Despite many new additions to the dating app landscape, Bumble continues to be one of the most popular apps with 40 million users as of February 2021. The app, known for its unique feature of only allowing women to message first, remains in close competition with Tinder as a “top” dating app. But how does Bumble work — and is it better than Tinder?
How does Bumble work
To create an account on Bumble, sign up with either your Facebook account or your phone number. From there, you create your profile: add photos, write a bio, share traits like astrology sign and exercise level, and answer prompts like “I’m a great +1 because.”
Before using Bumble, you’ll also want to set your match preferences. You can set “Date Filters” to determine age and location ranges, as well as whether you want to see men, women, or everyone (there’s no specific option for non-binary or trans users).
With a free Bumble account, you can set two out of 11 “Advanced Filters” and sift out users based on other factors like lifestyle (such as drinking or smoking) or what they’re looking for (like something casual or a relationship). You can set as many Advanced Filters as you want with a Premium account.
Here are the in-app prices listed for Bumble Premium subscriptions:
- 1 week at $19.99
- 1 month at $39.99
- 3 months at $76.99
- Lifetime for $229.99
Alternatively, there’s Bumble Boost, which is a bit cheaper. In-app prices are:
- 1 week at $8.99
- 1 month at $16.99
- 3 months at 33.99
- 6 months at $54.99
With Bumble Boost, users can backtrack (reverse a left swipe); extend time on matches for an additional 24 hours; receive unlimited swipes, one Spotlight per week (putting your profile at the top of the swiping “stack”), and five SuperSwipes a week (letting a potential match know beforehand that you want to match).
Premium members receive all those perks, plus unlimited Advanced Filters; the ability to rematch with expired matches; Travel Mode (swipe anywhere you want to); and seeing everyone who’s already liked you (aka your Beeline).
Possible traits to include in a Bumble profile. Credit: Screenshot: Bumble
Gender, age, and location preferences on Bumble. Credit: Screenshot: Bumble
After completing your profile and preferences, it’s time to swipe. Bumble is similar to Tinder: swipe left to dislike, right to like. Scroll down to view more of a viewer’s profile. Bumble doesn’t give a specific number of swipes free accounts have per day, but if the app notices you’re on a frenzy, they’ll limit your swipes for 24 hours.
As noted earlier, Bumble has a unique feature that only allows women to message first (unless you’re a man messaging another man). If you’re wondering, “How does Bumble work for women?” it’s simple.
If you’re a woman, you have 24 hours to respond to a match, or else it disappears — barring your one extension per day on a free account. Once you message, it’s in your match’s hands. If they don’t message back within 24 hours, the match expires too. Should both of you message, the match won’t go away unless you manually report or unmatch the other person.
You don’t have to use Bumble to date (“Bumble Date”), however. There’s Bumble BFF, for those looking for platonic relationships, and Bumble Bizz, a networking offshoot. The UX is similar, where you swipe to match with users. Users can only choose one setting at a time, though.
Is Bumble better than Tinder?
Given Tinder’s less than stellar reputation, one may ask whether Bumble is the better option. Their interface is similar, so if you don’t like swiping, neither Tinder nor Bumble is the dating app for you.
If you don’t mind swiping but you do mind men sending appalling first messages, though, give Bumble a shot. Still, Bumble’s 24 hour rule on both sides can be daunting. Sometimes you may not be in the mood to chat right away, or you may be swiping during a work break and forget to check back in. Tinder doesn’t have time restraints.
Tinder also doesn’t have alternative services like Bumble BFF or Bizz. If you’re already in a relationship but looking for a different kind of connection, Bumble is your best bet.
There’s also chatter about the “types” of people you’d find Tinder versus Bumble, like that users on the latter are more serious than those on the former. Given that Tinder has resulted in long-term relationships and marriages — and so has Bumble — I don’t take stock in those assumptions. In 2021, people are on all types of dating apps for all different reasons; the specific app may not matter.
What are the pros and cons to Bumble?
- Bumble is free to use (but some features — like seeing who already liked you — are only available for Premium users)
- Women message first — this can be a pro or con, depending on how you look at it
- Matches must match each other within 24 hours — a pro if you want to avoid flakes
- Bumble has a lot of filter options about lifestyle and interests (though you can only set two unless you’re a Premium user)
- Bumble has fun prompts to answer to get to know your match better
- Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz make it possible to either make friends or add to your professional network on the app
- One month of Bumble Boost runs you $16.99 according to in-app price numbers, whereas Tinder has several subscription tiers beginning at $4.99 a month
- Men can’t message first, unless they’re matching with other men
- Matches disappear if both people don’t message within 24 hours, unless free members use their one extension/day or members have Boost or Premium accounts
- Bumble has many gender options in profiles, but only allows search for men, women, or both
- You can only use one mode of Bumble (Date, BFF, or Bizz) at a time
How does Bumble work for men and women? What about queer folks?
For straight people, women must message their matches first.
If you’re not straight, Bumble works a little differently. If you’re a woman looking for another woman, for example, either of you can message first (though the 24 hour limit for both people still applies). The same goes for men looking for other men. If you’re a man looking for both men and women, you’re able to message a man first but not a woman.
If you’re non-binary, Bumble will prompt you to select whether you want to be shown to people looking for women or men. This isn’t the most inclusive, and a downside of the app (though, in fairness, Tinder also only allows search for men and women).
Bumble is a popular dating app that, like any, has its advantages and disadvantages. The only way to see if the “buzz” is worth it is to try it out for yourself.