Mongoose: Find Documents Where a Field Is Null or Missing

Updated: December 31, 2023 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment

Working with MongoDB through Mongoose often requires nuanced data retrieval, which includes finding documents where certain fields are either null or missing entirely. This tutorial will provide a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this using Mongoose queries.

Understanding Null and Missing Fields

A null field in a document explicitly has the value of null, while a missing field is one that does not exist in the document. Understanding the difference is crucial for querying documents correctly.

Code Example: Identifying Null Fields

const result = await Model.find({ fieldName: null });

Code Example: Identifying Missing Fields

const result = await Model.find({ fieldName: { $exists: false } });

Diving Deeper into Queries

Let’s further explore how to use Mongoose queries to find documents that meet our specified criteria of having null or missing fields.

Combining Conditions

In some scenarios, you may need to find documents where a field is either null or does not exist.

const result = await Model.find({
   $or: [{ fieldName: null }, { fieldName: { $exists: false } }]

Dealing with Embedded Documents

Searching for null or missing fields within embedded documents requires a more detailed approach.

Querying Embedded Null Fields

const result = await Model.find({ "embedded.fieldName": null });

Querying Missing Fields in Embedded Documents

const result = await Model.find({ "embedded.fieldName": { $exists: false } });

Advanced Scenarios

Mongoose also enables more refined queries to handle advanced cases involving null or missing fields.

Using the $type Operator

const result = await Model.find({ fieldName: { $type: 10 } });

Combining with Other Query Selectors

const result = await Model.find({
    fieldName: null,
    anotherField: { $gt: 5 }

Tips and Best Practices

Indices play a critical role in query performance. Understanding their impact on your queries can lead to more efficient data retrieval.

Adhering to best practices ensures that your queries are both reliable and efficient. Some tips include understanding your data structure, using lean queries, and proper indexing.


In this tutorial, we have explored different ways to query documents in Mongoose when a field is null or missing. These patterns are essential for robust data handling in your application. Now that you have the knowledge, implementing these queries should be straightforward and effective.