Chains Conversion

Select the unit you wish to convert to




Unit of:


Wordwide use:

Chains, a unit of measurement commonly used in land surveying, have a long history and have been widely used around the world. The use of chains can be traced back to ancient times, with evidence of their use found in various civilizations.

Although the metric system has become the standard for most scientific and everyday measurements, chains are still used in some countries, especially in areas with a strong historical connection to British surveying practices. In the United States, for example, chains are still used in some rural areas for land surveying and property boundary determination. Additionally, chains are sometimes used in specialized fields such as forestry and mining, where the familiarity and convenience of the unit make it a preferred choice.

What is a chain?:

A chain is a unit of length commonly used in surveying and land measurement. It is equal to 66 feet or 20.1168 meters. The chain is divided into 100 links, with each link measuring 0.66 feet or 7.92 inches. The use of chains dates back to ancient times when it was used to measure land and establish boundaries.

In surveying, chains are often used to measure large areas of land, such as farms, estates, or construction sites. They provide a convenient and accurate way to determine distances and establish property lines. Chains are particularly useful in situations where precise measurements are required, such as in civil engineering projects or land development.

The chain is still used in some countries, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, although it has been largely replaced by the metric system in many parts of the world. However, it remains an important unit of measurement in historical research and land surveying. Understanding the concept of chains is essential for professionals working in these fields, as it allows them to interpret historical documents and accurately measure land areas.


The origin of the unit of measurement known as the chain can be traced back to ancient times. The chain was initially used as a tool for measuring land and was commonly employed by surveyors. Its name is derived from the fact that it was typically made up of a series of connected links, resembling a chain.

The chain was first standardized in England during the 17th century. In 1620, a statute was passed by the British Parliament that defined the chain as a unit of length equal to 66 feet or 22 yards. This standardization was crucial for ensuring consistency and accuracy in land surveying, as it provided a uniform measurement that could be used across different regions.

Over time, the chain became widely adopted in other countries as well, particularly those influenced by British colonialism. It was used extensively in the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries, especially in the surveying and mapping of land for various purposes, such as the construction of roads, railways, and property boundaries.

Although the chain is no longer commonly used in modern surveying practices, its historical significance and contribution to the development of measurement systems cannot be overlooked. The chain serves as a reminder of the ingenuity and precision of early surveyors and their efforts to establish consistent units of measurement.

Common references:

100 meters is approximately 5 chains

Usage context:

Chains are a unit of measurement commonly used in surveying and land measurement. They are primarily used to measure distances in the field, particularly in the context of land surveys and boundary determinations. Chains are often used in conjunction with other units of measurement, such as links and rods, to accurately measure large areas of land.

In the past, chains were made of metal and consisted of a series of links connected together. Each chain was typically 66 feet long and divided into 100 links, with each link measuring 7.92 inches. This made it easy to calculate distances and areas using chains, as the measurements were based on simple divisions and multiples of 100.

While chains are not commonly used today due to the advent of more precise electronic measuring devices, they still hold significance in certain industries. For example, in some countries, land records and property boundaries are still measured and recorded in chains. Additionally, chains are sometimes used in historical research or archaeological surveys to measure distances and map out areas of interest.