Streams – sorted() operation

Stream sorted() operation in Java is an intermediate operation, and it is used to sort the elements of a Stream.

It accepts a stream of elements and returns a new, sorted stream. Sorting is according to the natural order.

The elements of a stream need to be Comparable. Otherwise, we’ll get the java.lang.ClassCastException when the terminal operation gets executed.

Java Stream sorted() operation – examples

Example 1
Sort the list of strings:

class Test {

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    List<String> names = new ArrayList<>(Arrays.asList("John", "Alex", "Megan", "Bobby", "Xavier"));

    List<String> orderedNames =


Output: [Alex, Bobby, John, Megan, Xavier]

Example 2
Sort a list of customs objects.

Let’s create a Student class that implements a Comparable:

class Student implements Comparable<Student> {
  private String firstName;
  private String lastName;
  private int grade;

  public Student(String firstName, String lastName, int grade) {
    this.firstName = firstName;
    this.lastName = lastName;
    this.grade = grade;

  public String toString() {
    return "student: { firstName: " + firstName + ", lastName: " + lastName + ", grade: " + grade;

  public int compareTo(Student student) {
    if (this.grade == student.grade) {
      return 0;
    } else if (this.grade > student.grade) {
      return 1;
    } else {
      return -1;

Now let’s write a program that takes a list of students and sorts it out based on the grade field: 

class Test {

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    List<Student> sortedStudents = getStudents().stream()


  private static List<Student> getStudents() {
    List<Student> students = new ArrayList<>();
    students.add(new Student("Steve", "Rogers", 8));
    students.add(new Student("John", "Doe", 5));
    students.add(new Student("Melissa", "Smith", 7));
    students.add(new Student("Megan", "Norton", 4));
    students.add(new Student("Tom", "Johnson", 9));

    return students;

Output: [student: { firstName: Megan, lastName: Norton, grade: 4, student: { firstName: John, lastName: Doe, grade: 5, student: { firstName: Melissa, lastName: Smith, grade: 7, student: { firstName: Steve, lastName: Rogers, grade: 8, student: { firstName: Tom, lastName: Johnson, grade: 9]

Note that the ordering was performed based on the grade field because we used that field in the compareTo() method.

That’s it!


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