Difference Between Grams and Kilograms

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Grams and Kilograms

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As per the International System of Units (SI Units), both gram (gm) and kilogram (kg) are representative of weight or mass in the metric system. A kilogram is equivalent to 1000 grams. That is, a gram is one-thousandth of a kilogram. Gram is generally used to denote lightweight objects such as those the weight of pens, mobile phones, water bottles, etc. Whereas kilograms are generally used to denote objects mostly on the heavier side, such as a pile of books, grains generally bought in large amounts, groceries, etc. 

Gram v/s Kilogram

The presence of a standardized system helps alleviate disorderliness that could occur when calculations occur throughout the world. In the absence of proper communication, equivalent values could have different estimates bound to them.

The grave represented as 'gv' was initially considered the standardized depiction of mass. However, later in 1795, the French National Convention replaced it for grams and kilograms.

Grams are lesser than Kilograms and are ideally one-thousandth of the latter. Grams are generally preferred when stating the weight of lightweight objects as it is easier than mentioning aspects of one-thousandth of a certain kilogram of weight. The Centimetre-gram-second system (CGS System) of units was proposed by the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1832, to put forth a systematic portrayal on the basis of three basic units of length, and mass and time introduced the practical use of 'grams'.

Kilograms are mostly seen when denoting the weight of heavier objects including metal, wood, etc. which are a lot denser and would be difficult to mention in thousands of grams. The International System of Units which put forward the seven units of measure such that it can be used as a basic unit to derive all other SI Units from, put forth the utilization capabilities of the 'kilogram'.

Difference Between Grams and Kilograms in Tabular Form

Parameters Grams Kilograms
Definition The metrication system is used to denote values related to mass. The fundamental unit of mass as per directives of the International System of Units.
Setting of usage Light weight objects. Heavy weight objects.
Symbolic representation g kg
Proposed by German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss. The 11th General Conference on ‘Weights and Measures’.
System of derivation The Centimetre-gram-second system (CGS System). International System of Units (SI Unit)
Association between each other One gram equals one-thousandth of a kilogram. One kilogram equals thousand grams.
Objects generally considered A small amount of objects like powders in small packets, bottles, dry products like flour, etc. Human weight, bricks in large quantities, metal and timber for construction, etc.

What is Grams?

As grams are involved in the metric system of mass, they are solely restricted to representing non-liquid items. They cannot be used to denote the quantity of juice, water, or any other liquid items. Even among dry objects, they generally opt in the context of portraying the quantity of weight associated with lighter objects that generally fall up to a quantity of 500 –700 grams and not beyond. Although they can be used to denote heavier objects, they would make calculations more complex. To avoid this complication, people generally stick to representing lightweight objects in grams.

For example, measuring 500 grams of cardamom powder and mentioning it as 500 grams would be easier than representing it as 0.5 kilograms. Measuring an even lesser quantity of the same object, say 13g of cardamom powder, and denoting it as 0.013 kilograms would make it all the more difficult. Especially when more than one item is involved, the calculation would be time-consuming and taxing, to say the least.

Types of Grams

Through grams denoting the lighter weighing objects, smaller denotations can explain aspects of even smaller bodies. This is highly beneficial in using to weigh even smaller amounts, which can also be combined with the metric system units to measure liquids. The examples below would provide a better explanation of this abstract description:


Weighing objects that measure about a milligram requires great precision as it is lesser than a gram, which explains its quantity. Very lightweight objects are chosen to be represented in milligrams. The symbolic representation of milligrams is 'mg'. Milligrams are generally used in the light of specifying the presence or concentration of specific elements, mostly in terms of medication. Suppose one closely observes the silver covering foil of medicines. In that case, the metallic coating tablets come in, or bottles of syrups, it can be noticed that the amount of an element present in the medication would be in milligrams. This is because the content of the component would be very less and highly concentrated to such an extent that it cannot be increased to equal the quantity of a gram.

Other everyday objects that can be taken into consideration to gain a better understanding of the concept would include the weight of a feather, half a pinch of salt, a pinch of talcum powder, etc. of which weight would be very difficult to realize even when placed on our palms.


A microgram is one millionth of a gram. It is self-explanatory of how tiny the weights it could denote would be. Its symbolic representation is μg. The representation of microgram is as per the standardization of the International Standard of Unit system, the SI Unit system. In comparison to a gram, it can be mentioned as 0.000 001 g of gram. The 'μ' representation for micro is derived from the Greek letter μ (Mu) used as a prefix to mention quantities related to the same. However, when used in the context of the presence of components in medications, 'mcg' is used by medical bodies and medical representatives, especially in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

One recent scenario through which the term 'micrograms' would have become familiar would be through descriptions of the trials of vaccines.


Nanograms are even smaller units. Specifically, one thousand millionth of a gram or a billionth of a gram. Nanograms can be symbolically represented as 'ng'. It is believed to have come into existence in the year 1951 through the International Scientific Vocabulary. Generally, the prevalent usage of nanograms can be explained in aspects of the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test, where the level of Prostate-Specific Antigen in the blood is assessed. A reading higher than four nanograms could declare the individual at potential risk of developing malignancy.

It is also used in the context of the presence of an element in a medication. The elemental concentration of the product, when restricted to less than a microgram, generally comes in quantities of nanograms. In comparison to a gram, a nanogram would be 0.000 000 001 g.


Picograms represent trace amounts of components. When compared to a gram. A picogram would be about 0.000 000 000 001g. This would mean, it is about one trillionth of a gram. It is symbolically represented as 'pg'. The utilization of the term picogram is not generally observed in day-to-day life. Rather it is mostly used in a scientific setup or experimental setup involving genes and proteins. It can also be observed in theoretical and practical papers explaining the constituents of Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It can also be explained in terms of the concentration of dioxin, an organic pollutant present in the environment, mostly as an aftereffect of burning products of industrial processes. Based on maximum Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) research studies, not more than four picograms (4 pg) per kilogram (kg) of an individual's body weight should be consumed as it could lead to harmful outcomes.

Different types of Kilograms

Though there aren't specific sub-sections to kilograms, additional weights in multiples of ten that can be associated closer to a kilogram than a gram can be mentioned. A few of them are:


A tonne is to a kilogram; what a kilogram is to a gram. In simple terms, a tonne is a thousand kilograms. The symbolic representation of a tonne can be mentioned as 't'. In light of the usage of this term, especially in the United States of America, this quantity is specified as a 'metric ton' to differentiate it from a 'non-metric ton'. They are slightly different from each other. The metric ton, which is equal to 1000 kilograms, is also called a 'megagram'. The term 'tonne' is most popularly utilized in situations involving the trading of heavier-than-usual objects like metal, timber, construction materials, etc. In comparison to grams, a tonne would be about 1 000 000 g, that is 1000 kg.


A megatonne is used to explain values above a tonne. In comparison to a gram, a megatonne would be 1 000 000 000 000 g, that would be 1000 000 000 kg. The symbolic representation of a megatonne can generally be mentioned as 'Mt'. The prefix 'mega' generally comes into account for mathematical expressions involving values of 106. The utilization of megatonne is not present frequently in everyday life. A scenario that could involve the usage of megatonnes would include the measurement of nuclear weapon yields in aspects of measurement or quantifying of nuclear weapons and thermonuclear bombs.

For example, the explosive capacities of hydrogen bombs are generally expressed in megatonnes. Hydrogen power bombs higher than 50 megatonnes are usually detonated; however in warfare types of equipment, the explosive power of weapons attached to strategic missiles could go up to 1.5 megatonnes. 


Gigatonnes are ideally larger than megatonnes. In comparison to a gram, a gigatonne would be 1 000 000 000 000 000 g, that is 1000 000 000 000 kilograms. In simple terms, it is 1 billion tonnes, that is 1 trillion kilograms. The symbolic representation of gigatonnes can be mentioned as 'Gt'. The term is not generally used to mention conversational aspects included in everyday life. One common usage of this term would include the explanation of carbon dioxide emissions by human beings. To provide an insight into how large the number is, it can be described as twice the mass of all human beings on the planet.

Main Differences Between Grams and Kilograms in Points

Though 'grams' and 'kilograms' are used to denote the weights of various objects on a recurrent basis, they maintain a fine line beyond or below either of the two is more frequently opted for and appreciated.

  • The term 'grams' is preferred when mentioning the mass of lighter-weighing objects.
  • The term 'kilograms' is preferred when weighing objects slightly heavier.
  • One gram is equal to one-thousandth of a kilogram.
  • One kilogram equals 1000 grams.
  • Both are used to measure non-liquid items but in varying quantities.
  • The symbol representing grams is 'g'.
  • The symbol representing kilograms is 'kg'
  • Adding the term 'kilo' to grams as a suffix is self-explanatory to the multiplication of 1000.
  • Grams are used as the metrical system of mass.
  • Kilograms, on the other hand, are the unit of mass proposed by the International System of Units (SI Unit) system.


 As we summarise the article, both grams and kilograms are used in the context associated with weight. Depending on the addition or reduction of weight, generally in multiples of 10, they can have prefixed or suffixes depending on the number of zeroes presently, mostly following the system of nomenclature from the Greek language. Grams and kilograms are used frequently and are easily known to most individuals. However, other additional terms that are mostly incorporated in the medical fields, engineering fields, and fields of genetics might not necessarily be familiar. One must take into consideration the heaviness or load of the object or, if talking in terms of tinier components, the concentration and composition of the materials involved. Metric systems related to mass can have different terms used in different countries. All standardized units are mentioned as per the governing bodies that propose the rules and regulations concerning the system. The presence of a standardizing body ensures accurate management of the system and appropriate usage of the units included within the system, enhancing the authenticity of the procedure in which it is incorporated.


  • thermonuclear bomb | History, Principle, Diagram, Yield, Effects, & Facts | Britannica
  • Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds - Wikipedia
  • Glossary: Mass (weight) Units (greenfacts.org)
  • Nanogram Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster
  • Picogram Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster
  • List of Common Things That Weigh a Milligram – Weight of Stuff


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"Difference Between Grams and Kilograms." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 20 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-grams-and-kilograms-1067>.

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