Sum an Array of Numbers with JavaScript

By  on  

It's rare that I'm disappointed by the JavaScript language not having a function that I need. One such case was summing an array of numbers -- I was expecting Math.sum or a likewise, baked in API. Fear not -- summing an array of numbers is easy using Array.prototype.reduce!

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4];
const sum = numbers.reduce((a, b) => a + b, 0);

The 0 represents the starting value while with a and b, one represents the running total with the other representing the value to be added. You'll also note that using reduce prevents side effects! I'd still prefer something like Math.sum(...numbers) but a simple reduce will do!

Recent Features

  • By
    LightFace:  Facebook Lightbox for MooTools

    One of the web components I've always loved has been Facebook's modal dialog.  This "lightbox" isn't like others:  no dark overlay, no obnoxious animating to size, and it doesn't try to do "too much."  With Facebook's dialog in mind, I've created LightFace:  a Facebook lightbox...

  • By
    CSS Animations Between Media Queries

    CSS animations are right up there with sliced bread. CSS animations are efficient because they can be hardware accelerated, they require no JavaScript overhead, and they are composed of very little CSS code. Quite often we add CSS transforms to elements via CSS during...

Incredible Demos


  1. Chris Zuber

    Initializing with 0 might not be necessary since it takes the value from the first item in the array if not provided (and then skips the first item for the rest). It’s very slightly slower to set it to 0.

    Here’s what I wonder though… Suppose this were in some math.js module. Would it be sum(nums) or sum(...nums)? sum([1,2,3]) or sum(1,2,3)? I kinda prefer the latter.

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!