Are you pillow shopping? Maybe you’re looking to refurbish your guest house, or you need a replacement for the sagging pillow in your bedroom? Whatever the reason, your goal is to ensure you don’t end up with a stiff neck in the deal.
We’ve all had the experience of sleeping with the wrong size pillow to suit our body or sleeping position. We’re sure you’ll agree it’s no fun waking up to pain. If terms like “pillow loft” are new to you, or you have no idea there are different pillow designs to suit your sleeping position, then this guide is for you.
- What are the Standard Pillow Sizes Available?
- Standard Size Pillow Dimensions
- Queen Pillow Dimensions
- King Pillow Dimensions
- Body Pillow Dimensions
- How Do I Choose the Right Pillow Loft?
- What are the Different Types of Pillow Materials?
- How to Measure Your Pillow Size
- What Are the Differences Between Pillow Shams and Pillowcases?
- Tips for Choosing the Right Pillow to Match Your Sleeping Style
- Standard Pillow Size FAQ
What are the Standard Pillow Sizes Available?
The pillowcases size curve comes in four options, with specific measurements defining each pillow’s dimensions. Here are the standard pillowcase sizes you can expect to find when shopping.
|20” x 26”
|$20 to $100
|20” x 30”
|$30 to $175
|20″ x 36″
|$40 to $200+
|20” x 54”
|$30 to $300+
Standard Size Pillow Dimensions
So, what size is a standard pillow? The answer is 20-inches by 26-inches. Walk into any retailer, browse any website, and visit any hotel, and you’re going to find standard pillow sizes matching these dimensions anywhere in the world.
The standard pillow size is the most popular choice in countries worldwide due to its versatility in various applications.
It’s also a great choice for people who don’t change their sleeping position much throughout the night. However, it’s not ideal for combination sleepers, as their head may come off the pillow when changing sleeping positions. However, fixed position sleepers will find these pillows to suit them just fine.
They are a suitable choice for side, back, and stomach sleeping positions, and it fits across a twin bed, with two standard pillows being ideal side-by-side for a queen bed. The standard pillow size US hotels use follows these dimensions, and you’ll also find them in guest houses.
How big is a standard pillow compared to a king-size pillow? It’s a lot smaller, and it’s not a good choice for a king-size bed, as you’ll need three of them lying side-by-side to cover the width.
You might also come across the “super standard” pillow. Some manufacturing brands offer this addition to the standard size curve, giving you an extra two inches in length (20″ x 28″).
The width remains the same, and you’ll find the super standard pillow fits inside a standard-size pillowcase.
Queen Pillow Dimensions
The next step up in the size curve is the queen. What size is a queen pillow? The standard queen pillow size is 20-inches by 30-inches, and there might be some slight difference of an inch between manufacturing brands.
The extra length in the queen pillow compared to the standard/ super standard pillow makes it a better choice for combination or restless sleepers.
The queen offers a snug fit to the standard pillowcase, making it versatile. However, if you’re increasing the thickness of the pillow beyond 20-inches, it’s a good idea to go with the king-size pillowcase instead.
A queen pillow fits across a twin bed, and two provide the perfect fit for a queen bed. Two queen pillows fit tight across a full-size bed, and they leave a slight gap on either side of the king when placed in the center of the bed.
King Pillow Dimensions
So, how big is a king-size pillow? It’s the king of the size curve, so what size is a king pillow? The king pillow measures 20-inches by 36-inches, but the size may differ slightly between brands.
If you’re a restless combination sleeper, then the king pillow ensures your head never wanders away from support during the night.
These pillows also offer plenty of size and support. They are ideal for reading or binge-watching Ozarks on Netflix from the comfort of your bed.
A king pillow stretches across a twin bed or full-size, and two of them reach the edges of a king-size bed when side-by-side. King pillows fit king-size pillowcases, with dimensions of 20″ to 21″ by 36″ to 41″.
Body Pillow Dimensions
We conclude the pillow size curve with the “body pillow.” This model comes with the same 20-inch width as the other three models in the size curve, but it has an extra-long length of 54-inches.
These pillows are ideal for side sleepers. They give you a pillow that supports your head, wrapping around the spine and between your knees for a more holistic level of comfort and support.
The body pillow reduces pressure between the knees while supporting the hips and back, right up to the shoulders. They are ideal for fixed-position side-sleepers needing more pressure relief and the perfect posture pillow for pregnant women.
How Do I Choose the Right Pillow Loft?
The pillow size is only one aspect of choosing the right pillow to match your sleeping style and enhance sleep quality. The “pillow loft” also makes a huge difference in the sleep experience you receive from your pillow.
The loft refers to the height of the pillow from the mattress. Pillows with low lofts are closer to the mattress surface.
As a result, low-lofts are ideal for stomach sleepers who would receive a neck crank from sleeping with a high loft pillow. They also might suit some back sleepers with neck issues and need a flatter neck posture when sleeping.
A mid-loft pillow suits back sleepers that need more support in the gap between the back of the head and the neck.
The mid-loft keeps the airways open while asleep to prevent apnea and snoring. High-loft pillows are the best choice for side sleepers, as they offer the most support possible to maintain spinal alignment when sleeping on your side, preventing sagging that leads to a stiff neck in the morning.
What are the Different Types of Pillow Materials?
Foam pillows are available in a shredded or solid filling and in a range of foam materials. You have polyester, bamboo, memory foam, and hybrid foam materials options.
Shredded foam offers you the best pillow molding, while solid foam provides the best fixed-position support for the cervical spine.
Down pillows feature a filling with duck or goose down. It’s incredibly soft and plush, but it offers terrible support unless it comes with a hybrid design, including memory foam.
They are easy to shape at night, but they are not the right choice for anyone dealing with neck pain.
This filling is cheap and found in most guesthouses and motel pillows to reduce operating costs for the establishment.
These pillows have good airflow, by PE tends to hold onto heat, and they don’t efficiently wick the moisture from your scalp away to the edges of the pillow.
Memory Foam Pillows
These pillows come in shredded and solid formats. Memory foam is a specialist foam designed to return to its original position.
There are many models ergonomically shaped to support the cervical spine. As a result, you’ll find that doctors and physiotherapists or chiropractors will recommend memory foam pillows to their patients.
The solid foam models are more for therapeutic pain relief, while the shredded models are more for plush comfort and shaping.
How to Measure Your Pillow Size
To ensure you get the best sleep experience with your new pillow, we recommend measuring things up before placing your order.
Don’t use tailors measuring tape for taking your pillow dimensions – use a stiff carpenters tape.
Hold the pillow corners and measure from one side to the other. Round up the reading to the nearest inch, in line with the size cure we showed you earlier.
What Are the Differences Between Pillow Shams and Pillowcases?
A pillowcase features design and construction with the same materials used in bedding linen. Most pillowcases come in sets where the pillowcase materials match the bedsheet.
Pillow shams serve a more decorative than functional purpose. Shams feature design and construction with heavier, more luxurious, and stylish or colorful fabrics than standard pillowcases.
Some shams are suitable for sleeping, but most just serve a decorative purpose in the bedroom or on couches in the lounge. You’ll also find that shams have a slip in the center of the rear of the pillowcase for changing the pillow.
Tips for Choosing the Right Pillow to Match Your Sleeping Style
Did you know that manufacturers design pillows for specific sleeping styles? If you’re waking up with a stiff neck in the morning, it might be because you’re using the wrong type of pillow.
Pillows for Back Sleepers
A back sleeper has the best spinal alignment of any sleep position. If you sleep on your back, you’re probably not going to have many mornings where you wake up in pain. However, the key to a comfortable sleep for back sleepers is mid-loft and decent support between the slope of the neck and shoulders.
Pillows for Side Sleepers
A side sleeper has the furthest distance from the base of the cervical spine to the mattress. As a result, side sleepers need a pillow with the highest loft possible to support ideal spinal alignment during sleep. To stop the shoulders from bearing the brunt of the weight in the position, look for a firmer pillow to provide more support and pressure relief.
Pillows for Stomach Sleepers
Stomach sleeping is terrible for the spine. However, some people who sleep in this position find it’s the only way to get some shuteye. You need a pillow with the least amount of loft possible. Too much loft will push the neck out of alignment, causing injury or muscle stiffness in the morning.
Pillows for Combination Sleepers
Do you toss and turn at night? Then you are a “combination” or “restless” sleeper. If that’s the case, you probably like a pillow that you can mold and fluff to get the ideal support for your position. If that’s the case, look for a filled pillow with shredded memory foam. These designs allow you to adjust the loft to your preference. These pillows are also longer than most models, preventing your head from slipping off when turning at night.
Standard Pillow Size FAQ
What are the most common pillowcase sizes?
The most common pillow sizes in the US are the standard and super standard pillows. You’ll find these pillows in hotels, guest houses, and motels across the country and around the globe. They are a good all-around choice but not ideal for combination sleepers.
Do I need a firm or a soft pillow?
It’s a matter of preference and what you need from your pillow. If you’re dealing with neck pain, speak to your doctor. They are likely to recommend a memory foam pillow with a solid filling and plenty of support to suit your sleeping style. If you’re a side sleeper or restless sleeper, you may appreciate a soft pillow that conforms to your fluffing and shaping of the pillow while you adjust your sleeping position.
Is a standard pillow the same size as a queen pillow?
No, the standard pillow measures 20″ x 26″. The super standard pillow measures 20″ x 28″ and the queen pillow measure 20″ x 30″. Some manufacturers may differ on the length by an inch or so, but the width is generally consistent in these sizes.
What is the right pillow size for infants?
If your baby is younger than 18-months, they don’t need a pillow. Baby’s first pillow should measure 10″ × 16″, and two to three years old’s will need a 13″ × 18″ pillow, with four to five-year-old’s graduating to a 16″ × 22″ pillow, and kids 6 to 12-years requiring a pillow measuring 18″ × 24″.
How do I know what size pillow I’m currently using?
Our review shows you the standard pillow size curve. Most manufacturers leave the pillow size on a label attached to the pillow. If you can find it, you’ll have to measure the pillow by hand to find out the size.