Difference between Map and HashMap

We can store and retrieve key-value pairs using two popular data structures in programming: maps and hash maps. They both serve to symbolize a group of components that may be accessed by means of a special key. A collection of key-value pairs is represented using a Java interface called a Map. It is an abstract data type that offers methods for accessing, adding, and removing elements as well as a way to map keys to values. On the other hand, a HashMap is a real-world application of the Map interface.

What are Maps?

In computer science, a map is a type of data structure that describes a group of elements, where each member is represented by a different key. In many computer languages, it is also referred to as an associative array, dictionary, or hash table.

Key-value pairs are frequently stored and retrieved using the Map data structure. Even for massive data sets, it enables effective retrieval of the value linked to a particular key. The values can be anything, including integers, strings, objects, or even other maps, and the keys must be distinct. They are kept in a location that makes quick access possible using their keys.

Methods for adding, removing, and retrieving elements by their keys are available in the Map interface. The Map interface is frequently used in HashMap, TreeMap, and LinkedHashMap implementations. Maps are frequently used in computer programming for several purposes, including caching, database administration, and data indexing. They are also helpful for creating effective algorithms and solving algorithmic puzzles.

Advantages of Maps

  • Efficient element retrieval − Key-value pairs can be stored and retrieved quickly and efficiently using maps.

  • Flexibility − Maps are versatile data structures that can hold a broad variety of values, including complicated data structures like objects or other maps. This enables the manipulation and storage of more complicated data.

  • Easy to use − Simple and intuitive interfaces are provided by maps for working with key-value pairs.

  • Sorting capabilities − Ability to sort components according to their keys is a feature of some Map interface implementations, such as Tree Map.

Disadvantages of Maps

  • Overhead − Maps may execute slower for small datasets due to their higher overhead compared to other data structures like arrays and lists.

  • Complexity − When dealing with collision resolution or other advanced features, maps can be more difficult to implement than other data structures.

  • No assurance of order − The pieces in the collection are not guaranteed to appear in any particular order by maps.

  • Performance decline − If the load factor is too high, Maps' performance may suffer, which may result in collisions and longer lookup times.

What is a HashMap?

The Java language's HashMap implementation of the Map interface offers a quick and effective mechanism to store and retrieve key-value pairs. It is a collection that enables the conversion of distinctive keys to values. Each key in a hash map is given a hash code, which is then used to index the value it corresponds to in an internal array. This enables quick access to elements based on their keys, with simple operations like get() and put having an average time complexity of O(1).

HashMaps are adaptable and versatile since they support null values and null keys and can store any kind of object as a value. They are frequently utilized for data indexing, database administration, and caching in Java programming. It is crucial to remember that HashMaps do not ensure that the collection's elements will appear in any specific order.

Advantages of HashMaps

  • Fast element retrieval − HashMaps offer quick element retrieval based on their keys, with an average time complexity of O(1) for fundamental operations like get() and put().

  • Flexible − HashMaps are adaptable because they support null values and null keys and can store any kind of object as a value.

  • Easy to use − HashMaps offer a straightforward and user-friendly interface for working with key-value pairs.

Disadvantages of HashMaps

  • No assurance of order − HashMaps do not promise a specific order for the collection's items. For some applications that demand organized access to the elements, this may be a drawback.

  • Performance deterioration − If the load factor is too high, collisions may occur and lookup durations may increase, which would result in a performance degradation of HashMaps.

  • Not thread-safe by default − HashMaps are not thread-safe by default and must be used in multi-threaded contexts with specific synchronization mechanisms.

Map vs HashMap

The following table highlights the major differences between Map and HashMap −





An interface called Map offers a template for mapping keys to values. Although the actual Map implementation can differ, it typically adheres to the fundamental operations listed in the interface.

A practical implementation of the Map interface is HashMap. The mappings between keys and values are kept in a hash table.

Null values

Both keys and values in a map can have null values.

Both keys and values in a hash map can be null.

Ordering of entries

Implementations of maps like LinkedHashMap and TreeMap keep the entries' order consistent with a predetermined ordering.

HashMap doesn't keep track of the order of its entries.


There are several ways to loop through the entries in a Map, including an Iterator, forEach(), or entrySet ().

There are several ways to iterate over the entries in a hash map, such as using an iterator, forEach(), or entrySet ().


Depending on the implementation utilized, a Map implementation's performance can change. Due to the need to preserve the order of the entries, LinkedHashMap and TreeMap may run slower than HashMap and have poorer performance than HashMap due to the use of a hash table.

Because HashMap stores the mappings in a hash table, it performs better than other Map implementations in general.


Concurrent HashMap is an example of a thread-safe map implementation that may be utilized in a multi-threaded setting.

Without synchronization, HashMap is not thread-safe and should not be used in a multi-threaded context.


In conclusion, key-value pairs can be stored and retrieved using both Maps and HashMaps, which are valuable data structures. HashMaps are a particular Java implementation of the Map interface, whereas Maps are an abstract data type.

HashMaps provide for efficient data storage and retrieval while offering faster access to items based on their keys than Maps, which take a broader approach and support ordered access to elements. HashMaps do, however, have significant disadvantages, such as the potential for hash collisions and lower speed under heavy demand.

Updated on: 18-Apr-2023

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