Difference between == operator and Equals() method in C#: A Comprehensive Guide

Category > CSHARP || Published on : Thursday, March 9, 2023 || Views: 256 || C# programming equality comparison == operator Equals() method


When comparing two objects for equality in C#, developers often use either the == operator or the Equals() method. While both serve the same purpose, they work in different ways and have different use cases. In this article, we will explore the differences between the == operator and the Equals() method in C# and provide examples to illustrate their use.

In C#, the == operator and Equals() method are used to compare two objects for equality. Although they seem to have the same purpose, they work in different ways and have different use cases.

The == Operator: The == operator is a comparison operator that is used to compare the values of two variables or objects. It returns true if the values of the variables or objects are the same, and false if they are different. The == operator is overloaded in C#, which means that different implementations of the operator can be used for different types of objects.

The Equals() Method: The Equals() method is a method that is defined in the Object class, which is the base class for all classes in C#. It is used to compare two objects for equality. The Equals() method compares the values of the objects to determine if they are equal. If they are equal, it returns true, and if they are not equal, it returns false. The Equals() method can be overridden in derived classes to provide custom equality comparison logic.

Difference between == and Equals() Method:

The main difference between the == operator and Equals() method is that the == operator compares the values of two variables or objects, while the Equals() method compares the values of two objects.

When comparing value types, the == operator compares the actual values of the variables. For example:

int a = 10;
int b = 10;
if (a == b) // returns true

In the example above, the == operator compares the values of the two int variables a and b, which are both equal to 10.

When comparing reference types, such as objects, the == operator compares the references to the objects, not the values of the objects. For example:

string s1 = "hello";
string s2 = "hello";
if (s1 == s2) // returns true

In the example above, the == operator compares the references to the two string objects s1 and s2, which both point to the same string value "hello".

On the other hand, the Equals() method compares the values of the objects, not the references. For example:

string s1 = "hello";
string s2 = "hello";
if (s1.Equals(s2)) // returns true

In the example above, the Equals() method compares the values of the two string objects s1 and s2, which are both equal to "hello".

It is important to note that the == operator can be overloaded for a custom class, but the Equals() method should always be overridden for a custom class to provide custom equality comparison logic.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the == operator and Equals() method are used for comparing two objects for equality in C#. The == operator compares the values of two variables or objects, while the Equals() method compares the values of two objects. The == operator compares the references to objects when comparing reference types, while the Equals() method compares the values of the objects. When working with custom classes, the Equals() method should always be overridden to provide custom equality comparison logic.