California King vs King: Which Mattress Size Is Right For You? (2024)

Grace Struth

Sleep Content Lead

Not sure what the difference is between a California king and a king mattress? You’re not alone. Choosing the right mattress size is crucial for a good night’s sleep, so we’re here to demystify these terms and make your mattress shopping journey a breeze.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the nitty-gritty of California king vs. king mattresses, from dimensions to who sleeps best on which size. Find out which size is right for you and visualize the best fit for your bedroom.

Looking for other mattress sizes? Check out our guide to mattress sizes in Canada.


FeatureKing MattressCalifornia King Mattress


76″ x 80″

72″ x 84″

Surface Area

42.2 square feet

42 square feet

Ideal For

Couples, families

Taller individuals

Room Size

12′ x 12′ minimum

12′ x 12′ minimum


Spacious width
Great for families

Extra length
Ideal for tall sleepers


Too wide for some rooms
May be too short for taller sleepers

Slightly less width
Might be harder to find sleep accessories


What size is a king mattress?

A king-size mattress measures a generous 76 inches by 80 inches. Ideal for couples who love their personal space or families who enjoy weekend movie marathons in bed, a king-size mattress offers ample room for everyone.

However, before you decide to bring home a king-size mattress, ensure that your bedroom is at least 12 by 12 feet in size to comfortably accommodate this majestic size.

READ MORE: Queen vs king-size bed: is this mattress size right for you?


illustration showing two adults and a child lying on a king mattress, with 80


What size is a California king mattress?

Long and luxurious, the California king mattress (also known as a Cal king) measures 72 inches by 84 inches. It’s the go-to choice for taller folks or those with narrower bedrooms, providing extra legroom without monopolizing floor space.

When it comes to ideal room dimensions for a California king, think 12 by 14 feet. A room measuring at least this size should give you enough space to navigate around your bed oasis.


illustration showing two people lying on California king mattress, with 84


What’s the difference between a king bed and a California king bed?

A California king is four inches narrower and four inches longer than a king size mattress. The king mattress is 76 inches wide and 80 inches long—perfect for sprawling alone or cuddling up with your family.

The California king, on the other hand, is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, giving you extra stretch-out space to accommodate a taller body. Visually, when comparing the king vs California king, it’s all about width versus length.


What mattress size should I choose?

The million-dollar question is: California king or king? Narrow down your decision by considering factors like height, sleeping arrangement, bedroom size, and future planning for your sleep space. We have broken it down below.


Room Size

For a king-sized bed, which is 76 inches by 80 inches, you’ll need a room at least 12 feet by 12 feet. This will allow you to comfortably place the bed in the centre of the room, leaving about 2 to 3 feet of space on each side and at the foot of the bed. This space is important to ensure easy movement and add furniture without overcrowding.

The California king, which measures 72 inches by 84 inches, also fits well in a room at least 12 feet by 12 feet. Although slightly narrower, it’s longer than a king size, so you’ll need a bit more space at the foot of the bed. Placing it in the middle of a room of this size will leave 2 to 3 feet of space around the sides and at the foot, creating a balanced and spacious feel.

If your room is smaller than 10 feet by 12 feet, a king-size bed might feel cramped, especially if you want to add other pieces of furniture. Similarly, a California king mattress might feel tight in a room smaller than 10 feet by 12 feet. The extra length of the mattress could further reduce the available space at the foot of the bed, making the room feel more confined.

Before you say “yes” to either mattress, whip out that measuring tape and make sure your bedroom can handle it. It’s all about maximizing your space without sacrificing comfort.


Sleeper’s Height

If you are over 6 feet tall and find it difficult to fit comfortably into a king-sized bed, the California king bed could be the ideal choice for you. With an additional 4 inches of legroom, it offers you an opportunity to stretch your legs fully without having to worry about your feet hanging off the edge. This ensures that you can enjoy a peaceful and restful sleep without any discomfort.

On the other hand, if you are less than 6 feet tall, either a king or California king bed would likely provide more than enough room for you to stretch out comfortably.


Sleeping Arrangements

Do you sleep with kids or pets? The wider king-sized bed allows extra space for movie nights in bed, or for children who like to sneak into your bed. If your furry friends like to sleep at the foot of the bed, the California king’s extra length will ensure you still have plenty of legroom. Choose the mattress size that will let everyone get their best sleep.

If you and your partner have different sleep needs, you can also purchase a split king bed. This is actually two twin XL mattresses, which together have the same measurements as a king mattress. A split king allows you to use two separate mattresses side by side, and can be used with a split adjustable bed for a fully customizable sleep experience.

Future Planning

Since a mattress is an investment, it is important to consider long-term needs as you evaluate your choices. Things like family expansions, room redesign, or moving can affect the choice of a king vs. California king bed.

For example, a California king may not be right if you plan to have children in the next few years. You also may not want a king bed if you’ll be adding new bedroom furniture that makes the space narrower. Depending on how long your mattress lasts, you could have it for several years. Plan ahead to make sure it will still meet your needs later on.


Cost and Availability

In most cases, there is no significant cost difference between the king and the California king. The king-size bed and accessories are more readily available than the California king. Some mattress brands don’t carry the California king sizes and this affects the accessibility of its accessories.

Douglas, our Top Pick 2024, is a foam mattress brand that offers both king and California king mattress sizes at the same price of $899. So no matter which mattress size you choose, you can enjoy a restful (and affordable) night’s sleep. Douglas also offers all the sleep accessories you could want, making it easy to complete your sleep sanctuary with a single order.

Searching for a hybrid mattress? Logan & Cove offers advanced cooling features and pressure relief, excellent motion isolation, and luxury details often found in higher-priced mattresses. However, this luxury hybrid won’t break the bank—both king and California king sizes are $1,299. You can also customize your sleep experience with the brand’s sleep accessories.

(Not sure what kind of mattress is right for you? Check out our guide to types of mattresses to help you decide on the right option.)



Can I put a king mattress on a California king frame?

A king-size mattress typically won’t fit on a California king bed frame, since the frame will be too long and narrow for the mattress. The sides of the mattress may extend over the frame, and you will have empty space between the mattress and the foot of the frame. You would be better off buying a bed frame that’s designed for a king mattress.

READ MORE: Types of bed frames: which style is right for you?

Do king sheets fit on a California king?

No, king-size bed sheets will be too short and too wide to fit on a California king mattress. You will need to buy sheets that are specifically made for a California king.

READ MORE: Should you buy bamboo or cotton sheets?

What’s the biggest bed size?

California king is the biggest bed size you can find in most mattress stores. However, if you’re looking for a truly enormous bed, the Alaskan king size mattress is the largest size available at 108 inches by 108 inches, or 9 feet by 9 feet. This is three feet wider and two feet longer than a California king mattress. Alaskan king mattresses are normally custom made, so you won’t find them in your average mattress store.


Choosing between a California King and a King mattress is like deciding between chocolate and vanilla ice cream—both are amazing, but it all boils down to personal preference.

Whether you choose the expansive king size or the longer California king, the best mattress is the one that complements your sleep habits, physical needs, room size and aesthetics. Choose the option that will ensure restful nights and joyful mornings.

Good luck and happy shopping!