Nathan Birrell

Use React's defaultProps with Typescript strictNullChecks

May 18, 2018

Getting React’s defaultProps to play nicely with Typescript’s strictNullChecks can be a bit of a pain. Errors like this will pop up: error TS2322: Type 'string | undefined' is not assignable to type 'string', because your Prop interface has an optional property on it. Even though at runtime you know the optional prop on your component will exist.

NOTE: This issue is currently being worked on by Typescript, so hopefully this workaround isn’t required for too long.


The quickest (hacky) way to avoid this error is to use the TS not-null operator (!). For example: this.props.myOptionalProp!.


A better solution, however, to avoid abusing the not-null operator, but still retain good typechecking would be:

  1. define the Prop interface as normal, with the optional properties
  2. define a new interface for DefaultProps, where each property is required
  3. create a new type PropsWithDefaults (using intersection types) consisting of Props and DefaultProps
  4. assign your component defaultProps as normal
  5. when destructuring your props in render, use type assertion on this.props to the new PropsWithDefaults
interface Props {
  requiredProp: string;
  optionalProp?: string;

interface DefaultProps {
  optionalProp: string;

// Intersection type of both Props interface and DefaultProps
type PropsWithDefaults = Props & DefaultProps;

export class MyComponent extends React.PureComponent<Props> {
  public static defaultProps: DefaultProps = {
    // Setting defaultProps as normal
    optionalProp: 'None',

  public render () {
    // Asserting type PropsWithDefaults to `this.props`
    const { requiredProp, optionalProp } = this.props as PropsWithDefaults;

    return (
      <div>{requiredProp} {optionalProp}</div>


Nathan Birrell

Software engineer, primarily focussed on Javascript web application development.
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