California King Vs. King – What Are the Differences?

October 09, 2023 5 min read

The California King or the King are common choices when you start shopping for one of the best mattresses. Both these options provide enough space for two people without causing sleep disturbances. However, they are also very similar, which can make it difficult to decide between the two.

What You Should Know About King Mattresses

King-size mattresses are the largest-sized standard beds. The measurement for these beds is 80 inches by 76 inches, with a total surface area of 6,080 square inches. This equals two twin XL mattresses when placed side-by-side. There is more than enough space to accommodate two people and even enough space for a small child that co-sleeps with their mom and dad.

Since the California King mattress is also known as the Western King, the king-size mattresses are sometimes called the Eastern King.


  • Ample sleeping space
  • Split king options for added customization
  • Can make master bedrooms look more luxurious


  • Heavy and bulky
  • Costly
  • Takes up too much space in smaller bedrooms

What is the California King Mattress?

The California King-Size Mattress provides 4-inches of added length when compared to standard king-sized beds, yet it is also 4-inches narrow than the King. It also offers tall people with over 6 feet of space to relax and stretch out.

The California King Mattress features a surface area of 6,048 square inches, slightly less than a King.


  • Outstanding addition to any master bedroom
  • Allows couples to sleep close
  • Provides enough length for taller people to stretch out and rest comfortably


  • Very big and difficult to move
  • Accessories can be a challenge to find
  • Expensive

Tips on How to Decide Between the Two

California King and King mattresses share many similarities that it takes a bit more examination to decide what mattress is best for you. We suggest considering your budget, personal preferences, body type, and the size of your bedroom.

California King Vs. King Mattress

Room Size

A California King or a King mattress is too big when your bedroom measures less than 12-feet by 12-feet. However, the room’s exact dimensions can be the deciding factor when it comes to which mattress is best for you. If you want a narrower mattress so that you have enough space along a wall for your decor and furniture, the California King might be a more space-efficient choice.


California King and King mattresses both cost a lot more than other mattress sizes since they contain more materials. They often share similar rates with some brands, even selling these mattresses at a similar or the same price. When one of these mattresses sells at a higher price, it is usually a California King Mattress since these products aren’t as widely available.

Bedding Considerations

Even though the California King mattresses and the King mattresses share a perimeter of 312-inches, a mattress protector or fitted bed sheets for one type will not fit or match the other. However, loose bedding, including comforters and blankets, can be used on either type interchangeably.

The bedding for king-sized beds is usually easy to find compared to the bedding for the California King. Since it is more commonplace, the bedding for king-sized beds is also usually more affordable.

Height of the Sleepers

If you are over 6 feet tall, a California King mattress is a better option. If you are under 6 feet, then any standard King will suit you fine.

Couple Preferences

A king-sized bed is most frequently purchased to share the mattress with another person. If you have a partner that you sleep with, we suggest working out the space you will need to achieve a comfortable night’s rest.

Are you restless, or do you get hot during the night? Then a king-sized mattress may be the best option for a bit more wiggle room.

What is a Split King?

The split-king mattresses are two mattresses that you place side-by-side. These mattresses measure 80 inches by 38 inches which equals two twin XL mattresses. Manufacturers sell split-king mattresses to help partners sleep better by allowing each person to customize their side to their likings.

There are also Split California Mattresses, but these are far less common when compared to the standard split kings. Accessories for split California King Mattresses are also not as easy to find compared to the bedding for split kings.

Other Bed Sizes

King mattresses are not the best option for all types of bedrooms. You might live in a studio apartment on your own, and your floor space is limited. Or maybe you are looking for a mattress for your child once they have outgrown their cot or crib.

There are four other standard sizes for mattresses to consider other than the King or California King. These include the Twin, Twin XL, Full, and the Queen.


The twin mattress measures 75-inches by 38-inches, providing enough room for a single person to sleep comfortably. These mattresses are a good option for guest rooms, small bedrooms, or kiddie’s rooms.

Twin XL

The twin XL mattress shares the same width as the twin bed but includes 5-inches of extra length. Parents often choose the twin XL rather than a twin so that the bed provides enough space when their children turn into teenagers. Colleges also choose the twin XL frames for dormitories to provide enough space for taller people.


Full mattresses, which also go by the name of double beds, measure 75-inches by 54-inches. That works out to 16-inches of more width when compared to the twin mattresses. These mattresses are still better for a solo sleeper since many couples will probably find that the sleeping space is insufficient if they share a bed.


If you sleep with a partner and a king-sized mattress is too large for your sleeping space, the queen-sized mattress is probably a better option for you. These mattresses measure 80-inches by 60-inches, providing each person with around 30-inches of space to sleep on.

The queen mattresses are also a common option for people who sleep independently and prefer more space. If you have a bedroom that measures at least 10-feet by 10-feet, then the floor space should be enough to accommodate your mattress and a few pieces of bedroom furniture.

If you are still deciding between a queen-size or king-size mattress, refer to our Queen Vs. King comparison guide.

How to Save on a King-Size Mattress

The prices of California King or Traditional King-sized mattresses may seem intimidating for a few shoppers. If you are looking for ways to save money, rather look at the online mattresses than the ones found in traditional showrooms.

Online retailers typically have fewer overheads, and they pass these savings onto their customers.


How much bigger is a California king when compared to a king-sized bed?

Technically, California King mattresses are smaller than standard kings. The California King is 6,048 square inches, while the king mattresses provide 6,080 square inches. The difference may only be 32 square inches, yet this still means that California King mattresses offer less space.

However, the California King mattresses are 4-inches longer than regular kings, but they are also 4 inches narrower.

Do two twin mattresses make a king?

No, two twin XL mattresses placed side-by-side will equal a king-size bed.

What is the biggest duvet size available?

It is possible to find comforters and duvets in a size that exceeds the king mattress. These are usually made for oversized mattresses, including the super King or the emperor.

Are there larger beds than the king-size mattress?

Yes. The Alaska King, Texas King, and Wyoming King are oversized mattresses all bigger than the standard King:

  • Wyoming: 84-inches by 84-inches
  • Alaska King: 108-inches by 108-inches
  • Texas King: 80-inches by 98-inches

Why is it called the California king?

The California King Mattress was invented and first released in Los Angeles, California.