Benefits of Using Metric Fasteners Over Imperial

The debate over whether to use imperial or metric fasteners has been going on for well over a century. During that time, metric has consistently won out over imperial, even in the country that was responsible for creating the imperial system.

To understand why metric is the preferred system worldwide, it’s important to understand how each system works.

Imperial Measurements

  • Lack of standardization
  • Difficult to understand fractional measurements, prone to errors

The imperial system is a derivative of the English system of measurements. That system was based on measurements from a variety of other cultures, including Ancient Rome and the Saxons.

While variations of the imperial system were used throughout English colonies and areas of English influence, no single system was ever adopted. This is one of the key drawbacks of the imperial system—no one “imperial” system exists. Without standardization, each country that uses the imperial-based systems has their own unique measurements. The US, for example, uses a system called the US Customary System of Measurement, which differs from the system used in the UK.
Aside from the lack of standardization, the fractional nature of measurements can be difficult to understand and is prone to arithmetic errors—for example, one half of 13/16 is 13/32.

Metric Measurements

  • Standardized and widely accept
  • Decimal based system derived from units of ten; less prone to errors

Created in France, the metric system is based on a standardized set of base units. Those units are internationally accepted, and are used by every industrialized country except the US.

Unlike the imperial systems, metric measurements follow a logical progression from the base units. Built on factors of ten, the metric system uses decimal-based units and a standard set of prefixes to describe the relation to the meter.

For fasteners, sizes are usually provided in millimeters, or, thousandths of a meter. This standardization means that the system is easier to use across different countries and cultures, while the decimal-based system is less prone to errors. For example, a 10-millimeter bolt is twice the size of a 5-millimeter bolt.

Why Use Metric?

Metric is by far the most commonly used system worldwide. The United States is the only industrialized nation that still uses an imperial system, and even that trend is changing. While some areas will hold out longer than others, many major industries have either switched to metric, or are switching to metric. For them, it’s simply not feasible to continue conducting business using two systems of measurement—one for the US, and one for the rest of the world.

Using metric measurements makes sense from both an import and export standpoint. Other than the US, only a small number of countries still use imperial measurements, and they are by no means major markets. A company that exports products will, most likely, be exporting those products to a country that uses metric. Once those products arrive in their destination countries, the distributors, users, and repair personnel don’t want to have to convert the measurements to metric. It just makes more sense for the products to already be made using metric fasteners.

Businesses that import equipment or materials face a similar problem. Those imports will likely come from countries that use the metric system. Do they want to force their suppliers to provide materials in imperial units? Do they want to do the conversions themselves? Wouldn’t it be easier to switch to the internationally accepted, standardized metric system? Once the switch is made, a company doesn’t have to worry about things like metric fasteners being the right size. Ten-millimeter metric fasteners will be the same size whether they’re ordered from China, Germany, or Brazil. Standardization is the key to simplification.

Metric Fasteners for Growing Markets

Using metric fasteners:

  • Increases appeal to international markets
  • Provides manufacturers, repair personnel, and hobbyists with a universal measurement standard.
  • Eliminates the need for cross-reference tables or calculations.

With metric fasteners, the customer simply orders the size they need and can be confident that it will be the exact size they expected. That kind of simplicity and confidence is why most of the world relies on metric fasteners for their assembly needs. Mr. Metric offers top-of-the-line metric fasteners at low prices which can be purchased online at Unsure of which fastener fits your needs best? Give us a call at 1-866-501-9504 and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you.

About the author

Mr. Metric is the spokesperson for, an online store for metric fasteners. Get $7.50 flat shipping with no minimum orders, plus advice and best practices for using metric fasteners in any application.

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