What is mil?

Mil is a derived unit of length in an inch-based system of units. It is also known as a “thou”. It equals one thousandth of an inch (0.001 inch). The mil or “thou” is still used in the United States to measure thickness of various materials.

The mil should not be confused with a millimeter (0.001 meter), a multiple of a base metric unit of length.

  • A grocery store bag is 0.5 mil
  • A dry cleaning bag is 0.75 mil
  • A bread bag is 1.5 mils thick
  • A freezer bags is generally 1.75 mils
  • A retail shopping bag is usually 2 mils

1 mil equals the following:

kilometer (km) 0.0000000254
meter (m) 0.0000254
decimeter (dm) 0.000254
centimeter (cm) 0.00254
millimeter (mm) 0.0254
micrometre (micron) 25.4
nanometer (nm) 25,400
ångström 254,000
yard (yd) 0.00002778
foot (ft) 0.00008333
span 0.0001111
hand 0.00025
inch (in) 0.001
line 0.012
microinch 1,000


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