Hat size is key to wearing hats. If your hat is too small, it feels like your brain’s circulation is cut off and shortly after a headache is likely triggered. If your hat is too big, you end up losing it the second a gust of wind hits the brim! The solution to both of these issues is finding the proper hat size for your head.

Heads come in all shapes and sizes and some heads even need custom hats made to fit their noggin perfectly. It can definitely be a trying task attempting to find the perfect hat size for your head, but hat buyers do not fret! We have established a wonderful hat-sizing guide to help you learn how to measure hat size.

All you will need is a head, a positive attitude and a measuring tape! Sometimes it helps to have a second pair of hands to ensure the measuring tape is measuring the proper hat size. Having an extra set of eyes and hands is always a good idea to ensure proper hat sizing. Plus, it is always more fun to have a friend help you out.

Ways to Measure Hat Size

straw hat

There are different ways to measure your hat size. You can use a measuring tape, a hat sizing hat tape guide or simply head to a hat store and have a professional handle your head for you. Whatever method you end up utilizing, be sure you are correct in your measurement, so that you can get the perfect fit for your hat and head.

tape measure

One way to measure your hat size is to use a measuring tape at home. Make sure to measure your head from the forehead all the way around your head. The starting point for a perfect fit is to measure the head of the person you are knitting for. It is super key that the tape measure goes around the widest part of the head. Keep the tape level and firm just above the eyebrow ridges and make sure the tape goes across both temples.  Make sure to measure your head exactly where the hat will sit! To ensure proper measurement, do this multiple times until you get the same measurement over and over again.

If you do not have a tape measure handily available, you can download, print and assemble this hat tape and coordinating hate size chart to do it without a tape measure. The hat tape is very handy to easily measure the size of your head and coordinate it to basic hat sizing charts that are used in today’s world of hats. Make sure to round up in size if you are in between traditional sizes.

Average Hat Circumferences

Average Head Circumference

Average Hat Circumference


13 to 14 inches

11.5 to 13 inches

Baby (3 to 6 months)

14 to 17 inches

12.5 to 14 inches

Baby (6 to 12 months)

16 to 19 inches

14.5 to 16 inches

Toddlers (1 to 3 years old)

18 to 20 inches

16.5 to 18 inches

Children (3 to 10 years old)

18 to 20 inches

16.5 to 18 inches

Pre-teens and Teenagers

20.5 to 22 inches

19 to 20.5 inches

Adult (Women)

21.5 to 22.5 inches

20 to 21.5 inches

Adult (Men)

23 to 24 inches

21.5 to 23 inches

Throughout the evolution of hats and hat wearing, human kind has developed an average hat circumference for different developmental sizes of growth. From newborns to adult males and females, using the average circumference size can help you determine what size of hat you should make if you are knitting a hat or what size of hat you should buy for someone other than yourself.

Average hat circumference sizes vary depending on your age, height, size and head shape. Here are basic hat circumference sizes that have been recorded over years of knitting and making hats. I found this to be the most accurate and easy to read hat circumference sizing guide.

For newborns, average head circumference is thirteen to fourteen inches and average hat circumference is eleven and a half to thirteen inches. For a baby aged three to six months, average head circumference is fourteen to seventeen inches and average hat circumference is twelve and a half to fourteen inches. For babies aged six to twelve months, average head circumference is sixteen to nineteen inches and average hat circumference is fourteen and a half to sixteen inches.

For Toddlers aged from one year to three years old, average head circumference is eighteen to twenty inches and average hat circumference is sixteen and a half to eighteen inches. For children aged three to ten years old, average head circumference is eighteen to twenty inches and average hat circumference is and a sixteen and half to eighteen inches. For those pre-teens and teenagers, average head circumference is twenty and a half to twenty-two inches and average hat circumference is nineteen to twenty and a half inches.

When it comes to adults, women and men typically have different average size head and hat circumferences. For adult females, average head circumference is twenty one and a half to twenty-two and a half inches and average hat circumference is twenty to twenty-one and a half. For adult males, average head circumference is twenty-three to twenty-four inches and average hat circumference is twenty-one and a half to twenty-three inches.

This sizes are completely averages and do not guarantee a snuggly fitting hat. If you really want to make sure a hat is custom fit to the head that is trying to wear it, use the tools above to properly learn how to measure hat size. Once you order a hat based on the specifications listed in this article, the next thing to do is ensure the fit is proper once you buy the hat (or try it on)!

Check for Hat Fit

man wearing white cap

So you finally ordered a new hat and think you ordered the right size, but then it shows up, you put it on and it does not fit you like you thought it would. What do you do then?

Do you send the hat back?

Do you give up on hats forever?

Do you yell at your head for being a weird shape and not fitting into the hat even though you spent an hour ensuring and measuring and re-measuring in order to avoid this exact situation?

What do you do?

You check the hat for proper fit and this is how.

There are a few guidelines when it comes to checking for proper hat fitting and sizing. First, when trying on a new hat, make sure the sweatband inside the hat fits securely on the head without binding. Make sure it does not fall if you give it the ‘head-banging test.’ The ‘head-banging test’ is really easy to try out. Just bang your head around like you have time traveled back to the eighties and are head banging at a hair metal band concert.

What is hair metal you may ask? Major hair metal bands include legends such as Motely Crue, Def Leppard or Guns N’ Roses.

Channel your inner head banger and bang your head away. If the hat falls off, it is too big.

In-between Sizes

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Like we stated above, all heads are not created equal. Although we may wish they were for the sake of hat shopping, we have to accept the truth that every head has its own unique size, shape and circumference.

Most heads fit in the ‘in-between sizes’ size. This means it can be even more difficult to measure your head correctly and find the proper hat size. For those tricky in-between sizes, there are a few tricks and tools to help muster that quarter inch or eighth inch space and create the perfectly snug hat-to-head ratio.

Greater comfort for those in-between hat sizes heads can be found in using felt pads inside the hat’s sweatband. Felt hat pads are super helpful and can greatly improve the fit of a hat to an ‘in-between sized’ head. Felt pads will tighten the fit when the hat is just a tad too loose are a very affordable option for helping your hat fit properly. A lot of nice hats will come with felt pads when you drop the dollars on a more expensive hat, but you can also order them here.

A good rule to follow is that the top of the crown of your head should not be low enough where it touches the top of your head and does not allow the hat to come down far enough to sit snuggly on your head. If it does this, you probably need a smaller size hat.

The Perfect Fit

Figuring out how to measure hat size is a crucial part in successfully finding the perfect hat for you.  You can check the fit by following the guidelines listed above and go from there!

Although the process seems tedious and daunting, we assure you that there is indeed a hat out there for your head. You will eventually find the perfect fit and once you do, we urge you to hold on to that hat and maybe order two!

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