How Many Pounds Is In A Ton

The Many Measurements of a Ton

When it comes to the question of how many pounds are in a ton, the answer may seem straightforward at first – 2000 pounds. However, the world of measurements is far more intricate than that. The term “ton” can encompass various units of mass, volume, energy, and power, depending on the context and location.

Measurements of Mass

Let’s delve into the different types of tons used around the world to measure mass:

Short Ton (US)

In the United States, the commonly used ton is the “short ton,” equivalent to 2,000 pounds.

Long Ton (UK)

Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the “long ton” is utilized, amounting to 2,240 pounds.

Tonne (Mainly UK)

Also known as a Metric Ton or Megagram, the “tonne” is widely used in the UK and globally, representing 1,000 kilograms or 2,204.6226 pounds.

Ton Shortweight and Ton Longweight

Historically, the iron industry employed the terms ton shortweight (2,240 pounds) and ton longweight (2,400 pounds) in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Deadweight Ton

For ships, a deadweight ton indicates the vessel’s carrying capacity, typically measured in tonnes or long tons.

Harbour Ton

Used in 20th-century South Africa, a harbour ton equals 2000 pounds or one short ton.

Assay Ton

Abbreviated as AT, the assay ton is not a unit of measurement but a quantity for assaying precious metal ores, with a short assay ton at 29 1/6 grams and a long assay ton at 32 2/3 grams.


tHM and MTHM refer to tonnes of heavy metals, MTU denotes tonnes of uranium, and THM is a steel industry abbreviation for “tons/tonnes hot metal,” reflecting the production of liquidized steel or iron.

Dry Tons and Wet Tons

Dry ton or tonne signifies a substance that was once wet but has been dried, while a wet ton or tonne refers to a natural wet mixture of the same mass value.

Measurements of Volume

When it comes to volume measurements, tons are used in various contexts:

Displacement Ton

Representing a ship’s displacement in long tons, this measurement is based on the volume of water displaced, typically equaling 35 cubic feet.

Water Ton

Mainly in Great Britain, a water ton reflects petroleum statistics, amounting to 224 imperial gallons, the volume occupied by one long ton of water.

Freight Ton

One freight ton, also known as a measurement ton, equals 40 cubic feet and is used to calculate the volume of cargo in freight vehicles.

PC/UMS Net Ton

The PC/UMS Net Ton, equivalent to 100 cubic feet, is a measurement system used to calculate a vessel’s net volume.

Measurements of Energy & Power

When it comes to energy and power, tons are utilized in unique ways:

Ton of TNT

Defined as the energy equivalent to 4.184 gigajoules, a ton of TNT represents the energy released by detonating one metric ton of TNT.

Tonne of Oil Equivalent

Abbreviated as toe, this value signifies the energy released by burning one tonne of crude oil.

Tonne of Coal Equivalent

Known as tce, this measurement reflects the energy released by burning one tonne of coal.

Ton of Refrigeration

In refrigeration and air conditioning, a ton represents the rate of heat absorption, typically equal to 12,000 BTU/h in North America.

Informal/Slang Tons

Informally, “ton” is used as slang to denote a large quantity of something, often exaggerating for effect. It can also represent 100 of something in certain contexts.

Understanding the Ton Conversions

With the myriad of ton measurements available, understanding the conversions between different types of tons can be quite enlightening:

Short Ton, Long Ton, and Tonne Conversions

1 short ton = 0.89 long tons = 0.9 tonnes = 2000 pounds = 907 kilograms

1 long ton = 1.12 short tons = 1.01 tonnes = 2240 pounds = 1016 kilograms

1 tonne = 0.98 long tons = 1.1 short tons = 2204 pounds = 1000 kilograms

From lightest to heaviest: 1 short ton < 1 metric ton < 1 long ton

Unraveling the Ton Mysteries

The evolution of the term “ton” from a volume measurement to various units of mass, volume, energy, and power showcases the complexity of measurements across different regions and industries. Whether it’s a ton of cargo on a ship or a ton of TNT in energy terms, the versatility of the ton is truly remarkable.


1. How many pounds are in a short ton?

A short ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds.

2. What is the difference between a long ton and a metric ton?

A long ton in the UK is equal to 2,240 pounds, while a metric ton, also known as a tonne, is 2,204.6226 pounds.

3. What is the significance of a ton of TNT?

A ton of TNT represents the energy equivalent to 4.184 gigajoules, commonly used in measuring explosive power.

4. How is a deadweight ton used in the shipping industry?

A deadweight ton is a measurement of a ship’s carrying capacity, including cargo, crew, and supplies, typically expressed in tonnes or long tons.

5. What does a ton of refrigeration signify?

A ton of refrigeration denotes the rate of heat absorption in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, often equivalent to 12,000 BTU/h.

6. Why are there different types of tons in use?

The diverse types of tons cater to specific industries and regions, reflecting historical, cultural, and practical considerations in measurement standards.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top