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California King vs. King: Choosing the Right Bed Size for Your Bedroom

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024

Discovering the perfect mattress size for your bedroom can be challenging, especially when faced with choices like the California King vs. King mattress. While many assume California Kings are larger, the truth lies in their distinct dimensions. A King-size mattress typically measures 76 inches in width and 80 inches in length. A California King mattress is slightly different, measuring 72 inches in width but 84 inches in length.

This subtle difference can significantly impact comfort, especially for taller individuals or couples with limited space in their own master bedroom or bedrooms. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the contrasting features of these two sizes and present the advantages and disadvantages of each. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding to guide you in selecting the ideal mattress size that perfectly suits your needs.

What is a King Size?

A King Size mattress is a large-sized bed mattress that provides ample sleeping space for individuals or couples. It is one of the most spacious standard mattress sizes available in the market. Typically, a King Size mattress measures approximately 76 inches wide and 80 inches long (193 cm x 203 cm). This king-size bed is also known as the Eastern King.

King Size mattresses are usually 16 inches wider than a Queen Size mattress, which is another popular mattress size. A King Size mattress offers more space and plenty of room for movement during sleep, making it suitable for those who prefer extra space while sleeping or for couples who share a bed. It is especially beneficial for taller individuals as the extra length can accommodate their height comfortably.

Due to their larger size, King Size mattresses are commonly used in master bedrooms where there is ample space to accommodate their dimensions. They come in various materials, such as memory foam, innerspring, latex, or hybrid constructions, offering different levels of support and comfort based on individual preferences.

Pros of King Bed:

  • Spaciousness: The King bed’s wider dimensions make it an excellent choice for couples who want to share the bed without feeling cramped.
  • Easy Bedding Availability: Unlike California King, finding bedding accessories for a King bed is relatively easy due to its common size.
  • Fits Most Bedrooms: The King bed’s dimensions are more versatile and can fit in a broader range of bedroom sizes.

Cons of King Bed:

  • Limited Length: The 80-inch length of the King bed might be slightly restricting for taller individuals, leading to their feet hanging over the edge.
  • Not Suitable for Narrow Rooms: If your bedroom space is narrow, a King bed might take up too much space, leaving little room for other furniture.

What is a California King Size?

A California King Size, often referred to as a California King or Cal King mattress, is a specific type of large bed size commonly found in North America. It is one of the biggest standard mattress sizes available in the market. The California King Size is longer and narrower than the traditional King Size bed. While a standard King Size bed measures 76 inches (193 cm) in width and 80 inches (203 cm) in length, a California King Size bed measures 72 inches (183 cm) in width and 84 inches (213 cm) in length.

The additional length of the California King-sized mattress makes it particularly suitable for taller individuals who require extra legroom. It is essential to use the correct-sized bedding (sheets, comforters, etc.) specifically designed for a California King Size to ensure a proper fit. If you are considering buying a California King Size bed or bedding, measure your bedroom space to ensure it can comfortably accommodate the larger dimensions of this bed.

Pros of California King:

  • Ample Length: The Cal King’s 84-inch length ensures even the tallest individuals can stretch out comfortably without their feet hanging off the edge.
  • Ideal for Couples: The extra width and length make California King a preferred choice for couples who want more personal space while sleeping.
  • Luxurious Comfort: With its generous dimensions, this bed size provides a luxurious and spacious feel, enhancing your sleep experience.
  • Versatility: California King mattresses come in various materials and firmness levels, catering to different sleep preferences.

Cons of California King:

  • Space Requirements: Due to its larger size, a California King bed may not be suitable for smaller bedrooms or compact living spaces.
  • Bedding Expenses: Finding suitable sheets, comforters, and bedding for Cal King can be slightly more challenging and expensive compared to standard sizes.

California King vs. King: The Head-to-Head Comparison

In this section, we will compare California King and King beds across various factors to help you make an informed decision:

FactorCalifornia KingKing Bed
Dimensions (Wx L)72″ x 84″76″ x 80″
Ideal for Taller PeopleYesNo
Ideal for CouplesYesYes
CostUsually HigherStandard
Room Space RequirementsLarger RoomsMost Rooms
Bedding AvailabilityLimited OptionsMore Options
Ease of MovementSlightly LessEasier

Based on the table above, we can see that California King and King beds have their unique advantages. If you are taller and prefer a more spacious bed, the California King might be the better choice. On the other hand, if you prioritize easy bedding availability and versatile fit, the King bed might suit your needs better.

How to Choose the Right Bed Size for You?

Selecting the right mattress size is crucial when buying a new bed, especially if you desire ample sleeping space. Both king and California king mattresses are popular choices for those seeking a roomy bed. Here are some important factors to weigh when deciding what is the best mattress between the two:

Room Dimensions

Before comparing the two mattress sizes, it’s essential to measure your room’s dimensions. A California king mattress works well in narrower rooms due to its elongated shape. On the other hand, a king-size mattress is better suited for more spacious and broader rooms. Ensure there’s at least a 24-inch gap on three sides of the bed to allow for comfortable movement in the bedroom.


Budget plays an important role in the decision-making process. California king mattresses are relatively rare, making them pricier compared to king-size mattresses. You can expect to find California king mattresses ranging from $1349 to $2549, while king-size mattresses fall within the same price range. Additionally, accessories for California king mattresses can be harder to find and more expensive.


Consider the height of the individuals using the mattress. California king mattresses are longer, making them an excellent choice for taller sleepers, especially those over 6 feet tall. However, their narrower width might be less accommodating for more than two people. On the other hand, king-size mattresses provide adequate length for regular-height individuals and offer enough width for parents and children to sleep comfortably together.

Sleeping Partners

The number of people sharing the bed is crucial in deciding between a California king and a king-size mattress. If you prefer ample space in both length and width and are either a single sleeper or a couple who enjoys sleeping with more distance between each other, the California king size is a great option. Alternatively, if you are a couple with kids and pets who like to join you on the bed, a king-size mattress would be more suitable.

Mattress Foundation

Consider the type of foundation you’ll be using for the mattress. Check the mattress warranty for specifications regarding the appropriate foundation to enhance longevity and durability. Both California king and king-size mattresses can be used on various foundations, such as box springs, platform bases, slatted bed frames, and even adjustable bases.

When choosing between a king-size and a California king-size mattress, it’s crucial to consider these factors to make an informed decision and guarantee a comfortable and satisfying sleep experience.

Other Standard Mattress Sizes

When it comes to mattress sizes, king and California king mattresses offer luxurious comfort but might not be suitable for everyone due to their size and cost. Thankfully, there are four other standard mattress sizes to consider, catering to various needs and preferences.

  • Queen: With dimensions of 60 inches by 80 inches, a queen mattress is a popular choice for many. It offers enough space for couples to sleep comfortably without feeling too crowded. If you’re not considering a king-sized bed, a queen is an excellent option, providing ample room for a good night’s sleep.
  • Full: Also known as a double bed, the full-size mattress measures 54 inches by 75 inches. It is perfect for individual sleepers who enjoy having some extra space to sprawl comfortably. However, due to its size, it might not be the best choice for couples who want more sleeping space.
  • Twin XL: Offering extra length compared to the standard twin, the twin XL mattress measures 38 inches by 80 inches. This is a great choice for taller individuals who need additional legroom. It is compact yet comfortable, making it suitable for adult sleepers seeking a smaller option.
  • Twin: The smallest adult-friendly mattress, the twin size measures 38 inches by 75 inches. It is a budget-friendly choice and fits well in smaller bedrooms or studio apartments. However, consider a twin XL bed for a more comfortable sleep experience if you’re taller.

Each standard mattress size caters to specific needs, ensuring you can find the perfect fit for your sleep requirements and room space. Whether you’re looking for ample sleeping space for couples or a compact option for a single sleeper, mattress size is just right for you.

Conclusion: California king vs. king 

In the California King vs. King debate, the decision ultimately hinges on your preferences and specific requirements. California King might be better if you prioritize extra length and ample legroom. However, if you prefer easy bedding availability and a more versatile fit, the King bed will be an excellent choice. Consider factors like room size, height, and sleeping partner’s preferences to make an informed decision.

Investing in the right bed size is crucial for getting quality sleep and ensuring your overall well-being. So, take your time, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the bed that guarantees you a restful night’s sleep for years to come.


Can I use King-sized bedding on a California King bed?

Yes, you can use King-sized bedding on a California King bed, but it may leave the bed looking slightly undersized. It’s best to find bedding specifically designed for the California King’s dimensions for a perfect fit.

Are California King beds longer than King beds?

Yes, California King beds are longer than King beds. California King beds typically have a length of 84 inches, while King beds have a length of 80 inches.

Can a California King mattress fit on a King bed frame?

While the width of the king sheets and mattresses is the same, a California King bed is 4 inches greater than a King mattress. Therefore, it may not fit perfectly on a King bed frame.

Which bed size is more common in the United States?

The King bed is more common in the United States and remains the standard bed size for many couples and families.

Are there any other bed sizes larger than a California King or King?

Yes, there is a bed size larger than a King, known as the “Alaskan King.” It is a rare and extremely large bed size, measuring around 108 square inches wide and 108 inches long.

Can two people comfortably sleep on a California King bed?

Yes, two people can comfortably sleep on a California King bed. The extra length provides ample space for both individuals to stretch out and sleep without disturbances.


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