pillow sizes

We’re used to thinking of pillows as mainly the same size, but the truth is that sizes for pillows typically vary by the size of the bed you own. Sizes also vary from brand to brand.

It may seem trivial, but next time you’re buying pillows, it’s worthwhile to think about. We seek to standardize pillow sizes, with some caveats – the same way we did with mattress sizes. We’ll also introduce you to each pillow type, what they’re used for and how to size them appropriately.

Pillow Dimensions by Bed Size

Here are the most common pillow dimensions by bed size, from smallest to largest.

Standard Pillow Size

Standard size pillows usually measure at around 20″ x 26″ or 20” x 28”. They are the most popular choice for smaller beds, such as the twin and the full beds. One of these pillows is enough for a twin, while you’ll need to get two for a full or queen, or more if you’re feeling decadent.

Queen Pillow Size

Queen pillows, as the name suggests, are ideal for a queen size bed thanks to their 20″ x 30″ sizing. The average queen bed needs two of these, although you may want to buy an extra one if you’re decorating or simply subscribe to #CozyCulture.

Most pillowcases fit these, and they’re ideal if you move around at night because they have enough volume to support you no matter which way you turn.

Not all brands, including Helix Sleep, make queen size pillows. Our standard size is 20” x 28” and our king is 20” x 36”. If you have a queen bed or smaller, we usually recommend a standard-sized pillow.

King Pillow Size

The king size pillow is ideal for both the king and the California king bed, offering a bit more size than queen pillows at 20″ x 36″. These are the best pillows for sleepers who move around at night, as well as people who want to 2 pillows to cover the width of the mattress end to end.

Which Pillowcase Size Should I Get?

There are only two real pillow cover sizes. The standard pillowcase works for both standard and queen size pillows, while the king-size pillowcase is for all larger pillowcases.

Should Sleeping Position Factor Into My Pillow Size?

Your sleeping position should not factor into your pillow size choices. It’s really about comfort, personal preference and fit to the mattress.

If you like soft pillows and have a king-size bed, get a suitable feather or down pillow. If you like firm pillows, find a firm pillow that suits your comfort needs. It’s really that simple.

What About Other Types of Pillows?

Pillows aren’t created equally, not for comfort and not for decorating. Square pillows (sometimes called Euro pillows) are big pillows at around 26″ x 26″, which makes them excellent for home decor. Smaller pillows exist for specialty purposes, including back or neck comfort.

Be sure to evaluate your needs when choosing the type of pillow to buy. Here are the common types of pillows you should also consider for your bed and home decor.

Wedge Pillows

Wedge pillows are triangular pillows that go from your lower back to your head, gently inclining you upward. The wedge pillow is the best pillow for back sleepers who have difficulty sleeping flat and want a sleeping pillow that’s large and firm enough to prevent that. These are the best firm pillow options, too, since they’re sturdy enough to support significant amounts of body weight.

The best wedge pillows are typically 24″ x 24″ x 10″.

Adjustable Pillows

You can switch an adjustable pillow between different sizes based on your current preferences, making it the best pillow for varying needs. Adding different interiors below the pillow protector can change its firmness without requiring you to buy another pillow.

Adjustable pillows are typically 18″ x 26″ (standard) or 18″ x 34″ (king).

Cooling Pillows

Cooling pillows are one of the best pillows for side sleepers, and easily the best pillow ever if you sleep hot at night. Cooling pillows can disperse heat through the pillow and prevent it from building up to uncomfortable levels at night.

Cooling pillows are usually 20″ x 28″ (standard) or 20″ x 36″ (king).

Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam pillows are different from regular pillows because they’re made of solid foam. Although well-cushioned, memory foam pillows are good for back sleepers and neck support but may sleep hotter at night than non-memory foam based pillows

These pillows come in many sizes but usually match the industry standards to ensure they fit other pillowcases.

Decorative Pillows & Throw Pillows

Decorative pillows are a different pillow style than most. Rather than being used for sleeping, most decorative pillows exist solely for their aesthetic appeal. Thus, their appearance and materials are the only considerations that truly matter.

Body Pillow

Body pillows are good for side who want to hold onto something and provide relief in the lower back region. In some cases, these are good for shoulder pain while sleeping because they allow you to keep your arm in a completely different position at night. If you need a special pillow for medical reasons, ask your doctor if a body pillow is the right pillow for you.

Couch Pillows

As the name suggests, the couch pillow is for tossing on your couch instead of using it as your bed pillow. These are usually decorative pillows, but some couch pillows pull double duty for hideaway beds.

Adam Tishman
Adam is a co-founder and CEO of Helix Sleep

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