Convert to and From Metric With Our Convenient Metric Conversion Chart

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Convert to and From Metric With Our Convenient Metric Conversion Chart

Key Points

  • The metric system, known as the International System of Units (SI), is used by more countries than any other measurement system.
  • The metric system was developed in the late 18th century to solve the problem of regional inconsistencies in measurement systems.
  • A metric conversion chart can help you easily convert between different metric units.
  • The chart provides conversion formulas for commonly used U.S. measurements, including weight, length, volume, and temperature.
  • To convert from one unit to another, simply multiply or divide your measurement by the conversion factor shown in the chart.

The metric system as we know it today is in the form of the International System of Units, or SI (Système International). More countries use this measurement system than any other. However, the U.S. still predominantly uses the Imperial system, which can understandably lead to some confusion. Whether you’re trying to work out measurements for a recipe, figure out if a piece of furniture will fit in your space or even help your child with their homework, these units can leave you stumped. In this article, we’re going to cover the basic differences between the most common Imperial and metric units. We’ll also provide you with a simple metric conversion chart you can use to quickly and easily convert from one measurement to another.

What Is the Metric System?

France developed the metric system in the late 18th century to solve the problem of regional inconsistencies in measurement systems. Before this, there were a lot of different systems being used, with no real standardization between them. As you can expect, this made it awfully confusing for people to understand what measurements they were dealing with. Even worse, it was extremely difficult to convert them accurately. To this end, the French Academy of Sciences came up with a decimal system, coined the SI system.

Through the 19th century, the popularity of this system vastly increased due to its intuitive nature and simplicity. In the same period, Britain introduced the Imperial system. This was mostly adopted in North America, Australia, India, and Africa, whereas the metric system was taken on virtually everywhere else. Even some countries that initially embraced the Imperial system have now transitioned to metric. As time has gone on, the system has expanded to include newer units, such as the Ampere, used for measuring electric current. If you’re working in the sciences, you’ll undoubtedly be using the metric system.

What Is a Metric Conversion Chart?

There are a lot of different ways to construct and use a metric conversion chart. They can involve a huge variety of potential units. Most charts you see will cover the units that are used frequently. For example, those for length, volume, weight, and temperature. It’s common to see charts converting one metric unit to another, or simply giving you the conversion for a single unit. In these cases, all you need to do is find the unit your measurement is in, and then see how it translates to the unit you wish to convert to.

However, some charts may not be too useful, since you’re probably working with more than a single unit. In these cases, the conversion formula may not be too obvious. Therefore, we’re providing you with a chart that takes the most commonly used U.S. measurements and shows you how to perform a simple calculation to convert them into any metric measurement you wish. Our chart illustrates weight, length, volume, and temperature measurements. As chances are, you’re dealing with one of these.

How to Use Our Metric Conversion Chart – Example

metric conversion chart
Simple chart to convert to and from metric units.


Although the chart might seem a little confusing at first, it’s actually very simple to use. The tables list customary U.S. measurements vertically on the left, and the corresponding metric measurements on the right. In each field, you’ll see the conversion formula for turning the U.S. measurement into metric. We can actually use the chart to convert the other way around as well.

For example, let’s say we’re following a soup recipe. We need 500 milliliters of stock, but we want to know how much that is in cups. All we have to do is locate the field that corresponds to cups and milliliters. We can see that the conversion is (* 236.59). This means that, to convert cups to milliliters, we would multiply our cup measurement by 236.59. Similarly, to convert milliliters to cups, we would divide our milliliter measurement by 236.59. Therefore, we divided 500 by 236.59 to obtain roughly 2.11 cups, which is what we should use in our recipe.

It’s worth mentioning that, while the U.S. predominantly uses Imperial units, customary units are used for volume measurements, i.e. teaspoons, tablespoons, pints, gallons, and quarts. These can actually be bigger or smaller than their Imperial counterparts. As a quirk, there are no metric measurements for these units. Countries that use the metric system will generally use the Imperial measurements for these instead.

Another thing to note is that, if you want to convert temperature, i.e. from degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius, you must subtract 35 from your Fahrenheit measurement before multiplying by 5/9. Otherwise, your calculation will give an incorrect result.

Wrapping Up

Although the differences between metric, Imperial, and customary U.S. units can seem intimidating, with our handy chart, you can easily convert from one form to the other while saving yourself a headache. These conversions will be very useful whenever you’re trying to measure length, volume, weight, or temperature. To convert into metric, simply multiply your measurement by the number in the appropriate field. If you want to convert your measurement from metric, all you have to do is divide by the number shown. You can also print out our chart so that you can display it at home, in your office, or wherever you find yourself needing to convert measurements.

Summary Table

U.S. MeasurementMetric MeasurementConversion Formula
Pounds (lbs)Kilograms (kg)* 0.4536
Ounces (oz)Grams (g)* 28.35
Miles (mi)Kilometers (km)* 1.609
Feet (ft)Meters (m)* 0.3048
Inches (in)Centimeters (cm)* 2.54
Gallons (gal)Liters (L)* 3.785
Quarts (qt)Liters (L)* 0.9464
Pints (pt)Liters (L)* 0.4732
Cups (c)Milliliters (mL)* 236.59
Tablespoons (tbsp)Milliliters (mL)* 14.79
Teaspoons (tsp)Milliliters (mL)* 4.93
Fahrenheit (°F)Celsius (°C)(- 32) * 5/9

Frequently Asked Questions

What are metric conversion charts?

Metric conversion charts are visual aids to help you convert measurements from one unit to another, usually from metric to Imperial or vice versa. They will often show the conversion formulas for different kinds of units, or simply display how 1 single unit translates to another.

Why are metric conversion charts useful?

They can be incredibly helpful when you need to quickly and easily convert a unit and are particularly useful when you want to avoid needlessly complicated calculations. They provide a convenient and accurate way for anyone to convert units, regardless of their mathematical ability.

How do I use metric conversion charts?

To use a chart, all you have to do is find the unit you’re working in, and see how it converts to the unit you need your measurement to be in. With our chart, all you have to do is find your Imperial or customary U.S. unit and multiply by the number in the box to convert it to metric. Or, to convert from metric, simply divide your measurement by the number.

What are the most common metric units?

The most widely used metric units are milliliters, centiliters, and liters for volume; grams, kilograms, and tonnes for weight; millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers for length; and degrees Celsius for temperature.

How accurate are metric conversion charts?

It depends on the chart, and also on the measurement. For example, some measurements have a simple conversion, i.e. 1 inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters. However, the conversion factor for other measurements is more complicated and is often rounded to give a simpler value. In the case of our chart, values are rounded to either 4 or 5 significant figures for easier visualization. Naturally, the larger your measurement, the less accurate the approximate conversion will be, so it’s a good idea to double-check your measurement with another source to make sure it’s correct.

Does the U.S. use Imperial units?

Yes, for the most part, the U.S. uses Imperial units for their measurements. However, the U.S. also uses customary U.S. units for measurements of volume, such as teaspoons, tablespoons, pints, quarts, and gallons. As another quirk, the UK uses Imperial measurements for volume, but metric for virtually everything else.

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