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California King vs King: What’s The Difference?

September 1, 2017

What’s the difference california king vs king mattress? One of the most common questions and misnomers I hear when discussing mattresses with my readers is regarding the sizing of California King vs. King sized mattresses. Most people tend to think that California King mattresses are larger than King. However, this is not true. While a California King is slightly longer than a standard king mattress (also known as an “Eastern King”) it has less total surface area.

califonia king vs king mattress

California King vs. King Mattress Comparison

 California KingKing
Surface Area6,048 square inches6,048 square inches
ProsMore foot room
Good for taller people
More sleeping space for couples
Better for those bigger in size
Bed sets are easier to find
ConsMore difficult to find accessories
Difficult to move
Not easy to move around
May not be suited for taller individuals
Other Names"Western King""Eastern King"

AKA Eastern King

The king mattress, also known as the eastern king, has the same length as a queen, but it has more width. It measures 76” wide and 80” long. This is a very common size found in master bedrooms.

standard king


The size of the bed is ideal for couples who love their maximum sleeping space. It has adequate space for all bedroom activities and it can accommodate those extra sleepers such as pets and kids. The extra width also allows those restless sleepers to move around while their partner remains undisturbed if they have a good mattress with little motion transfer. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a wide bedroom, it may be a little tight for this size bed.

You can also choose this bed in a split size. Each piece equals to about the size of a twin bed. So if the time ever came and you couldn’t fit the whole king in your room anymore, you can split the bed into two different beds and use them in different rooms.


In terms of comfort, having enough space to sleep would be a factor for me. If I have someone taking up all of my sleeping room and i’m balancing on the edge of the bed, i’m not going to sleep comfortably. The king mattress does offer a lot when it comes to comfort because there’s optimal sleeping space for both parties to sleep without giving up their own personal space. The only downside to this is that if you’re a restless sleeper and you move down the bed, you might find your feet hanging off of it. It wouldn’t be very comfortable for me, that’s for sure.


Accessories for a normal king mattress are very easy to find. You can walk into just about any retail store and sheets, comforter sets, mattress encasements, and all other accessories will be there for your mattress, they’re also a lot cheaper.

Recommended Room Sizes:

For a regular King bed, the recommended room size would be 10’ x 12’ – 12’ x 13’. This all depends on how much walking room or other furniture you want.

California King AKA Western King

A lot of people think that the California King (Western King) is bigger, but it’s not. Here’s the scoop. The California King is actually longer than a king, but it loses width. It measures 72”x 84” and it’s better suited for rooms that are longer than they are wide.

california king


The size of the cal king is longer than a king, but it takes away from the width. It gives you and your partner less space to move around comfortably, but it still gives you a comfortable amount of room to sleep. As long as you have a mattress with good motion transfer control, you should be fine. Don’t let this scare you, though. You’re only losing 4” of width, so it’s really not that much. This may be a good thing, however, if you love to cuddle like my husband and I do.

The cal king comes in a split size as well. So if at any point in time you need to split the beds, you can put them in different rooms or even use two beds in the same room.


Accessories are much harder to come by when it comes to the cal king because they are more rare than the standard king. Searching for frames, box springs, protectors, sheets, and comforters are difficult and they all cost much more than the king versions would.


I find the california king mattress to be extremely comfortably in terms of foot space. I’m a scoocher. In the middle of the night I find myself down at the bottom of the bed. When I had my king bed, I found my feet always dangling off of the edge and cold from the fan. The cal king gives me the foot space I need. My husband is also very tall and it gives him the foot space he needs as well.

Recommended Room Sizes:

For a CalKing bed, the recommended room size would be 12’ x 12’ – 14’ x 12’. This is all dependent on how much walking room you want or how much furniture you want in the room.

Should I buy a California King or King mattress?

There are many factors to consider when deciding on whether you should purchase a California King or standard King sized mattress.

Room Dimension – ideally, you want at least 2 feet of space on all 3 sides of your mattress. This will provide enough room to walk and maneuver around the mattress. Additionally, aesthetically this will provide enough space to look like it belongs in the room and is not overly crowding out other furnishings or the space in general. If you have a narrower room you may lean more towards the leaner profile of the Cal King. Likewise, if your room is a bit wider the standard “Eastern” King sized mattress may be appropriate given its width.

Costs – while the California King size has grown in popularity, it’s still significantly rarer than the standard King. As a result, searching for box springs, bed frames, sheets, mattress protectors, and virtually every other accessory is not only more difficult, but it can be more expensive. There simply are not as many options available in terms of bedroom accessories for California King mattresses as their are for standard Kings. If you are on a tighter budget, it would be more prudent to opt for the King mattress as you’ll have a much easier time shopping for your accessories.

Your Height – if you’re over 6 feet tall the California King may be a great option. The extra length will give you a little more space from head-to-toe. That said, this really is a personal preference. I am 6’1″ and I love to sleep with my feet hanging off the bed. For me, the additional length on the California King isn’t worth it. However, you may find you love the extra length if you are taller than average.

Your Partner – if you sleep with a partner your preferences as a couple may also determine whether the California King or King is the better option. As the Cal King is a bit narrower it is more ideal if you tend to sleeper closer to or touching your partner. In the same vein, if you prefer your space during your sleep the standard King, which is a little bit wider, is most likely the best option for you.

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