Looping in JavaScript: The For Loop

In JavaScript, loops are used to perform repetitive tasks based on a condition. Among various looping structures, the for loop is one of the most common and versatile. It allows you to run a block of code a certain number of times with precise control over the iteration variable.

This guide will cover the syntax, use cases, and variations of the for loop, along with handling infinite loops and loop control with break.

Syntax of the For Loop

The for loop has three parts: initialization, condition, and increment/decrement, all enclosed in parentheses and separated by semicolons. Here’s the basic structure:

for (initialization; condition; increment/decrement) {
  // Code to execute on each loop
  • Initialization: Typically, you declare and set a variable used as the loop’s counter.
  • Condition: The loop runs as long as this condition evaluates to true.
  • Increment/Decrement: Updates the loop counter on each iteration.


for (let i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
  console.log(i); // Outputs: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4

Use Cases

  • Iterating Over Arrays: Loop through each element of an array.
  • Repeating Actions: Execute a block of code multiple times with different values.
  • Nested Loops: Use one loop inside another to work with multi-dimensional arrays or more complex scenarios.

Example: Iterating Over an Array

let colors = ["Red", "Green", "Blue"];

for (let i = 0; i < colors.length; i++) {

Variations of the For Loop

JavaScript offers several variations of the for loop to cater to different scenarios:

  • For…of Loop: Iterates over iterable objects such as arrays, strings, or NodeLists.
  for (const color of colors) {
  • For…in Loop: Iterates over the enumerable properties of an object.
  let student = {name: "John", age: 20};
  for (const key in student) {
    console.log(`${key}: ${student[key]}`);

Handling Infinite Loops

An infinite loop occurs when the loop’s condition never becomes false. While sometimes used intentionally, infinite loops can also be a mistake and cause a program to freeze.

Example of an Intentional Infinite Loop

for (;;) {
  // An intentional infinite loop
  if (someCondition) break; // Exit condition

Loop Control with Break

The break statement provides a way to stop the execution of a loop from within its body, offering a way to exit infinite loops or simply to skip the rest of the loop under certain conditions.

Example: Using Break to Exit a Loop

for (let i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
  if (i === 5) break; // Stop the loop when i is 5
  console.log(i); // Outputs: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4