Hands come in all different shapes and sizes. The average length of an adult male’s hand is 7.6 inches — measured from the tip of the longest finger to the crease under the palm. The average length of an adult female’s hand is 6.8 inches. However, there’s more to hand size than length.

Keep reading to learn about the average hand length, breadth, circumference, and grip size of male and female adults, as well as the average children’s hand size. We’ll also explain how to measure gloves to fit your hands. Plus, we’ll look at the relationship between hand size and height, how athletes’ hands compare, and the largest hands measured in the world.

There are three key measurements of adult hand size:

  • length: measured from the tip of the longest finger to the crease under the palm
  • breadth: measured across the widest area where the fingers join the palm
  • circumference: measured around the palm of your dominant hand, just below the knuckles, excluding the thumb

According to a comprehensive study of proportions of the human body by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), here is the average adult hand size:

Gender Average lengthAverage breadthAverage circumference
Male7.6 inches3.5 inches8.6 inches
Female6.8 inches3.1 inches7.0 inches

Here are the average hand sizes for children ages 6 to 11, according to a U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare survey:

GenderAverage hand lengthAverage hand breadth
Male

6-year-olds: 4.6–5.7 inches

11-year-olds: 5.5–6.8 inches
6-year-olds: 2.1–2.6 inches

11-year-olds: 2.0–3.1 inches
Female6-year-olds: 4.4–5.7 inches

11-year-olds: 5.6–7.0 inches
6-year-olds: 2.0–2.7 inches

11-year-olds: 2.0–3.1 inches

Determining your grip size can help you with proper tool selection. According to a 2005 study, the optimal handle diameter is 19.7 percent of the user’s hand length.

For example, if your hand length is 7.6 inches, multiply that by 0.197 to get 1.49 inches. This means the optimum handle diameter for a tool such as a hammer would be about 1.5 inches.

That said, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) suggests there’s more to tool selection than handle diameter. For example, you should also be sure that the tool:

  • is designed for the job
  • is comfortable to hold
  • requires a minimum amount of force to use
  • is balanced
  • is not too light for the job

Glove sizes are determined by measuring the length and circumference of your hand, and then using the largest of these measurements to select gloves of the proper size.

Here’s a table you can use to select your glove size:

Hand size (the largest measurement of either length or circumference)Glove size
7 inchesXSmall
7.5–8 inchesSmall
8.5–9 inchesMedium
9.5–10 inchesLarge
10.5–11 inchesXLarge
11.5–12 inches2 XLarge
12–13.5 inches3 XLarge

According to a 2014 study, you can make a close estimation of somebody’s height with a regression equation using hand length, gender, and age.

This predicted height can be used to calculate body mass index (BMI). This is typically used in a clinical setting if it’s not possible to get specific measurements directly.

In pro sports, hand size is commonly measured in two ways: length and span. Span is the measurement from the tip of the little finger to the tip of the thumb while the hand is outstretched.

National Basketball Association (NBA)

Every year at the draft combine, the NBA takes official body measurements. Considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan’s hand measurements were 9.75 inches in length with a span of 11.375 inches. Jordan’s hand span is 21 percent wider than average for his height of 6’6”. Click here to see the 15 largest hand sizes in NBA history.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)

According to the WNBA, Brittney Griner, who is considered one of the best women’s basketball players in the world, has a hand size of 9.5 inches. Griner is 6’9” tall.

National Football League (NFL)

According to the Washington Post, the number one pick in the 2019 NFL draft, 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, has a hand size of 9.5 inches. He is 5’10” tall.

According to the Guinness World Records, the living person with the largest hands in the world is Sultan Kösen, who was born in Turkey in 1982. His hand length is 11.22 inches. At 8’3” tall, Kösen is also certified by Guinness as the world’s tallest man.

According to Guinness, the record for the largest hands ever belong to Robert Wadlow (1918–1940), whose hand length was 12.75 inches.

Many people find it interesting to compare the measurements of their hands to the hands of other people. Or they’re interested in how their hands compare to the average hand size.

Hand measurements also play a role in the selection of tools, such as handle size, and clothing, such as glove size.