Covariant Return Type in Java

MD Aminul Islam Oct 12, 2023
  1. Benefits of Using the Covariant Return Type
  2. Demonstration of the Covariant Return Type
Covariant Return Type in Java

The term Covariant return type means a return type of an overriding method. It doesn’t require any type casting, and it will help us to narrow down the return type of an overridden method.

But the Covariant return type only works for the non-primitive return types. This article discusses the Covariant return type and learns the topic via example code.

Benefits of Using the Covariant Return Type

Before we start, let’s see what benefits we get from the Covariant return type. By using the Covariant return type, We will get the below benefits:

  1. It helps us to remove the confusion on the type casts present in the class hierarchy.
  2. It allows us to make the code usable, readable, and easily maintainable.
  3. It helps us get more specific return types when overriding methods.
  4. It prevents the runtime exceptions like ClassCastException.

Demonstration of the Covariant Return Type

In our below code example, we will illustrate the Covariant return type. Take a look at the simple example below:

class MainClass { // Declaring a main parent class
  MainClass get() { // Creating a method for the parent class
    System.out.println("A message from the main class: MainClass");
    return this;
// Our controlling class
public class CovariantType extends MainClass { // This class inherit to the parent class
  CovariantType get() { // Overriding the parent class method
    System.out.println("A message from the main class: SubClass");
    return this;
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    MainClass test = new CovariantType(); // Covariant return type. No type casting is required.
    test.get(); // Calling the method

We have already described the purpose of each line of code. In the example above, we first created the main class named MainClass, which is also the parent class, and after that, we declared a method get() and defined it.

In our child class CovariantType, we inherited it with the parent class MainClass and overridden the parent class’s get() method.

Lastly, we created a Covariant type and called the method get(). When you execute the above example code, you will get the below output in your console.

A message from the main class: SubClass
MD Aminul Islam avatar MD Aminul Islam avatar

Aminul Is an Expert Technical Writer and Full-Stack Developer. He has hands-on working experience on numerous Developer Platforms and SAAS startups. He is highly skilled in numerous Programming languages and Frameworks. He can write professional technical articles like Reviews, Programming, Documentation, SOP, User manual, Whitepaper, etc.


Related Article - Java Function