Zustand vs Valtio

18 May 2024

Zustand vs Valtio: State Management

Ed Robinson, Lead Software Engineer

Introduction to Zustand and Valtio

In the world of modern JavaScript development, managing application state has become a crucial aspect of building robust and scalable applications. As applications grow in complexity, the need for efficient state management solutions becomes more apparent. This is where libraries like Zustand and Valtio come into play, offering developers powerful tools to manage state in their JavaScript applications.

Overview of state management in JavaScript applications

State management refers to the process of managing the data that an application needs to keep track of and update in response to user interactions or other events. In JavaScript applications, state management can quickly become complex, especially when dealing with large-scale applications with numerous components and intricate data flows.

Traditionally, developers have relied on libraries like Redux or MobX for state management. However, these libraries often come with a steeper learning curve and require a significant amount of boilerplate code. This is where Zustand and Valtio aim to simplify the process by providing a more lightweight and intuitive approach to state management.

It's worth noting that the choice of state management library can also be influenced by the architecture of your application. For example, if you are building a headless application using a headless CMS like Caisy, you may have different state management requirements compared to a traditional monolithic application. Headless architectures often benefit from lightweight and flexible state management solutions that can easily integrate with the decoupled nature of the system. Not sure yet? Learn about the pros and cons of Headless CMS.

Brief introduction to Zustand and Valtio libraries

Zustand and Valtio are two relatively new entrants in the state management landscape, gaining popularity among developers for their simplicity and ease of use.

Zustand is a small, fast, and scalable state management library that uses a simple API based on hooks. It takes inspiration from libraries like Redux and Recoil but aims to provide a more minimalistic and flexible approach. Zustand allows you to create multiple stores, each with its own state and actions, making it easy to manage complex application states.

Valtio, on the other hand, takes a slightly different approach. It leverages the power of ES6 Proxies to create a mutable state model that feels more natural and intuitive to work with. Valtio automatically tracks state changes and efficiently updates only the components that depend on the modified state, resulting in optimized performance.

Both Zustand and Valtio have gained traction in the developer community due to their simplicity, performance, and ease of integration with popular frameworks like React. They offer developers a refreshing alternative to more complex state management libraries, allowing them to focus on building features rather than wrestling with state management boilerplate.

In the following sections, we will dive deeper into the similarities and differences between Zustand and Valtio, exploring their key features, performance characteristics, and real-world use cases. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of when to choose Zustand or Valtio for your next JavaScript project and how they can simplify your state management workflow.

Headless CMS for developers

Your terms, your stack. Experience unmatched speed and flexibility with caisy - the headless CMS you've been dreaming of.

A graphic showing caisy's benefits for developers, including frameworks and features.

Similarities between Zustand and Valtio

While Zustand and Valtio have their differences, they also share some common ground in their approach to state management in JavaScript applications. Let's explore the key similarities between these two libraries.

Immer for Immutable State Updates

Both Zustand and Valtio leverage the power of Immer under the hood to handle immutable state updates. Immer is a popular library that simplifies the process of working with immutable data structures. It allows developers to write code that appears to mutate the state directly, while internally creating a new immutable state object.

By using Immer, Zustand and Valtio provide a more intuitive and developer-friendly way to update the state. Developers can focus on describing the desired changes to the state without worrying about the complexities of immutability. This abstraction helps reduce cognitive overhead and makes the code more readable and maintainable.

Similar API with useStore Hook

Zustand and Valtio offer a similar API for accessing and updating the state in React components. Both libraries provide a useStore hook that allows components to subscribe to specific parts of the state and re-render when those parts change.

Here's an example of using the useStore hook in Zustand:

const count = useStore(state => state.count)

And here's a similar example in Valtio:

const count = useStore(state => state.count)

As you can see, the usage of the useStore hook is nearly identical in both libraries. This similarity in the API makes it easier for developers to switch between Zustand and Valtio or to understand codebases that use either library.

Lightweight and Simple Approach to State Management

Another similarity between Zustand and Valtio is their focus on providing a lightweight and simple approach to state management. Both libraries aim to minimize boilerplate code and offer a straightforward way to manage state in React applications.

Compared to more complex state management solutions like Redux, Zustand and Valtio have a smaller footprint and require less setup. They provide a minimal API surface, making it easier for developers to get started and integrate state management into their applications.

This simplicity is particularly beneficial for small to medium-sized applications where the state management needs are not overly complex. Zustand and Valtio allow developers to quickly implement state management without the overhead of extensive configuration or a steep learning curve.

Key Differences between Zustand and Valtio

While Zustand and Valtio share some similarities in their approach to state management, there are several key differences that set them apart. Let's explore these differences in more detail.

State model: immutable (Zustand) vs mutable (Valtio)

One of the fundamental differences between Zustand and Valtio lies in their state models. Zustand follows an immutable state model, similar to Redux, where state updates are performed by creating new state objects through update functions. This approach ensures predictability and makes it easier to reason about state changes.

On the other hand, Valtio embraces a mutable state model, leveraging ES6 Proxies to allow direct mutations of the state. This means that you can modify the state directly without the need for explicit update functions. Valtio's mutable state model can lead to more concise and intuitive code, especially for developers who are more familiar with mutable programming paradigms.

Render optimization strategies

Render optimization is another area where Zustand and Valtio differ. With Zustand, you need to manually optimize rendering by using memoized selectors. Selectors allow you to extract specific pieces of state and only re-render components when those pieces change. This gives you fine-grained control over rendering, but it requires more setup and consideration on the developer's part.

Valtio, on the other hand, automatically handles render optimizations through property access tracking. It keeps track of which components access which properties of the state and only re-renders those components when the accessed properties change. This automatic optimization can lead to more efficient rendering out of the box, without the need for manual optimizations.

API and developer experience

The API and developer experience also differ between Zustand and Valtio. Zustand provides a more traditional Redux-like API, with actions and reducers for managing state updates. It follows a familiar pattern for developers who have experience with Redux or similar state management libraries.

Valtio, in contrast, offers a more minimal and streamlined API focused on reactive state updates. It leverages the mutable state model and ES6 Proxies to provide a simpler and more intuitive way of working with state. Valtio's API can be easier to learn and use, especially for developers who are new to state management or prefer a more lightweight approach.

Performance characteristics

Performance is an important consideration when choosing a state management library. Valtio generally outperforms Zustand in terms of performance and efficiency. Thanks to its mutable state model and automatic render optimizations, Valtio can update only the components that depend on the changed state properties. This targeted updating leads to faster rendering and improved performance.

Zustand, while still performant, may require more manual optimizations and careful consideration of selectors to achieve optimal performance. The immutable state model and the need for explicit update functions can introduce some overhead compared to Valtio's more direct approach.

Ecosystem and tooling support

When it comes to ecosystem and tooling support, Zustand has a slight advantage over Valtio. Zustand has been around longer and has gained a larger community and ecosystem. It integrates well with various third-party libraries and tools, and there are more resources, examples, and debugging tools available for Zustand.

Valtio, being a newer library, has a smaller but growing community. While it may not have as extensive an ecosystem as Zustand yet, it is actively being developed and gaining popularity. As Valtio matures, it is likely to see increased adoption and community support.

TypeScript integration

TypeScript support is an important consideration for many JavaScript developers. Zustand provides better out-of-the-box TypeScript support compared to Valtio. It offers more robust type definitions and integrates smoothly with TypeScript projects.

Valtio, while compatible with TypeScript, may require a bit more manual type annotations and configuration to achieve the same level of type safety as Zustand. However, Valtio's type support is continuously improving, and the library is actively working on enhancing its TypeScript integration.

Learn more about the differences between Typescript and Javascript.

Zustand: A Closer Look

Zustand is a lightweight, flexible, and scalable state management solution for JavaScript applications, particularly those built with React. It provides a comfortable hook-based API, addresses common state management challenges, and offers comprehensive TypeScript support, making it a compelling alternative to more heavyweight options like Redux.

Key features and benefits of Zustand

  • Simplified Flux principles: Zustand follows a simplified version of the Flux architecture, providing a straightforward and intuitive approach to state management.

  • Comfortable hook-based API: Zustand offers a hook-based API that makes it easy to bind components to the store and access state without the need for complex boilerplate code.

  • Immutable state updates: The set function in Zustand allows for immutable state updates by merging changes, ensuring predictable state management.

  • TypeScript support: Zustand provides comprehensive TypeScript support, requiring explicit state type annotations and offering guidance on using middlewares and advanced patterns.

Zustand's API and usage patterns

Zustand's API is straightforward and easy to use. The core of Zustand revolves around creating a store using the create function and accessing state using hooks. Here are some common usage patterns:

  • Fetching entire store state: You can access the entire store state by simply calling the hook returned by create.

  • Selecting multiple state slices: The useShallow hook allows you to select multiple state slices and prevent unnecessary re-renders.

  • Handling asynchronous actions: Zustand supports handling asynchronous actions by allowing you to define async functions within the store.

  • Subscribing to specific state changes: The subscribeWithSelector function enables you to subscribe to specific state changes and perform actions accordingly.

Middleware and extensions

Zustand offers various middleware and extensions to enhance its functionality and cater to different use cases:

  • Persist middleware: The persist middleware allows you to save and restore state, ensuring that the application state persists across sessions.

  • Immer middleware: Immer middleware simplifies working with nested state by allowing you to mutate state directly while still maintaining immutability.

  • Redux-like reducers and action types: Zustand can be extended to support Redux-like reducers and action types, providing a familiar pattern for developers experienced with Redux.

  • Redux DevTools integration: Zustand seamlessly integrates with Redux DevTools, enabling powerful debugging and time-travel capabilities.

Real-world applications and case studies using Zustand

Zustand has been successfully used in various real-world applications and projects. One notable example is a Kanban board application built using Zustand and React. The application showcases how Zustand can be used to manage complex state, handle asynchronous API calls, implement caching, and persist state using middleware.

Some key highlights of the Kanban board application include:

  • Efficient state management with Zustand, allowing components to subscribe only to the state they need, improving performance.

  • Integration with the GitHub API to search for users and fetch user details, demonstrating how Zustand can handle asynchronous actions.

  • Caching of user details to avoid unnecessary API calls, showcasing Zustand's ability to optimize data fetching.

  • Persistence of the store state using the persist middleware, ensuring that the application state is preserved across sessions.

The Kanban board application serves as a testament to Zustand's effectiveness in managing state in real-world scenarios, providing a scalable and maintainable solution for complex applications.

Valtio: Under the Hood

Valtio is a powerful state management library that leverages JavaScript's native proxy feature to create observable and immutable state. Let's dive deeper into how Valtio works under the hood and explore its key features and capabilities.

Valtio's proxy-based state management

At the core of Valtio's state management approach is the use of JavaScript proxies. Valtio wraps your state object with a self-aware proxy, allowing you to mutate the state from anywhere in your application. This proxy-based approach enables fine-grained reactivity and subscription, making it easy to track changes and update your components accordingly.

Valtio's proxy function is the key to creating this self-aware proxy object. By passing your state object to proxy, Valtio transforms it into a reactive entity that can be easily manipulated and observed.

Performance and efficiency of Valtio

When it comes to performance and efficiency, Valtio has some notable characteristics. One potential performance bottleneck is the proxyMap function, especially when working with large data structures like a Map with a high number of values. The maintainer of Valtio has acknowledged this performance concern and suggested the need for a more comprehensive performance analysis, particularly in comparison to other state management libraries like Zustand.

It's important for developers to carefully evaluate the performance characteristics of Valtio and consider the specific requirements and performance needs of their application. The choice between Valtio and other libraries may depend on factors such as the size and complexity of the state, the frequency of state updates, and the overall performance profile of the application.

Integration with React and other frameworks

Valtio seamlessly integrates with React, providing an efficient and intuitive way to manage state in React applications. The useSnapshot hook is a key component of Valtio's React integration. It allows you to access the data in the store and ensures that your components only re-render when the relevant parts of the state change. This optimized rendering mechanism contributes to the overall performance and efficiency of your React application.

While the documentation does not provide specific guidance on integrating Valtio with other frameworks like Vue or Angular, the core concepts and API of Valtio are designed to be framework-agnostic. The proxy-based state management approach and the ability to subscribe to state changes make Valtio a viable option for various frontend technologies, including vanilla JavaScript applications.

Valtio's unique features and capabilities

Valtio offers a range of features and capabilities that enhance the developer experience and provide flexibility in state management:

  • Subscriptions: Valtio allows you to subscribe to state changes, either globally or for specific parts of the state, using the subscribe function. This enables you to react to state changes and perform necessary actions or updates.

  • Suspense support: Valtio seamlessly integrates with React Suspense, allowing you to access data directly in your components while the parent component is responsible for handling fallback states and error scenarios.

  • Holding objects without tracking: Valtio's ref function enables you to keep large, nested objects with accessors inside the state model without proxying them. This can be useful in scenarios where you want to store complex data structures without the need for fine-grained reactivity.

  • Transient and synchronous updates: Valtio provides options to update the state without causing re-renders or to disable batching for certain use cases, such as handling <input> elements. This flexibility allows you to optimize rendering behavior based on your specific requirements.

  • Dev tools integration: Valtio seamlessly integrates with the Redux DevTools Extension, enabling you to inspect and manipulate the state of your application during development.

  • Utilities: Valtio offers a set of utility functions, such as useProxy, proxyWithHistory, proxySet, and proxyMap, which provide additional functionality and convenience for working with proxies and state management.

Choosing between Zustand and Valtio

When deciding between Zustand and Valtio for state management in your JavaScript application, there are several factors to consider. Both libraries offer unique features and benefits, making them suitable for different scenarios. Let's explore these factors and use cases to help you make an informed decision.

Factors to consider when selecting a state management library

  1. State model: Zustand uses an immutable state model, similar to Redux, while Valtio employs a mutable state model using ES6 Proxies. Consider which approach aligns better with your development style and team's familiarity.

  2. Render optimization: Valtio automatically optimizes renders by tracking property access, whereas Zustand requires manual optimizations through memoized selectors. If performance is a critical concern, Valtio may offer an advantage.

  3. API and developer experience: Zustand provides a more traditional Redux-like API with actions and reducers, while Valtio focuses on a minimal API for reactive state updates. Choose the library that offers an API that resonates with your team's preferences and experience.

  4. Ecosystem and tooling: Zustand has a larger ecosystem with more third-party integrations and debugging tools. If you rely heavily on external libraries or require specific debugging capabilities, Zustand might be the better choice. However, Valtio's community is growing, and it may offer the necessary tools for your project.

Use cases and scenarios for Zustand and Valtio

  • Large-scale applications: If you're building a large-scale application with complex state management requirements, Zustand's Redux-like architecture and immutable state model may provide better structure and maintainability.

  • Small to medium-sized applications: For smaller to medium-sized applications where simplicity and performance are the primary concerns, Valtio's mutable state model and automatic render optimizations can be a good fit.

  • TypeScript projects: If your project heavily relies on TypeScript, Zustand offers better out-of-the-box support with more robust type definitions. However, Valtio can still be used with TypeScript, and its type support is improving.

Ultimately, the choice between Zustand and Valtio depends on your project's specific requirements, team's expertise, and personal preferences. Consider the factors mentioned above, evaluate the trade-offs, and choose the library that aligns best with your needs and development philosophy.


Recap of key points and comparisons

In this article, we have explored the similarities and differences between Zustand and Valtio, two popular state management libraries for JavaScript applications. Both libraries offer a lightweight and simple approach to managing state, utilizing Immer for immutable state updates and providing a similar API with the useStore hook.

However, there are key differences between the two libraries. Zustand follows an immutable state model, while Valtio embraces a mutable state approach using proxies. They also differ in terms of render optimization strategies, API design, performance characteristics, ecosystem support, and TypeScript integration.

Final thoughts and recommendations for developers

Choosing between Zustand and Valtio ultimately depends on your specific project requirements and preferences. Zustand's immutable state model and middleware extensibility make it a solid choice for projects that prioritize predictability and customization. On the other hand, Valtio's mutable state approach and efficient proxy-based implementation offer simplicity and performance benefits, making it suitable for applications that require minimal boilerplate and optimal rendering.

As a developer, it's essential to evaluate the trade-offs and consider factors such as project size, team expertise, and long-term maintainability when selecting a state management library. Both Zustand and Valtio have their strengths and can be effective tools in the right context.

When it comes to streamlining your development workflow and managing content efficiently, caisy emerges as a compelling solution. With its high-performance headless CMS built specifically for developers, caisy offers a unique blend of speed and user-friendliness. The platform empowers users to create and manage content seamlessly.

Caisy's blueprint functionality allows you to create documents and components at varying levels of detail, from standalone content pieces to reusable blocks, enabling you to build complex designs with ease. The powerful GraphQL API opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to create frontends using your preferred technology stack, including popular frameworks like Next.js, Nuxt, Svelte, and Astro.

Moreover, caisy's scalable multi-tenancy system and robust Digital Asset Management capabilities simplify project management, making it an ideal choice for agencies handling multiple clients and projects. With flexible pricing tiers and partnership opportunities, caisy accommodates projects of various sizes and budgets.

If you're a seasoned developer seeking efficiency, flexibility, and cutting-edge technology, caisy is definitely worth exploring. Its features will align perfectly with your needs, empowering you to deliver exceptional results for your clients.

So why not give caisy a try? Sign up for a free account today and experience the power of a headless CMS that combines performance, usability, and versatility. Elevate your development workflow and take your projects to new heights with caisy.

Focus on Your Code
Let caisy Handle the Content.