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Vector vs ArrayList in Java

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ArrayList and Vectors both implement the List interface, and both use (dynamically resizable) arrays for their internal data structure, much like using an ordinary array. 


ArrayList: ArrayList<T> al = new ArrayList<T>();

Vector: Vector<T> v = new Vector<T>(); 

ArrayList Vs vector 

S. No.        ArrayListVector
1.ArrayList is not synchronized.Vector is synchronized.
2.ArrayList increments 50% of the current array size if the number of elements exceeds ts capacity.Vector increments 100% means doubles the array size if the total number of elements exceeds its capacity.
3.ArrayList is not a legacy class. It is introduced in JDK 1.2.Vector is a legacy class.
4.ArrayList is fast because it is non-synchronized.Vector is slow because it is synchronized, i.e., in a multithreading environment, it holds the other threads in a runnable or non-runnable state until the current thread releases the lock of the object.
5.ArrayList uses the Iterator interface to traverse the elements.A Vector can use the Iterator interface or Enumeration interface to traverse the elements.
6ArrayList performance is high Vector performance is low 
7Multiple threads is allowed only one threads are allowed .

Significant Differences between ArrayList and Vector:

  • Synchronization: Vector is synchronized, which means only one thread at a time can access the code, while ArrayList is not synchronized, which means multiple threads can work on ArrayList at the same time. For example, if one thread is performing an add operation, then there can be another thread performing a remove operation in a multithreading environment. If multiple threads access ArrayList concurrently, then we must synchronize the block of the code which modifies the list structurally or allow simple element modifications. Structural modification means the addition or deletion of element(s) from the list. Setting the value of an existing element is not a structural modification.

ArrayList vs Vector Java

  • Performance: ArrayList is faster. Since it is non-synchronized, while vector operations give slower performance since they are synchronized (thread-safe), if one thread works on a vector, it has acquired a lock on it, which forces any other thread wanting to work on it to have to wait until the lock is released.
  • Data Growth: ArrayList and Vector both grow and shrink dynamically to maintain optimal use of storage – but the way they resize is different. ArrayList increments 50% of the current array size if the number of elements exceeds its capacity, while vector increments 100% – essentially doubling the current array size.
  • Traversal: Vector can use both Enumeration and Iterator for traversing over vector elements, while ArrayList can only use Iterator for traversing.
  • Applications: Most of the time, programmers prefer ArrayList over Vector because ArrayList can be synchronized explicitly using Collections.synchronizedList.

How to get Synchronized version of arraylist object:

by default arraylist is object is non-synchronized but we can get synchronized version of arraylist by using collection class Synchronized List() method.


/*package whatever //do not write package name here */
class GFG {
    public static void main (String[] args) {
        public static List SynchronizedList(list1)
          // non synchronized
          ArrayList l1 = new ArrayList();
          // Synchronized
          List l= Collections.SynchronizedList(l1);


Note: ArrayList is preferable when there is no specific requirement to use vector.


// Java Program to illustrate use 
// of ArrayList and Vector in Java
import java.util.*;
class GFG
    public static void main (String[] args)
        // creating an ArrayList
        ArrayList<String> al = new ArrayList<String>();
        // adding object to arraylist
        // traversing elements using Iterator'
        System.out.println("ArrayList elements are:");
        Iterator it = al.iterator();
        while (it.hasNext())
        // creating Vector
        Vector<String> v = new Vector<String>();
        // traversing elements using Enumeration
        System.out.println("\nVector elements are:");
        Enumeration e = v.elements();
        while (e.hasMoreElements())


ArrayList elements are:

Vector elements are:

How to choose between ArrayList and Vector? 

  • ArrayList is unsynchronized and not thread-safe, whereas Vectors are. Only one thread can call methods on a Vector, which is slightly overhead but helpful when safety is a concern. Therefore, in a single-threaded case, ArrayList is the obvious choice, but where multithreading is concerned, vectors are often preferable.
  • If we don’t know how much data we will have but know the rate at which it grows, Vector has an advantage since we can set the increment value in vectors.
  • ArrayList is newer and faster. If we don’t have any explicit requirements for using either of them, we use ArrayList over vector.

Last Updated : 07 Dec, 2022
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