How many pounds in 5 gallons?

When it comes to liquid measurements, it’s common to need to convert between gallons and pounds. Specifically, you may need to know how many pounds are in 5 gallons of a liquid. The short answer is this: there are about 41.6 pounds in 5 gallons of water. However, to fully understand this conversion, we need to dig deeper into the definitions of gallons and pounds as units of measurement.

Understanding Gallons as a Unit of Liquid Volume

First, let’s look at gallons. A gallon is a unit of volume used to measure liquids such as water, juice, oil, etc. One US gallon is equal to exactly 231 cubic inches. Another way to think about it is that 1 gallon contains 4 quarts. There are also larger gallons such as the imperial gallon which contains about 1.2 US gallons.

When measuring any liquid in gallons, we are looking at how much space it takes up – its volume. For example, if you had a jug that could hold exactly 5 gallons of water, that jug could hold a total volume of 5 x 231 = 1,155 cubic inches of liquid.

Some Key Facts About Gallons:

  • 1 US gallon = 231 cubic inches exactly
  • 1 US gallon = 3.785 liters
  • 1 US gallon = 0.833 imperial gallons
  • 1 US gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 128 fluid ounces

So when we talk about 5 gallons, we are talking about a volume of liquid that takes up 5 x 231 = 1,155 cubic inches of space.

Understanding Pounds as a Unit of Weight

Now let’s look at the pound. A pound is a unit of weight commonly used to measure the weight of solid objects. The pound as a unit originated from the term “pound mass” which was equivalent to the weight of about 0.4535 kilograms on Earth.

So while a gallon measures volume, a pound measures weight. This means that 5 pounds refers to the cumulative weight of something rather than how much space it takes up. For example, if you placed 5 1-pound weights on a scale, the total weight shown would be 5 pounds.

Some Key Facts About Pounds:

  • 1 pound = 16 ounces
  • 1 pound = about 0.4535 kilograms
  • 1 pound-mass = 1 pound-force on Earth
  • 1 imperial pound = 1.2 US pounds

When referring to 5 pounds, we are talking about a total weight of 5 pound-masses, regardless of the size or density of the object.

The Density of Water

To relate volume in gallons to weight in pounds, we need to know the density of the liquid we are measuring. Density measures how much mass is contained in a certain volume. Substances with higher density weigh more per gallon than substances with lower density.

For water, the density is about 8.34 pounds per US gallon. This means that one gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. This is possible because a gallon of water contains a certain number of water molecules, and the cumulative mass of those molecules is about 8.34 pounds. Other liquids like oil or honey would have different densities.

Key Facts About Water Density:

  • 1 gallon (US) of water weighs 8.34 pounds at room temperature
  • Water density = 1 g/cm3 = 62.42 lbs/ft3
  • Water density decreases as temperature increases

So if we know water has a density of 8.34 pounds per gallon, we can use that to convert between volume and weight.

Calculating Pounds in 5 Gallons of Water

We now have all the information we need to calculate how many pounds are in 5 gallons of water. Since we know:

  • 1 gallon (US) of water weighs 8.34 lbs
  • We want to know the weight of 5 gallons

We can set up a simple equation:

Pounds in 5 gallons
= 5 gallons x 8.34 lbs/1 gallon
= 41.7 pounds

To break this down step-by-step:

  1. We take 5 gallons
  2. Multiply it by 8.34 lbs, since 1 gallon weighs 8.34 lbs
  3. This gives us 41.7 pounds

So the total weight of 5 gallons of water is 41.7 pounds.

Therefore, the answer is:

There are 41.7 pounds in 5 gallons of water.

Pounds in 5 Gallons Examples

Let’s look at some examples to better understand how to apply this conversion:

Example 1

A water jug holds 5 gallons. How much does the full jug weigh?


  1. The jug holds 5 gallons of water
  2. We calculated above that 5 gallons weighs 41.7 pounds
  3. Therefore, the full jug weighs 41.7 pounds

Example 2

A bathroom scale shows your weight as 170 pounds. If your body contains about 60% water, how many gallons of water are in your body?


  1. Body weight = 170 pounds
  2. Body is 60% water, so 0.6 x 170 = 102 pounds of water
  3. We know 5 gallons = 41.7 pounds
  4. So 102 pounds / 41.7 pounds/gallon = 2.4 gallons

Therefore, there are about 2.4 gallons of water in your body.

Converting Other Liquid Volumes to Pounds

While we’ve focused on water, you can use a similar process to convert volumes of other liquids to pounds using their densities:

  1. Find the density of the liquid in pounds/gallon
  2. Multiply the volume in gallons by the density to get the weight in pounds

For example, if you had 5 gallons of milk, which has a density of about 8.6 lbs/gallon, you would do:

Pounds of Milk
= 5 gallons x 8.6 lbs/gallon
= 43 pounds

So 5 gallons of milk would weigh about 43 pounds.

Densities of Common Liquids:

Liquid Density (lbs/gallon)
Water 8.34
Milk 8.6
Gasoline 6.3
Vegetable oil 7.7

This table can help you estimate the weight of different liquid volumes. Just multiply the density by the gallons to get the pounds.

Limitations of Density Conversions

While using density is useful for conversions, be aware it is an approximation. Density can vary slightly between samples. Factors like temperature also impact density. So your exact weight may be a little different from calculated values. For very precise measurements, you should weigh on a scale.


To summarize, there are about 41.7 pounds in 5 gallons of water. This conversion relies on:

  • 1 gallon measuring volume
  • 1 pound measuring weight
  • The density of water (8.34 lbs/gallon)

You can use a similar process to convert other liquid volumes to pounds using their unique densities. This allows rough weight estimates from volume data. Just remember that density is variable, so use scale weighing when precision is critical.

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