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Acre vs. Hectare: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 7, 2023
An acre is a unit of land area used primarily in the U.S., equal to 4,046.86 square meters, while a hectare, universally recognized in the metric system, equals 10,000 square meters.

Key Differences

An acre is an imperial unit of measurement that has been in existence for centuries and is predominantly utilized in the United States, the UK, and some other countries. On the contrary, a hectare is a metric unit, recognized and accepted internationally as a standard unit for measuring large areas of land, typically used outside the U.S.
Though both acres and hectares represent units of area, they differ significantly in size. An acre encompasses about 0.4047 hectares. In other words, a hectare is roughly two and a half times larger than an acre. This means that if you were to convert land measurements, you would find that 2.47 acres equate to one hectare.
Historically, the acre originated from the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in one day. Its value has been standardized over time, but variations existed in the past. The hectare, being part of the metric system, has a more standardized origin, derived from the unit 'are' (100 square meters) with the "hecta" prefix indicating a factor of a hundred.
Cultural and regional influences play a role in the usage of these terms. In the United States, land is often measured in acres, aligning with the country's non-metric standards. Meanwhile, in nations that adhere to the metric system, like most European countries, the hectare is the preferred unit for substantial land measurements.
The distinction between acres and hectares is essential, especially in global contexts, such as international real estate or agriculture, where understanding and converting between these units can be crucial. While the acre remains deeply ingrained in certain cultures, the hectare's universality under the metric system makes it broadly recognized.

Comparison Chart




4,046.86 square meters
10,000 square meters


Amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day.
Metric system's unit for 100 ares.


Predominantly U.S., UK, and a few other countries.
Universal outside the U.S.


1 acre ≈ 0.4047 hectares.
1 hectare = 2.47 acres.

Acre and Hectare Definitions


A measure used for U.S. land parcels.
The national park covers thousands of acres.


A metric unit of area equaling 10,000 square meters.
The forest reserve spans 500 hectares.


A term deeply ingrained in American culture.
Many Americans think in acres, not hectares.


Equivalent to 100 ares.
One hectare can be broken down into a hundred ares.


Originating from the space plowed by oxen in a day.
An acre was once defined by manual labor limits.


A universal unit outside the U.S.
In Europe, land is typically measured in hectares.


4,840 square yards or 43,560 square feet.
The farm spreads across 100 acres.


Used internationally for measuring large land areas.
The vineyard is 40 hectares in size.


A unit of area in the US Customary System, used in land and sea floor measurement and equal to 160 square rods, 4,840 square yards, or 43,560 square feet. See Table at measurement.


About 2.47 times larger than an acre.
A small farm could be just a few hectares.


Acres Property in the form of land; estate.


A metric unit of area equal to 100 ares (2.471 acres). See Table at measurement.


(Archaic) A field or plot of arable land.


A unit of surface area (symbol ha) equal to 100 ares (that is, 10,000 square metres, one hundredth of a square kilometre, or approximately 2.5 acres), used for measuring the areas of geographical features such as land and bodies of water.


Often acres A wide expanse, as of land or other matter
"acres of textureless carpeting" (Anne Tyler).


A measure of area, or superficies, containing a hundred ares, or 10,000 square meters, and equivalent to 2.471 acres.


An English unit of land area (symbol: a. or ac.) originally denoting a day's ploughing for a yoke of oxen, now standardized as 4,840 square yards or 4,046.86 square meters.


(abbreviated `ha') a unit of surface area equal to 100 ares (or 10,000 square meters)


An area of 10,240 square yards or 4 quarters.


Any of various similar units of area in other systems.


A wide expanse.
I like my new house - there’s acres of space!


A large quantity.


(obsolete) A field.


(obsolete) The acre's breadth by the length, English units of length equal to the statute dimensions of the acre: 22 yds (≈20 m) by 220 yds (≈200 m).


(obsolete) A duel fought between individual Scots and Englishmen in the borderlands.


Any field of arable or pasture land.


A piece of land, containing 160 square rods, or 4,840 square yards, or 43,560 square feet. This is the English statute acre. That of the United States is the same. The Scotch acre was about 1.26 of the English, and the Irish 1.62 of the English.
I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which callsThe burial ground, God's acre.


A unit of area (4840 square yards) used in English-speaking countries


A territory of western Brazil bordering on Bolivia and Peru


A town and port in northwestern Israel in the eastern Mediterranean


A unit of land area in the imperial system.
She bought a plot of 3 acres.


What system does the acre belong to?

The acre is part of the imperial system.

And the hectare?

The hectare is part of the metric system.

How many square meters make up a hectare?

A hectare is made up of 10,000 square meters.

How many square meters are in an acre?

An acre contains 4,046.86 square meters.

Why is "hectare" a more standardized measure?

Being part of the metric system, the hectare's definition is consistent globally.

Can the term acre be used for non-land measurements?

Typically, an acre refers to land area, but it can be used metaphorically in other contexts.

Is the acre commonly used globally?

No, it's predominantly used in the U.S., UK, and a few other countries.

How is the word "hectare" derived?

It comes from the metric prefix "hecta-" meaning a factor of a hundred and "are," a unit of 100 square meters.

Which is larger: an acre or a hectare?

A hectare is larger, equivalent to 2.47 acres.

How did the acre originate?

Historically, it represented the amount of land tillable by a yoke of oxen in one day.

Is the hectare recognized by the International System of Units?

Yes, it's an accepted unit for measuring large areas of land.

Where is the hectare most commonly used?

The hectare is used internationally, especially in countries that adhere to the metric system.

How does an acre compare in size to a football field?

A standard American football field, including the end zones, is slightly larger than an acre.

And from hectares to acres?

Multiply the number of hectares by 2.47.

How many acres are in 10 hectares?

10 hectares are equivalent to about 24.7 acres.

How do I convert from acres to hectares?

Multiply the number of acres by 0.4047.

Is the definition of an acre consistent worldwide?

The U.S. and UK both use a standardized acre now, but historically, local variations existed.

Are acres and hectares linear or area measurements?

Both are units of area measurement.

Which is more prevalent in scientific research?

Hectare, due to its metric system origins, is more common in international scientific contexts.

How is the hectare used in real estate?

In many countries, land plots and agricultural areas are commonly measured in hectares.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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