King vs. California King Mattress: Size Comparison Guide (2023)

Written by
 Purple Staff
Last Updated
August 25, 2023
min read
A California king mattress is longer and more narrow than a standard king. A king mattress measures 80 x 76 inches, whereas a California king is 84 x  72 inches. The surface area of a king is 6,080 square inches and the surface area of a California king is 6,048 square inches.

Investing in a larger mattress can oftentimes feel daunting. With so many options available, how do you choose the best one for you?

The confusion amplifies when deciding between a king and a California king mattress. It’s a common misconception that a California king is bigger than a king since California kings are more expensive than kings. 

The primary difference between a king and a California king mattress is in the width and length. King mattresses are wider, whereas California king beds are longer. Additionally, a king mattress has a larger surface area than a California king mattress, which proves to be a key element to consider when deciding what mattress size to buy.

With such large mattresses, the construction is of the utmost importance. Purple has elevated the king mattress with our proprietary GelFlex® Grid that relieves pressure, supports, and dissipates body heat. With over 1400 air channels, cool sleep and adaptive comfort is made possible in the largest versions of our mattress collections.

So now you know the difference, but which one should you choose? Stay with us as we break down both mattress types and what you should consider when deciding between a king and a California king. 

A comparison chart showing the different dimensions of a king and California king mattress.


California King

Best for


Tall people


80 inches long x 76 inches wide

84 inches long x 72 inches wide

Surface area

6,080 square inches

6,048 square inches

Average price range



Room size

12 x 12 feet, or larger

13 x 15 feet, or larger

Other names

Eastern King

Western King

A woman reading a book on a king bed laying next to her dog.

What Is a King Mattress?

The king mattress, also known as the Eastern king, is the widest sold mattress on the market. With slightly more surface area than the California king (6,080 square inches compared to 6,048 square inches), there’s plenty of room for both you and your partner.

A king is generally less expensive than a California king. You can typically find a king bed for as low as $1,000, while the starting price for a California king is usually around $1,800.

Best for: People who like to spread out or move around while they sleep. King mattresses are particularly great for side-sleeping couples. If you have little children or pets who like to join you and your significant other in bed at night, a king has more space for them too.



4 inches wider than the Cal king Not enough length for people over 6’4” tall
More room to spread out May not fit narrower bedrooms
Kings cost less than the California king Costs more than queen
Bedding costs less 4 inches shorter than a Cal king
Sheets, blankets, bed frames, and adjustable bases are easier to find  
Easier to find in a split size  
A couple cuddling together in a california king bed with white sheets and white pillows.

What Is a California King Mattress?

Named for its inventor who lived in Los Angeles, the California king, or Western king, is best for tall people who need a little more length than a king. With four extra inches in length over the king, taller sleepers can enjoy additional length and sleep soundly throughout the night.

The California king mattress measures 72 inches wide by 84 inches long, which makes it 4 inches longer than a king and a slightly better fit for people who sleep with pets at the foot of the bed. With the added length, you can sleep soundly while your furry friend snoozes — a comfortable distance away. 

Best for: Taller people, couples, and those who sleep with pets. Also, if you have a narrower bedroom, a California king will fit better than a king.



4 inches longer than the king 4 inches smaller in width compared to a king
More length for people over 6’4” Generally costs more than a king
May fit a narrower room better than a king Bedding costs more and is harder to find
May fit through doors easier Harder to find in a split size
Plenty of room for pets at the foot of the bed May not fit in smaller bedrooms

How To Choose Between a King vs. a California King

Now that you know the details of kings and California kings, you can make a more informed decision about which mattress size suits you best. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding between a king and a California king:

A table comparing different elements of a  King and California King mattress.

1. Consider Your Height

Height is very important when deciding between a king and a California king. If you or your partner are over 6’4”, a California king will give you the space for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

If you’re tall and sleep flat on your back or stomach, a California king will ensure your legs aren’t dangling off the edge of the bed. 

2. Factor in Your Sleeping Position

Especially if you’re tall, you’ll want to factor in your sleeping position before choosing between a king and a California king. 

Taller side sleepers generally have the freedom to choose between the two, since they will have bent knees and will be more curled up. Tall back and stomach sleepers, however, may enjoy the length of a California king more, since they lie flat with legs outstretched. 

3. Review Your Bedroom Layout

Since king mattresses are a little wider, your room should be 12 feet by 12 feet or bigger so your mattress can fit comfortably. Anything smaller would make your room feel a bit cramped, and a queen mattress may be a better option for you.

California king mattresses fit well in a room that is 13 feet by 15 feet or bigger. The added length of the California king bed gives you more freedom to move around in larger rooms. If needed, you can adjust the bed's orientation to better suit your room, so you have sufficient space to open and close bedroom doors and move around comfortably.

You should always check the dimensions of your room before purchasing a new mattress.

4. Analyze Your Family Needs

Kings and California kings are both large enough for multiple sleepers, but they can serve other purposes. Families with small children who share the bed might prefer a king since it offers extra width. 

Split kings and split California kings may work well too if you sleep with a partner who has different firmness preferences. These mattresses consist of two twin XL mattresses pushed together. 

5. Determine Your Budget

California king mattresses usually cost more than regular king mattresses. While you can purchase a solid king mattress for around $1,000, the price of a California king typically starts at $1,800. 

When determining how much you want to spend, consider your specific needs. The extra 4 inches in length may sound nice, but a king will likely work fine if you don’t have a specific reason to upgrade to a California king. You should always look at your specific circumstances when creating your mattress budget. 


Still have questions about choosing between a king and a California king? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the top questions and answers about the differences between a king and a California king. 

Is a California King Bigger Than a King?

A California king is not bigger than a king — it’s longer. However, the California king has slightly less surface area than a regular king mattress. 

California king mattresses are narrower than king mattresses, measuring 72 inches in width by 84 inches in length. A king mattress measures 76 inches in width by 80 inches in length.

Is a Texas King Bed Bigger Than a California King?

A Texas king bed is bigger than a California king bed. The Texas king is 84 inches wide and 98 inches long, whereas a California king is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long.

Texas king beds, however, are not widely available on the market. You may need to do some research to find a retailer that carries Texas kings.  

What’s the Biggest Bed Size? 

The California king is the largest bed that’s widely available. However, you can find larger beds available from select sellers. Some of these beds include:

Do King Sheets Work on California King Beds?

King sheets and fitted sheets do not work on California king beds. Since the dimensions of both the king and the California king are different, you’ll have a difficult time getting a regular king-fitted sheet onto a California king and vice versa.

Can You Put a California King Mattress on a King Bed Frame?

You cannot put a California king mattress on a king bed frame. The dimensions are slightly different between the two types of king mattresses, which means you need to use a bed frame specific to the mattress you buy. Using the wrong bed frame could damage your mattress.

Is a King or California King Right for You?

Now that you know the differences between a king and a California king, you can explore the advantages and disadvantages of each and select the one that best meets your needs.

No matter which one you choose, Purple provides kings and California kings — both designed to give you a great night of sleep. Even if you do find that you’re not totally happy with your mattress choice, don’t worry, we offer a 100-night trial period and free returns.

Explore our collection of mattresses to find your perfect night of sleep.