In this article, we will show you the difference between BigInt and number data types in JavaScript. And also when to use the BigInt data type

Table of Contents

- BigInt Vs Number
- BigInt is an integer, number is a decimal
- They are implemented differently
- BigInt can handle large numbers
- BigInt is more precise
- BigInt cannot be mixed with numbers
- Built in Math object does not support BigInt
- Coercing BigInt to number may lose precision
- You can compare bigInt with a number
- BigInt is not strictly equal to number
- Operations on BigInt is slow

- When to use BigInt

## BigInt Vs Number

### BigInt is an integer, number is a decimal

You cannot store 100.20 in a BigInt, because it is an integer and not decimal.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 | //bigInt var BigNum1=100n; //ok var BigNum2=100.20n; /error //number var Num1=100; //ok var Num2=100.20; /ok |

### They are implemented differently

bigInt is stored as arbitrary-precision integers and the number as double-precision 64-bit number.

### BigInt can handle large numbers

The `number`

can handle numbers up to 9007199254740991 ( `Number.MAX_SAFE_INTEGER`

). It is a limitation imposed due to the double precision 64 bit number

The `BigInt`

can handle numbers larger than that. `BigInt`

is limited by the available memory of the host system.

### BigInt is more precise

Since they are integers, they do not suffer from Floating-point precision problems. Hence operations involving them are more precise.

### BigInt cannot be mixed with numbers

bigint can not be mixed with operations where numbers are involved as shown below. The JavaScript will throw `Cannot mix BigInt and other types, use explicit conversions`

error.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 | let numVar=100; let bigVar= 100n; console.log(numVar+bigVar); *** Error ***** Cannot mix BigInt and other types, use explicit conversions |

### Built in Math object does not support BigInt

We cannot use a BigInt value with methods in the built-in `Math`

object as it only supports number types.

### Coercing BigInt to number may lose precision

You can convert `bigInt`

to a number using the Number function. But if the bigInt number is larger than `Number.MAX_SAFE_INTEGER`

then you will loose precision

1 2 3 4 5 6 | let numVar=100; let bigVar= 100n; console.log(numVar+ Number(bigVar)); //200 |

Convert the number to bigInt, but if the number is a decimal number, then you will loose the precision again as bigInt is integer and not decimal.

### You can compare bigInt with a number

Comparing a `bigInt`

with a `number`

works correctly.

1 2 3 4 5 6 | console.log(1n < 2) //true console.log(2n > 1) //true console.log(2n > 2) //false console.log(2n >= 2) //true |

### BigInt is not strictly equal to number

BigInt is loosely equal to number, But if you use strict equality checker (`===`

) then they are not equal as they differ in their data type

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | let numVar=100; let bigVar= 100n; console.log(numVar==bigVar) //true console.log(numVar===bigVar) //false |

### Operations on BigInt is slow

The arithmetic operations involving BigInt are slower compared to the Floating Point arithmetic of a primitive number.

The floating-point arithmetic is implemented in hardware, Hence it is faster. The Arbitrary-precision arithmetic is entirely implemented in software hence slower.

## When to use BigInt

Always use numbers unless you need to support numbers larger than Number.MAX_SAFE_INTEGER.

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