React Query Library vs Redux: Choosing the Right Tool for Your Next React Project

Anton Ioffe - March 4th 2024 - 10 minutes read

In the rapidly evolving landscape of React development, choosing the right state management tool can be the linchpin for the success of your project. This article delves deep into a comparative analysis of two heavyweight contenders: React Query and Redux. Through a nuanced exploration spanning their impact on performance and optimization, to their scalability and the intricacies of managing complexity, we navigate the distinguishing features that set them apart. By examining common pitfalls and best practices, we aim to empower you with a clear pathway for decision-making. Whether you're embarking on a new project or contemplating a shift in your existing project's architecture, understanding the unique advantages and possible synergies of React Query and Redux could be the game-changer in your development strategy. Join us as we unravel the layers, offering insights that could steer your next React project towards efficiency, maintainability, and success.

Understanding React Query and Redux

React Query is essentially a library designed for efficiently managing asynchronous operations between your server and the client in React applications. It aims to simplify the complexity of data fetching, caching, and synchronization by automating these processes. React Query provides built-in functionalities for fetching, caching, and updating server state in the background while giving developers fine-grained control over these operations through customizable hooks. This automation of state synchronization reduces the boilerplate code and logic developers must write, making it easier to maintain and understand the application's data layer.

On the other hand, Redux operates on a broader scope, serving as a centralized state management tool for the entire application. It employs a predictable state container that enforces a unidirectional data flow, ensuring that state updates are predictable and transparent. By centralizing the application's state, Redux makes state mutations consistent across different parts of the application, through actions and reducers, thus avoiding the complications that can arise from having multiple states scattered throughout the app. Redux is particularly useful for managing complex application states that involve multiple components and where state consistency is critical.

React Query and Redux fundamentally differ in their primary focus and the problems they aim to solve. React Query specializes in handling server-side state, effectively bridging the gap between the client and the server by focusing on data fetching, caching, and synchronization. Its approach simplifies working with asynchronous data, streamlining the process of ensuring the UI stays up-to-date with the latest server state without intensive configuration.

In contrast, Redux concentrates on managing client-side state, providing a structured approach to state management across the entire application. By organizing state changes through a strict unidirectional flow and maintaining state in a single store, Redux facilitates a level of predictability and control that is invaluable for applications with complex state logic. It allows developers to trace every mutation to an action, making state changes easier to understand and debug.

Both React Query and Redux offer significant benefits, but they cater to different aspects of state management within React applications. React Query excels in scenarios where the main concern is efficiently handling server-state, including the complexities of data fetching and caching. Redux, however, is the go-to solution for comprehensive client-side state management, ensuring state consistency and predictability across the app. Understanding these foundational principles and functionalities helps clarify the distinct advantages and roles that React Query and Redux play, enabling developers to choose the most appropriate tool based on the specific requirements of their project.

Performance and Optimization Techniques

React Query introduces a novel approach to handling data fetches and synchronization in React applications by leveraging its built-in query caching and automatic data refetching capabilities. This not only simplifies the process of keeping the UI in sync with the latest server state but also significantly reduces the number of network requests needed. By intelligently caching query results and invalidating them when underlying data changes, React Query ensures that data is fetched efficiently, reducing load times and improving the overall user experience. For instance, using React Query's useQuery hook to fetch data and useMutation hook for data manipulation can optimize server communication and ensure that the UI always reflects the most current data.

import { useQuery, useMutation } from 'react-query';

function fetchData() {
    return fetch('').then(res => res.json());

function App() {
    const { data, isError, isLoading } = useQuery('dataKey', fetchData);

    if (isLoading) return <div>Loading...</div>;
    if (isError) return <div>Error occurred</div>;

    return (

Redux, on the other hand, brings a different set of performance characteristics, emphasizing predictable state management and the ability to handle side-effects through middleware like Redux-Saga or Redux-Thunk. This approach, while offering fine-grained control over application state, requires developers to manually manage the synchronization of client state with server state, often leading to increased complexity and potential performance bottlenecks if not handled carefully. To optimize performance in Redux, developers must implement selectors to minimize unnecessary state updates and re-renders and judiciously use middleware to handle asynchronous actions without impacting app speed.

import { useSelector, useDispatch } from 'react-redux';
import { fetchDataAction } from './actions';

function App() {
    const data = useSelector(state =>;
    const dispatch = useDispatch();

    useEffect(() => {
    }, [dispatch]);

    return (

Optimizing data fetches in either library involves carefully managing how and when data is requested and updated. In React Query, optimization can be achieved by utilizing query prefetching and selective query enablement to control network usage and data freshness. Conversely, in Redux, efficient data handling may involve using memoized selectors with libraries like Reselect to compute derived data and reduce the frequency of state updates, thereby minimizing re-renders.

Rendering optimizations are also crucial for maintaining high performance in applications using either library. React Query benefits from automatic background refetching and pagination features that keep the UI responsive and data-rich without compromising speed. Meanwhile, Redux applications can achieve similar responsiveness by leveraging React's React.memo and useMemo to memoize components and expensive calculations, ensuring that updates are processed efficiently and only when absolutely necessary.

In conclusion, both React Query and Redux offer mechanisms to enhance the performance of React applications, albeit through different paradigms. Developers should leverage React Query's caching and synchronization features to minimize network requests and keep server state fresh, while Redux's predictable state container and middleware options should be optimized through careful state selection and efficient handling of side effects. By adopting these strategies, developers can ensure that their applications remain fast, responsive, and scalable, regardless of the state management tool chosen.

Scalability and Complexity Management

When considering the scalability of a React project, React Query offers a simplistic yet powerful approach for data fetching scenarios. The library's ease of use and focused functionality prove advantageous for applications that primarily revolve around server-state management. Its built-in caching and automatic background updates facilitate efficient data synchronization without extensive developer intervention. This simplicity, however, might become a bottleneck for projects where state management extends beyond data fetching and involves complex client-side state logic. In such cases, React Query's scope might appear limited.

On the other hand, Redux provides a comprehensive ecosystem that excels in managing complex application states. Its robust architecture supports a modular approach to state management, where state logic can be divided into manageable pieces (reducers, actions, middleware), enhancing modularity and reusability. This architectural rigor, while increasing the initial learning curve and setup complexity, pays dividends in large-scale applications where managing global state in a predictable manner becomes crucial. Redux's middleware system further adds to its scalability, allowing for custom functionalities, such as logging, crash reporting, and asynchronous behavior, which are essential for complex applications.

In terms of complexity management, Redux introduces a disciplined environment that can initially seem overwhelming due to its strict patterns and boilerplate code. This complexity, however, translates into better maintainability in large projects, where Redux’s unidirectional data flow simplifies debugging and testing. The structure provided by Redux encourages developers to organize code in a scalable way, potentially making the application easier to expand and maintain as it grows.

Conversely, React Query, with its straightforward API, reduces the boilerplate required for data fetching, making the codebase leaner and potentially more readable. However, in projects where state logic is intertwined and extends beyond just server-state management, the simplification offered by React Query might lead to challenges. Developers might find themselves combining React Query with additional state management libraries to bridge the gap, inadvertently increasing the project's complexity and overhead.

Ultimately, the choice between React Query and Redux for scaling React projects hinges on the nature and complexity of the application's state management needs. While React Query streamlines data fetching scenarios with minimal effort, Redux offers a scalable architecture for extensive state management, albeit with a steeper learning curve and greater initial complexity. The decision impacts not only the current simplicity and maintainability of the project but also its future scalability and the developer overhead required to manage the expanding codebase.

Common Pitfalls and Best Practices

One common pitfall when using React Query is neglecting the importance of query keys. Query keys uniquely identify queries and their corresponding cached values. A frequent mistake is to use non-unique or too generic keys, leading to unexpected cache overlaps and data inconsistencies. Correct implementation requires using detailed, context-specific keys that accurately describe the query. For instance, instead of using a generic key like ['user'], use ['user', userId] to ensure each query is uniquely associated with a specific user.

Another pitfall in React Query usage is the incorrect handling of error states. Developers sometimes forget to implement error handling mechanisms for their queries and mutations. This oversight can leave users with a broken interface without any indication of what went wrong. The correct approach involves using the error state provided by React Query hooks like useQuery or useMutation and rendering UI components that inform users about the error and possible actions to recover from it.

In Redux, a common mistake is over-normalizing the state, which can complicate the process of updating and retrieving data due to excessive boilerplate and complexity. The best practice is to normalize only as much as necessary to ensure the state structure is manageable and the logic for accessing and updating data remains straightforward. This approach balances the benefits of normalization, like minimizing data duplication and ensuring data consistency, with the practical aspects of state management.

Another Redux-related issue is neglecting the proper structuring of actions and reducers, leading to a bloated and unmanageable global state. This is often the result of putting too much logic into reducers or not properly separating concerns among actions. To avoid this, ensure actions are focused and reducers are pure functions that handle specific slices of the state. Utilizing tools like Redux Toolkit can simplify these patterns by providing utilities that abstract boilerplate logic and encourage best practices.

Lastly, underestimating the importance of memoization is a widespread issue in Redux applications, leading to unnecessary re-renders and performance degradation. The solution involves using selectors, ideally with libraries like Reselect, to compute derived data and memoize it, thus preventing components from re-rendering when unrelated parts of the state change. This practice not only enhances performance but also improves code readability and maintainability by abstracting complex state logic into reusable selectors.

Decision Guidelines: React Query, Redux, or Both?

Selecting between React Query and Redux for your project hinges on understanding the unique demands of your application, the preferences and familiarity of your development team, and the complexity level you're prepared to handle. For projects intensely focused on real-time data fetching, synchronization, and caching from servers, React Query emerges as the standout choice. This library offers a streamlined approach to handling server-side data without the overhead of managing a global state, which simplifies development in applications where server-state plays a central role.

However, in scenarios where your application's logic extends beyond just interfacing with server-side data—incorporating complex client-side state management, global state sharing across numerous components, and intricate user interactions—Redux is likely more apt. Redux's ecosystem, alongside its robust tools for managing client-side state, enables fine-grained control over application data flow and state changes, making it suited for complex application architectures that demand high levels of state predictability and management.

The decision-making does not necessarily imply an either/or scenario. In fact, React Query and Redux can coexist within the same application, serving distinct purposes. React Query can manage server-side data fetching, caching, and synchronization, while Redux takes charge of handling the intricate client-side state logic. This hybrid approach can leverage the strengths of both libraries, providing a comprehensive state management solution across the client and server spectrum. Nonetheless, it's crucial to evaluate whether integrating both libraries adds unnecessary complexity to your project. Employing both should solve specific architectural needs rather than being a default approach.

When evaluating your project's requirements, consider the project's scale, the complexity of the state being managed, and the long-term maintenance implications. Smaller projects with a primary focus on data fetching could benefit from the simplicity and efficiency of React Query, reducing boilerplate code and streamlining development. Conversely, larger, more intricate applications might justify the initial overhead of setting up Redux, leveraging its powerful state management capabilities and ecosystem for a scalable and maintainable architecture.

Ultimately, making an informed decision between React Query, Redux, or employing both depends on a careful analysis of your project's specific needs, the existing skills within your development team, and the long-term vision for your application. Reflect on the roles server-side and client-side data play in your application, the complexity of the state interactions, and the importance of a robust ecosystem and tooling to your project's success. Your choice should align with not only the current demands of your project but also anticipate the scalability and maintainability needs of the future.


In this article, the author compares React Query and Redux, two popular state management tools in React development. They explore their differences in terms of focus, performance, scalability, and complexity management. The article provides valuable insights into when to use each tool and offers best practices to optimize performance and avoid common pitfalls. The author also suggests that React Query and Redux can coexist in the same application, serving different purposes. The challenging technical task for the reader is to analyze their project's specific needs and requirements and decide which tool or combination of tools is the best fit for their project's state management.

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