Cal King Vs. King Sized Mattress – What’s the Difference?

At this point, almost the entire population has a mattress. Although some are sleeping on military-size cots, others are struggling with choosing a king-size bed. Because today, there are two king-sized beds. 

Cal King Vs. King

King-size beds aren’t the only mattresses available. There are about a dozen different mattress sizes out there. However, today we are going to focus on the two types of king-sized mattresses and how they are different. 

Want a quick tidbit that may confuse you? The California King has a surface area of 6,048 square inches while the King mattress has a surface area of 6,080 square inches! Now, where did that come from? Let’s find out. 

Cal King Vs. King Size Beds

If you hear the term California king, you may assume that the person is referring to a standard king-size bed. But the truth is that there are actually two different sizes of king-sized beds. The California king and standard king. 

Oftentimes, because California king indicates that the mattress makes its home on the West Coast, the standard king can be called the Eastern king mattress. The sizes are different, which we will get to shortly.

Remember, if you are disposing of your mattresses when upgrading, dispose of them correctly. You can make a difference with one easy step. Learn all you need to know about proper mattress disposal with this guide

History Of The California King

The California king hasn’t always existed. In fact, it wasn’t even the first “big bed.” In 1590, the Great Bed of Ware was built for a hotel in Ware, England. This bed was a whopping 10 feet by 11 feet and could sleep 15 people at a time.

Not long after the Second World War, a mattress merchant from LA decided that people in California needed what he deemed, Big Beds. That’s when he built the 72 inches by 84-inch beds that he soon called the California King. 

It was actually after this that those in the east started making their own Big Beds and built the standard king which they called the Eastern King mattress. Today, the two are similarly popular, depending on the region. 

Does Sheet Size Matter?

Some manufacturers will make universal king-size sheets that fit both the king-size and the California king-size mattresses. But more often than not, the sheet sizes are different when it comes to fitted sheets.

When it comes to not-fitted sheets, things are different. You can usually use loose sheets on both beds even if they aren’t labeled for that bed. The difference will be a slighter bigger overhang on the end of the sides. 

If you are planning on using something like a duvet or bed skirt, learn about layering. There are many different types of bedding pieces and they can all work together if you learn how to use each of them. 

King Vs California King Size

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To understand the difference between a California king and a regular king-size bed, you need to understand the different sizes of mattresses. There are about a dozen different sizes of mattresses, but today, we’ll talk about the most popular. 

Today, we are talking about twin-size, full-size, queen-size, king-size, and California king-size mattresses. This covers 90% or more of all mattresses purchased each year in America and possibly across the world.  

Twin Size Bed

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A twin-size bed is the smallest standard bed that is used by adults. This bed is 38-inches by 75-inches. It is long enough for just about anyone to sleep in but isn’t wide enough for anyone to feel comfortable in. 

Most people prefer at least one size bigger than the twin-sized bed but it can be a great choice for siblings or those in studio apartments. It is so narrow that it can fit in the same slot that an appliance can, which is great for space-saving!

Full-Size Bed

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Full-size beds are very common amongst teens and those with smaller spaces. It is the same length as the twin size bed at 75-inches but it is 54-inches wide. It is the smallest bed size that couples can use. 

Most single people use full-sized beds because there is so much room for one person. It’s a huge step up from a twin-sized bed and is big enough for two people if need be. You won’t find a better bargain either. 

Queen Size Bed

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Queen-sized beds are smaller than any king-sized bed. This bed is 60-inches by 80-inches. It is perfect for most couples and even adds that extra five inches to the length. But this isn’t the same as the Olympic queen mattress. 

An Olympic queen mattress measures 80-inches by 66-inches. It is six inches wider than a queen-sized bed. It is only a few inches narrower than a California king bed and the same length as a standard king. 

King Size Bed

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If you sleep alone, you probably won’t need a king-sized bed. But if you sleep with someone and want the extra space, then a king-sized bed is great. The bed is just almost square at 76-inches by 80-inches. 

Some king-sized beds are square if they are made by certain manufacturers. But most of the time they are slightly longer than wide. Read on to find out the difference between a king-size bed and a California king bed. 

California King Size

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Tall people were very thankful the day the California king was announced. The bed is 72-inches by 84-inches. It is actually narrower than the standard king but it is quite a bit longer. It is perfect for tall couples. 

But it isn’t just larger. After all, the square footage is very similar to a king-sized bed. It is simply longer and narrower. This ensures that it is better for some things than a king-sized bed but worse for other things. 

Is King Size Or California King Size Better?

It’s a common misconception that one is better than the other. Many people even think that the California king-size mattress is just a bigger version of the king-size mattress. But this isn’t true, as you now know.

The California king is longer while the king-size is wider. This can help you decide which one you want. If you are rather tall, a California king is better for you. If you want more bed space to wiggle, then a king size is better for you. 

This also matters because you need to take your space into account, your room size, that is. If you need a squarer mattress, the standard king is almost square. But the California king is more rectangular in shape. 

Comparing The Two Kings

If you are unsure which king to choose based on your room and your needs, take a look at these comparisons. We take on the most common situations people face and which mattress is better for each one. 

  • Tall People: when it comes to height, the California king is better for tall people. The extra few inches make a huge difference, as tall people know well. It’s the difference between stretching out and not.
  • Couples: both beds work equally well for couples. So decide together which you prefer, to have more room at the foot of the bed or more room width-wise. Both have pros and cons otherwise to consider. 
  • Families: if your kids ever get into bed with you then you probably don’t want a California king. You will be more comfortable with the kids sleeping with you if you choose a standard king bed.
  • Pets: this all depends on where your pets sleep. If your pets sleep above your head or at your feet, then a California king is better. But if they sleep between you like your children then a standard king is better. 
  • Short Rooms: it’s a good idea for the bed to be a scaled-down version of your room. So if your room is more square, is shorter, and wider, then a standard king is better. It will fit better and look better.
  • Narrow Rooms: now if your room is narrower, for the same reasons, a California king will work better. It will give more walking room all the way around the bed and look more symmetrical overall. 

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How To Choose The Right Size

Choosing the right size of mattress isn’t as easy as picking the one that looks right to you. You need to find one that has the amount of space you want but that will still fit into your bedroom without being too crowded. 

If you are sleeping alone, a twin-sized bed is the best space-saving option. But not everyone can sleep in it comfortably. If you sleep alone and have plenty of space, then one of the king-sized beds is best.

If there is a factor we haven’t mentioned but you are concerned about, then play off of it. Even if it seems silly to someone else. The point is to find the right mattress for you not someone else. 

It’s all about space and price. Because it only matters what size of mattress you use to you! This isn’t a design statement. You can make any sized bed look amazing in any space, so this is a time to be practical.