Java Basic Data Types

In this tutorial, we will discuss about the basic data types in java. First we look one more time about the Variables are nothing but reserved memory locations to store values. This means that when you create a variable you reserve some space in memory.

Based on the data type of a variable, the operating system allocates memory and decides what can be stored in the reserved memory. Therefore, by assigning different data types to variables, you can store integers, decimals, or characters in these variables.

There are two data types available in Java:

  • Primitive Data Types
  • Reference/Object Data Types
Java Basic Data Types

Primitive Data Types:

There are eight primitive data types supported by Java. Primitive data types are predefined by the language and named by a key word. Let us now look into detail about the eight primitive data types.


  • Byte data type is a 8-bit signed two’s complement integer.
  • Minimum value is -128 (-2^7)
  • Maximum value is 127 (inclusive)(2^7 -1)
  • Default value is 0
  • Byte data type is used to save space in large arrays, mainly in place of integers, since a byte is four times smaller than an int.
  • Example : byte a = 100 , byte b = -50


  • Short data type is a 16-bit signed two’s complement integer.
  • Minimum value is -32,768 (-2^15)
  • Maximum value is 32,767(inclusive) (2^15 -1)
  • Short data type can also be used to save memory as byte data type. A short is 2 times smaller than an int
  • Default value is 0.
  • Example : short s= 10000 , short r = -20000


  • Int data type is a 32-bit signed two’s complement integer.
  • Minimum value is – 2,147,483,648.(-2^31)
  • Maximum value is 2,147,483,647(inclusive).(2^31 -1)
  • Int is generally used as the default data type for integral values unless there is a concern about memory.
  • The default value is 0.
  • Example : int a = 100000, int b = -200000


  • Long data type is a 64-bit signed two’s complement integer.
  • Minimum value is -9,223,372,036,854,775,808.(-2^63)
  • Maximum value is 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 (inclusive). (2^63 -1)
  • This type is used when a wider range than int is needed.
  • Default value is 0L.
  • Example : int a = 100000L, int b = -200000L


  • Float data type is a single-precision 32-bit IEEE 754 floating point.
  • Float is mainly used to save memory in large arrays of floating point numbers.
  • Default value is 0.0f.
  • Float data type is never used for precise values such as currency.
  • Example : float f1 = 234.5f


  • double data type is a double-precision 64-bit IEEE 754 floating point.
  • This data type is generally used as the default data type for decimal values. generally the default choice.
  • Double data type should never be used for precise values such as currency.
  • Default value is 0.0d.
  • Example : double d1 = 123.4


  • boolean data type represents one bit of information.
  • There are only two possible values : true and false.
  • This data type is used for simple flags that track true/false conditions.
  • Default value is false.
  • Example : boolean one = true


  • char data type is a single 16-bit Unicode character.
  • Minimum value is ‘u0000’ (or 0).
  • Maximum value is ‘uffff’ (or 65,535 inclusive).
  • Char data type is used to store any character.
  • Example . char letterA =’A’

Reference Data Types:

  • Reference variables are created using defined constructors of the classes. They are used to access objects. These variables are declared to be of a specific type that cannot be changed.
    For example, Employee, Animal etc.
  • Class objects, and various type of array variables come under reference data type.
  • Default value of any reference variable is null.
  • A reference variable can be used to refer to any object of the declared type or any compatible type.
  • Example : Employee employee = new Employee(“Dinesh Rajput”);

A literal represents a value that stored into a variable directly in the program.

boolean result = false;
char gender = 'M';
short s = 10000;
int i = -1256;

In the preceding statements, the right hand side values are called literals because these values are being stored into the variables shown at the left hand side. As the data type of the variable changes, the type of the literal also changes. So we have different types of literals. These are as follows:

  • Integer literals
  • Float literals
  • Character literals
  • String literals
  • Boolean literals

Data Type Default Value Default size
boolean false 1 bit
char ‘u0000’ 2 byte
byte 0 1 byte
short 0 2 byte
int 0 4 byte
long 0L 8 byte
float 0.0f 4 byte
double 0.0d 8 byte

Why char uses 2 byte in java and what is u0000 ?
because java uses unicode system rather than ASCII code system. u0000 is the lowest range of unicode system.To get detail about Unicode see below.

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