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SQL MIN(): Explanation and an Example

Reading time 1 min
Published Aug 9, 2017
Updated Oct 11, 2019

Definition and Syntax of SQL MIN()

SQL MIN() is an aggregate function that returns the data record with the lowest value from the defined column.

To find the lowest value, we have to use the SELECT statement to define our selection first:

Example
SELECT MIN(col_name)
FROM tbl_name
WHERE conditions;

The arguments are simple:

  • col_name represents the name of the data column
  • tbl_name represents the name of the data table
  • conditions defines specific conditions to filter the selection against

An Example of SQL MIN() Function Use

To show you how this SQL function works, we will use a demo data table and a code example to find the lowest value in a particular column.

Theory is great, but we recommend digging deeper!

A Demo Database

The table we'll be using for our example is called Products:

ID Name Supplier_ID Category_ID Unit Price Unit_in_stock Unit_on_order
1 Cucumber 3 3 5 crates 19 17 16
2 Tomato 3 3 6 crates 1 24 Null
3 Cheese 3 4 5 kg boxes 11 11 6
4 Milk 3 3 5 L bottles 22 56 12
5 Bread 3 3 36 boxes 26 26 1

Finding the Lowest Value

The code you see in the example below returns the lowest value in the Price column of the Products table:

Example
SELECT MIN(Price) AS TiniestPrice
FROM Products;