ton vs tonne

Ton vs Tonne? What’s the Difference?

It can be difficult to distinguish the word ton from the word tonne. It is commonly believed that these words mean the same thing with different spelling, but that isn’t the case. While both are a way to determine the weight of something, they measure differently.

Ton is a word used primarily in the United States and measures weight with the Imperial measurement system. Tonne is used to measure weight with the Metric measurement system. This word will be used more commonly used in places that use the Metric system.

Since the two words measure differently, they can’t be used interchangeably as one might think. Whether ton or tonne is heavier depends on where you live.

One ton = 2,000 pounds = 907.1 kilograms

One tonne =  2,204 pounds = 1,000 kilograms


Ton is a unit of weight used in the United States. A ton, also referred to as a “short ton”, is the equivalent of 2,000 pounds. A long ton refers to 2,240 pounds but is way less commonly used.

When used casually, ton also means a large amount of something, not the weight of something. For example, people say they have a ton of work to complete. They don’t mean they have 2,000 pounds of work, just that they have a lot to finish.

I have a ton of ideas to fix up the new house.

She had a ton of work to do, so she couldn’t come to the party.

Coal costs about $31 per ton.

The average weight of a car is just over 2 tons.

I just brought in a ton of groceries from the car.


Tonne is also referred to as a metric ton. You are not likely to see this word used inside the United States, but it is used just about everywhere else. A tonne is equal to 1,000 kilograms. That equals about 2,204 pounds. A tonne is heavier than a ton.

For every tonne of coal, there is about 30 kilograms of nitrogen.

Getting rid of waste has a charge of $3 per tonne.

Shipments will usually have a weight limit and will incur a charge for each tonne over.

Firefighters took care of 2,000 tonnes of rubbish after a huge fire.

The average car weighs about two tonnes.

Ton vs Tonne

It is important to understand that there is a difference between ton and tonne. It might be easy to think that the words are interchangeable, but they aren’t. Even though both words are a weight measurement, they are not equal to the same weight.

It also depends on where you are which word will be used. Ton is used primarily in the United States as it refers to the Imperial system. There are only three countries that use the Imperial system, the US, Myanmar, and Liberia.

Every other country, including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, all use the metric system. That means tonne is most commonly used everywhere except the United States. A tonne is heavier than a ton based on the weight measurement, so they don’t mean the same thing.

Remembering the Difference

If you are constantly having an issue with remembering which the proper word is to use, there is an easy way to keep them straight. Since tonne is also referred to as the metric ton, take note of the NE at the end of the word.

Tonne is most commonly used in the United Kingdom and just about every other country, which are usually located to the northeast of the United States. The NE of tonne represents these northeast countries. This will help you prevent the words from getting twisted.