Consumers can get confused by King and California King, the most common of which is that Cal King is larger than King. They can be more befuddled upon encountering the same price for both sizes of the same model. Such things are understandable. Without knowing the standard dimensions of mattress sizes, buyers are subjected to what the manufacturers say on the product label.
So, King vs California King, which is it? You need not wonder which is better for you when it comes to this question. Familiarize yourself with the main differences between the two. Once you delve into the details, you will be able to see which suits you more. It’s actually not rocket science. But brace yourselves nonetheless.
In this mattress size guide, you will find out about the ones we mentioned above, plus additional information. After all, King and Cal King are the most expensive sizes you can shop in. Avoid making a costly mistake before you hit the Buy button.
Learn everything you can while you browse through this article we crafted just for you. Check out the outline in the Table of Contents to know what’s in store for you.
Table of Contents
King vs California King – Mattress Comparison
One is longer and the other is wider. One is 74×82 inches while the other is 76×80 inches. Can you tell which is which? California King is the longer option, which makes it great for tall individuals. King, on the other hand, is the wider bed which can fit a small, growing family.
The surface areas for Cal King and King are 6,048 inches and 6,080 inches, respectively. You may also know these two by their other names. California King is alternatively called the Western King. King’s moniker is Eastern King. Neither does entail your geography should dictate which dimensions to pick.
Should You Buy A King or California King Mattress?
Factors to Consider
We already mentioned the dimensions of the two sizes we are comparing. But the images below should embed the measurements on your mind. Remember that the width of the King is bigger. Thus, it can accommodate up to two adults and a small child. It gives you room to roll over if you are using it as a couple.
Some King beds also sport a split design, which separates it into two smaller beds. This feature can come in handy if you need to move into a smaller space.
Cal King isn’t as wide as King, but it is longer. This provides tall individuals with more legroom. Stretching should not be hard if you are the Brienne of Tarth of sleepers. However, only you and another grown-up can share this bed if you are to maximize the space. Your little one can be squeezed in for sure. But that will leave the three of you feeling cramped.
Now that we got the mattress dimensions out of the way, it’s time to talk about room dimensions. As a rule of thumb, you need at least 2 feet of space around each of the three sides of your bed. And if your base/bed frame/foundation is a little bigger than your mattress, you should use the former as the reference point. This is for aesthetic and practical purposes.
One of the things you should spend time pondering is your purpose. For one, since you are considering either size, you’re likely looking for a bed that can cater to at least two persons. Or perhaps you just appreciate the extra space. If you know what you want, decision-making should not be a source of headache. You are well aware that your mattress is going to be yours for a time.
For another, you are probably looking for a bed that is the more practical option. If you are sleeping on it as a family, the King can handle two grown-ups and a kid. Use your sleeping space to snuggle and bond. In addition, find a model that has good edge support, so you won’t be hogging the center zone all the time. This can also prevent uneven surface someday.
If you simply want more room for tossing and turning, no one’s keeping you from buying a King. But if you’re tall, you could use the longer layout of Cal King. This can be shared with a co-sleeper or enjoyed solo. What matters is that you are comfortable while you snooze. Unfortunately, having a little child in between two people may feel a bit uncomfortable–one parent can sleep separately.
Aesthetic & Other Practical Uses
Aside from the obvious and practical use as a roomy sleeping space, a King mattress adds a luxurious look to the master’s bedroom. When you get the centerpiece right, it’s easier to accentuate the entire area. You can look for a complimentary bed frame, foundation, or box spring with good center support to complete the look. If you have an existing one, make sure it’s strong enough at the center.
Meanwhile, a California King mattress will suit a long and narrow bedroom in case this is the one you’ve got. You can also go for this one if your taste calls for something that’s a bit awkward and peculiar. Just remember that it’s more difficult to look for Cal King accessories. The Cal King has an interesting origin as well for those who want some character to their bed and sleeping space.
Are you 6 inches tall… or taller? The extra length in Cal King may sound appealing to you. It gives you room to fully extend your body without losing the support you need. You can take advantage of its dimensions, especially if you aren’t sharing your bed with a kid–only with your partner. Even better if you sleep solo.
But if your height is average, you shouldn’t worry too much about that extra length. You should be okay with the King edition of your chosen mattress model. This one’s dimensions are really made to cater to many sleeper types. Even heavier folks can rely on it.
Are you sharing your bed with someone else? The number of persons using the space differs here. You can have one couple and a kid sharing a King mattress. The wide surface area allows a small family to sleep together for whatever reason–the child is still too young to be separated from the parents, or their living quarters requires them to sleep in one room.
In general, two adults can also occupy a Cal King bed without any issues. There is enough room to move around. Couples who have one member favoring the center and another leaning toward the edge can have their preferences satisfied.
You probably have a good grasp of how popular King mattresses are. With this status comes the ease and convenience of finding bed frames, sheets, and other accessories in this size. They are available virtually everywhere, from online bed-in-a-box brand sites and online marketplaces to brick-and-mortar stores. Plus, these can be bought at affordable/competitive prices. So overall, it’ll be much smarter to buy a King, budget-wise.
Cal King and King, as you know, command the same price. The notion that the former is more expensive isn’t true most of the time. So you’ll be starting with the same price, but the rare options for bed frames/foundations and sheets can increase the total amount you’ll have to shell out. Because of this, you should really have a good reason to pick a Cal King.
In case you aren’t able to pay cash up front, you can opt to apply for financing. The most common providers are Affirm and Klarna. You can check the financing firm on the site of your chosen online mattress brand. Alternatively, you can snag the slashed prices on Amazon and/or use your Amazon Store Card.
We cannot overemphasize how it may be hard for you to search for California King bedding. But with that out of the way, you can focus on how to protect and dress up your mattress: King and Cal King alike.
Bedsheets are the first thing you have to buy. Make sure that the sheets are fitted to cover the entire mattress and avoid messing up the surface when and after you lie down. As for the fabric, pick one that matches your preferences. Take note of allergies to some textiles if you are aware of or suffering from any.
Next, check out the thread count of the bedding. This refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch. According to Crate & Barrel, a higher number does not always mean better. It can mean a delicate weave which can be tough to maintain. For cotton, look for a 200 thread count for beautiful sheets that last long.
Enhance or stay consistent with the theme by tossing accessories into the lot. Quilts, duvets, and duvet covers come in color, patterns, and textures that you can choose from. Pillows and pillowcases are often sold together with mattresses. Even your foundation can do better with bed skirts. Don’t discount mattress pads and toppers, which help keep the mattress clean and protect.
Pros & Cons
- Ideal for couples and co-sleepers..
- Can handle heavier folks.
- Has extra space for kids and/or pets.
- Accessories are easier to find.
- May be too heavy to move around.
- May be too short for tall individuals.
California King Mattress
- Great for single adults and couples.
- Features extra legroom for tall people.
- Works in narrower rooms.
- Fits certain tastes, styles, and layouts.
- Accessories can be hard to find.
- Some sleepers may find it difficult to move around.
Queen – This version is the most popular option among adults, including couples. We use this as a standard when reviewing mattress prices here at PhatFusion. Usually, people take this if they have limited space. Its dimensions are 60×80 inches. It’s best placed in a 10 square-foot room.
Read our full review of Best Mattress for Couples.
So you can see it is just as long as a King, only less wide. There is still room to move around in a Queen, though. Little ones can also sleep on this bed provided their room is big enough to accommodate it.
Full/Double – This shouldn’t be bad for adults. A full/double mattress measures 54×75 inches. Single adults should benefit most from this setup. A pet as a co-sleeper sounds exciting as well. However, if you are around 6-inch tall, you only have the remaining 3 inches if you extend your entire body.
Meanwhile, this is good for kids in general. Some adolescent boys and girls finally get their own beds during this stage. So if you have one, you can definitely buy this for them instead of a King or Cal King–unless you have space and money to do otherwise.
Twin – You would usually find this in a kid’s room, but who’s to say an adult can’t fit in a twin bed? A Twin features 38×75 inches of space, while a Twin XL is a bit longer at 80 inches. It isn’t that bad if you are on a tight budget or in narrow living quarters, like your college dorm.
But this one’s really great for growing children. If it’s time to graduate from sleeping beside their parents, kids can be trained to sleep alone or with their siblings by getting them their own bed or bunk.
Read our full review on the Best Twin Mattresses for Bunk Beds.
For sure, you will also get the nuance when you encounter the question regarding which size should emerge as the winner: is it King vs California King? It really depends on several factors, such as your room dimensions, purpose/s, and budget, among others. Maybe you can also explain to others how it works. More importantly, you should be able to sleep well no matter the size of your bed.
That said, we hope you have a size in mind at this point. If you aren’t ready to buy yet, feel free to return to this guide when you are ready. Do check out our mattress reviews if you have settled with a King or Cal King, though, as you also need to search for the right factors while you go through your options.
For a start, read our Best Online Mattresses in 2020.