HO scale

How big is HO scale?

HO scale is one of the bigger scales of model train that is available on the market. It is also perhaps the most popular. If you are wanting to learn about the HO scale model trains, you are in the right place.

This article explains how big HO scale model trains are, why they are so popular, and what the biggest benefits to them are.

How big are the HO scale model trains?

HO scale model trains are on the larger side when it comes to the most popular scales. They are scale ratio 1:87, this means that an HO model train is 87 times smaller than the real thing. The biggest scale is the G scale which is 1:22.5, the smallest is the Z scale is 1:220. As you can see, this puts HO somewhere in the middle, but more on the larger side. The gauge of an HO scale model train is 16.5mm; this about 1.5x the length of your fingernail.

Why are HO model trains so popular?

The biggest reason HO model trains are such a popular scale is that they are small enough that you can fit them comfortably into your home, on a table, or even when given their own entire room. Yet they are large enough that most of the details are still there. Smaller scales sacrifice the finer details to be as small as possible. If you are looking for a good all-around scale, this is the best one.

What are the benefits of the HO scale model trains?

There are plenty of great benefits to choosing the HO scale model trains as your main scale.

Here are the biggest ones:

  • They are more affordable than many of the smaller scales, and some of the larger ones. The reason is that they are easier to manufacture than the smallest sets, the mechanical parts don’t need to be machined so small. This cuts down manufacturer costs, which in turn cuts down costs for the consumer.
  • Because they are so popular, they are much easier to find in your typical hobby store. Some of the less popular scales are less easy to come by. For example, the smallest Z scale trains can be hard to find and very expensive when you do. Often people who choose to collect Z scale trains end up switching to N or HO scales.
  • The bigger a scale is, the more detailed the pieces can be. This is because the more intricate, finer, details are not possible when the pieces are so small. It simply isn’t feasible to create and paint a smaller train so accurately. The finer details don’t matter to everyone, but if they matter to you then the HO scale is the way to go.


Hopefully, this article has given you all the main information you needed about the popular HO scale trains. They are one of the most popular, and thus most common sets available making them great for beginners and seasoned hobbyists alike.

If you want to learn more about the HO scale model trains, you can find lots of great info here.

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