King Mattress vs California King

Are you looking for a longer mattress with more foot room, and or a wider mattress for additional space to spread out? If so, then you’ll have your choice between a king and California king. This guide will examine the main difference between king and California king, so you can find the right size for you.

Sometimes you just want to enjoy a little luxury. Sometimes you need the extra space. No matter what your reason, you’ll find a king-sized mattress that will fulfill your needs. But it’s worth noting that not all king beds are the same. There is a difference between king and California king. You’ll want to pick the right one to fit your needs, but you need to understand the California king vs. king size mattress.

While many people are under the impression that a California king is simply a larger version of the king mattress, that isn’t quite true. The California king dimensions are 72 inches by 84 inches, while the king size mattress dimensions are 76 inches by 80 inches. The California king mattress is longer but narrower than the king mattress. 

If you are wondering “how much bigger is a California King mattress?”; the actual surface area is nearly the same, but the California king is slightly smaller. The California king mattress has a surface area of 6,048 inches, while the king size mattress has 6,080 inches. That means a king size mattress is technically a little larger than the California king.

This guide will examine the main differences between king and California king so that you can find the right size for you.

What Is A King Size Mattress?

A king size mattress, also known as an Eastern king, is 80 inches long by 76 inches wide. The king size mattress was designed to fit at least two people, typically partners who share a bed. But it is also a great choice for families who would all like to sleep on the same mattress: parents, kids and pets alike. It’s ideal for a larger bedroom as it takes up plenty of space.


  • Lots of additional space for spreading out, even with two people in bed
  • Great for families with kids or pets
  • A common size mattress that is readily available


  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Requires a larger bedroom
  • Can be expensive
King vs split king

What Is A California King Size Mattress?

Do you need a longer bed because you’re over six feet tall? If so, a California king mattress — also known as a Western king — is a good choice, as it’s 84 inches long by 72 inches wide. While it doesn’t have the same width as a king mattress, it’s four inches longer, making it ideal for those who need the added legroom. The California king mattress gets its name from a mattress seller in the California area who found that homes built in the state following World War II could accommodate larger beds.


  • More legroom for taller people
  • Narrower for people who like to sleep closer together


  • Harder to find bedding for this size of mattress
  • Expensive
  • Can be difficult to move because of the unique size
California king size

King vs Cal King

This table shows how both mattresses compare to each other:

KingCalifornia King
ProsPerfect for couples needing more space
Reduces tossing and turning due to being able to sleep in a more spacious area
Families and those with young children
Ideal for sleepers over six-feet tall to allow them proper sleep positions
Great for sleepers who need added legroom or space for pets
Less width means closer distance to your loved one
A good fit for long and narrow bedrooms
ConsThey take up a lot of space, making them a tight fit in narrow bedrooms
Can be expensive
They’re expensive, sometimes more so than a king bed
Their length can occupy most of a smaller bedroom
Surface Area6,080 inches6,048 inches

Things To Consider

When choosing between a California king vs Eastern king, there are several considerations you’ll want to take into account:


Both king and California king mattresses can be expensive, especially if you decide to buy one made of premium materials like memory foam. Either version of a king bed is likely to run you upwards of $1,000 or more.

Also, consider costs for pillows, sheets, and other bedding accessories. In general, sheets are much more expensive for both king and California king because the manufacturer must use more material.

Room Size

The size of your bedroom will also play a primary role in which mattress you choose. If you have a narrow and longer bedroom, then a California king might be a better fit.

On the other hand, a bedroom that strikes a balance between width and length might be able to accommodate a king bed. Make sure you account for the space you need for furniture like end tables and dressers. Make sure you measure first before making a decision.

Body Type

If you’re over six feet tall, then a California king bed provides the right amount of space for you to stretch your legs. This also allows you to get into a comfortable sleeping position, which reduces pressure points and tossing and turning.

If you have long legs and a wider body type, then the width of a king mattress makes it a good option for you.

Single or Co-Sleeping

If you’re single and taller, a California king might be a great fit since it gives you more length to stretch out your legs.  The same applies if you have someone sleeping next to you and you both enjoy cuddling throughout the night.

If you plan to have someone sleeping next to you and you both need space to stretch out horizontally, then a king size mattress might be a better fit.

Mattress Foundation

You will want to take into consideration your mattress foundation when selecting your bed size. Check your mattress warranty to determine what the right foundation for your mattress is. In general, adjustable bases should work with both king and California king mattresses. Make sure your box spring and frame fit, too.

Final Thoughts

Both a king mattress and a California king provide plenty of space for sleeping. Which one you decide to go with will depend on if you like more space to sprawl out or more space to stretch your legs. If you are taller or like room at the end of the bed, a California king mattress size is right for you. If you prefer to have some room to move around or space for you and your family, then a king size mattress will fit. Knowing the difference between king and California king can help you get the bed that best fits your needs.