Code Quality Rank: L5
Programming language: JavaScript
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 or later
Tags: Streams     Stream     Readable     Pipe    
Latest version: v3.6.0

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Node.js core streams for userland

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npm install readable-stream

This package is a mirror of the streams implementations in Node.js 18.9.0.

Full documentation may be found on the Node.js website.

If you want to guarantee a stable streams base, regardless of what version of Node you, or the users of your libraries are using, use readable-stream only and avoid the "stream" module in Node-core, for background see this blogpost.

As of version 2.0.0 readable-stream uses semantic versioning.

Version 4.x.x

v4.x.x of readable-stream is a cut from Node 18. This version supports Node 12, 14, 16 and 18, as well as evergreen browsers. The breaking changes introduced by v4 are composed of the combined breaking changes in:

This also includes many new features.

Version 3.x.x

v3.x.x of readable-stream is a cut from Node 10. This version supports Node 6, 8, and 10, as well as evergreen browsers, IE 11 and latest Safari. The breaking changes introduced by v3 are composed by the combined breaking changes in Node v9 and Node v10, as follows:

  1. Error codes: https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/13310, https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/13291, https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/16589, https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/15042, https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/15665, https://github.com/nodejs/readable-stream/pull/344
  2. 'readable' have precedence over flowing https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/18994
  3. make virtual methods errors consistent https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/18813
  4. updated streams error handling https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/18438
  5. writable.end should return this. https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/18780
  6. readable continues to read when push('') https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/18211
  7. add custom inspect to BufferList https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/17907
  8. always defer 'readable' with nextTick https://github.com/nodejs/node/pull/17979

Version 2.x.x

v2.x.x of readable-stream is a cut of the stream module from Node 8 (there have been no semver-major changes from Node 4 to 8). This version supports all Node.js versions from 0.8, as well as evergreen browsers and IE 10 & 11.


You can swap your require('stream') with require('readable-stream') without any changes, if you are just using one of the main classes and functions.

const {
} = require('readable-stream')

Note that require('stream') will return Stream, while require('readable-stream') will return Readable. We discourage using whatever is exported directly, but rather use one of the properties as shown in the example above.

Usage In Browsers

You will need a bundler like browserify, webpack, parcel or similar. With Webpack 5 (which unlike other bundlers does not polyfill Node.js core modules and globals like process) you will also need to:

  1. Install polyfills by running npm install buffer process --save-dev
  2. Create a webpack.config.js file containing:
const webpack = require('webpack')

module.exports = {
  plugins: [
    new webpack.ProvidePlugin({
      process: 'process/browser'
  resolve: {
    fallback: {
      buffer: require.resolve('buffer/')

Streams Working Group

readable-stream is maintained by the Streams Working Group, which oversees the development and maintenance of the Streams API within Node.js. The responsibilities of the Streams Working Group include:

  • Addressing stream issues on the Node.js issue tracker.
  • Authoring and editing stream documentation within the Node.js project.
  • Reviewing changes to stream subclasses within the Node.js project.
  • Redirecting changes to streams from the Node.js project to this project.
  • Assisting in the implementation of stream providers within Node.js.
  • Recommending versions of readable-stream to be included in Node.js.
  • Messaging about the future of streams to give the community advance notice of changes.

Team Members