Everyday Items That Can Be Used To Measure With

Everyday Items That Can Be Used To Measure With

Last updated on May 14th, 2022 at 02:07 pm

How many times have you needed to know the size of something and don’t have a measuring tape or ruler on hand?

I know for many people that has happened quite often.

You don’t always need a measuring tool to determine the size of a certain item.

If you know the size of a similar item, simply use that as a reference.

It may not be as accurate as using a measuring tape, but it’s the next best thing when you don’t have another option of determining item dimensions. 

Here are some everyday items that you can use as a reference or a measuring tool in a pinch.


The Apple iPhone is one of my favorite items to use as a reference for measurements.  

Most people are familiar with these phones and over 1 Billion people use them worldwide. 

They have changed a lot over the years in terms of size but depending on the model you currently have, knowing the dimensions of the phone can be really helpful. 

You can even download an app that will do the measuring for you.

Here are some common iPhone sizes to reference:

  • iPhone 7 – 5.44” long (138.3 mm) x 2.64” wide (67.1 mm) Screen size 4.7”
  • iPhone 8 Plus – 6.23” long (158.4 mm) x 3.07” wide (78.1 mm) Screen size 5.5”
  • iPhone XR – 5.94” long (150.9 mm) x 2.98” wide (75.7 mm) Screen size 6.1”
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – 6.33” long (160.8 mm) x 3.07” wide (78.1 mm) Screen size 6.7”
iphone dimensions


Money is also a common item that you can use as a measuring tool.

Both coins and bills are easy to reference as most people will have some type of currency on them.

In the USA, all bills in circulation currently have the exact same dimensions regardless of its monetization value. For example, a $20 bill and a $1 bill are the same size. 

All bills have the dimensions of 6.14 inches long x 2.61 inches wide. 

usa 1 dollar bill dimensions

So if you need to know the measurement of something that is around 2-6 inches long, use a USA dollar bill.

You can also use coins for measuring purposes. 

  • A penny coin in the USA is 0.750 inches in diameter
  • A Nickel in the USA is 0.835 inches in diameter
  • A dime in the USA is 0.705 inches in diameter
  • A quarter in the USA is 0.955 inches in diameter (You may want to round up to 1 inch for an estimate)


If you have a regulation-sized football around the house, you can use it as a reference for length measurements. 

A football that is used in professional leagues like the NFL and NCAA measures about 11 inches long which is 1 inch shorter than a foot long.

If an item is about half of the length of a football, then you know it’s around 5.5 inches long.  

Sneaker or shoe

Footwear like a sneaker can be used to measure something as well. 

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For example, if you have a US size 8 – 9 sneaker, the length of that shoe will be around 9.5 – 10 inches long. 

So if you are measuring an object that is exactly the length of a size 8 or 9 sneaker, then you know it is close to 10 inches long. 

If the item is one-third of the size of the sneaker, it will be close to 3 – 3.5 inches and half of the sneaker will measure around 5 inches in length.


Pencils are a common item that most people will have in their home or office

They are an easy tool to use for measuring as a brand new pencil is around 7 inches long. 

If the pencil has been sharpened and slightly used, it will be around 6 inches long. Half of a pencil will be around 3 – 3.5 inches long.

Golf pencils are also great to use for measuring. They are smaller than a regular pencil at around half the size. 

If you are measuring something very small like a paperclip, it will be about ⅓ the length of a golf pencil which is equal to 1 inch long.  

You can use a pencil to measure the length of pretty much anything.  


If you need to know the length of something and you have a TV at home, you can use the screen dimensions as a reference.

For example, if you have a 65 inch TV, you know the screen size is 65 inches. 

This is measured diagonally from corner to corner of the screen. 

65 inches is 5 inches longer than 5 feet. You can easily hold something that you need to know the length of up to the screen of the TV to get a measurement. 

If the item is half of the screen size, then it will be close to 32 or 33 inches long. 


A banana is not the greatest tool to use for measuring the length of something but it can be used in a pinch. 

Not all bananas are the same size and they will vary in length. But on average, a full-sized banana will be 8 inches long. 

This will give you a length reference to use when comparing the length of another object. 

If you have something that is half of the size of a banana, chances are it will be close to 4 inches long. If it is ¼ of the length, then it will be 2 inches long. 

Toilet paper roll

A roll of toilet paper is generally the same size with respect to length. They are around 4 inches long. 

It’s not often that a toilet paper roll will be used as a measuring tool, but since most people are familiar with their size, it’s easy to use as a reference. 

Half of a toilet paper roll is 2 inches long and ¼ of the roll is 1 inch long. 

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