YouTube Thumbnail Size & Format (2024)

Article last updated on:
April 18, 2024

YouTube thumbnails are best when they’re 1280×720 pixels, with a minimum width of 640 pixels (on a 16:9 ratio). The file size should be under 2MB, and it’s good to use formats like JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG for the best quality.

Illustration - Thumbnail Size

Make sure your thumbnail stands out and gives a clear idea of what your video is about.

Requirements for YouTube Thumbnails

Recommended Size1280×720 pixels
Minimum Width640 pixels
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Standard for YouTube videos)
Maximum File Size2MB
File FormatsJPG, GIF (not animated), BMP, or PNG

These are all a must — you should stick to them whenever you’re designing new thumbnails.

Additionally, make sure you respect these:

1. Size

  • Ideal size: 1280 x 720 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Minimum width: 640 pixels (to ensure good quality when scaled down)
  • Maximum file size: 2MB

2. File Type

  • JPG (.jpg)
  • PNG (.png)
  • GIF (.gif)

Realistically, JPG is the best format, followed by PNG. Nobody really goes for GIFs when it comes to thumbnails.

3. Why these specifications?

  • The 1280 x 720 size is large enough for high-quality previews even on larger screens. YouTube will scale it down for smaller displays.
  • A minimum of 640 pixels wide ensures the thumbnail won’t look blurry on any device.
  • The file size limit is to keep thumbnails loading quickly.

4. Bonus Tips

  • Use clear, eye-catching images that represent your video content.
  • Include text overlays to highlight keywords and benefits.
  • Use contrasting colors and bright elements to grab attention.
  • Keep it simple – avoid cluttering the thumbnail with too much information.

By following these guidelines, you can create YouTube thumbnails that will help your videos stand out and get more clicks.

YouTube Thumbnail Size in cm

The perfect size for YouTube thumbnails in centimeters is: W = 33,87 cm x H = 19,05 cm.

Thumbnail SizePixelsCentimeters
Width1280 px33.87 cm
Height720 px19.05 cm

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FAQ: YouTube Thumbnail Size

1. Can a YouTube thumbnail be 1920×1080?

Yes, a YouTube thumbnail can be 1920×1080 pixels. This size fits the 16:9 aspect ratio YouTube prefers and ensures your thumbnail looks sharp on various devices.

However: The minimum size YouTube recommends is 1280×720 pixels. Just make sure the file size doesn’t exceed 2MB.

2. What is the best YouTube thumbnail size?

The best YouTube thumbnail size is 1280×720 pixels, with a minimum width of 640 pixels. This size fits the 16:9 aspect ratio YouTube uses for its player.

Using this size ensures your thumbnails look good on different devices, from smartphones to large screens.

3. What does “16:9” mean in a YouTube thumbnail?

16:9 refers to the aspect ratio — which is the width of an image or screen in relation to its height.

  • For a 16:9 aspect ratio, for every 16 units of width, there are 9 units of height.
  • This ratio is standard for YouTube thumbnails and videos, providing a widescreen look that fits most modern screens and devices well.

4. Is JPG or PNG better for thumbnails?

For most YouTube thumbnails, JPG works well, balancing quality and load speed. Use PNG if you need high detail or transparency.

Perks of each format:

  • JPG: Great for smaller files, which speeds up loading times. Ideal for images with lots of colors and gradients. However, it uses lossy compression, which can reduce quality.
  • PNG: Offers higher quality with lossless compression, so it’s sharper and clearer, especially for images with text or icons. But, the file size can be larger, which might affect loading times.

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About the author

David is the head of the editing team at ThumbnailTest. With his help, the editorial team is able to provide you with the best free guides related to YouTube thumbnails and A/B testing.