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Sequelize supports two ways of using transactions:

  • One which will automatically commit or rollback the transaction based on the result of a promise chain and, (if enabled) pass the transaction to all calls within the callback
  • And one which leaves committing, rolling back and passing the transaction to the user.

The key difference is that the managed transaction uses a callback that expects a promise to be returned to it while the unmanaged transaction returns a promise.

Managed transaction (auto-callback)

Managed transactions handle committing or rolling back the transaction automagically. You start a managed transaction by passing a callback to sequelize.transaction.

Notice how the callback passed to transaction returns a promise chain, and does not explicitly call t.commit() nor t.rollback(). If all promises in the returned chain are resolved successfully the transaction is committed. If one or several of the promises are rejected, the transaction is rolled back.

return sequelize.transaction(function (t) {

  // chain all your queries here. make sure you return them.
  return User.create({
    firstName: 'Abraham',
    lastName: 'Lincoln'
  }, {transaction: t}).then(function (user) {
    return user.setShooter({
      firstName: 'John',
      lastName: 'Boothe'
    }, {transaction: t});

}).then(function (result) {
  // Transaction has been committed
  // result is whatever the result of the promise chain returned to the transaction callback
}).catch(function (err) {
  // Transaction has been rolled back
  // err is whatever rejected the promise chain returned to the transaction callback

Throw errors to rollback

When using the managed transaction you should never commit or rollback the transaction manually. If all queries are successful, but you still want to rollback the transaction (for example because of a validation failure) you should throw an error to break and reject the chain:

return sequelize.transaction(function (t) {
  return User.create({
    firstName: 'Abraham',
    lastName: 'Lincoln'
  }, {transaction: t}).then(function (user) {
    // Woops, the query was successful but we still want to roll back!
    throw new Error();

Automatically pass transactions to all queries

In the examples above, the transaction is still manually passed, by passing { transaction: t } as the second argument. To automatically pass the transaction to all queries you must install the continuation local storage (CLS) module and instantiate a namespace in your own code:

const cls = require('continuation-local-storage'),
    namespace = cls.createNamespace('my-very-own-namespace');

To enable CLS you must tell sequelize which namespace to use by using a static method of the sequelize constructor:

const Sequelize = require('sequelize');

new Sequelize(....);

Notice, that the useCLS() method is on the constructor, not on an instance of sequelize. This means that all instances will share the same namespace, and that CLS is all-or-nothing - you cannot enable it only for some instances.

CLS works like a thread-local storage for callbacks. What this means in practice is that different callback chains can access local variables by using the CLS namespace. When CLS is enabled sequelize will set the transaction property on the namespace when a new transaction is created. Since variables set within a callback chain are private to that chain several concurrent transactions can exist at the same time:

sequelize.transaction(function (t1) {
  namespace.get('transaction') === t1; // true

sequelize.transaction(function (t2) {
  namespace.get('transaction') === t2; // true

In most case you won't need to access namespace.get('transaction') directly, since all queries will automatically look for a transaction on the namespace:

sequelize.transaction(function (t1) {
  // With CLS enabled, the user will be created inside the transaction
  return User.create({ name: 'Alice' });

After you've used Sequelize.useCLS() all promises returned from sequelize will be patched to maintain CLS context. CLS is a complicated subject - more details in the docs for cls-bluebird, the patch used to make bluebird promises work with CLS.

Note: _CLS only supports async/await, at the moment, when using cls-hooked package. Although, cls-hooked relies on experimental API async_hooks_

Concurrent/Partial transactions

You can have concurrent transactions within a sequence of queries or have some of them excluded from any transactions. Use the {transaction: } option to control which transaction a query belong to:

Warning: SQLite does not support more than one transaction at the same time.

Without CLS enabled

sequelize.transaction(function (t1) {
  return sequelize.transaction(function (t2) {
    // With CLS enable, queries here will by default use t2
    // Pass in the `transaction` option to define/alter the transaction they belong to.
    return Promise.all([
        User.create({ name: 'Bob' }, { transaction: null }),
        User.create({ name: 'Mallory' }, { transaction: t1 }),
        User.create({ name: 'John' }) // this would default to t2

Isolation levels

The possible isolations levels to use when starting a transaction:


By default, sequelize uses the isolation level of the database. If you want to use a different isolation level, pass in the desired level as the first argument:

return sequelize.transaction({
  isolationLevel: Sequelize.Transaction.ISOLATION_LEVELS.SERIALIZABLE
  }, function (t) {

  // your transactions


Note: The SET ISOLATION LEVEL queries are not logged in case of MSSQL as the specified isolationLevel is passed directly to tedious

Unmanaged transaction (then-callback)

Unmanaged transactions force you to manually rollback or commit the transaction. If you don't do that, the transaction will hang until it times out. To start an unmanaged transaction, call sequelize.transaction() without a callback (you can still pass an options object) and call then on the returned promise. Notice that commit() and rollback() returns a promise.

return sequelize.transaction().then(function (t) {
  return User.create({
    firstName: 'Bart',
    lastName: 'Simpson'
  }, {transaction: t}).then(function (user) {
    return user.addSibling({
      firstName: 'Lisa',
      lastName: 'Simpson'
    }, {transaction: t});
  }).then(function () {
    return t.commit();
  }).catch(function (err) {
    return t.rollback();


The transaction method can be called with an options object as the first argument, that allows the configuration of the transaction.

return sequelize.transaction({ /* options */ });

The following options (with their default values) are available:

  autocommit: true,
  isolationLevel: 'REPEATABLE_READ',
  deferrable: 'NOT DEFERRABLE' // implicit default of postgres

The isolationLevel can either be set globally when initializing the Sequelize instance or locally for every transaction:

// globally
new Sequelize('db', 'user', 'pw', {
  isolationLevel: Sequelize.Transaction.ISOLATION_LEVELS.SERIALIZABLE

// locally
  isolationLevel: Sequelize.Transaction.ISOLATION_LEVELS.SERIALIZABLE

The deferrable option triggers an additional query after the transaction start that optionally set the constraint checks to be deferred or immediate. Please note that this is only supported in PostgreSQL.

  // to defer all constraints:
  deferrable: Sequelize.Deferrable.SET_DEFERRED,

  // to defer a specific constraint:
  deferrable: Sequelize.Deferrable.SET_DEFERRED(['some_constraint']),

  // to not defer constraints:
  deferrable: Sequelize.Deferrable.SET_IMMEDIATE

Usage with other sequelize methods

The transaction option goes with most other options, which are usually the first argument of a method. For methods that take values, like .create, .update(), .updateAttributes() etc. transaction should be passed to the option in the second argument. If unsure, refer to the API documentation for the method you are using to be sure of the signature.