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Bedroom Design

King vs. California King: Mattress Size Comparison Guide + Chart [2024]

    Last Updated
    May 31, 2024
    7
    min read

    Key Takeaways

    • Standard king mattresses (80-by-76 inches) are wider but shorter than California king mattresses (84-by-72 inches).
    • A California king bed is 4 inches narrower and 4 inches longer than a king bed.
    • The surface area of a king mattress is 6,080 square inches while the surface area of a California king is 6,048 square inches.

    You’re upgrading your bedroom and deciding what mattress size to buy, but you’re stuck between a king and a California king mattress. How do these sizes compare?

    The primary difference between king and California king mattresses is their dimensions. King mattresses are wider while California king beds are longer. A king mattress also has a larger surface area than a California king mattress.

    Comparing king vs. California king beds means acknowledging the differences in size and considering how the length and width of your new bed will fit your bedroom and sleep preferences.

    Experience Extraordinary Comfort

    Purple mattresses come in every standard size, offering complete comfort with our innovative GelFlex® Grid to help you sleep better.

    Between a king and California king mattress, which one should you choose? This guide breaks down both mattress sizes 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 vs. King Dimensions

    California king and standard king mattresses are fairly close in size, but they do not have the same measurements. California king dimensions are longer and narrower by 4 inches in each dimension compared to king beds, offering extra legroom but less space to spread out width-wise.

    The difference in size affects several aspects of your bedroom, including the minimum room size you need, the bed sheet sizes you should use, and who can sleep comfortably on each mattress. A California king mattress size comparison helps you assess important factors and decide which mattress size will best meet your needs. 

     

    Standard King

    California King

    Length

    80 inches

    84 inches

    Width

    76 inches

    72 inches

    Surface area

    6,080”2

    6,048”2

    Fitted sheet dimensions

    80” by 76”

    84” by 72”

    Flat sheet dimensions

    102” by 112”

    102” by 112“

    Duvet dimensions

    96” by 109”

    96” by 109”

    Minimum room size

    12’ by 12’

    11’ by 13

    Average price range

    $1,599-$8,995

    $1,999-$8,995

    Best for

    Couples with co-sleeping kids or pets, people under 6’2”

    Couples with pets, people over 6’2”

    Other names

    Eastern king

    Western king

    What Is a King Mattress?

    The king mattress is the widest standard mattress size on the market, measuring 80-by-76 inches. With slightly more surface area than the California king, king mattresses offer plenty of room for single sleepers, couples, and parents who co-sleep with their kids or pets.

    If you’re comparing a king size bed vs. a California king, both options are generally the same price but standard kings typically start at a slightly lower price point. With a standard king, you will also have an easier time finding a variety of options for bedding, bed frames, and adjustable bases.

    Best for: People who like to spread out or move around while they sleep. King mattresses are particularly great for couples who are side sleepers. If you have children or pets who share your bed, a king is wider than a queen or California king, offering more space for co-sleeping arrangements.

    Pros

    Cons

    Wider than a California king by 4 inches

    Shorter than a California king by 4 inches
    Lower starting price point than California kings Not long enough for people over 6’2” 
    Sheets, duvets, bed frames, and adjustable bases are easier to find May not fit in narrow bedrooms
    Easier to find in a split size  
    A woman reading a book on a king bed laying next to her dog.

    What Is a California King Mattress?

    Named for its inventor who lived in Los Angeles, the California king is best for people under 7’ who need more length than a standard king.

    California king mattresses measure 84 inches long by 72 inches wide 4 inches longer than a king. This variation of the standard king is widely available, making it the longest standard size mattress on the market. When comparing a California vs. king bed, the biggest difference is space. 

    California king beds are longer, offering more legroom but less width to spread out, making them suitable for taller couples who don’t need more than 36 inches to themselves.

    Best for: People between 6’3” and 7’ tall, couples, and those who sleep with pets. A California king will also fit better in a narrower bedroom.

    Pros

    Cons

    Longer than a king by 4 inches Narrower than a king by 4 inches
    Suitable for people under 7’ May have a higher starting price point than a king
    May fit in a narrower bedroom May be harder to find in a split size
    May be easier to move than a king  
    Provides more space for pets at the foot of the bed  

    How To Choose Between a King vs. a California King

    When comparing a California king bed vs. a standard king bed, knowing the features, benefits, and considerations of both options will help you decide which option is right for you.

    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

    Your height is important when deciding between a king and a California king. If you are between 6’3” and 7’ tall, 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

    You’ll want to factor in your sleeping position before choosing a king or a California king.

    Taller side sleepers can usually choose either size since they often bend their knees while sleeping. Tall back and stomach sleepers may enjoy the length of a California king more since they lie with their legs outstretched.

    3. Review Your Bedroom Layout

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

    California king mattresses fit well in a room 11-by-13 feet or bigger. A California king bed isn’t as wide as a standard king, making it a better fit in a narrower bedroom.

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

    A couple cuddling together in a california king bed with white sheets and white pillows.

    4. Analyze Your Family Needs

    Kings and California kings are large enough for multiple sleepers, but families with small children or pets 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. A split king mattress is two twin XL mattresses placed side-by-side.

    You can also assemble a split king mattress by pushing two twin XL mattresses together, though this arrangement will be 5 inches shorter than a standard king bed.

    5. Determine Your Budget

    California king mattresses usually start at a higher price point than regular king mattresses, but high quality options tend to cost around the same price for both sizes. 

    When determining how much you want to spend, consider your specific needs. Four extra inches in length make the California king worthwhile for individuals between 6’3” and 7’ tall as well as people who want more space at the foot of their beds for a pet. If you want to spread out more without disturbing a partner and don’t need a longer bed, a standard king may be a better fit.

    Is a King or California King Right for You?

    When you compare king vs. California king beds, your needs and preferences take precedence. You should determine what will help you and your partner sleep better, whether that’s more legroom or more space to yourselves.

    Purple offers king beds and California king mattresses, both enhanced with GelFlex® Grid technology. Our proprietary sleep innovation provides blissful pressure relief and optimal support simultaneously, while also keeping cool through the night and instantly adapting to movement. Experience life-changing sleep with our 100-night trial.

    Revolutionary Comfort and Support

    No matter what size bed you need, Purple mattresses offer cooling comfort and cradling support to help you sleep soundly.

    FAQ

    California king mattresses are longer and narrower than king mattresses, measuring 84-by-72 inches. A king mattress measures 80-by-76 inches. Even though California king mattresses are longer, the surface area of a California king bed (6,048 square inches) is less than a standard king bed (6,080 square inches).

    Yes, a Texas king bed is bigger than a California king bed. The Texas king is 98 inches long and 80 inches wide, whereas a California king is 84 inches long and 72 inches wide.

    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.

    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: 

    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.

    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.

    About the authors

    Sydney Fuhrman

    Sydney brings more than five years of experience writing about a range of topics including health, lifestyle, and technology. They have a B.A. in Creative Writing and Literature from Lebanon Valley College. They’re a big fan of sharing dreams and discussing symbolism for fun. Sydney is always searching for tips to improve their sleep quality and hopes to help others get the best sleep possible with their writing. 

    Kristen Olson-Turner
    Senior Director of Merchandising, Mattress and Bases

    Kristen Olson-Turner is the Senior Director of mattresses, where she has spent 10+ years understanding customer needs and integrating solutions into Purple products for better sleep and comfort.