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Hinge dating app review: This dating app goes way beyond likes and swipes

Close-up of young couple hugging.
Close-up of young couple hugging. Cully Wright/Hinge

Hinge is one of the most popular dating apps out there. Advertised as "designed to be deleted," Hinge aims to bring people together for serious dating experiences. With more than 20% of online dating users between the ages of 18 and 64 having used Hinge at least once between July of 2022 and June of 2023, Hinge is up there with other uber popular dating apps like Bumble in terms of popularity. 

But does Hinge live up to its own hype when it comes to setting up serious relationships? And who's even using this app, anyway? I signed up to get a feel for the average Hinge user experience. If you have questions about Hinge, read through my in-depth review below.

Our Hinge review at a glance

How does Hinge work?

Have you ever downloaded a mobile dating app or signed up for an account online through sites like the algorithm-based eHarmony, which first launched in 2000? If you have, you're likely familiar with most of the mechanics of any modern day dating app.

Whether you're on a website or an app on your phone, there are some universal features that come with the territory. You create a user profile, upload one or more pictures, fill out some details about what kind of connection you're looking for, and start reviewing a virtual conga line of potential matches and other online dating users until you see someone you're interested in.

Mobile dating apps like Hinge or Tinder, which is generally geared toward more casual dating, use a sort of "card" system: Potential matches pop up one at a time based on an algorithm with pictures and a brief bio, and then it's up to you to swipe right or left -- yay or nay -- before moving on to the next user's profile card. 

Some apps tweak the formula. Hinge offers a more grounded experience that prioritizes serious relationships in a few key ways. When setting up your profile, you have access to a number of additional features that other dating apps lack, such as prompts and captions for photos, video and voice-based prompts, and unique conversation starters like custom polls. 

Promo image depicting sample Hinge video call prompts. Hinge

Another standout feature for Hinge users is how communication works. Instead of simply "liking" someone, which can feel impersonal, Hinge lets users like or comment on specific prompts or photos. This makes it easier to connect with someone earnestly over shared interests (or a really good pickup line).

Due to Hinge's growing popularity, it's also becoming increasingly easy for gay, lesbian, and nonbinary users to find like-minded or open-minded individuals. Since Hinge is more of a relationship-oriented app it can offer a refreshing alternative to more limited or casual apps for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

When you sign up for Hinge, you have a few options. Hinge is free to download and use, but there are also upgraded paid subscriptions that unlock even more features. If you want more than eight likes per day, Hinge+ offers unlimited likes, additional dating preferences, and the ability to sort users by things like location. The next and highest tier is HingeX, which gives you everything that comes with Hinge+ plus enhanced recommendations and "priority" likes that can help you stand out to other users. 

Hinge+ costs $17 per week or $35 per month while HingeX costs $23 per week or $45 per month. Both subscriptions come with discounted prices of up to 75% or more if you pay for multiple months, however. Read more about the cost breakdown of each subscription below

Our pros and cons

When I first downloaded Hinge, I went through the process of setting up a free account. I made use of every feature that's available to free users and started swiping. After one week with a free account, I upgraded to HingeX for one week to see how world-changing the premium Hinge experience really is. 

After a two-week trial run and a deep dive into Hinge as a dating app that tries to set itself apart from the competition as a hub for serious relationships, I can start this review with the pros and cons:

What I liked about Hinge: 

  • The ability to like or comment on specific photos or prompts with a free account. Many other dating apps restrict free users to simple likes with comments or opening lines locked behind a paywall.
  • Dating preferences that let free users set deal breakers for things like maximum distance, age range, and religion -- another feature that's sometimes only available to paid users.
  • An award-winning algorithm (Nobel-prize-winning Gale Shapley algorithm) is used to help users find potential matches.
  • Hinge's popularity and status as a relationship-oriented dating app makes this a great pick for anyone interested in something more long term, regardless of gender identity or sexual preference. 
  • Voice prompts, video prompts, and prompt polls give users plenty of room to express themselves.
  • Hinge offers a range of dating preferences that make searching for the perfect match easy. This is especially true for Hinge+ and HingeX users, since they have even more preference options.

What I didn't like about Hinge:

  • Unless you pay for several months at a time, both premium subscriptions can be costly.
  • Some features like weekly "roses" ("super likes" by another name) can feel a bit tacky.
  • A number of potential matches are walled off as "standout profiles" and can only be reached with a rose, which can feel like a limiting factor for some users.

How much does Hinge cost?

So with different subscription models and discounted bundle prices, you're likely looking for a straight answer to the question: how much does Hinge cost? While Hinge is free to use, here is the cost breakdown for anyone interested in accessing everything Hinge has to offer.

It's worth noting that Hinge claims in its terms of use agreement that its pricing can vary based on a number of factors like occasional promotional rates and new features. All prices listed below are based on advertised prices at the time of publication.

Hinge+ prices and special features

  • One week: $16.99
  • One month: $34.99 (a 52% discount)
  • Three months: $21.66 (a 70% discount)
  • Six months: $16.99 per month (a 77% discount)

Hinge+ gives users some key upgrades including unlimited likes, expanded dating preferences (politics, education, family plans, etc.), and the ability to sort matches and incoming likes by who's new or nearby. Hinge+ subscribers can also see everyone who likes them, which is a step up from free users, who can only see their most recent incoming like at any time.

HingeX prices and unlocked benefits 

  • One week: $22.99
  • One month: $44.99 (a 54% discount)
  • Three months: $29.99 (a 70% discount)
  • Six months: $24.99 per month (a 75% discount)

In addition to everything that comes with Hinge+, HingeX users can enjoy even more features including enhanced match recommendations and priority likes that show up first for other users.

Is Hinge X worth it?

During my one week with a HingeX subscription, I could appreciate the added features that were unavailable when I first signed up for free. I personally never hit the daily limit for free likes, but eight is a small number to work with and may be frustrating for other users. The unlimited likes that came with a premium subscription, as well as the added preference filters, were a nice touch.

One of the biggest reasons to try out HingeX is the priority treatment that it rewards you when it comes to matching with other users. If a popular user gets multiple likes per day, your own like may go unseen at the bottom of the stack -- unless you have a HingeX subscription. This puts your like at the top of their stack no matter what, which can improve your odds of getting a match.

Is that enough of a reason to sign up for HingeX? If you're someone who's serious about online dating, or you're tired of getting nowhere fast with your free account, it absolutely can be. The biggest advantage to many for a premium Hinge account is access to unlimited daily likes, which you can get with Hinge+, so it really boils down to personal choice. 

If you're committed to paying for a multi-month HingeX subscription and Hinge+ just doesn't cut it, then we recommend giving HingeX a try. But if you're on the fence about those prices or paying for three to six months for a dating app that's "designed to be deleted" anyway, the free model works just fine.

Who is Hinge for?

So who else is on Hinge? According to the app itself, Hinge is geared towards Gen Z users, with the average Hinge user aged at 25 years old. Millennials make up the second largest group. So if you're looking for people between the ages of 18 and 27 or 28 and 43, Hinge can be a great app for meeting new people.

Hinge also has a growing LGBTQIA+ user base thanks to a number of inclusive features. A slew of new prompts and conversation starters were added to the app in 2022 that better center and highlight gay, lesbian, nonbinary, and trans users. Some of these newer icebreakers include:

  • My favorite LGBTQIA+ book is...
  • My chosen family is the best at...
  • I wish I could tell the younger version of myself...
  • Gender euphoria looks like...

In my experience with Hinge, I found these and many other prompts to be refreshing when compared to the cookie-cutter questions and prompts from other dating apps.

Graphic showing an 89% success rate among LGBTQIA+ Hinge daters that hit it off with a good conversation (Source: Beyond the Talking Stage: 2023 LGBTQIA+ DATE Report).
Graphic showing an 89% success rate among LGBTQIA+ Hinge daters that hit it off with a good conversation (Source: Beyond the Talking Stage: 2023 LGBTQIA+ DATE Report). Hinge

Does Hinge get good reviews?

Customer reviews can be all over the place when it comes to dating apps, since every user's experience is going to be different. Hinge currently has a low rating of 1.3 out of 5 stars on trustpilot, but many of those seem to be anecdotal. Otherwise, the biggest complaints I could find among frustrated users were related to poor or unresponsive customer service. 

Other Hinge users praise the dating app for its effective matching algorithm, slew of interesting prompts, and matching system that goes beyond a simple, impersonal swipe for more meaningful connections. 

While Hinge is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it does currently hold a solid B rating.

Is Hinge better than Bumble?

Hinge is not the only dating app out there -- far from it, actually. When there's a sea of dating apps to compete with, how do you stand out? Here's how Hinge compares to some of the biggest mobile dating apps on the scene today:

Hinge app logo. Hinge
  • Bumble vs. Hinge: Bumble is one of the most popular dating apps available today. It has a larger user base, so you might find more nearby matches. Bumble also has a "women first" approach to matchmaking, where women and femmes send the first message, although it recently rolled out a new feature that lets anyone send the first message. Bumble is a great option for anyone interested in a serious relationship, but Hinge has a slight edge thanks to its impressive matchmaking algorithm and multitude of unique prompts.
  • eHarmony vs. Hinge: eHarmony is a dating app for people who love to go into detail about themselves and what they're looking for in a match. It includes an 80-question compatibility quiz that is used to find other suitable matches. eHarmony recently launched an update to expand inclusivity with new gender identities (agender, bigender, genderfluid, transgender, nonbinary, and more) and other features, but Hinge wins out with a bigger user base of gay, lesbian, nonbinary, and trans users.
  • Tinder vs. Hinge: Tinder is another super popular dating app. Despite features like an exhaustive list of personal interests and prompts to help liven up accounts, Tinder still comes across as a casual dating app to many. It has its pros: Setting up an account is super easy and swiping on potential matches has become a core feature for many other dating apps. But if you're looking for more authentic connections and serious relationships, Hinge is the app for you.

Our final verdict on the dating app that's "designed to be deleted"

After spending a few weeks with the dating app, I can absolutely recommend signing up for a free account to start. Setup is quick and painless, and the various prompts can make talking about yourself pretty fun. Hinge offers a great experience for its free users, with the one downside being a daily limit of just eight likes. 

A premium HingeX subscription can be worth it if you're serious about online dating, but I only recommend it if you're ready to commit to three or more months at a time (for that sweet, sweet discount). If you're interested in Hinge but on the fence about a paid subscription, consider upgrading to Hinge+ for a week before committing one way or another.

At the end of the day, I found the hype behind Hinge is justified. The app's award-winning algorithm and many conversation starters make for an inviting and rewarding experience for users of all gender identities and with a range of dating preferences. 

Even though some features feel like they go against the app's core mission of being an app you eventually delete -- such as pricing models that reward long-term subscriptions or potential "standout" matches that require a rose to reach out to -- I still highly recommend the dating app for people looking for a serious relationship.

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