Python Tuples: When to Use Them Over Lists

Python Tuples: When to Use Them Over Lists

With easy to understand examples for beginners!

Lists and dictionaries are the most widely used built-in data types in Python. This makes them also the best-known data types in Python. When it comes to tuples, grasping the details of how they differ from the lists is not an easy task for the beginners as they are very similar to each other.

In this article, I will explain key differences by providing examples for various use cases to better explain when to use tuples over lists.

Tuples and Lists: Key differences

  • They are both used to store collection of data
  • They are both heterogeneous data types means that you can store any kind of data type
  • They are both ordered means the order in which you put the items are kept.
  • They are both sequential data types so you can iterate over the items contained.
  • Items of both types can be accessed by an integer index operator, provided in square brackets, [index]

So well, how they differ then?

The key difference between the tuples and lists is that while the tuples are immutable objects the lists are mutable. This means that tuples cannot be changed while the lists can be modified.

Let’s further understand how this effect our code in terms of time and memory efficiency.

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