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List Vs Tuple: Difference Between List and Tuple in Python

List and Tuple are classes of data structures often used in the programming language Python. However, both the data structures have different uses in Python, so it is essential to know the difference between them.

The main difference between Tuples vs. Lists is that Tuples are static and immutable, whereas, Lists are mutable and dynamic in nature.

This blog post will further discuss the differences in more detail. We will also discuss how and when they are used and the other differences between them. Let’s get started.

What is a List?

In Python, a list is an ordered series of items that may be changed or modified. A List's items are any elements or values contained within it. Lists are defined by having values inside square brackets [ ], just as characters inside quotations define strings.

Lists are helpful when you need to work with many linked variables. For example, you may streamline your code, run the same methods and actions on multiple values at once, and keep data that belongs together.

What is a Tuple? 

A Tuple is a group of Python objects that are divided by commas. In certain aspects, a tuple and a list are comparable in terms of repetition, nested objects, and indexing, but, unlike Lists, Tuples are immutable.

A series of values separated by a comma, with or without using parentheses to arrange the data sequence, is used to create Tuples.

Key differences between List and Tuple

Difference in mutability

The fact that a List is mutable and a Tuple is immutable is one of the key distinctions between the two. This implies that Lists can be modified, whereas Tuples cannot. Therefore, some operations may work on Lists, but not on Tuples.

In data science, for instance, specific components of a list that already exist might be able to get reallocated. It is also possible for the entire List to get reassigned. You may be able to remove elements and slices of elements from the List.

It is also possible to slice the Tuple, reassign it, or delete it entirely. However, some elements on the Tuple cannot be reassigned or deleted. Moreover, since tuples are immutable, they cannot be duplicated either.

Difference in operations

In terms of operations, Lists have more functionalities that Tuples do not possess. These functionalities include: insert and pop operations, sorting and removing elements, etc.

Difference in size

Due to their immutability, tuples in Python are allocated larger memory blocks with low overheads. Lists, on the other hand, are allocated smaller memory blocks. However, comparing Lists and Tuples, the latter has a smaller memory. Therefore, when there are many elements, creating tuples is comparatively quicker and easier than lists.

Differences in the type of elements

Tuples are used to store heterogeneous elements or elements with several different types of data. In comparison, lists are often used to store homogeneous elements. In simple words, elements with the same kind of data. However, this does not serve as a restriction to the data structures. Lists can also store different types of data, while tuples can store similar types of data.

Difference in debugging

Due to their immutability, it is comparatively easier to debug Tuples for big projects in comparison to Lists. So, developers prefer to utilize Lists while working on smaller projects or with lesser data. This is due to the fact that Tuples are simpler to manage, and Lists cannot be changed, but Tuples can.

Difference in uses

It is crucial to realize that there are several scenarios in which utilizing one of these data structures is preferable. For example, the choice of which data structure to use relies on the programmer and whether they intend to modify the data in the future or not. When used to hold data, Tuples may be compared to a dictionary without keys. It is simpler to read data when Tuples are kept in Lists.

Difference in syntax

List and Tuples have different syntaxes. For instance,

List: list_num = [10, 20, 30, 40]

Tuple: tup_num = (10, 20, 30, 40)

Difference in lengths

Lengths vary in Tuples and Lists. Lists have variable lengths. In comparison, Tuples have a fixed length. As a result, lists that have been constructed can have their sizes modified, but tuples cannot.

Comparison Chart: List Vs Tuple

ParametersListTuple
Built-in featuresAvailableNot available
BenefitsList is preferable for actions such as insertion and deletion.Tuple is preferable for accessing elements of the data.
Memory usageLess efficient; consumes more memory.More efficient; consumes less memory.
Possibility for errorsThe chances of errors occurring are high.The chances of errors occurring are low.

Similarities between List and Tuple

The biggest similarity between List and Tuple is that they are both used to collect and store many kinds of data. The data in both List and Tuple can be stored sequentially and accessed by an integer index operator.

FAQs

What advantages do Tuples have over Lists?

There are quite a few advantages of using Tuples over Lists:
- Lists take longer to process than triples.
- The code is protected from any unintentional changes thanks to Tuples. It is preferable to store non-changing data in Tuples rather than Lists if it is required by a program.
- If a Tuple includes immutable values like strings, integers, or another Tuple, it can be used as a dictionary key. Since Lists are changeable, they can never be used as dictionary keys.

Does a List need to be homogeneous?

It is only a custom; it is not a rule. Numerous programming languages need homogeneous lists and fixed-length tuples.

How are Lists slower than Tuples?

Lists have a huge memory. Tuples are stored in single memory blocks, and can be created quicker than a list. Due to the requirement to access two memory blocks, creating a list takes longer.

Conclusion

Even though Lists and Tuples are equally important in Python, it is crucial to know the differences between the two data structures. They also possess similarities since, ultimately, both are used to collect and store different types of data.

References

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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