Most people have heard of dating app eharmony, though not necessarily for the right reasons. On one hand, it’s one of the oldest names in the dating app business. On the other, the company faced a lawsuit in 2005 for not making its service available to same-sex pairings. It then started a separate but equal service for that market called Compatible Partners. Finally, in late 2019, eharmony folded LGBT dating options into the main service. With all these identities under one roof, eharmony sets its members up for success, basing its matches on an extensive personality quiz and detailed profiles. You need to be a paid subscriber to contact other members, but it doesn’t push gimmicky in-app purchases on you like other services do.
While our Editors’ Choice for finding longer-term relationships, Match, isn’t as thorough in sussing out your personality, it, too, has measures in place to weed out casual browsers. Plus, it offers a more user-friendly interface and an excellent filtering tool. Tinder, our other Editors’ Choice, remains the best option for young mobile users looking for love right now. Still, eharmony is a worthy alternative if you’re seeking a meaningful, long-term connection.
You can set up your eharmony profile either on the web or through the iOS apps and Android apps. We tested eharmony on all platforms and found the sign-up and user experience to be similar across the board.
After the usual name, email, and location questions—plus an inquiry into where you heard about the company—you begin the profile setup. The usual barrage of questions then appears. First, eharmony asks you how many children you have, followed by your age, and religious affiliation. The site does not let you choose agnostic or atheist, instead forcing you to select Neither Religious nor Spiritual.
eharmony now allows for same-sex-dating. You choose your preference on the very first sign-up screen. If you select that you’re a man, you can now search for other men. Women can search for women. More modern apps like Hinge and OkCupid offer a greater range of identities, but, considering eharmony’s past, this is at least a step in the right direction. If you previously had an account on Compatible Partners, you can also bring that data with you into eharmony.
Then, you move into the essay portion, and answer questions such as, “What are you passionate about?” or “What things do you enjoy in your leisure time?” Another is “What are three things you’re thankful for?” It doesn’t allow you to proceed unless you actually add a response to each.
After the essays, you select your preferences for people to match with, mostly just based on age and location (you can choose to search any country in the world) before diving into the Compatibility Quiz. This is the climb up the mountain; there are more than 100 questions, all with a spectrum of answers almost like a focus group questionnaire. There are multiple questions about the value of monogamy and religious faith, along with a parade of others reminiscent of the Myers-Briggs test. Get ready to give your immediate response on which shapes look more appealing, and so on.
Once you complete the quiz, you add a photo, and you’re on your way. The whole process is far more in-depth than other apps. For example, Tinder (our other Editors’ Choice, which is geared more toward the hookup scene) only asks for some very basic information before it lets you start browsing. Match, which reviews your profile before you can even publish it, probably comes closest to the thoroughness of eharmony. Users may appreciate the extra effort you have to put into profile-building, as it makes everyone more invested in the process, and thus increases the chance of matching with someone compatible.
Interface and Profiles
After you complete the survey, you can move on to finding your matches, but not before eharmony asks you to sign up for a monthly plan. You can easily opt out and browse for free, but you don’t get much if you don’t pay. The free version is really more of a demo than something usable in its own right.
Free users can only view members who the app deems them most compatible with. For access to a wider range of matches, you have to subscribe. The free version also limits you to “favorite”-ing profiles, sending “Icebreaker” multiple choice questions, and seeing if you have any “mutual favorites” (people you’ve expressed interest in who have also signaled they are into you). To actually communicate with anyone, you have to pay up, which the app prompts you to do whenever you hit a wall.
The Matches section serves up a few compatible users every day. The company says it keeps this to a limited number of profiles so you can focus more on each one. But unless you’re a subscriber, you can’t even see the faces of the people you’re matched with. This is one of the most restrictive free dating app experiences by far, and a great security feature for those who are concerned about other members knowing too much, too soon. If security is a concern, Bumble is also another great dating app that won’t even let a man contact a woman unless she has already expressed interest in him.
Profiles clearly show users’ basic information (name, age, height, and ethnicity), along with tabs for viewing their photos and reading their Q&A. Below that, your compatibility in different areas is shown as percentages, including Romance, Emotional Intimacy, and Social Values. The app really sets you up to not have political arguments with your mate.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, to really take advantage of eharmony, you have to subscribe. There are three membership tiers: Premium Lite, Premium Plus, and Premium Extra. Each locks you into a progressively longer plan, but the monthly price also goes down. Premium Lite costs $59.90 per month for six months. Premium Plus costs $35.90 per month for a year. Premium Extra costs $25.90 per month for two years. The only difference is the length of subscription, and subsequent discount.
Premium members receive the basic features you’d expect from a dating app, including unlimited viewing of photos, unlimited messaging, and the ability to access more matches and see who’s viewed your profile.
Limited messaging options for free users isn’t uncommon among dating apps. However, many of eharmony’s other premium options come standard with a basic subscription to other services, they’re features you take for granted. For example, your search results aren’t as gated elsewhere and apps like OKCupid let you message for free without subscribing. Plus, no other apps are as ungenerous with un-blurred photos. Unfortunately, no matter how much you pay or what plan you subscribe to, you can’t opt out of being served ads.
Although it is more expensive overall than most other dating apps, eharmony doesn’t ask you to pay for any other microtransactions such as Boosts, Super Likes, Tokens, Coins, or anything else, which most other services have available in various forms.
Social Distancing With eharmony
During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, people want a warm body to turn to. However, social distancing demands we stay indoors to stop the spread of the disease. In the meantime, dating apps have begun offering more virtual dating options to keep us sane and social, and that includes eharmony. With Video Date, Premium users can initiate a video call either in messages or directly on a match’s profile.
Other dating apps have virtual dating features, too. Bumble, Match, and Plenty of Fish all let you video chat. During the quarantine, Tinder lets you match with users too far away to meet in person. Hinge lets matches mutually set up a video date, just on a different app. Facebook’s new Tuned app for quarantined couples pairs well with Facebook dating.
Working for Love
You have to jump through a lot of hoops to join eharmony, including filling out an extensive and time-consuming survey and paying for the privilege of doing just about anything. But once you’re in, the app serves you connections based on values and other quantitative pieces of data. It’s the exact opposite of photo-heavy Tinder. We appreciate the good-hearted, well-intentioned desire to help people find their mate. It’s not as user-friendly and inclusive as our Editors’ Choice, Match, but it’s a worthy alternative for looking for “the one.”
|Starting Price||$59.90 per month|
|Free Account Offered||Yes|