“new BigDecimal(13.3D)” results in imprecise “13.3000000000000007105..”?

“new BigDecimal(13.3D)” results in imprecise “13.3000000000000007105..”?

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How is it that Java’s BigDecimal can be this painful?

Double d = 13.3D;

BigDecimal bd1 = new BigDecimal(d);
BigDecimal bd2 = new BigDecimal(String.valueOf(d));

System.out.println(“RESULT 1: “+bd1.toString());
System.out.println(“RESULT 2: “+bd2.toString());

RESULT 1: 13.300000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125
RESULT 2: 13.3

Is there any situation where Result 1 would be desired? I know that Java 1.5 changed the toString() method but was this the intended consequence?

Also I realise that BigDecimal has doubleValue() etc, but the library that I am working with helpfully uses a toString() and I can’t change that 🙁


java precision bigdecimal

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edited May 15 ’12 at 15:19


asked Jan 20 ’09 at 10:36


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Actually the toString() version is probably what you want. Decimal numbers cannot be properly represented as a double, and while BigDecimals solve this problem, giving them a double in the constructor undermines the solution as they do not have an accurate number to start from.

– Andrzej Doyle
Jan 20 ’09 at 11:04

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5 Answers





Well, the API does address this apparent inconsistency in the constructor BigDecimal(double val):

The results of this constructor can be somewhat unpredictable. One might
assume that writing new
BigDecimal(0.1) in Java creates a
BigDecimal which is exactly equal to
0.1 (an unscaled value of 1, with a scale of 1), but it is actually equal
0.1000000000000000055511151231257827021181583404541015625. This is because 0.1 cannot be
represented exactly as a double (or,
for that matter, as a binary fraction
of any finite length). Thus, the value
that is being passed in to the
constructor is not exactly equal to
0.1, appearances notwithstanding.
The String constructor, on the other hand, is perfectly predictable:
writing new BigDecimal(“0.1″) creates
a BigDecimal which is exactly equal to
0.1, as one would expect. Therefore, it is generally recommended that the
String constructor be used in
preference to this one.
When a double must be used as a source for a BigDecimal, note that
this constructor provides an exact
conversion; it does not give the same
result as converting the double to a
String using the
Double.toString(double) method and
then using the BigDecimal(String)
constructor. To get that result, use
the static valueOf(double) method.

Moral of the story: The pain seems self-inflicted, just use new BigDecimal(String val) or BigDecimal.valueOf(double val) instead =)

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edited Jan 20 ’09 at 11:03

answered Jan 20 ’09 at 10:50

Zach ScrivenaZach Scrivena

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+1: That’s how Double really works. Not much to do with BigDecimal.

– S.Lott
Jan 20 ’09 at 11:03

Nice one. So really someone should throw a RTFM at me 😉

– Damo
Jan 20 ’09 at 11:43

Note that also new BigDecimal(d+””) works fine. Results in “13.3” just like when using valueOf(d)

May 28 ’15 at 12:27

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Your problem has nothing to do with BigDecimal, and everything with Double, which cannot represent 13.3 accurately, since it uses binary fractions internally.

So your error is introduced in the very first line. The first BigDecimal simply preserves it, while String.valueOf() does some fishy rounding that causes the second one to have the desired content, pretty much through luck.

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edited Dec 14 ’11 at 21:23

Bhesh Gurung

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answered Jan 20 ’09 at 10:40

Michael BorgwardtMichael Borgwardt

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You might want to inform yourself about how floating-point values are implemented (IEEE 754-1985). And suddenly, everything will become crystal-clear.

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answered Jan 20 ’09 at 10:39


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This isn’t the fault of BigDecimal – it’s the fault of double. BigDecimal is accurately representing the exact value of d. String.valueOf is only showing the result to a few decimal places.

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edited Dec 14 ’11 at 21:24

Bhesh Gurung

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answered Jan 20 ’09 at 10:38

Jon SkeetJon Skeet

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Fractions represented with binary number types(i.e. double, float) cannot be accurately stored in those types.

Double d = 13.3;
BigDecimal bdNotOk = new BigDecimal(d);
System.out.println(“not ok: ” + bdNotOk.toString());

BigDecimal bdNotOk2 = new BigDecimal(13.3);
System.out.println(“not ok2: ” + bdNotOk2.toString());

double x = 13.3;
BigDecimal ok = BigDecimal.valueOf(x);
System.out.println(“ok: ” + ok.toString());

double y = 13.3;
// pretty lame, constructor’s behavior is different from valueOf static method
BigDecimal bdNotOk3 = new BigDecimal(y);
System.out.println(“not ok3: ” + bdNotOk3.toString());

BigDecimal ok2 = new BigDecimal(“13.3”);
System.out.println(“ok2: ” + ok2.toString());

Double e = 0.0;
for(int i = 0; i < 10; ++i) e = e + 0.1; // some fractions cannot be accurately represented with binary
System.out.println(“not ok4: ” + e.toString()); // should be 1

BigDecimal notOk5 = BigDecimal.valueOf(e);
System.out.println(“not ok5: ” + notOk5.toString()); // should be 1

* here are some fractions that can be represented exactly in binary:
* 0.5 = 0.1 = 1 / 2
* 0.25 = 0.01 = 1 / 4
* 0.75 = 0.11 = 3 / 4
* 0.125 = 0.001 = 1 / 8


not ok: 13.300000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125
not ok2: 13.300000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125
ok: 13.3
not ok3: 13.300000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125
ok2: 13.3
not ok4: 0.9999999999999999
not ok5: 0.9999999999999999

Just use BigDecimal.valueOf(d) or new BigDecimal(s).

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edited Dec 14 ’11 at 21:24

Bhesh Gurung

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answered Jan 20 ’09 at 11:21

Michael BuenMichael Buen

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