EnumSet - 特殊的 Set


EnumSet is a specialized implementation of java.util.Set, as its name implies, it is designed for use with Enums; so what’s the difference between EnumSet and a regular Set (say HashSet)? And why should we use EnumSet whenever possible instead of a regular Set?


Here are the environments used in this post:

  • OS: macOS High Sierra

  • JDK: 1.8.0_151

How EnumSet Works

If you look up the source code of EnumSet, it is easy to find out that EnumSet doesn’t store all the elements in a table (like HashMap does), instead, it stores the elements as some bits of a long type field;

Here is how EnumSet works:

The only way to create a EnumSet is by calling its static methods:

  • noneOf(Class<E> elementType): create a empty EnumSet associated to the enum type elementType;
  • allOf(Class<E> elementType): create a EnumSet associated to the enum type elementType, containing all values of Enum E;
  • copyOf(EnumSet<E> s): create a EnumSet by copying from another EnumSet s;

Once created, the EnumSet is associated to a Enum type, whose values are limited and known, and EnumSet maps each of the values to a bit of a long type field, if the value is present in this set, the corresponding bit is set to 1, otherwise 0; in this case:

  • Adding an (known) element to this set means setting the corresponding bit to 1;
  • Removing an element from this set means setting the corresponding bit to 0;
  • Determining whether an element appears in this set (the contains method) means determining the corresponding bit is 1 or 0;

Depending on how many values of the associated Enum type, EnumSet may store the elements in a single long type field, or a long[] type one because of the fact that a long type in Java occupies 64 bits;

There are two implementations in EnumSet according to the number of the values of the associated Enum type: RegularEnumSet and JumboEnumSet; RegularEnumSet uses a single long type field to hold the elements’ corresponding bits while JumboEnumSet uses a long[] type field;

public static <E extends Enum<E>> EnumSet<E> noneOf(Class<E> elementType) {
Enum<?>[] universe = getUniverse(elementType);
if (universe == null)
throw new ClassCastException(elementType + " not an enum");

if (universe.length <= 64)
return new RegularEnumSet<>(elementType, universe);
return new JumboEnumSet<>(elementType, universe);



Since EnumSet is implemented with bitwise operations, all basic operations execute in constant time and thus, are likely to be much faster then their HashSet counterparts;


Attempts to insert null into EnumSet will cause a NullPointerException, while testing for the presence of null or removing null will function properly, and HashSet permits null element;


EnumSet will never throw ConcurrentModificationException even if you remove some elements simultaneously while iterating it, and if you do this, whether the modifications are visible during the iteration is not defined;