don’t like the 24-hour limit on each bagel.
Clover :: Mobile-Only Dating App
Clover feels like Tinder’s slightly-more detailed but sleazier younger brother. You’re able to state your intentions up front: looking to chat, for casual dating, for something long-term, or, yes, for a hook-up. You’re also asked to describe your lifestyle—occupation, income, children, religion, smoking, drinking, and yes, even recreational drug usage. (See? Sleazy.) We shouldn’t have been surprised at how many people admit to sometimes or often drug usage on an online dating site, but whatever… You’re also allowed to pick your interests from a list—or add your own. The list includes the typical ones like sports, road trips, concerts, volunteering, but it also includes bolder options such as “Netflix and chill”or “sex.” The good news is seeing those on a match’s interests helps you narrow down your list of matches really quick. Unlike Tinder, Clover shows likes, even if they’re one-sided. It’s all about creating as many connections as possible. The sheer number of likes we received in the first 24 hours—from people who weren’t anywhere near match material for us—cause us to think Clover is an even less viable option for Christians looking for like-minded matches. There’s also an option for on-demand dates—basically, you tell Clover you’re available and you’ll have a date at an appointed time—as well as a premium version, but we couldn’t stand the app long enough to stick around to read more. We felt like we needed to confess to our accountability partner that we’d even downloaded it.
Pros: It’s easy-to-use?
Cons: See review above. It doesn’t bear repeating.
Crosspaths :: Mobile-Only Dating App
From Spark Networks (the makers of Christian Mingle), Crosspaths aims to be the first real Christian dating app. It begins with a multiple-choice question to describe your faith. Like Christian Mingle, Crosspaths comes close to being a legitimate avenue for meeting people, but again, it still feels like the result of non-Christians trying to figure out the mind of Christians. It’s just a little…off. Crosspaths gives you space to describe yourself in 1000 characters or less, as well as connect your Instagram account to the app. The biggest negative about Crosspaths, though, is it’s new, so even when we tried it out in the Dallas area, we didn’t net many results. (Less than 10 locally.) It might have potential as it grows, but for now, unless you’re into long-distance dating, it’s not very helpful.
Pros: The closest thing to a true free Christian dating app there is at the moment.
Cons: It’s new, so there are very few users, even in major metropolitan areas.
Plenty of Fish :: Traditional Online Dating Site with App
Known as the original hook-up site, there was a time when people thought of Plenty of Fish as being one rung above finding dates on Craigslist. Now that free mobile-only apps are all the rave, we hear a lot less about Plenty of Fish. Just like the online site, the Plenty of Fish app leaves much to be desired. It’s hanging out in Web 2.0 while the rest of the internet progresses in design and user experience. They have a swipe and like feature on their app, as well as enabling you to find matches based on proximity to your location. Plenty of Fish is free, to a point. If you want to know more than a match’s basic information or if you’ve messaged them before or if someone views your profile, it’s going to cost you. Still, with so many other well-designed apps out there now, including so many that connect to your Facebook account, Plenty of Fish seems like it’s just behind the curve.
Pros: It’s (kinda) free?
Cons: It’s just not a pretty or user-friendly app. And it just feels…sketchy.
OkCupid :: Traditional Online Dating Site with App
OkCupid is what we wish Plenty of Fish was—a free site with a well-designed app that’s easy to use. Since it was a traditional online dating site first, it comes with a more extensive profile than a mobile-only app. It allows for you to state your religion but then, since it’s a free site, it also comes with some sketchy profile options, like the aforementioned drug use question, as well as the ability to let matches know you’re into non-monogamous relationships or seeking casual sex. And while OkCupid is free, there are paid options within the free site. You pay monthly fees to go incognito and view profiles without being known by the profile owner or to browse more specifically for matches with a certain body type or level of attractiveness.
Pros: It’s a free, easy-to-use app. You can maintain your anonymity by creating a user name instead of using your own.
Cons: Options to discuss drug use or to seek casual sex always make us want to run far, far away.
eharmony :: Traditional Online Dating Site with App
Since eharmony is the site we give the highest rating to, does the app also measure up? We think so. (Check out our eharmony review to see why Christian singles keep rating it as the best Christian dating site.) A few years back, eharmony went through a complete site redesign, and it definitely enhanced the user experience. The app reflects that redesign and it’s pretty simple to use. You have an activity feed that lets you know of any activity from your matches (similar to a Facebook feed), a tab for your matches, and another for the matches you are currently communicating with. There’s also a “What If?” section, which is a new feature and a nice compromise for those who want more matches than the ones eharmony has given them. Of course, the eharmony app is useless to those who don’t have a paid subscription, unless it’s a free communication weekend, because you can view profiles but you can’t see pics or communicate with matches. Our survey results consistently show eharmony to be the site more Christian singles are using, so for the marriage-minded folks, the subscription price for eharmony might be worth it.
Pros: Easy-to-use, well-designed app. “What If?” feature allows you to connect with more matches than the traditional eharmony approach of only sending you a few each day.
Cons: You don’t get access to the entire eharmony matching database, even if you’re a paid member.
Match :: Traditional Online Dating Site with App
Like Match itself, the app takes a second to figure out. It’s not odd like Zoosk, but it does have a lot of bells and whistles, like daily matches, a discovery section, and a search function for the entire database. You can connect with matches via favoriting their profile, liking it, winking, or expressing interest in a daily match. Basically, they give you a ton of ways to let a match know they’ve caught your attention. Like all traditional online dating sites, the Match app isn’t much help outside of a paid membership. (Check out our Match review to see why it ranks as the #2 site for Christian singles.) The Match profiles are more extensive than mobile-only apps and you are allowed to see pics without paying, but you can’t actually move forward to communication unless you show them the money.
Pros: You are able to search the entire Match database to find members yourself. Match has a variety of ways to show someone you’re interested in them.
Cons: It can be a little more difficult to find like-minded Christian matches on Match than it is on eharmony, but certainly less difficult than a mobile-only app because the Match profile gives them more of an opportunity to express themselves.
Christian Mingle :: Traditional Online Dating Site with App
Christian Mingle has a new look—new logo, new site, and a kinda new app. We say “kinda” because it’s still reminiscent of their old app, but just freshened up a bit. A niche site for non-Christian owned Spark Networks, Christian Mingle has a history of not quite “getting” Christians and their faith. (Check out our Christian Mingle review for more of our take on the full site.) But it seems like with this branding and site overhaul, they’re making more of an attempt to listen to users—no more chat rooms, prayer requests, and Bible study options, for starters. The app is clean and simpler than Match’s but slightly more detailed than eharmony’s. Since Christian Mingle is one of the Big 3 traditional online dating sites when it comes to numbers, it’s a contender if you’re considering paying for a membership. Still, it’s a bit weird to be able to choose to search either sex for matches if you’re on a “Christian” site.
Pros: New, cleaner design that eliminates superfluous details that are not important for finding a date. Christian Mingle is not lacking in number of members.
Cons: It’s not a Christian-owned site, despite the name.
Christian Café :: Traditional Online Dating Site with App
We keep hoping Christian Café will up their game on the site as well as the app, but it just isn’t happening as far as we can tell. The app is just as outdated as the site, and it kept crashing on us while we were trying to check it out. (Check out our Christian Café review to see how it compares to the other traditional online dating sites.) Of course, those complaints are only aesthetic—what about Christian matches? Well, those aren’t that great either. When conducting a search and filtering for things such as denominational preferences, as well as church attendance, you can only choose geographical regions (i.e. Southern US, Northeastern US, etc.). Christian Café has always lagged behind the other big traditional online dating sites like eharmony and Match, and the regional search results confirm that there just aren’t enough matches to warrant a zip code option. Since Christian Café is a paid site, you’ll need to pay to play. The good news is you can try it out first because they give you the first 7 days for free. That should be enough time for you to decide if it’s worth your money or not.
Pros: Christian Café is owned by Christians, and it offers us the options to drill down into like-minded Christian matches. First 7 days are free, along with options for getting a few more free days, too, before you have to pay up.
Cons: The site lacks the “cool” factor of all the others, which probably is a big reason it just doesn’t have nearly as many users as they do. The app isn’t user-friendly and has issues. If you’re going to use Christian Café, you’ll be better off sticking to the site.
Zoosk :: Traditional Online Dating Site with App
We’ve always found Zoosk to be one of the more complicated online dating sites to figure out and the app is no different. There are coins to be purchased as well as a subscription, but coins are not the same thing as a subscription. For instance, if you want to browse matches without them knowing you’ve viewed their profile, it will cost you 20 coins, but that’s still doesn’t qualify you as a paying member. Or if you want to send a virtual gift to a match, you can use coins to send it. See—confusing. Zoosk is a traditional online dating site, so you’re going to have to pay for a subscription if you want more communication than winks or chat requests. (Check out our Zoosk review to see if we think it’s worth paying for.) As far as the app goes, it takes a little while to figure out how everything works. Like other apps, they’ve also created a “carousel” where you can instantly like or dismiss a match (a la Tinder). Overall, we think that in an attempt to make Zoosk fun and hip, they overcomplicated things.
Pros: If you like a lot of options in a dating app, Zoosk has got you covered. Their profiles are slightly more extensive than other mobile-only apps.
Cons: It’s confusing to figure out, and there aren’t enough Christian filters to give it an edge over the others, so we’d rather spend our time elsewhere.
Best Christian Dating Apps :: Pro Tips
Sign up for traditional sites from your laptop.
Obviously, if you’re going to use a mobile-only app, you’ll sign up via the app (usually using your Facebook account). But since traditional online dating site profiles are more extensive and often accompany some sort of personality assessment, set aside some time one evening to create that account on your laptop. You won’t feel the need to rush through it, and you won’t be distracted by text messages or notifications and have to keep moving back and forth from one window to the next. Then, once your account is set up, download the app and use it for browsing matches and communicating. (Check out the bottom of this post for any discounts we know of, too!)
How to delete mobile-only accounts.
If you decide to try out a mobile-only app (or two or three) and then you decide to delete it, you should know that deleting the app isn’t enough. Your Facebook account is still tied to the app and, depending on your settings, could still leave your profile out there for all to see. You’ll want to first deactivate your account within whatever app you’re using and then you’ll also want to go into your Facebook account settings and remove your Facebook permissions to that app. Once that is complete, then delete the app from your phone.
Best Christian Dating Apps :: Bottom Line
We hear from Christian singles all the time that lament how difficult it is to find legit, like-minded Christian dates on online dating. And we agree, it’s not a simple task. But if you think finding a good date on a traditional online dating site like eharmony or Match is hard, then the free mobile-only apps are even more difficult.
Most of them give you a small paragraph to tell matches about yourself, but people rarely use the paragraph. At least on traditional online dating sites, you’re able to get more than bullet points about a match—even if not everyone fills them out.
Because mobile-only apps are free, they’re easy access for people who are not serious about long-term relationships. There’s a reason they have a reputation as being places people go for hook-ups. That’s not to say there aren’t any serious Christians using them; they are just even more difficult to find on the free apps.
Our Recommendation: Try out a free dating app, but until some killer free Christian dating apps come along (which we haven’t seen yet), keep a membership on at least one traditional dating site (See why we recommend eharmony) and use their app. You’ll have better profiles to help weed out those who aren’t a good fit for you before you jump right into talking to them.
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