Difference between sort() and sorted() in python

Milind Soorya / September 22, 2021

2 min read

sort vs sorted function in python


Python is a developer friendly language. It has many built in method which helps to speed up the development process.

The sorted() and sort() method help to sort a python list. There is a small difference in how each method perform sorting.

What is python sorted() method

sorted() method sorts the given sequence either in ascending order or in descending order and always return the a sorted list. This method doesnot effect the original sequence.

Python sorted() method example

input_list = [5, 2, 1, 4, 3]
print("Sorted list:")
# Sorted list: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

What is python sort() method

sort() function is very similar to sorted() but unlike sorted it returns nothing and makes changes to the original sequence. Moreover, sort() is a method of list class and can only be used with lists.

Python sort() method example

# List of Integers
numbers = [1, 3, 4, 2]
# Sorting list of Integers
# [1, 2, 3, 4]

Python sort() vs sorted() performance

In my testing I was able to find that the sorting almost take the same amount of time. But, as sorted() creates a new list, the copying does takes some time.

When to use sort() and sorted() methods

  • If you don’t require an original list in the later part of your code, you can sort the original list. Use sort() list method.
  • If you require an optional list later part of your code, you need to create a new sorted list. Use sorted() built-in function.

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