Signing up for online dating is as exciting as it is confusing. There are so many options out there and it’s easy to gravitate towards the latest fad, rather than take the time to discover the option that is really best suited for you. Although hot new dating apps come and go, the online dating platforms that have been in the game for a while tend to offer the most beneficial features, highest success rates, and overall best results.
Because they have lasted so long, these tried and true online dating platforms have deeply researched systems that just work. Any bugs or non-essential add-ons have been eliminated, and even if they do try out a new feature, such as what happened when the swiping phenomenon became what seemed like a must-have for any dating site, these platforms either add new features well, by testing them and making sure they do provide a benefit, or testing them and doing away with them if they aren’t adding to the consumer experience.
Additionally, during their time in the limelight, these verified, mainstream dating platforms have been able to rack up an impressive number of members, which makes your chances at finding “the one” that much better. Sure, a brand new app might be popular for a while and gain an impressive number of new downloads in the first few months, but these long-standing dating sites have years of member signups, which certainly adds up to a strong community.
Finally, these mainstream sites have the data to back up their claims about helping you find your soulmate or “creating the most second dates out of any dating site.” For example, whereas that new dating startup is throwing out claims that they make it impossible not to find a date on their app, Match.com is a public company that can’t just say they create the most second dates out of any dating sites without some solid figures to back up such a claim.
When it comes to long-standing dating sites, the major two that usually come to mind are Match.com and eHarmony.com. These two platforms have been in the dating game for well over 20 years and have successfully matched singles in multiple countries, with Match operating in over 25 countries and eHarmony in over 150. Their membership numbers are equally as impressive as their other stats that support them, with Match owning 24% of the U.S. dating market and eHarmony owning 14%.
But before we let the numbers speak for themselves, we took a closer look, from a fresh pair of eyes, to see how these two wildly popular, reliable dating site stack up against each other.
eHarmony offers more of a guided dating experience, one in which you must rely on the site to match you, while Match allows you to approach finding potential matches from many different avenues.
While eHarmony has a number of rather unique features, such as its guided communication option and its debatably overly-advertised 29 Dimensions of Compatibility matching system, Match comes complete with a plethora of features that allow you to find matches in more diverse ways (yes, swiping is an option) and filter matches more specifically, down to features such as eye color and ethnicity.
Match also provides an impressive number of search options, which is definitely an area where eHarmony fall short by not allowing you to search at all (and although this is part of the dating site’s science-driven process, it may be its largest downfall and/or biggest deterrent to potential members).
Finally, Match gives you more control over your dating experience, with options to browse privately and boost your profile, while eHarmony sticks closely to a more lengthy (and arguably mundane) routine-style, day-by-day approach requiring members to have both more patience and focus.
We do give eHarmony some points for offering a more creative profile layout that blows most online dating profile settings out of the water, but the profile alone isn’t enough to trump Match’s extensive list of intuitively designed, and, more importantly, useful matching features.
2. Sign-Up Process
While both online dating sites offer handheld signup processes, the processes themselves vary greatly. The Match.com registration will take you about 15 to 30 minutes to complete, while the eHarmony process can take you an hour or more. The registration is where eHarmony’s famous 29 Dimensions of Compatibility matching system comes into play, as you answer a laundry list of personality questions that help the site determine how to best match you on the site.
While the questions themselves aren’t exactly mentally exhausting, the length of the signup process can be. That being said, at the end of the day the eHarmony method fast-tracks the process of allowing the site to “get to know you” to best match you with compatible options, which, for roughly an hour of your time as opposed to days or weeks, seems worth it.
The Match.com signup process is more of a step-by-step guide to completing your profile, which just means you don’t have to do that part later and you can begin interacting on the site with all your information filled in (once your profile is approved).
The major drawback, however, is that your profile needs to be approved, which can take up to 24 hours, before you can begin using the site. Once approved the site still takes time to “learn” your preferences, meaning you don’t get the most out of the dating site from day one, like you do with eHarmony.
Considering they’re both paid sites (more about that below), we’d prefer a longer sign-up process that got us ready to go immediately, as opposed to a shorter one that made us wait a while for the site to provide its full matching benefits.
Trial memberships (or those that don’t offer all the features the site has to offer) aside, a Match.com account costs less than the price of an eHarmony one, making the former a clear winner from simply a pricing point of view. eHarmony also locks you into longer subscription periods, offering 6 and 12 month membership options, whereas Match allows you to go month to month, which is an option we prefer due to its flexibility and lower upfront costs.
4. Quality Of Matches
Match tends to match you best for long-term relationships, while eHarmony seems to match you best for marriages. 38% of Match members said they’d had a relationship that began on the site that lasted longer than one month, while Harris Interactive states that an average of 542 eHarmony members in the United States marry every day.
From this logic, and depending on what you are looking for, it’s safe to assume eHarmony takes take home the gold in this category, but that’s only until you look at how your matches are being made.
While eHarmony matches you largely based on your answers to initial sign-up questions, Match matches you based on what criteria you are looking for as well as your activity on the site.
For example, if you say you are looking for blonde-hair, blue-eyed girls with a college education but continually browse profiles of brunettes with green eyes of various educational backgrounds, Match will begin to show you a combination of both who you say you want and who your activity on the site indicates you want.
Another factor to consider is that eHarmony only shows you a certain number of matches each day, while Match will handpick matches for you, but also allow you to browse the entire site, giving you access to its entire member database.
So although eHarmony may help you find your soulmate after a year or two, we consider Match to deliver better, more quality matches because of the freedom the platform offers and its unique algorithm that operates based on your self-imputed information, as well as your behavior on the site.
5. Aesthetics And Interface
eHarmony has one of the most unique dating site interfaces out there while the Match.com interface is more familiar and engaging. eHarmony really makes you feel like you’re on your own online dating journey, limiting almost all distractions and honing in on how your online dating is going day by day.
The eHarmony layout is minimalistic and stunning, with profiles that look like personalized web pages that have been handcrafted from graphic designers. As stated earlier, you’re given a limited number of matches per day, and because the site is so simplistic, it’s easy to stay up to date with who you have communicated with and where the status of each outreach is at.
Match looks more like a standard online dating site, offering various options to find others, including daily matches, various search options (including mutual search and reverse search), a “hot or not”-like swiping game, chat, and more. The site keeps track of all of your interactions, allowing you to see who has viewed your profile, sent winks, favorited you, and showed other forms of interest.
6. And The Winner Is…
Overall, it comes down to your online dating preferences, and perhaps personality in this category. If you want a fully-stocked online dating platform with various options to communication and unlimited matches to discover, Match.com will be your best bet. On the other end of the spectrum, if you want a more personalized dating experience, one that feels more like a personal, digital matchmaker is doing the work, you’ll get the most satisfaction out of eHarmony.
At the end of the day, the delayed gratification that comes along with eHarmony can be tedious enough to outweigh any pretty aesthetics, which is why, though they are so different and any side by side comparison is rather difficult in this category, we have to favor Match as the best dating site.
Overall Winner: Match.com
Learn more at Match.com or read our full Match.com review — Starting at $42.99 per month
Learn more at eHarmony.com or read our full eHarmony review — Starting at $245.70 for six months.
Top 10 Hook-Up Websites
Best Mainstream Dating Sites
Best Alternative Adult Dating Sites
Best Christian Dating Sites