What Is The Difference Between A California King And A King Size Bed? How To Choose Which Is Right For You

California king bed inside the bedroom

What is the difference between a California king and a king size bed? Surely, it’s not just the word “California”. They might seem similar at first glance, but there are some differences, and before you buy, you need to know what they are.

What Is the Difference Between a California King and a King Size Bed?

The most direct answer to the question of “What is the difference between a California king and a king size bed?” is that the California king is longer and thinner. The king-size is wider yet shorter.

That’s the main distinction and will help you to decide which option is best suited to meet your needs. But that’s not all.

A Look at the California King

Going a little further with the explanation of a California king being longer and thinner than a king-size bed, Sleep Advisor explains that this bed’s measurements are 72 inches wide and 84 inches long. You get a total sleep area of 6,048 square feet.

You should note that you might see the California king mattress sold under a different name. Some retailers will call it the western king.

Is this the size for you?

You might prefer this size mattress if you or your partner are tall. Generally, being over six feet means a standard mattress will be too short, and your feet will hang off the edge. You might be okay with that, but most people like to be able to fit their whole body on their bed.

It’s also a nice pick if your bedroom is long and narrow since it is smaller in width than the king size. However, it can be too long for a standard size room with square dimensions, so keep that in mind.

Also, if you prefer to be able to spread out but you share your bed with someone, then this may not be ideal. It’s better for people who like to snuggle or sleep more closely since it’s not as wide as the king.

Because it is longer, it can be more challenging to move. The California is also going to be heavier than a king-size bed.

You can get it as a split model, which is made up of two California twin size beds, but this still doesn’t stop it from being heavier than a comparable twin nor does it stop the issues with the length.

The Details on a King Size Bed

california king-size bed

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A king-size bed measures in at 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. You can see it is eight inches shorter than a California king, which is a huge difference if you are taller.

However, it has four more inches on its width, which is a blessing if you hate sleeping crowded up with your partner.

In fact, the total surface area comes in at 6,080 square feet, giving you 32 square feet extra space over the California king. Similar to the California king, the king-size also has an alternative name, so you may hear it referred to as the eastern king.

Should you choose a king?

It’s already fairly clear that you get more overall space with the king bed. That’s perfect if you want more room, but it may still be an issue if you or your partner are very tall since the length is rather short.On the plus side, if you have kids or pets who often find their way into your bed, a king mattress gives you plenty of room for everyone to lay comfortably. For many, just having more sleeping room provides the king with a significant advantage over the California king.Like the California king, you can get this size mattress in a split option as two twin beds.That makes it easier to move. Since this is a standard mattress size, you shouldn’t have issues moving it as you would with the California king, even if you get it as a full mattress and not in a split.

A Quick Look at How the Sizes Compare

Looking at the two mattresses alone tells you a lot about your options, but there may be additional information that can help. When looking at what is the difference between a California king and a king size bed, there are a few other areas to compare.

So, we want to compare the two mattress options to give you even more insight into the differences and similarities.

What you’ll pay

The good news is that buying a mattress in either size will cost you about the same price. Neither one is more expensive than the other.

The issue comes in when you try to find accessories. Things like bed sheets, bed frames, and headboards are much more expensive for the California king. You should keep that in mind since that adds to the overall cost.

General care

When it comes to caring for the mattress, the two sizes are exactly the same. Care really only differs depending on the material from which your mattress is made. That is the main factor when it comes to care needs for the bed.

Of course, you should note that when moving, as mentioned, the California king is tougher to get through doors and maneuver because of its added length, so you may have to take more precautions in this situation.

That means just adding protection to the edges of the mattress to prevent scuffs and other damage that could shorten the life of the bed.

Which is easier to find

The king-size bed is considered a standard within the industry, so it is more readily available than a California king, according to the Sleep Judge.

You’ll also learn that finding accessories is far easier for a king bed than a California king. Plus, when you do find bedding sets and other items for the California king, you will have limited choices as far as patterns, colors, and designs.

Tips for Making the Final Choice

king size bed

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You may feel like you have a good grasp of “What is the difference between a California king and a king-size bed?”, but we have three more points to bring up that can help you with making that final decision.


Keep your bedroom size in mind

You have to measure your bedroom, consider your other furniture, and make sure you have clearance around the bed before making your choice. In general, you want to have 12 to 13 feet lengthwise and 10 to 12 feet widthwise for a king-size bed.

For the California king, you want 12 to 14 feet lengthwise and 12 feet widthwise.

If you don’t measure your room, you could end up with a very uncomfortable and crowded setup. For maximum comfort, make sure you have the clearance to accommodate the size of mattress you choose.


Moving and mobility needs

Remember that a California king is a little more difficult to move. If you’re in a home where you plan to stay for years to come, then this may not be a concern.

However, if you move a lot for work or because you or your spouse are in the military, then you have to think about the practicality of the mattress you choose.

Moving a lot with a California king could also mean more damage to the bed as it may end up being bumped up against doorframes or other areas as you move it in and out of a room.

A king doesn’t usually have the same issues, so it might remove at least some of the headaches you get with the moving process.


Personal sleeping preference

Since the main differences between the two bed size options are the amount of sleeping room you have and the length of the mattress, you really have to base your choice on your sleeping preferences.

Do you want more space to spread out or do you want more length so that your feet don’t hang off the end? The answer can help you make the final decision, especially when all other things seem to be equal.

What Is the Difference Between a California King and a King Size Bed?


Image by Iva Balk from Pixabay

Analyzing “What is the difference between a California king and a king size bed?” brings up many factors. The bottom line is a California king gives you more legroom while the king gives you more sleeping space.

However, as you now know, there are additional aspects that you will want to think about when choosing which size to get for your next mattress purchase. Taking all things into account, you can make sure that whatever size you choose that you get the one best suited to your needs.

Have you bought a mattress recently? Did you have to choose between a California king and a king-size bed? Which choice did you make and why? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Featured Image: Image by 139904 from Pixabay