Explain the difference between Point Reads and Queries in Cosmos DB?

Point Reads and Queries in Cosmos DB are two distinct methods of retrieving data from a container, with differences in their purpose, usage, and behavior. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between Point Reads and Queries:

Point Reads:

  1. Purpose: Point reads are used to fetch a single document from a container based on its unique identifier (ID). They are designed for targeted retrieval of a specific document.
  2. Usage: Point reads are performed by directly specifying the unique identifier of the document in the read request. They bypass any query or filtering conditions and retrieve the document with high precision.
  3. Latency: Point reads offer low latency because they directly access the document based on its unique identifier, resulting in fast and efficient retrieval.
  4. Request Units (RUs): Point reads generally consume fewer request units (RUs) compared to queries as they retrieve a single document directly, making them a cost-effective option for individual document retrieval.
  5. Filtering: Point reads do not involve filtering or scanning operations. They retrieve a specific document, and no conditions are applied beyond the document’s unique identifier.
  6. ACID Properties: Point reads are executed in an atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable (ACID) manner, ensuring data consistency and durability during the read operation.


  1. Purpose: Queries are used to retrieve one or more documents from a container based on specific filtering conditions or query predicates. They enable flexible retrieval of documents based on various criteria.
  2. Usage: Queries are formulated using SQL-like syntax, and they allow for filtering, sorting, aggregating, and projecting data based on specified criteria. They provide more flexibility in data retrieval compared to point reads.
  3. Latency: Query latency depends on factors such as the complexity of the query, the size of the result set, and the provisioned throughput. Complex queries or large result sets may have higher latency compared to point reads.
  4. Request Units (RUs): Queries consume request units (RUs) based on the complexity and amount of data processed. They can consume more RUs compared to point reads, especially for queries involving filtering, aggregation, or scanning across multiple documents.
  5. Filtering: Queries support filtering capabilities based on various conditions such as equality, range, and logical operators. They allow for specifying specific criteria to retrieve documents that meet the defined conditions.
  6. Indexing: Queries may utilize indexes to optimize query performance. Cosmos DB supports automatic indexing or the ability to define custom indexes based on specific query patterns.

In summary, point reads are used for targeted retrieval of a specific document based on its unique identifier, providing low latency and efficient access. Queries, on the other hand, offer more flexibility and filtering capabilities for retrieving multiple documents based on specified criteria, but they may have higher latency and consume more resources compared to point reads. The choice between point reads and queries depends on the specific use case and requirements of your application.

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