When I use XGBClassifier with SelectFromModel the algorithm always returns around five features regardless of the max_features value

My question is: does XGBClassifier though that there are only five useful features in my dataset?

from sklearn.feature_selection  import SelectFromModel
from xgboost                    import XGBClassifier

sf=SelectFromModel(XGBClassifier(), max_features=10).fit(X, y)

#The output only contains five True, all remaining are False
  • $\begingroup$ Can you provide a sample dataset that returns this issue? Then also, what is the output of sf.get_support() or sf.get_feature_names_out()? $\endgroup$
    – m13op22
    Nov 2, 2022 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ [False False False False False False False False False True False True False False False True False False False False True False False ] This is the output of sf.get_support() with four True. Relating the dataset, all features are numeric when I use SelectKBest or RFE it return the exact number (10) $\endgroup$
    – Niyaz
    Nov 2, 2022 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


To only select based on max_features, set threshold=-np.inf.

I found the above text in the documentation sklearn.feature_selection. This means as priority SelectFromModel depends on the threshold parameter and returns all features that pass the threshold (regardless of max_features).

If you want max_features fully function, then set threshold=-np.inf, in this case, all features pass the threshold, then max_features can select demanded features (based on their rank).


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