ArrayList vs Vector: Top 8 Basic Differences

When working with collections in Java, developers often come across two commonly used classes: ArrayList and Vector. While they both provide dynamic arrays, there are some important differences between the two. In this article, we will explore and compare ArrayList and Vector, highlighting their features, performance, and usage. By understanding these differences, you can make informed decisions on which class to use for your specific requirements.

ArrayList vs Vector

ArrayList vs Vector : Major Differences

To provide a clear overview of the distinctions for ArrayList vs Vector, let’s compare them side by side.

Growth StrategyIncrement by a factor of 1.5Double the current size
Legacy ClassNoYes
Iterator Fail-FastYesYes
TraversalUses IteratorCan use both the Iterator and Enumeration
When to UseSingle-threaded applicationsMulti-threaded environments with thread-safety requirements

Sample Java Code: ArrayList vs Vector

Here’s a Java sample code showcasing the usage of ArrayList and Vector.

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Vector;

public class ListExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Creating an ArrayList
        ArrayList<String> arrayList = new ArrayList<>();

        // Adding elements to ArrayList

        // Accessing elements in ArrayList using index
        System.out.println("Elements in ArrayList:");
        for (int i = 0; i < arrayList.size(); i++) {

        // Creating a Vector
        Vector<String> vector = new Vector<>();

        // Adding elements to Vector

        // Accessing elements in Vector using enumeration
        System.out.println("Elements in Vector:");
        Enumeration<String> enumeration = vector.elements();
        while (enumeration.hasMoreElements()) {

In the above code, we first create an ArrayList and add elements to it using the add() method. We then access the elements in the ArrayList using the index and print them.

Next, we create a Vector and add elements to it using the add() method. To access the elements in the Vector, we use an Enumeration and iterate over it using the hasMoreElements() and nextElement() methods.


In conclusion, ArrayList and Vector are both widely used classes for managing dynamic arrays in Java. While ArrayList offers better performance and is suitable for single-threaded environments, Vector provides inherent thread-safety and is ideal for multi-threaded scenarios. Understanding their differences in terms of synchronization, performance, and growth strategies allows you to choose the appropriate class for your specific needs. Whether you prioritize speed or thread-safety, both ArrayList and Vector offer valuable options for efficient data manipulation in Java.

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