Write better JavaScript conditionals

Published: · Reading time: 9 min

You can make your code more concise and readable by writing better conditionals in JavaScript.

Of course it depends on the situation, but in this article, I want to show you different ways how you can optimize your condition statements to make your code more clean and readable.

if statement

One of the first things you’ll learn as a developer is if...else conditional statement.

if...else will execute a block of code inside curly braces depending on a condition.

const age = 18
let status = ""

if (age < 18) {
  status = "minor"
} else {
  status = "adult"

console.log(status) // adult

This approach is good to use when you have multiple actions to perform inside the condition. For example, you need to update class names for DOM elements, update or manipulate an object or an array, call a function, etc.

That way you can clearly see what code gets executed inside a block. Also, you can add more else if blocks to handle multiple and more complex conditions that may include AND and OR logical operators.

switch statement

If you need to check multiple conditions you can use the switch statement. It will execute different blocks of code based on the value of a single variable.

const dayOfWeek = 4
let dayName = ""

switch (dayOfWeek) {
  case 0:
    dayName = "Sunday"
  case 1:
    dayName = "Monday"
  case 2:
    dayName = "Tuesday"
  case 3:
    dayName = "Wednesday"
  case 4:
    dayName = "Thursday"
  case 5:
    dayName = "Friday"
  case 6:
    dayName = "Saturday"
    dayName = "Invalid day of week"

console.log(`Today is ${dayName}`)
// Today is Thursday

When compared to the if...else statement, the switch statement can be more efficient when checking the value of a single variable against multiple cases, especially if there are many cases.

It can also be more readable and easier to understand when there are many cases and simple actions, like a function call or assigning a variable value.


You can make conditional decisions utilizing different operators instead of if...else or switch statements.

Logical operators are great when you need to set a variable value conditionally. Or even use them inside if...else statements.

OR operator

The OR operator in JavaScript is represented by the || symbol. It will return true if at least one of the operands evaluates to a truthy value in a boolean context.

When setting a variable value, using the OR operator can make the code more concise and readable, especially when dealing with values that might be undefined or empty.

const greeting1 = "Hello" || "" // Hello
const greeting2 = "Hello" || "World" // Hello
const greeting3 = "" || "World" // World
const greeting4 = "" || false // false
const greeting5 = false || "" // ""

As you can see we can set the variable value in just one line as compared to if...else or switch statements.

AND operator

Similarly, you can use the AND operator, which is represented by the && symbol.

When evaluating an expression with the AND operator, if the first operand is falsy (i.e., evaluates to false in a boolean context), then the entire expression is falsy without evaluating the second operand. This also means that the second operand will be ignored.

However if both operands are truthy (i.e., evaluate to true in a boolean context), then the AND operator will return the value of the second operand.

const greeting1 = "Hello" && "" // ""
const greeting2 = "Hello" && "World" // World
const greeting3 = true && "Hello" // Hello
const greeting4 = "Hello" && true // true
const greeting5 = false && "Hello" // false

Once again we can set the variable value in just one line as compared to if...else or switch statements.

You can also use the AND operator to invoke functions conditionally.

const isActive = true

function getActiveUser (name) {
  return `User name is ${name}`

isActive && getActiveUser("Leo") // User name is Leo

💡 NOTE: Using OR (||) and AND (&&) operators for more than just simple boolean comparisons is called the Short-circuit evaluation.

Optional chaining

You can check object property existence with the optional chaining operator ?..

It greatly simplifies the code when checking long object property chain. Instead of using AND operator you can use optional chaining operator.

const car = {
  brand: "Audi",
  features: {
    type: "Sedan",
    year: 2012

console.log(car?.features?.type) // Sedan
console.log(car?.features?.color) // undefined

Comparison operators

To enhance your conditions and cover more complex cases you can also use comparison operators.

const score = 75

score === 75 // true
score !== 75 // false
score < 75 // false
score > 75 // false
score >= 75 // true
score <= 75 // true

You can even combine comparison operators with logical operators for more complex evaluation.

const score = 75
const time = 10000

score > 70 || time < 9000 // true
score > 80 || time < 9000 // false
score > 70 && time < 11000 // true
score > 80 && time < 9000 // false

Ternary operator

Finally, there’s a ternary operator.

The ternary operator is like an if...else statement written in one line. It checks a condition, and if it’s true, the value after ? is assigned. If the condition is false, the value after : is assigned.

const age = 18
const status = age < 18 ? "minor" : "adult"

console.log(status) // adult

The ternary operator comes in handy for small conditions and variable assignment.

Similarly as before you can combine comparison operators with logical operators and use them as a condition inside the ternary operator.

const score = 100
const time = 10000

const rank = score === 100 && time < 11000 ? "Winner" : "Try again"

console.log(rank) // Winner
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