Which Data Type Is Used for Date and Time in SQL?


Angela Bailey

In SQL, there are several data types available to store date and time values. Each data type has its own characteristics and is used in different scenarios based on the requirements of the database schema. Let’s explore some of the commonly used data types for date and time in SQL.

Date Data Types:

SQL provides various data types to store date values. These include:

  • DATE: This data type is used to store only the date portion, without any time information. It has a format of ‘YYYY-MM-DD’.
  • DATETIME: The DATETIME data type stores both date and time values.

    It has a format of ‘YYYY-MM-DD HH:MI:SS’.

  • TIMESTAMP: Similar to DATETIME, TIMESTAMP also stores both date and time values. However, it has a narrower range and is dependent on the system clock.

Time Data Types:

When it comes to storing only time values, SQL provides the following data types:

  • TIME: The TIME data type is used to store only the time portion, without any date information. It has a format of ‘HH:MI:SS’.

Date Functions:

To perform operations on date and time values, SQL offers a variety of built-in functions. Here are a few commonly used functions:

  • GETDATE(): This function returns the current system date and time as a DATETIME value.
  • DATEADD(): With DATEADD(), you can add or subtract a specified interval (such as days, months, or years) to a date or time value.
  • DATEDIFF(): DATEDIFF() calculates the difference between two specified dates or times, returning the result in the desired interval.


In SQL, choosing the appropriate data type for date and time values is crucial for efficient storage and manipulation of data. Whether you need to store only date or time values or both, SQL provides a range of options to suit your needs. Additionally, the built-in date functions enable you to perform various operations on these values easily.

By understanding the different data types available and utilizing the appropriate functions, you can effectively work with date and time values in your SQL databases.

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