How to Compare chars in Java

Java is a collection of packages, classes, and objects. One of the Java classes is a wrapper called Character, which belongs to the Java.lang package. The object of the Character class holds/wraps a particular value, “char”. In Java, characters or chars are often compared to check their differences or similarities.

This tutorial will guide you on how to compare chars in Java.

How to Compare chars in Java?

To compare chars in Java, you can use:

    • compare() method
    • equals() method
    • Relational operators

Let’s check out each of them one by one.

How to Compare chars by Using compare() Method?

The “compare()” method of the Java “Character” class numerically compares two characters. This method is used to compare the primitive chars and the Character objects. It takes two characters as parameters to compare and returns a numeric value.


The syntax of compare() method is given as:

compare(char x, char y);

If both chars “x” and “y” are the same, the compare() method will return “0”. If the first char is less than the second char, it will return a negative value. Similarly, the specified method will return a positive value when the first char is greater than the second char.

Example 1: Compare Primitive chars by Using compare() Method

Let’s compare two primitive characters, “f” and “b”, by using the compare() method. These two characters are stored in “ch1” and “ch2”:

char ch1 = 'f';
char ch2 = 'b';

Now, we will use the “compare()” method to compare these two characters with conditional statements:

if(, ch2) > 0) {
    System.out.println("character 1 'f' is greater than character 2 'b'");}
 else if(, ch2) < 0) {
    System.out.println("character 1 'f' is less than character 2 'b'");}
    System.out.println("Both characters are equal");


The output shows that the “ch1” is numerically greater than “ch2”:

Example 2: Compare Character Objects by Using compare() Method

In a Java program, Character objects can also be compared by using the “compare()” method. First, we will create two Character objects “chr1” and “chr2” with “c” and “v” values respectively:

Character chr1 = 'c';
Character chr2 = 'v';

Now, we call the “compare()” method of the Character class to compare these two character objects using the given conditions:

if(, chr2) > 0) {
    System.out.println("c is greater than v");}
else if(, chr2) < 0) {
    System.out.println("c is less than v");}
    System.out.println("Both characters are equal");



Let’s head towards the second method!

How to Compare chars by Using equals() Method?

The “equals()” method also belongs to the “Character” class that can be used to compare the Character objects. It simply compares the values and checks whether these characters are equal or not based on their case.


The syntax of the equals() method is as follows:


The “equals()” method takes a character object as a parameter. If the values of the “obj1” and “obj2” are equal, the equals() method returns true; otherwise, it returns false.


In this example, we will compare two Character objects, “k” and “K”, by creating two objects, “ch1” and “ch2” of Character class:

Character ch1 = 'k';
Character ch2 = 'K';

If the value of ch1 is equal to ch2, the equals() method will return true; otherwise it will return false.:

    System.out.println("Both characters are equal");
    System.out.println("Both characters are not equal");


As we know, Java is a case-sensitive language, so the equals() method will return false because “k” and “K” are not equal:

How to Compare chars by Using Relational Operators?

There is one more approach for comparing both primitive characters and Character objects, which is using relational operators such as “==”, “<”, and “>”. These operators can be added in the condition based on the requirements.

The following example will compare two Character objects, “ch1” and “ch2,” using the greater than “>” and less than “<” relational operators.


First, we will create two Character objects, “ch1” and “ch2,” with the following values:

Character ch1 = 'n';
Character ch2 = 'm';

Now, we will use relational operators to compare and check if the ch1 object is greater than or less than the other object:

 if(ch1<ch2) {
      System.out.println("ch1 'n' is less than ch2 'm' ");
 }else if (ch1>ch2) {
      System.out.println("ch1 is 'n' greater than ch2 'm' ");
   System.out.println("Both characters are equal");



We have provided all the necessary instructions to compare chars in Java.


To compare Character objects in Java, you can use compare() method, and to compare both primitive chars and Character objects, utilize the equals() method and relational operators. Java compares primitive values numerically, whereas the Character objects are compared based on their case or values, depending upon the method you utilize. In this tutorial, we thoroughly discussed methods to compare chars in Java.

About the author

Farah Batool

I completed my master's degree in computer science. I am an academic researcher and love to learn and write about new technologies. I am passionate about writing and sharing my experience with the world.