The 256-question intake process at eHarmony.com (Est. $60 per month) is by far the most extensive of any online dating service, and this is both its strength and its weakness. The long questionnaire weeds out those who aren't serious about the process, and the extensive data that's gathered feeds eHarmony.com's 29-dimension match-making algorithm. However, you have to rely on the algorithm to select your potential mates -- you can't do any searches yourself.
Diverse membership. The site states that it has more than 33 million ethnically, racially and religiously diverse registered users. With a lengthy questionnaire and higher subscription fees, reviewers agree that eHarmony.com attracts patient people, and it has a higher potential for serious, long-term relationships and fewer unsavory suitors. Reviewers also caution that the site has a more conservative user base than dating sites such as Match.com or Lavalife.com and does not cater to those seeking same-sex relationships.
Matchmaking done for you. The site boasts a scientific approach to matching compatible members based on 29 "dimensions" to predict the potential success of a long-term relationship. Registration is long, with 256 questions that are grouped into core traits, such as emotional temperament, social style and intellect; and vital attributes, such as relationship skills, values and family background.
Reviewers and users say you learn a lot about yourself, but if the questionnaire identifies you as "emotionally unhealthy," you won't be offered membership. You have to rely on eHarmony.com to pair you up with compatible people -- you can't search other profiles yourself. If the system is matching you up with singles outside an acceptable age range or geographic area, which users say isn't uncommon, there's not much you can do about it.
Two plans to choose from. Once you're accepted into the eHarmony.com community, you can receive matches for free, but you must sign up for a subscription of at least a month to begin communication, see your matches' photos and check when they last logged in. If you choose the Total Connect Plan, you can also send and receive unlimited messages, track who looks at your profile and receive a deeper personality analysis. With both types of plans, the more months you sign up for, the lower the per-month cost becomes. Critics say the subscription price is too high for a site that doesn't permit members to browse through profiles. The site does provide free mobile access to its web site.
Recommended communication process. Matches sent to your inbox by eHarmony.com may often be inactive or nonpaying members, but there's no way of knowing this, except through non-responsiveness when you try to communicate with them. Users warn that the matching system doesn't mean you shouldn't take as much care in choosing potential mates as at other dating sites. When contacting another member, eHarmony.com encourages members to follow their guided communication process. This prolongs the matching process, though, which reviewers say is already on the slow side.
NextAdvisor.com's male editor has little to say about eHarmony.com, since his application was rejected. The site's female editor says the long and repetitive questionnaire is worth doing but describes some of her matches as "fluffy." The review says eHarmony.com is only for those who are patient and want a serious relationship.
Review: EHarmony Review: Online Dating, Editors of NextAdvisor.com, Not dated
2. Dating Singles Review.com
For four years running, eHarmony.com has won an award from both editors and users of DatingSitesReviews.com. Editors like the detailed questionnaire but dislike the expense and the inability to search profiles yourself.
Review: eHarmony Review, Editors of DatingSitesReviews.com, Not dated
Bonny Albo, About.com's dating guide, gives eHarmony.com 4 out of 5 stars for its impressive track record in matching serious singles. She does admit that both sign-up and matching procedures take a long time and recommends users have at least three match suggestions before subscribing. She also notes eHarmony.com's history as a Christian-oriented dating site.
Review: eHarmony Review, Bonny Albo, Not dated
After running trials in five cities in the U.S. with varying demographics in the U.S., the male testers at BestDatingSitesGuide.com named eHarmony.com the third-best online dating site. They did have success on this site with the same approach they used on Match.com, but not as much. The profiles they received from eHarmony.com were women they were likely to be interested in.
Review: eHarmony.com Review: Why eHarmony.com Was Ranked 3rd, Editors of BestDatingSitesGuide.com, Sept. 5, 2012
5. PC World
PC World's editors admit eHarmony.com is for those "who are looking for a serious relationship. Seriously." For anyone less serious, they recommend the free OkCupid.com. Both Sarah Jacobsson Purewal and Alex Wawro complain about the exceptionally long questionnaire; Wawro grumbles that it makes you feel like a statistic.
Review: Online Dating for Nerds: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Postings, Sarah Jacobsson Purewal and Alex Wawro, Feb. 10, 2011
The editors of TopTenReviews.com award eHarmony the silver medal in their roundup of the top 10 online dating sites for 2013, but it comes in a poor second to winner Match.com. It scores the maximum marks in the profiles and search/match categories, but it doesn't do well in site appeal, communication and ease of use. The reviewers say that a downside to not being able to perform your own searches is that if "eHarmony can't find matches for you, you can't do anything else on the website."
Review: Editors of TopTenReviews.com, eHarmony.com, Not dated
7. eDate Review
With more than 2,400 reviews, eDateReview.com contributors have plenty of (mostly negative) things to say about eHarmony.com. Many complain about being matched with inactive or nonpaying members. Others warn that the matching system doesn't mean you shouldn't take as much care in choosing potential mates as at other dating sites.
Review: Reviews of eHarmony.com, Contributors to eDateReview.com, Not dated
Only about one-quarter of the reviewers at Viewpoints.com are willing to recommend eHarmony.com. They say that the scientific method doesn't work or that matches are unsuitable for other reasons. Users also complain that the service sends far fewer matches than they expected, which they feel is inexcusable when it charges such a high price.
Review: eHarmony.com Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, Not dated