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Pounds vs. Kilos: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 24, 2024
Pounds (lbs) and kilograms (kg) are units of weight; pounds are used in the Imperial system, while kilograms are in the Metric system.

Key Differences

Pounds (lbs) are a unit of weight used primarily in the United States, part of the imperial system. Kilograms (kg), on the other hand, are the base unit of mass in the metric system, used widely around the world. Both units are commonly used in everyday life, from weighing groceries to measuring body weight.
The pound is defined as exactly 0.45359237 kilograms. Conversely, one kilogram is equivalent to approximately 2.20462 pounds. This conversion is crucial in fields like science and engineering, where precise measurements are necessary.
In historical context, the pound has seen various definitions and uses across different cultures and times. Kilograms were introduced much later, with a more standardized and scientific basis, originating from the French metric system.
Pounds are often used in activities like weightlifting in the US, while kilograms are standard in Olympic sports. This difference highlights the cultural and regional preferences in the use of these units.
The abbreviation for pound, 'lb,' is derived from the Roman libra, while 'kg' is the straightforward abbreviation for kilograms. This reflects the ancient roots of the pound versus the more modern inception of the kilogram.

Comparison Chart

System of Measurement

Imperial System
Metric System


Ancient Roman libra
French metric system

Use in Sports

Common in the US
Standard in Olympics


1 lb = 0.45359237 kg
1 kg = 2.20462 lbs



Pounds and Kilos Definitions


Pounds can also refer to British currency, symbolized by £.
The book costs 20 pounds.


In sports, kilos are used to categorize weight classes.
She competes in the 64-kilo weight class.


Pounds can be a measure of force, specifically pound-force.
The engine has a thrust of 1000 pound-force.


Kilos, short for kilograms, are the base unit of mass in the metric system.
The bag weighed 5 kilos.


In casual language, 'pounds' can mean a significant amount of money.
He made pounds through his investment.


Kilos can informally refer to a kilogram of illicit drugs.
They seized several kilos in the raid.


Pounds, abbreviated as lbs, are a unit of weight in the imperial system.
He lifted 150 pounds at the gym.


Kilos are often used in scientific research for precise measurements.
The chemical was measured to 0.1 kilos.


In historical contexts, a pound was a unit of currency in some European countries.
The medieval manuscript was valued at 30 pounds.


In everyday use, 'kilos' can refer to a large quantity of something.
They bought kilos of apples for the event.


A unit of weight equal to 16 ounces (453.592 grams).


A kilogram.


A unit of apothecary weight equal to 12 ounces (373.242 grams). See Table at measurement.


Plural of kilo


Is a pound heavier than a kilogram?

No, a kilogram is heavier than a pound.

What do kilograms measure?

Kilograms measure mass and are the base unit in the metric system.

Can pounds and kilograms be used interchangeably?

No, they belong to different measurement systems and require conversion.

How many pounds are in a kilogram?

Approximately 2.20462 pounds are in a kilogram.

Are pounds used worldwide?

Pounds are mainly used in the United States; most other countries use kilograms.

What is the abbreviation for kilograms?

Kilograms are abbreviated as 'kg'.

Are kilograms recognized internationally?

Yes, kilograms are part of the international metric system.

What are pounds used for?

Pounds are used for measuring weight, particularly in countries using the imperial system.

What is the symbol for pounds?

The symbol for pounds is 'lb'.

Is there a difference in usage between pounds and kilograms?

Yes, pounds are often used in everyday life in the US, while kilograms are used in scientific and international contexts.

Can pounds be converted to kilograms in cooking?

Yes, pounds can be converted to kilograms for recipes.

What is the origin of the pound?

The pound originates from the Roman libra.

Why do Americans use pounds instead of kilograms?

The US uses the imperial system historically and has not fully converted to the metric system.

How is the pound-force related to pounds?

Pound-force is a unit of force based on the pound as a unit of mass.

Are kilos and kilograms the same?

Yes, 'kilos' is the informal term for kilograms.

Where does the kilogram come from?

The kilogram was developed as part of the French metric system.

Is the pound used in currency?

Yes, the pound is also the name of the British currency.

Are kilos ever used informally to refer to something else?

Yes, 'kilos' can informally refer to a large quantity, including illicit drugs.

Do pounds have different meanings?

Apart from weight, pounds can refer to British currency and historical currencies.

Are kilos used in sports?

Yes, kilograms are used to categorize weight classes in sports.
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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