There are many reasons why you might want to measure your own or someone else's height. You might be trying to work out whether a pair of trousers are long enough to fit you, or you want to know how quickly your child is growing. Whatever your reason, it's important that you know how to measure height accurately.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of measuring your own or someone else's height using a tape and other measuring tools.

Remove your shoes and stand on a flat, uncarpeted floor against a flat wall. Make sure that you take off any hats, headbands, or other headpieces before you start measuring. You should also take out braids and other tall hairstyles that might affect the measurement.

Stand with your heels against the wall and the soles flat against the floor. Your head, shoulders, and buttocks should be touching the wall. Make sure you stand straight with your shoulders back and your eyes looking straight ahead. Ask someone to place a flat object (such as a book or ruler) on top of your head and lightly mark the wall with a pencil where the flat object meets your head.

You can use a tape to measure the height of the pencil mark. Make sure to position the tape so it starts from the floor and travels up in a straight line.

Continue reading for other methods you can use to measure your own or someone else's height.

A picture of a person holding a coiled measuring tape.

Make sure that the other person has removed their shoes, hair ornaments, and bulky clothing before you start measuring. Position them in front of a flat wall with their feet flat on an uncarpeted surface. You should ask them to straighten their legs and back, hang their arms at their sides, and stare straight ahead. Their back, shoulders, heels, and buttocks should rest against the wall.

Take a flat object, such as a hardback book, a ruler, or a cereal box. You should mark the point where the object meets the person's head with a pencil. Alternatively, you could ask a third person to take a measuring tape and hold it straight up until it reaches the flat object. Use the tape to measure the height of the pencil mark or where the flat object meets the person's head.

You should try to measure their height to the nearest inch or half an inch. You may need to round up or down depending. You could measure to the nearest 1/8 inch if you want the measurement to be completely accurate, but most people measure their height in feet with a full or half an inch. For example, rather than saying someone's height is five feet, four, and 1/8 inches, they would simply say they were five feet four inches tall (5'4").

Although it's more difficult than doing it with someone's help, it is possible to measure your own height. You can follow the same steps as mentioned above, but it's usually easier to use a cereal box as the 'flat object' because it will be easier to hold and position on your head.

If possible, try to stand opposite a mirror so that you can see the positioning of the cereal box and your body. The cereal box (or whatever object you are using) should be parallel to the floor. Hold the box with one hand and use your other hand to mark where your head meets the object with a pencil. You could also try to step out from under the object before you mark it, but you will need to keep the object steady as you step away. The measurement will be inaccurate if the object moves.

Use a tape to measure from the floor to the pencil mark. It's a good idea to repeat the process once or twice more to see if you get the same measurement each time. If you don't, it's advisable to seek the help of someone else who might be able to help you get a more accurate measurement. You could also add the different measurements together and divide the answer to find the average.

If you need to convert centimeters to inches or inches to centimeters while measuring, just use our handy calculator.

Children and teenagers can be measured in the same way as adults. However, you will need to use a different method if you are measuring the height (or length) of a baby or toddler under the age of two.

Lay the baby down on a flat hard surface that is at a right angle against a wall or headboard. The baby's clothes will need to be removed if they are bulky, although they can keep their diaper on. Make sure that the top of the baby's head is touching the flat wall or headboard.

You will need another adult to help you take the measurement. One person should gently hold the baby's head against the flat surface, and the other should carefully stretch the baby's legs. You should place the tape on a flat surface beside the child and measure the distance from the baby's soles (or heels) of their feet to the top of their head. The measurement should be taken to the nearest 1/8 inch or 0.1 centimeters.

A photo of a baby staring directly at the camera holding a tape to their mouth

A tape is the best way to measure your height at home. However, if you don't have one to hand, there are other methods you can use to get a rough estimate of your height.

Compare height to other people

You can estimate your height by comparing yourself to other people. This method is more accurate if the other person has recently measured their height with a tape measure and knows their exact height measurement.

Stand back to back with the other person so that your shoulders, buttocks, and heels are touching. Ask another person to look at the height difference and estimate the difference in inches or centimeters from the top of your head to the top of the other person's head. They could use their hands to measure the difference or use a flat object to mark the distance so that you can step back and see for yourself.

Use an object to estimate

You can use the height of an object to estimate your own height in comparison. An average doorframe is 80 inches, which is around 6 and a half feet tall. You could divide the height of the door into sections and see how tall you are in comparison. Try to estimate the midpoint of the door, which will give you two 40-inch sections. These two sections can further be divided into halves and quarters to give you 20 and 10-inch marks. You can estimate your height based on which section the top of your head fits into.

You might have a notice board or mirror that you know the measurement of. For example, the noticeboard might be 25 inches tall or 35 inches wide. You could stand the noticeboard on the floor against a wall and mark the height of the top in pencil on the wall. Next, you could lift the noticeboard so that the bottom lines up with the pencil mark.

You can repeat the process until the final pencil mark is taller than you. You can divide the sections into halves, quarters, and so on. Stand next to the wall and see which mark the top of your head is nearest and use this as an estimate of how tall you are.

Use a ruler

You can use a ruler instead of a measuring tape for height measurements. You'll need someone else's help with this method. Stand on a flat uncarpeted floor against a flat wall, with your heels, buttocks, and shoulders touching the wall.

Ask the other person to rest the bottom of the ruler on the ground and measure the top of the ruler with a pencil mark on the wall. They should continue moving the ruler up the wall, measuring from the point of the last pencil mark and making another mark at the top of the ruler.

Once they get near the top of your head, the helper should rest a flat object on the top of your head. They should find the point at which the top of your head meets the flat object and make a pencil mark. They should then measure the height of this mark with the ruler.

iPhone models with the LiDAR Scanner feature (iPhone 12 Pro and above) can measure a person's height using the Measure app. You can measure your full height when you are standing or your height when you are sitting down.

First, you need to ask another person to position the iPhone so that you are fully in shot (head to toe). A line should appear on the screen at the top of your head, with the height measurement just below the line. Your helper can take a screenshot of the measurement by tapping the round photo button on the right of the screen. They can save the photo to the phone by selecting Save to Photos or Save to Files.

Below are some of the other common methods of measuring height if you can't or don't want to use a tape.

Stadiometer

The most accurate way to measure height is with a stadiometer. This tool is usually found in a doctor's office to measure the height of patients. You must remove bulky clothing, shoes, and any headpieces.

You will need to step onto the stadiometer's base and stand straight, with your eyes facing forward and your back and feet touching the wall. A helper will have to move the sliding horizontal headpiece into position so that it rests on top of your head. The measurement will appear in the reading window on the back of the stadiometer.

Lying down

Using the same method as you would when measuring children's height, you can measure your own height by lying down on a flat surface. Ask a friend to measure from the bottom of your feet (soles or heel) to the top of your head. Make sure that you are fully stretched out, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your eyes staring directly up at the ceiling.

Wall chart

A wall chart is a quick and easy way to measure your own or a child's height. This method is also a good option if you don't want to draw pencil marks on your wall. Wall charts are already marked with measurements, but you need to make sure that you position the chart at the correct distance from the floor so that you can get an accurate measurement.

Stand with your back to the chart, making sure that you are standing up straight with your eyes looking straight ahead. Your back, shoulders, buttocks, and heels should be against the wall. Ask a friend to mark the top of your head on the chart. They can use a ruler or another flat object to make sure the mark is straight across. You can immediately see how tall you are based on where the mark falls on the chart. You may have to round the measurement up or down depending on whether the chart includes fractions of inches or not.

What is considered average height?

In the US, the average height for women is five feet four inches, and the average height for men is five feet nine inches. This makes the US the 40th tallest country in the world. The tallest nation in the world is the Netherlands, where the average height of men is six feet, and the average height of women is five feet seven inches.

A photo of a woman measuring another woman from her shoulder down

What tape should I use to measure height?

A metal tape tends to offer more accurate measurements than a flexible sewing tape because it is rigid. This means you're more likely to measure in a straight line and get an accurate result. If you have a flexible tape made out of linen or other soft materials, you will likely need another person to help you stretch it out properly.

The best way to measure your height is to stand straight against a wall and mark the position of the top of your head with a pencil. You can then take a tape and measure from the floor to pencil mark to see how tall you are.

You can also use a stadiometer, or ruler or estimate your height against the height of other objects. Children under the age of two should be measured when they are lying down on a flat surface.