What Data Type Does Getdate () Return?


Heather Bennett

What Data Type Does Getdate() Return?

The GETDATE() function is a widely used date and time function in SQL Server. It returns the current date and time as a datetime data type.

Date and Time Functions in SQL Server

SQL Server provides various built-in functions to work with dates and times. These functions allow you to perform calculations, extract specific parts of a date or time, and manipulate date and time values in different ways.

One of the most frequently used functions is GETDATE().

The datetime Data Type

The datetime data type in SQL Server represents a combination of both date and time values. It consists of 8 bytes, where the first 4 bytes store the number of days since January 1, 1900, and the remaining 4 bytes store the number of milliseconds since midnight.

The range of values for the datetime data type is from January 1, 1753, to December 31, 9999. The accuracy is up to three-hundredths of a second (3.33 milliseconds).

However, note that starting from SQL Server 2008, there are additional datetime2 and datetimeoffset data types available with increased precision.

Example Usage:

To retrieve the current date and time using GETDATE(), you can simply execute the following query:


This will return something like:

2021-12-07 13:45:28.343

The returned value is of the datetime data type, representing the current date and time up to milliseconds.

Working with the Returned Value

Once you have retrieved the current date and time using GETDATE(), you can use it in various ways within your SQL statements. For example, you can perform calculations, compare it with other date and time values, or store it in a table column.

It’s important to note that the datetime data type is not limited to just retrieving the current date and time. You can also use it to store specific date and time values or manipulate existing values using various built-in functions provided by SQL Server.


In summary, the GETDATE() function in SQL Server returns the current date and time as a datetime data type. This data type is useful for performing calculations, comparisons, and manipulations involving dates and times within SQL statements.

Remember that while the datetime data type has limitations in terms of precision, SQL Server also provides more accurate alternatives such as datetime2 and datetimeoffset.

Using GETDATE(), you can easily work with current date and time values in your SQL queries and efficiently handle various tasks related to dates and times in your database applications.

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