N and Z scale are the two smallest widely available model train scales, but which is smaller?
If you want to create a model train layout in a small space, your two options are either N or Z scale. Yes, there are other ‘micro’ size model railway scales, but these two are the the ones with the most commercial support the widest range of rolling stock, models and track.
If you’re thinking about one of these, one of the first questions is which is smaller.
The answer is…
Z scale at a scale of 1:220 and a track gauge of 6.5 mm or 0.256 is smaller than N gauge but not by much.
N scale works to a scale of 1∶148 to 1∶160 (depending if you’re in Britain or the US/Europe with a track width (the gauge) of 9mm or 0.35.
How they compare
|Z Scale||1:220||6.5 mm|
|N Scale||1∶148 / 1∶160||9mm|
Alternatively, if just want to get started with a Z scale train set, you can read my thoughts on Märklin’s Z gauge starter set here.
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