How Big Is 5 Inches?

It might not seem like a lot, but the difference between 5 and 6 inches is huge, especially if you are looking to fit furniture into a space, are unsure of the measurements and you do not have a tape measure to hand.

Because why would you want to get an exact measurement? Well, you might be acquiring a specific tattoo that measures around 5-inches and wants to try and space it correctly on a certain part of your body.

So how big is 5 inches exactly (see also ‘How Big Is 8 Inches?‘)? How can you get an accurate measurement without having to resort to a ruler?

Are there any objects in your house you can use to measure? If you want to know the answers to these questions and more, keep reading.

How Big Is 5 Inches Exactly?

Inches are an imperial unit that is often used in the US, but if you are wanting to convert it to the European metric measurement, then you’ll be looking at around 12.7 centimeters overall.

But if you are working in the USA, then knowing the centimeters for any object will be completely irrelevant. However, you might still find it difficult to imagine precisely how large 5 inches is.

This is where having a selection of objects that you can use to accurately measure 5 inches will help you to envisage the length without having to get a tape measure.

Objects That Are 5 Inches

Objects That Are 5 Inches

iPhone 7

We all have one, and if we don’t have one we certainly know someone who has. This popular phone has been a global smash. But can you use one of these phones to measure a surface?

You can use this phone to do polenta of things: make calls, download apps, track your fitness, and access your socials.

But one thing that you might not consider is the fact that the length of this phone is around 5.5 inches.

So if you are looking to measure something in 5-inch sections, then all you have to do is delve into your pocket and retrieve your iPhone.

The fact that this has a straight and solid edge is great if you want to use this phone as a ruler.

You can dash off a few quick markings with a few choice placements of this phone. This is a very easy and effective way to measure things out for you.


The length of an adult thumb is around 2 and a half inches (see also our article on converting 2 inches). So if you put 2 thumbs together, you’ll have roughly 5 inches. However, this length will differ from one person to another.

If you are a man, then your thumb length will be slightly longer than if you are a woman.

You might have to measure your thumbs first before you use them to measure things in the future. This will be to ensure that you are getting the right length.

We would certainly recommend this method if you are caught without your ruler or tape measure and you desperately need to measure something.


Yes, we know, but hear us out on this one. A garden snail is anywhere between 0.8 and 1.2 inches in length.

If you manage to train a few of these snails to travel in a line, then you’ll have enough to measure the 5 inches that you need.

Now, this is obviously one of the more far-fetched attempts at measuring. But if you are in the garden and you see a few snails in tandem, then you can guess their length.

But if you are going to measure something, then we would certainly suggest that you forego the snail method, as snails are notoriously unreliable when it comes to measuring.


Now that we have covered one of the more ludicrous methods of measuring, let’s go back to something a little more realistic.

If you have an American one penny to hand, then you can use this to measure your 5 inches.

These pennies have a diameter of around 0.75 inches. So all you’ll need is 6.5 of these pennies to make up your 5 inches.

However, it might not always be that easy to cut one of these pennies in half. We would suggest that you use your imagination and mark off the last penny by around half.

Again, this is not the best way to get exactly 5 inches, but you can certainly use them to get a rough guess, especially if you do not have an exact measuring tool with markings to hand.

A Bic Pen

If you have had the pleasure of using one of these pens, then you’ll know that they are one of the easiest and most reliable pens on the market. But the length is where this pen really comes in handy.

The length of this pen (without the lid) is around 5.7 inches in length. This will allow you to gauge roughly how long your surface or piece of furniture is.

These pens can often be found in most houses, so after a quick rummage in your drawer, you should have a makeshift ruler that you can use.

It even comes with a straight and solid edge that you can use to mark off a surface, although you might need two Biros for this!

Soda Can

You might think that a soda can is only good for drinking, but you can actually use it as a measuring device.

A can of soda, from one end to the other, measures 4.83 inches, which is just under 5.

If you are scrambling for a measuring tape, then why not disregard the drawers and reach into the fridge instead?

These cans come in many different designs and some might be taller than others. You can get taller cans.

The soda cans we are talking about are the standard shape that you can find in most convenience stores.

One of the downsides of measuring with this object is that it is round and might not be that easy to draw a line against.

However, if you can keep your hand still, then it will be very easy to mark off a few lines.


There are many uses for a teaspoon. You can use it to measure out sugar in your coffee or tea. You can also use it to stir. It is one of the most popular measurements for various liquids and ingredients.

You can also use a teaspoon to measure out ice cream, although you might not get a lot of this ice cream per scoop.

However, you can also use this spoon to measure length. From one end to the other, a teaspoon measures around 5 inches.

If you are looking to measure the size of your bowl as well as the ingredients that you are putting into it, then you can’t go far wrong with a teaspoon.

Pink Erasers

We all know of these erasers, as we used them in school. What you might not know is that they are exactly 2 inches in length.

So if you have 2.5 of these erasers, then you have exactly 5 inches in length.

This is good if you have these unique erasers to hand, although it might not be easy cutting the last one in half.

If you are looking for precision in your measurements, then we would recommend that you try and find a ruler with precise markings on it.


We hope that our list of items that are exactly 5 inches in length has helped you to better visualize exactly how long this actually is.

If you are missing a tape measure, then we would certainly recommend that you use either the iPhone or the soda can, as these have hard edges and are much easy to mark a straight line with.

Nick Spieth