How can I concatenate two arrays in Java?


I need to concatenate two String arrays in Java.

void f(String[] first, String[] second) {
    String[] both = ???

What is the easiest way to do this?

12/22/2018 3:35:03 PM

Here's a simple method that will concatenate two arrays and return the result:

public <T> T[] concatenate(T[] a, T[] b) {
    int aLen = a.length;
    int bLen = b.length;

    T[] c = (T[]) Array.newInstance(a.getClass().getComponentType(), aLen + bLen);
    System.arraycopy(a, 0, c, 0, aLen);
    System.arraycopy(b, 0, c, aLen, bLen);

    return c;

Note that it will not work with primitive data types, only with object types.

The following slightly more complicated version works with both object and primitive arrays. It does this by using T instead of T[] as the argument type.

It also makes it possible to concatenate arrays of two different types by picking the most general type as the component type of the result.

public static <T> T concatenate(T a, T b) {
    if (!a.getClass().isArray() || !b.getClass().isArray()) {
        throw new IllegalArgumentException();

    Class<?> resCompType;
    Class<?> aCompType = a.getClass().getComponentType();
    Class<?> bCompType = b.getClass().getComponentType();

    if (aCompType.isAssignableFrom(bCompType)) {
        resCompType = aCompType;
    } else if (bCompType.isAssignableFrom(aCompType)) {
        resCompType = bCompType;
    } else {
        throw new IllegalArgumentException();

    int aLen = Array.getLength(a);
    int bLen = Array.getLength(b);

    T result = (T) Array.newInstance(resCompType, aLen + bLen);
    System.arraycopy(a, 0, result, 0, aLen);
    System.arraycopy(b, 0, result, aLen, bLen);        

    return result;

Here is an example:

Assert.assertArrayEquals(new int[] { 1, 2, 3 }, concatenate(new int[] { 1, 2 }, new int[] { 3 }));
Assert.assertArrayEquals(new Number[] { 1, 2, 3f }, concatenate(new Integer[] { 1, 2 }, new Number[] { 3f }));

It's possible to write a fully generic version that can even be extended to concatenate any number of arrays. This versions require Java 6, as they use Arrays.copyOf()

Both versions avoid creating any intermediary List objects and use System.arraycopy() to ensure that copying large arrays is as fast as possible.

For two arrays it looks like this:

public static <T> T[] concat(T[] first, T[] second) {
  T[] result = Arrays.copyOf(first, first.length + second.length);
  System.arraycopy(second, 0, result, first.length, second.length);
  return result;

And for a arbitrary number of arrays (>= 1) it looks like this:

public static <T> T[] concatAll(T[] first, T[]... rest) {
  int totalLength = first.length;
  for (T[] array : rest) {
    totalLength += array.length;
  T[] result = Arrays.copyOf(first, totalLength);
  int offset = first.length;
  for (T[] array : rest) {
    System.arraycopy(array, 0, result, offset, array.length);
    offset += array.length;
  return result;

Using Stream in Java 8:

String[] both = Stream.concat(,

Or like this, using flatMap:

String[] both = Stream.of(a, b).flatMap(Stream::of)

To do this for a generic type you have to use reflection:

T[] both = Stream.concat(,
    size -> (T[]) Array.newInstance(a.getClass().getComponentType(), size));

Or with the beloved Guava:

String[] both = ObjectArrays.concat(first, second, String.class);

Also, there are versions for primitive arrays:

  • Booleans.concat(first, second)
  • Bytes.concat(first, second)
  • Chars.concat(first, second)
  • Doubles.concat(first, second)
  • Shorts.concat(first, second)
  • Ints.concat(first, second)
  • Longs.concat(first, second)
  • Floats.concat(first, second)

You can append the two arrays in two lines of code.

String[] both = Arrays.copyOf(first, first.length + second.length);
System.arraycopy(second, 0, both, first.length, second.length);

This is a fast and efficient solution and will work for primitive types as well as the two methods involved are overloaded.

You should avoid solutions involving ArrayLists, streams, etc as these will need to allocate temporary memory for no useful purpose.

You should avoid for loops for large arrays as these are not efficient. The built in methods use block-copy functions that are extremely fast.