Are you looking to get a big bed but uncertain about the difference between King and California King size?

Having too many options can get a bit confusing, sometimes. Not only are there are a plethora of mattress brands to sort through, but you also have to think about size and choosing the best for your needs. One concern that many mattress shoppers have is what differentiates a King from a California King.

When it comes to these two similar bed sizes, the main difference is in the length and width. A King bed is wider, while a California King is longer. Mattress height, on the other hand, will differ depending on the mattress brand and model, not whether it’s a King or California King.

In this guide, we’ll cover each of the differences and the pros and cons of each type, starting with the ordinary King-size mattress. By the time you’re done reading, you may just be ready to make an informed purchase on your new bed.

King Size

A King-size mattress is wider than a Queen, but has the same length, measuring at 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. King beds are a good choice for couples that move around a lot and don’t want to disturb each other.

They also work well for couples who carry some extra weight since they have more space than a Queen. A regular King bed should be used in a room that’s at least 10 by 12 feet in size or it may be a bit cramped.


  • More room for partners
  • Works for overweight people
  • Easy to find accessories
  • Extras (bed frames, sheets) are cheaper
  • Extra space for kids or pets
  • Doesn’t transfer motion as much


  • Tend to be expensive
  • Heavy and hard to move
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Might be too short for tall people

What to Consider with a King Mattress:

Some King beds come in a split design that allows you to separate the bed into two smaller beds. This could come in handy if you move into a smaller place and want to use the pieces in separate rooms.

Extras: Since King beds are a standard and widely-used bed size, it’s easy to find accessories for them and they don’t cost too much. Pretty much any home store will sell King-size sheets and comforters and you can easily find mattress foundations in this size, too.

Comfort Preference: When it comes to comfort, space is a huge factor for some people. If you aren’t much taller than average and prefer to have plenty of room to move around, a King-size bed could be a good fit for you. Partners who each like to have plenty of room to themselves will likely appreciate the extra width in this bed type.

Your Height: If you’re taller than average, a King bed may not be quite long enough for you. If you often find your feet hanging off of standard-size beds, a California King might work better.

California King Size

Contrary to what many people think, a California King-size bed isn’t bigger than an ordinary King-size mattress. Although it is longer, it’s not as wide and measures 72 by 84 inches. This type of bed is best for rooms with a lot of space or rectangular rooms that are long enough to accommodate the length.


  • Extra foot room
  • May work better with certain layouts


  • Heavy and hard to move
  • Extras (like sheets) are harder to find
  • May cost more due to unusual size
  • Less room to move around

What to Consider with a California King:

The California King still comes with plenty of room to sleep, though it isn’t as wide as a standard King-size mattress. Whether a California King is the right choice for you really depends on how important length is in your bed. Here are some other factors to think about before choosing a California King:

Your Room Dimensions: A California King bed will work best in a room that’s at least 12 by 12 feet in size. This may vary depending on how much furniture you have and how important extra room space is to you.

Bed Accessories: If you do choose to get a California King rather than a standard King, keep in mind that buying accessories for your bed may be a bit more challenging. Comforters, sheets, and bed frames will all be more expensive and you’ll have fewer options to choose from.

Motion Isolation: Although the mattress brand and model will determine how well the bed absorbs motion, larger beds tend to do this better than smaller beds. If motion isolation is a major factor for you, you might want to select the King instead of a California King, due to its extra width.

Sleep Preferences: If you or your partner tend to move around in your sleep or if either of you wake up with your feet hanging off the bed, this longer size may be a good change. If your room is large enough and a bed with extra length is what you’re looking for, a California King could be right for you.

Final Thoughts

If your main concern is extra foot room and you or your partner are tall, the California King will be a better option for you. Couples that are more concerned with the width of their bed and minimizing motion disturbances, however, will do better with a King bed.

You’ll also need to take the dimensions of your room into account when deciding which size of bed is best. It really comes down to which factors are most important to you. Just remember that, with a King bed, you’ll have more options for accessories and probably won’t have to pay as much.


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