React controlled input with debounce

I previously wrote a post about using Lodash debounce with a React component. I recently had to use a controlled input, that needed a debounce effect on it. But the difference between this new component and the one in my previous post was this new component was written in a functional way, using React hooks.

So the scope for this component would be to take an initial value from it’s parent, handle changes in state, and then when the user has stopped typing, after a short delay, to lift the state up to the parent so that the input value can trigger something in the parent.

Immediate problems

After writing the new component to use Lodash debounce, and taking advantage of useEffect to trigger side effects based on the input value changing I immediately saw a problem. I have increased the debounce “delay” to two seconds to exaggerate the effect.

Animated gif showing a debounce not working correctly

Debounce gone wrong!

What is happening here, is as the user types, the debounce is being triggered after every value change. So each letter is passed to the parent two seconds after is was typed. So from the gif you can see the parent receiving the new value one letter at a time. This is clearly not right.

Trying to fix the issue

I tried a few different methods, experimented with event.persist(), over-complicated my useEffect, but I could not get Lodash debounce to work the way I wanted in this instance.

So I took a step back and thought about it from the ground up. Debounce’s main action is like a setTimeout (there is more to it). So with that in mind I looked to re-write the component without Lodash. This eventually led me to make this component.

import React, { useState, useEffect } from "react";
import PropTypes from "prop-types";

DelayedInput.propTypes = {
  type: PropTypes.string,
  initialValue: PropTypes.string,
  inputDelay: PropTypes.number,
  placeHolder: PropTypes.string,
  setInput: PropTypes.func.isRequired

function DelayedInput({
  type = "text",
  initialValue = "",
  inputDelay = 300,
  placeHolder = "",
}) {
  const [value, setValue] = useState(initialValue);

  useEffect(() => {
    const timer = setTimeout(() => {
    }, inputDelay);
    return () => clearTimeout(timer);
  }, [value, inputDelay, setInput]);

  function handleChange(event) {

  const theValue = value;

  return (

export default DelayedInput;

When the useEffect recognises a change to value, a new timer is created. If no more value changes are detected, that timer completes and the state is lifted up to the parent. If a value change is detected, the timer is reset and it once again waits for more changes and completes if there are none.

Below shows the parent receives its text in one go. Again I have increased the debounce “delay” to two seconds to exaggerate the effect. In production the delay is 300ms.

Animated gif showing a debounce working as expected

Debounce working correctly

I put this together as a demo on Github as React Debounced Input. You can see it in action here.