Which Data Structure Is Used for Cache in Java?


Heather Bennett

When it comes to caching in Java, various data structures can be used. Each data structure has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific requirements of the application. In this article, we will explore some of the commonly used data structures for cache in Java.

1. HashMap

The HashMap class in Java provides an efficient way to store key-value pairs.

It uses a hash table to store the elements, allowing constant-time performance for most operations such as adding, removing, and retrieving elements.

The HashMap class is often used as a cache data structure due to its fast lookup time. By using an appropriate hashing function, we can achieve a high hit rate, resulting in efficient caching.

2. LinkedHashMap

The LinkedHashMap class extends the HashMap class and maintains a doubly-linked list of all the entries.

This linked list preserves the order of insertion, allowing us to iterate over the elements in the same order they were added.

This feature makes LinkedHashMap suitable for implementing an LRU (Least Recently Used) cache. By overriding the removeEldestEntry() method, we can define a maximum size for our cache and automatically remove the least recently used element when the cache exceeds this size.

3. ConcurrentHashMap

The ConcurrentHashMap, as its name suggests, is designed to support concurrent access from multiple threads without causing any inconsistencies or blocking operations.

This data structure is well-suited for scenarios where multiple threads might access or modify the cache simultaneously. It provides thread-safety while maintaining good performance by allowing concurrent read operations without locking.

4. Guava Cache

The Guava Cache library, provided by Google’s Guava project, offers a powerful and configurable caching solution for Java applications.

The CacheBuilder class allows us to specify various parameters such as maximum cache size, expiration time, and eviction policies. It supports features like automatic loading of values when not present in the cache and asynchronous removal of expired entries.

5. Caffeine Cache

Caffeine Cache is another popular caching library for Java that provides a high-performance in-memory cache implementation.

Similar to Guava Cache, Caffeine allows us to configure various parameters such as maximum size, expiration policies, and eviction strategies. It also supports features like automatic loading of values and asynchronous removal of expired entries.


In conclusion, selecting the right data structure for caching in Java depends on the specific requirements of your application. The choice should take into account factors such as thread-safety, performance, eviction policies, and ease of use.

The HashMap and LinkedHashMap provide efficient lookup times and are suitable for most caching scenarios. ConcurrentHashMap is ideal for concurrent access situations where thread-safety is critical.

If you need more advanced features or customizability, libraries like Guava Cache or Caffeine Cache can be excellent choices.

  • HashMap: Efficient lookup time but not thread-safe.
  • LinkedHashMap: Preserves insertion order; suitable for LRU caching.
  • ConcurrentHashMap: Provides thread-safety with good performance in concurrent scenarios.
  • Guava Cache: Configurable caching solution with advanced features.
  • Caffeine Cache: High-performance cache implementation with customizability.

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