How to remove a specific item from an array in JavaScript

Published: · Reading time: 6 min

JavaScript doesn’t have a single explicit method to remove a specific item from an array. However, there are a few simple ways you can do that, depending on your needs.

  1. Remove by first and last
  2. Remove by index
  3. Remove by filtering out
  4. Remove using Set object
  5. Notes

Remove by first and last

To remove the first or last item from an array, JavaScript offers the shift() and pop() methods.

The shift() method removes the first item in an array and returns that removed element.

const fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']

fruits.shift() // 'apple'

console.log(fruits) // ['banana', 'orange', 'mango']

The pop() method removes the last element from an array and returns that element.

const fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']

fruits.pop() // 'mango'

console.log(fruits) // ['apple', 'banana', 'orange']

Remove by index

If you need to remove an item at a specific array index, you can use the splice() method. This method can remove and replace specific items in a given array.

It can accept multiple arguments, depending on whether you want to insert additional items or not. But the first argument is the starting index to begin modifying array and the second one is the number of items to remove.

const fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']

fruits.splice(2,1) // ['orange']

console.log(fruits) // ['apple', 'banana', mango]

Remove by filtering out

To find the item in an array you can use the indexOf() method. That way if you know the item’s index you wish to remove, pass it as the first argument into splice() method.

const fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']

const removeIndex = fruits.indexOf('orange')
fruits.splice(removeIndex,1) // ['orange']

console.log(fruits) // ['apple', 'banana', mango]

Finally you can remove the items from an array without even knowing the item index. That is by using the filter() method. This method accepts a callback function that is executed on each item in an array and returns it if the condition is met.

💡 NOTE: the filter() method doesn’t mutate initial array, instead it creates a new modified array.

const fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']

const filteredFruits = fruits.filter(item => item !== 'orange')

console.log(filteredFruits) // ['apple', 'banana', mango]
console.log(fruits) // ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']

The use of filter() method comes in handy when you’re working with an array of objects. Because it may be hard to get the item’s index, and instead you can run each item through a condition and remove multiple at once, instead of removing them one by one.

Remove using Set object

The last one is an unconventional approach, but some might find it useful. The Set() constructor lets you create a Set object, that can store unique values of any type.

💡 NOTE: when creating a new Set object, it will remove all duplicates from the array, leaving only unique values.

The Set object can be converted to array with spread syntax. So you can store your array values in a Set object and convert them to array when needed.

The Set object possess multiple methods, one of which is delete. So you can directly remove an item from Set object by passing its value to delete method.

const fruitsSet = new Set(['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']);

console.log(fruitsSet) // Set(4) {'apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango'}
console.log([...fruitsSet]) // ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']


console.log(fruitsSet) // Set(3) {'apple', 'banana', 'mango'}
console.log([...fruitsSet]) //['apple', 'banana', 'mango']


💡 NOTE: using the delete operator on an array won’t delete the item from an array. Instead the value at a given index will be equal to undefined and the array length will remain the same.

const fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'mango']

delete fruits[2] // true

console.log(fruits) // ['apple', 'banana', empty, 'mango']
console.log(fruits[2]) // undefined
console.log(fruits.length) // 4
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