It is a common misconception that California king beds are larger than standard king mattresses. Standard king beds are 4 inches wider than Cal kings. Both options are great for individuals who want beds with ample space.
However, the Cal king bed is more narrow and provides additional space at the foot of the bed for taller sleepers. In this article, we’ll compare king and California king beds so you can choose the best fit for you.
What is a King Size Mattress?
A king size bed, also known as an Eastern king, accommodates two sleepers. King beds are one of the largest standard bed sizes and measure 76 inches by 80 inches. These beds are much larger than queen beds and offer more personal space for couples to spread out while asleep.
It’s best to place king beds in a large bedroom to keep your space from feeling crowded. It’s worth mentioning regular king beds are a bit bulky, and moving them can be a struggle.
Benefits of Choosing a King
Standard king beds are an ideal choice for individuals who sometimes sleep with their small children. These beds are extra wide and can accommodate an extra sleeper without making your bed feel too crowded.
King beds are also versatile as you can pair them with adjustable bases or split foundations. Split king beds are a popular choice for couples with different sleeping styles. A split king mattress is separated into two halves and is the size of two twin XL mattresses.
When you pair a split king with an adjustable base, it gives sleepers the option to customize their sleeping angle for more restorative rest.
What is a California King Size Mattress?
The main difference between a standard king and Cal king mattress is in their dimensions. A California king bed (also known as the “Western king”) is about four inches taller and more narrow than a king sized mattress. These beds measure 72 inches by 84 inches and are one of the longest standard bed sizes.
Like standard king beds, you’ll want to provide these beds with adequate space in your bedroom. Buying a big mattress may also cause you to run into a few issues.
For instance, Cal king beds are usually heavy and harder to move around. This could make it more difficult to transport your mattress, especially if you are an individual with limited mobility or joint pain.
Finding the correct bed frame or foundations for Cal king beds can also be a stressful task. Choosing the incorrect size will not provide your bed with a stable foundation and may cause sleeping disruption or ruin your bed.
Benefits of Choosing a California King
Cal king beds are longer and are an excellent choice for taller people, especially those taller than 6 feet. The extra length of the Cal king bed also leaves room at the foot of the bed for stuff like a folded spare blanket. Plus, Cal king beds may also have split king options for couples with differing sleep preferences.
King vs. California King Mattress: Which is Better?
You’ll want to review a few key factors before you make your purchase. When you’re looking for the best mattress size, you’ll want to keep in mind the size of your room and limitations on your budget. In the next section, we outline both mattresses and how they compare to your individual sleep needs.
Both Cal king and standard king beds require large bedrooms. It’s best to place these beds in a master bedroom or a room at least 12 feet by 12 feet.
We recommend leaving around 24 inches of space between each side of your bed and the surrounding walls of the bedroom. This will prevent your room from feeling cluttered and leave you with plenty of walking space.
Since Cal king beds are longer, they usually look best in narrow rooms, while standard kings are best suited for expansive bedrooms. This is not an official rule you need to follow, but it might add to the overall aesthetic of your bedroom.
King beds are 4 inches wider than Cal kings, which gives couples maximum space to move around while asleep. Though a Cal king bed may seem bigger, these beds only offer 4 inches of additional legroom. Cal king beds are still a good choice for couples, but the extra length may not leave much room for you and your partner to sprawl out.
California king beds are more expensive than standard king beds because they are less popular. Cal king bed prices range between $1400 to $3500. Along with the initial purchase price, accessorizing your mattress may be expensive as well. Bed frames, box springs, and fitted sheets usually cost more than comparable items for standard king beds.
King beds are typically a better option for shoppers with a limited budget. You can purchase a quality king bed for as low as $700, while some luxury items may cost up to $4000.
Most mattress manufacturers have standard king beds available for purchase, but king beds may be a bit harder to find. Since there is not a demand for Cal king beds, most brands do not carry this size.
This is also true for additional bedding accessories, like comforter sets and fitted sheets. It may be difficult to find bed sheets that tightly wrap around Cal king beds. Some sleepers have complained about bedding slipping off due to purchasing the incorrect sheet size.
You can find fitted sheets for king beds at most mattress stores. So, you might be better off opting for a standard king bed instead.
More Mattress Sizes to Consider
For some shoppers, neither a king or a California king size mattress will suit them. Perhaps it is too big or too costly. Such shoppers may want to consider one of the other four standard mattress sizes.
The smallest standard mattress size that an adult sleeper would consider is a twin size mattress. Measuring 38 inches wide by around 74 or 75 inches long, a twin mattress can fit into most bedrooms.
The next step up from a twin mattress, a twin XL size mattress, is the better choice for most adult sleepers, especially one who are about 6 feet tall. A twin XL size mattress is 38 inches wide and 80 inches long, making it an excellent choice for sleepers who need more legroom.
A full size mattress is significantly wider than a twin mattress, measuring 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. This gives sleepers more room to stretch out and move in their sleep, increasing comfort. However, despite the bed’s roomier nature, we can only recommend it for single sleepers. Couples sharing a full mattress are likely to feel cramped.
Queen mattresses are the last large mattress size before king mattresses, and they are the smallest size we can recommend for couples. Measuring 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, a queen bed that serves as a mattress for couples gives each partner about 30 inches of sleeping space.
Deciding between a Cal king and a standard king bed will ultimately come down to a few factors. If you have a vast bedroom, it may be better to stick with a standard king. California king beds are usually better suited for those with narrow bedrooms.
Both Cal kings and king beds are good options for couples. However, the extra 4 inches of width on the king bed will keep it from feeling too crowded. Not to mention, if you sleep with your children, you’ll have additional space to share with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Queen beds are another great option for couples, but they don’t provide as much space as king beds. A standard queen bed measures 60 inches by 80 inches, providing equal space for you and your partner. Purchasing a queen bed may be a good option if you have a smaller bedroom that cannot accommodate a king.
Twin box springs will not work on Eastern king or California king mattresses. A regular twin is 38 inches by 74 inches long, and a twin XL is 38 inches by 80 inches long. A Cal king bed is 72 by 84 inches. Two twin XLs measure approximately 76 inches by 80 inches, making them better suited for standard king beds.
Generally, the dimensions of your mattress should be the same as your bed frame for the best fit. However, when choosing a new bed frame, take your mattress dimensions and add 2 to 5 extra inches to each side. This added space is for the bed frame’s structure and any special features it might include, like drawers or shelves.
California king beds get their name from their origin. The first Cal king bed was created in the 1960s by a furniture company located in Los Angeles, California. The creator of the mattress thought most Californians had houses big enough for a bed six feet wide. This led them to decorate a mansion-sized master bedroom with the Cal king bed style.
Alaskan king is 24 inches longer than the California king size mattress and is the longest among the standard sizes. The extra length is perfect for accommodating very tall people and additional sleepers. An Alaskan king bed measures 108 inches by 108 inches and is usually more challenging to find than other mattress types.