How much lbs does 1 gallon of water weigh?

Water is an essential part of our lives and is something we often take for granted. Knowing facts like how much a gallon of water weighs can be useful for various purposes, whether you’re trying to figure out how much a large volume of water weighs or you just want to impress your friends with your knowledge of water facts.

Quick Answer

The quick answer is that 1 gallon of water weighs about 8.34 pounds at room temperature. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 128 fluid ounces
  • 1 fluid ounce of water weighs about 1/128th of 8.34 pounds
  • So 1 gallon (which is 128 fluid ounces) weighs 8.34 pounds

This is the standard weight that is most often used and referred to. However, the actual weight can vary slightly based on the water’s density and temperature. We’ll explain more below.

Explaining the Gallon of Water Weight Calculation

First, let’s look at where the 8.34 pound figure comes from. A gallon is a unit of volume – it tells us how much physical space something takes up. A fluid ounce is also a unit of volume. There are 128 fluid ounces in 1 gallon.

The weight of water depends on the density of water at a given temperature. The commonly used value of 8.34 pounds per gallon is based on the density of water at approximately 39°F or 4°C. At this temperature, one US fluid ounce of water weighs exactly 1/128th of 8.34 pounds, which is where we get the gallon conversion.

So if you have 128 fluid ounces of water at around 39°F, it will weigh 8.34 pounds total. The math works out like this:

  • 1 fluid ounce of water weighs 0.065375 pounds
  • 1 gallon = 128 fluid ounces
  • 0.065375 pounds x 128 fluid ounces = 8.34 pounds

While 8.34 pounds is the widely accepted weight of a gallon of water, it is based on that specific temperature. As the temperature changes, the density and weight of water changes slightly as well.

How Temperature Impacts Water Weight

The density of water varies with temperature. As the temperature increases, the density decreases. This means hot water is lighter than cold water on a per unit volume basis. Here is how the weight of 1 gallon of water changes at various temperatures:

Temperature (°F) Density (lb/gal)
32 8.3359
39.2 (standard gallon weight) 8.3397
50 8.3247
60 8.3042
70 8.2854
80 8.2679
90 8.2522
100 8.2377

As you can see, at freezing temperatures, the density and weight are higher, while at hot temperatures the weight decreases. However, the differences are minor – only a few ounces between cold and hot water. So while the temperature does impact the weight, it is a relatively small effect.

Weight at Varying Temperatures

Based on the densities listed above, here are some example weights for 1 gallon of water at different temperatures:

  • At 32°F: 8.34 pounds
  • At room temperature (70°F): 8.29 pounds
  • At boiling temperature (212°F): 8.16 pounds

Again, the colder the temperature, the higher the density and weight. The difference between freezing and boiling water is around 0.18 pounds per gallon. Compared to the base weight of 8.34 pounds, this is only about a 2% variation.

Does the Container Impact the Weight?

When weighing out a gallon of water, the container can add some additional weight. For instance, a plastic gallon jug may weigh 4-8 ounces. A glass gallon jar may be closer to 1 pound.

If you are measuring exactly 1 gallon of water without the container, then the weights listed above apply. If the gallon of water is in a container of some sort, then you’ll need to add the weight of the empty container to get the total weight.

Factors That Don’t Affect Water Weight

Some factors that you may expect to impact the weight of water actually have no effect. These include:

  • Salt or other substances dissolved – Dissolving salt or other water-soluble compounds does not change the weight. Only the volume is affected.
  • Location – The local gravity does not noticeably affect weight. Water weighs the same in NYC as it does in LA.
  • Tap vs. bottled – There is no weight difference between purified, bottled, distilled, or tap water.

So you can be sure that 1 gallon of any type of pure water will weigh right around 8.34 pounds under standard conditions.

Gallon of Water Weight in Other Units

The weight of 1 gallon of water in some other common units is:

  • Kilograms: 3.78 kg
  • Grams: 3,785 g
  • Ounces: 133 oz

The conversions are based on the standard 1 gallon = 8.34 pounds conversion factor.

Weight of Water Volumes Larger Than a Gallon

We can also use the weight of 1 gallon of water to find the weight of larger volumes. For example:

  • 5 gallons of water weighs 8.34 * 5 = 41.7 pounds
  • 55 gallons weighs 8.34 * 55 = 458.7 pounds (about 229 kg)
  • 1000 gallons (1 cubic meter) weighs 8,345 pounds (3,785 kg)

This makes converting between gallons, pounds, and other units very straightforward.

Does Water Weight Change with Volume?

An interesting concept to discuss is whether the density of water changes depending on the total volume. For everyday purposes, the density can be considered constant. However, technically speaking, the density does vary slightly with large volumes.

According to principles of quantum physics, water exhibits a phenomenon known as gravitational self-compression at very large scales. Essentially, when enough water molecules come together through gravity, the pressure compresses the water slightly and increases the density.

But this effect only becomes noticeable at volumes thousands or millions of times larger than a gallon. Estimates put the threshold around 100,000 metric tons or 25 million gallons of water. So for any household, industrial, or agricultural application, we can assume the density remains constant. But it’s an interesting scientific insight into how mass can affect water at extreme scales.

Uses for Knowing Gallon Water Weight

Here are some practical reasons why you might want to know how much a gallon of water weighs:

  • Calculating the load capacity needed to transport large amounts of water, such as in tanker trucks or barges.
  • Figuring out the weight of water in aquatic facilities like pools or aquariums for structural requirements.
  • Determining the weight of water in plumbing and piping systems.
  • Mixing chemicals for gardening, agriculture, or industrial use that are concentrated by volume.
  • Validating that water treatment equipment and processes are operating at the expected flow rates.
  • Ballasting weight amounts for boating or underwater research equipment.

There are likely many other applications where knowing the standard weight of a gallon of water comes in handy for calculations and measurements.


In summary, the commonly accepted weight of 1 gallon of water is 8.34 pounds. This is based on the density of water at 39°F. The actual weight may be slightly higher or lower depending on the temperature. But for most purposes, 8.34 pounds or 3.78 kilograms is an accurate enough estimate for the weight of one gallon of water.

Leave a Comment