if (key in object) or if(object.hasOwnProperty(key)

Do the following two statements produce the same output? Is there any reason to prefer one way to the other?

 if (key in object)

 if (object.hasOwnProperty(key))



Be careful - they won't produce the same result.

in will also return true if key gets found somewhere in the prototype chain, whereas Object.hasOwnProperty (like the name already tells us), will only return true if key is available on that object directly (its "owns" the property).


I'l try to explain with another example. Say we have the following object with two properties:

function TestObj(){
    this.name = 'Dragon';
TestObj.prototype.gender = 'male';

Let's create instance of TestObj:

var o = new TestObj();

Let's examine the object instance:

console.log(o.hasOwnProperty('name')); // true
console.log('name' in o); // true

console.log(o.hasOwnProperty('gender')); // false
console.log('gender' in o); // true


  • in operator returns true always, if property is accessible by the object, directly or from the prototype

  • hasOwnProperty() returns true only if property exists on the instance, but not on its prototype

If we want to check that some property exist on the prototype, logically, we would say:

console.log(('name' in o) && !o.hasOwnProperty('name')); //false
console.log(('gender' in o) && !o.hasOwnProperty('gender')); //true - it's in prototype


So, regarding to statement that these two conditions ...

if (key in object)
if (object.hasOwnProperty(key))

...produce the same result, the answer is obvious, it depends.


in will also check for inherited properties, which is not the case for hasOwnProperty.


In summary, hasOwnProperty() does not look in the prototype while in does look in the prototype.

Taken from O'Reilly High Performance Javascript:

You can determine whether an object has an instance member with a given name by using the hasOwnProperty() method and passing in the name of the member. To determine whether an object has access to a property with a given name, you can use the in operator. For example:

var book = {
    title: "High Performance JavaScript",
    publisher: "Yahoo! Press" 

alert(book.hasOwnProperty("title"));  //true
alert(book.hasOwnProperty("toString"));  //false
alert("title" in book); //true 
alert("toString" in book); //true

In this code, hasOwnProperty() returns true when “title” is passed in because title is an object instance; the method returns false when “toString” is passed in because it doesn’t exist on the instance. When each property name is used with the in operator, the result is true both times because it searches the instance and prototype.


You got some really great answers. I just want to offer something that will save you the need for checking "hasOwnProperty" while iterating an object.

When creating an object usually people will create it in this way:

const someMap = {}
// equivalent to: Object.create(Object.prototype)
// someMap.constructor will yield -> function Object() { [native code] }

Now, if you want to iterate through "someMap" you will have to do it this way:

const key
for(key in someMap ){
 if (someMap.hasOwnProperty(key)) { 
   // Do something

We are doing so in order to avoid iterating over inherited properties.

If you intend to create a simple object that will only be used as a "map" (i.e. key - value pairs) you can do so like that:

const newMap = Object.create(null);
// Now, newMap won't have prototype at all.
// newMap.constructor will yield -> undefined

So now it will be safe to iterate like this:

for(key in cleanMap){
 console.log(key + " -> " + newMap [key]);
 // No need to add extra checks, as the object will always be clean

I learned this awesome tip here


The first version is shorter (especially in minified code where the variables are renamed)

a in b



Anyway, as @AndreMeinhold said, they do not always produce the same result.


The other form (called for in) enumerates the property names (or keys) of an object. On each iteration, another property name string from the object is assigned to the variable. It is usually necessary to test object.hasOwnProperty(variable) to determine whether the property name is truly a member of the object or was found instead on the prototype chain.

 for (myvar in obj) {
     if (obj.hasOwnProperty(myvar)) { ... } }

(from Crockford's Javascript: The Good Parts)


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