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What’s the Difference Between a Queen vs. King Mattress?

If you share your bed with a partner or sleep alone and enjoy extra space, then you should consider a queen or king size mattress. A queen measures 60 inches wide, while a king measures 76 inches wide; both of these dimensions offer ample room for two sleepers. Kings and queens are each 80 inches long, as well. Anyone whose height is 6 feet 7 inches or shorter should fit comfortably on either size without their feet hanging over the edge.

When selecting a mattress size, you should also take your bedroom's measurements and personal sleep preferences into consideration. Keep reading to learn whether a queen or king size mattress is best for you.

Who Is a Queen Size Mattress Best for?

If you belong to one or more of the following groups, then you're a good candidate for a queen size mattress:

  • Single sleepers: If you toss and turn or frequently change sleep positions during the night, then a full or twin size mattress might be too narrow. The queen size measures 60 inches wide, so you'll have plenty of room to move around without coming too close to the edges of your bed.
  • Couples: A queen is considered the smallest couple-friendly mattress size. The width should be adequate for two adults to sleep comfortably, though couples who prefer sleeping apart may need a bigger bed. A queen also offers enough space for a small child to join his or her parents in bed during the night, as well as smaller pets.
  • Anyone who is 6 feet 7 inches or shorter: At 80 inches, the queen is long enough for people who are 6 feet 7 inches and shorter to sleep comfortably. Those who are 6 feet 8 inches or taller may find their legs dangle over the edges; a California king, which measures 84 inches long, may be more comfortable for people up to 6 feet 11 inches.
  • People with available bedroom space: Queen size mattresses take up a fair amount of room, making them best suited to people with larger bedrooms. You should measure your floor space prior to purchasing a new bed to ensure a queen will fit.
  • Budget-minded mattress shoppers: Queen size mattresses have mid-level price-points. They tend to be more expensive than twin, twin XL, and full sizes best suited to single sleepers, but cost less than the king and California king sizes.

The queen size is considered an industry standard. With the exception of sold-out models, virtually all of today's mattresses are available in this size. Queen size beds and sheet sets are also widely sold.

Who Is a King Size Mattress Best for?

A king size mattress may be better suited to the following groups:

  • Single sleepers: Like the queen, a king size mattress is optimal for solo sleepers who tend to move around a lot in their sleep. You'll have plenty of room in bed and won't need to worry about coming too close to the edges.
  • Couples: If you share your mattress with someone and find the queen size too narrow, then a king – which measures 16 inches wider than a queen – should be sufficiently spacious. This is particularly true for couples who do not sleep close to one another and like some extra room in the middle of the bed.
  • Anyone who is 6 feet 7 inches or shorter: Since the queen and king both measure 80 inches long, either size should be long enough for people up to 6 feet 7 inches tall. A queen or king may also be suitable for taller side sleepers who tuck in their knees, but most people who stand 6 feet 8 inches or taller will be more comfortable on a California king.
  • People with large bedrooms: In terms of surface area, the king is the largest among the six standard mattress sizes. This means you'll need to dedicate a large amount of bedroom floor space for the mattress and its support system.
  • Shoppers with larger budgets: King size mattress models often share the same price-point as their California king counterparts, making these the most expensive mattress sizes. Expect to pay up to $400 more for a king than you would for a queen.

Like the queen, the king size is an industry standard. You should have no trouble finding a king size model for any mattress, as well as a sheet set with matching dimensions.

Dimensions

  • Queen dimensions: 60 inches wide x 80 inches long
  • King dimensions: 76 inches wide x 80 inches long

Since they share the same length dimensions, the key difference between king and queen bed sizes is their width measurement. That said, both sizes offer ample room for single sleepers and should also be spacious enough for couples. Even on a queen size, couples should have enough room for a small child or pet to join them in bed – but if you're looking for the largest amount of space, then a king size will be the best option.

Kings and queens are both widely available in "split" sizes, which consist of two separate beds that can be placed next to each other. Split kings consist of two beds that measure 38 inches wide by 80 inches long – the same dimensions as a twin XL – while split queens include two beds measuring 30 inches wide by 80 inches long. Splits are a good option for couples because they do not produce as much motion transfer.

Surface Area

  • Queen surface area: 4,800 square inches
  • King surface area: 6,080 square inches

Among the six standard mattress sizes, the king offers the greatest surface area at 6,080 square inches; the narrower and longer California king has a surface area of 6,048 square inches, making it technically smaller than the king (even though some brands charge more for the California king). The king's large dimensions ensure you'll have plenty of room in bed, whether you sleep alone or with a partner – but this also means you'll have to dedicate a large amount of bedroom floor space for your bed.

While smaller than a king, the queen size offers a fair amount of surface area for single sleepers and couples. Queen size beds take up less floor space, too.

Pricing

On average, king size mattresses cost about $400 more than their queen size counterparts. Differences in pricing for queen vs. king size bed models depend on how expensive or inexpensive the mattress is. For example, a mattress that costs $400 in a queen size may only cost $450 or $500 in a king, whereas a $2,500 queen size model can easily cost more than $3,000 in a king size.

Split queens and kings usually cost more than their standard counterparts. The price difference between a standard and split queen or standard and split king may range from less than $200 to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the brand. If you share your mattress with a partner and experience sleep disruptions due to motion transfer across the bed's surface, then a split queen or split king might be worth the investment – but these sizes are not as common as the standard queens and kings.

Mattress prices depend on several factors in addition to size. These include materials used to construct the bed, firmness and thickness, the brand or seller, and the time of year when you purchase the mattress. For the best deals, we recommend buying a mattress online during an annual sale period.

Mattress Types

In addition to selecting the right size, you should also explore different mattress types when shopping for a new bed. Mattresses sold today generally fall into one of the following categories. You should be able to find queen and king sizes for all of these mattress types.

  • Foam mattress: These mattresses are constructed from polyfoam layers. Softer comfort layers provide body-conforming and pressure relief, while high-density support layers reinforce the mattress to keep you on an even plane. The average queen size foam mattress costs between $700 and $1,000, while king size models cost $1,000 to $1,300.
  • Innerspring mattress: An innerspring is constructed with a polyfoam comfort layer and steel coils in the support core. These beds don't conform very much and feel very bouncy on the surface. Innersprings are fairly inexpensive compared to hybrids, the other coil mattress type. A queen size innerspring costs $900 to $1,100 on average, while a king size costs $1,300 to $1,600.
  • Memory foam mattress: Memory foam is a material that becomes softer when exposed to body heat, allowing it to conform very closely to your body. Beds with memory foam layers usually cost more than all-polyfoam models. The average memory foam mattress costs $900 to $1,200 in a queen size, and $1,100 to $1,500 in a king size.
  • Latex mattress: Latex is a natural material derived from the sap of rubber trees. It contours to the body but also feels very responsive, making latex mattresses ideal for people with aches and pains who do not like the body sink of memory foam or polyfoam. On average, a latex mattress will cost $1,600 to $2,200 in a queen size, and $2,000 to $2,400 in a king.
  • Hybrid mattress: A hybrid is a specific type of innerspring built with comfort layers of memory foam, latex, adaptive polyfoam and/or minicoils. The support core usually features pocketed coils. Hybrids vary in price based on their comfort layer materials. Expect to pay $1,600 to $2,200 for a queen size hybrid, and $1,800 to $2,400 for a king size hybrid.
  • Airbed mattress: An airbed is constructed with adjustable air chambers. By adding or releasing air from the chambers, you can change how firm or soft the surface feels. Airbeds are the most expensive mattress type on average. You'll probably pay between $2,000 and $2,400 for a queen size airbed, and may pay $3,000 or more for a king.

What Else Should I Consider When Choosing a Mattress Size?

Before settling on a king vs. queen bed, be sure to take the following factors into account:

  • Bedroom and House Dimensions: If you order a mattress online and the bed is compressed for shipping, then hauling it to your bedroom should be fairly easy. If not, you should measure not only the bedroom, but also your front door and any stairs or hallways you'll need to navigate. A queen or king size mattress could weigh 150 pounds or more, so be sure to ask a friend or family member to help you move the bed.
  • Split or Standard?: Split queens and split kings are a good option for couples who experience sleep disruptions due to motion transfer. Since splits consist of two separate beds, you won't notice as much transfer when your partner shifts positions or gets up in the middle of the night. However, keep in mind that split queen and king mattresses tend to cost a lot more than standard queens and kings.
  • Bedding Sets: Since the king and queen are standard mattress sizes, you should be able to find plenty of matching sheet sets. These sets consist of a fitted sheet with elasticated corners, a flat sheet, and two pillowcases. Some queen size bedding sets are also compatible with full size mattresses; the same is true of king and California king sets.
  • Pets and Children: A queen size mattress offers enough room for you, a sleep partner, and a small child or pet – but you may feel a bit cramped. The king is 16 inches wider and provides plenty of space for nighttime visitors.