Tip: Prefer primitives in useEffect dependencies

Angelos Chalaris · React, Hooks, Effect, Object, Comparison · Jun 12, 2022

Conditionally firing an effect is a pretty common requirement when working with React. In most cases, this is as simple as passing a dependency array to useEffect. Turns out that, in some cases, this can cause unnecessary performance degradation.

Such issues arise when entire objects are passed as dependencies when you only need a primitive value. Due to the nature of objects, being pass-by-reference, comparing the dependencies will always trigger a re-run. This ends up causing effects to run unnecessarily.

const CartItem = ({ item }) => {
  useEffect(() => {
    console.log(`${item.name} quantity has changed to ${item.quantity}.`);
  }, [item]);

  return (
    <>
      <h3>{item.name}</h3>
      <span>
        {item.price} x {item.quantity}
      </span>
    </>
  );
};

The solution is to use only the parts of the object that the effect relies on. Oftentimes, these are primitives, such as strings and numbers. Comparing their values to the previous dependencies is more efficient and avoids unnecessary re-runs.

const CartItem = ({ item }) => {
  const { name, quantity, price } = item;

  useEffect(() => {
    console.log(`${name} quantity has changed to ${quantity}.`);
  }, [name, quantity]);

  return (
    <>
      <h3>{name}</h3>
      <span>
        {price} x {quantity}
      </span>
    </>
  );
};

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