Centimeters are a common unit of measurement used in many countries around the world, particularly European countries, where the metric system is popular.
However, if you’re not familiar with the metric system, it can be difficult to get a grasp of just how long a centimeter is.
Learning what centimeters are commonly used to measure can help you gain a better feel for that measurement.
What is a centimeter equal to?
One centimeter is equal to about 0.39 inches, so you would need about 2 and a half centimeters to make up an inch. Because they’re such a small unit of measurement, centimeters are often used to measure shorter or smaller distances and sizes.
In the United States, the waistband and length of pants, particularly men’s pants, are measured in inches.
However, in countries that use the metric system, centimeters are instead used for sizing trousers.
If you look at a clothing tag in a store, you might see the sizes and measurements given in both US and UK terms.
For non-crafters, the size of a particular bead might not seem important, but for others, finding a bead of the correct size can be crucial.
Bead sizes range from very tiny to quite large, and they’re often measured in millimeters or centimeters.
The size of a bead tells you its diameter.
In the United States, trophy fish and those fish caught for resale are measured in inches. Outside of the US, however, fish are measured in centimeters.
Measuring fish is important not only for bragging rights. Ensuring that fish are caught in an ethical, sustainable way means measuring the fish to make sure they’re mature enough and have had a chance to reproduce.
A Person’s Height
In the United States, a person’s height that’s measured with the imperial system is most commonly stated in feet and inches.
In areas using the metric system, though, or in scientific communities, the height of a person is more often measured in centimeters.
For example, someone who is around 6 feet tall might be called 183 centimeters in other parts of the world.
Because centimeters and millimeters are a bit smaller than an inch, using these units to measure height can often be slightly more accurate.
When dog breeds were standardized, each breed was described as having a certain height at the shoulder and a certain length from nose to tail tip.
Because many dog breeds originated in Europe before moving to the Americas, these sizes are often given in centimeters.
If you’re showing a dog, you’ll need to ensure that the dog is within the correct number of centimeters, and if you’re looking to purchase a specific breed, you may find that the average size of the dog is given in centimeters instead of inches.
Sewing Patterns and Tools
If you’re making clothing, a stuffed animal, or any other sewn items that require a pattern, you may find that sewing patterns are often marked out in centimeter sizes.
Centimeters are just small enough that they can make for very accurate sizing, so if you want to make clothing in a different size, you can simply scale up or down.
Conversely, if you’re measuring someone for clothing, measuring in centimeters can often achieve a better fit than measuring in inches, as it’s slightly more precise.
Sewing or crafting items are also often measured in centimeters and millimeters.
For example, crochet hooks are often numbered according to their diameter in centimeters or millimeters.
The length of a sewing or upholstery needle might also be measured in centimeters.
Copy paper is measured with inches in the United States, and most copy paper is a standard size.
In Europe, however, copy paper is generally measured in centimeters. Each sheet of printer or copy paper in the United Kingdom is also slightly larger than sheets used in the United States.
Other office supplies can also be measured in centimeters. If you’re looking for a specific paper clip or binder clip size, for example, you might ask for a clip of a certain number of centimeters.
The length of pens, pencils, notebooks, and index cards can also all be easily measured in centimeters.
The width of a laptop, the size of a laptop screen, the size of a computer mouse, or the dimensions of a keyboard are also often given in centimeters.
Short power cords are often measured in feet or inches in the United States. In areas that use the metric system, however, centimeters are a more common measurement for shorter cords, such as phone charging cords.
Cords that are very long, however, might be measured in meters.
Collectible dolls are most often measured in either inches or centimeters. Doll collectors like to know how tall their doll is so that they can choose clothing or accessories that fit the size of the doll.
Common sizes include 14 centimeters, 30 centimeters, and 45.7 centimeters.