Alaskan King Bed vs California King Bed: Understanding The Difference

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
September 8, 2022
|
7
min read

The US mattress market is expanding, and so are mattress sizes for residential homes. Whether you’re sharing a bed with your family and pets or are a solo sleeper who loves to starfish in the middle of an oversized mattress, there’s nothing like a king-sized bed for a luxurious night’s sleep.

But there’s more than one type of king-sized bed – there’s king, Texas king, California king, and Alaskan king, to name a few. When it comes to the battle for the biggest bed size, the Alaskan king and the California king duke it out for the top spot. 

But what’s the difference between Alaskan king and California king mattresses? The main difference between an Alaskan king and a California king mattress is the length and width.  An Alaskan king mattress is 108 inches long and 108 inches wide. The California king is 84 inches long and 72 inches wide.

 Read our comprehensive guide to find out more and know what to expect from each size.

What Is An Alaskan King Mattress?

The Alaskan king mattress is a square mattress that measures a staggering 108 inches by 108 inches, for a total space of 81 sq. ft.

What Is A California King?

The California king mattress is a rectangular mattress that measures 72" X 84" with a 42 sq. ft surface area. It is longer and narrower than the standard-size king.

Differences Between Alaskan King Bed vs California King Bed

How do these two fare when compared against each other? Let’s examine the main distinctions between these two oversized mattresses.

Size

Alaska is the largest state in the USA, so it's fitting that the Alaska king is the largest mattress available on the market. While both beds are bigger than the standard king size, the Alaskan king has bigger overall dimensions than the California king, measuring 24” longer and 36” wider.

Features

The gigantic Alaskan king is a relatively uncommon mattress size. You normally won’t find the Alaskan king at physical retailers and will need to search online for this elusive mattress or have it custom-made. This can also make it difficult to purchase necessary accessories like a bed frame, bedsheets, and comforters.

In contrast, the California king is considered a standard mattress size and is easily accessible. You can get this mattress and its accompanying items through both physical and online sellers – including, of course, Purple, which offers quality California king mattresses and all the accessories you’ll need for sweet dreams.

Comfort

The massive Alaskan king can comfortably fit couples co-sleeping with their children and pets while still leaving plenty of room to stretch. Plus, restless sleepers have plenty of room to make sure they don’t wake their partner with a flailing limb.

On the other hand, the California king doesn’t take up as much room space, and its long, narrow dimensions make it a perfect pick for tall sleepers who are tired of their feet dangling over the edge of the bed. 

It’s also great for couples who want to cuddle without feeling too cramped. If you’re looking for an oversized mattress that’s immense but intimate, the California king may be the right one for you.

Pros And Cons Of An Alaskan King Bed 

Pros

  • Perfect for co-sleeping families: The Alaskan king can easily fit multiple adults, making it easy to accommodate couples and more than one child. A 2022 study also showed that 43 percent of pet dogs in the United States and 49 percent of pet cats sleep on their owner’s bed. The Alaskan king has plenty of room for everyone!
  • Extra space for large or tall sleepers: With this much surface area, you never have to worry about your body not fitting. Individuals with a bigger physique can sprawl out without any issues.
  • Fills up huge rooms: If you have a large bedroom and have no idea how to decorate it, the Alaskan king can be a gorgeous centerpiece to help it feel less empty. It combines form and function, giving you the best of both worlds.

Cons

  • Bigger bed, bigger price tag: The Alaskan king needs more materials and labor to make, thus costing more than other king-sized mattresses.
  • Hard to find: As we’ve previously mentioned, the Alaskan king is a rarer mattress, and usually only niche stores carry it. This goes for the frame and bedding, too.
  • Difficult to transport: Bringing home the Alaskan king is a massive task. If you plan on moving homes in the future, it can be a headache to transport.
  • Needs a bigger room: The Alaskan king’s mammoth size will need a ton of floor space, which most of us don’t have. Break out the measuring tape and make sure you have enough room before making this purchase!

Pros And Cons Of A California King Bed

Pros

  • Great for taller sleepers: The California king is perfect for people who find a queen size just right in width but need more length to accommodate their height (or pet). 
  • More intimacy: A survey found that 66 percent of Americans prefer to sleep in the same bed as their partner. The narrower California king means you don’t have to cross an ocean of mattress space to hug your lover, while still having plenty of personal space for a good night’s sleep.
  • Less bulky: The smaller dimensions of the California king mean it will fit better in most bedrooms compared to the Alaskan king. 
  • More portable: The California king is a lot easier to transport and get through the door to your bedroom, at least when compared to its larger counterpart.
  • Cheaper and more accessible: The California king is much easier to find than the Alaskan king and has a lower price point, too. 

Cons

  • Smaller than an Alaskan king: For people who want as much surface area as possible, this has a little less space than the Alaskan king. But it’s still pretty huge!
  • Not ideal for co-sleeping with kids: Since sleeping in the same bed with children usually requires a wider bed, the narrower California king may not be the best choice.

Choosing Between A California King And Alaskan King

Now you know the distinctions between a California king and an Alaskan king – but which one should you get? Here are the key factors to picking the right oversized mattress for you.

Body Size

For taller sleepers, both beds are a great option. But if you don’t need as much mattress width, the California king should be enough to accommodate your needs. 

Room Size

We’ve touched on this before, but the bigger the bed, the bigger the floor space you’ll need. The Alaskan king needs a huge bedroom to fit unless you’re prepared to live with a wall-to-wall mattress. The California king takes up much less space – its proportions may also make it more aesthetically pleasing in narrower rooms.

Single Sleeper or Multiple

The more sleepers you need to fit, the bigger the mattress you’ll need. Single sleepers and couples who sleep close together will probably find the California king adequate for their needs. 

Meanwhile, the Alaskan king is a must for couples who co-sleep with their children or families who foresee the need for multiple adults to share a bed.

Is The Alaskan King Bed Or California King Bed Better For Me?

Ultimately, there are a lot of factors to consider in choosing between the Alaskan king and California king. 

If you’re co-sleeping with children, have a massive bedroom and budget to accommodate it, the Alaskan king is an excellent choice.

If you do not have a massive bedroom and need extra legroom, the California king is ideal. Purple has amazing California king mattresses that are sure to give you luxurious sleep and help you wake up refreshed and ready for the day.

Standard mattress product stack

Frequently Asked Questions About Alaskan King Bed vs California King Bed

What size bed should a 6-foot-tall person get?

Both the Alaskan king and California king can accommodate someone 6-foot-tall. But if you don’t need extra width, the California king will comfortably fit someone of this height for a lower price.

What mattress size is good for couples?

The right mattress size for couples depends on their sleeping habits, as not all relationships have the same nighttime needs. If you two prefer to sleep close, the California king is a great choice. If you and your partner need alot of distance between eachother, the Alaskan king has plenty of space and then some.

Is an Alaskan king bed bigger than a California king?

Yes, the Alaskan king has a bigger surface area and is longer and wider than the California king.