Knowing how to measure things without a ruler or tape measure is a skill that takes time to master. Generally speaking, the shorter the distance, the easier it is to estimate by eye.
13 inches is just one inch past the one-foot mark. In metric terms, it’s 0.3048 meters.
However, knowing what 13 inches is wont’ help you figure out how to measure it by eye. That’s why you should rely on everyday objects that can serve as references for measuring 13 inches or close to it.
Below, I’m going to talk about 9 common items you can find in your home to measure 13 inches.
3 Soda Cans
If you have an empty soda can in your recycling bin, you might want to take it out and clean it off. In fact, if you have three of them in there, make sure you take them all out. A single 12-fluid-ounce soda can stands about 4.8 inches tall, meaning that three of them stacked on top of each other would only be 1.4 inches off the 13-inch mark.
However, if all you have are the tall, slim variety, which is becoming more popular among beverage manufacturers, you would only need about two of them. Each tall, slim soda, which also holds 12 fluid ounces, is 6.125 inches in height.
3 Popsicle Sticks
With the winter on its last foot, it’s time to prepare for the hotter months of the year. That means blowing up your inflatable pool, buying tons of bug spray, and making homemade popsicles for your kids. And make sure you pick up a bunch of popsicle sticks since popsicles make spring and summer tolerable.
Before preparing a batch of popsicle mix, measure the length of the stick first. If you use standard popsicle sticks, they should be about 4.5 inches long. So, three of them in a line will measure only half an inch beyond 13 inches.
Are you aware of what sort of cuts of meat go into store-bought hotdogs? Don’t worry, there’s nothing toxic in packaged hotdogs—just the “byproducts” of certain meats. They’re entirely edible, which is why it’s not illegal for supermarkets to carry them.
Anyway, if you measure the length of a standard hotdog, it should be around 4.8 inches. So, three hotdog links together would get you pretty close to 13 inches. If you’re a fan of Chicago-style hotdogs, you should know that each dog is 6 inches long, so two plus a quarter will get you to the 13-inch point.
Speaking of quarters, these reeded-edged coins containing 8.33% of cupronickel measure 0.955 inches across. That’s just 0.045 inches off of being an entire inch wide. So, if you have 13 quarters, the equivalent of $3.25, you would be pretty close to getting the full 13 inches.
Alternatively, if you happen to have 13 $1 coins—each of which measures 1.043 inches across—you would be slightly over half an inch past 13 inches.
1 Sheet of Super-B Paper
If you’re not an engineer or use graphic design software, then you’ve probably never heard of super-B paper. Large stationery stores might not even carry them, which contributes to their obscurity.
But if you have a sheet of super-B paper on hand, you’re probably aware that they measure 13 inches wide and 19 inches long. That means a single sheet of super-B paper will give you 13 inches without going over or under.
1 MacBook Pro 13
The name MacBook Pro 13 pretty much tells you everything you need to know about its display. The 2560 × 1600-pixel display measures 13.3 inches diagonally. That’s only 0.3 inches over the 13-inch point, which is pretty easy to ignore.
In fact, you don’t even need a MacBook Pro 13 to measure 13 inches. If you have an HP Envy 13, a Dell XPS 13, or a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano, which all have 13.3-inch displays, you can measure 13 inches without having to pick up a brand-new Apple laptop.
4 Debit or Credit Cards
Regardless of where you live in the world, your debit or credit card will have the same exact dimensions as mine. Debit and credit cards measure 8.56 × 5.397 centimeters, which is 3.37 × 2.12 inches. So, if you took 4 of these cards and placed them next to each other, they would get you about half an inch past the 13-inch mark.
In case you don’t know what their differences are, debit cards let you draw funds from your checking account. On the other hand, credit cards let you spend money borrowed from a financial services company, which you must return plus interest. Just try and keep your spending under your credit card’s maximum limit or you’ll be sorry.
5 Condensed Soup Cans
You’ve probably enjoyed condensed soup in a can more than once in your life. You might even have a few empty cans in your recycling bin right now after a lonely week. If this is the case, I feel sorry for you, but you’re also in luck, at least if you want to measure 13 inches.
The diameter of a soup can is 65 millimeters, which translates to about 2.56 inches. So, if you place five of them side by side, they’ll give you a collective width of 12.8 inches—just 0.8 inches shy of the 13 you’re trying to measure.
2 No. 2 Pencils
Do you remember using no. 2 pencils at school? Or maybe your kids have a few unused no. 2 pencils in their backpacks right now? If they do, get it—you’ll need about two of them to measure 13 inches.
Technically, an unshaved no. 2 pencil is 7.5 inches, so two of them placed vertically would give you a total distance of 15 inches. So, you would need to subtract the widths of two quarters to get to roughly 13 inches.
In this guide, I explored 9 everyday items you can use as references for measuring 13 inches. Please note that these are only rough estimates, but at the very least, they should get you close to 13 inches.
If this article helped you in any way, make sure you share it on your socials. Also, if you have any comments, questions, or if you have other objects in mind measuring 13 inches, please feel free to share them in the comments section.