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King vs. California King Mattress – What’s The Difference?

Which is bigger, a California King or a King Mattress? This is a question that might come up when you’re trying to optimize your mattress choice. Though similar, there is a slight yet important difference between these two sizes that can impact the overall surface area.

Don’t worry! We are here to provide you with all the information you may need to make the right call.

To check out some great mattress options, make sure to check out our Best King Mattress list as well as our California King Mattresses our experts recommend.

Below you will find a thorough comparison chart as well as a detailed breakdown of all the characteristics that you should be aware of when deciding between a King and a Cali-King bed. 

King vs. California King Mattress Comparison Chart

California KingKing
Width72 inches76 inches
Length84 inches80 inches
Surface Area6,048 sq. inches6,080 sq. inches
Other Names“Western King”“Eastern King”
ProsIt’s better if you are tallerIt’s great for couples as it’s wider
ConsMay be harder to find bedding in this sizeIt’s challenging to move

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Sleep Experts Discuss Mattress Sizes

What to Consider When Choosing a King or California King Mattress


These are the two largest among the standard mattress sizes, but they have variations in their dimensions that could make one better for you than the other.

To start, there’s the King size, which measures 76 inches wide by 80 inches long. Kings are more well-known and might be the first choice people think of when they want to upgrade from a Queen. 

A California King, on the other hand, is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long. California Kings aren’t as popular, but they have an important factor: they’re 4 inches longer than a King. On the flip side, the King is slightly shorter, but it’s also wider than the Cali-King.


Even though the costs of the mattresses themselves are usually similar, the additional costs of maintaining both types can be different. For instance, Cali-King beds are less popular and may be harder to come by.

This could make purchasing spare parts such as bed frames, box springs, and bedding more challenging or costly. So, if you are looking for affordability and convenience, you may prefer the standard King size.


Of course, comfort is key when shopping for any mattress size. The benefit of these mattress sizes is that they’re both more roomy, especially if you sleep with a partner. Most solo sleepers may not need beds these large, but for those who toss and turn a lot, a larger mattress could make you feel more secure.


It’s important to note that because California Kings are slightly longer and regular Kings are wider, you won’t be able to use the sheets on these bed sizes interchangeably. This means that if you do buy a California King, you’ll need to find California King-size sheets. 

Luckily, many companies carry this size, but it is slightly harder to find in all styles than standard King bedding. In some cases, it may be a bit more expensive, though the difference in cost is usually negligible. 

Since a top comforter doesn’t need to fit the bed as precisely, you could probably get away with using a King on a California King, and vice versa, just for practicality’s sake. However, if you want the bed to look as nice as it can, we’d recommend buying the comforter that goes with your bed size.

Room Size

As we mentioned, California Kings measure 72 inches wide by 84 inches long, and standard Kings measure 76 wide and 80 inches long. This makes the California King a longer and slightly narrower bed, and the King, a wider and slightly shorter bed. 

Keep these shapes and dimensions in mind when thinking about the room you’re going to put the bed in. If the space for the bed is wider than it is tall, it might be a better space for a standard King, but if you have more room to spare length-wise than width-wise, it may be a better spot for a California King. 

If you have an extremely large room, it likely won’t matter as much. Just be sure you have at least 2 feet on the sides and foot of the bed to walk around it comfortably. Be sure you’re measuring the room’s dimensions carefully – especially the spot where you want to put the bed – before deciding between a California or standard King.


Usually, California or regular King beds are purchased by couples since the extra surface space is not as necessary for most solo sleepers. However, deciding between the two may come down to your body types and how much space you want to spread out.

California Kings are longer, so if you or your partner is very tall, this is probably going to be a better choice. Conversely, if you both value the most space possible for spreading out, the wider King size would be ideal.

Bed Frames/Adjustable Bed Frames

California Kings aren’t as common as Kings, which could make finding a bed frame or an adjustable base for one more difficult. Although the prices of these two frame sizes are usually somewhat similar, the lack of demand for California Kings bed frames can make them more expensive.

If you think you’ll save some money by using a King frame with a California King mattress, we don’t recommend it. Since the California King is 4 inches longer, it will hang off the end of the frame. This can lead to additional wear and tear on the mattress, and it could void your warranty. Also, Kings are 4 inches wider which will likely mean that it won’t fit securely on the frame.

King-Size Mattress Pros & Cons

King-Size Mattress Pros:

  • More width so better for spreading out
  • More popular size 
  • May be easier to find accessories for

King-Size Mattress Cons:

  • Not as great for taller sleepers

California King-Size Mattress Pros & Cons

California King-Size Mattress Pros:

  • More length for taller sleepers
  • Usually the same price as a King

California King-Size Mattress Cons:

  • Not as much width as a King

What’s Bigger than a California King?

  • Wyoming King  – Measuring 84 inches by 84 inches, these beds provide an additional foot of width compared to a California King. 
  • Texas King – Those with spacious bedrooms and taller folks may want to consider a Texas King. It is 80 inches by 98 inches, which is 8 inches wider and 14 inches longer than a California King. 
  • Alaskan King – These mattresses, measuring 108 inches by 108 inches, are the largest retail mattresses sold in America. They are 2 feet wider and more than 3 feet longer than a California King.

FAQs About King vs. California King Mattresses

Do California King Sheets Fit a King-Sized Bed?

No, based on their dimensions differences, California King sheets wouldn’t be wide enough and would be too long for a King bed. Fortunately, King sheets are a common common size and easy to find online and in retail stores.  

Who Should Buy a California King?

California Kings are excellent beds for taller people since they are 4 inches longer than their King counterparts. Although California Kings aren’t as wide as Kings, they are still a foot wider than Queens, making them a solid choice for couples who want extra space. Those with narrow bedrooms may also want to consider a California King as they may provide more space to move around the bed.

Which is better, a California King or a King bed?

Deciding which bed is better for you will really depend on your height and sleeping situation. California Kings are longer and narrower, while standard Kings are shorter but wider. This makes California Kings a good choice for those who are exeptioanlly tall and who don’t need as much width as a King bed provides. Standard Kings provide a little more space for couples sharing the bed and are likely the better choice for those who aren’t extremely tall.

Can I put a California King on a King frame?

Since the California King is 4 inches longer and 4 inches narrower than a standard King mattress, you’ll need to specifically buy a California King bed frame to support it. This is also true going the other way – a King-sized mattress won’t fit correctly on a California King bed frame.

What is the advantage of a California King mattress?

The California King is designed for taller people who don’t feel comfortable on a standard, 80-inch-long mattress. It includes 4 extra inches in length, so those who are 6 feet and over should be able to stretch out and sleep comfortably without their feet dangling off of the bed.

This bed type is also slightly narrower than a regular King-size mattress, which may be a plus depending on the dimensions of the room you’re putting it in.

Is a California King-size bed wider or longer?

The California King-size bed is longer than the standard King-size bed, not wider. In fact, it is 4 inches narrower than the regular King-sized bed. This makes it a good option for those who are tall and who don’t mind sleeping a bit closer to their significant other.


As you can see, there is a slight yet defining difference when it comes to choosing between a California King and a standard King-size bed. King beds offer more width, while Californa Kings offer more length. 

So with that in mind, it’ll come down to the preferences and needs of you and your partner. Are you taller? Do you like more space to spread out? Answering these questions and other considerations with your room space can help narrow down your decision.

Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn


About Author

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Combination Sleeper