How To Measure Your Lung Capacity In 9 Easy Steps

  1. Take the deepest breath you can
  2. Inflate a balloon with a single breath (if you have already completed step 1 and haven’t got a balloon yet, release your breath, go and buy one, and repeat step 1)
  3. Tie it off
  4. Get a large, deep oven tray and put it on the floor
  5. Fill an empty bucket and put it in the centre of the oven tray
  6. Top up the bucket of water with extra water until it is full to the very top (don’t let any slosh into the oven tray)
  7. Gently dunk your balloon in the water. The water will start pouring out of the bucket and into the oven tray. Fully submerge the balloon (try not to slosh extra water out of the bucket when doing so)
  8. Take the balloon and bucket away
  9. Either:
    • Poor the water from the oven tray into a measuring jug, or
    • Weigh the oven tray with the water in it, empty the oven tray and weigh it, the difference in weight is your lung capacity in litres (because 1 litre of water weighs exactly 1 kg)

How many litres of water did you collect? That is your lung capacity.

Why would you want to do this?

I don’t know.

Seems like a lot of work for just a number to brag to your friends about…

22 Replies to “How To Measure Your Lung Capacity In 9 Easy Steps”

  1. AWESOME idea!
    Nice Job on bringing this idea to the public eye.

    As for reason to measure?
    I plan on doing this for my kids yearly as an incentive to stay away from smoking. Just the thought of losing what you’ve achieved,…

    It will also serve as a reference for my own lung function loss as I continue live near smoke (Smog, whatever) excersize less and age,….

  2. i have a question, if i do this procedure between a non smoker and a smoker, who are both around 20 to 23 old, would there be really much difference when it comes to the results?

  3. I’m not a doctor but I suspect the smokers ability to retain oxygen is diminished. That would be a good experiment, let me know the results.

  4. Thanks a lot man, i have searched this in hours, and i’ve finally found it… it’s from a chemistry proejct, greetings from Mexico

    1. no, air is incompressible at that pressure so would have negligible effect. You could also do it by releasing the air from the ballon into an upside down measuring jug submersed under water and this would tell you the volume! That Archimedes chap was a smart cookie…

  5. this is a great idea thanks for posting this… why i need this?its for my 7 grade science project!!!!!!!! ill report and give you the credit

  6. I smoked all my life I am now 71years old and suffer bronchitis yearly.
    I have two grandsons who smoke and want them to pack them in, I read in a national newspaper about top cyclists who have large lung capacity of 8 litres . The average man is about 6 litres. I thought if I can work on a experiment with them it may help to make them pack them in.

  7. Hey guys…you can find volume another way. Measure the balloon’s diameter and use that to calculate volume. As long as your not using an ovular balloon, (or you blow it up too much) it will work.

      1. Hi Sheltron me and olly are doing an experiment and this method saved my life, im eternally grateful for what you’ve done.

  8. Why would a person wanna do this? Not just for bragging. How about athletes? This is actually a very helpful piece of knowledge for those who want to improve athletic performance.

  9. Well I just got my lungs x rayed and they are so big that if they got any bigger my hart could get crushed or my liver, stomach, large intestine, and kidneys alone with it

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