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How fast is vanilla JS localStorage?

Last week, I wrote about persisting state across multiple pages with localStorage.

I met some resistance over the performance impact of using localStorage vs. keeping state assigned to a variable in memory and using a single page app. I ended up writing a follow-up about how just because something is slower doesn’t mean it’s objectively slow.

So… how fast (or slow) is localStorage, actually? Let’s find out!

Setting up a test

This is something you can test relatively easily.

First, we’ll create an object with a lot of data in it. I setup a count variable with the number of items I’d like to save. Let’s start with 10000 (ten thousand). Then, I’ll create a data object, with a key of items in it. That key will start with an empty array.

Finally, we’ll setup a for loop to run as many times as we’ve set our count, and push a new item to the data.items array on each loop.

var count = 10000;

// Setup data
var data = {
	items: []

// Create data array
for (var i = 0; i < count; i++) {
	data.items.push('item number ' + i);

We can test performance using the method. This provides a millisecond timestamp whenever it’s run.

We’ll cache it’s value to a variable, save and retrieve some data to localStorage, then cache it to another variable. Then we’ll subtract the starting and ending times to find out how long the localStorage tasks took.

// Timestamp before the test
var start =;

// Set/get data to localStorage
localStorage.setItem('perfTest', JSON.stringify(data));
var cache = localStorage.getItem('perfTest');
cache = cache ? JSON.parse(cache) : {};

// Timestamp after the test
var end =;

// Duration of the test
console.log('It took ' + (end - start) + 'ms.');

You can download the test file to try this yourself.

Test Results

These results are averages because durations varied by about 10ms one way or another each time the test is run.

# of Entries Duration
10,000 12ms
50,000 40ms
100,000 77ms

If you’re not used to working with milliseconds, 1ms is one-thousandth (1/1,000) of a second.

Based on my tests, you can turn 100,000 items into a string, save it, get back out of storage, and convert it back into an object in less than 100ms.

I don’t see how you can call localStorage slow.

What do these numbers mean?

How slow is too slow? At what scale would using localStorage not be a good idea?

First, let’s address the apps at scale undertone whenever someone asks this question. Most developers who argue in favor of over-engineered front-end techniques and tools talk about scale a lot.

Most developers also aren’t building apps that the kind of scale that these tools were designed to address, nor will their apps ever get to that scale. If you are, or if they ever do, then, sure, using a framework. Build a single page app.

Generally speaking, durations over 300ms start to feel sluggish. Durations of 100ms and higher are perceivable to humans, but still feel fast. Durations below that feel instantaneous.

Speed is not the real concern

The bigger concern with large scale objects with localStorage is not actually speed, but storage limits.

localStorage is not infinite. Browsers have limits on the amount of localStorage data, and the amount of space you have varies from browser-to-browser. It’s also shared space for all sites, not just your app. Kind of like the hard drive in your computer or phone.

When you get above 20,000 entries or so, depending on how long each item is, you can fill up all of your available localStorage space pretty fast.

For apps at that scale, a single page app or paginated API calls on each page load might be better choices.