What Are the Differences Between a Standard King and a California King?

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By definition, a Standard King is 76 inches wide and 80 inches in length for a total area of 6,080 square inches. California Kings, on the other hand, are 72 inches wide and 84 inches in length for a total area of 6,048 square inches. This makes the California King the longest mattress on the market, while the standard King is the widest.

So which one is better? Both have pros and cons, so the ideal option for you will depend on four factors: your body size (as well as your partner’s), the dimensions of your bedroom, your budget and your sleep preferences. Read on to learn more.

Sleeper and Room Size

Due to their extended length, the California King may be more suitable for exceptionally tall people. Width is less crucial, since both models are sufficiently wide for most sleepers. However, the length and width of the room where you plan to keep the mattress should also play a role in your decision, since one King may fit better than the other. 

Cost

The price-points for Standard and California Kings are somewhat comparable; material composition will impact the cost of a mattress much more than its size. However, California Kings are relatively rarer. As a result, accessories like bed frames, box springs and mattress covers tend to be more expensive than accessories for a Standard King.

Sleep Preferences

Any king-sized mattress — be it Standard or California — will offer plenty of room for you, your partner and, if applicable, children and pets. So the best option may come down to how you sleep. Do you and your partner prefer to sprawl out and give each other lots of space? If so, then a Standard King might be best. Alternatively, thinner California Kings may be more suitable for couples who prefer sleeping closely to one another.

Final Verdict

Let’s review the characteristics of both mattresses in the comparison chart below:

Standard KingCalifornia King
Size76″W x 80″L72″W x 84″L
Surface area6,080 sq. in.6,048 sq. in.
Sleeper sizeDesigned to accommodate most sleepersDesigned to accommodate most sleepers, especially tall ones
CostMore expensiveMore expensive
Accessories (frames, box springs, mattress covers, etc.)Widely availableSomewhat rare
Ideal for…Single sleepers and couples who sprawl out in bed and like lots of spaceSingle sleepers and couples who like sleeping closely and don’t mind less room
Kid- and pet-friendly?YesYes

For more information, please visit our Mattress Sizing Guide.

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