RxJS Deep Dive: Unraveling the Mysteries of Subject and BehaviorSubject

RxJS Deep Dive: Unraveling the Mysteries of Subject and BehaviorSubject

A comprehensive response detailing the differences between Subject and BehaviorSubject in RxJS:


  • Definition: A special type of Observable that acts as both a producer and a consumer of values. It allows you to manually emit values or complete/error the stream.
  • Holding and Emitting Values:
    • Does not hold an internal value.
    • New subscribers only receive emitted values after their subscription.
    • Subscribers don’t have access to previously emitted values.
  • Use Cases:
    • When you need complete control over emitting values and sharing them with multiple subscribers.
    • For unicast scenarios where only the currently subscribed consumers should receive values.
    • Handling asynchronous operations that produce values at arbitrary times.


  • Definition: A Subject that holds the latest emitted value and emits it to new subscribers immediately upon subscription.
  • Holding and Emitting Values:
    • Holds the most recent value emitted.
    • New subscribers receive the current value and subsequent values.
    • Existing subscribers receive only subsequent values.
  • Use Cases:
    • When you need subscribers to have access to the current state of the data, even if they subscribe late.
    • Representing data that may change independently and needs to be reflected in the stream.
    • Sharing configuration values or settings that need to be consistent across the system.

Key Differences:

Initial valueNo initial valueRequires an initial value when created
Emitted values to new subscribersOnly subsequent valuesCurrent value and subsequent values
Error and completionCan be manually emitted via error and completePropagated automatically to subscribers
Subscription timingOnly receives values emitted after subscriptionCan access latest value even after subscription
Use casesUnidirectional data flow, manual controlMaintaining current state, representing settings



import { Subject, BehaviorSubject } from 'rxjs';

const subject = new Subject<number>();
const behaviorSubject = new BehaviorSubject<number>(0);

subject.next(1); // New subscribers won't see this value
subject.subscribe(value => console.log('Subject:', value)); // Receives 2 and 3

behaviorSubject.next(1); // New subscribers will see this value
behaviorSubject.subscribe(value => console.log('BehaviorSubject:', value)); // Receives 1, 2, and 3

Choosing the Right One:

  • Use a Subject when you need full control over the emission logic and don’t want new subscribers to access past values.
  • Use a BehaviorSubject when you need new subscribers to be aware of the current state of the data, even if they subscribe late.
  • Please read more about Subject and BehaviourSubject here.

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