Are you thinking of buying a single-person mattress but unsure of the difference between the Twin and Twin XL sizes? If so, this article will help break it down for you.

You may have already noticed that Twin XL beds cost a bit more than ordinary Twin beds, but why is that? The only physical difference between a Twin and a Twin XL bed is the length. Both beds are equal in width, but the XL version is five inches longer. The extra materials required for the Twin XL are the reason for the price difference.

A Twin mattress (also called a single) is the smallest option and measures about 38 by 75 inches in size, while a Twin XL will be 38 by approximately 80 inches. Twin XL mattresses are the standard at many American colleges because they can work for both short and tall students.

Five inches may not seem like much, but this additional length can make the bed much more comfortable for taller people, teenagers who are still growing, or people who just like to have some extra foot room. Below, we’ll cover each mattress type on its own, along with the pros and cons.

The Twin Mattress

Twin beds have been around for a long time and are commonly used in children’s rooms, though they may also be purchased in pairs and pushed together to form one larger bed for couples. Twin mattresses will typically be easier to find accessories for, such as sheets and comforters, since they’re the more common option.

Let’s look at some of the benefits and potential disadvantages of ordinary twin mattresses:


  • They Save Space: People who are working with limited space in a small apartment or house may want to choose a twin bed, as sleeping on a mattress of this type will leave plenty of floor space. This is especially helpful if you’re buying a bed for your child who needs room on the floor to play with toys.
  • Versatility: Again, twin beds can be used on their own or together with another bed of the same size to create a larger bed. This makes them a versatile choice, especially considering how easy they are to move compared to a King-size mattress.
  • Extra Room for Sitting: Due to their narrow design, Twin beds are popular not only for sleeping but for extra seating. Some people place pillows on them to support the back, similar to a sofa.
  • Costs Less: Typically, mattresses are priced based on size. Ordinary Twin-size beds will usually cost less than their Twin XL counterparts because they use fewer materials in their assembly process.


  • Only Works for One: Twin beds are limited in that they can only fit one person comfortably. Unless you’re just looking for a bed for your single child or you plan to buy more than one, a Twin bed may not work for you.
  • Maybe too Short for Some: As we mentioned earlier, Twin beds are the smallest mattress size available. While they’ll accommodate most average-size adults, taller people might find that they’re too short and wish to choose a Twin XL bed, instead.

The Twin XL Mattress

Twin XL mattresses have been popularized by their use in college dorms, where standard Twin beds were often too short for taller students. Two Twin XL mattresses pushed together will form a single bed with the same measurements as a King bed.


  • Extra Foot Room: Whether you’re a taller-than-average person or you just like to have more room to stretch out, a Twin XL bed will fit your needs as a single sleeper.
  • Your Child Won’t Outgrow it: Your teen may still be growing with no signs of stopping any time soon. If you suspect that he or she may grow to be taller than 75 inches (about 6’3), a Twin XL may be better than a Twin mattress.
  • Extra Room for Sitting: Just like Twin beds, Twin XL mattresses can be used for both lying down and sitting.


  • Take Up More Space: Since they are an extra five inches in length, a Twin XL mattress will take up a bit more room than an ordinary Twin bed. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth sacrificing the extra space, plus you’ll need to consider if your bedroom arrangement can accommodate a longer bed.
  • Accessory Shopping: Since Twin XL beds are unusual compared to ordinary Twin mattresses, you won’t have as much selection when you’re shopping for sheets, blankets, and bed frames.

Twin vs. Twin XL Mattresses- How to Choose

There are additional factors you should consider when you’re choosing between a Twin and Twin XL bed. Let’s take a look at a few of these factors below:

  1. Room Size: If you’re working with a lot of space, this section won’t apply to you, but people with small homes always need to consider room space when they’re shopping for furniture. Will you be using one Twin (or Twin XL) bed, or two? Whatever the case, you’ll ideally have at least two to three feet of space on either side of the bed.
  2. Personal Comfort: Although they’re both around 38 inches wide, a Twin XL mattress provides about five inches of extra length. This could provide a much more comfortable sleeping experience for someone who’s tall since having your feet hang off the bed is uncomfortable and can lead to a lack of body alignment.
  3. Price: Depending on the specific mattress brand and the materials you select, many Twin mattresses will cost less than Twin XL options. This applies not just to the mattress itself but also the accessories needed, such as sheets and bed frames.

Essentially, choosing between a Twin vs. a Twin XL mattress is a matter of price and five inches of extra length. If you’re buying the bed for a child, you might want to choose a Twin XL, so they don’t outgrow their mattress prematurely. Either size can double as a daybed, but you might prefer a Twin XL to furnish a guest room if you have tall visitors.

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