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This quick tutorial is going to show how to remove all null elements from a List, using plain Java, Guava, the Apache Commons Collections and the newer Java 8 lambda support.

This article is part of the “Java – Back to Basic” series here on Baeldung.

1. Remove Nulls From a List Using Plain Java

The Java Collections Framework offers a simple solution for removing all null elements in the List – a basic while loop:

@Test
public void givenListContainsNulls_whenRemovingNullsWithPlainJava_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> list = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, null);
    while (list.remove(null));

    assertThat(list, hasSize(1));
}

Alternatively, we can also use the following simple approach:

@Test
public void givenListContainsNulls_whenRemovingNullsWithPlainJavaAlternative_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> list = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, null);
    list.removeAll(Collections.singleton(null));

    assertThat(list, hasSize(1));
}

Note that both these solutions will modify the source list.

2. Remove Nulls From a List Using Google Guava

We can also remove nulls using Guava and a more functional approach, via predicates:

@Test
public void givenListContainsNulls_whenRemovingNullsWithGuavaV1_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> list = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, null);
    Iterables.removeIf(list, Predicates.isNull());

    assertThat(list, hasSize(1));
}

Alternatively, if we don't want to modify the source list, Guava will allow us to create a new, filter list:

@Test
public void givenListContainsNulls_whenRemovingNullsWithGuavaV2_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> list = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, null, 2, 3);
    List<Integer> listWithoutNulls = Lists.newArrayList(
      Iterables.filter(list, Predicates.notNull()));

    assertThat(listWithoutNulls, hasSize(3));
}

3. Remove Nulls From a List Using Apache Commons Collections

Let's now look at a simple solution using the Apache Commons Collections library using a similar functional style:

@Test
public void givenListContainsNulls_whenRemovingNullsWithCommonsCollections_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> list = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, 2, null, 3, null);
    CollectionUtils.filter(list, PredicateUtils.notNullPredicate());

    assertThat(list, hasSize(3));
}

Note that this solution will also modify the original list.

4. Remove Nulls From a List Using Lambdas (Java 8)

Finally – let's look at a Java 8 solution using Lambdas to filter the List; the filtering process can be done in parallel or serial:

@Test
public void givenListContainsNulls_whenFilteringParallel_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> list = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, 2, null, 3, null);
    List<Integer> listWithoutNulls = list.parallelStream()
      .filter(Objects::nonNull)
      .collect(Collectors.toList());
}

@Test
public void givenListContainsNulls_whenFilteringSerial_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> list = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, 2, null, 3, null);
    List<Integer> listWithoutNulls = list.stream()
      .filter(Objects::nonNull)
      .collect(Collectors.toList());
}

public void givenListContainsNulls_whenRemovingNullsWithRemoveIf_thenCorrect() {
    List<Integer> listWithoutNulls = Lists.newArrayList(null, 1, 2, null, 3, null);
    listWithoutNulls.removeIf(Objects::isNull);

    assertThat(listWithoutNulls, hasSize(3));
}

And that's it – some quick and very useful solutions for getting rid of all null elements from a List.

5. Conclusion

In this article, we were able to explore the different approaches we can have to remove nulls from a List using Java, Guava or Lambdas.

The implementation of all of these examples and snippets can be found in the GitHub project. This is a Maven-based project so it should be easy to import and run.

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