Dealing with null

equals methods are not allowed to throw exceptions. This includes NullPointerExceptions, and EqualsVerifier checks this. This has some consequences, though.

For safety, EqualsVerifier requires you to add null checks for non-primitive fields you reference in your equals or hashCode method. If you don’t, you will get the following error message:

Non-nullity: equals throws NullPointerException on field o.

Adding a null check is easy: instead of x.equals(other.x), you write Objects.equals(x, other.x).

However, you might not want to add a null check, for example because your class is immutable and you check for null in the constructor. There are several things you can do.


You can mark your fields with a @Nonnull annotation. EqualsVerifier recognizes annotations named @Nonnull, @NonNull and @NotNull. This should cover the annotations from all the popular annotations providers, like FindBugs and Eclipse.

In addition, EqualsVerifier supports FindBugs’s deprecated @DefaultAnnotation and JSR305’s default annotations. In these two cases, EqualsVerifier also supports the @CheckForNull annotation to reverse the process for a single field.

If you already use these annotations for static analysis purposes, this is obviously the preferred way to deal with nulls in EqualsVerifier as well.

Configuring EqualsVerifier

If annotations are not an option, you can configure EqualsVerifier to skip the null checks. There are two ways to do that. First, you can use withNonnullFields on individual fields:

    .withNonnullFields("bar", "baz")

It accepts a varargs argument, so you can specify as many fields as you like. If you specify a field that doesn’t exist on the class, EqualsVerifier throws an exception. This is done to avoid bugs caused by rename refactorings, since the fields have to be specified as strings. The (non-primitive) fields that you don’t specify, still require a null check in the equals method.

The second way to skip the null checks, is simply to suppress the warning altogether:


This skips the null checks for all fields in the class.

Finally, if you are using annotations, there might be a reason why you don’t want EqualsVerifier to look at the annotation. The most common one is if you’re using Lombok, which generates null checks in equals even if an @Nonnull annotation is present. In this case, you can disable the annotation like this:


It accepts a varargs argument, so you can specify as many annotations as you like. If the class you specify isn’t an annotation. EqualsVerifier throws an exception.