The best free dating sites for over 50s can be divided into two categories. Those exclusively for over 50s, and those for everyone but that have a lot of people over 50.
There's also a bit of a caveat when it comes to free dating sites. Sites like Tinder and Bumble, as well as POF and OkCupid, are free and functional without you having to cough up any money at all. However, they charge for "premium" stuff, like seeing who's already liked you without having to swipe through a lot of potential matches. However, you don't need to pay for a premium membership to enjoy their services unless you swipe no by mistake and want to undo it.
Then there are all the other sites on this list. They are free to join, but you need to pay to communicate properly with potential dates. The good thing about these so-to-speak free sites? You can have a look around before you decide to pay. If there are several members you would like to chat with, it can be worth the price tag.
Different sites have different perks and, most importantly, different members. So let's look at the various free dating sites for over 50s, and then you can make an educated decision about which ones to check out further.
Let's start with the number one free dating app: Tinder.
Since its launch, Tinder has amassed an impressive amount of members worldwide. Currently, they have about 57 million members, of which 4 million live in the UK. Not all of those are active, of course. But still, there's no lack of members to swipe through.
And that, right there, is the best thing with Tinder. Well, that and the simplicity of using the app.
You won't lack potential matches on Tinder. You can waste hours checking out fellow singles, particularly if you set your search pretty wide and don't mind meeting people in nearby cities.
The not so cool thing about Tinder? People can be flaky. There are loads of people on Tinder, and conversations tend to fade fast. Some swipe right on you and never even bother saying hello. If you like someone, reach out with a witty comment as soon as you match to engage them in a conversation. Most importantly, be upfront about what you're looking for in your profile. Just a one-liner at the end of the bio saying "no hookups" or "looking for casual dating only" sets the tone.
Oh, and about the bios? Write them. If you are unsure of what to say, read this article about creating a winning online dating profile. And trust me, you need one. People see so many profiles and only swipe right if you fulfil specific criteria (such as having a closeup photo and writing a few interesting words about yourself). It's not like real life, where one look gives you an impression. On here, you have to provide the impression for people.
Pros with Tinder: Free, easy to use, and has many members, including over 50s.
Cons with Tinder: Members tend to be flakey, some don't state what they're looking for, and many conversations go nowhere.
Tips for Tinder: Have some good shots, a fun bio, and state what you're looking for in that bio. If you like someone and you match, be sure to send a message to grab their attention.
This is another super popular free dating app (it had 42 million members in 2020, of which 1.6 million were from the UK). Like Tinder, early adaptors were the younger crowds, but now all age groups use the app.
While used both for casual and serious dating, Bumble has a more serious edge than Tinder. You can choose to answer multiple-choice questions in your profile to show what kind of relationship you're looking for, if you are athletic, what religion you belong to, and various other things. This gives you a simple overview of potential dates. It also shows who cared enough to fill it out!
There are also conversation starters you can add to your profile on Bumble, such as letting people know what kind of superpower you'd like to have. These fun facts act as conversation starters because people who match with you have something to talk to you about!
If you match with someone on Bumble, you have 24 hours to send them a message and then 24 hours for the other party to respond. If one of you doesn't respond, you automatically unmatch. This makes people on Bumble more likely to initiate contact and get the ball moving.
The thing with Bumble is that after you match, women have to send the first message (if you're after a heterosexual relationship, that is). But all genders and sexual orientations are welcome.
You will find many people who are using Tinder on Bumble. Still, as a general rule, there are more people on Bumble looking for serious relationships. Profiles are also more detailed than on Tinder.
Pros of Bumble: Fun profiles that give an easy overview (and shows who cared enough to fill them out). The 24-hour time frame for the first two messages makes people take action. The site and app are free to use. The only cost is if you want to re-match with someone or see who has already liked you.
Cons of Bumble: You'll find many people don't take the time to fill out their profile, and, as with Tinder, there are several not so serious daters on there if slightly less than on Tinder. Having only 24-hours to send a message is sometimes a downer. If you have a busy day at work or are away for the weekend, you might miss responding and have to pay if you want to make contact. There are more women than men in the over 50s age category, but that might be a plus for some!
Tips with Bumble: Fill out your profile correctly!
With over 50 million users worldwide and 1.4 million in the UK, you will not have difficulty finding people on OkCupid. However, it seems there aren't that many active members in the UK.
OkCupid focuses on people sharing stories, as opposed to just pictures. As such, the platform is more focused on people looking for serious relationships, though it's not a given.
When you sign up, you answer various questions to help OkCupid find matches for you. It's a sort of mini-personality test. You can also see what other members responded to the questions, granted they have made some of their answers public. This makes profiles more fun.
While you can message anyone, you can only see messages from someone once it's a mutual match. OkCupid has this system to avoid any unwanted messages. OkCupid also has a great blog packed with dating advice and top tips for finding someone with whom you're compatible.
Pros of OkCupid: It's a popular platform with interesting profiles, and you won't receive messages from anyone you haven't liked. You can use the platform without paying—the premium features you pay for are not necessary for contacting someone.
Cons of OkCupid: There are not many users in the 50+ age group, and most of them are women, although if you're a man, this may be a plus!
Tips for using OkCupid: You have to take the personality test to match yourself with others properly. As the site is free to use, it doesn't hurt to create a profile even if fewer members are in the 50+ age group.
POF, or Plenty of Fish as it used to be called, certainly has just that—plenty of fish in the dating pool! They have over 90 million members worldwide, of which 30 million are in the UK. While that's not the same as active members, over 10 million conversations take place on their platform every day.
Another plus with POF is that they have a relatively large amount of members that are over 50. And, just as with OkCupid, you'll find that you can use the site or app without having to cough up any cash to message other members. You can even send voice notes, which is a neat little perk.
Unlike some platforms where you choose how many questions you want to answer, POF has a fair amount of compulsory questions. That means that the profile quality overall becomes a lot better.
Pros of POF: Plenty of members, of which a decent amount are over 50. Free dating site and app—you only upgrade for premium features. Still, you don't need those to meet or communicate with other members.
Cons of POF: Not explicitly targeted to those 50+.
Tips for Using POF: Have fun. Seriously. Answer the questions, create a great profile, and chat to as many members as take your fancy!
Match is one of the sites with the most significant number of members over 50. With over 1.3 million members in total in the UK, there's also a reasonably large dating pool.
Match is easy to use and has features such as phoning and videoing within the app. That means you don't have to hand out your contact details right away.
However, Match isn't particularly innovative regarding profiles or matching people, nor is it possible to message other members for free.
Pros of Match: Free to sign up to check out other members. In addition to messaging, you can make phone and video calls using the platform. Easy to use and well-designed. Has a lot of 50+ members and generally provides a positive dating experience.
Cons of Match: It costs to use the platform to message others. The profiles, while fairly detailed, aren't particularly innovative.
Tips for Using Match: As with all platforms, remember to do an excellent job with your profile. Be sure to set the age range when looking for members to match with.
OurTime is a dating platform for singles over 50. It has about 2 million members in the UK, with 175,000 weekly active members. No bad feat.
OurTime, in addition to online dating, organises meetups for members so you can mingle with singles near you. At least if you're close to a larger city.
You can video chat using OurTime, which is a nice perk. However, to message members and video chat with them once you get chatting, you must first pay for a membership. With a free membership, you can only look around and like peoples' profiles.
There's a step-by-step guide for how to sign up to OurTime, so it's a site that's easy to use.
Pros of OurTime: It's easy to sign up. Profiles are detailed. They offer a video chat option.
Cons of OurTime: It costs to use the platform to interact with others.
Tips for Using OurTime: Have a look around for free before you choose a paid membership option. That way, you'll know if there are members near you that you'd like to interact with.
SilverSingles is significantly smaller than OurTime, with only 70,000 members from the UK. However, it's an excellent dating site that requires you to take a small seven-question personality test when you join. This will help them pair you with the right members.
While not the most happening dating site, it's easy enough to sign up for free to have a look around. If you find members you like, you have to pay for a membership to message them.
Pros of SilverSingles: It's free to sign up and have a look around. The dating site is well-designed and offers a mini-personality test to match you with other members.
Cons of SilverSingles: Few users. You have to pay to be able to message other members.
Tips for Using SilverSingles: Due to the small user pool, look at how many members are near you before paying for a membership.
Elite Singles and eHarmony
I am not sure these two dating sites should be on this list simply because they're rather pricey, even if they're free to join. However, they are also different. Both require you to take a personality test when signing up, meaning members who join are generally serious about finding love. Both are top-rated dating sites with over 20 million members combined worldwide.
EliteSingles has as its niche educated people—over 80% of users hold a university degree. Most of their members are also 30+.
Pros of eHarmony and EliteSingles: Both sites use interesting algorithms to match people's compatibility based on personality questionnaires.
Cons of eHarmony and EliteSingles: They cost a pretty penny to use, so you may want to look out for special offers before entering the dating game on either of these platforms.
Tips for Using eHarmony and EliteSingles: While the tests will match you with other users, don't be afraid to do your own searches as well. Who knows, sometimes the algorithm isn't perfect!
South of the Border: It's Just Lunch
Again, this site probably shouldn't be on this list, but it's one of few sites that use real matchmakers. That's right—you don't fill out a profile, nor do you don't swipe right or left on other peoples' profiles. All you do is speak with a matchmaker who will hook you up with lunch dates if you are a fit for their members. You have to have an initial call (for free) for them to assess this.
If you aren't great at finding matches (or keep dating the wrong people), It's Just Lunch might be a good option for you. Likewise, if you're too busy to sit filling out profiles and searching for matches, it's a nice alternative to traditional dating sites for over 50s.
Pros of It's Just Lunch: A real person facilitates matches for you, and you are guaranteed to meet people for lunch.
Cons of It's Just Lunch: It costs £1,500 - £3,500 to join, depending on how many dates you're looking for and where you live. They may not have enough members in your area for it to work, but you might be willing to travel.
Tips for Using It's Just Lunch: Sit back and enjoy someone else doing the matchmaking for you!
The best free dating sites for over 50s
If you want a free dating site, choose Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, or POF. If you want a site specifically for those over 50, you can join SilverSingles or OurTime for free. However, it will cost you to send messages. If you're looking for a more interesting option, try eHarmony, EliteSingles, or It's Just Lunch. They aren't free but should be considered nonetheless!