Screw Sizes Conversion Chart & Metric to Imperial Conversion Guide (2024)

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Make sure that you get the right sized screw. Sizing the right Screw can be complicated unless you are familiar with the various screw sizings that are quoted on the packaging, often both in imperial and metric. In this project we deal with the different sizes of screws and the conversion from metric to imperial sizes using our handy conversion chart. Convert from metric screws sizes to imperial or back, easily and ensure that you get the right ones.

Screw sizes are a mystery to most people so we have tried to make life a little easier with the metric imperial screw conversion chart below.

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Metric and Imperial Screw Sizes

Most manufacturers put both the metric and imperial size on the box of screws which is very helpful, however when purchasing online, many retailers do not. This is largely because the title of the product becomes too long and cumbersome, so something has to go. Whether you deal in old or new money, as it were, you still need to know what you are getting. This is the difference between the two and what you need to look for:

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Imperial Screw Sizes Explained

A wood screw is sized by two different numbers. First is the Gauge of the screw which refers to the diameter – the larger the number, the larger the diameter. A number 4 screw is much smaller than a number 12 screw.

It is worth noting that there is no direct link here between the head size of an imperial screw and the gauge of that screw. It is purely coincidence that, from screw gauges 6- upwards, that the gauge is close to twice the head diameter although some sources would have you believe this is how the gauge is calculated.

The length is given next and it should be remembered that the length given for a screw is the length that is buried in the wood or other material, it does not include the head of a raised, or domed headed screws.

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These are the basics to know when looking at screw sizes but to find out more about the thread of screws and other items you can look at Wikipedia. There’s a lot to learn if you’re interested!

Metric Screw Sizes Explained

As you can imagine, the metric system is a little simpler to understand for the uninitiated however if you’re not used to it, or still working in Imperial it can be a little tricky.

Rather than use a “Gauge” figure, the metric system uses the (major) diameter in millimetres. The length is also measured in millimetres and exactly the same as it is for the imperial system.

As a handy coincidence, the Gauge (imperial) roughly equals the screw head size in millimetres. A 4 gauge screw will have a head that is approximately 4mm wide.

This is actually quite complicated, as was pointed out by Paul, one of our readers! Here is a more concise explanation of the relationship between gauge (imperial), diameter (metric in mm) and Head size.

The gauge (imperial) is half the imperial diameter (in 16th of an inch) of the screw head, roughly. The precise relationship of imperial screw head sizes and the gauge can be calculated. The formula is as follows:

(Head diameter in sixteenths is an inch X 2 ) – 2 = Gauge. E.g. 5/16 head times two equals 10, minus two equals 8. The Gauge is 8.

Above we explain that the Gauge (imperial) happens to have a head which is approximately the same number (in mm). This is the equivalent of saying that the diameter in mm is approximately half the gauge (given what the formula above states).

Don’t worry if you don’t follow this as not many people know about these relationships, let alone use them.

More about Screws

Slotted screws are fast becoming history and cross head screws are now the fashion but it must be remembered that a cross head screw can either be a Philips screw (top image below)or a pozidrive/supadrive screw (bottom image below). They both require a different type of driver which can be found below.

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Although technically you can use a Phillips driver on a Pozidrive screw and vice versa, their not really designed to fit and under torque load (when you are screwing the screw in) in pretty much all situations it will slip and damage the head of the screw making it difficult to either screw in the screw or remove it, so it’s always best to use the right tool for the job.

These are the most commonly used screws nowadays, but there are great deal more so if you are not sure about which types of screws to use, see also our projects on different types of screw, We also have a great project on how to countersink.

If you need to make sure that you have the right size screw for the job, then please read on below.

Metric Imperial Screw Conversion Chart

Please use this table to match the metric size to the imperial screw size. Please remember that the conversion is not exact, but this is generally not a problem and the margins of error are generally considerably less than your own measurements.

Diameter (mm)Length (mm)Closest Imperial Size
Gauge x Length
3mm124 x 1/2
164 x 5/8
204 x 3/4
254 x 1
304 x 1 1/4
404 x 1 1/2
3.5mm126 x 1/2
166 x 5/8
206 x 3/4
256 x 1
306 x 1 1/4
406 x 1 1/2
4mm128 x 1/2
168 x 5/8
208 x 3/4
258 x 1
308 x 1 1/4
358 x 1 3/8
408 x 1 1/2
458 x 1 3/4
508 x 2
608 x 2 3/8
708 x 2 3/4
4.5mm259 x 1
309 x 1 1/4
359 x 1 3/8
409 x 1 1/2
459 x 1 3/4
509 x 2
609 x 2 3/8
709 x 2 3/4
759 x 3
5mm2510 x 1
3010 x 1 1/4
3510 x 1 3/8
4010 x 1 1/2
4510 x 1 3/4
5010 x 2
6010 x 2 3/8
7010 x 2 3/4
7510 x 3
8010 x 3 1/4
9010 x 3 1/2
10010 x 4
6mm3012 x 1 1/4
4012 x 1 1/2
5012 x 2
6012 x 2 3/8
7012 x 2 3/4
7512 x 3
8012 x 3 1/4
9012 x 3 1/2
10012 x 4
11012 x 4 3/8
13012 x 5 1/8
15012 x 6

If you are working the other way, or trying to find the metric screw size from an imperial measurement then you can use this table. We have add the sizes for the pilot holes and rawl plugs that are generally used.

GaugeMetric diameter (mm)Pilot Hole size (mm)Masonry Rawl PlugHole size for Rawl Plug (mm)
842.5Red (or Brown)6 (or 7)

What Size Spanners for ISO Metric Threaded Nuts and Bolts

For coach screws, which have a hex head the size (as opposed to the length) is quoted as an ISO Metric Thread. This is the number starting with an “M”. These numbers describe the thread and relate to the size of the wrench that should be used on them. Find out more about wrenches here, but here are the common thread sizes and their corresponding Spanner or wrench size.

ISO metric threadSpanner size (mm)

If you are struggling to find the best way to get your screw into whatever you are screwing, then have a look at our project that explains all about screwdrivers.

The sizing of screws in one of the most challenging things, but there are also a huge variety of different kinds of screw that can be used for a wide range of different job.

It is always best to get the right type of screw for the job, so we have written a project specifically about this. Have a look here for our project on the different kinds of screw you can buy.

In most cases, it is also very handy to know the different parts that make up a screw and the types of head and thread available, for information on this see our parts of a screw project here.

The M Rating or M Measurement for Screws and Bolts

On some screws and bolts you will see an M followed by a number.

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The M apparently stands for Metric which sounds plausible, although we cannot verify this. What it indicates however it that the number following it is the diameter of the screw (or bolt) in millimetres.

In the examples shown above, the M6 is a 6mm wide screw (at the threaded part, not the head) and the M8 is 8mm wide.

Other Acronyms and Abbreviations used to Describe Screws

There are a range of acronyms and letters that you often find on screw boxes or in their online descriptions. Here is a summary of the most common, and what they mean:

  • ST – Self Tapping; These screws have a tip that will allow them to be screwed into (typically wood) without a pilot hole being drilled. This saves a lot of time!
  • TT – Twin thread
  • TFT – Twin Fine Thread
  • ZP – Zinc Plated; These screws have been plated with zinc to stop them becoming corroded
  • ZYP – Zinc and Yellow Passivated; Zinc plated to reduce susceptibility to corrosion and then a passivation layer is applied to the zinc coating to give it even more corrosion protection; this typically results in a yellow colour

All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards, founder of DIY Doctor and industry expert in building technology.

As an AI language model, I have access to a wide range of information and can provide insights on various topics, including screw sizes and conversions. I can help you understand the concepts mentioned in the article you provided. Let's dive into it!

Screw Sizes Conversion Chart & Metric to Imperial Conversion Guide

The article discusses screw sizes, including both metric and imperial measurements, and provides a conversion chart to help readers match metric sizes to their closest imperial equivalents. It also explains the differences between imperial and metric screw sizes and provides additional information on screw types, screw heads, and threads.

Imperial Screw Sizes Explained

Imperial screw sizes are determined by two numbers: the gauge and the length. The gauge refers to the diameter of the screw, with a higher gauge number indicating a larger diameter. For example, a number 4 screw is smaller than a number 12 screw. It's important to note that there is no direct link between the head size of an imperial screw and its gauge. The length of the screw is measured from the tip to the end that is buried in the wood or other material, excluding the head.

Metric Screw Sizes Explained

Metric screw sizes are simpler to understand compared to imperial sizes. Instead of using a gauge figure, metric screws use the major diameter in millimeters. The length of the screw is also measured in millimeters, following the same convention as the imperial system. Interestingly, the gauge (imperial) roughly equals the screw head size in millimeters. For example, a 4-gauge screw will have a head that is approximately 4mm wide.

Screw Conversion Chart

The article provides a conversion chart that helps match metric screw sizes to their closest imperial equivalents. The chart includes columns for diameter (in millimeters), length (in millimeters), and the closest imperial size (gauge x length). It's important to note that the conversion is not exact, but the margins of error are generally considerably less than your own measurements.

Other Screw-related Information

The article also briefly mentions different types of screws, such as slotted screws, cross-head screws (including Philips and Pozidrive), and their corresponding drivers. It suggests using the right tool for the job to avoid damaging the screw head.

Additionally, the article mentions the M rating or M measurement for screws and bolts. The M stands for Metric, and the number following it indicates the diameter of the screw or bolt in millimeters. For example, an M6 screw has a diameter of 6mm.

The article concludes by mentioning other acronyms and abbreviations used to describe screws, such as ST (Self Tapping), TT (Twin Thread), ZP (Zinc Plated), and ZYP (Zinc and Yellow Passivated).

I hope this overview helps you understand the concepts discussed in the article. If you have any specific questions or need further clarification, feel free to ask!

Screw Sizes Conversion Chart & Metric to Imperial Conversion Guide (2024)
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