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Bed Basics

Your Ultimate Guide to Bed Pillow Sizes

your easy guide to bed pillow sizes

Brought to you by our Sleep Experts™

If you’re here, you might’ve brought home a new mattress and now need the perfectly sized pillow to go along with your purchase. Or, you have the sneaking suspicion that you’ve been sleeping on the wrong size pillow for too long (perhaps your whole life?), and it’s time to make a change. Well, you’ve come to the right place: this is your go-to guide to find the pillow size that’s just right for how you sleep—and even how you want your bed to look and feel.

Let’s start with the basics.

How pillow sizes stack up: a chart

pillow size chart that shows pillow dimensions for standard, jumbo, queen, king, and body pillows

Standard size pillows

Standard pillow size dimensions are 20 x 26 inches (or 51 x 66 cm). Its convenient size makes it one of the most versatile – and most popular size – pillows. Look around any bedroom and this is the pillow you’re most likely to find.

Mattress match: This size goes best with a twin (one pillow) or full-size mattress (with two pillows). If you have a queen bed, you’ll need two; for king beds, three pillows are ideal to cover the width of the mattress.

Best for: Those who alternate sleeping on their stomach and side and tend to bunch up their pillows for added support. (Note: if you flip and turn a lot at night, you may want to shop a few sizes up, so you have more surface area to sleep.)

Pillowcase needed: Standard size works best, but a queen size pillowcase works in a pinch.

Jumbo size pillows

Jumbo pillow sizes — also known as Standard XL or Super-Standard — are a tad larger than Standard (at 20 x 28 inches), and a few inches smaller than a Queen pillow.

Mattress match: It’s perfect for smaller beds—use one pillow on a twin or full-size mattress, and it’ll be all you need. If you like to double up your pillows or just need one for a queen bed, go for two jumbo pillows.

Best for: Sleepers who go from side to stomach throughout the night and need a bit more sleep area than the typical Standard. (If you know, you know.)

Pillowcase needed: Jumbo or Queen.

Queen size pillows

A queen pillow typically measures 20 x 30 inches, which means it’ll fill out your bed surface and provide much more space to spread out and get comfy.

Mattress match: Surprise, surprise…it’s best for a queen bed. Two will look great side by side, with a few inches in between. If you like just one pillow on your twin bed, this could work, too.

Best for: The toss and turners who need more real estate to sleep or for those who are looking for more comfort and luxury—because who doesn’t love the feeling of being in a fancy hotel?

Pillowcase needed: We suggest a queen-size case, so your pillow doesn’t bunch up inside; try a standard or jumbo pillowcase if you’re wanting a firmer, loftier feel.

King size pillows

King size pillow dimensions are generally 20 x 36 inches, and they’ll make you feel positively royal. These are the biggest size, which makes them feel the most luxurious.

Mattress match: Get two of these for your king or California king, and you’re golden. Bonus: If you like the feel of one pillow to fill the frame of a smaller bed (like a twin), here’s a great alternative.

Best for: Back or side sleepers—because it provides added loft without having to fold over a pillow, or to pile on two pillows, for the comfort you’re after. It could even be used as body pillow for kids!

Pillowcase needed: King pillows need a king pillowcase. Game, set, sleep.

Body pillows

This size typically clocks in at 20 x 54 inches and serves as a much-needed “extra pillow” that can be used in a variety of surprising ways—like providing excellent lower-back support or for when you’re sitting up in bed to read or watch TV.

Mattress match: Due to its extra-long length, it can feel like having an additional body in bed, meaning it’s best for a queen- or king-sized bed.

Best for: Side sleepers who want body-hugging comfort; pregnant women who need added support and to stay in the side-sleep position; or for anyone looking to perfect their “pillow-scape” (as a decorative flourish).

Pillowcase needed: Body-size cases only.

How to choose a bed pillow size

stacked pillows by size

A great pillow is an essential part of your total sleep solution. Each size — from standard to king — offers up its own unique benefits. But there are a few key questions you’ll want to ask yourself first before hitting “buy now”:

What’s your mattress size? Typically, it’s either a twin, full, queen, king or California king. And as a rule of thumb: the smaller the bed, the smaller the pillow. But having a variety of sizes around the house won’t hurt — mix, match and combine as you please.

What kind of sleeper are you? We all sleep differently — it could be on your side, your back, on your stomach or a mix of all three. Knowing which one will be key to finding the right pillow size. Plus, if you suffer from other common sleep disruptors, read on for pillow types that can help.

What do you want your bed to look like? It’s all about aesthetics when it comes to our ideal sleep haven. You want a bed that looks as good as it feels, which is why choosing the right number and variety of pillows is important as well.

How much do you want to spend? If you’re looking for a budget option, your best bet is a standard pillow. As you progress up in sizes, the more you’ll need to spend. (But it’s an important investment in your overall quality of life, so well worth it.)

Pillow filling can matter as much as pillow size

You’ve found the right size pillow, but now it’s time to get even more specific. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of pillow stuffing you can find in pillows at Mattress Firm:

• Down: Hello, fluffy cloud. Best for stomach and side sleepers, this goose-down-filled pick will align your spine and keep you comfy all night. Shop Down Pillows

• Cooling: Sleepers who run hot, this one’s for you. Regulating your body temp all night means you’ll rack up more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Win-win! Shop Cooling Pillows

Memory Foam: For those who prefer a firmer cushion—back sleepers, we’re looking at you—these absorb your weight and distribute it evenly, plus provide stellar support for your neck and head. Shop Memory Foam Pillows

Latex: If you suffer from neck pain, give this type a try. It’s designed to keep air flowing and your muscles relaxed. Shop Latex Pillows

Gel Memory Foam: A best-of-both-worlds approach to getting the sleep you deserve. Shop Gel Memory Foam Pillows

• Hypoallergenic: Say goodnight to allergies with a pillow designed to keep dust mites off. Shop Hypoallergenic Pillows

Additional types of pillows

File these under Even Better and For Wherever Life Takes You. These specialty pillows may not follow traditional bed pillow sizing but they can help you get the rest you need, however you need it.

Travel Pillow: A required carry-on to squeeze in a few zzzs. Typically U-shaped, often made of memory foam to support your neck as you nod off. Shop Travel Pillows

• Throw Pillow: Decorative accents that’ll pull together the whole look of your bed or couch in a single toss. Shop Throw Pillows

• Euro Pillow: Large, square and typically go behind your other pillows. For sprucing up your bed and added back support so you can sit up. Shop Euro Pillows

• Orthopedic Pillow: These come in many different forms, all designed to correctly position specific parts of your body while asleep. Shop Orthopedic Pillows

• Wedge Pillow: Triangular and typically good for acid reflux or snoring. Shop Wedge Pillows

• Pregnancy Pillow: Designed to conform to the body and provide support, and to prevent aches and pains. Shop Pregnancy Pillows

• CPAP Pillows: Specifically made with cutouts or curves to accommodate those who need to wear CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks.

Pillow FAQs

  • What is the most common pillow size? Standard size is the most common size of pillow, which is 20 x 26 inches.
  • What is pillow loft? Pillow loft is the height of your pillow once your head is resting on it. Look for low, medium and high firmness options. The loft can vary, depending on the fill of a pillow.
  • How do you tell what size your pillow is? Break out the tape measure and run it along the edge of the pillow for the height and the width, instead of diagonally.
  • Do I need a pillow protector? Investing in a pillow protector is a good idea, especially if you've found the perfect pillow and would like to keep it for a while. A pillow protector is a buffer against tears, stains or moisture, including from sweat or spills.
  • When should I replace my pillow? you should replace your pillow about every 1-3 years, or when your pillow is causing discomfort. There are other common signs to look out for, too. Find out more
  • What is the best size pillow to sleep on? The best pillow size to sleep on is highly personal. Consider your sleep position, what keeps you up at night and the size of your bed when deciding. Visit your local Mattress Firm, where a Sleep Expert can provide a pillow fitting to help you try out different options and find the best pillow for your sleep style.

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