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How to compare dates in Java?

Posted by: admin November 2, 2017 Leave a comment


How do I compare dates in between in Java?


date1 is 22-02-2010
date2 is 07-04-2010 today
date3 is 25-12-2010

date3 is always greater than date1 and date2 is always today. How do I verify if today’s date is in between date1 and date 3?


Date has before and after methods and can be compared to each other as follows:

if(todayDate.after(historyDate) && todayDate.before(futureDate)) {
    // In between

For an inclusive comparison:

if(!historyDate.after(todayDate) && !futureDate.before(todayDate)) {
    /* historyDate <= todayDate <= futureDate */ 

You could also give Joda-Time a go, but note that:

Joda-Time is the de facto standard date and time library for Java prior to Java SE 8. Users are now asked to migrate to java.time (JSR-310).

Back-ports are available for Java 6 and 7 as well as Android.


Use compareTo:



Following are most common way of comparing dates. But I have prefer first one

Approach-1 : Using Date.before(), Date.after() and Date.equals()

                System.out.println("Date1 is after Date2");

                System.out.println("Date1 is before Date2");

                System.out.println("Date1 is equal Date2");

Approach-2 : Date.compareTo()

                System.out.println("Date1 is after Date2");
            }else if(date1.compareTo(date2)<0){
                System.out.println("Date1 is before Date2");
                System.out.println("Date1 is equal to Date2");

Approach-3 : Calender.before(), Calender.after() and Calender.equals()

Calendar cal1 = Calendar.getInstance();
            Calendar cal2 = Calendar.getInstance();

                System.out.println("Date1 is after Date2");

                System.out.println("Date1 is before Date2");

                System.out.println("Date1 is equal Date2");


Compare the two dates:

  Date today = new Date();                   
  Date myDate = new Date(today.getYear(),today.getMonth()-1,today.getDay());
  System.out.println("My Date is"+myDate);    
  System.out.println("Today Date is"+today);
  if (today.compareTo(myDate)<0)
      System.out.println("Today Date is Lesser than my Date");
  else if (today.compareTo(myDate)>0)
      System.out.println("Today Date is Greater than my date"); 
      System.out.println("Both Dates are equal"); 



LocalDate today = LocalDate.now( ZoneId.of( "America/Montreal" ) ) ;
Boolean isBetween = 
    ( ! today.isBefore( localDate1 ) )  // “not-before” is short for “is-equal-to or later-than”.
    today.isBefore( localDate3 ) ; 

Half-open approach, where beginning is inclusive while ending is exclusive.

Bad Choice of Format

By the way, that is a bad choice of format for a text representation of a date or date-time value. Whenever possible, stick with the standard ISO 8601 formats. ISO 8601 formats are unambiguous, understandable across human cultures, and are easy to parse by machine.

For a date-only value, the standard format is YYYY-MM-DD. Note how this format has the benefit of being chronological when sorted alphabetically.


The LocalDate class represents a date-only value without time-of-day and without time zone.

A time zone is crucial in determining a date. For any given moment, the date varies around the globe by zone. For example, a few minutes after midnight in Paris France is a new day while still “yesterday” in Montréal Québec.

ZoneId z = ZoneId.of( "America/Montreal" );
LocalDate today = LocalDate.now( z );


As your input strings are non-standard format, we must define a formatting pattern to match.

DateTimeFormatter f = DateTimeFormatter.ofPattern( "dd-MM-uuuu" );

Use that to parse the input strings.

LocalDate start = LocalDate.parse( "22-02-2010" , f );
LocalDate stop = LocalDate.parse( "25-12-2010" , f );

In date-time work, usually best to define a span of time by the Half-Open approach where the beginning is inclusive while the ending is exclusive. So we want to know if today is the same or later than the start and also before the stop. A briefer way of saying “is the same or later than the start” is “not before the start”.

Boolean intervalContainsToday = ( ! today.isBefore( start ) ) && today.isBefore( stop ) ;

See the Answer by gstackoverflow showing the list of comparison methods you can call.

About java.time

The java.time framework is built into Java 8 and later. These classes supplant the troublesome old legacy date-time classes such as java.util.Date, Calendar, & SimpleDateFormat.

The Joda-Time project, now in maintenance mode, advises migration to the java.time classes.

To learn more, see the Oracle Tutorial. And search Stack Overflow for many examples and explanations. Specification is JSR 310.

Where to obtain the java.time classes?

The ThreeTen-Extra project extends java.time with additional classes. This project is a proving ground for possible future additions to java.time. You may find some useful classes here such as Interval, YearWeek, YearQuarter, and more.

UPDATE: This “Joda-Time” section below is left intact as history. The Joda-Time project, now in maintenance mode, advises migration to the java.time classes.


Other answers are correct with regard to the bundled java.util.Date and java.util.Calendar classes. But those classes are notoriously troublesome. So here’s some example code using the Joda-Time 2.3 library.

If you truly want a date without any time portion and no time zone, then use the LocalDate class in Joda-Time. That class provides methods of comparison including compareTo (used with Java Comparators), isBefore, isAfter, and isEqual.


String string1 = "22-02-2010";
String string2 = "07-04-2010";
String string3 = "25-12-2010";

Define a formatter describing the input strings…

DateTimeFormatter formatter = DateTimeFormat.forPattern( "dd-MM-yyyy" );

Use formatter to parse the strings into LocalDate objects…

LocalDate localDate1 = formatter.parseLocalDate( string1 );
LocalDate localDate2 = formatter.parseLocalDate( string2 );
LocalDate localDate3 = formatter.parseLocalDate( string3 );

boolean is1After2 = localDate1.isAfter( localDate2 );
boolean is2Before3 = localDate2.isBefore( localDate3 );

Dump to console…

System.out.println( "Dates: " + localDate1 + " " + localDate2 + " " + localDate3 );
System.out.println( "is1After2 " + is1After2 );
System.out.println( "is2Before3 " + is2Before3 );

When run…

Dates: 2010-02-22 2010-04-07 2010-12-25
is1After2 false
is2Before3 true

So see if the second is between the other two (exclusively, meaning not equal to either endpoint)…

boolean is2Between1And3 = ( ( localDate2.isAfter( localDate1 ) ) && ( localDate2.isBefore( localDate3 ) ) );

Working With Spans Of Time

If you are working with spans of time, I suggest exploring in Joda-Time the classes: Duration, Interval, and Period. Methods such as overlap and contains make comparisons easy.

For text representations, look at the ISO 8601 standard’s:

  • duration
    Format: PnYnMnDTnHnMnS
    Example: P3Y6M4DT12H30M5S
    (Means “three years, six months, four days, twelve hours, thirty minutes, and five seconds”)
  • interval
    Format: start/end
    Example: 2007-03-01T13:00:00Z/2008-05-11T15:30:00Z

Joda-Time classes can work with strings in both those formats, both as input (parsing) and output (generating strings).

Joda-Time performs comparisons using the Half-Open approach where the beginning of the span is inclusive while the ending is exclusive. This approach is a wise one for handling spans of time. Search StackOverflow for more info.


Update for Java 8 and later

These methods exists in LocalDate, LocalTime, and LocalDateTime classes.

Those classes are built into Java 8 and later. Much of the java.time functionality is back-ported to Java 6 & 7 in ThreeTen-Backport and further adapted to Android in ThreeTenABP (see How to use…).


You can use Date.getTime() which:

Returns the number of milliseconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 GMT
represented by this Date object.

This means you can compare them just like numbers:

if (date1.getTime() <= date.getTime() && date.getTime() <= date2.getTime()) {
     * date is between date1 and date2 (both inclusive)

 * when date1 = 2015-01-01 and date2 = 2015-01-10 then
 * returns true for:
 * 2015-01-01
 * 2015-01-01 00:00:01
 * 2015-01-02
 * 2015-01-10
 * returns false for:
 * 2014-12-31 23:59:59
 * 2015-01-10 00:00:01
 * if one or both dates are exclusive then change <= to <


Use getTime() to get the numeric value of the date, and then compare using the returned values.


Try this

public static boolean compareDates(String psDate1, String psDate2) throws ParseException{
        SimpleDateFormat dateFormat = new SimpleDateFormat ("dd/MM/yyyy");
        Date date1 = dateFormat.parse(psDate1);
        Date date2 = dateFormat.parse(psDate2);
        if(date2.after(date1)) {
            return true;
        } else {
            return false;


This code determine today is in some duration.. based on KOREA locale

    Calendar cstart = Calendar.getInstance(Locale.KOREA);
    cstart.set(startyear, startmonth, startday);

    Calendar cend = Calendar.getInstance(Locale.KOREA);
    cend.set(endyear, endmonth, endday);

    Calendar c = Calendar.getInstance(Locale.KOREA);

    if(c.after(cstart) && c.before(cend)) {
        // today is in startyear/startmonth/startday ~ endyear/endmonth/endday


This method worked for me:

 public static String daysBetween(String day1, String day2) {
    String daysBetween = "";
    SimpleDateFormat myFormat = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss");

    try {
        Date date1 = myFormat.parse(day1);
        Date date2 = myFormat.parse(day2);
        long diff = date2.getTime() - date1.getTime();
        daysBetween = ""+(TimeUnit.DAYS.convert(diff, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS));
    } catch (ParseException e) {
    return daysBetween;