2416. Java Concurrency - BlockingQueue
BlockingQueue and ArrayBlockingQueue

BlockingQueue interface and its implementations.

1. BlockingQueue Interface

BlockingQueue Interface(java.util.concurrent.BlockingQueue) is a Queue that additionally supports operations that wait for the queue to become non-empty when retrieving an element, and wait for space to become available in the queue when storing an element.

1.1 Operations on BlockingQueue

BlockingQueue methods come in four forms, with different ways of handling operations that cannot be satisfied immediately, but may be satisfied at some point in the future: one throws an exception, the second returns a special value (either null or false, depending on the operation), the third blocks the current thread indefinitely until the operation can succeed, and the fourth blocks for only a given maximum time limit before giving up. These methods are summarized in the following table:

Operation Throws exception Special value Blocks Times out
Insert add(e) offer(e) put(e) offer(e, time, unit)
Remove remove() poll() take() poll(time, unit)
Examine element() peek() not applicable not applicable
  • BlockingQueue does not accept null elements. Implementations throw NullPointerException on attempts to add, put or offer a null.

1.2 BlockingQueue Types

  • Unbounded Queue: The Capacity of blocking queue will be set to Integer.MAX_VALUE. Unbounded queue will never block because it could grow to a very large size. When you add elements, it’s size grows.
    BlockingQueue blockingQueue = new LinkedBlockingDeque();
  • Bounded Queue: The capacity of bounded queue is fixed. You can create a bounded queue by passing the capacity of queue in constructor.
    // Creates a Blocking Queue with capacity 5
    BlockingQueue blockingQueue = new LinkedBlockingDeque(5);

1.3 Classes implements BlockingQueue Interface

  • ArrayBlockingQueue
  • LinkedBlockingQueue
  • PriorityBlockingQueue
  • SynchronousQueue
  • LinkedBlockingDeque

1.4 ArrayBlockingQueue vs. LinkedBlockingQueue

  • ArrayBlockingQueue is always bounded.
  • LinkedBlockingQueue can be unbounded.
  • ArrayBlockingQueue can be created with a configurable (on/off) scheduling fairness policy. This is great if you need fairness or want to avoid producer/consumer starvation, but it will cost you in throughput.
  • ArrayBlockingQueue pre-allocates its backing array, so it doesn’t allocate nodes during its usage, but it immediately takes what can be a considerable chunk of memory, which can be a problem if your memory is fragmented.
  • ArrayBlockingQueue should have less variability in performance, because it has less moving parts overall, it uses a simpler and less-sophisticated single-lock algorithm, it does not create nodes during usage, and its cache behavior should be fairly consistent.
  • LinkedBlockingQueue should have better throughput, because it uses separate locks for the head and the tail.
  • LinkedBlockingQueue does not pre-allocate nodes, which means that its memory footprint will roughly match its size, but it also means that it will incur some work for allocation and freeing of nodes.
  • LinkedBlockingQueue will probably have worse cache behavior, which may affect its own performance, but also the performance of other components due to false sharing.

2. BlockingQueue Example

2.1 Message

The object will be created by producer and consumed by consumer.

public class Message {
    private String msg;

    public Message(String msg){
        this.msg = msg;

    public String getMessage() {
        return msg;

2.2 Producer

Producer creates messages and put them into the queue.

import java.util.concurrent.BlockingQueue;

public class Producer implements Runnable {

    private BlockingQueue<Message> bq;

    public Producer(BlockingQueue<Message> bq){
        this.bq = bq;

    public void run() {
        //produce messages
        for (int i = 0; i < 20; i++){
            Message msg = new Message("Message-" + i);
            try {
                System.out.println("Produced " + msg.getMessage());
            } catch (InterruptedException e) {
        //adding exit message
        Message msg = new Message("exit");
        try {
        } catch (InterruptedException e) {

2.3 Consumer

Consumer will process on the messages from the queue and terminates when exit message is received.

import java.util.concurrent.BlockingQueue;

public class Consumer implements Runnable{

    private BlockingQueue<Message> bq;

    public Consumer(BlockingQueue<Message> bq){
        this.bq = bq;

    public void run() {
        try {
            Message msg;
            //consuming messages until exit message is received
            while ((!(msg = bq.take()).getMessage().equals("exit"))) {
                System.out.println("Consumed " + msg.getMessage());
        } catch (InterruptedException e) {

2.4 Test Class

This test class will create the BlockingQueue with fixed size and share with both producers and consumers. It will start producer and consumer threads and exit.

public class BlockingQueueExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        //Creating BlockingQueue of size 10
        BlockingQueue<Message> queue = new ArrayBlockingQueue<>(5);

        Producer producer = new Producer(queue);
        Consumer consumer = new Consumer(queue);

        //starting producer to produce messages in queue
        new Thread(producer).start();

        //starting consumer to consume messages from queue
        new Thread(consumer).start();

        System.out.println("Producer and Consumer has been started");


Producer and Consumer has been started
Produced Message-0
Produced Message-1
Produced Message-2
Produced Message-3
Produced Message-4
Produced Message-5
Consumed Message-0
Produced Message-6
Consumed Message-1
Produced Message-7
Consumed Message-2
Produced Message-8
Consumed Message-3
Produced Message-9
Consumed Message-4
Produced Message-10
Consumed Message-5
Produced Message-11
Consumed Message-6
Produced Message-12
Consumed Message-7
Produced Message-13
Consumed Message-8
Produced Message-14
Consumed Message-9
Produced Message-15
Consumed Message-10
Produced Message-16
Consumed Message-11
Produced Message-17
Consumed Message-12
Produced Message-18
Consumed Message-13
Produced Message-19
Consumed Message-14
Consumed Message-15
Consumed Message-16
Consumed Message-17
Consumed Message-18
Consumed Message-19

Process finished with exit code 0

3. Source Files

4. References