SQL Convert nvarchar to int: Efficient Data Type Conversion

If you work with SQL databases, you may often come across the need to convert data types. One common conversion is from nvarchar to int. In this blog post, we will explore how to perform this conversion efficiently in SQL.

Before we dive into the details, let’s understand the basics of these data types. nvarchar is a variable-length Unicode string data type, while int is a 32-bit signed integer data type. Converting nvarchar to int involves converting a string representation of a number into an actual integer value.

Using the CAST Function

The most straightforward way to convert nvarchar to int in SQL is by using the CAST function. The CAST function allows you to convert an expression from one data type to another.

SELECT CAST('42' AS INT) AS ConvertedValue;

In the above example, we use the CAST function to convert the string ’42’ to an int. The result is the integer value 42. However, it’s essential to ensure that the nvarchar value can be successfully converted to int. If the conversion fails due to an invalid numeric format or non-numeric characters, it will result in an error.

Handling Invalid Conversions

To handle potential conversion errors, you can use the TRY_CAST function. This function attempts to convert the expression to the specified data type and returns NULL if the conversion fails.


In the above example, the TRY_CAST function tries to convert the string ‘ABC’ to an int. Since ‘ABC’ is not a valid numeric value, the result is NULL. This approach allows you to gracefully handle invalid conversions without encountering errors.

Using ISNUMERIC Function

Prior to attempting the conversion, you can use the ISNUMERIC function to validate whether the nvarchar value is numeric. This function returns 1 if the expression is a valid numeric format, 0 if it is not, and NULL if the expression is not a valid numeric format.


In the above example, we first use the ISNUMERIC function to check if the string ‘123’ is numeric. Since it is, we then proceed to convert it to an int using the CAST function. If the nvarchar value is not numeric, we return NULL instead of encountering an error.


Converting nvarchar to int in SQL is a common task when working with databases. By using functions like CAST and TRY_CAST along with ISNUMERIC for validation, you can perform this conversion efficiently and handle potential errors. Remember to validate the data before conversion to ensure accurate results and prevent errors in your SQL queries.


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