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Difference between HashMap vs TreeMap vs LinkedHashMap in Java

Hello guys, if you are wondering what is difference between HashMap, TreeMap and LinkedHashMap in Java and  when to use HashMap, TreeMap and LinkedHashMap in Java then you are at the right place. Earlier, I have shared difference between HashSet, TreeSet, and LinkedHashSet and in this article, I will explain the difference between these three common Map implementation HashMsp, TreeMap, and LinkedHashMap. Though all three classes like HashMap, LinkedHashMap and TreeMap are implementation of java.util.Map interface, there is some functionality difference between them. Perhaps most notable difference between them comes from their iteration order. HashMap makes absolute no guarantee about in which order you can iterate their keys, any application depending upon iteration order of HashMap is fragile, because it can change anytime. In fact, in Java 7, iteration order of HashMap is different than Java 6. 

On the other hand TreeMap is a SoretedMap and keeps their key in particular sorted order, enforced by either natural order of keys or Comparator instance provided during construction of TreeMap. 

The third Map, LinkedHashMap can maintain its keys in two order, either insertion order (on which those keys are inserted) or access order (on which they are accessed). By default, LinkedHashMap keeps keys in insertion order, I mean in the order you will add keys into Map. If you want to maintain access order, just provide true to access order boolean parameter. 

Another crucial difference between HashMap, TreeMap and LinkedHashMap comes from their performance for common operations like get(), put(), remove() and containsKey(); both HashMan and LinkedHashMap provides O(1) performance, while TreeMap provides O(log(n)), so it's slightly slow compared to other two. 

This is actually the cost you need to pay to keep keys in their sorting order. Apart from these major differences, we will learn couple of more in next section.

Difference between HashMap, LinkedHashMap and TreeMap in Java

Here are some important difference between TreeMap, LinkedHashMap, and HashMap in Java on point format

1. Order of Elements

HashMap doesn't maintain any order, TreeMap keeps all elements in sorted order, specified by Comparator or object's natural order defined by Comparable. LinkedHashMap keeps elements in the same order they are inserted into map. 

2. Performance

HashMap gives best performance because there is no overhead, TreeMap gives slower performance because every time you add or remove mapping , it need to sort the whole map. LinkedHashMap gives performance in between, 

3. Null keys and values

HashMap allows only one null keys and allows multiple null value, but TreeMap doesn't allow null key. LinkedHashMap allows null key. 

Difference between HashMap vs TreeMap vs LinkedHashMap in Java

4. Fail-fast behavior

Iterator of all map are fail-fast in nature. Which means all HashMap, TreeMap, and LinkedHashMap have fail fast iterator, so no difference in this point. 

5. Internal implementation

HashMap is internally based upon hash table data structure, TreeMap is based upon Red Black Tree and LinkedHashMap uses doubly linked list to keep elements in the same order they are inserted. 

6. Synchronization

None of these map are synchronized. 

7. Usage

LinkedHashMap also provides a great starting point for creating a Cache object by overriding the removeEldestEntry() method. This lets you create a Cache object that can expire data using some criteria that you define. For example, you can use this method to create a LRU Cache in Java

And, here is a nice table of all the difference between HashMap, LinkedHashMap, Hashtable, and TreeMap in Java

Difference between HashMap, LinkedHashMap and TreeMap in Java

That's all about difference between HashMap, LinkedHashMap and TreeMap in Java. These differences includes both functional and non-functional differences between them. If you know them well, it will be easy for you to choose right kind of Map depending upon situation. 

If you forget everything then just remember that HashMap is your general purpose Map, whenever you need a hash table data structure just use it. 

TreeMap is your sorted Map which keep keys in sorted order like stock exchange keep order sorted in time and price priority, and LinkedHashMap maintains insertion order, the order on which elements was added. You can use it implement LRU cache in Java. 

P. S. - If you are new to Java world and want to understand Java Collection framework in depth along with all data structure Java provides then I also suggest you to checkout this list of best Java collections and Stream courses where you will find best courses to learn Java Collections in depth from Udemy, Pluralsight, Educative, and Coursera. 


  1. Please correct "Hashmap does allow one null key"

    1. Yes, that's correct, HashMap does allow only one null key and it stored at zero location on array. Thanks for pointing out, its corrected now.


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