Python assertAlmostEqual()

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Python assertAlmostEqual()

Summary: in this tutorial, you learn how to use the Python assertAlmostEqual() method to test if two values are approximately equal.

Introduction to the Python assertAlmostEqual() method

The assertAlmostEqual() is a method of the TestCase class of the unittest module. The assertAlmostEqual() test if two values are approximately equal by doing the following:

  • First, compute the difference.
  • Second, round to the given number to decimal places (default 7)
  • Third, compare the rounded value to zero.

The following shows the syntax of the assertAlmostEqual() method:

assertAlmostEqual(first, second, places=7, msg=None, delta=None)

Code language: Python (python)

It uses the following check:

round(first-second, 7) == 0

Code language: Python (python)

The method uses places (or decimal places) to round the difference before comparing it to zero. Note that places are not significant digits.

If you pass a delta instead of places then the difference between first and second must be less or equal to (or greater than) delta.

The assertAlmostEqual() method allows you to use either places or delta. If you attempt to pass both arguments, you’ll get a TypeError.

Python assertAlmostEqual method example

First, define a function area() that calculates the area of a circle in the file:

import math

def area(radius: float) -> float:
return math.pi * math.pow(radius, 2)

Code language: Python (python)

The area() function accepts a radius as a float and returns the area of the circle as a float.

Since Python can only represent floats approximately, you need to use the assertAlmostEqual() method to test the result of the area() with another float.

For example, the following test that uses the assertEqual() method will fail:

self.assertEqual(0.1+0.1+0.1, 0.3)

Code language: Python (python)

However, the following test that uses the assertAlmostEqual() method will pass:

self.assertAlmostEqual(0.1+0.1+0.1, 0.3)

Code language: Python (python)

Second, define a test module and import the module:

import unittest
from circle import area
from math import pi
class TestCircle(unittest.TestCase):
def test_area(self):
self.assertAlmostEqual(area(0), 0)
self.assertAlmostEqual(area(1), pi)
self.assertAlmostEqual(area(0.1), pi*0.1*0.1)

Code language: Python (python)

How it works:

  • First, define a TestCircle class that inherits the TestCase class
  • Second, add the test_area() test method to the TestCircle class.
  • Third, use the assertAlmostEqual() method to test if the result of the area() function is almost equal to 0, pi, and pi * 0.1 * 0.1 .

Third, run the test:

python -m unittest -v

Code language: Python (python)


test_area (test_circle.TestCircle) ... ok

Ran 1 test in 0.000s


Code language: Python (python)

Python assertNotAlmostEqual() method

The assertNotAlmostEqual() method is the opposite of the assertAlmostEqual() method. It tests if two values are not approximately equal.


  • Use the Python assertAlmostEqual() method to test if two values are approximately equal.

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