WooCommerce: Get Variation IDs By Product Category or Tag

We can get products belonging to a product category or product tag very easily. What’s much more difficult is getting single variations based on a product category or product tag, as variations… don’t have a category or tag, which belong to its “parent” variable product instead.

In this post, we will define a function that you can reuse in your custom code whenever you need to get all variation IDs based on a given product category or product tag. You can then loop through the array and return whatever info you need. Enjoy!

PHP Snippet: Retrieve List of Variations By Product Category or Tag

 * @snippet       Get Variation IDs By Taxonomy Term
 * @how-to        Get CustomizeWoo.com FREE
 * @author        Rodolfo Melogli
 * @compatible    WooCommerce 7
 * @community     https://businessbloomer.com/club/

function get_variations_from_term( $term, $taxonomy, $type ) {
    global $wpdb;
    $ids = $wpdb->get_col( "
        FROM {$wpdb->prefix}posts as p
        INNER JOIN {$wpdb->prefix}term_relationships as tr ON ( p.ID = tr.object_id OR p.post_parent = tr.object_id )
        INNER JOIN {$wpdb->prefix}term_taxonomy as tt ON tr.term_taxonomy_id = tt.term_taxonomy_id
        INNER JOIN {$wpdb->prefix}terms as t ON tt.term_id = t.term_id
        WHERE p.post_type = 'product_variation'
        AND p.post_status = 'publish'
        AND p.ID NOT IN (
			SELECT DISTINCT post_parent
			FROM {$wpdb->prefix}posts
			WHERE post_type = 'product_variation'
			AND post_status = 'publish'
        AND tt.taxonomy = '$taxonomy'
        AND t.$type = '$term'
    " );
	return $ids;

You can then use the following in order to get the variation IDs by category or tag:

get_variations_from_term( 'chairs', 'product_cat', 'slug' );
get_variations_from_term( 59, 'product_cat', 'term_id' );
// ETC

get_variations_from_term( 'shiny', 'product_tag', 'slug' );
get_variations_from_term( 'Super heavy', 'product_tag', 'name' );
// ETC

Where to add custom code?

You should place custom PHP in functions.php and custom CSS in style.css of your child theme: where to place WooCommerce customization?

This code still works, unless you report otherwise. To exclude conflicts, temporarily switch to the Storefront theme, disable all plugins except WooCommerce, and test the snippet again: WooCommerce troubleshooting 101

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Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza. Follow @rmelogli

2 thoughts on “WooCommerce: Get Variation IDs By Product Category or Tag

  1. Hello

    I am looking everywhere for a way to add different categories to each variation of ONE product in woo commerce
    parent product T-shirt (category: clothing) > variation #1 T-shirt red, variation #2 T-shirt blue, variation #3 T-shirt green.
    At the moment all different colour t-shirts would be under category clothing (in this example)
    I want to be able to assign each variation it’s own category (e.g. variation #1 T-shirt red – category red, variation #2 T-shirt blue – category blue etc
    It might seem mad, but it’s for a service based business, not actually for clothes.
    I am trying to integrate with a mailing system to add each product variation to a different mailing list. The mailing system only recognises the main product category.

    I am realising it seems more complex than I had imagined.

    If you could point me in the right direction I would be very grateful!
    Many Thanks

    1. Categories and tags are currently designed to be assigned to the parent product, not the individual variations. So, you need a workaround…

      (1) You can install a plugin like “Advanced Custom Fields” to create custom fields specifically for variations. This allows you to add information similar to tags for each variation. While not exactly the same as tags, it provides a way to categorize variations with additional details.

      (2) If the variations are drastically different and require separate categorization, it might be better to create individual products instead of using variations. This gives you more control over assigning categories and tags.

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