King Size vs California King Mattresses

Are you in search of more sleeping space, whether it’s for yourself, your partner, your children, or even your furry companions? A King bed could be the ideal choice, providing over 6,000 square inches of comfortable sleep paradise.

There are two options to consider when it comes to large beds: the standard King and the California King mattress. Who is each mattress designed for? What are their dimensions? What are the similarities, differences, pros, and cons? Keep reading as we demystify these two bed sizes to help you determine which one will give you the best sleep.

King vs. California King: Mattress Size and Dimension

Size is undoubtedly the primary factor in choosing between a King and a Cal King. Both beds offer ample space to stretch out and sleep comfortably, whether alone, with a partner, or alongside your children and pets.

While both beds are large and provide nearly identical total sleep surfaces, there are differences in dimensions.

A California King is shaped more like a rectangle, while a traditional King is shaped more like a square. The standard King measures 76″x80″ (6,080 square inches), roughly equivalent to two Twin beds placed side by side. In comparison, a Cal King measures 72″x84″ (6,048 square inches).

With a California King, you lose 4 inches in width but gain 4 inches in length. This additional length can be perfect if one or both sleepers are taller than 6’2″. It’s also a good choice when you have a dog or cat that sleeps at the foot of the bed, as the extra length allows them to rest undisturbed while you sleep without disruption.

California King vs. King: Pros and Cons

California King Bed Overview

Choosing between a Cal King and a King involves more than just considering dimensions and sleep surface area. Here are additional factors to consider when selecting the best mattress size for you.

Who is a Cal King for?
If you are single or prefer to sleep closer to your bed partner, the extra width of a standard King mattress may not be missed. Additionally, if you are tall (over 6’2″), a California King will provide comfortable sleep without your feet being cramped against the footboard or hanging over the edge of the bed.

The child and pet effect
Snuggling and sleeping with your children in a Cal King will bring your family closer due to the narrower width. The added length can be a plus if your pet(s) sleep at the end of the bed, allowing them to rest undisturbed without affecting your own sleep.

The right bedroom
The shorter width and longer length dimensions of the Cal King make it suitable for larger bedrooms or narrower spaces. Visually, the California King creates the perception of increased depth in your bedroom.

Move it or lose it?
Before bringing a Cal King into your bedroom, consider the delivery and installation process. The increased length may pose challenges for homeowners or apartment dwellers. Discuss the width of your doors, stairs, landings, elevator size, and any other potential obstacles with your salesperson to ensure a smooth installation.

The costs
Overall, Cal King mattresses are priced the same as standard Kings. However, buyers of California Kings may encounter higher prices and a narrower selection of sheets, box springs, bed frames, bedding, and adjustable bases. While there may be fewer options, the additional cost is often justified by the size, shape, and benefits of a Cal King.

Split the difference?
Another option to consider is a Split California King. With the same dimensions and sleep surface area as a regular Cal King, a Split Cal King allows sleepers to move independently during the night without disturbing their partner. Couples can also use a split adjustable base to customize their sleep space further.

To summarize the advantages and disadvantages, the California King is an excellent choice for individuals and those who prefer to sleep close to their bed partner.

Pros of a California King

  • Ideal for tall individuals (6’2″ or taller) who desire comfortable sleep
  • Additional length allows pets to sleep at the foot of the bed without disrupting sleep
  • Suitable for longer, narrower, and very large bedrooms
  • Split models provide the benefits of a Cal King while allowing independent movement without disturbing the partner

Cons of a California King

  • Snuggling and sleeping with children can be more cramped due to the narrower mattress width
  • Increased length may present challenges during delivery, installation, or moving to a new home
  • Higher costs for sheets, bed frames, box springs, bedding, and adjustable bases

King-Size Bed Overview

When making a significant purchase like a mattress, it’s essential to do your research. Understanding the differences, pros, and cons of King and California King mattresses will pay off when it’s time to choose your bed. Here’s what you need to know about Kings.

The king of big beds
Kings offer both the width and length to accommodate most sleepers, especially those under 6’2″, providing ample room for themselves, their bed partners, and snuggles with children and pets.

An easy fit
King mattresses work well in nearly all bedroom sizes. A standard 10’x12′ room is sufficient for a King bed, but it’s recommended to have a room that is as large or larger for optimal placement. Remember to leave enough space to walk on both sides of the bed!

Installation? No problem
Most homes and apartments have sufficient space for the easy delivery and installation of a King bed. However, it’s always a good idea to discuss door size, staircase width, elevator dimensions, and other potential obstacles with the salesman before making your purchase. Spending a few minutes on preparation will eliminate headaches on delivery day.

Plenty of choices
King mattresses offer a wide range of options when it comes to selecting sheets, bedding, frames, and adjustable bases. The standard King offers easier access to a variety of accessories.”

Pros of a King bed

  • Perfect for sleepers 6’2″ and under
  • A suitable choice for singles and couples, with room for bedtime visits and sharing the bed with children and pets
  • Fits well in rooms measuring 10’x12′ or larger
  • Easy to deliver and install
  • Wide selection of sheets, bedding, frames, and adjustable bases

Cons of a King bed

  • May be too short for tall individuals
  • Might not fit well in narrow rooms

How to Choose Between King Size Mattress Options

If you’ve already decided that a King or California King mattress is the right choice for you and your bed partner, how do you determine which one to buy?

Height of sleepers
If you and your partner are both under 6’2″ tall, either a King or Cal King can work well. However, if one or both of you are 6’2″ or taller, consider the California King for its additional 4 inches of length, ensuring that you have enough space to sleep comfortably without your legs being cramped.

Close-knit sleepers
Consider how closely you and your partner prefer to sleep. If you both like a bit of space, the wider width of the King may be the better option. However, if you enjoy sleeping close together, the narrower width of the Cal King should not pose a problem, especially if the extra length of the mattress is important to you.

Do your kids sleep with you?
If you plan on sharing the bed with your children, the extra width of a standard King will provide sufficient space for everyone to sleep comfortably. However, the narrower width of a Cal King may not offer enough room for everyone.

A place for pets
Both the Cal King and standard King are suitable options if you have pets that sleep with you. However, if your pet prefers to sleep at the foot of the bed and you need to adjust your sleep position to avoid disturbing them, the extra length of a California King will provide your pet with their own undisturbed space.

Do you have enough room in your bedroom?
Consider the dimensions of your bedroom when deciding between a King and a Cal King. For larger or longer, narrow bedrooms, the shorter width of a California King will add depth and dimension to your sleep space. Bedrooms measuring 10’x12′ or larger are ideal for accommodating a standard King.

Measure of success
Most homes and apartments can easily accommodate the successful placement of a King bed. However, the additional length of a Cal King may require you to take into consideration the width of your doors, staircase(s), elevator, and other potential obstacles to ensure a smooth delivery process.

The total cost
Cal King and King mattresses are priced the same. However, keep in mind that accessories such as sheets, bedding, bed frames, box springs, and adjustable bases may be more expensive and have fewer options available for California Kings. On the other hand, King-size accessories are generally more readily available.

Choosing your new mattress requires careful consideration, regardless of the size you opt for. Dedicate time to think about your needs, the investment you’re willing to make in your sleep and overall health, and consult with a mattress professional to explore and test out different options. This will guide you towards achieving your best sleep ever.

FAQs About King and California King Mattresses

Is there a bed bigger than a California King?
No, the California King is the longest mattress size commercially available. However, it is narrower than a King, which has slightly more sleep surface area.

Which is better: Cal King or King?
The better mattress size depends on individual preferences. Consider whether length or width is more important for your sleeping needs.

Is King or California King bigger?
In terms of total sleep surface area, the two beds are nearly identical, with the Cal King offering 6,048 square inches and the standard King offering 6,080 square inches. The California King is 4 inches longer and 4 inches narrower than a King.

Will California King sheets fit a regular King bed?
No, sheets designed for a Cal King will not fit a standard King. The additional width of the Cal King will prevent the sheet from fitting properly across the mattress.

Can you use a King mattress on a California King bed?
It is not recommended to place a King mattress on a Cal King base, as it will result in 4 inches of extra base length and mattress overhang on the width. Similarly, it is not advisable to place a California King mattress on a standard King base, as it will lead to 4 inches of extra width on the base and mattress overhang on the length. If considering a switch in mattress sizes, a universal frame that can expand in width and length to accommodate different sizes is recommended.

What is the point of a California King bed?
The California King is designed for longer, narrower, and larger bedrooms. It is also suitable for individuals taller than 6’2″, providing them with additional length.

Is a California King more expensive?
California Kings are priced the same as standard Kings. However, bedding and accessories for California Kings can be more expensive with limited options available.

Can I use a California King comforter on a King bed?
You can use a California King comforter on a King bed, but the fit will not be perfect. The comforter will be longer but not as wide as a King comforter, potentially leaving someone without enough covers.

Which mattress is best for people with kids and pets?
People with kids and pets who share their bed typically prefer the additional width of a King mattress. If your pet prefers to sleep at the foot of the bed, a California King may be a better option.