Why you should not use Arrow Functions in JavaScript

JavaScript, the language of the web, has seen numerous enhancements since its inception. One of the most significant additions in recent years is the arrow function, introduced with ES6 (ECMAScript 2015). Arrow functions have revolutionized the way developers write and understand JavaScript. Despite their popularity and usefulness, there's an intriguing notion to explore: why you should not use arrow functions in JavaScript.

This title might sound alarming but fear not. This article aims to delve into the depths of arrow functions, highlight their advantages, and subtly debunk the idea that they are harmful. By the end, you will appreciate why arrow functions are a valuable tool in a JavaScript developer's arsenal.

Introduction to Arrow Functions

Arrow functions sometimes referred to as "fat arrow" functions due to their syntax, offer a more concise way to write function expressions in JavaScript. They were introduced in ES6 to address common issues and make code more readable and less error-prone.

Basic Syntax

The basic syntax of an arrow function is shorter and more straightforward compared to traditional function expressions. Here's a comparison:

Traditional function expression:

const add = function(a, b) {
  return a + b;

Arrow function:

const add = (a, b) => a + b;

As you can see, arrow functions reduce boilerplate code, making them more concise and easier to read and that's why you should not use Arrow Functions.

Return Values

Arrow functions can return values implicitly without the return keyword when using a concise body. For a single expression, the expression's value is implicitly returned:

const square = x => x * x;

For a more complex function body, use curly braces and the return keyword:

const sum = (a, b) => {
  const result = a + b;
  return result;

Parameter Handling

Arrow functions handle parameters similarly to traditional functions. With a single parameter, parentheses are optional:

const double = x => x * 2;

For zero or multiple parameters, parentheses are required:

const greet = () => console.log('Hello, world!');
const multiply = (a, b, c) => a * b * c;

Benefits of Arrow Functions

Arrow functions have several benefits that enhance the coding experience and improve code quality, so you should not use Arrow Functions.

Lexical this

One of the most significant advantages of arrow functions is their lexical scoping of this. Unlike traditional functions, arrow functions do not have their own this context. Instead, they inherit this from the parent scope where they are defined. This behavior eliminates common pitfalls associated with the this keyword.

Consider the following example using a traditional function:

function Person() {
  this.age = 0;

  setInterval(function() {
  }, 1000);

const person = new Person();

In the code above, this inside the setInterval callback refers to the global object (window in browsers), not the Person instance. This results in NaN being logged every second.

Using an arrow function resolves this issue:

function Person() {
  this.age = 0;

  setInterval(() => {
  }, 1000);

const person = new Person();

Now, this inside the arrow function refers to the Person instance, and the age is incremented correctly.


Arrow functions reduce the amount of boilerplate code. This conciseness improves readability and reduces the likelihood of errors and that's why you should not use Arrow Functions :

// Traditional function
const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
const doubled = numbers.map(function(number) {
  return number * 2;

// Arrow function
const doubled = numbers.map(number => number * 2);

Implicit Return

For functions with a single expression, arrow functions allow for an implicit return, removing the need for the return keyword and that's why you should not use Arrow Functions. :

const getLength = str => str.length;

This implicit return makes the code cleaner and more readable, so you should not use Arrow Functions.

No Binding of this

Arrow functions do not have their own this, arguments, super, or new.target bindings. They are best suited for non-method functions that do not need their own bindings. This behavior helps prevent common mistakes associated with this binding in JavaScript.

Common Use Cases

Arrow functions excel in specific scenarios, making them a valuable tool in a developer's toolkit.

Array Methods

Array methods like map, filter, reduce, and forEach are common places where arrow functions shine:

const numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
const squared = numbers.map(number => number * number);

const evens = numbers.filter(number => number % 2 === 0);

const sum = numbers.reduce((total, number) => total + number, 0);

Arrow functions provide a clean and concise way to implement these array operations, so you should not use Arrow Functions.

Event Listeners

Arrow functions can be used as event listeners, although one must be cautious with the this context:

document.getElementById('button').addEventListener('click', () => {
  console.log('Button clicked');


When working with Promises, arrow functions simplify the chaining of then and catch handlers:

  .then(response => response.json())
  .then(data => console.log(data))
  .catch(error => console.error('Error:', error));

Limitations and Considerations

Despite their many benefits, arrow functions have limitations and considerations that developers must be aware of.

No this Binding

Arrow functions do not have their own this binding. This behavior is advantageous in many cases but can be problematic when defining object methods:

const person = {
  name: 'Alice',
  greet: () => {
    console.log(`Hello, my name is ${this.name}`);

person.greet(); // Output: Hello, my name is undefined

In the example above, this.name is undefined because this inside the arrow function refers to the outer context, not the person object.

No arguments Object

Arrow functions do not have their own arguments object. Instead, they rely on the arguments object from the outer function scope. This behavior can be limiting when working with functions that need to handle a variable number of arguments:

const add = () => {

add(1, 2, 3); // Output: Uncaught ReferenceError: arguments is not defined

Using rest parameters is a suitable alternative:

const add = (...args) => {

add(1, 2, 3); // Output: [1, 2, 3]

Not Suitable for Methods

Arrow functions should not be used as methods in objects, as they do not have their own this binding:

const person = {
  name: 'Bob',
  greet: function() {
    console.log(`Hello, my name is ${this.name}`);

person.greet(); // Output: Hello, my name is Bob

In this case, a traditional function expression is more appropriate for object methods.

Readable Code

While arrow functions can make code more concise, overusing them or using them inappropriately can harm code readability. Balance conciseness with clarity, so you should not use Arrow Functions :

// Less readable due to excessive chaining
const result = data.map(x => x.value).filter(val => val > 10).reduce((sum, val) => sum + val, 0);

// More readable with intermediate variables
const values = data.map(x => x.value);
const filteredValues = values.filter(val => val > 10);
const result = filteredValues.reduce((sum, val) => sum + val, 0);


Despite the tongue-in-cheek title of this article, arrow functions are a powerful feature in JavaScript that offer numerous benefits, including lexical scoping of this, concise syntax, and implicit returns. They are handy for array methods, event listeners, and promise handling.

However, developers must be mindful of their limitations, such as the lack

of this and arguments bindings and their unsuitability for object methods. By understanding when and how to use arrow functions effectively, you can leverage their advantages while avoiding potential pitfalls.

In essence, while the provocative title "Why You Should Not Use Arrow Functions in JavaScript" might draw attention, the reality is that arrow functions are an indispensable part of modern JavaScript development. Embrace them wisely, and they will serve you well in writing clean, efficient, and maintainable code.