When I started dating in New York City (which was approximately 30 minutes after I first arrived to the city—exactly two years ago!), of course I started with the Grindr app. It’s far and away the most popular, and personally, my favorite. Sure, it’s got its problems, but
By now, I feel most everyone knows Grindr and its standard practices: it’s a gay app, for hookups and, yes, for dating. The app was one of the original dating apps that used geolocation tools to show you potential matches by how close they are. Since the app launched in March 2009, it’s still the #1 gay app.
Grindr today allows users to search by any number of filters in addition to proximity, including filtering searches by location, tribe, and other sexual interests.
Of the hookup apps, it still reigns supreme. The other gay apps do their jobs, but I still think Grindr is the best mostly because it still works really well, and it serves its purpose. I’ve had more dates and more hookups through Grindr than any other app.
And most of the time, I’ve been using the free version of the app just like the vast majority of Grindr users and gay men. Pop up ads in the app often urge me to do a free trial of Grindr XTRA and I’ve mostly ignored them.
But in the past few weeks, due to the COVID-19 quarantine, many XTRA pro features have been made temporarily available to all users. This little taste of Grindr XTRA is nice, and it’s certainly helping to encourage people stay at home, but now you might be wondering: is Grindr XTRA worth the cost?
More About Gay Dating, Hookups, and Looking for Love
Over the past 10 years or so of using Grindr intermittently, I’ve paid for Grindr XTRA subscriptions on occasion—maybe twice? For gay travelers, Grindr can be a really useful tool, not just for hookups, but for finding friends and travel buddies.
Let me list some of the pros & cons of using Grindr XTRA, and whether I think it’s worth paying for the premium subscription or not…
Grindr as a free app vs Grindr XTRA
As the Grindr app has grown and grown over the years, the app developers have continually added new features. Today, the gay app is pretty jam-packed with options, filters, and tools that truly make it the powerhouse app that it is.
Other gay dating apps, and the more inclusive mainstream dating apps like OKCupid and Hinge, offer similar or even more features in their free apps. Grindr’s attraction, though, comes from its universal appeal and global domination in the LGBTQ market.
The free version of Grindr includes almost all the features you could need or want for either dates or casual sex. The premium features (outlined below) for XTRA and Premium subscribers (pay through the app store) just make the app easier to use.
Grindr XTRA v Grindr Premium
Grindr XTRA is the premium version of the hookup app. When you buy Grindr XTRA, you get almost all the features you’d want from an expanded version of the app. Grindr Premium is an even more expensive upgrade, which includes super-premium features.
Note: some of these are periodically included in the free version of the app depending
- No banner or pop-up ads
- Personalized push notifications
- View up to 600 people on the grid
- Full features (chat, tap) in Explore mode
- Filter to view users who are currently online
- Expanded Grindr tribe options
- Unlimited blocks & favorites
- Save and send chat favorite phrases
- Quick-send recent photos
- Read receipts for your messages
- Filter and mark profiles as “recently chatted”
- Discreet app icon option
- PIN lock option for added security
Grindr Premium add-ons
- Unlimited profile scrolling
- See everyone who has viewed your profile
- Incognito mode
- See when someone is typing a message in your chats
- Unsend messages
Is it worth it to buy Grindr XTRA or Grindr Premium?
Honestly: it’s probably not necessary. The features provided in Grindr XTRA are definitely attractive to heavy users, but the free features are oftentimes enough for even the most regular Grindr user. If you’re looking for regular hookups, casual sex, or even romantic dates, the free version is usually enough to get you what you want.
The premium features are great, though, if you’re interested in social media spying on an ex-boyfriend (don’t do it!), or the extra anxiety that comes with all the stress of modern gay dating.
One of my personal favorite premium features of Grindr XTRA is the ability to see who has viewed your profile. Though, honestly, it’s kind of useless. Seeing who has viewed your profile but not actually written you; all it does is increase that dating anxiety with thoughts like “what did they see on my profile that wasn’t attractive to them?” There’s not much point to it except for your own vanity.
However, the best feature from Grindr XTRA are the expanded filtering options such as height, sexual position, body type, and relationship status. With those filters, you can better find a potential match. It works especially well in high-density areas (such as gay Brooklyn) where your Grindr grid just might be full of options. Limiting your options helps to find a potential date or hookup.
Is Grindr XTRA worth the extra cost? That’s up to you. Personally, I don’t use the app enough to make it worthwhile for the extra cost. It’s not cheap for the premium features!