As you shop for a new pillow, you want something supportive and breathable. But, you also want something that fits your mattress size and room decor. With so many different shapes and dimensions, how can you determine the best pillow for you? To make the selection process as easy as possible, we offer a quick overview of the most common pillow sizes. Plus, our buyer’s guide provides an in-depth look at the pillow types most suited for each sleep position.
The following chart offers the standard dimensions for each of the four common pillow sizes. We also include the average price for each style.
|Pillow Size||Measurements||Average Price|
|Standard||20 inches by 26 inches||$25 to $100|
|Super Standard||20 inches by 28 inches||$30 to $150|
|Queen||20 inches by 30 inches||$30 to $150|
|King||20 inches by 36 inches||$40 to $200|
Standard size pillows are a popular choice. These pillows measure 20 by 26 inches and are suitable for both adults and children. However, adults who frequently toss and turn at night may prefer something larger, such as a super standard or a queen-size pillow.
A standard pillow fits well on a twin or a twin XL mattress. If you have a large bed, such as a king, you may need three standard pillows to fit the width of the bed.
Depending on your personal preferences, you may need a slightly longer pillow. A super standard pillow is 2 inches longer than a standard, measuring 20 inches by 28 inches. This length will keep you from rolling onto the mattress as you change positions throughout the night.
A standard size pillowcase will fit comfortably on a standard or a super standard pillow.
Queen-size pillows measure 20 inches by 30 inches. These pillows are 4 inches longer than a standard pillow and are designed to accommodate the extra width of a queen bed. Using two standard size pillows on a queen bed will leave an 8-inch gap between the pillows. If you roll around during the night, this additional space could leave your head unsupported.
A queen pillow will also fit a standard pillowcase.
King size pillows are the largest size available and measure 20 inches by 36 inches. Two king-size pillows will fit either a standard king bed or a California king size bed.
One king-size pillow can also be used on a twin bed if you prefer the extra length. This size pillow can also be used as a back support pillow or as a shorter body pillow.
Due to their length, king pillows are too big for a standard pillowcase. If you purchase a king-size pillow, be sure to choose king-size pillowcases for a proper fit.
Choosing the Right Pillow for Your Bed
Your mattress can help determine the pillow size that is right for you. For example, if you have a queen-size bed, two queen-size pillows should fit comfortably on your mattress. Below, we provide a quick overview of the number of pillows suited for each bed size.
- Twin Mattress and Twin XL (38 inches wide): 1 standard pillow or 1 super standard size pillow
- Full Mattress (53 inches wide): 2 standard pillows or 2 super standard pillows
- Queen Mattress (60 inches wide): 2 queen-size pillows
- King (76 inches wide) and California King (72 inches wide): 2 king-size pillows, 2 super standard pillows, or 3 standard pillows
Specialty Pillow Sizes
In addition to the standard sizes, pillows also come in several specialty sizes. Various types of pillows can accommodate different comfort needs and design features.
Most body pillows measure 20 inches by 54 inches, but slightly longer versions are also available. The extra length of these pillows allows them to rest beneath the head, curve around the body, and between your knees. Body pillows are an excellent choice for side sleepers because they keep the top knee from sagging and putting pressure on the hips. When the hips are level, the spine will remain neutral, and you will experience less pain.
If you are pregnant, a body pillow can help relieve pressure on the spine, back, and hips. Plus, it can support the weight of a growing belly. The slight lift a body pillow gives can also improve circulation and prevent acid reflux.
Side sleeping is one of the healthiest sleep positions. But, over time, we can become accustomed to back or stomach sleeping. A body pillow can be used to train your body to adopt a healthier sleeping position.
Orthopedic pillows help maintain a healthy spinal alignment, relieving pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. These pillows come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different types of pain. Orthopedic pillows also help alleviate symptoms of snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux.
Euro pillows are larger square pillows that measure 26 inches by 26 inches. These pillows can be used as a support pillow for the back or between the knees.
Euro pillows can also be placed behind a standard size pillow to add texture and dimension to the bed. Plus, decorative Euro shams can easily change the look and feel of a bedroom.
If you’re a frequent traveler and need to catch some sleep while on the go, a travel pillow can be a lifesaver. These pillows typically measure 12 inches by 16 inches and can often have a circular shape that fits around the neck. Travel pillows can easily fit into a carry-on bag—some can even attach to the outside of a suitcase.
Throw pillows come in various sizes, shapes, colors, and textures to accommodate the design of a bedroom. These decorative pillows can be used on a bed, sofa, or chair. Although most throw pillows do not support the head and neck, they can be placed between the knees to alleviate hip pain.
Boudoir pillows measure 12 inches by 16 inches and are typically used for decoration. These pillows have a rectangular shape that can also be used as a bolster to another pillow. A Boudoir pillow can be placed under the knees to help relax the lower back, or behind the lower back when sitting up in bed.
Other Things to Consider
Now that you are familiar with the standard dimension for each pillow, you will want to consider the type of pillow that is right for your sleeping position.
To help you determine the best type of pillow for your needs, we outline the most common materials and how they vary in terms of comfort and support.
Memory foam is known for superior comfort and pain relief—making it a popular material for mattresses and pillows. Memory foam pillows contour to the head and neck to alleviate pressure so the body can fully relax. These pillows provide the perfect cushion and support to ensure the spine remains in a safe, neutral position.
Memory foam pillows are available in most of the four standard size options. Some also feature shredded foam that allows you to remove or add material to change the height of the pillow. A high-quality memory foam pillow will cost between $50 and $60.
Down pillows contain a combination of feathers and down (the soft underside of the gooses’ feathers). This material is incredibly fluff and creates a luxury sleep experience. Because down keeps the animal cool during hot weather and warm during cold weather, feather pillows are both breathable and cozy.
When shopping for a down pillow, be sure to look for one with at least 75 percent down. This percentage will offer the most temperature control. The higher the percentage of down in a pillow, the higher the price will be. So, down pillows tend to cost between $100 to $300.
Down alternative feels similar to down and comes at a much lower price. Most down alternative pillows are hypoallergenic, so allergy sufferers will find relief with these pillows.
In a down alternative pillow, other fabrics, such as polyester, are used to mimic the feeling of down. Although they are soft and pliable, down alternatives will not have the same breathability as real down. Plus, down alternatives may become lumpy and lose their shape much quicker than down.
These pillows typically range between $10 and $30 depending on the size and fabric used.
Latex is a highly durable material derived from the sap of a rubber tree. The contour of a latex foam pillow is similar to memory foam; however, latex tends to have a slight bounce. The elasticity of this material makes it firmer, so sleepers will feel more lifted on the pillow rather than cradled and supported.
The cost of a latex pillow is between $40 to $60. If the latex is certified organic, the price may increase.
The position you rest in each night can help determine the type of neck support you need. The right pillow will fill the gap between the bed and your body, so your muscles and joints stay supported, and your spine remains neutral.
When side sleeping, the gap between the head and sleep surface is larger than in other sleep positions. So, these sleepers need a medium to high loft pillow to fill this gap and cradle the head. Ultimately, the pillow should keep the head in line with the spine. The pillow should not be too high or too flat—if this happens, the neck will bend, and the spine will be forced out of alignment. A misaligned spine will cause tension build-up—leaving you with aches and pains in the morning.
A gusseted pillow may also be helpful for side sleepers. A gusset is a strip of fabric sewn along the edge of the pillow to give it more height. This feature will contour to the shoulders for more stability and pressure relief.
When back sleeping, the head and neck should be aligned with the spine. A low loft pillow will cause the head to sag while a high loft could force the head upward—putting pressure on the spine and creating pain. A medium loft pillow is typically the perfect middle ground for back sleepers. These pillows will maintain a neutral spine and prevent neck strain.
Stomach sleeping forces the spine to curve. If the pillow is too high, this curve will become exaggerated, and pressure on the spine will increase. So, stomach sleepers should opt for a low loft pillow to lessen this curve as much as possible.
Stomach sleepers may also find pressure relief by placing a thinner pillow beneath the hips. Lifting the hips will relieve pressure on the spine and keep the body in alignment.
Combination sleepers tend to toss and turn during the night, so they need a pillow that will support them no matter what position they take. A medium loft pillow will cradle the head and create a healthy spinal position.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best pillow for you will depend on the size of your mattress and your sleep habits. If you change positions throughout the night, it is a good idea to purchase a longer pillow. The extra length will ensure that your head and neck stay supported no matter how much you move.
It is a good idea to replace your pillow every 1 to 2 years. Certain pillow types, such as memory foam and latex foam, last longer due to the durability of the material.
Did We Help?
The right pillow size can improve the quality of your rest and create a more inviting sleep space. As you shop, be sure to keep your specific needs in mind. Your new pillow should fit comfortably on your mattress and keep you supported throughout the night.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.