King vs. California King Mattresses

By Kealia Reynolds

King vs. California king mattress: Which is bigger? We compare these mattress sizes and help you determine how to choose the best one for your home.

What’s the difference between a king and California king mattress?

The biggest difference between these two mattresses is the basic dimensions of each. A standard king-size bed, also known as an Eastern King, is the widest bed available, sitting at 76 inches wide by 80 inches long. Its length is similar to that of a queen-size mattress, but slightly wider. A California king-size mattress, also known as the Western King, is 72 inches wide by 84 inches long.

Characteristics of a king-size mattress

King-size mattresses are great for couples and individuals who sleep with small children and pets. If you purchase a king-size mattress, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Accessories are cheaper and easier to find (you can walk into almost any retail store and purchase bed sheets, mattress toppers, and pillows for your king mattress).
  • This type of mattress provides optimal sleeping space for couples—it’s the equivalent of each person sleeping on their own twin XL bed.
  • The extra bed width allows restless sleepers to move around while their partner remains undisturbed.
  • This mattress fits in rooms that are 10 ft. x 12 ft. or 12 ft. x 13 ft.

King-size beds may be uncomfortable for taller people since they provide less foot space than California king-size mattresses. Because of this, tall sleepers may experience their feet hanging off the bed.

Characteristics of a California king-size mattress

California king-size beds are suited for long rooms and tall people. Take a look at some of its characteristics:

  • Because California king beds are rarer than standard king beds, accessories are harder to find and more expensive.
  • A California king-size bed provides extra length for taller individuals, but is narrower than a regular king-size bed.
  • This mattress fits in rooms that are 12 ft. x 12 ft. or 14 ft. x 12 ft.

California king bed sets are often expensive and provide less sleeping room width-wise, making it more difficult for couples to sleep comfortably.

What to consider before purchasing a mattress

Before choosing between a king and California king mattress, consider the following:

  • Room dimensions—Ideally, you want two feet of space on all three sides of your bed to comfortably move around and avoid feeling cramped for space. If you have a narrower room, a California king might be a good choice. If you have a wider room, opt for a king-size mattress.
  • Budget—Though the cost of both mattresses are similar, it’s more affordable to purchase a king-size mattress. Its popularity means accessories are more prevalent and easier to find. California king-size beds are more scarce and their accessories, like bed frames and box springs, are harder to find, making the investment more costly.
  • Your height—If you’re over 6 feet tall, a California king bed may be a better option because of its length. For shorter individuals, a king bed will still give you plenty of sleeping room and foot space.
  • Partner sleeping habits—Talk to your partner about their sleeping habits and what type of mattress they prefer. King beds are wider and give couples more space, but a California king can be great for couples who sleep closer together.
  • Warranty—Since upgrading to a king- or California king-size mattress can be a big investment, be sure to read the warranty terms carefully and check for a return policy. Most mattress companies will provide a 30-day trial period.

Tips for choosing a king vs. California king mattress

Keep the following tips in mind when deciding between a king and California king mattress:

  1. Buy online—Buying a mattress online, as opposed to buying one from a brick-and-mortar store, saves you time and money since there’s an increasing number of mattress manufacturers selling online.
  2. Do your research—Determine the type of mattress you and your partner want. Consider firmness level, mattress materials, and in-home set-up options.
  3. Read reviewsLook at user reviews and objective reviews to compare mattresses and get a sense of a mattress brand and product quality.
  4. Check the fine print—Make sure you read the fine print before purchasing a mattress online. Some mattress companies will offer a full refund after the initial trial period, but others may charge a restocking or shipping fee.
  5. Take advantage of the trial period—30-day trial periods are common among most mattress providers. Take advantage of the entire trial and test the mattress out in your home. Note how you feel when you wake up and if your partner has any qualms about the mattress.

Find the right-sized mattress

Read House Method reviews on the best king and California king mattress providers in the business

Read mattress reviews

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