Everyday Examples of Metric

The easiest way to start to think of metric is to know some physical examples of metric units as benchmarks. Rather than converting from feet, pounds, or gallons, learn some examples of metres, kilograms, and litres.

The following table has some approximate examples of metric measurements:

MeasurementExample
1 mmThe thickness of a Canadian dime
1 cmDiameter of a AAA battery, or the length of a thumb-tack
2 cmDiameter of a Canadian penny
2.65 cmDiameter of a Canadian $1 coin
2.8 cmDiameter of a Canadian $2 coin
5 cmWidth (short side) of a business card
12 cmDiameter of a conventional CD
21.5 cmThe width of a standard sheet of photocopy paper
50 cmThe length of a newborn baby
1 metreThe height of a door knob
1.6 mThe average height of a woman
1.8 mThe average height of a man
2 mThe height of a door
5 mThe height of an overpass
100 mThe length of a CFL football field. An NFL football field is only 91.4 metres
1 km10 minutes of casual walking
1 gThe mass of a paperclip
2 gThe mass of a Canadian dime
20 gThe mass of a Canadian quarter
100 gThe mass of 100 mL of water
125 gThe mass of an average-sized banana
250 gThe mass of a tub of cream cheese
1 kilogramThe mass of 1 litre of water or skim milk, 4-6 pieces of fruit, a honeydew melon, or a bag of pasta
3.5 kgThe mass of a newborn baby
10 kgA bag of flour
55 kgThe average mass of a woman
80 kgThe average mass of a man
400 kgThe mass of a cow
1000 kg1 tonne, the mass of a sub-compact car
1 mLThe volume of a large drop of water
5 mLThe volume of a teaspoon
15 mLThe volume of a tablespoon
30 mLOne fluid ounce, a standard shot
200 mLThe volume of a normal juice box
350 mLThe volume of a coffee mug or a pop can
500 mLThe volume of a draft beer glass
1 litreThe volume of a small milk carton
2 LThe volume of a large milk carton, or large plastic bottle of pop
4 LThe volume of a large plastic milk jug
25 LThe volume of a standard beer cooler
150 LThe volume of water used by a washing machine for one load of laundry
500 L0.5 m3, the internal volume of a fridge/freezer unit