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How Big Is an Acre? Learn How to Visualize Land Better

by Judith Lepage
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Are you looking to make a real estate investment in the outskirts of the city? And while you are excited to explore the plots, you’re feeling a bit clueless about measuring land. You might be trying to make a mental image of how big a plot could be or how vast it could stretch.

Often people would give you dimensions like “the field is 100 acres of land”. This can leave you wondering what they mean by an acre and how big is an acre. Let us guide in better understanding acre as a unit for measuring land.

A Brief History

A Brief History

The word “acre” finds its origins in the Latin word “ager” meaning “field” and the Old English word “æcer” which indicated how much area could be plowed in a single day by one man and his ox pulling the wooden plow. As this was a very indefinite measurement lacking any numerical value since the several factors affected an oxen’s ability to plow, a standard numerical measurement for an “acre” was developed.

Dimensions Of an Acre

Dimensions Of an Acre

An acre is a unit for measuring land and used in the United States Customary systems and the British Imperial system. The value of an acre equals 43,560 square feet or 4,840 square yards. One acre can also be defined as amounting to 0.4047 hectares (4,047 square meters).

This implies that an acre can assume any shape (rectangles, circles, or hexagons), and can have any length or width. All that matters is the total area of your land should be equal to 43,560 square feet. A very popular shape of an acre is 1 furlong by 1 chain or a measure of 660 feet by 66 feet.

Comparison Chart for An Acre

#1. 1 acre is equal to 43,560 square feet.

#2. 1 acre is equal to 4046.86 square meters.

#3. 1 acre is equal to 4840 square yards.

#4. 1 acre is equal to 0.404686 hectares.

#5. 1 acre is equal to 1/640th of a square mile.

Types Of Acres

Here are some possible types of acres, and their measurements:

#1. The Anglo-Saxon acre was known as a piece of land that measured 1 × 1/10 furlong, or 40 × 4 rods (660 × 66 feet).

#2. The two other prominent types of acre are the international acre and the US survey acre. The difference, however, is insignificant as they differ by barely 25 inches.

#3. To simplify calculations, a builder’s acre is equal to 40,000 square feet. This measure is sometimes employed in the construction and real estate sectors.

#4. While the Scottish acre is no longer a valid unit of measure, an Irish acre is considered to be 7840 square yards or is equivalent to almost two international acres. Another acre estimate included a Cheshire acre that is equal to 10,240 yards, implying that it is more than two acres. There also existed an estimate for the Roman acre that came up to 1260 square meters, i.e., approximately 1/3 of an international acre.

Facts You Did Not Know About an Acre

#1. An acre is 40 percent of a hectare.

#2. An Acre measures around 90 percent of a football field.

#3. The exact value of an acre comes up to 4046.8564224 square meters.

#4. An acre can be measured as 1/640 of a square mile.

#5. It is equivalent to 160 perches and 160 square rods. It is also equal to 4 roods.

Visual Comparisons

Visual Comparisons

These accurate statistical measurements of an acre can still get a bit confusing to wrap your head around. Let’s look at some visual parallels to help understand how big is an acre.

An Acre Compared to a Football Field

One of the most popular parallels to an acre is an American football field. An acre is a little bit smaller than a football field. One acre is 0.76 football fields (75.7% of the US football field).

An Acre Compared to a Boeing Aircraft

The measurements of a Boeing 737-700 aircrafts are 110 ft 4 in (33.6 m) length and 117 ft 5 in (35.8 m) wingspan. This is an ideal comparison as three Boeing 737-700 aircrafts placed beside each other would make one whole acre.

An Acre Compared to Basketball Courts

A standard basketball court measures a total of 4700 square feet. One acre is equivalent to 43,560 square feet. By simple division, a total of 9.26 basketball courts can be built inside one acre.

Walking the Length of Acre

The length of a square acre accounts for 208.71 feet. If your average walking speed is 4 miles per hour, you would cover the length of the square acre in just 36 seconds.

An Acre Compared to Tennis Courts

Another common visual comparison is wondering how many tennis courts can be accommodated in one acre. A standard tennis court amounts to 2,808 square feet. So when you divide 43,560 (a measure of an Acre) by 2808, you realize that around 15.51 tennis courts can fit within an acre.

An Acre Compared to the Vatican

The smallest country in the world, Vatican, would be close to 109 acres.

An Acre Compared to Central Park

Central Park situated in Manhattan, New York, measures a total area of approximately 1.3 square miles. So Central Park can hold land equal to 843 Acres.

What Is a Commercial Acre?

Commercial Acre

In the US real estate system, a commercial acre is a measuring unit used in several big cities and states. The difference between a commercial acre and an international acre is that, when changed into any other measuring unit, the value is rounded up.

Numerically speaking:

#1. 1 commercial acre = 36,000 square feet instead of 43560.

#2. 1 commercial acre = 4000 square yards instead of 4840.

As you can see, there is a significant difference between 43,560 and 36,000. This is because the commercial acre utilized in transactions automatically deducts the area of alleyways, roads, and sidewalks from a standard acre. This means that the area of land around your property is not included as a part of the measurement. This is simply because you need some space in between to get in and out of your property.

A Few Parting Words

The land surveying system in the US uses the primary and modern definition of an acre as 1/640th of a square mile. Hence, there is a total of 640 acres in a square mile or a section.

We hope you can now picture how big is an acre and have understood the measurements associated with it. You can have some fun drawing and imagining visual comparisons of an acre with different things as you get a better understanding of the unit of measurement.

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