The pound of force or pound-force (symbol: lbf[1], sometimes lbf,[2]) is a unit of force used in some systems of measurement including English Engineering units[a] and the foot–pound–second system.[3] Pound-force should not be confused with foot-pound, a unit of energy, or pound-foot, a unit of torque, that may be written as "lbf⋅ft"; nor should these be confused with pound-mass (symbol: lb), often simply called pound, which is a unit of mass.


The pound-force is equal to the gravitational force exerted on a mass of one avoirdupois pound on the surface of Earth. Since the 18th century, the unit has been used in low-precision measurements, for which small changes in Earth's gravity (which varies from place to place by up to half a percent) can safely be neglected.[4]

The 20th century, however, brought the need for a more precise definition. A standardized value for acceleration due to gravity was therefore needed.

Product of avoirdupois pound and standard gravity

The pound-force is the product of one avoirdupois pound (exactly 0.45359237 kg) and the standard acceleration due to gravity, 9.80665 m/s2 (32.174049 ft/s2).[5][6][7]

The standard values of acceleration of the standard gravitational field (gn) and the international avoirdupois pound (lb) result in a pound-force equal to 4.4482216152605 N.[b]