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What’s the difference between ConcurrentHashMap and Collections.synchronizedMap(Map)?

I have a Map which is to be modified by several threads concurrently.

There seem to be three different synchronized Map implementations in the Java API:

  • Hashtable
  • Collections.synchronizedMap(Map)
  • ConcurrentHashMap

From what I understand, Hashtable is an old implementation (extending the obsolete Dictionary class), which has been adapted later to fit the Map interface. While it is synchronized, it seems to have serious scalability issues and is discouraged for new projects.

But what about the other two? What are the differences between Maps returned by Collections.synchronizedMap(Map) and ConcurrentHashMaps? Which one fits which situation?

Answer

For your needs, use ConcurrentHashMap. It allows concurrent modification of the Map from several threads without the need to block them. Collections.synchronizedMap(map) creates a blocking Map which will degrade performance, albeit ensure consistency (if used properly).

Use the second option if you need to ensure data consistency, and each thread needs to have an up-to-date view of the map. Use the first if performance is critical, and each thread only inserts data to the map, with reads happening less frequently.