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Vital Capacity Calculator

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What's the vital capacity equation?How to use the vital capacity calculatorWhat's the total lung, inspiratory, and vital capacity formula?FAQs

Using our vital capacity calculator and only the values of your age and height (plus knowing your gender), you can estimate the volume of air that flows through your lungs.

In contrast to the lung capacities calculated from spirometric measurements (see the lung capacity calculator), this calculator uses a vital capacity equation that estimates the theoretical, predicted value.

Read on if you're interested to know how to calculate vital capacity on your own or what formula we used here.

We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace a professional doctor's assessment. All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for medical consultation. Always consult your results with a healthcare provider.

What's the vital capacity equation?

The vital capacity of a person can be estimated using this equation developed by Baldwin et al.:

  • For females:

    height × (21.78 − 0.101 × age)

  • For males:

    height × (27.63 − 0.112 × age)

In these formulas, the height should be given in centimeters (cm), and the result is expressed in cubic centimeters (cm³). However, you can easily switch between metric and imperial units by clicking on the unit name in the calculator.

💡 We also have a peak flow calculator, which calculates the peak expiratory flow when breathing.

How to use the vital capacity calculator

  1. Choose whether you're male or female – the vital capacity equation differs slightly, depending on the given sex.

  2. Enter your age in years.

  3. Enter your height in preferred units.

  4. The calculated vital capacity is shown in the last field of the calculator.

A healthy person's vital capacity should be between 3 and 5 liters. This value depends on age, sex, weight, height, and ethnicity.

The vital capacity is a parameter used to differentiate between the causes of lung diseases. If it's decreased, it points to the diagnosis of restrictive lung disease, whereas in the case of obstructive lung disease, the VC is usually normal or slightly reduced.

What's the total lung, inspiratory, and vital capacity formula?

The pulmonary function is checked in a ventilatory test called spirometry. During the examination, four lung volumes are measured:

  • IRV — Inspiratory reserve volume;
  • TV — Tidal volume;
  • ERV — Expiratory reserve volume; and
  • RV — Residual volume.

To interpret the results, four so-called lung capacities should be calculated:

  • TLC — Total lung capacity;
  • IC — Inspiratory capacity;
  • VC — Vital capacity; and
  • FRC — Functional residual capacity.

The following is the vital capacity formula based on lung volume measurements:



  • IRV — Inspiratory reserve volume;
  • TV — Tidal volume; and
  • ERV — Expiratory reserve volume.

Using this equation can give a different result from the one provided in this calculator.

We can use the vital capacity to help differentiate the causes of lung disease. In restrictive lung disease, the vital capacity is decreased. In obstructive lung disease, it is usually normal or only slightly reduced.

💡 We may also measure the forced respiratory volumes. Forced vital capacity is used, for example, in computing the FEV1/FVC ratio.


What is vital capacity?

Vital capacity (VC) is the total volume of air that a person can exhale after a maximum inhalation. VC is an important measure of lung function and is often used to assess respiratory health.

How do I calculate vital capacity?

To calculate vital capacity for women:

  1. Subtract 0.101 times the person's age from 21.78.
  2. Multiply a person's height (in centimeters) by the result obtained in Step 1.

To calculate vital capacity for men:

  1. Subtract 0.112 times the person's age from 27.63.
  2. Multiply a person's height (cm) by the result obtained in Step 1.

What is the difference between tidal volume and vital capacity?

Both tidal volume and vital capacity are related to assessing respiratory activity. Tidal volume refers to the standard volume of air inhaled during one breath at rest. On the other hand, vital capacity represents the total volume of air that a person can exhale after maximum inhalation.

What is the vital capacity for a 20-year-old woman?

The vital capacity of a 20-year-old woman depends on various factors such as height and lung health. Assuming the person is healthy and around 165 cm tall, her vital capacity would be 3.26 liters. To calculate vital capacity and learn more about the formula, visit Omni Calculator's vital capacity calculator.

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