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SQL Server FAQ - Differences between DECIMAL and FLOAT

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What Are the Differences between DECIMAL and FLOAT?

DECIMAL and FLOAT are both used to store numerical values. But they have the following main differences:

  • DECIMAL(p,s) stores values with the decimal point fixed at the position of s (scale) digits from the right. The total number of decimal digits is also fixed as p (precesion).
  • FLOAT(n) stores values with the decimal point floating based on the value. The number of bits used to store the mantissa part is fixed as n.
  • If the input value of DECIMAL(p,s) has more digits after the decimal point than the scale s, the value will be rounded to the scale s.
  • If the input value of FLOAT(n) has more total digits (mantissa) than what n bits can store, the value will be rounded to fit the storage size.
  • If the input value of DECIMAL(p,s) has more digits before the decimal point than p-s, SQL Server will give you an over-flow error.
  • If the input value of FLOAT(n) is too big that the exponential part goes over the positive limit, SQL Server will give you an over-flow error.
  • If the input value of FLOAT(n) is too small that the exponential part goes over the negative limit, SQL Server will give you an under-flow error.

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  3. What Is a Transact-SQL Statement?
  4. How To Start and End Transact-SQL Statements?
  5. How To Enter Comments in Transact-SQL Statements?
  6. What Is a Transact-SQL Statement Batch?
  7. What Happens to a Statement Batch If There Is a Compilation Error?
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  18. What Are the Differences between CHAR and VARCHAR?
  19. What Are the Differences between DECIMAL and FLOAT?

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