String Concatenation vs. Template Literals

In JavaScript, combining strings and variables is a common task, often required for creating messages, URLs, or any text that includes variable values. Traditionally, this has been achieved through string concatenation. However, ES6 introduced template literals, offering a new syntax with advantages over the old method. Let’s look at both approaches.

String Concatenation

String concatenation uses the + operator to join strings with other strings or variable values.

let user = "Jane";
let greeting = "Hello, " + user + "! Welcome back.";
console.log(greeting); // "Hello, Jane! Welcome back."


  • Compatible with all JavaScript engines, including those in older browsers.


  • Can become cumbersome and less readable with complex strings or multiple variables.
  • Easy to make mistakes, like missing spaces or misplacing quotation marks.

Template Literals

Template literals are enclosed by backticks (“) and can contain placeholders for inserting variables or expressions. These placeholders are indicated by ${expression} syntax.

let user = "Jane";
let greeting = `Hello, ${user}! Welcome back.`;
console.log(greeting); // "Hello, Jane! Welcome back."


  • Improved readability, especially for complex strings.
  • Directly embed expressions, which are evaluated and inserted into the resulting string.
  • Support for multi-line strings without needing to use newline characters or concatenation.
let item = "coffee";
let price = 2.5;
let message = `The price of one ${item} is $${price.toFixed(2)}.`;
console.log(message); // "The price of one coffee is $2.50."

Multi-line Support:

Without template literals:

let address = "123 Main St.\n" +
              "Springfield, USA";

With template literals:

let address = `123 Main St.
Springfield, USA`;


  • Not supported in Internet Explorer and older versions of browsers. However, this can be mitigated by using transpilers like Babel for backward compatibility.

Choosing Between Concatenation and Template Literals

  • For simple concatenations with minimal variables, both methods work well. However, template literals often provide better readability.
  • For complex strings or when incorporating expressions and multi-line strings, template literals are the clear choice due to their enhanced readability and functionality.


Template literals offer a more powerful and flexible way to work with strings in JavaScript, improving code readability and maintainability. While string concatenation remains a viable option for simple cases or backward compatibility, the benefits of template literals make them a superior choice for most string manipulation tasks in modern JavaScript development.