The Ultimate Hat Sizing Guide

Creative and practical ways to determine your hat size at home.

You’ve looked high and low, and have finally picked out the perfect hat online. Now comes the tricky part: determining which size to buy. Most of us know our sizes and measurements for items like pants, shirts and shoes, and when in doubt, it’s generally easy enough to guess. But hat sizes can be another story entirely—and this is one personal item for which guessing generally just won’t cut it.

Here, we explore everything you need to know about hat sizing, including some of our favorite ways to find your perfect fit when trying on isn’t an option.

Why do hats come in so many sizes? 

Simple—because heads come in so many sizes! And many shapes, too. Some people have heads that are generally round, while others have more of an elongated shape, which is often described as “long oval.” 

Meanwhile, most head sizes fall within a common range, while others can fall on the extremely small or large ends of the size spectrum. With these factors combined, a simple hat purchase can quickly become a real head-scratcher if you’re not prepared. 

What are the most common hat sizes? 

Typically, adult hats will fall between 6 and ¾ on the small end, and 7 and ⅝ on the larger end. These sizes correspond to specific measurements of the circumference of your head, and depending on where you live, those measurements could be in either inches or centimeters. 

Our hat size chart lays out these most common hat sizes and measurements, as well as how they correlate to our more standard sizing of Small (S) through Extra Large (XL). 

What’s the best way to measure one’s hat size? 

For the most foolproof sizing, you can’t go wrong with a soft tape measure. But what if you don’t have one handy? You can also accomplish the same basic measurements by using a piece of string or twine, along with a standard ruler. Here’s how:

  1. First, wrap the tape measure or piece of string around the largest part of your head. As a general rule, this should be positioned about one half-inch above your eyebrows, across the mid-forehead and just above the ears. This is where your hat will ultimately rest. 
  2. If using a tape measure, record the measurement in your choice of inches or centimeters. If you only have a piece of string, keep track of the precise point where the end meets the slack as you wrap it around your head—then measure that length against a standard ruler to determine the measurement.
  3. Once you’ve measured your head, map your chosen measurement to our hat size chart.
  4. If the measurement falls between two corresponding sizes, go with the larger size. 

Is there a “standard” hat size?

Generally, no—but there are a few sizes that tend to be common. For men, the average head size is right around 23 and ¼ inches, which corresponds to a Large (L), while for women, the average size is around 22 and ⅜ inches, or a size Medium (M). 

Beyond these sizes, one option is to select a cap that’s listed as OSFM—meaning One Size Fits Most. These hats are made to suit a range of common Medium (M) and Large (L) measurements, and may incorporate features such as elastic banding that enable them to stretch or contract to fit a wide range of head sizes. With these hats, you can skip the measuring and the guesswork, and still take home a generally well-fitting hat in a snap. 

Are there any other ways to determine hat size? 

Sometimes, you may not have access to a tape measure nor a piece of string when you need to figure out your hat size. In such cases, you could always compare your measurements to your favorite sized baseball cap, assuming you have one handy. (The sizing will typically be printed on a tag or directly on the inside of the cap.)

Alternatively, you could try on a friend or family member’s sized hat, and try to extrapolate whether you need a larger or smaller fit than theirs. If the borrowed hat is too large for you, see if adding one finger to the interior liner, against your forehead, helps the fit. One adult finger loosely correlates to 2 centimeters, which could help you gauge if you’re the next full size down. Granted, this method is very imprecise, so your best bet is always to try to measure. 

What if the size is still wrong? 

The truth is, hat sizing is not an exact science. Every head is different, and even with the most accurate measurements, hat sizing can vary by hat style, material, or even in the presence of a liner or sweatband. 

Thankfully, with Panama Jack, you have a number of options. If your head falls between sizes and your hat is a bit too roomy, we offer free “hat spacers” that can help you achieve just the right fit. And when in doubt, you can always contact us directly with your questions about sizing.

With these tips and hands-on support, you can take the guesswork out of choosing the right hat, and you’ll be sporting the perfect fit in no time at all.