Tinder, Bumble, and other apps made online dating more palatable for an entire generation, by reinventing the service as a casual mobile experience. Though these apps may be great for fast flirting, they aren’t built for creating long-term successful relationships like older, more traditional dating apps. Match and eharmony have been around for decades, and they’ve stayed relevant by adopting new ideas without letting go of their core strengths. But which one leads to long-lasting love?
Who Has the Better App?
True love takes time, so Match and eharmony are in no rush to dump you right in the middle of the dating pool. Instead, they want you to build a deep, rich profile to better reflect who you are as a potential romantic partner.
Match asks for your name, preferred gender, zip code, and age before getting into the real questions. What kind of relationship are you looking for? What’s your current status? Kids? Religion? How tall are you? What’s your ethnicity? How old should your partner be? Do you drink or smoke? The app pushes you to describe yourself and lay out desires as best you can. You need to submit a real photo of yourself before you can even get approved.
Eharmony’s initial survey is similarly exhaustive. Along with personal details, the essay portion forces you to answer prompts, such as “What are you passionate about?” “What things do you enjoy in your leisure time?” and “What are three things you’re thankful for?” Its trademark Compatibility Quiz has 100 questions to answer ranging from Myers-Briggs tests to how sensitive you think you are. There are some lingering elements of conservatism to eharmony, particularly its questions of faith and politics and monogamy, that may be a bit of a turn off. But at least the app finally allows for same-sex dating.
These surveys drop a lot of hard, time-consuming work up front. Match won’t even let you make a change without starting the whole survey over. Fortunately, it pays off when you start browsing other profiles. Having this much data to consider helps you feel like you’re making an informed choice about a person instead of having a shallow reaction to a picture. Match uses its wealth of profile data to give users plenty of convenient filtering options they can adjust on the fly.
To compete with apps like Tinder and Bumble, Match and eharmony’s mobile apps let you make the same snap judgments. Match’s interface is especially intuitive. However, the thorough profiles encourage users to resist the urge to mindlessly swipe. The methodical, desktop roots really show, particularly with eharmony.
Which Subscription Is More Generous?
True love may be priceless, but Match and eharmony make you put your money where your mouth is when it comes to online dating. More casual apps lure users in with a free experience before asking for cash once they’re invested. That’s very much not the case here. Signing up for Match and eharmony is technically free, but you’ll need to start paying much sooner in the process to have a rewarding experience.
Match’s free version is slightly more forgiving. You can browse profiles, like them, and receive daily matches. However, to actually message other users, a fairly important part of a dating app, you’ll need to pay and become a premium member. Premium members can also see who has viewed and liked them.
Match’s subscriptions start at a steep $44.99 per month before getting cheaper as time goes by. Alongside memberships, you can also buy boosts to put your profile at the top of the list for an hour. Boosts cost $5.99 each or $30 for a pack of ten.
Eharmony’s free tier is little more than a demo. Your free browsing is limited to profiles the app thinks you’re most compatible with. You can send an icebreaker question, and see people you like who also like you. However, everything else, from sending messages to searching through a wider pool of profiles to even looking through unblurred photos, requires a subscription. It feels quite ungenerous, but at least the strict paywall adds a layer to security between your personal details and potentially dangerous internet strangers.
The three eharmony membership tiers are Premium Lite ($59.90 per month for six months), Premium Plus ($35.90 per month for a year), and Premium Extra ($25.90 per month for two years). The features are all the same, only the price and time commitments change. Even if you pay, you still get served ads. The upside is that after you’ve paid, you’re done. eharmony doesn’t try to extract any more cash through a la carte in-app purchases for boosts or likes or coins.
Which Service Lets You Virtually Date?
If you want to enter into a committed relationship with someone, it’s pretty important to see them in person first. Unfortunately, that’s still pretty tough right now due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For now, virtual dating is the next best option.
Fortunately, Match and eharmony both have you covered. Match’s Vibe Check feature lets two consenting partners start a video chat in the middle of a text conversation. If things get creepy, just block the other person. Match’s panel of experts also offer socially distant dating advice. With Video Date, Premium eharmony users can initiate a video call either in messages or directly on a match’s profile.
The Right Match
In a world of fast and free dating apps, you might be hesitant to pay for one that asks for so much of your time. But think about all the time and money you’ll save by working toward real romance, instead of paying for drinks at bars every night for someone who’s clearly a bad fit. While it is expensive and a bit old-fashioned, eharmony’s powerful compatibility tools can also help you find the love of your life. Still, Match’s rich profiles and slick interface make it our Editors’ Choice premium dating app.
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