Introduction

Lists are a sequential data type in Python. This mutable array-like data structure is convenient for storing a collection of items.

Python has different methods to find the total number of elements in a list (or the list length). This article shows three ways to find the list length in Python.

Prerequisites

## Finding the Length of a List in Python

Determining the length of a list in Python is a simple task that can be achieved in a variety of ways. Depending on the task at hand, you can use 3 methods to find the length of a list:

1. Without functions, using programming logic.
2. Using a built-in function (preferred).
3. Importing an external function from a library.

The sections below explain all three methods through practical examples.

### Method 1: Naïve Counter Method

The first way to determine a list length in Python is to use a `for` loop and a counter. This method does not require any built-in or imported functions.

The following code shows how to find the list length using a `for` loop and a counter:

``````my_list = [0,1,2,3,4]
counter = 0
for element in my_list:
counter += 1
print(counter)``````

As the loop goes through the elements in the list, the counter increments by one each time. The final value of the counter is the list length.

### Method 2: len()

Python offers a built-in method to find the length of a list called `len()`. This method is the most straightforward and common way to determine a list length.

To use the `len()` function, provide the list as an argument. For example:

``````my_list = [0,1,2,3,4]
print(len(my_list))``````

The built-in `len()` function returns the element count as an integer.

Note: Methods such as `len()` and slicing also work on strings and tuples in Python.

### Method 3: length_hint()

The Python `operator` library contains a method called `length_hint()` for estimating the length of iterable objects. The method returns the exact length of lists and objects with a known length. Alternatively, it provides the estimated length.

To use the `length_hint()` function, import the method from the `operator` library and provide the list as input. For example:

``````from operator import length_hint
my_list = [0,1,2,3,4]
print(length_hint(my_list))``````

The function outputs the Python list length as an integer.

Conclusion

By reading this guide, you now know three different ways to find the length of a Python list. Knowing different methods provides flexibility in choosing the best one for your use case.

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Milica Dancuk
Milica Dancuk is a technical writer at phoenixNAP who is passionate about programming. Her background in Electrical Engineering and Computing combined with her teaching experience give her the ability to easily explain complex technical concepts through her content.
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