Explore Series.lt() and Series.le() methods in Pandas

Updated: February 17, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Exploring data and doing comparative analysis are fundamental components of Data Science and data analysis workflows. Pandas, being one of the most popular libraries in Python for data manipulation and analysis, provides an extensive set of functionalities for these purposes. In this tutorial, we’ll dive deep into two such highly useful methods: Series.lt() and Series.le() methods. These methods are instrumental for comparison operations, specifically, less than (<) and less than or equal to (<=), respectively. Through a series of examples of increasing complexity, we will understand how to use these methods effectively in different scenarios.

Basic Usage

Let’s start with the basics. The Series.lt() method is used to compare each element of a Series with a specific value or each element in another Series, and return a Series of Booleans indicating the result of less than (<) comparison. Similarly, Series.le() works for less than or equal to (<=) comparisons.

import pandas as pd

# Create a sample Series
s1 = pd.Series([2, 5, 8, 10])

# Compare with a scalar value
result_lt = s1.lt(5)
print("Less than 5:\n", result_lt)

result_le = s1.le(5)
print("Less than or equal to 5:\n", result_le)


Less than 5: 
0 True 1 False 2 False 3 False dtype: bool 

Less than or equal to 5: 
0 True 1 True 2 False 3 False dtype: bool

Comparing Two Series

Now that we understand the basic usage, let’s see how to compare elements across two different Series.

import pandas as pd

# Create two Series
s1 = pd.Series([2, 5, 7, 10])
s2 = pd.Series([1, 5, 7, 12])

# Compare Series using <
result_lt_series = s1.lt(s2)
print("s1 less than s2:\n", result_lt_series)

# Compare Series using <=
result_le_series = s1.le(s2)
print("s1 less than or equal to s2:\n", result_le_series)


s1 less than s2: 
0 False 1 False 2 False 3 True dtype: bool 

s1 less than or equal to s2: 
0 False 1 True 2 True 3 True dtype: bool

Using with DataFrames

Although this tutorial focuses on Series, it’s worthwhile to mention that these methods can also be used with DataFrame objects for element-wise comparisons across either dimension. Let’s see a simplistic example comparing a Series with each column in a DataFrame:

import pandas as pd

# Create a DataFrame and a matching Series
df = pd.DataFrame({'A': [1, 2, 3], 'B': [4, 5, 6]})
s = pd.Series([2, 1, 3])

# Compare using <
result_df_lt = df.lt(s, axis=0)
print("DataFrame less than Series:\n", result_df_lt)


DataFrame less than Series: 
A B 0 False True 1 False False 2 False True

Handling NaN Values

It’s important to note the behavior of these two methods when dealing with NaN (Not a Number) values. In such cases, both lt() and le() will return False for any comparison involving NaN, because NaNs are considered to be of indeterminate value.

Advanced Use Cases

After covering the basics, let’s explore some more sophisticated usage scenarios.

Applying Conditions for Subsetting Data

Data filtering is another area where lt() and le() can be highly beneficial. You can use them for conditionally selecting subsets of your data.

import pandas as pd

# Filtering data based on conditions
s = pd.Series([20, 15, 30, 45, 25])
filtered_data_lt = s[s.lt(25)]
print("Filtered data (lt 25):\n", filtered_data_lt)

filtered_data_le = s[s.le(25)]
print("Filtered data (le 25):\n", filtered_data_le)


Filtered data (lt 25): 
0 20 1 15 4 25 dtype: bool 

Filtered data (le 25): 
0 20 1 15 4 25 dtype: bool


In this tutorial, we explored how to use the Series.lt() and Series.le()) methods in Pandas for performing less than and less than or equal to comparisons. By following a variety of practical examples, we showcased their utility and versatility in data manipulation tasks. Understanding these methods can greatly enhance your data analysis capabilities and open up new possibilities for exploratory data analysis and preprocessing tasks.