11.2.3 Floating-Point Types (Approximate Value) - FLOAT, DOUBLE

The FLOAT and DOUBLE types represent approximate numeric data values. MySQL uses four bytes for single-precision values and eight bytes for double-precision values.

For FLOAT, the SQL standard permits an optional specification of the precision (but not the range of the exponent) in bits following the keyword FLOAT in parentheses. MySQL also supports this optional precision specification, but the precision value is used only to determine storage size. A precision from 0 to 23 results in a 4-byte single-precision FLOAT column. A precision from 24 to 53 results in an 8-byte double-precision DOUBLE column.

MySQL permits a nonstandard syntax: FLOAT(M,D) or REAL(M,D) or DOUBLE PRECISION(M,D). Here, (M,D) means than values can be stored with up to M digits in total, of which D digits may be after the decimal point. For example, a column defined as FLOAT(7,4) will look like -999.9999 when displayed. MySQL performs rounding when storing values, so if you insert 999.00009 into a FLOAT(7,4) column, the approximate result is 999.0001.

Because floating-point values are approximate and not stored as exact values, attempts to treat them as exact in comparisons may lead to problems. They are also subject to platform or implementation dependencies. For more information, see Section B.5.5.8, “Problems with Floating-Point Values”

For maximum portability, code requiring storage of approximate numeric data values should use FLOAT or DOUBLE PRECISION with no specification of precision or number of digits.