Everyday Items

Everyday usage of metric

In normal usage in the UK, metric appears quite often and in many places.


Paper sizes In the UK, paper sizes have been metric for many years, using the international A series standard. Most office workers are familiar with A4, which is used on laser printers, inkjet printers, photocopiers, and for letterheaded stationery. The A series of paper is based on the base size of A0 having an area… Continue reading Paper


Doctors and Medical If you go the Doctors and have your weight or height measured, it will usually be in metric. Although some medical places might quote you the sizes in non-metric units, some will quote in metric, and certainly all data is recorded in metric in the NHS. It can be very helpful to… Continue reading Medical


When you go to the supermarket, you will probably find all weights, volumes, etc. in metric units, e.g. can of beans with 400 g on the side, bag of pasta with 500 g on the packet, bag of frozen chips with 1.8 kg on the packet, bottle of water labelled as 2 litres. When you… Continue reading Shopping


Electricity This has always been metric. The unit of power, the watt, is named after British scientist James Watt, and all electricity pricing is in pence per kilowatt hour. This means that for every appliance that uses 1 kilowatt of power for a period of 1 hour, that price in pence is what it costs… Continue reading Energy


All computers use electricity, and are made to metric standards. Don’t be fooled by things like the, so-called, 3½” floppy or 17-inch screens; these are examples of hidden metric. According to international standard (ISO/IEC 9529-1) floppies are 90 mm x 94 mm x 3.3 mm, with a mass of 24 g, and the magnetic media… Continue reading Computers


All cars in the world (including all those in the USA) have been fully metric since the development of interchangeable parts for the “world car concept” in the early 1970s. Every modern family car has (about) 10 000 separate parts, each of which requires (say) 10 measurements. All cars have been measured some 100 000… Continue reading Cars

Consumer Goods

In industry and manufacturing products are produced in metric. The military have been using metric for years. Importing and exporting is all in metric too. If you use a still camera or video equipment these, too, have been totally metric products since the Kodak company, in the USA, made their decision to use B&W 16… Continue reading Consumer Goods


When you go on a flight, there will normally be a baggage allowance specified in kilograms, usually 20 kg per passenger. Some airlines/flights may have a higher limit of 30 kg. During the flight on some aircraft, there will be a TV screen showing flight data, which may well show you the distance from your starting point… Continue reading Travel


Weather forecasting in the UK is typically done using the metric units of temperature, degrees Celsius. Maps on TV forecasts show temperatures in degrees Celsius only. Newspapers usually give temperatures in degrees Celsius too, and whatever forecast is given, get used to how it feels outside, such as when the forecast is for 11 degrees,… Continue reading Weather


The second is the metric unit of time. All other units, like minutes and hours, are derived units and are found in metric measurements such as kilometres per hour and kilowatt hours. As the whole world uses the same system of time measurement, there is no need to change to a different system.