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Choosing the best online dating site isn’t easy, especially with so many options these days. With so many fish in the online dating sea, how do you know which one has the greatest potential to find you a good match? What kind of ways can you communicate with prospective dates, while preserving your privacy?
While there have been lots of new players entering the online dating scene, we’ll help you choose between two of the best-known, successful dating sites in our eHarmony vs Match comparison.
Two of the oldest and most well-established online dating websites are eHarmony and Match.com, and both remain among the best dating sites on the web. It’s hard to believe that Match.com has been around for more than 20 years — and continues to be the largest, most popular dating site since 1995.
eHarmony joined the online dating pool in 2000 with a unique approach that caters to singles looking for a long-lasting relationship (wedding bells!). Which one better suits your online dating needs? Read on to find answers to some of your burning questions.
eHarmony has more than 20 million registered users. Members on eHarmony tend to be more serious about finding loving, long-term relationships. eHarmony is not the site for casual daters; nor is it the site for people looking for same-sex partners — eHarmony is strictly for heterosexual singles. But eHarmony’s dating pool is still demographically diverse. The site’s most popular groups include Christian Singles, Jewish Singles, Black Singles, Hispanic Singles, Asian Singles, 30s Singles and Senior Singles.
Match.com is arguably the most diverse dating site online. With more than 21.5 million registered heterosexual and LGBT users from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, Match.com is for people looking for all different kinds of relationships — friendship, casual dating, short-term relationships and serious relationships. Match.com members tend to be more diverse in age range and educational and income levels than eHarmony.
Both eHarmony and Match use sophisticated tools to find someone who’s compatible with you, but their approaches are pretty different. eHarmony utilizes its 29 Dimensions® of Compatibility test, developed by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a 35-year veteran psychologist specializing in relationships and marriage. These test results, along with your profile traits and “Something to Talk About” feature (where you talk about yourself and your ideal partner) enable eHarmony to find your matches.
Match.com uses an advanced matching algorithm that learns as you move through the site’s process. This algorithm finds you compatible matches based on your personality profile, your partner criteria, and your on-site activities, including your searches and indications of who you like. In addition to your independent searches, Match.com has a “Daily 5” feature that provides you five potential matches each day based on other members’ similar qualities.
This category is a given, since eHarmony is a guided dating site. eHarmony chooses matches for you based on your compatibility test and profile. You can’t conduct your own search for a potential partner on this site. Match.com, on the other hand, has excellent search features, including search by profile criteria, by photo, location, keyword and more.
eHarmony uses guided communication, a process in which you first complete several sections (“About Me,” “10 Must Haves” and “10 Can’t Stands”), then send icebreaker questions to a match you’re interested in and then send messages to your match. After you both complete this guided communication, you can email each other using eHarmony’s secure email system. eHarmony also has a SecureCall feature, which allows you to phone or text each other without disclosing your phone number.
Match uses a more open communication process, which includes emailing, instant messaging and a “matchPhone” feature that’s similar to eHarmony’s SecureCall. You can also send “winks” or “likes” to members letting them know you’re interested — a fun, no-pressure way to make initial contact. You can also see who’s viewed your profile. Match.com even occasionally holds singles events in select cities to help you meet other members in person.
eHarmony only allows you to communicate with your matches, which eliminates unwanted contact from random members. If you no longer want a match to contact you, you can “close” them. Closing a member removes your profile from their match list, and they can no longer communicate with you. You can also limit which matches can see your compatibility test results. eHarmony is an excellent option for people wary about putting themselves “out there.”
Match.com has excellent privacy settings; you just have to be more proactive with this site. Match.com automatically includes your profile in its “member spotlight,” which can appear on Facebook or partner sites. We’re not a big fan of this feature, but you can easily disable it using your account settings.
Match.com also allows you to block members from searching your profile or contacting you. We did find several online dating reviews from Match.com users that complained of unwanted communications from other members (a common complaint with many dating sites). But it was unclear if these members had used their privacy settings the site gives you.
We didn’t include pricing as one of our main comparison criteria because online dating is such a personal experience, and you can’t put a price on finding the right companion. But to help you make the best decision, we’ve included pricing for both companies below:
eHarmony now provides a guarantee that if you’re not happy with your matches within 3 months, you get another 3 months free.
- $59.95/month; 3-month subscription
- $39.95/month; 6-month subscription
- $18.95/month; 12-month subscription
Match.com offers a 7-day free trial, and members who don’t find that special someone within their first six months on Match.com receive another six-month subscription entirely free.
- $38.99 for 1 month
- $21.99/month; 3-month subscription
- $18.99/month; 6-month subscription
- $17.99/month; 12-month subscription
Bundle Plans include Email Read Notification, First Impressions and Highlighted Profile features.
- $24.99/month; 3-month subscription
- $21.99/month; 6-month subscription
- $18.99/month; 12-month subscription
Below is a table displaying the features offered by eHarmony and Match.com.
|Browse Before Joining|
|Match Based on Profiles|
|Search by Profile Criteria|
|Search by Photos|
|Winks and Flirts|
|Text Alerts if You Get Messaged|
Does Online Dating Change The Game?
Do matching sites really alter the way we date? Match.com’s scientific adviser says “no,” calling dating sites “introducing sites.” Check out the video below to see her take on online dating and human nature.
Now, without further ado, the winner of our head-to-head battle between eHarmony vs Match is… Match.com. While eHarmony prides itself on being responsible for 4% of all marriages in the U.S., marriage certainly isn’t the only end goal for a successful dating site.
Match.com delivers an overall better user experience, more freedom to find matches on your own (while getting suggested matches as well), more varied communication tools and a larger, more diverse dating pool. eHarmony is still a great option if you’re not turned away by its guided process and you’re looking for a long-lasting relationship.
An astonishing 90% of singles in the U.S. have tried out online dating. So of course, Match and eHarmony aren’t the only dating sites out there. Read our article comparing several of the most popular dating sites to see how they differ from Match and eHarmony.
What are you looking for in a dating site?
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