Stack vs Linked List

In this post, we will learn the difference between Stack and Linked List in Java. This is a frequently asked question in Java interviews for beginners. Let's dive into it.

Difference between Stack and  Linked List in Java

Stack Linked List
Stack is a linear data structure that follows the LIFO (Last In First Out) principle. Linked List is a linear data structure where each element is a separate object, and each element (or node) contains a reference to the next node in the sequence.
In a Stack, operations such as insertion and deletion of nodes are carried out at one end, called the "top" of the stack. In a Linked List, nodes can be inserted or deleted from any location with the help of pointers.
Stack is a specific type of data structure with specific rules (LIFO). Linked List is a flexible data structure, and structures like Stack and Queue can be implemented using Linked List.
A Stack can be implemented using an array or a Linked List. A Linked List itself is a base data structure.
Accessing elements in a Stack is restricted. You can only directly access the top element of the Stack. In a Linked List, if you have a pointer to a node, you can directly access that node, and via the next (and previous, in a doubly linked list) pointers, can also access the neighboring nodes.
Stacks are mainly used in scenarios where you need access in a LIFO manner, or for recursion, depth-first searches, etc. Linked Lists are used when you need dynamic memory allocation, efficient insertions/deletions from list start or end, etc.
Stacks don't inherently support traversing through all elements. Linked Lists inherently support traversing through all elements using the "next" reference.