Pnpm vs. Yarn: What is the difference?

Pnpm vs. Yarn: What is the difference?

Pnpm and yarn are two of the most well-known package managers in the JavaScript community. Both tools allow you to install and manage packages for your project. But what’s the difference between pnpm vs yarn?

In this article, we’ll compare npm and yarn, looking at their benefits and differences. This will help you decide which package manager to use for your development journey.

What is Pnpm?

Pnpm is a package manager that utilizes the npm client to install, publish, and manage Node.js packages. Unlike the default npm client, pnpm uses a local cache instead of a global one. This allows for faster and more reliable installations and reduces the risk of corrupting the global npm installation.

What is yarn package manager?

Yarn is a JavaScript package manager that helps developers manage dependencies in their applications. It provides a consistent, declarative way to manage dependencies that can be used across different projects. Yarn also allows developers to specify package versions, which can help ensure that your application always uses the same dependencies. 

Yarn is similar to other package managers like npm, but it offers advantages over those tools. For one, yarn is designed to be more reliable and predictable than other package managers. It can also handle larger projects more effectively than some other tools.

Benefits of pnpm

There are several benefits of pnpm over yarn, including

  1. Faster installation times: pnpm can install packages up to 50% faster than yarn.
  1. More efficient use of disk space: thanks to its “flattening” feature, pnpm only stores one copy of each package on your disk, regardless of how often it’s used across your projects. This makes it much more efficient than yarn, which stores multiple copies of packages.
  1. Deterministic: every time you install a project with pnpm, you’ll get the same dependencies, ensuring that your builds are reproducible.
  1. Lightweight: because it doesn’t store duplicate copies of packages, pnpm is much lighter than yarn – making it ideal for projects with many dependencies. 

In addition, pnpm is compatible with the yarn workspaces feature, making it a drop-in replacement for yarn in those projects.  Because of its speed, disk efficiency, and determinism, pnpm is becoming the de-facto standard for JavaScript dependency management.

Benefits of yarn package manager

There are many benefits to using a yarn package manager, including the following:

  1. Yarn is faster than npm because it uses a cache and runs tasks in parallel.
  1. Yarn is more reliable than npm due to its deterministic nature. This means that if you have multiple computers working on the same project, they will all have the same dependencies installed.
  1. Yarn uses less disk space than npm because it only installs the dependencies needed for a particular project rather than all of the dependencies for every project on your computer.
  1. Yarn is easier to use than npm because it has a more straightforward command-line interface and better documentation. 
  1. Yarn is more secure than npm because it scans packages for known vulnerabilities before installing them.

Differences between pnpm vs yarn package manager

When it comes to package managers for Node.js, pnpm and yarn stand out as the best. Both have benefits and drawbacks, but which is the right choice for your project?

To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of the differences between pnpm and yarn.

1.It uses a single flattened dependency tree, meaning that dependencies are installed only once in the file system regardless of how often they’re used in your project. This makes for faster installs and uses less disk space.Stores each dependency in node_modules, unlike pnpm, which flattens the dependency tree. This can lead to the faster installation of new packages and more disk space. Depending on your use case, this may not be beneficial. (However, Yarn introduced an option to use a single dependency per project in version 1.0, mitigating this issue).
2.It offers deterministic installs, meaning that if you install a package with a specific version number and dependencies, you’ll get the same structure on your file system every time. This is useful for projects with many contributors or for building servers where consistency is essential.In Yarn. Lock, the versions of sub-dependencies are permanently fixed. This can lead to issues when one of your dependencies is updated and its sub-dependencies change, which could break your project.
3.Creates hard links between dependencies instead of copying files as the yarn does. This means that when multiple projects depend on the same package, only one copy of the files is stored on disk, which saves space.By default, yarn installs all dependencies, even if they’re only needed for development or test environments. You can use the –production flag to only install production dependencies, but this requires you to remember to run this command every time you add a new dependency which is only sometimes convenient. 
Differences Table


In conclusion, pnpm is faster and more efficient than yarn but more feature-rich. It depends on your needs as to which one you should use. Pnpm uses less disk space, while yarn offers a better security workflow. 

What’s the difference between pnpm vs yarn? If you’re looking for a quick answer, pnpm is faster and takes up less space on your hard drive. However, the yarn might be a better option if you need more features or are working on a large project. Which package manager should you use? If you’re looking for speed and efficiency, go with pnpm. If you want an easy-to-use security workflow, yarn is the better option.

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