If you need to switch between metric and imperial units on your WordPress shop or website, you might be wondering whether there’s an easy way to do this (pssst, there are several ways to do it!). Perhaps you run a travel blog that talks about distances and you want your readers to see both kilometers and miles. Maybe you have a cooking site that discusses recipes and you need to show quantities in both grams and ounces. Whatever your specific use case is, the bottom line is that you’re here because you need a way to convert metric to imperial (or vice versa).
We’re going to show you how to do just that. More specifically, we’ll explain three of the best options for switching between metric units and imperial units. 😎
Afterward, we’ll also share three free plugins that you can try if your website is running on an older version of WordPress. These plugins used to be the default go-to methods, but unfortunately, they are no longer supported. We’re still including them because the information might be useful for anyone who has a simple website and doesn’t desire to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress.
When does converting metric system to imperial system units make sense?
While the majority of the world uses the international system of measurement (commonly known as the metric system), the United States has its own one based on inches and pounds.
There are many reasons why your WordPress site might need to perform unit conversions, such as converting metric to imperial. One of the most common ones is that you have readers that use different measurement systems, so you need to provide a way to showcase both. Here are some examples of specific cases where you might want to support both the metric system and the imperial system:
- A recipe website that needs to deal with international recipes that use grams and Celsius.
- A real estate website that needs to show house and land area dimensions for properties in various locations.
- A manufacturing website that includes product specifications for customers around the world.
How are the metric system and imperial system different?
One of the key differences between the two systems is their base units. In the metric system, the base units are all based on the number teen, so it is much easier to convert between different units of measurement when compared to the imperial system. For example, one kilometer is equal to 1,000 meters, and one meter is equal to 100 centimeters.
In contrast, the imperial system has inconsistent conversions between units, which makes it more difficult to use. For example, one mile is equal to 5,280 feet, and one yard is equal to three feet.
Overall, the metric system is considered to be a more standardized and practical system of measurement, while the imperial system is often seen as an outlier, only being used in the United States, the United Kingdom, Liberia, and Myanmar.
How to convert metric to imperial using a calculator
If you’re looking for a way to convert metric to imperial using the Block Editor (which is the default for newer versions of WordPress), there is a free workaround that can be applied for unit conversion purposes.
The GIGA Converter Widget allows you to select from hundreds of online converters and add them to your WordPress site using Widgets.
All you need to do is go to the calculator’s website and then:
- Select the tool you want to use (for example Imperial to Metric).
- Add your desired dimensions and title for the widget.
- Click on Embed this tool, get the code, and paste it into your site.
You can insert this code into a widget, or directly into a post or a page. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to use the Custom HTML block in the Block Editor. To access it, click the (+) sign in the editor, then type in custom into the search bar and it should come right up:
Once you hit Preview in the top right corner of the editor, you will see the calculator embedded on your site. We did it below so you can see exactly what it will look like. Don’t be shy. Go ahead and convert some km to mi. You know you want to:
In all seriousness, this is a practical, free workaround to convert units from metric to imperial and it works with the current version of WordPress.
The one downside is that you won’t be able to remove the branding from the calculator, but if that’s an issue for you and you’re willing to spend a little money, then you might want to consider one of the next two solutions.
Converting imperial to metric for a cooking or recipe site
If you have a cooking or recipe site and you want to include a unit conversion calculator, you can also use the WP Reciper Maker plugin. This feature is, however, only available for the Pro and Elite bundles, so you’ll have to pay to use it.
The plugin will allow users to switch back and forth between two unit systems (US Customary and Metric), as well as update the values for 1x, 2x, and 3x recipe sizes.
To activate this feature, purchase the plugin and then go to WP Recipe Maker > Settings > Unit Conversion. Here, you’ll be able to define the unit systems, change their display name, and add aliases.
Converting imperial to metric for an ecommerce site
If you’re using WooCommerce, you can also use the Country-Based Website Switcher extension. This tool will allow you to create custom URLs based on where a site visitor is landing on your site from.
It’s not exactly a converter, but rather a way to build country-specific versions of your ecommerce store. So, let’s say you have a shop that targets both the U.S. and the E.U. You would build a version of the site that uses the imperial system of measurement for your U.S. customers and a metric version for your European customers.
How to convert metric to imperial in WordPress using free plugins
⚠️ Note: The following three solutions might not work with the current version of WordPress – at least judging by some of the reviews from users who haven’t had much luck with them. They’re still worth a try depending on the version of the WordPress platform that you’re using.
The most popular way to convert metric to imperial (or the opposite way) in WordPress used to be via free plugins. Unfortunately these plugins haven’t been kept up to date. However, if you’re using an outdated version of WordPress and you don’t intend to upgrade, they will allow your visitors to convert length, time, temperature, weight, area, time, and speed. The plugins are WP Unit Converter, Metric Converter, and Unit Converter Pro. All of them are free.
Convert metric to imperial using the WP Unit Converter plugin
WP Unit Converter’s calculator comes in two configurations (a vertical one and a horizontal one). The horizontal one looks like this:
First, install the plugin by looking for its name in the Plugins > Add New area or downloading the ZIP file from the WordPress repository and uploading it to your site.
You can use this plugin’s functionality by using this simple shortcode as part of your post or pages:
You can also use the feature in a widget by going to your Available Widgets area in the Widgets menu and choosing WP Unit Converter’s Widget Calculator. Just drag and drop the widget to your desired location.
WP Unit Converter is distributed under a GNU GPL2 license, which means it’s free to use.
Converting metric to imperial using the Metric Converter plugin
Metric Converter is an extension that allows you to convert weight, length, and volume units from the imperial measurement system to the international (metric) one and vice versa, so you don’t have to do it manually.
The way this WordPress plugin works is quite straightforward: You can use manual product editing or let the tool calculate all parameters itself and show the results of the conversion using all necessary dashes, intervals, and measurement units. You can convert length, weight, and volume units: mm, cm, m, inch, feet, cm, grams, kg, lbs, ml, l, oz.
All you need to do is select the units you want to convert, press the hotkey (or choose an option from the dropdown menu) and… that’s it! The plugin will take care of all formatting for you – it’s a really simple way to convert metric to imperial.
Converting metric to imperial using the Unit Converter Pro plugin
Unit Converter Pro can also convert metric to imperial and back. In fact, it has all types of measurements available, so you can let the user decide which ones they want to see. One of the biggest advantages of this plugin is that it’s a widget, so you can install it anywhere on your site and use it in various configurations (it supports length, area, mass, volume, voltage, energy, force, acceleration, and many more options).
Here’s what the calculator looks like:
And here are a few options for converter types:
To install this plugin, download it directly from their WordPress repository or search for it in the plugins section inside the admin dashboard.
To enable, go to Appearance > Widgets. Find the widget called Unit Converter and drag and drop it to your desired location within your website.
Final thoughts on converting metric to imperial units in WordPress 🏁
There are many reasons why you might want to do unit conversions on your WordPress site. For example, if you deal with recipes, real estate, or manufacturing, chances are you will need to allow users to see measurements in different systems.
As we’ve covered in this article, there are several techniques you can use to convert metric to imperial, imperial to metric, and do easy unit conversions for mass, length, temperature, area, volume, etc.
The first method we reviewed is a work around that involves using an embedded calculator. The second is a premium (paid) plugin that is tailor made for a very specific use case, which is cooking/recipe websites. Finally, the third one is a more general, all-purpose solution that can be used on any type of WordPress site that’s running WooCommerce.
Do you have any questions on how to convert metric to imperial in WordPress? If you do, we’d love to hear them. Drop them in the comments below and if we can help, then we will.