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 with a passion for programming. With a background in Electrical Engineering and Computing, coupled with her teaching experience, she excels at simplifying complex technical concepts in her writing.
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