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Understanding `instanceof` Type Guard in TypeScript

ยท 4 min read

In TypeScript, instanceof is a type guard that allows you to narrow down the type of an object within a conditional block.

Understanding instanceof Type Guard ๐Ÿค”โ€‹

The instanceof type guard is especially useful when you're working with classes and inheritance, as it checks if an object is an instance of a specific class or any of its subclasses. When you use instanceof in a conditional expression, TypeScript automatically narrows the type of the object within the block, allowing you to access and use properties and methods specific to that class without causing type errors.

Here's an example to illustrate the concept:

class Animal {
makeSound(): void {
console.log("Some generic sound");

class Dog extends Animal {
bark(): void {

class Cat extends Animal {
meow(): void {

function handleAnimal(animal: Animal): void {
if (animal instanceof Dog) {
// TypeScript knows that 'animal' is a Dog within this block
animal.bark(); // No type error
} else if (animal instanceof Cat) {
// TypeScript knows that 'animal' is a Cat within this block
animal.meow(); // No type error
} else {
animal.makeSound(); // No type error, as it's a method of Animal

const dog = new Dog();
const cat = new Cat();


In this example, we define three classes: Animal, Dog, and Cat. The Dog and Cat classes extend the Animal class. In the handleAnimal function, we use the instanceof type guard to determine the specific type of the animal parameter. Within each conditional block, TypeScript automatically narrows the type of animal, allowing us to call the appropriate methods without causing any type errors.

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Real-World Example ๐ŸŒŽโ€‹

Let's consider a real-world example of an e-commerce application where the instanceof type guard can be useful. In this application, we have different types of products with unique properties and methods. We will use the instanceof type guard to process these products accordingly.

abstract class Product {
constructor(public name: string, public price: number) {

abstract getPrice(): number;

class Electronics extends Product {
constructor(name: string, price: number, public warranty: number) {
super(name, price);

getPrice(): number {
return this.price + this.warranty * 10;

class Clothing extends Product {
name: string,
price: number,
public size: string,
public material: string
) {
super(name, price);

getPrice(): number {
return this.price * (this.material === "Cotton" ? 1.1 : 1.2);

function displayProductDetails(product: Product): void {
console.log(`Product: ${}`);
console.log(`Price: $${product.getPrice()}`);

if (product instanceof Electronics) {
console.log(`Warranty: ${product.warranty} months`);
} else if (product instanceof Clothing) {
console.log(`Size: ${product.size}`);
console.log(`Material: ${product.material}`);

const smartphone = new Electronics("Smartphone", 500, 12);
const tshirt = new Clothing("T-Shirt", 30, "M", "Cotton");


In this example, we have an abstract Product class with two subclasses, Electronics and Clothing. Each subclass has its unique properties and methods. In the displayProductDetails function, we use the instanceof type guard to check the specific type of the product parameter.

When the product is an instance of Electronics, TypeScript knows that the object is of type Electronics within that block, allowing us to access the warranty property without any type errors. Similarly, when the product is an instance of Clothing, TypeScript narrows the type to Clothing, and we can safely access the size and material properties.

This example demonstrates how the instanceof type guard can be used to differentiate between different classes and their properties in a real-world application, making the code more type-safe and easier to maintain.

What Can You Do Next ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜Šโ€‹

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