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

Last Updated on October 24, 2023

Written by Jill Zwarensteyn

Which is bigger: California King or a King Mattress? This is a question which troubles a lot of people in their efforts to optimize their choice and pick the most suited option on the market. The truth is that there is a slight yet important difference in the overall surface area that you’d have to take into account when it comes to it.

Worry not! We are here to provide you with all the necessary information that you may need to make sure that you make the right call.

To check out some great mattress options, make sure to check out our Best King Size Mattress page 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 making a choice of the kind. So, without any further ado, let’s quit wasting time and have a look.

King versus Cal King – Side by Side

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
ConsIt’s difficult to supplement with accessoriesIt’s challenging to move

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Deciding Between Cal King or King Bed


Right off the bat, you would have to consider the overall dimensions of your room. Generally speaking, the ideal situation would allow you to leave at least 2 feet of space located around all of the 3 sides of your mattress. This is going to provide you with the necessary room to walk freely and maneuver around the bed. This also has an enhancing aesthetic appeal, making your bedroom look a lot more comfortable and spacious, preventing the feeling of an overly crowded room.

Additionally, you also have to consider additional furniture and if you fail to allow this type of space around your bed, it would become very challenging to fit anything. This is something that you should also account for.


Even though the costs of the mattresses themselves are usually quite similar with an inconsiderable difference whatsoever, the additional costs of maintaining both types are rather different. For instance, California-sized king beds are far more scarce and rarely encountered than their counterparts.

As such, this is likely to make purchasing spare parts such as bed frames, box-springs and even comforters and sheets difficult and costly. So, if you are looking for affordability, you should probably stick with the standard king-sized bed just to be sure.


Now, when you’re making the call, make sure that, as we mentioned above, you leave the two feet from every single bed side.

There’s something else, though, that you’d want to take into account. Cal King-sized beds are not that different from the regular king sized one but, at the same time, there are people who would ultimately appreciate their slightly awkward and different dimensions. Those of you who are over six feet tall, for instance, would certainly find the additional length quite convenient.

California king beds, at the same time, are also likely to look rather good in rooms which are narrow and long. On the other hand, if you have a room with regular dimensions and you appreciate your personal space while sleeping, a standard king-size bed would be the better call. If you and your partner prefer to sleep close to each other, the narrower dimensions of the Western king would certainly be highly appreciated.

Your Height

As you can see from our comparison chart, the dimensions of both mattresses are slightly different. With this in mind, if you are over 6 feet in height, going for the Western King would be a great choice. The extra length is going to provide you with additional head-to-toe space which is quite comfortable.

Of course, it’s really just a matter of personal preference. Some people love when their feet are hanging off the bed and they wouldn’t find the increased length worth it. This is respectable as it’s a matter of comfort. On the other hand, other individuals hate the fact that they are not able to get a full stretch without some of their body parts to be left out in the hanging. This is also something that you should account for.

Your Partner

This is also something quite important. As we’ve mentioned above, the overall width of the mattresses is quite different and the California king-size is about 4 inches narrower, while, at the same time, being higher.

With this in mind, if you and your partner prefer to sleep up close, this is the obvious choice. We’ve found that, however, a lot of people prefer to have their own personal sleeping space as during the hot summer days being very close to each other is not something that you’d prefer. If that’s the case, a standard king is definitely the better choice.

Do Cali King Sheets Fit King Size Bed?

Typically the sheets do not work on both types of mattresses, provided you buy specific ones. However, there are regular flat sheets which measure 108 x 102 inches which would fit both types. Keep in mind, though, that if you buy a snuggle-fit sheet set for your king-size mattress, it’s unlikely to fit the Western King one as well. This is something to consider.

To Conclude

As you can see for yourself, there is a slight yet defining difference when it comes to choosing between a California King and a Standard king-sized bed.

Nevertheless, we firmly believe that with the aforementioned clarifications there isn’t going to be a serious challenge when you’re making the choice. We’ve laid out the most critical considerations and metrics so that you can head directly to the shop and pick a mattress that you find appropriate. Additionally, this is everything you need to know in order to make a right online placement which could save you some money and it’s far more convenient.

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