Finding the Right Size Pillow


24th November 2022

Buying a pillow can be difficult in a world where we’ve progressed beyond a single, standard size. Finding the right size pillow can significantly impact your sleep quality as each size of the pillow has its own advantages and can be used in different ways to maximise comfort. Here's a breakdown of the options to help you decide which is best.

  Standard Pillows Quick Link Image King Pillow Quick Link Image Standard Pillows Quick Link Image
(Width x Length)
  • Stomach, back and side sleepers who tend to bunch or squish the pillow.
  • Buyers who are seeking a pillow size that can fit on a variety of bed sizes and fit a standard pillowcase.
  • Those that use their pillow as a backrest when they read or sit in bed.
  • Buyers who are seeking decorative pillows.
  • People with king-size mattresses of or California-king-size.
  • People with broad shoulders, mainly back sleepers.
Suitable for
  • Stomach, back and side sleepers who tend to bunch or squish the pillow.
  • Buyers who are seeking a pillow size that can fit on a variety of bed sizes and fit a standard pillowcase.
  • Those that use their pillow as a backrest when they read or sit in bed.
  • Buyers who are seeking decorative pillows.
  • People with king-size mattresses of or California-king-size.
  • People with broad shoulders, mainly back sleepers.
  • One standard pillow will comfortably fit on a single bed, whereas two pillows will fit on a double-size, queen-size or larger bed.
  • It supports the majority of sleeping positions, is the most common type available.
  • Useful for relieving low back pressure when sitting up in bed.
  • Square shape will add flair to the sleep environment.
  • Side sleepers may benefit from the extra length of the pillows and not need to adjust the position after rolling from side to side.
  • Can also serve as a body pillow.
  • Insufficient surface area for sleepers with broad shoulders or high levels of movement.
  • They can appear quite small on a king mattress, with almost enough room for three across.
  • May not give enough head and neck support for prolonged use during sleep.
  • Centers tend to be softer than edges, so wearing down will be more rapid.
  • Sleepers with smaller frames might find it too big.
  • Too large to fit two across on a double-size bed.

You can choose between three pillow sizes at Manchester Warehouse: standard, king, and European pillow sizes. Pillows have advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one is based on your sleeping position and other criteria.

Select standard pillows from Manchester Warehouse that are suitable for queen-size pillowcases because they have high fill weights (1000gsm+) or high volume (high fill with gusset). They generally fit standard pillowcases, but if some users prefer a looser fit, we recommend shopping for queen-size cases.

Standard pillows measure 20 by 26 inches and are the smallest available size. A twin bed can comfortably fit one standard pillow, while a full or queen bed may need two. Generally, standard pillows are the most commonly available and are conveniently suitable for all sleepers, including back, stomach, and side sleepers.


The largest size of the pillow is the king-size pillow, measuring 20 by 36 inches. A King-size pillow is appropriate for those who are constantly moving or prefer a larger surface area. A pair of king pillows fit comfortably on a king or a California king-size bed. In addition, the extra length can make them easy to share but also fill the width of a king-size bed much better.


The European pillow size measures 26 by 26 inches. Its square shape makes it worthwhile for hip and knee support or as a backrest while sitting up.


The loft is also important when it comes to your pillow size. As pillows are three-dimensional and directly affect how comfortable you get whilst sleeping, the size of the pillow's height is just as if not more important than the width and length. The loft is where we refer to how tall or thick the pillow is, and it is affected by the type and amount of filling the pillow has. We recommend coming in-store to check out our pillow samples so you can get a better understanding of the feel of different pillow lofts. Typically, we recommend a low loft for stomach sleepers, as a too-high loft in a front sleeping position can cause neck pain and spinal misalignment. For back sleepers, a medium loft works best to elevate the head slightly and support the neck, so it doesn’t strain in the same way. For side sleepers, we recommend a pillow with a high loft size, particularly those with a gusset, for added height to properly support your head.

Pillows with Special Features

Furthermore, there are some special-purpose pillows available besides the four standard sizes.

The Body Pillow
The dimensions of a body pillow are typically 20 by 54 inches. Side sleepers benefit from body pillows because they allow the spine to be aligned better when placed between their legs. Body pillows are also recommended for pregnant women to ease back and hip pain.

V shape Pillows
V-shaped pillows provides extra support while sitting in a chair or bed. It features three sections, each with its filling and additional support in the centre, hence providing support where required. Additionally, you can use it on your lap while working, reading or relaxing.

Contoured Pillows

Pillow Size Guide
You can get better sleep by choosing the right size pillow. A good fit depends on several variables, including the size of the mattress, sleeping position, bedroom décor and aesthetics and value. Before buying your next pillow, let's look at some of the most critical factors.

Size of mattress – Your mattress size is important in determining the right pillow size for your bed. The width of a twin bed won't allow you to have more than one pillow across it. With smaller pillows, some space will remain on either side, whereas king size pillow covers most of the head area. Likewise, two standard pillows may seem too small and leave much space on a king mattress. Therefore, it would be wise to choose a standard pillow. For a kind size bed, if you prefer standard-size pillows, you may opt to buy three instead of two so that visually, it fills up the head of your bed and doesn’t look too empty.

Sleeping position – This factor is essential when choosing a pillow since certain pillow sizes are more suitable for specific sleeping positions. The standard size usually accommodates all sleep positions best, making it the most versatile. Its compact size makes a standard pillow ideal for back and stomach sleepers provided its loft isn't too high. A standard pillow can be folded or bundled for side sleepers to achieve the required height.

King pillows may be helpful for side sleepers who do not wish to mould their pillows and sleepers who switch sides frequently. It is also beneficial for back sleepers with broader shoulders. However, a king-size pillow may be too large for stomach sleepers. Usually, stomach sleepers prefer softer, thinner mattresses to maintain spinal alignment.

Aesthetics and Bedding – Besides comfort, your sleeping environment also influences the size of the pillow. It is common for people to buy a variety of pillows for aesthetic reasons, regardless of whether they use only one or more. For example, European square pillows complement rectangular pillows beautifully, making the bedroom more appealing. In addition, many prefer pillows that fill the bedhead without leaving much space, thus choosing the largest size that fits their mattress.

Value and Cost – Standard-size pillows are typically the most affordable and widely available, but the composition is generally what determines affordability. On the other hand, a king pillow is the most expensive and is only compatible with king-size pillowcases. In the absence of king bedding, you will have to buy separate pillowcases for the king-size pillow. However, you can interchange the pillowcases with both standard and queen pillows.

Versatility - Standard pillows are famous for their versatility since they accommodate most bed sizes and are perfect for adults and children. They are also convenient to use when travelling due to their smaller size. In addition, the king-size pillows are also used as backrests while sitting up, making them even more versatile.