How the IFNULL() function works in Mariadb?

The IFNULL() function is a conditional function that returns the first argument if it is not NULL, otherwise it returns the second argument.

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The MariaDB IFNULL() function is used to return a non-null value from two expressions. It’s particularly useful in scenarios where you want to avoid null values in your query results, such as in reporting or data aggregation.


The syntax for the MariaDB IFNULL() function is as follows:

IFNULL(expression1, expression2)
  • expression1: The expression to be checked for NULL.
  • expression2: The value to return if expression1 is NULL.


Example 1: Basic Usage

This example demonstrates the basic usage of the IFNULL() function to replace NULL with a specified value.

SELECT IFNULL(NULL, 'replacement value');


| IFNULL(NULL, 'replacement value') |
| replacement value                 |

Since the first expression is NULL, the output is the replacement value.

Example 2: With Column Data

This example shows how IFNULL() can be used with table column data.

CREATE TABLE products (
    id INT,
    name VARCHAR(50),
    price DECIMAL(10,2)
INSERT INTO products (id, name, price) VALUES (1, 'Product A', NULL);

SELECT name, IFNULL(price, 0.00) AS price FROM products;


| name      | price |
| Product A |  0.00 |

The IFNULL() function replaces the NULL price with 0.00.

Example 3: In a Calculation

This example uses IFNULL() in a calculation to ensure that NULL values do not affect the result.

SELECT IFNULL(price, 0.00) * 1.1 AS price_with_tax FROM products;


| price_with_tax |
|          0.000 |

The NULL price is treated as 0.00 in the calculation.

Example 4: With Aggregate Functions

This example demonstrates using IFNULL() with an aggregate function to handle NULL values.

SELECT AVG(IFNULL(price, 0.00)) AS average_price FROM products;


| average_price |
|      0.000000 |

The IFNULL() function ensures that the NULL price is counted as 0.00 in the average calculation.

Example 5: Nested IFNULL()

This example shows nested IFNULL() functions to provide multiple fallback values.

SELECT IFNULL(NULL, IFNULL(NULL, 'final fallback'));


| IFNULL(NULL, IFNULL(NULL, 'final fallback')) |
| final fallback                               |

The nested IFNULL() provides a final fallback value when multiple expressions are NULL.

Here are a few functions related to the MariaDB IFNULL() function:

  • MariaDB COALESCE() function returns the first non-null value in a list of expressions.
  • MariaDB NULLIF() function returns NULL if two expressions are equal, otherwise returns the first expression.
  • MariaDB CASE statement provides a way to perform conditional logic in SQL queries, similar to if-else statements in programming languages.


The IFNULL() function in MariaDB is a simple yet powerful tool for handling NULL values in SQL queries. By providing a default value when encountering NULL, it allows for more robust and error-free data manipulation. Whether you’re working with individual values or aggregating data, IFNULL() can help maintain data integrity and provide clearer insights. Remember to use it judiciously to avoid masking issues that might need attention in your data set.