What Is Tinyint Data Type?


Larry Thompson

What Is Tinyint Data Type?

The Tinyint data type is a numeric data type in SQL that is used to store integer values. It occupies 1 byte of storage and can store values ranging from -128 to 127 for signed tinyint or 0 to 255 for unsigned tinyint.

In this article, we will explore the features and usage of the tinyint data type.

Features of Tinyint Data Type:

The tinyint data type offers several useful features, including:

  • Storage Efficiency: The tinyint data type occupies only 1 byte of storage, making it an efficient choice for columns that have a small range of possible values.
  • Range: For signed tinyint, the range of values is from -128 to 127, allowing for storage of both positive and negative integers. For unsigned tinyint, the range is from 0 to 255, allowing for storage of only positive integers.
  • Performance: Since the tinyint data type occupies less storage space, it can improve query performance by reducing disk I/O and memory consumption.

Usage of Tinyint Data Type:

The tinyint data type is commonly used in various scenarios such as:

1. Storing Flags:

Tinyint can be used to represent boolean values or flags where a value of 1 indicates true and a value of 0 indicates false. This is particularly useful when you have columns that need to store binary states like “active” or “inactive”, “yes” or “no”, etc.

2. Enumerations:

Tinyint can also be used to represent enumerated values, where different numeric values correspond to specific meanings. For example, in a table representing the days of the week, you can use tinyint to store values from 1 to 7, where 1 represents Monday and 7 represents Sunday.

3. Performance Optimization:

In certain cases, using a tinyint instead of a larger integer data type can help optimize database performance. For example, when designing a table that has multiple foreign key references, using tinyint for smaller lookup tables can reduce storage requirements and improve query performance.


Let’s look at some examples to understand how the tinyint data type can be used in SQL:

    Name VARCHAR(50),
    Status TINYINT

In this example, the “Status” column is defined as a tinyint data type to store user status flags like active (1) or inactive (0).

    Name VARCHAR(50),
    CategoryID TINYINT,
    Price DECIMAL

Here, the “CategoryID” column is defined as a tinyint data type to represent different product categories using numeric values.


The tinyint data type is a compact and efficient way to store integer values within a small range. It offers storage efficiency and can be used for representing flags or enumerated values.

By understanding its features and usage, you can choose the tinyint data type wisely in your SQL database design.

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