If you’re interested in online dating, chances are you’ve heard Tinder is a hookup site. It doesn’t always have to be, but if you’ve been on there, it’s definitely centered on looks.
So what about Zoosk? Is it worth joining if you’re not into hookups—or maybe if you are? Your call. When it comes to Zoosk vs Tinder, your preferred site will come down to whatever you’re looking for.
If you’re all about personalities, favorite places, living habits and relationship goals, lean toward Zoosk. If you want to treat these sites like you would with meeting someone at a club or party, Tinder is realistic.
There is no right answer. In the meantime though, check out features of both to see which site initially gets your attention.
Key Features of Both Websites
There’s not a whole lot to do with Tinder. By the time you get through the initial sign-in process, you may be too exhausted to bother looking for people. Unlike other sites that ask for bios, personality questions, political views and hard-hitting questions on dating, Tinder feels a bit like one big Instagram experience. You’re just favoriting and passing away (after paying), but you don’t really have the option to narrow down your choices (other than age and distance).
One odd thing about Tinder right now is there’s a voting box near your name where you can find your election location. If your focus is dating, this may feel like a distraction, specifically considering the site doesn’t give you anywhere near as many options to “vote” on your date. However, if you’re a poll worker, voted early, voted on time and/or just registered, here’s your opportunity to show your bragging rights with a sticker on your page. Although it feels a bit rushed, especially when the site doesn’t offer much else when it comes to personality, that’s because it is.
On the other hand, Zoosk lets you narrow down who likes you and who you like with the “Play” option to choose or pass on some users. As you play (and choose your preferences), you can also see who is a mutual match. But in order to keep choosing between users, you must add your own profile photo (as is required with Tinder). Otherwise the site will block you. Make sure to choose a clear photo in a well-lit place, preferably alone.
Comparison of the Sign-Up Process
If you’re trying to keep your real email address under wraps (to avoid partner sites sending unsolicited emails), Tinder may be your least liked way to go. There are three options to sign up: Google, Facebook or your phone number. If you’re going to use any of the three, make sure you have your spam filters set up just in case. And even if you do use an email address, Tinder still asks for your phone number for an authentication code. Be ready to put up a mandatory photograph, too. Only your sexual orientation and interests are mandatory.
But get ready for an unnecessary stressful puzzle query on Tinder with the site asking you to pick out dice with the same image facing up. The problem with this question is the second pair of dice doesn’t seem to match, so when you choose number one, be ready to time out at number two.
On Zoosk, just add a name and email address, along with answering a few easy questions: height, ethnicity, body type, relationship history, how many children you have, education, religion and smoking habits.
Ease of Using Each Platform
On Tinder, if you two match up, then you can message away to get to know each other. In all fairness, sites like these are the most like in-person dating when you meet someone on the street. There’s an initial physical attraction, and then you go from there to see if you can spark up a conversation without having to pay to do so.
Zoosk is far more involved. Unlock Carousel matches (for $0.10 and 180 coins, or other varieties) to boost your profile and/or receive delivery confirmation messages. Paid or unpaid, you can check out each user’s self-described “Story,” “Perfect Match” and “Ideal Date.” You’ll also be able to see if this user has received “Gifts.” If you’re curious what it would be like to hang out with each person, check out their interests in music, movies, TV, books, sports and/or games. You can also search and filter profiles by age, distance, height, religion, relationship, children, education, ethnicity, body type and/or smoking habits. Save your searches so you can see who else fits these specifications the next time you log in, too.
While both Tinder and Zoosk allow you to keep track of who you liked before, you’ll probably remember these people more on Tinder than Zoosk. Why? Because once you get past thinking someone is cute, then you’ll have to have a conversation with him/her to keep the attraction going. On Zoosk, it’s too easy to just start organizing people by cuteness and forgetting about them—unless you pay to send messages.
Pricing of Each
You won’t be able to do much without paying on Tinder. You’ll have one Super Like and zero boosts. But with Tinder Gold, you can see who likes you, send unlimited likes and control your profile. It’s $11.25 per month for 12 months, or a flat rate of $134.99; $16.92 for six months, or $101.49; or $26.99 for one month. With Tinder+, you can swipe around the world and rewind (in case you pass someone by accident). It’s $7.50 for 12 months, or $89.99; $11.25 for six months, or $67.49; or $17.99 for one month.
On Zoosk, in order to message someone, a paid subscription is needed. A one-year membership is $12.49 per month, or a flat rate of $149.88. A six-month membership is $12.49 per month, or a flat rate of $74.95. A three-month membership is $19.98 per month, or a flat rate of $59.95. A one-month membership is $29.95. All major credit cards, including PayPal account options, are accepted. The site also auto-renews. After you pay for Zoosk, you can do the following: send unlimited messaging, have full access to SmartPicks, check out full profiles of who has viewed your own profile and/or chat with your connections.
Pros and Cons
Tinder is doing a bit much when it comes to security needs. It already asks for your Google, Facebook or phone numbers, plus an authentication code. Getting past the face-up-image dice is so annoying—and on a timer—that it could make you just ditch the site altogether. Creating a new bank account is less involved than this site. Sometimes the dice are in the same box (blue and black, then yellow and black) and sometimes they’re in opposite boxes. To add insult to injury, it’ll start off with five mandatory choices. If you time out on those too many times, then it ups the ante to ten mandatory choices. You’ll have to do this over and over again until you answer fast enough. Once you’re in the site, it’s pretty much just one big photo album full of people you’re trying to find physically attractive. If personality matters more to you than looks, Tinder will get boring noticeably fast.
Zoosk first-timers will be able to get in quicker and may find the site less secure. Check out the bottom of the profile to see if users have verified photos, verified phone numbers and/or Facebook verification. However, it’s not mandatory in order to join the site the way it is on Tinder. If you’re not quite sure you want people to see you on this website while you’re deciding to stick around, go “Invisible” for 30 coins. Once you’re ready to get serious about finding a match, use your coins wisely. “Like” or “Smile” at profiles, in addition to sending messages via the inbox system. Live chat or use the messaging system, and you can also keep track of what’s going on with the announcement option. See everything you missed while you were logged out, including likes and smiles.
Do you feel like you have a good idea of which site works for your needs? If not, maybe try joining both. There’s no master plan to make sure that your match will be on one site versus the other. If you join both, you can get to know even more people.
Obviously that means paying more to use both sites. However, if you choose the monthly option, you can dip your toe in early and quickly to see if it’s even worth paying for six months to a year. All it takes is one person to whisk you away from one site and to your nearest movie theater, diner and beyond. For any paid online dating site, make sure to interact regularly so you get the most value for your money. And if gifts, likes and smiles are your way to get to your new beau, go for it.