How do I know if an ArrayList contains a specified item?

In this example we are going to learn how to find out if an ArrayList object contains the specified element. To check if an ArrayList object contains the specified element we can use the contains(Object o) method. This method returns a boolean true when the specified element is found in the ArrayList, otherwise return false. The method returns true if and only if the list contains at least one element, where the element equals to the item in the list.

Let’s see the code snippet below to demonstrate it.

package org.kodejava.util;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class ArrayListContainsExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        List<String> list = new ArrayList<>();
        list.add("Item 1");
        list.add("Item 2");
        list.add("Item 3");
        list.add("Item 4");

        // Check to see if the list contains "Item 1".
        String itemToFind = "Item 1";
        System.out.println("contains(" + itemToFind + "): " + list.contains(itemToFind));

        // Check to see if the list contains "Item 20".
        itemToFind = "Item 20";
        System.out.println("contains(" + itemToFind + "): " + list.contains(itemToFind));

The output of the code snippet above are:

contains(Item 1): true
contains(Item 20): false


    • Hi Amrendra,

      You need to implements the equals() method in your pojo so that the list.contains() method knows if the list already contains the same pojo. And when you implement the equals() method you will also need to implement the hashCode() method.


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