I am doing some scaling for my dataset.

I wonder when to use MinMaxScaler and when to use Normalizer.

As Scikit-Learn documentation wrote, Normalizer can reduce the effect of the outliers better than MinMaxScaler as it works on rows instead of columns like MinMaxScaler.

But how does Normalizer reduce their effects then? Can it make the dataset wrong?


1 Answer 1


One of the most important transformations you need to apply to your data is feature scaling. With few exceptions, Machine Learning algorithms don’t perform well when the input numerical attributes have very different scales. This is the case for the housing data: the total number of rooms ranges from about 6 to 39,320, while the median incomes only range from 0 to 15. Note that scaling the target values is generally not required.

There are two common ways to get all attributes to have the same scale: min-max scaling and standardization.

Min-max scaling (many people call this normalization) is the simplest: values are shifted and rescaled so that they end up ranging from 0 to 1. We do this by subtracting the min value and dividing by the max minus the min. Scikit-Learn provides a transformer called MinMaxScaler for this. It has a feature_range hyperparameter that lets you change the range if, for some reason, you don’t want 0–1.

Standardization is different: first it subtracts the mean value (so standardized values always have a zero mean), and then it divides by the standard deviation so that the resulting distribution has unit variance. Unlike min-max scaling, standardization does not bound values to a specific range, which may be a problem for some algorithms (e.g., neural networks often expect an input value ranging from 0 to 1). However, standardization is much less affected by outliers. For example, suppose a district had a median income equal to 100 (by mistake). Min-max scaling would then crush all the other values from 0–15 down to 0–0.15, whereas standardization would not be much affected. Scikit-Learn provides a transformer called StandardScaler for standardization.

Ref: Aurélien Géron - Hands-On ML with skLearn, Keras, and TensorFlow (Concepts, Tools, and Techniques to Build Intelligent Systems (O’Reilly, 2019))


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