LinkedBlockingQueue vs ConcurrentLinkedQueue in Java: A Comprehensive Comparison

Naveen Metta
4 min readApr 10, 2024
credit goes to the owner : https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/blockingqueue-interface-in-java/
source : geeksforgeeks.org

Introduction: In the realm of concurrent programming in Java, efficient management of shared resources is paramount. Thread-safe data structures play a pivotal role in ensuring smooth coordination and synchronization among threads. Among these, LinkedBlockingQueue and ConcurrentLinkedQueue stand out as versatile implementations for managing queues in concurrent environments. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve deeper into the intricacies of these two queue implementations, dissecting their underlying mechanisms, performance characteristics, and optimal use cases.

LinkedBlockingQueue: LinkedBlockingQueue is a robust blocking queue implementation that adheres to the FIFO (First-In-First-Out) principle. Internally, it utilizes a linked node structure to manage elements efficiently. One of the hallmark features of LinkedBlockingQueue is its ability to block threads during certain operations, such as when attempting to add elements to a full queue or remove elements from an empty queue.

The blocking behavior of LinkedBlockingQueue lends itself well to scenarios where synchronization and coordination between producer and consumer threads are essential. For instance, in a producer-consumer pattern where the producer must wait if the queue is full or the consumer must wait if the queue is empty, LinkedBlockingQueue seamlessly orchestrates thread interactions without the need for explicit synchronization mechanisms.

Code Example — LinkedBlockingQueue:

import java.util.concurrent.LinkedBlockingQueue;

public class LinkedBlockingQueueExample {
public static void main(String[] args) {
LinkedBlockingQueue<Integer> queue = new LinkedBlockingQueue<>(5);

// Producer thread
Thread producer = new Thread(() -> {
try {
for (int i = 1; i <= 10; i++) {
queue.put(i);
System.out.println("Produced: " + i);
}
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
Thread.currentThread().interrupt();
}
});

// Consumer thread
Thread consumer = new Thread(() -> {
try {
for (int i = 1; i <= 10; i++) {
System.out.println("Consumed: " + queue.take());
}
} catch (InterruptedException e) {
Thread.currentThread().interrupt();
}
});

producer.start();
consumer.start();
}
}

In this example, we instantiate a LinkedBlockingQueue with a capacity of 5. The producer thread adds elements to the queue using the put() method, while the consumer thread removes elements using the take() method. If the queue reaches its capacity or becomes empty, the corresponding thread blocks until the operation can be completed, ensuring efficient resource utilization.

ConcurrentLinkedQueue: ConcurrentLinkedQueue is a high-performance non-blocking queue implementation designed for concurrency and scalability. Like LinkedBlockingQueue, it employs a linked node structure internally, but it differs in its approach to thread synchronization. Unlike LinkedBlockingQueue, ConcurrentLinkedQueue does not block threads; instead, it offers non-blocking operations for insertion, removal, and retrieval of elements.

The non-blocking nature of ConcurrentLinkedQueue makes it particularly well-suited for scenarios where blocking operations could lead to contention and degrade performance. By leveraging lock-free algorithms and atomic operations, ConcurrentLinkedQueue achieves thread safety without introducing the overhead of blocking, making it an ideal choice for highly concurrent applications.

Code Example — ConcurrentLinkedQueue:

import java.util.concurrent.ConcurrentLinkedQueue;

public class ConcurrentLinkedQueueExample {
public static void main(String[] args) {
ConcurrentLinkedQueue<Integer> queue = new ConcurrentLinkedQueue<>();

// Producer thread
Thread producer = new Thread(() -> {
for (int i = 1; i <= 10; i++) {
queue.offer(i);
System.out.println("Produced: " + i);
}
});

// Consumer thread
Thread consumer = new Thread(() -> {
Integer value;
while ((value = queue.poll()) != null) {
System.out.println("Consumed: " + value);
}
});

producer.start();
consumer.start();
}
}

In this example, we create a ConcurrentLinkedQueue and demonstrate the producer-consumer pattern. The producer thread adds elements to the queue using the offer() method, while the consumer thread removes elements using the poll() method. Since ConcurrentLinkedQueue does not block threads, the consumer thread continuously polls the queue until it becomes empty, ensuring uninterrupted execution and optimal throughput.

Comparison: Having explored the features and usage of LinkedBlockingQueue and ConcurrentLinkedQueue, let’s summarize their differences and similarities for easier comparison:

  1. Blocking Behavior: LinkedBlockingQueue provides blocking operations, whereas ConcurrentLinkedQueue offers non-blocking operations.
  2. Synchronization Mechanism: LinkedBlockingQueue uses intrinsic locks and conditions for synchronization, while ConcurrentLinkedQueue employs lock-free algorithms and atomic operations.
  3. Performance: LinkedBlockingQueue may exhibit better performance in scenarios where blocking is acceptable, while ConcurrentLinkedQueue excels in high-concurrency environments due to its non-blocking nature.
  4. Use Cases: LinkedBlockingQueue is suitable for scenarios requiring backpressure or coordination between threads, such as producer-consumer patterns with a bounded buffer. ConcurrentLinkedQueue is preferred in scenarios where high throughput and scalability are paramount, such as concurrent data processing pipelines or event-driven architectures.

Conclusion: LinkedBlockingQueue and ConcurrentLinkedQueue emerge as indispensable tools in the arsenal of Java developers tasked with building robust concurrent applications. Whether it’s ensuring synchronized access to shared resources or maximizing throughput in highly concurrent environments, these queue implementations offer the flexibility and performance required to meet diverse application requirements.

By understanding the nuances of LinkedBlockingQueue and ConcurrentLinkedQueue, developers can make informed decisions when selecting the appropriate queue implementation for their specific use case. Whether it’s prioritizing blocking behavior for thread coordination or prioritizing non-blocking operations for improved scalability, Java provides the necessary abstractions to tackle concurrency challenges effectively.

As Java continues to evolve, the concurrency framework remains a cornerstone of modern software development, empowering developers to write efficient and scalable concurrent applications. With LinkedBlockingQueue and ConcurrentLinkedQueue at their disposal, Java developers are well-equipped to navigate the complexities of concurrent programming and deliver robust solutions that meet the demands of today’s dynamic computing landscape.

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Naveen Metta

I'm a Full Stack Developer with 2.5 years of experience. feel free to reach out for any help : mettanaveen701@gmail.com