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Twin XL vs. Full Mattress

Choosing the right mattress size for your situation is an important aspect of selecting your next bed. If you’re a single adult, or you’re buying for a child or teen, you may be considering either a full mattress or a twin XL mattress. We’ll compare and contrast twin XL vs. full to help you choose the right size for you.

Mattress Size Dimensions Advantages Disadvantages
Twin XL 38” x 80”
  • 5” of extra legroom accommodates tall sleepers
  • A good option for growing teens and tall adults
  • Can feel cramped
  • Not suitable for couples
Full 54” x 75”
  • Can accommodate couples (although it’s a bit cramped)
  • A more common size, so accessories are more widely available
  • Limited legroom for those over 6’ tall
  • Approaching the price of a queen, with significantly less space

There are significant differences between full and twin XL beds.

Twin XL is exclusively for single sleepers, while a full could accommodate a couple who doesn’t mind a tight fit.

On the other hand, twin XL offers 5 inches more legroom than a full, making it a good choice for single adults who are taller than average. A twin XL is the same length as a queen.

Who is a Twin XL Size Mattress Best For?

Twin XL mattresses are typically best for taller individuals who sleep alone. They offer ample legroom to accommodate most sleepers, up to around 6 feet, 5 inches tall. Twin XL is best for:

Single adults who want more legroom and anyone over 6 feet tall. A twin XL offers the same length as a queen, so there is ample legroom for most adults. If you sleep alone, there is little need for a full or queen size bed, so going with a twin XL might make sense. Of course, keep in mind that if you’re someone who wants ample space to move around, a full might be a better bet.

Growing children and teens who may eventually exceed 6 feet tall. A twin XL is a more versatile and future-proof mattress choice for parents shopping for their growing children, as it’s far less likely to be overgrown than a standard twin, or even a full.

Who is a Full Size Mattress Best For?

Full mattresses are best for single adults who want ample space, or couples who don’t mind a somewhat tight fit. A full mattress is best for:

Single adults who want more room to move around. If you’re someone who tends to toss and turn, or if you just value plenty of personal space in bed, then a full offers a good option. A full mattress has 16 inches of additional width, compared to a twin XL.

Couples on a tight budget, or couples with limited space. A full is able to accommodate a couple somewhat comfortably, as long as they aren’t too picky with personal space. It’s also a bit cheaper than a queen and takes up less space, making it a good fit for smaller bedrooms and studio apartments. A full is only 6 inches narrower than a queen, so it’s certainly big enough for two, although a queen is still a significant upgrade in size for most couples.

Adults under 6 feet tall. It’s important to remember that a full is only 75 inches long. This can feel cramped for taller adults, particularly those over 6 feet tall. When considering whether a bed provides enough legroom, remember that your pillow will take up some space.

Dimensions

  • Twin XL Dimensions: 38 inches wide by 80 inches long. This is 3 feet, 2 inches wide by 6 feet, 8 inches long.
  • Full Dimensions: 54 inches wide by 75 inches long. This is 4 feet, 6 inches wide by 6 feet, 3 inches long.

The full is significantly more spacious overall, but offers 5 inches less legroom. Meanwhile, the twin XL is 16 inches narrower, but a full 5 inches longer.

How do the dimensions affect how each of these beds feel? The 5-inch difference in length will likely only be noticed by tall individuals. The majority of people under 6 feet tall will have a comfortable amount of legroom on either mattress size.

On the other hand, the difference in width makes a huge impact. A twin XL will be enough space for many individuals, but will certainly not be comfortable for couples. Comparatively, a full will feel very spacious for a single sleeper, and somewhat cramped for a couple.

Surface Area

  • Twin XL Surface Area: 3040 square inches
  • Full Surface Area: 4050 square inches

Surface area is a measure of the total amount of space offered by each mattress size. It’s calculated by multiplying the length by the width.

It can be difficult to visualize surface area figures in a meaningful way. However, the numbers are still useful to help us compare the two different sizes.

By using these values, we can tell that the full offers around 33 percent more space than the twin XL. Viewed another way, a twin XL is approximately 75 percent as large as a full. Of course, the comparison is a bit imperfect as the space on both beds is distributed differently.

Pricing

Regardless of the size you go with, buying a new mattress is a major purchase. For most of us, the costs associated with each size will likely influence our decision. So, what is the difference in cost between the full and the twin XL?

A twin XL is the more budget-friendly choice. Typically, you can expect a twin XL to be $200 to over $600 less expensive than a full, depending on the manufacturer. Of course, the trade-off is that you’re getting a lot smaller of a mattress, that will be less spacious and ultimately less versatile than a full. Pricing varies widely, but expect to spend around $500 to $1500 for a quality twin XL mattress.

A full is significantly more expensive, but often worth the upgrade. A full will be priced at least $200 more than a twin XL, and as much as $400 to over $800 more for luxury models. While that’s a significant jump in price, a full is a much more versatile bed that can accommodate a wider range of sleepers, including many couples. Pricing varies, but a quality full size mattress can typically be found for around $700 up to and over $2000.

For couples, the full is absolutely worth the added cost, as a twin XL really is not an option for more than one person. For single adults, the decision on whether a full is worth the extra cost is up to you.

Mattress Types

So far, we’ve focused on choosing between full and twin XL mattresses. Size is only one factor as you’ll also need to decide on what type of mattress you want. New beds come in countless styles, with luxury and budget models available for nearly every type of mattress.

  • Foam: Foam mattresses are made of various foam materials, such as memory foam and polyfoam. Many foam materials are relatively inexpensive to produce, so all-foam beds are typically more affordable.
  • Innerspring: Innerspring mattresses utilize metal springs or coils to provide the underlying support layer of the mattress. Thin comfort layers made of foam and/or plush pillow tops are added for more comfort. Innerspring beds can be very affordable or more luxurious, depending on the manufacturer.
  • Latex: Latex mattresses are made from a rubber-like material that is bouncier than most foams. It’s a durable, comfortable, and environmentally friendly option, though latex mattresses are typically more expensive than other materials.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid beds combine the metal coils from innerspring mattresses with several inches of modern foams. The result is a versatile, durable, and comfortable bed. Hybrids are generally more expensive than other mattress types, excluding latex.

Both twin XL and full mattress sizes are generally available in all of these mattress styles. However, twin XL is more of a specialty size, so not all manufacturers offer it.

What Else Should I Consider When Choosing a Mattress Size?

We’ve compared the full vs twin XL mattress dimensions to help you decide between the two, but there are a few factors left to consider.

Room Size
How big is the bedroom? Both the full and the twin XL are relatively small beds that should fit in most spaces. That said, a twin XL has a slimmer, longer profile that fits better in narrow rooms. Ideally, you will want to have around 18-24 or more inches of room between the sides of the mattress and the surrounding walls or furniture, so it’s wise to measure your space ahead of time.

Accessories & Bedding
Buying a new mattress also means you will probably need to purchase new accessories, including a foundation or bed frame, bedding, and more. There are a few things to consider. For one, if you already have accessories for one of these sizes, that might influence your decision on twin XL vs full. Also, keep in mind that twin XL is largely considered a specialty size, so bedding is less widely available.

Children & Pets
If you ever share your bed with children or pets, you’ll want to think twice about which size makes the most sense. A twin XL will feel cramped, even for an adult and a small child. A full provides a more versatile option for single parents. On the other hand, if you have a cat or a small dog that likes to sleep at the foot of your bed, a twin XL might suffice due to its increased legroom.