When to Choose Rems or Pixels

The great thing about Rems

Rems (and ems) allow users to scale up the size of your site if they want. Make sure that the <html> element does not have a font-size attached to it because that will override the user’s defaults settings.

Rems should generally be the default but pixels are sometimes nice.

The great thing about pixels

Pixels are great for conserving horizontal space. For example, if you don’t want buttons in a row to stack on smaller screens, consider the gaps in between them in pixels. That way only the increased text will eat up their valuable horizontal space.

An example of them together on the same element

.container {
    max-width: 70rem;
    padding: 0 15px;
    margin: 0 auto;

Maybe this is the single best use of pixels! They keep the content from bumping right up against the edge of the user’s screen.

A max-width defined as Rems user-friendly because when the user increases the size of the text, the width of the container will grow to accomodate it.