When to Use a List and When to Use an Array in 🚀C#

R M Shahidul Islam Shahed
3 min readNov 28, 2023

Choosing between a List and an Array in C# is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact the efficiency and functionality of your code. Both List and Array serve as fundamental data structures for storing collections of elements, yet they differ in their flexibility, performance characteristics, and use cases. In the realm of C# programming, understanding when to employ a List and when to opt for an Array is crucial for crafting code that is not only efficient but also aligns with the specific requirements of your application. In this exploration, we delve into the considerations and scenarios that guide the selection between Lists and Arrays, offering insights into when each data structure shines in the diverse landscape of C# development.

When to Use a List and When to Use an Array in 🚀C#

In C#, both lists and arrays are used to store collections of elements, but they have some key differences that make them suitable for different scenarios. Here are some guidelines on when to use a List or an Array in C#:

Use List when:

  1. Dynamic Size: Lists are dynamic and can grow or shrink in size at runtime. If you need a collection that can change in size frequently, a List is a good choice.
  2. Ease of Use: Lists provide a more convenient and flexible API compared to arrays. They have methods like Add, Remove, and other LINQ extensions that make manipulation easier.
  3. Built-in Methods: Lists come with built-in methods for common operations, such as sorting, searching, and reversing.
  4. Automatic Resizing: Lists automatically handle resizing when the number of elements exceeds the initial capacity, making them more convenient in situations where you don’t know the size of the collection in advance.
List<int> _MyList = new List<int>();
_MyList.Add(1);
_MyList.Add(2);

Use Array when:

  1. Fixed Size: If you know the size of the collection beforehand and it won’t change, an array is a good choice. Arrays have a fixed size once they are created.
  2. Performance: Arrays can be more efficient in terms of memory and performance for certain operations since they have a lower overhead compared to lists.
  3. Direct Element Access: If you need direct…

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