Difference Between California King And King Mattress Sizes

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The common assumption is that California king is larger than the standard king. Surprisingly, this is not true. While the California king is longer than the standard king, it’s less wide, and has less surface area overall.

In other words, the main difference between a King and California King mattress is in the width and length. California kings are longer and narrower than standard kings—a king bed is 76 inches by 80 inches, and a California king bed is 72 inches by 84. As a result, tall sleepers or couples with narrower master bedrooms often choose California kings. In short, King is the widest and the California King is the longest conventionally-sized mattress.

What is California King Mattress Size?

As the name suggests, the California king mattress was conceived of in California as an alternative to the popular king size mattress. Also known as a Western king, it measures 72 inches by 84 inches, and is identical to two twin XL mattresses put together. This mattress size is also great for couples, especially for sleepers over 6 feet tall. Since the Cal king mattress is more narrow than a king-size, it may have room to fit 1 to 2 small children in addition to two adults.

California king beds are the second-largest standard size in the mattress industry with 6,048 square inches of total surface area. Cal king mattresses are ideal for master bedrooms measuring 12 feet by 12 feet, though a room size 12 feet by 14 feet would be better to accommodate the bed’s extra length.

Some sleepers mistakenly believe a California king size mattress is more luxurious than a king mattress, but it is not. What makes a luxury mattress usually comes down more to high-quality materials than mattress size along.

California King is recommended for:

  • Anyone over 6 feet tall (particularly for back and stomach sleepers)
  • Those who sleep with pets at the foot of the bed
  • Bedrooms that are more narrow

What is King Size Mattress?

A king size mattress measures 76 inches by 80 inches —the equivalent of two twin beds placed next to each other. A king-size bed (otherwise known as an Eastern king) is designed to accommodate two sleepers but has room for children who like to snuggle with their parents at night.

The standard king size bed is the largest mattress size on the market, covering a total surface space of 6,080 square inches. This bed size is perfect for larger master bedrooms at least 12 feet by 10 feet, though we recommend 13 feet by 13 feet for the best balance of space.

As the largest mattress size, a king mattress is the bed of choice for anyone seeking more personal space for better sleep. It’s excellent for couples who can’t sleep too close without feeling overheated or cramped, but who still want the proximity of their partner.

King is recommended for:

  • Couples
  • Families with small children who share the bed
  • Bedrooms that have ample width
  • Budget-minded shoppers

California King vs King Mattress Sizes: Key Takeaways

BasisCalifornia KingKing
Width72 inches76 inches
Length84 inches80 inches
Total Surface Area6,048 square inches6,080 square inches
Room SizeBetter for narrow roomsBetter for wide rooms
Bedding & AccessoriesLess common, may be pricierMore readily available, varied
CouplesGood for extra lengthGood for extra width
CostMay be slightly more expensiveOften more budget-friendly
AvailabilityLess common, may be harder to findWidely available
Personal PreferenceDepends on preference and room sizeDepends on preference and room size
ComfortExtra lengthExtra width

California King Matress

Pros

  • Great for couples
  • Comfortably fits taller individuals because it’s longer than a traditional King-size bed
  • Can fit in a narrower but longer room

Cons

  • More expensive than most other mattress sizes (but typically the same price as a King)
  • Can be too big for some individuals
  • Difficult to move
  • Can be more difficult to find accessories for

King Matress

Pros

  • Comfortably sleeps two people
  • Can fill a large space, like a master bedroom
  • Is wider than a California King, making it a great option for those that like to spread out
  • Easy to find accessories for

Cons

  • More expensive than most other mattress sizes (but typically the same price as a California King)
  • Can be too short for tall people
  • Can be too big for some individuals
  • Difficult to move