GROWLr Dating App Review
1. What you need to know:
Are you tired of loading up Grindr and scrolling through mountains of Twinks before you find a single bear? I am a guy who is totally into fur, and so my ears pricked up when I heard about GROWLr. This is an app that is for bears and bears alone. It’s worthwhile if you’re looking for bears to hook up with, and it is also pretty handy for getting alerts about events like bear runs and finding bear bars near you. This app aims to seduce all bear lovers to download it, and so I took the plunge. This GROWLr dating app review reveals all about my experiences with this app. As it’s not such a subtle pastiche of a name suggests, GROWLr is pretty much Grindr for bears – but it does have some additional features that make it stand out further from this format.
2. The stats:
GROWLr has been around for nearly seven years, and its focus is on hookups and sociability (bears can be very sociable animals as we all know). Whether you want to find a towering bear in a new city, you are visiting for the night, or whether you and a few friends want to find a fantastic bear bar to dance the night away in, GROWLr will provide you with plenty of options. The app’s founders are (of course) none other than a couple of bears: Coley Cummiskey and Frank Rollings, who married each other in LA in 2016.
The app is free to use and download, but if you want to go Pro (which includes features such as letting you set your personal hotspot for other GROWLr users to enjoy), you will have to pay. In-app features can range in price from less than £1 to just under £50. User statistics released at the end of December 2016 suggest that GROWLr has had between one and five million downloads, though the GROWLr website will tell you that there are over 8 million profiles on there.
The app is available for both iPhone (iOS 8.0 or above are required) and Android, and though it’s most popular in Anglo countries (unsurprising given that it was launched in the US), it is almost as ubiquitous as Grindr. I’ve visited cities in Scandinavia, Canada, Asia and the UK and have always found guys using GROWLr. The app is available in numerous languages, including English, German, French and Spanish. As the focus is more on a particular type of guy rather than on a particular age, I’d say that GROWLr is (theoretically at least) an app for all ages. However, I’d feel sorry if I didn’t mention in this GROWLr dating app review the fact that most of the guys I’ve seen on GROWLr have been in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
3. What it packs:
As soon as you download GROWLr, you would be forgiven for thinking that the app’s designers had simply taken the format of Grindr and added the proviso that this was an app only for bears and guys who love fur. You can chat with anyone and browse hundreds of profiles in an hour thanks to the intuitive format. There’s more to discover with GROWLr, though, so I thought I’d get that little Grindr comparison out of the way early on in my GROWLr dating app review so that I can move on to discuss the other functions.
One thing I love about GROWLr is its sociable side. This is evident from the dedicated GROWLr hotspot service whereby GROWLr Pro users can turn their phone or (if you are using the desktop version, not the app) their computer into a hotspot which other GROWLr users can tap into. As long as they are using your hotspot, these other users will be able to access all of the GROWLr Pro features whether they had upgraded their profiles to the Pro version or not. This altruistic feature is ideal for bear bars and clubs (which was obviously the designers’ intention).
One thing that annoyed me about this app is that it was riddled with ads. Looking at other GROWLr dating app review sites, I’ve found that I’m not the only user who was frustrated at having a session of scrolling through hundreds of beefy guys interrupted by the lurid colours of Candy Crush Saga.
4. The last word:
If I had to give a summary of this GROWLr dating app review, I’d say that the key selling point of this app is the sheer number of guys on there. Yes, it’s not as slick as other apps out there (such as ManHunt or Mr Scruff) and (as I mentioned earlier in my GROWLr dating app review) it does have too many ads. But, GROWLr makes up for this by offering every bear and bear lover an absolute deluge of guys to choose from.
GROWLr also has a friendlier vibe than other dating apps for gay men.
Anyone who has been on Grindr for more than five minutes will know that there can be quite a bit of bitchiness or cruel sarcasm on there. The conversations that I’ve had on GROWLr have been way more positive than those I have had on Grindr, and even on OKCupid where guys are supposedly more likely to be looking for a lasting connection rather than a little hookup. I’ve also used the GROWLr hotspot via the ‘Shout!’ function in various bear bars throughout the world and that was kind of fun and useful too (everyone loves a free upgrade to their profile)!
5. GROWLr dating app review Rating:
My GROWLr dating app review can be summed up in the following star rating:
I didn’t give this app full marks because (and I hesitated to say this earlier in my GROWLr dating app review), I didn’t find a huge percentage of (what I consider to be) smoking hot guys on there. But, this didn’t matter so much, because I loved the sheer number of users on the app and the general friendliness and positivity of the conversations I had with them. The sociable side was great too, as it gave a real sense of the bear community and meant that I could use the app not just as a lonely guy looking for a hookup but also as a member of a group of friends seeking something sociable to do in the evening. Thumbs up!
App Store 4/5
Google Play 4.1/5