King vs. Standard Pillowcase Size

Updated July 19, 2017

Sleeping pillows are manufactured for various support, fill and size preferences. A king-size pillow is designed for a king or California-king mattress, and a standard-size pillow is suitable for all sizes of mattresses. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to both king and standard pillows, and the choice is ultimately a personal decision.

Benefit of a King-Size Pillow

A king-size pillow typically measures 20 by 36 inches, making a pair ideal for a king-size bed. However, a king-size pillow might be desirable for a single sleeper who prefers a larger pillow, even if that person sleeps on a queen-size, or smaller, mattress. Because it offers more surface area, it is more comfortable for some people.

Drawbacks of a King-Size Pillow

Because a king-size pillow is designed for a king-size bed, sheet sets sold for any other size bed will contain pillowcases that are too small. Anyone who wants to sleep with a king-size pillow who does not purchase king-size sheets will need to buy king-size pillowcases separately. A king-size pillowcase is typically 21 inches by 40 inches with a 4-inch overhang. However, these measurements might vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Benefits of a Standard-Size Pillow

A standard-size pillow typically measures 20 by 26 inches and is very flexible. One can fit comfortably on a twin bed; two can fit comfortably on a full- or queen-size bed; and three will fit across a king or California-king size bed. Standard pillows are an excellent choice for someone who may be purchasing a different sized mattress in the near future and does not wish to purchase new pillows at that time.

Drawbacks of a Standard-Size Pillow

As with a king-size pillow, standard pillows require properly sized pillowcases. If you are using a twin, double or queen bed, your sheets sets will likely include standard pillowcases already. However, queen-size pillows and pillowcases do exist. A king-size sheet set will contain pillowcases too large, requiring you to purchase pillowcases separately or take in the seams. A standard pillowcase typically measures 21 by 30 inches and also has a 4-inch hem.

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About the Author

A first-time home owner and do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast, Tanya Watson has been chronicling her home-improvement and design experiences on her blog, Dans le Townhouse, since 2010. Her areas of expertise include budget-conscious home renovations, decorating and DIY projects. Watson is a Ph.D. candidate in women studies with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in philosophy.