Summary

The Excel HARMEAN function returns the harmonic mean for a set of numeric values. The harmonic mean is the reciprocal of the arithmetic mean of reciprocals. Harmonic mean can be used to calculate a mean that reduces the impact of large outliers.

Purpose 

Calculate harmonic mean

Return value 

Calculated mean

Arguments 

  • number1 - First value or reference.
  • number2 - [optional] Second value or reference.

Syntax 

=HARMEAN(number1, [number2], ...)

How to use 

The Excel HARMEAN function returns the harmonic mean for a set of numeric values. The harmonic mean is a kind of numeric average, calculated by dividing the number values in a list by the sum of the reciprocal of each value. In other words, the harmonic mean is the reciprocal of the average of the reciprocals.

Because the harmonic mean tends toward the smallest values in a set of data, it limits the impact of large outliers, but exaggerates the impact of small outliers. The harmonic mean is always less than the geometric mean (GEOMEAN), which is always less than the arithmetic mean (AVERAGE).

The HARMEAN function takes multiple arguments in the form number1number2number3, etc. up to 255 total. Arguments can be a hardcoded constant, a cell reference, or a range. Often, a single range or array is used instead of multiple arguments, as seen in the example worksheet.

Examples

The average of 1, 2, and 6 is 3. The harmonic mean of 1, 2, and 6 is 1.8:

=AVERAGE(1,2,6) // returns 3
=HARMEAN(1,2,6) // returns 1.8

In the example shown, the formulas in E5 and E6 are, respectively:

=AVERAGE(B5:B14)
=HARMEAN(B5:B14)

Note that harmonic mean reduces the impact of the larger outliers in the data set.

Notes

  • Arguments can be numbers, names, arrays, or references that contain numbers.
  • Empty cells, and cells that contain text or logical values are ignored.
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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.