California King vs. King

Written By: Alison Deshong

Size is a key consideration when choosing a mattress. If you and your partner are searching for a new mattress, you may be on the fence between a California king or a king. Bigger than a queen, these two sizes are the largest available when it comes to standard mattresses.

Many people assume that a California king is bigger than a king size mattress, but the answer isn’t quite so simple. We’ll give you a detailed breakdown of the most important differences between a California king vs. king mattress, including who can benefit from each size.

For quick reference, we’ve included the mattress dimensions for a standard California king and king mattress.

King vs. California King at a Glance

Mattress Size Mattress Dimensions
King 76" x 80"
California King 72" x 84"

What Is the Difference Between a King and a California King?

A king and California king are the two largest of the six standard mattress sizes. However, they differ in several key ways.

Dimensions

The most obvious difference between a king and a California king is their dimensions. A standard king mattress measures 76 inches wide by 80 inches long, while a California king is 72 inches by 84 inches.

Notice that these two sizes differ in both length and width. At 76 inches, a king size mattress is the widest standard bed size available. But while king and queen mattresses are both 80 inches long, a California king offers 4 additional inches in length.

Pricing

Another difference is the pricing. Keep in mind that mattress cost largely depends on the mattress type, materials, brand, and shipping fees.

Most brands tend to give their king and California king sizes similar price-points. That’s because the overall surface area of a king and California king are very similar.

Who Might Benefit From the Extra Length a California King Provides?

Certain types of sleepers can benefit greatly from the bigger dimensions of a California king.

Taller Individuals

Taller-than-average sleepers will appreciate the extra 4 inches in length of a California king vs. king size mattress. If you’re well over 6 feet tall, a California king can provide you with extra space to stretch out.

Couples Who Want the Extra Length

If you and your partner like having more room for pillows or simply enjoy stretching out lengthwise, a California king is a good choice.

Sleepers Who Want to Share the End of the Bed With a Pet

The length of a California king mattress is ideal for people who like to sleep with their pets. The extra space allows your dog or cat to rest at the foot of your bed while still providing you with plenty of personal space.

People With Long, Rectangular Bedrooms

Some bedrooms have a rectangular shape. If your room is longer than it is wide, a California king may be a good fit.

Who Might Prefer the Width of a King Mattress?

Choosing a king mattress gives you more width than any other standard mattress size. The extra width of a king size mattress is excellent for many types of co-sleeping arrangements.

Couples Who Want the Extra Width

A king mattress is 76 inches wide and provides ample space for couples. The added width of a king is particularly helpful if one partner is a lighter sleeper or tosses and turns frequently.

Parents Sleeping With Their Child

If you hope to comfortably share your bed with both your partner and your children, you may want to consider a king size bed.

Sleepers Who Want to Share the Center of the Bed With a Pet

Not all pets are content to stay at the foot of the bed — some would rather lie by your side or between you and your partner. The extra width of a king mattress provides plenty of space for both human and animal sleepers.

People With Wider Bedrooms

Those with wide bedrooms may also benefit from choosing a king mattress, which can better fit a wider sleep space.

Which Mattress Size Should You Choose?

If you or your partner are over 6 feet tall, or if you have a pet that sleeps at the foot of your bed, you will probably prefer a California king. If you and your partner like to have a lot of space to stretch and move, or if you share your bed with one or more children, a king may suit you better.

In the end, choosing between a California king and king mattress is up to personal preference and weighing the pros and cons.

King vs. California King Mattresses

Pros Cons
King
  • Extra width is ideal for couples looking for more individual sleep space
  • Great for co-sleeping with pets or children
  • Same length as a queen size mattress but has a higher price-point
  • May be too wide for some bedrooms
California King
  • Best choice for taller-than-average sleepers
  • More space at the foot of your bed for pets
  • Not as wide as a king size mattress
  • May be too long for some bedrooms

Are Split Versions of These Mattresses a Good Option?

A split mattress is typically made up of two smaller mattresses placed side by side on the same bed frame or foundation. This design allows each sleeper to customize the firmness and feel of their side of the bed. However, they are typically only available for larger mattress sizes.

If you and your partner are shopping for a new mattress but have very different comfort preferences, consider getting a split king or a split California king. A split mattress also gives you the option of using an adjustable base.

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