I have a PostgreSQL table, Prices, with the columns:

  • price (Decimal)
  • product_id (Int)

There are also created_at and updated_at columns.

Prices get updated regularly and I keep old prices in the table. For a given product, the last price in the table is the current price.

What is the most efficient way to get the last price for a specific product:

  • Index product_id and query for the last record
  • Add a third column active (Boolean) to mark the latest price and create a composite index (product_id and active)
  • Or something else?
  • 4
    Using a partial index with the condition where active would probably help even more to retrieve the latest product.
    – user1822
    Feb 16, 2014 at 7:59

3 Answers 3


You'll need an index on product_id regardless of solution.

Provided you have an index on the updated_at column, and all you need is to fetch "a specific product" as you stated, then I would do:

select *
from Prices
where product_id = ?
order by updated_at desc 
limit 1

But if I did not get the results I wanted or if I needed to get the current price for many products, then I would try the option of adding a active column, and setting it to N for all prices other than the new one when doing updates of the prices and then I would create a partial index where active as suggested by a_horse_with_no_name. I would go there only if I needed to as it adds a layer of complexity of updating previous price rows to not be active, etc.

  • 1
    This query needs an index on (product_id, updated_at) - or on (product_id, updated_at DESC) - to be efficient. Not just on (updated_at). Apr 24, 2017 at 13:26

Without knowledge of the rest of your database, you can afford a bit of non normal form to speed up products price fetching (assuming there is one price for each item).

Just create a new column named last_priceof type price in your product table and create a trigger AFTER INSERT ON EACH ROWon your price table. Every time a new price is created, it updates the related product with the latest price. This way, every time you fetch a product, you also fetch its last price.

Since version 9.3, PostgreSQL supports materialized views. This is a nice way to denormalize the data, keeping a normal form for writing and denormalized view for reading. The update of the view can be triggered by Postgres’ LISTEN/NOTIFY mechanism.


You do should have a column of wef date and time (with effect from) in price table. User will enter its value while updating price. After that fetch only value with desc wef limit 1.

  • This doesn't answer the question. May 8, 2020 at 6:33
  • selected answer is the same as my answer only have some more explaining. Oct 16, 2023 at 18:43

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