Size Comparison Guide: California King vs King Mattress

Close in size, choosing between a California King and a King bed depends on a couple of key differences. See which mattress size is right for you.

Choosing a bed can get overwhelming, especially when discovering the many choices of sizes. When you have the luxury of sharing a large bedroom with your mate then the perfect mattress size for both of you will be a type of large bed made for a King. That being said, you now have the choice between the traditional King bed and the California King bed. Both are grand in size but there is a difference between California King and King bed, particularly in dimensions. Depending on your own needs and room size will determine which King bed is best for you.

I. Comparison Chart: California King vs King Mattress
II. California King Mattress: Pros & Cons
III. King Mattress: Pros & Cons
IV. Room Size Requirements
V. Comfort
VI. Cost
VII. Conclusion

I. Comparison Chart: King vs Queen Mattress
California KingKing
Width72 inches / 183 cm76 inches / 193 cm
Length84 inches / 214 cm80 inches / 203 cm
Personal Width36 inches / 91 cm38 inches / 96.5 cm
CostThe rarer of the two so can be costlier for bed as well as accessories.The more common sized King bed should cost less. Bedding should be lower in cost than the California as it will be more readily available in stores.
Space UsedLarge master bedroomsLarge master bedrooms
Size differentialSize differential The California King is longer in length than a King, but slightly narrower.The King is 4 inches shorter than the California King but 4 inches wider.
SummaryEuropeans refer to the California sized King as a Western King.The original King sized bed is often referred to as a Standard King. In Europe, the King is also called an Eastern King.
II. California King Mattress: Pros & Cons

Although the traditional King is still a popular choice, the California King has become more well-known, thus increasing in popularity. This King bed is named for its origins. The California King was first created in the 1960s by a Los Angeles furniture company catering to celebrities looking to decorate their mansion sized master bedrooms. Although 4 inches narrower than the standard King, the California King is 4 inches longer in length.

Pros

The California King is perfect for room sizes that are very big in length. Being 4 inches longer than the King, this sized bed will help fill up empty space in a room that is longer than wider in size. The extra 4 inches in length is also an added benefit for tall people looking to get a comfortable bed to fit their size.

Cons

In the half-a-decade since its debut, the California King has become more common for those seeking a new bed. Yet it does still lag in popularity behind the much more common King sized bed. This means that bed frames and bedding is not as easy to find for the California sized bed. With accessories and bed needs less available, there are fewer choices that will generally be more expensive than the King. With a narrower width than a King, this bed gives less room to move for two people, or for those who toss the kids into the bed to sleep as a family.

III. King Mattress: Pros & Cons

The original, or standard, King bed was first introduced in the 1940s, when stores started promoting placing two twin beds together, and gained in popularity in the 1950s. This sized bed is the size of two XL twin beds placed side by side, making it 4 inches wider and 4 inches shorter than the California King.

Pros

The original King has been around for a couple of more decades than the California size and is still the more popular of the two Kings. Its popularity allows for more choices in fed frames for the décor, as well as bedding. Accessories and bedding for the more popular King will generally be lower in cost that the California King since it is easier to find when shopping.
With a size that is 4 inches wider that the California, the King is perfect for mates that are larger in size or tend to move more in their sleep. the wider sized bed is also great for those who enjoy a family bed with kids and pets. The King is also perfect for those who enjoy sleeping together but have different preferences for sleeping. Since the King is the size of two XL twins it has the easy ability to be bought as a split King to accommodate unique needs of the two-people sharing the bed.

Cons

Being 4 inches shorter than the California, taller people may feel too cramped in the standard King sized bed. You will also want to make sure that you have more width than length in your room to accommodate this bed as it is 4 inches wider than the California King.

IV. Room Size Requirements

Before purchasing any bed, it is important to make sure that the room that the bed is being placed in will accommodate it. This is particularly true for the largest of bed sizes, the King and California King. Although you may dream of having the luxury of the King of beds you must make sure that your room will fit the bed along with other décor, such as dressers.
Measure your room and furniture placed in room, other than bed. You will want at least 2 feet of space to walk around your bed once it is in place. Ideally 3 feet of space around the bed will look the best aesthetically for the décor, but this is your bedroom so feel out what is most comfortable for you. If buying other furnishings for the bedroom at the same time as your new mattress, then draw out your bedroom in a rough floor plan on graph paper or there are handy websites that assist in planning rooms.
With a King bed being 76 inches wide by 80 inches long, add 2 feet on either side, and to the foot of the bed. Total width needed around the King bed, with the head against a wall, is 10 feet, 4 inches by 8 feet, 8 inches. The room will also need to be wider to fit dressers and other furnishings.
The California King at 72 inches wide by 84 inches long will have two feet added to each side and the foot. This will make the room needed around the bed for it to fit comfortably to be 10 feet wide by 9 feet deep. Remember you need to add more footage to accommodate any additional furniture.

V. Comfort

When buying any sized mattress, it is most important to take into consideration comfort. Some prefer firm with others insisting on soft. The memory foam mattress is a perfect choice for those sharing a bed as most are of a universal firmness that will please all. The King and California King beds have the added comfort of allowing for room to move around as to not disturb a sleeping partner. Think of the King bed as two twins that give each person their true own space for ultimate sleeping comfort.

VI. Cost

The cost of the King and California King sized beds are usually very close in price. You must also take into consideration the type and quality of mattress that you decide on. Other factors for the cost of the King and California King are the foundations, frames, headboards and footboards that you may want to complete the décor. With the King being more popular than the California King, the cost for bedding is generally less expensive for the standard King than the longer California.

VII. Conclusion

Ultimately your choice deciding the difference between California King and King bed will depend on needs. If you are a tall couple than the California King may win out over the King. For most the King size is a perfect fit for both needs and budget considerations when adding in the necessity of buying bedding. To be noted is the consideration for moving your bed into its room. Moving up stairs and around corners can be difficult with a large King or California King bed. Be aware of larger bases, although most King-sized beds do come with split bases to help making moving the bed into the room easier. Perfect for those who desire the King or California King bed, but may question if they have the room to move such a large sized mattress in, would be to purchase the comfortable and bendable memory foam mattress. The bed-in-a-box memory foam is the ideal choice allowing for the huge mattress to be easily delivered to its destination room.