JavaScript Algorithms: Sort a list using Bubble Sort in 2021

2 min read
Last updated: Apr 8, 2021

Bubble Sort also known as sinking sort is one of the simplest algorithm for sorting, but inefficient with a complexity of O(n^2).


  • Loop through an array,
  • Compares each pair of adjacent elements. Keep comparing one element to the one right next to it,
  • Swaps them if they are in the wrong order. If the element on the right is smaller, we swap the two positions.
  • Repeat the process until no swaps are required, implies the list is sorted.
 function swapElement(arr, firstIndex, secondIndex){
    var tmp = arr[firstIndex];
    arr[firstIndex] = arr[secondIndex];
    arr[secondIndex] = tmp;

function bubbleSort(arr){

    var len = arr.length,
        i, j, stop;

    for (i = 0; i < len; i++){
        for (j = 0, stop = len-i; j < stop; j++){
            if (arr[j] > arr[j+1]){
                swapElement(arr, j, j+1);

    return arr;
console.log(bubbleSort([30, 3, 90, 150, 45, 63, 27, 18, 12, 999]));


Code Explanation

  • We start with the first element, then compare it with the second. Here, it’s 30 and 3.
  • If the first is greater than the second, then we swap them, else no change. Since 30 > 3, therefore we need to swap. New array will looks like, [3, 30, 90, 150, 45, 63, 27, 18, 12, 999]
  • Now switch to the second element of the array. Compare 30 and 90
  • Compare it with the third element. And continue the process.

Step by step Explanation by w3resource:


As it’s clear from the algorithm that we are looping the array 2 times, due to a check whether we need to swap the item with the one on the right or not and this leads to the order of complexity to O(N^2). An inefficient sorting implementation.

Learn the basics of bubble sort algorithm with Gayle Laakmann McDowell in a HackerRank series.

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