Use of "instanceof" in Java [duplicate] – Dev

The best answers to the question “Use of "instanceof" in Java [duplicate]” in the category Dev.


What is the ‘instanceof’ operator used for?

I learned that Java has the instanceof operator. Can you elaborate where it is used and what are its advantages?


instanceof is used to check if an object is an instance of a class, an instance of a subclass, or an instance of a class that implements a particular interface.

Read more from the Oracle language definition here.


Basically, you check if an object is an instance of a specific class.
You normally use it, when you have a reference or parameter to an object that is of a super class or interface type and need to know whether the actual object has some other type (normally more concrete).


public void doSomething(Number param) {
  if( param instanceof Double) {
    System.out.println("param is a Double");
  else if( param instanceof Integer) {
    System.out.println("param is an Integer");

  if( param instanceof Comparable) {
    //subclasses of Number like Double etc. implement Comparable
    //other subclasses might not -> you could pass Number instances that don't implement that interface
    System.out.println("param is comparable"); 

Note that if you have to use that operator very often it is generally a hint that your design has some flaws. So in a well designed application you should have to use that operator as little as possible (of course there are exceptions to that general rule).


instanceof is a keyword that can be used to test if an object is of a specified type.

Example :

public class MainClass {
    public static void main(String[] a) {

    String s = "Hello";
    int i = 0;
    String g;
    if (s instanceof java.lang.String) {
       // This is going to be printed
       System.out.println("s is a String");
    if (i instanceof Integer) {
       // This is going to be printed as autoboxing will happen (int -> Integer)
       System.out.println("i is an Integer");
    if (g instanceof java.lang.String) {
       // This case is not going to happen because g is not initialized and
       // therefore is null and instanceof returns false for null. 
       System.out.println("g is a String");

Here is my source.


instanceof can be used to determine the actual type of an object:

class A { }  
class C extends A { } 
class D extends A { } 

public static void testInstance(){
    A c = new C();
    A d = new D();
    Assert.assertTrue(c instanceof A && d instanceof A);
    Assert.assertTrue(c instanceof C && d instanceof D);
    Assert.assertFalse(c instanceof D);
    Assert.assertFalse(d instanceof C);