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Comparing Characters in Java – The Easy Way

If you are a Java developer, you might have encountered the need to compare two characters. The task of performing such a comparison can be straightforward in some contexts. However, it can also become complicated if there is something like Unicode involved.

In this article, we will discuss some common scenarios where developers might need to compare characters in Java and provide simple solutions for each situation. We will focus on problems related to comparing single ASCII characters with their Unicode equivalents and comparing multiple sets of Unicode characters with one another.

By the end of this article, you will have gained an understanding of how to perform comparisons between two or more sets of characters efficiently and accurately in Java code. In addition, you will learn some useful tips and tricks along the way when it comes to comparing character values in your program’s codebase.

How to compare character in java

Comparing characters in Java can be a tricky task. Fortunately, the Java language provides a few convenient built-in methods that allow you to quickly and easily compare characters. In this article, we will discuss the various methods at your disposal when it comes to comparing characters in Java.

From the simplest methods like the equals operator to the more sophisticated Character class methods, we will look at them all!

Using the equals() method

When comparing two characters in Java, we typically use the equals() method to determine whether they are equal (case-sensitive). The equals() method is a built-in Java method used to compare two Strings and check if they are equal. It takes a single parameter, another String object, and returns either true or false accordingly.

The general syntax of this method is as follows:


If String1 is equal to the value of String2, then this returns true; otherwise, it returns false. An example of using the equals() method looks like this:

String x = “apple”;

String y = “apple”;


System.out.println(“The strings are equal”);


This code checks for equality between the two Strings and will print out “The strings are equal” if both Strings have the same value stored in them. Remember that using the equals() method will perform a case sensitive check; this means that ‘Apple’ is not considered equal to ‘apple’.

Using the compareTo() method

The compareTo() method is the easiest way to compare characters in Java. It is used to compare the currently referenced character with the argument character. This comparison can be done between two characters of different types or two characters of the same type.

The returned result will be an integer value as follows: if it returns a negative value, it means that the current character is lower than the argument. If it returns a positive value, it indicates that the argument character is greater than the current one. And if the returned result is zero (0), then both characters are equal to each other.

The instance method declaration for this particular comparison can look like this: “`int compareTo(char ch)“` and its syntax would resemble something like char1.compareTo(char2). The arguments are simply passed as literals or variables which would hold character values.

Overall, comparing characters with each other using Java can be made easy by leveraging this “`compareTo()“` method for quick index comparisons between multiple chars in any given program.

Using the compare() method

The Java language provides various methods via the wrapper class Character that enable you to compare characters. One of these is the compare() method, which is used to determine whether a character is greater than, equal to, or less than another character.

The compare() method takes two parameters: c1 and c2. These can either be primitive char values or Character objects. The value it returns will be a negative integer if c1 is less than c2, 0 if they are equal, and a positive integer if c1 is greater than c2. If you need to sort your characters in alphabetical order, you can use this method to do so quickly and easily.

The compareTo() method also exists for comparing char values, but it works a bit differently from the compare() method as it compares lexicographically. This means it looks at the Unicode code point value of each character instead of their alphabetical order in a dictionary. This can be useful when you need more detail in your comparison and when you’re using symbols as opposed to letters of English words.

Using these methods together can provide an efficient way to get accurate comparisons in Java without complicated strings manipulation. Knowing which one to use for your particular application depends on the kind of comparison needed – be sure to read through the documentation for both methods before deciding on which one fits your needs best!


Overall, the java.lang.Character class offers a simple and straightforward way to compare characters in Java code. By understanding the ways in which characters are equal and unequal, programmers can easily utilize this powerful tool when writing their code. With the help of these comparisons, coders can easily make decisions that rely on different character values and create programs that operate more conveniently and efficiently.