Hand sizes vary according to a variety of factors, including biological sex and age. Males tend to have larger hands than females. Adults have larger hands than children. There is also evidence that hand size is closely related to a person’s height.
Healthcare providers use three criteria to measure a person’s hand. They are:
- Length: This is the distance from the wrist to the tip of the longest finger.
- Breadth: This is the measurement across the widest part of the hand.
- Circumference: This is the measurement around the palm, just below the knuckles, and excluding the thumb.
This article outlines the average hand sizes for adults and children. It also provides information on how to assess grip size and glove size.
Typically, males have larger hands than females. This variation corresponds with differences in overall body size between the two sexes.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the average hand sizes of biological adult males and females are as follows:
- Average length: 7.6 inches (in)
- Average breadth: 3.5 in
- Average circumference: 8.6 in
- Average length: 6.8 in
- Average breadth: 3.1 in
- Average circumference: 7.0 in
The above figures represent average hand sizes. A person may find that their own hands are larger or smaller.
Children’s hand sizes can vary greatly, according to their age.
A person can measure a child’s hand size using length and breadth measurements alone.
An older study from 2007 identified average measurements for hand length and width among children aged 6–10 years. The table below shows these measurements.
|Child’s age (years)||Hand length (cm)||Hand width (cm)|
A 2014 study investigated whether it is possible to predict a person’s height based on their hand length. The study involved 465 adults aged between 19– 91.
The researchers found that hand length can predict height. They also found that doctors can use hand length to determine a person’s body mass index (BMI). This may be of value in situations where obtaining an accurate height measurement for a BMI calculation is not possible.
Another reason for measuring the hand is to identify grip size. This is an important consideration for tennis players when choosing an appropriate tennis racket. According to Tennis Companion, finding the right grip size can both improve comfort and help prevent injury.
When measuring grip size, measure from the top horizontal line that runs across the palm to the tip of the extended ring finger of the dominant hand.
Below is a list of racket sizes according to grip size.
- Racket size 0: 4 in
- Racket size 1: 4 ⅛ in
- Racket size 2: 4 ¼ in
- Racket size 3: 4 ⅜ in
- Racket size 4: 4 ½ in
- Racket size 5: 4 ⅝ in
- Racket size 6: 4 ¾ in
Tennis Companion also recommend testing a racket where possible. This can help ensure a person gets the correct size racket grip.
According to one sizing chart, a person can pick gloves based on either the length or circumference of their dominant hand — whichever measurement is largest.
The table below shows glove sizes according to hand size, age, and sex. Glove sizes relate to average hand measurements. The size values are approximate and may not apply to all brands of manufactured gloves.
A child’s glove size depends on their age rather than the size of their hands. Below is a general guide to picking out glove sizes for children of different ages:
- 6 months–1-year old: Glove size XXS
- 1–2 years old: Glove size XS
- 2–3 years old: Glove size S
- 3–4 years old: Glove size M
- 4–5 years old: Glove size L
- 5–6 years old: Glove size XL
When possible, a person should try the gloves on before buying them. This will help ensure a proper fit. A glove should feel snug but not tight. The fingers of the gloves should touch the fingertips but should not feel restrictive.
Average hand sizes vary according to age, sex, and height. To find out the size of the hand, measure the length, breadth, and circumference. Sometimes, a person may also want to measure their grip size.
Hand sizing has some practical applications. In clinical settings, a healthcare provider can use hand length to estimate a person’s BMI. Others might use the measurements to help them find proper fitting gloves or an appropriate grip size on a tennis racket.