Solving Duplicate Models in Laravel Eloquent Relationships

Laravel eloquent relationships provide a convenient way to define relationships between models without the need to write complex SQL joins. By leveraging the power of Eloquent, developers can easily join multiple tables at foreign keys to retrieve data efficiently.

Problem Statement

Let's consider a scenario where we have three models: User, Category, and Post. In this case, a post belongs to both a Category and User model. However, if we attempt to retrieve the users who have written a post under a specific category, we may encounter a problem with duplicate User models. Since a User can have multiple posts, the query results may include redundant entries.

Diagram of problem statment

Solution: Introducing the Eloquent and Query Builder Distinct Method

To address the issue of duplicate models in the Eloquent collection, we can utilize the distinct method provided by Eloquent and the query builder. This method allows us to aggregate the query results and return only unique models.

In the Category Model, we can redefine the users relationship as follows:

// Category.php

public function users()
    return $this->hasMany(User::class)->distinct();

By appending the distinct() method to the hasMany() relationship, we ensure that the query results only include unique User models associated with the given category.

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This approach effectively eliminates any duplicate entries that may arise from the relationship between users, categories, and posts. Now, when we retrieve the users who have written posts within a specific category, we can be confident that each User model will appear only once in the results.

The distinct() method is not limited to the Eloquent ORM. It can be used with Laravel's query builder too and follows:

$users = DB::table('users')->distinct()->get();


Laravel eloquent relationships provide a powerful mechanism for defining and managing database relationships. By employing the distinct method in Eloquent and query builder, we can overcome the issue of duplicate models and ensure efficient retrieval of data.

Implementing this solution enhances the accuracy and reliability of our application, ensuring that we obtain accurate and unique results when querying relationships.

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