What Is The Difference Between Imperial And Metric Systems?

Do you have any confusion with distinguishing what is the difference between imperial and metric system? 

What Is The Difference Between Imperial And Metric Systems?

There are two main systems for measuring distances and weight, the Imperial System of Measurement and the Metric System of Measurement. Most countries use the Metric System, which uses the measuring units such as meters and grams and adds prefixes like kilo, milli and centi to count orders of magnitude. In the United States, people use the older Imperial system, where things are measured in feet, inches and pounds. The picture below is the main use area difference between imperial and metric system.

What Is The Difference Between Imperial And Metric Systems?

The Metric and Imperial systems are both systems of measurement. That is, they are not just one unit of measure, but are inter-related systems of many units of measure – measuring length and area, weight and mass, volume, force, energy, power, time, temperature, luminosity, etc.

Metric and Imperial differ in almost all of the particular units used in the two systems (metres vs feet, kilograms vs pounds, etc.). However, they share units measuring time (seconds, minutes, hours) and electricity (volts, amperes, watts, ohms, etc.) — Time, because no one was successful in decimalizing it, and electricity because it is newer than either the Metric or Imperial system.

The Imperial System is also called The British Imperial because it came from the British Empire that ruled many parts of the world from the 16th to the 19th century. After the U.S gained independence from Britain, the new American government decided to keep this type of measurement, even though the metric system was gaining in popularity at the time.

Here are a few things to remember that will come in handy day to day:

1 mile equals 1.6 Kilometers.
1 inch is about 25 millimeters or 2.54 centimeters
A 3-foot measurement is almost exactly 1 meter
1 Kilogram is just over 2 pounds
1 pound is about 454 grams
For British visitors, 100 pounds = 7.14 stone

By the way, the temperature scales are different too. We didn’t want to make things too easy for you! Though not technically part of the metric system, Americans measure temperature in Fahrenheit, not Centigrade.

Here are some more handy conversions for temperature:

0 degrees Celsius is equal to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. (The freezing point)
24 degrees Celsius is equal to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. (A very pleasant day)
To convert Celcius (c) to Fahrenheit, use the formula (c * 1.8) + 32

If you need to convert from Imperial or US Standard units to Metric, or the other way around, one of the tables of difference between imperial and metric below should help.


Metric   US or Imperial
1 millimeter [mm]     0.03937 in
1 centimeter [cm] 10 mm   0.3937 in
1 meter [m] 100 cm   1.0936 yd
1 kilometer [km] 1000 m   0.6214 mile
US or Imperial   Metric
1 inch [in]     2.54 cm
1 foot [ft] 12 in   0.3048 m
1 yard [yd] 3 ft   0.9144 m
1 mile 1760 yd   1.6093 km
1 int nautical mile 2025.4 yd   1.853 km


Metric   US or Imperial
1 sq cm [cm2] 100 mm2   0.1550 in2
1 sq m [m2] 10,000 cm2   1.1960 yd2
1 hectare [ha] 10,000 m2   2.4711 acres
1 sq km [km2] 100 ha   0.3861 mile2
US or Imperial   Metric
1 sq inch [in2]     6.4516 cm2
1 sq foot [ft2] 144 in2   0.0929 m2
1 sq yd [yd2] 9 ft2   0.8361 m2
1 acre 4840 yd2   4046.9 m2
1 sq mile [mile2] 640 acres   2.59 km2


Metric   US Measure Imperial
1 cu cm [cm3]     0.0610 in3
1 cu decimeter [dm3] 1,000 cm3   0.0353 ft3
1 cu meter [m3] 1,000 dm3   1.3080 yd3
1 liter [l] 1 dm3   2.113 fluid pt 1.7598 pt
US Measure Imperial   Metric
1 cu inch [in3]   16.387 cm3
1 cu foot [ft3]   0.02832 m3
1 fluid ounce 1.0408 UK fl oz   29.574 ml
1 pint (16 fl oz) 0.8327 UK pt   0.4732 liters
1 gallon (231 in3) 0.8327 UK gal   3.7854 liters


Metric   US or Imperial
1 milligram [mg]     0.0154 grain
1 gram [g] 1,000 mg   0.0353 oz
1 kilogram [kg] 1,000 g   2.2046 lb
1 tonne [t] 1,000 kg   1.1023 short ton
1 tonne [t] 1,000 kg   0.9842 long ton
US or Imperial   Metric
1 ounce [oz] 437.5 grain   28.35 g
1 pound [lb] 16 oz   0.4536 kg
1 stone 14 lb   6.3503 kg
1 hundredweight [cwt] 112 lb   50.802 kg
1 short ton (US)     0.9072 t
1 long ton (UK)     1.0160 t

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