Interface vs Type alias

Nov 19, 2023


Probably the two most popular ways to declare type structures in Typescript. Both types and interfaces are used to define shapes for objects and provide a way to enforce contracts within your code. Can they be used interchangeably? Is one better than the other? What are the pros and cons of using them? I’ve chosen a few examples to show that type might be a better option.

Interface describes object only

A type alias is more versatile. You can describe any shape using type, for example, union types and functions.

type User = {
  name: string;
  address: {
	city: string;
	street: string;
type CurrencyCode = 'USD' | 'EUR' | 'CHF';
type VoidFunc = () => void;

Usage with Utility types

Both type and interface can be used with Utility types (like Required, Partial, Pick). The difference is that usually, it’s easier to do it with the first one.

type WebsiteConfig = {
  title: string;
  theme: string;
  language: string;
  analyticsEnabled: boolean;

type SimpleWebsiteConfig = Omit<WebsiteConfig, "analyticsEnabled">;

// With the interface the syntax is more complicated

interface ISimpleWebsiteConfig extends Omit<WebsiteConfig, "analyticsEnabled"> {}

Extracting type from an object

In some cases, you can define your type based on data. This can be done only with type.

const character = {
  name: 'Aria Shadowblade',
  age: 300, race: 'Elf',
  occupation: 'Rogue',
  isHero: true,
  abilities: {
	  physical: ['Stealth', 'Dagger Mastery', 'Archery'],
	  mental: ['Telekinesis']

type CharacterType = typeof character;
type CharacterAbilities = typeof character.abilities;

In the last example, we declared a type CharacterAbilities which extracted a part of the type consisting only of abilities part. So the type is equal to:

type CharacterAbilities = {  
  physical: string[];  
  mental: string[];  

Interfaces can be merged (by accident)

If you declare two interfaces with the same name, their declarations will be merged into one. In the below example the declaration of Product is merged into one.

interface Product {
  name: string;
  price: number;

// somewhere else in this scope

interface Product {
  stock: number;
  onSale: boolean;

const myProduct = {
  name: 'TV',
  price: 1500,
// Error. Type '{ name: string; price: number; }' is missing the following properties from type 'Product': stock, onSale(2739)

That’s not what we are expecting. The myProduct object requires two more properties. While using type it’s not possible to declare two types with the same name.

type Product = {
  name: string;
  price: number;

type Product = {
  stock: number;
  onSale: boolean;

// Error. Duplicate identifier 'Product'.(2300)


That’s a rather extreme case. If you need to describe a tuple you should not consider the use of the interface.

type PointTuple = [number, number];
interface IPointTuple {
  0: number; 
  1: number;

const point: PointTuple = [10, 20]; // Works
const interfacePoint: IPointTuple; // Works


In most cases, the choice between types and interfaces comes down to personal preference and the specific requirements of your code. The cases I have presented are solely my opinion. I have only outlined what the limitations are when using the interface. Some developers prefer the versatility of types, while others appreciate the readability and extensibility of interfaces. In practice, you might find yourself using a combination of both, depending on the context and your specific use cases.