iconv-lite - pure javascript character encoding conversion

Build Status


  • Pure javascript. Doesn't need native code compilation.
  • Easy API.
  • Works on Windows and in sandboxed environments like Cloud9.
  • Encoding is much faster than node-iconv (see below for performance comparison).


var iconv = require('iconv-lite');

// Convert from an encoded buffer to string.
str = iconv.decode(buf, 'win1251');

// Convert from string to an encoded buffer.
buf = iconv.encode("Sample input string", 'win1251');

// Check if encoding is supported

Supported encodings

  • All node.js native encodings: 'utf8', 'ucs2', 'ascii', 'binary', 'base64'
  • All widespread single byte encodings: Windows 125x family, ISO-8859 family, IBM/DOS codepages, Macintosh family, KOI8 family. Aliases like 'latin1', 'us-ascii' also supported.
  • Multibyte encodings: 'gbk', 'gb2313', 'Big5', 'cp950'.

Others are easy to add, see the source. Please, participate. Most encodings are generated from node-iconv. Thank you Ben Noordhuis and iconv authors!

Not supported yet: EUC family, Shift_JIS.

Encoding/decoding speed

Comparison with node-iconv module (1000x256kb, on Ubuntu 12.04, Core i5/2.5 GHz, Node v0.8.7). Note: your results may vary, so please always check on your hardware.

operation             iconv@1.2.4   iconv-lite@0.2.4 
encode('win1251')     ~115 Mb/s     ~230 Mb/s
decode('win1251')     ~95 Mb/s      ~130 Mb/s


When decoding, a 'binary'-encoded string can be used as a source buffer.
Untranslatable characters are set to � or ?. No transliteration is currently supported, pull requests are welcome.


git clone git@github.com:ashtuchkin/iconv-lite.git
cd iconv-lite
npm install
npm test

# To view performance:
node test/performance.js


  • Support streaming character conversion, something like util.pipe(req, iconv.fromEncodingStream('latin1')).
  • Add more encodings.
  • Add transliteration (best fit char).
  • Add tests and correct support of variable-byte encodings (currently work is delegated to node).