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In our everyday lives, we have to deal with weights and measurements more than we care to admit. No matter whether you are out there buying milk, creating some delicious recipe, or planning on managing your body weight, you will need a personal weighing scale for that.

Different weighing scales give you measurements in different units, and that is why you must understand what different units mean and how you can convert these into other units so that they are easier to understand.

measuring instruments

In this article, we are going to look at some of the main systems of units and see how they can help you measure weights using any weighing scale that is at your disposal. 

The following are the main units of measurement that weighing scales use:

The Metric System of Units

It is an easy-to-understand system of units that was first introduced in France in the 1790s. This unit system is easy to use since it uses powers of 10 which makes conversions simple.

The metric system of units is used in science, medicine, defense, governance, and many other key areas of our lives. The metric units used for mass or weight measurement usually include grams (g), kilograms (Kg), and Tons (t).

test weight measurment

Why Use Metric Units?

Here are a few reasons why we believe the metric system of units is more effective for everyday use

  • Easy Conversion

Metric units increase or decrease in the power of 10, and you can easily convert these by simply changing the position of the decimal point. For example, you can convert a gram into a kilogram by simply moving the decimal point to three places on the right. This is what makes this unit system so useful in kitchen scales, health and fitness scales, and other personal use scales.

  • Continuity and Consistency

Most countries use the metric system, which makes it easy for both laymen and educated individuals to understand weight measurements. Most scientific textbooks also follow this system of units, which further enhances its continuity in various fields.

  • Easy Terminology

Metric units are more practical since most of them have the same root words and terminology. You can measure weight in grams, and if you want to go up, you just have to add the prefixes kilo, mega, etc. Similarly, for measuring smaller weights, you can add the prefixes milli, micro, and nano to make sense of the number. This is not the case with imperial units, which sometimes have different words or letters in their names.

Following are some of the most common metric weight measurement units along with their abbreviations and values in grams.

UnitAbbreviationWight In Grams
Gigaton Gt1,000,000,000,000,000 g
MegatonMt1,000,000,000,000 g
Tonnt1,000,000 g
Kilogramkg1,000 g
Gramg1 g 
Microgramug0.000001 g

The Imperial System of Units

This system of units originated in Great Britain and was used formally after the Weights and Measurements Act of 1824 and 1878. This system included units that were used commonly in Britain. Some of the main units in this system included pounds, inches, and gallons. 

Why Use Imperial Units?

The success of this system of units lies in the fact that it is derived from everyday items instead of scientific constants. The use of cups, tablespoons, stones, and ounces became commonplace since the objects used to measure these were readily available. The imperial system is thus based on common sense, and the units are related to the objects they are used to measure.

test weight on a weighing balance

The imperial system of units is mostly used for making recipes and measuring other everyday items that don’t need any scientific logic to make sense. These units are easy to use, and with a little practice, you can also make conversions on your own.

This system of units is still used in several countries, and it doesn’t look like the imperial units are going to lose their charm and usage anytime soon.

Here are the most common imperial weight units, their symbols, and their weights in grams:

UnitAbbreviation  Wight in Grams
Ton (Long or UK Ton)t1016000 g
Ton (Short or US Ton)907185 g
HunderweightCwt50800 g
Quarterqtr12700 g
Stonest6350 g
Poundlb454 g
Ounceoz28.350 g
Dramdr1.772 g
Graingr 0.0648 g

Imperial vs Metric System of Units

Different countries use different units for weight measurement. Most countries rely on the metric unit system. In fact, there are only three countries, i.e., the US, Liberia, and Myanmar, that use personal scales with the imperial system of units. Other countries use either the metric system or a combination of both systems.

In the imperial system of units, there is no specific pattern that can help you with quick conversions. For example, there are 12 inches in 1 foot, and there are 3 feet in 1 yard.

measuring tapes

This makes it hard for you to make quick conversions since you cannot possibly remember all the formulas.

The metric system, on the other hand, used a decimal approach where all the units were based on powers of 10. For example, in one meter there is about 100 cm, and in one kilometer there are 1000 meters. These values are not only easy to remember, but they also make conversions a lot simpler and quicker.


Understanding the different units of weight measurement is very useful. It can help you make the most of any type of weight-measuring scale. If you have an understanding of how metric and imperial weight measurement units work, it can help you make quick conversions and avoid making mistakes while interpreting different units.

The conversion of one metric unit into another is straightforward. This is not the case with imperial units, which is probably why more than 90% of the countries do not use these units. However, it is still wise to have a little understanding of both of these units to avoid confusion in the future.

You can visit Eagle Scales to explore a huge collection of weighing solutions for home use as well as business applications.

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