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How to Convert Height in Centimeters to Feet

Updated on February 8, 2013

By Joan Whetzel

The US measures height in feet and inches. The rest of the world, however, uses the metric system to measure height. It can be fun and interesting to convert somebody's height to the measurement that you are unfamiliar with, but where the understanding of converting between the measurements comes in handy is when ordering things for the home or office (i.e. furniture, equipment) that needs to fit into a space with specific height requirements.

Measuring in Centimeters as well as feet and inches

Height measurements, like width and depth, are in essence a measurement of length. A metric ruler measures in centimeter (cm) and millimeter (mm) segments up to 30 cm (300mm). A ruler with American measurements gives length in inches, up to one foot (12 inches). A longer ruler will be a yard stick (36 inches) or a meter stick (measuring 1,000 mm, 100 cm, 39.4 inches). These measuring sticks usually have both measurements nowadays. The two main ways to measure height of an object is with a ruler or a tape measure. If your ruler or tape measure only centimeters, but you need to know the height in feet and inches, the measurement will have to be converted through a bit of simple math.



Metric Prefixes with Length Measurements

First off, it's helpful to understand what a centimeter is in terms of the metric system. The basic measure of length (or height) in the metric system in the meter. The meter can be multiplied by units of ten, a hundred and one thousand or divided by units of ten into tenths, hundredths, or thousands of a meter. so 10 meters is a decameter, 100 meters is a hectometer, and 1000 meters is a kilometer. On the fractions of a meter side, 1/10 meter is a decimeter, 1/100 meter is a centimeter, and 1/1000 meter is a millimeter. One centimeter is the equivalent of 1/100 meter, meaning there are 100 cm in a meter.

The meter, the basic metric unit of length or height, can be mulitplied by units of ten or divided by units of ten to find the larger and smaller units of a meter.
The meter, the basic metric unit of length or height, can be mulitplied by units of ten or divided by units of ten to find the larger and smaller units of a meter. | Source

Converting Centimeters to Feet

One centimeter is equivalent to 0.03208399 feet. So to convert a height measurement in centimeters to a measurement in feet, multiply the centimeter measurement by 0.03208399 feet.

  • Example: The new book shelf has a height measurement of 250 cm. It needs to fit into a nook that is 4 feet (48 inches) in height. Will it fit?
  • Multiply: 250 cm x 0.03208399 ft. = 8.02 feet. So the book shelves measure just over 8 feet in height and will not fit into the nook.

Another way to convert a centimeter measurement to US standard length is to convert to inches first, before converting the inches to feet. One centimeter is equal to 0.4 inches.

  • Example: The new book shelves have a height measurement of 100 centimeters. The nook it must fit into is 48 inches (4 feet).
  • Multiply: 100 cm x 0.4 inches = 40 inches. Forty inches equals 3 feet 6 inches, so the 100 cm bookshelves will fit into the nook.

Basic conversion rates for centimeters to feet.
Basic conversion rates for centimeters to feet. | Source

Converting Feet to Centimeters

Converting a height measurement that is just in feet (no extra inches), is pretty straightforward. One foot equals 30.48 cm. Multiply the number of feet by 30.48 cm to find the equivalent height in centimeters.

  • Example: Find the height of the nook that is 4 feet (48 inches) in height.
  • Multiply: 4 ft. x 30.48 cm = 121.92 cm. So that nook is 121.92 cm tall.

Now if the book shelves have a height measurement that includes both feet and inches (3 foot 6 inches), it might be easier to convert that feet and inches measurement to a decimal before converting to centimeters. Since one foot is 12 inches in lengths, we need to know what fraction of a foot those 6 inches are, in decimals. This involves a division problem - 6/12 or 6 รท 12, which equals 0.5 feet. So, 6 inches equals 0.5 feet and 3 feet 6 inches equals 3.5 feet.

  • Multiply: 3.5 feet x 30.45 cm = 106.68 cm.

Basic conversion rate for feet to centimeters.
Basic conversion rate for feet to centimeters. | Source

For 6th and 7th grade students, learning to convert back and forth between centimeters and feet or inches is easy once they know the basic equation. Teachers can have their students practice measuring objects in centimeters and converting to feet or inches, or measure in feet or inches and convert to centimeters. If science fair projects are required, make sure that metric measurements and conversions to US measurements are included into the process.

Resources

University of North Carolina. Metric Prefixes.

http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/prefixes.html

Free Online Dictionary. Centimeters.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/centimeter

Unit Conversions. Centimeter to Foot Conversion Calculator.

http://www.unitconversion.org/length/centimeters-to-feet-conversion.html

Metric Conversions. Centimeter to Feet.

http://www.metric-conversions.org/length/centimeters-to-feet.htm

Conversion Units. Convert Feet to cm - Conversion of Measurement Units.

http://www.convertunits.com/from/feet/to/cm

Teaching English in Japan. Feet Inches to Centimeters Conversion Calculator.

http://www.teaching-english-in-japan.net/conversion/feet_inches

Manuel's Web. Convert Inches & Centimeters.

http://www.manuelsweb.com/in_cm.htm

Conversions meter to feet, inches

Converting Feet to Centimeters

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