Pros / The signup process is very thorough, increasing your chances of finding someone you’re compatible with.
Cons / You can’t view photos or message users without a subscription.
Verdict / eharmony is one of the most thorough online dating services, but using it in its totality requires a subscription.
Right away, eharmony makes it clear it’s for people looking for long-term, meaningful connections. The website interface looks modern and is intuitive to use. The signup process takes roughly 20 minutes – more than double the typical dating service – so it’s very thorough.
After a series of baseline questions about your job, salary, sex, drinking and smoking habits, and religious beliefs, eharmony quizzes you on how you view yourself and what you want in a partner. Users can note how important certain aspects of their mate are, such as salary, religion, race or desire to have kids.
A compatibility quiz asks you to rate on a scale how well certain words describe you, like “warm,” “sensual” or “stylish.” It asks more in-depth questions as well including whether you stand up for yourself, whether you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes or whether you take conversations to the next level. While contemplating these things can be an odd experience, it’s absolutely necessary to be honest if you want to find someone you’re truly compatible with, not just someone you wish you were compatible with. Much like Elite Singles, eharmony asks how often in the last month you’ve felt specific emotions: happiness, sadness, hopeful, fearful, etc.
Once you get through the initial quiz, access to your account is free but very limited. The site entices you with photos of attractive potential matches in order to tempt you into a subscription, but aside from those initial matches you have no access to photos with a free account. A free account does allow you to match with other users and displays out of 100 percent how high of a match you are with that person – in general and in certain categories such as religious values or physical intimacy. This thorough matching process really impressed our reviewers.
In our tests, the three accounts we created received an average of 23 matches in 24 hours, 36 percent of which were premium matches. eharmony is open about the fact that they limit the number of matches users receive at one time so they’re not overwhelmed and skip over matches because they have so many. Our accounts also received an average of seven messages in 24 hours.
One thing our reviewers considered to be a downside to eHarmony is that it sends those in the LGBTQ community to a totally different website called Compatible Partners. For our tests, we set up two heterosexual profiles and one queer profile, and eharmony was the only service we tested that had an entirely different platform for those seeking LGBTQ partners. That being said, Compatible Partners had an equally thorough and identical signup process and comparable smartphone app.
You also must pay for a subscription if you want to read any received messages or send any, though you can send prewritten questions like “what is your definition of a romantic time?” for free. You can also send and receive “smiles,” just like with Elite Singles, and let a person know you’re interested in them without having to write anything clever. For the accounts we created, we left the email settings on default and received nine emails in 24 hours letting us know when a user was interested and promoting a subscription. As with all the services we tested, you can adjust the email settings if your inbox gets too cluttered.
If you encounter anything unpleasant on the site, blocking and reporting a user is easy to do from the messaging part of the app and website. Deactivating an account was a little harder to find, however. It is located under the “billing” section of the website, and we ended up having to Google how to find it. The site also makes a big show of erasing your information by showing an animation of your matches’ photos falling off a wall and disappearing. That was followed by a photo of a sad Pug that didn’t want you to delete the account. We found this a little off-putting since the goal with online dating is, after all, to find someone and erase your account.