California King vs King: Size Dimension Comparison & More

Finding the right mattress size is crucial to having a good night’s rest. With enough sleeping space, you can stretch comfortably without worrying about rolling off your mattress. But when you feel cramped, it can ruin your sleep posture and lead to sleepless nights. 

When purchasing a new mattress, most couples find themselves weighing the merits and demerits of a California king vs. king mattress. While both mattress sizes are spacious for co-sleepers, some people may find one type more comfortable and spacious. 

So, what is the difference between these two mattress sizes, and how will you know which size suits your needs better? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key differences between California king and king beds to help you determine the right size.

California King vs. King Comparison

When it comes to buying a mattress, size really matters. Sometimes you simply want to enjoy a little luxury. And at other times, all you need is the extra sleeping space. No matter your unique reason, you’re sure to find a king-size mattress that will suit your needs. However, it’s worth noting that not all king mattresses are the same. There’s a big difference between a California king and a king bed.

While many buyers think California king mattresses are larger versions of king beds, that isn’t entirely true. The main difference between a California king and a king bed is in length and width. The king-size bed dimensions are 76 inches by 80 inches, while the California king mattress dimensions are 72 inches by 84 inches.

Notice that these two mattress sizes differ in both width and length. At 76 inches, king mattresses are the widest standard mattress size available. However, while the king and queen-size beds are 80 inches long, California king mattresses offer four additional inches. 

Another difference between California king vs. king mattresses is the pricing. California king mattresses usually come at a higher price point than standard king mattresses. However, some brands give their California king and king beds similar price points because their overall surface area is almost the same.

Check out our comparison table below for a quick run-through of the differences between a California king and a king mattress.


California King Mattress

King Mattress


72 inches

72 inches


84 inches

80 inches

Width per Person

36 inches per sleeper

38 inches per sleeper

Surface Area

6048 sq. inches

6080 sq. inches

Recommended Room Size

13 feet by 12 feet

13 feet by 13 feet

Ideal For

Tall people / couples

Couples with kids or pets


Comfortably fits taller sleepers

Plenty of width


Difficult to find accessories for

Can be too short for taller sleepers

Best Active Sale

What Is a California King Mattress?

Are you in need of a long sleep surface because you’re a taller sleeper (over 6 feet tall)? If so, the California king mattress should give you the comfort you need as it measures 84 inches long by 72 inches wide. Although narrower than a king-size bed, it’s 4 inches longer, making it perfect for sleepers who need the added legroom. 


  • Great for tall people. As mentioned earlier, Cal king mattresses are the favorites among tall sleepers who enjoy the extra space that allows them to sleep comfortably on their mattresses without their head hitting the frame or their feet dangling all night. 
  • May fit a narrower room better
  • Four inches longer than the king mattress


  • Hard to find accessories. Not every sleeper is extraordinarily tall nor has big spaces to accommodate California king-size mattresses. That’s why finding its accessories is harder than mattresses with king-size bed dimensions. 

Who is it good for?

Certain types of sleepers will benefit greatly from the extra length of a California king mattress.

Co-sleepers who need the extra length

If you and your spouse enjoy stretching out lengthwise or like having more room in your bed for pillows, a California king-size mattress is a solid choice.

Taller-than-average sleepers

Taller individuals will appreciate California king’s extra 4 inches in length. If you or your partner is well over 6 feet tall, California king beds can provide that much-needed extra space to stretch out. 

Sleepers with long, rectangular bedrooms

Some bedrooms come with unique shapes that call for uniquely shaped mattresses. A California king-size bed may be a good fit if your bedroom is rectangular.

Co-sleepers who like sharing the end of their beds with a pet

The extra length of California king mattresses is perfect for individuals who like sleeping with their pets. The extra space will allow your cat or furry friend to sleep at the foot of your mattress while giving you plenty of personal space.

What Is a King Mattress?

Also known as an Eastern king, a king-size mattress is larger than a California king bed and is specially designed to fit two people, typically couples who share a bed. It measures 80 inches long by 76 inches wide, making it wider than a California king-size bed. Generally, it’s ideal for a larger room as it takes up a lot of space, offering each sleeper 8 inches more space than a queen mattress. It’s also excellent for families who enjoy sleeping on the same bed: parents, children, and pets. Click here to learn more about the difference between a king-size and a queen-size mattress.

Here are the pros and cons of a king mattress:


  • At 6080 square inches, king mattresses offer couples a lot of personal space. Sleepers even get enough room to co-sleep with their kids.
  • No pressure. Your back and shoulders are some of the most significant pressure points, which often end up with cramps, shooting pain, and discomfort if not supported. A king-size bed allows you to stretch out, keeping your pressure points from experiencing too much strain.
  • Works for co-sleeping families: Families who like cuddling with their kids may prefer king beds to comfortably sleep together.
  • Compatible with adjustable bed frames: King-size mattresses are compatible with quality adjustable bed bases and motorized bed frames that enable you to elevate the foot or top of your mattress to any angle you prefer. 


  • Might be hard to move because of their size and weight - some king-size beds weigh close to 200 pounds
  • Not meant for average-size bedrooms. If your room is smaller than 12 feet by 12 feet, a king mattress may make you feel cramped and claustrophobic.

Who is it good for?

Choosing a king-size mattress gives you extra width than any other standard bed size. Many types of co-sleeping arrangements can benefit from the width of a king-sized mattress.

Parents sleeping with their kids

If you wish to comfortably share your mattress with your partner and kids, you may want to opt for a king-size bed.

Co-sleepers who want the extra width

King mattresses generally provide ample space for couples thanks to their 76-inch width. This extra space is particularly beneficial if your partner tosses and turns frequently at night. 

Individuals with wider bedrooms

If you have a wider bedroom, you’ll be better off with a king-size mattress, which can better fit wider sleep spaces.

Couples who’d like to share the center of their mattress with a pet

Remember, not all pets are content sleeping at the foot of your mattress - some prefer staying by your side or between you and your spouse. If this is the case, you may want to buy a king-size mattress, as its extra width offers plenty of space for both animal and human sleepers.

Things to Consider When Choosing Between a California King and a King Mattress

Just like when choosing between a twin vs full bed, you must ensure you get the right mattress size before settling for a California king or king mattress. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a mattress that’s either too large or too wide for your liking. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a mattress that’s either too large or too wide for your liking.

Below are some factors to keep in mind when choosing between a California king vs. king mattress:

Room Size

Whether deciding between full vs queen or king vs California king beds, two vital things to consider are your bedroom dimensions and height. How much room you and your spouse have each night and how much additional furniture you can fit in your master bedroom is all determined by your mattress size. Both the Cal king and the King beds are big, but they fill out a room differently and accommodate different sleeping styles.

Taller sleepers (over 6 feet) will enjoy sleeping on the California king because of its extra length. The additional legroom lets you stretch and keep your limbs flat throughout the night. This, in turn, enables you to sleep in a neutral position, a crucial part of getting a good night’s sleep. 

The average bedroom is usually around 11 feet by 12 feet. While Cal king and king mattresses can fit in such a room, there won’t be space left for much else. A king-size bed is ideal for a master bedroom, which usually runs bigger, measuring about 14 feet by 16 feet. However, if you’re going for a California king mattress, you should have a bedroom measuring at least 19 feet long. 

Room Size

When deciding between king vs. California king, two vital things to consider are your bedroom dimensions and height. How much room you and your spouse have each night and how much additional furniture you can fit in your master bedroom is all determined by your mattress size. Both the Cal king and the King beds are big, but they fill out a room differently and accommodate different sleeping styles.

Sleeping Position

Whether you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper, Cal king and king mattresses are big enough for both you and your partner to fit comfortably. However, the king-size bed is wider, giving more room for two people to sleep with their body weight fully distributed and their limbs straight, all without worrying about knocking each other at night. The Cal king, on the other hand, is ideal for accommodating long legs, though there isn’t as much space to stretch out fully. 

Family Needs

Many couples opt for Cal king or king mattresses for their extra space. And if you have kids or pets who often join you at night, that extra length or width matters even more. The extra width of king-size mattresses allows you to sleep with your young ones without sacrificing too much space for comfort. If you have pets that like resting at the foot of your mattress, a California king mattress might suit you best.

Sleep Partner

If you share your bed with your partner, you must take both of your unique preferences into consideration. Since the California king is slightly narrower, it’s suitable for those who like to cuddle and sleep closer to their partners. However, the standard king mattress, which is slightly wider, is a solid choice for someone who prefers their space while they sleep. 


California king-size beds usually cost more than standard king mattresses. From the mattress itself to the bed frames and bedding, especially the bed sheets, you’ll likely spend more money purchasing a California king mattress. So, when considering the two sizes, look at the overall cost. While you may benefit from that extra 4 inches in length, a king-size bed can also suffice, especially if you’re on a budget.

Are Split Versions of these Beds a Good Alternative?

Good sleep is crucial to remaining healthy. So, if lying next to your partner affects your sleep quality, it’s wise to find a viable solution that can work best for both of you.

For some co-sleepers, upgrading their mattress sizes is enough to do the magic, and that’s where California king and king mattresses come in handy. However, couples with vastly different sleep needs may want to consider split versions of these mattresses. 

So, what is a split king mattress?

Basically, a split king mattress comprises two separate twin XL beds on a king-size frame. Its only difference with a standard king mattress is that it offers each sleeper customized comfort and support that suits their unique needs.

If you and your spouse are hunting for a new bed but have different sleep preferences, consider buying a split California king or a split king mattress. Generally, split mattresses consist of two smaller mattresses (mainly two twin XL mattresses) placed side by side on your mattress foundation or bed frame. This unique design allows you to customize the firmness level and feel of your side of the bed. They also give you the option of using adjustable bases. 

California King vs. King: Which Size is Right for You?

As you can see, both the Cal King and the standard king mattresses are excellent picks for master bedrooms in providing adequate sleep space. Choosing the best size comes down to three vital factors: your sleeping position, height, and room size. A California king-size mattress is right for you if you’re taller or prefer space at the end of your mattress. On the other hand, if you prefer more space to sprawl out or need some room for you and your family, a king bed will fit. 

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