Split King vs King Bed: What’s The Difference?

Written by
 Purple Staff
Last Updated
February 2, 2023
min read

When looking to buy a mattress many couples are weighing the pros and cons to a king mattress vs a split king mattress. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about the differences to be confident in your decision. 

The main difference between a king and a split king is a king mattress is one mattress. Whereas a split king is two mattresses equivalent to the size of two twin xl mattresses. 

What is a King Size Mattress?

A king bed is the widest type of mattress that’s commonly available on the market. Measuring 76 inches by 80 inches, this size is popular because of its roominess. Both couples and very restless sleepers will enjoy sleeping on king beds because of all the extra space.

Pros Of A King Mattress

  • There’s plenty of space for a cozy night’s sleep. A king bed has enough space for a couple to stretch out as much as they want while they sleep. There’s even enough for a small child or pet to join in without feeling cramped or rolling off the bed’s edge at night. 
  • It’s easy to find bedding options for this mattress size. King-size sheets are commonly available in both department stores and bedding specialty shops. 

Cons Of A King Mattress

  • They’re more expensive than smaller mattresses. Some couples may feel that a queen bed provides enough space with its measurements of 60 inches by 80 inches. While it’s slightly smaller, this alternative is also typically much cheaper than a king bed.
  • It’s a pain if you and your partner prefer different angles for sleeping. An adjustable base moves your entire king mattress. This can be uncomfortable if one partner wants a more elevated sleeping surface than the other.
  • They’re harder to move. Because of their size and heft, king mattresses can be harder to move into your bedroom, especially through door frames and around room corners. This also makes them harder to clean, flip, and rotate to improve mattress longevity.

Who Should Get A King Mattress?

A king bed is best for couples who want to have plenty of space while sleeping but don’t want a split to get in the way of nighttime cuddles. There’s also enough room to accommodate a child or a pet on this mattress size, so everyone can rest together comfortably.

It’s also great for people who don’t want to worry about sheet sizes or frames. It’s easy to find bedding and bed frames for this mattress size, giving you more options for customizing your bedroom aesthetic.

What’s A Split King Mattress?

Sometimes called a dual king bed, a split king bed has the same dimensions as a king bed at 76 inches by 80 inches. The key difference is that it consists of two twin XL-size mattresses joined with a single bed frame. Because there’s a split between them, there’s less motion transfer and more sleep customization.

Pros Of A Split King Mattress

  • There’s more space for sharing with partners. A common problem with sharing a bed is making sure each person gets enough space to sleep comfortably. Because a split king mattress consists of two separate mattresses, couples don’t have to worry about intruding on each other’s space while sleeping together.
  • Less motion transfer. Because there’s a split between the individual mattresses, there’s no need to worry that you’ll wake your partner up when you get out of bed, ensuring a good night’s sleep for everyone.
  • Partners can address their separate sleeping needs. Sharing a mattress typically requires compromise from couples about mattress firmness and materials. This can lead to poor sleep quality if one partner isn’t sleeping on the right mattress for their sleeping position. But, with a split king bed, partners can choose the mattresses that best address their individual sleeping needs.
  • They’re easier to move. Instead of moving a single bulky king-size mattress, you just have to move the two twin XL mattresses separately. It is much easier to move and assemble this bed type.

Cons Of A Split King Mattress

  • It’s more expensive than a king mattress. A regular king mattress is usually cheaper than a split king mattress by at least $100.
  • Some cuddly couples don’t like the split in between. If you’re sharing your bed with your partner, you may find a split king bed less intimate.
  • It’s harder to co-sleep on this bed type with children. Because of the split in the middle, a child will have to share one twin XL mattress with a parent.
  • Finding bedding is trickier for this mattress type. Split-top king sheets are sheet sets that are created specifically for split-king beds. Shaped like the letter U, the sheets are connected at the bottom like a regular king sheet, but the top ends split off into two, allowing you to cover the two mattresses. This type of bedding isn’t common, so many split king bed owners just fit each twin XL mattress with its own set of sheets.

Stil unsure? You may want to consider king vs California king.

Who Should Get A Split King Mattress?

A split king bed is best for couples who have different sleeping needs. For example, a side sleeper and stomach sleeper or a hot sleeper and a cold sleeper can enjoy a peaceful night of sleep in the same bed without having to compromise on mattress firmness. 

It’s also ideal for couples where one or both partners are restless sleepers, as the shifting of one won’t disturb the other’s sleep.

Get The Right Mattress For Your Bedroom

A king bed is perfect for a cuddly couple that doesn’t have different mattress needs. But, for those who don’t share similar sleeping preferences with their significant other, a split king bed may be the solution to their restless nights.

Poor sleep quality can lead to serious health problems, so if you’re planning to share a bed with someone who has distinct sleep issues, consider getting a split king bed instead. Check out our product pages or talk to one of our Sleep Specialists to find out which mattress can help you get a great night’s sleep!

Split King vs. King Mattress FAQs

What bed sheet size do you use on a split king mattress?

Use two sets of twin XL bed sheets on a split king mattress. Using a regular king-size sheet set may not be the most comfortable, as there will still be a split in the middle of the two mattresses – this could increase motion transfer at night.

Are two twin XL mattresses the same size as a king mattress?

Yes, two twin XL mattresses are the same size as a king mattress. Twin XL mattresses measure 36 by 80 inches each which is equal size to a king mattress, which measures 76 by 80 inches.

Is a split king bed larger than a California king mattress?

A split king bed is not necessarily larger than a California king bed. Measuring 76 inches by 80 inches, a split king bed is wider than a California king bed, which measures 72 inches by 84 inches. However, a California king bed is longer and may be more comfortable for taller people.

How do I keep my split king mattresses together?

You can keep your split king mattress together by following these tips:

  • Adjust your bed frame’s connector for a better fit.
  • Use non-slip mattress pads or put non-slip tape on the bottoms of your mattresses.
  • Tie the two mattresses together.
  • Get a fitted bed frame.