What Data Type Is Time in SQLite?


Scott Campbell

What Data Type Is Time in SQLite?

SQLite is a powerful and popular relational database management system that supports various data types for storing and manipulating data. When it comes to representing time values in SQLite, there are a few different data types to choose from.

In this article, we will explore the different options and discuss their use cases.

Date and Time Data Types in SQLite

SQLite provides three main data types for storing time-related information: TEXT, REAL, and INTEGER. Each of these types has its own advantages and considerations, depending on the specific requirements of your application.

1. TEXT Data Type

The TEXT data type in SQLite allows you to store time values as strings, using a specific format. This format can be anything that represents time, such as “YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS” or “HH:MM:SS”.

However, it’s essential to note that SQLite does not have built-in functions for manipulating or performing calculations directly on TEXT-based time values.

Using the TEXT data type is suitable when you primarily need to store and retrieve time values without performing complex operations on them. It also allows you to easily display the stored time values as-is since they are stored as strings.

2. REAL Data Type

The REAL data type in SQLite is typically used for storing floating-point numbers but can also be used to represent fractional timestamps. In this case, the fractional part represents a fraction of a day (24 hours).

For example, a REAL value of 0.5 would represent half a day or 12 hours. This allows for straightforward arithmetic calculations on time values stored as REAL in SQLite.

However, it’s important to note that REAL values have limited precision and may not be suitable for applications that require high precision or extensive date manipulation.

3. INTEGER Data Type

The INTEGER data type in SQLite is commonly used for storing timestamps as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 (Unix timestamp). This data type is particularly useful when you need to perform calculations or comparisons on time values efficiently.

By using INTEGER timestamps, you can leverage SQLite’s built-in date and time functions to manipulate and format time values directly. These functions include capabilities such as date arithmetic, extracting specific components (year, month, day), and formatting timestamps into different string representations.

Choosing the Right Data Type

When deciding which data type to use for representing time values in SQLite, consider the specific requirements of your application. If you only need to store and retrieve time information without complex operations, the TEXT data type may suffice.

On the other hand, if you require mathematical calculations or comparisons on time values, using either REAL or INTEGER data types would be more appropriate.

Remember that each data type has its own advantages and considerations in terms of precision, ease of use, and compatibility with SQLite’s built-in functions. Choose wisely based on your application’s needs to ensure accurate and efficient handling of time-related data.


In SQLite, there are multiple data types available for representing time values: TEXT, REAL, and INTEGER. Each has its own strengths and limitations when it comes to storing and manipulating time-related information.

Understanding these differences is crucial for choosing the right data type that suits your application’s requirements.

Whether you opt for the simplicity of TEXT, the flexibility of REAL, or the efficiency of INTEGER, make sure to consider factors such as precision, compatibility with SQLite functions, and ease of use. By selecting the appropriate data type for your time-related data, you can ensure accurate and efficient operations in your SQLite database.

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