Updated March 10, 2016

Study: Best Online Dating Website - eHarmony vs Match vs OkCupid

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The best online dating sites have high success rates, good compatibility tools, and open more opportunities. Compare the top 3 online dating sites.

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Online dating has made meeting people easier than ever. But it's also confronted us with a new challenge: what's the best website to use? Finding the one that best suits your needs can mean the difference between just meeting someone and meeting the one.

Match.com and eHarmony have dominated the online matchmaking business for years, and OKCupid has quickly risen to rival their superiority.

But how much work will you have to put in? Is it worth the commitment of your time and money? To help you decide, CreditDonkey has reviewed three of the top online dating websites to see how they stack up against each other. Of course, there are many more sites out there, but these three represent a good range of the options you'll encounter.

Roundup Methodology

Here are the main factors we considered:

  1. Accessibility
  2. Capability
  3. Reputation

The sheer number of people participating in online dating today certainly increases your chances of meeting someone special, but deciding where to look also presents a challenge. For some people, cost is the most important factor in choosing a site. Other people are more concerned about how long it takes to set up a profile or how easy it is to communicate with matches. A robust mobile app has also become a key factor for on-the-move singles.

Of course, free sites don't keep users as motivated to be committed and stay active. Companies that require a paid subscription often have more sophisticated matchmaking systems and offer multiple formats for getting to know potential dates.

The best services offer many easy ways to narrow your options so that only the most compatible, crush-worthy candidates are presented for your perusal. Stigmas against online dating have pretty much faded away, and many of those who are successful in finding their mates online are willing to brag about it. And their feedback just might be the key to making an informed decision on where to post your profile.

Read on to find out about three sites we're featuring in more detail.

eHarmony

Who It Works Best For
The eHarmony site is designed for singles who are truly looking to find a partner worth committing to and are willing to patiently await a suitable match.

  • Accessibility: Expensive membership fee, lengthy sign-up process, limited communication amongst members, 3/5
  • Capability: A thorough personality test matches members based on 29 compatibility characteristics, 5/5
  • Reputation: Many members seeking marriage, excellent guided matching, high success rate, 5/5
  • Overall CreditDonkey Score: 4.3/5

Roughly 16 percent of U.S. marriages are now said to be the result of online dating, and eHarmony claims credit for one-fourth of those relationships. It matches and analyzes each member based on "29 dimensions of compatibility," a phrase its founder, Neil Clark Warren, devised during his tenure as a clinical psychologist. Also helpful is the site's guidance on communicating during initial meetups to minimize awkward dating mishaps. Although more expensive than many of its competitors, eHarmony's computerized matchmaking service far undercuts the price of personal matchmaking services.

The eHarmony site also has thousands of testimonials to prove the methods work.

Why We Like It
Judging what type of partner will best suit you is not an easy task. The folks at eHarmony utilize years of relationship research to assess members' compatibility better than most people could do on their own.

Downsides
Not being allowed to search for matches on your own means that you may have to wait a while (weeks or even months) before viewing a profile that sparks your interest.

Want to save money on an eHarmony membership? Visit our eHarmony promo page for the latest coupons.

Match.com

Who It Works Best For
This site is loved by singles who are willing to pay to arrange quality romantic encounters, whether they are casual or a serenade to commitment, and who want full control of their dating choices.

  • Accessibility: Moderate membership fee ($39.99/month or less), large membership base, many formats for finding matches, excellent mobile app, 4/5
  • Capability: Sends matches based on your profile, offers many custom search options, organizes live events where members can meet, 5/5
  • Reputation: Members seeking all types of relationships (from casual to committed), plentiful search options, viable matches, 4/5
  • Overall CreditDonkey Score: 4.3/5

Match.com, a pioneer in the online dating industry, has been introducing couples for nearly 20 years and remains one of the largest dating websites in the world. It allows new members to browse during their free trial, then unlock a whole system of matchmaking and communication tools with a paid subscription. Although the service still relies on a traditional model where members search profiles and contact those that interest them, features have been added in recent years to enhance the process. Members now have the option of completing a personality test to learn more about themselves (to ensure they're searching for the right type of mate), and they can create a custom quiz for potential matches to get a conversation started. Match.com has even begun hosting themed social events where members can meet face-to-face.

Match.com, rated the #1 online dating website by The Telegraph, is the second most searched for online dating service via Yahoo, according to Mashable. The site is available in 24 countries and 15 languages. There are singles seeking both casual and serious relationships through Match.com and success stories of each type commend the site.

Why We Like It
Match.com helped launch the online dating revolution and has built a solid reputation. Creating a profile is easy, and new members can begin chatting with potential matches as soon as they subscribe. The new custom quiz feature and optional social events make it even easier to break the ice with a promising profile.

Match.com is the only site that offers a guarantee. If you pay for six months in advance ($120) and don't find love, your next six months are free. (Be sure to pay attention to the fine print as Match.com will automatically renew your subscription and charge your credit card, even after you've found love. However, the site does make it easy to cancel.)

Downsides
The fact that members can contact any member may lead you to receive attention from people who don't match your desired criteria at all.

OKCupid

Who It Works Best For
Singles who enjoy social networking and are essentially just looking to meet more people.

  • Accessibility: Free to join, simple sign-up, excellent mobile app, 5/5
  • Capability: Open to all, creative questionnaires, adequate search features, fun match-up process, 3/5
  • Reputation: Fast-growing membership base, popular among millennials, suitable for any type of relationship (casual to committed), minimal match screening assistance, 3/5
  • CreditDonkey Score: 3.7/5

OKCupid is one of the best free matchmaking programs. Social networking takes on a whole new meaning at OKCupid, which matches members based on their profile information and answers to creative questionnaires. It also allows users to search for matches on their own, email, chat, and even get set up on blind dates for free.

Due to its casual, open interface, OKCupid might attract fewer marriage-minded singles than Match and eHarmony. You can answer as many questions as you want to continue to improve the chance you will be matched to a suitable candidate. Nonetheless, it is the most searched-for online dating website on Yahoo, according to Mashable. As Lifehacker stated in its online dating review, "People who like to get to know a potential date from the safety of their own home before they venture out into [the real world] will probably appreciate OKCupid. The amount of work it takes to get somewhere may be higher than most, but it can pay off."

Why We Like It
When you are over the bar dating scene, join OKCupid and watch your chances of finding a suitable mate or special friend grow exponentially. You may still be searching for a needle in a haystack, but hopefully you'll have a little fun along the way and acquire your desired relationship status a little faster than you could without digital assistance.

Downsides
Free services are more likely to be utilized by scam artists and other preying personas. You are fully responsible for screening all matches yourself, both for romantic compatibility and personal integrity.

Other Websites to Consider

There's no need to stick to a traditional dating format or browse all the possible matches a large online dating site can offer. Many religious singles prefer JDate or ChristianMingle. Single parents are flocking to DatingForParents.com. There's a smaller dating community for every type of single soul that's out there searching.

We hope our research will help you decide which online dating site to choose. More than that, we hope it will encourage you to get out there and look for your special someone and realize that online dating is now the norm, not the exception. Find the right site and you may just find the one.

Rachel Hoyt is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a diamond jeweler comparison and financial education website. Write to Rachel Hoyt at rachel@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped young adults make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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