What is the difference between == and === in JavaScript? [Answered]

Query:

I’m using JSLint to go through JavaScript, and it’s returning many suggestions to replace == (two equals signs) with === (three equals signs) when doing things like comparing idSele_UNVEHtype.value.length == 0 inside of an if statement.

Is there a performance benefit to replacing == with ===?

Any performance improvement would be welcomed as many comparison operators exist.

If no type conversion takes place, would there be a performance gain over ==?

What is the difference between == and === in JavaScript? Answer #1:

The strict equality operator (===) behaves identically to the abstract equality operator (==) except no type conversion is done, and the types must be the same to be considered equal.

The == operator will compare for equality after doing any necessary type conversions. The === operator will not do the conversion, so if two values are not the same type === will simply return false. Both are equally quick.

To quote Douglas Crockford’s excellent JavaScript: The Good Parts,

JavaScript has two sets of equality operators: === and !==, and their evil twins == and !=. The good ones work the way you would expect. If the two operands are of the same type and have the same value, then === produces true and !== produces false. The evil twins do the right thing when the operands are of the same type, but if they are of different types, they attempt to coerce the values. the rules by which they do that are complicated and unmemorable. These are some of the interesting cases:

'' == '0'           // false
0 == ''             // true
0 == '0'            // true

false == 'false'    // false
false == '0'        // true

false == undefined  // false
false == null       // false
null == undefined   // true

' \t\r\n ' == 0     // true
Equality Comparison Table

The lack of transitivity is alarming. My advice is to never use the evil twins. Instead, always use === and !==. All of the comparisons just shown produce false with the === operator.


Update:

A good point was brought up by @Casebash in the comments and in @Phillipe Laybaert’s answer concerning objects. For objects, == and === act consistently with one another (except in a special case).

var a = [1,2,3];
var b = [1,2,3];

var c = { x: 1, y: 2 };
var d = { x: 1, y: 2 };

var e = "text";
var f = "te" + "xt";

a == b            // false
a === b           // false

c == d            // false
c === d           // false

e == f            // true
e === f           // true

The special case is when you compare a primitive with an object that evaluates to the same primitive, due to its toString or valueOf method. For example, consider the comparison of a string primitive with a string object created using the String constructor.

"abc" == new String("abc")    // true
"abc" === new String("abc")   // false

Here the == operator is checking the values of the two objects and returning true, but the === is seeing that they’re not the same type and returning false. Which one is correct? That really depends on what you’re trying to compare. My advice is to bypass the question entirely and just don’t use the String constructor to create string objects from string literals.

Reference
http://www.ecma-international.org/ecma-262/5.1/#sec-11.9.3

Answer #2:

Using the == operator (Equality)

true == 1; //true, because 'true' is converted to 1 and then compared
"2" == 2;  //true, because "2" is converted to 2 and then compared

Using the === operator (Identity)

true === 1; //false
"2" === 2;  //false

This is because the equality operator == does type coercion, meaning that the interpreter implicitly tries to convert the values before comparing.

On the other hand, the identity operator === does not do type coercion, and thus does not convert the values when comparing, and is, therefore, faster as it skips one step.

Which equals operator (== vs ===) should be used in JavaScript comparisons? Answer #3:

Here’s an interesting visualisation of the equality comparison between == and ===.


var1 === var2

When using === for JavaScript equality testing, everything is as is.
Nothing gets converted before being evaluated.

Equality evaluation of === in JS

var1 == var2

When using == for JavaScript equality testing, some funky conversions take place.

Equality evaluation of == in JS

Summary of equality in Javascript

Equality in Javascript

Conclusion:

Unless you fully understand the funky conversions that take place with ==always use ===.

Answer #4:

In the answers here, I didn’t read anything about what equal means. Some will say that === means equal and of the same type, but that’s not really true. It actually means that both operands reference the same object, or in case of value types, have the same value.

So, let’s take the following code:

var a = [1,2,3];
var b = [1,2,3];
var c = a;

var ab_eq = (a === b); // false (even though a and b are the same type)
var ac_eq = (a === c); // true

The same here:

var a = { x: 1, y: 2 };
var b = { x: 1, y: 2 };
var c = a;

var ab_eq = (a === b); // false (even though a and b are the same type)
var ac_eq = (a === c); // true

Or even:

var a = { };
var b = { };
var c = a;

var ab_eq = (a === b); // false (even though a and b are the same type)
var ac_eq = (a === c); // true

This behavior is not always obvious. There’s more to the story than being equal and being of the same type.

The rule is:

For value types (numbers):
a === b returns true if a and b have the same value and are of the same type

For reference types:
a === b returns true if a and b reference the exact same object

For strings:
a === b returns true if a and b are both strings and contain the exact same characters


Strings: the special case…

Strings are not value types, but in Javascript they behave like value types, so they will be “equal” when the characters in the string are the same and when they are of the same length (as explained in the third rule)

Now it becomes interesting:

var a = "12" + "3";
var b = "123";

alert(a === b); // returns true, because strings behave like value types

But how about this?:

var a = new String("123");
var b = "123";

alert(a === b); // returns false !! (but they are equal and of the same type)

I thought strings behave like value types? Well, it depends who you ask… In this case a and b are not the same type. a is of type Object, while b is of type string. Just remember that creating a string object using the String constructor creates something of type Object that behaves as a string most of the time.

== vs === in JavaScript – Answer #5:

In JavaScript, it means of the same value and type.

For example,

4 == "4" // will return true

but

4 === "4" // will return false 

Answer #6:

Why == is so unpredictable?

What do you get when you compare an empty string "" with the number zero 0?

true

Yep, that’s right according to == an empty string and the number zero are the same time.

And it doesn’t end there, here’s another one:

'0' == false // true

Things get really weird with arrays.

[1] == true // true
[] == false // true
[[]] == false // true
[0] == false // true

Then weirder with strings

[1,2,3] == '1,2,3' // true - REALLY?!
'\r\n\t' == 0 // true - Come on!

It get’s worse:

When is equal not equal?

let A = ''  // empty string
let B = 0   // zero
let C = '0' // zero string

A == B // true - ok... 
B == C // true - so far so good...
A == C // **FALSE** - Plot twist!

Let me say that again:

(A == B) && (B == C) // true
(A == C) // **FALSE**

And this is just the crazy stuff you get with primitives.

It’s a whole new level of crazy when you use == with objects.

At this point your probably wondering…

Why does this happen?

Well it’s because unlike “triple equals” (===) which just checks if two values are the same.

== does a whole bunch of other stuff.

It has special handling for functions, special handling for nulls, undefined, strings, you name it.

It get’s pretty wacky.

In fact, if you tried to write a function that does what == does it would look something like this:

function isEqual(x, y) { // if `==` were a function
    if(typeof y === typeof x) return y === x;
    // treat null and undefined the same
    var xIsNothing = (y === undefined) || (y === null);
    var yIsNothing = (x === undefined) || (x === null);

    if(xIsNothing || yIsNothing) return (xIsNothing && yIsNothing);

    if(typeof y === "function" || typeof x === "function") {
        // if either value is a string 
        // convert the function into a string and compare
        if(typeof x === "string") {
            return x === y.toString();
        } else if(typeof y === "string") {
            return x.toString() === y;
        } 
        return false;
    }

    if(typeof x === "object") x = toPrimitive(x);
    if(typeof y === "object") y = toPrimitive(y);
    if(typeof y === typeof x) return y === x;

    // convert x and y into numbers if they are not already use the "+" trick
    if(typeof x !== "number") x = +x;
    if(typeof y !== "number") y = +y;
    // actually the real `==` is even more complicated than this, especially in ES6
    return x === y;
}

function toPrimitive(obj) {
    var value = obj.valueOf();
    if(obj !== value) return value;
    return obj.toString();
}

So what does this mean?

It means == is complicated.

Because it’s complicated it’s hard to know what’s going to happen when you use it.

Which means you could end up with bugs.

So the moral of the story is…

Make your life less complicated.

Use === instead of ==.

The End.

Answer #7:

The equal comparison operator == is confusing and should be avoided.

If you HAVE TO live with it, then remember the following 3 things:

  1. It is not transitive: (a == b) and (b == c) does not lead to (a == c)
  2. It’s mutually exclusive to its negation: (a == b) and (a != b) always hold opposite Boolean values, with all a and b.
  3. In case of doubt, learn by heart the following truth table:

EQUAL OPERATOR TRUTH TABLE IN JAVASCRIPT

  • Each row in the table is a set of 3 mutually “equal” values, meaning that any 2 values among them are equal using the equal == sign*

** STRANGE: note that any two values on the first column are not equal in that sense.**

''       == 0 == false   // Any two values among these 3 ones are equal with the == operator
'0'      == 0 == false   // Also a set of 3 equal values, note that only 0 and false are repeated
'\t'     == 0 == false   // -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
'\r'     == 0 == false   // -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
'\n'     == 0 == false   // -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
'\t\r\n' == 0 == false   // -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

null == undefined  // These two "default" values are not-equal to any of the listed values above
NaN                // NaN is not equal to any thing, even to itself.

Hope you learned something from this post.

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