Twin Mattress vs. Twin XL Mattress

When selecting the right mattress size, there are several factors to keep in mind, such as bedroom area, shopping budget, and the number of people who plan to sleep on the mattress. Most mattresses sold today are available in six standard sizes: Twin, Twin Extra Long (XL), Full/Double, Queen, King, and California King. Additionally, some mattress brands offer models in specialty and/or custom sizes.

This guide will compare the two smallest standard mattress sizes, Twin and Twin XL. First, let’s look at the key similarities and differences between these two sizes.

Key Differences and Similarities between Twin and Twin XL Sizes

SizeTwinTwin Extra Long (XL)
Standard Width38″ (3 1/6′)38″ (3 1/6′)
Standard Length75″ (6 1/4′)80″ (6 2/3′)
Ideal Bedroom SizeMinimum: 7 1/6′ x 10 1/4′ Minimum: 7 1/6′ x 10 2/3′
Average Price$300 to $600$500 to $750
Ideal Sleeping ArrangementSingle sleepers who do not require extra sleeping space in terms of width and are not taller than 6’2″.Single sleepers who are too tall for a standard Twin, but do not require extra sleeping space in terms of mattress width.

Pros and Cons of a Twin Size

mattress twin dimensionsA Twin is the smallest standard mattress size available, measuring thirty-eight inches (38″) wide by seventy-five inches (75″) long. This size is commonly found in college dorms, as well as hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities with overnight accommodations.

  • Less space required: A Twin is five inches shorter than a Twin XL, making it suitable for bedrooms that are slightly shorter.
  • Lower price-point: The average cost of a Twin mattress is $300 to $600, making them roughly $200 to $500 cheaper than Twin XL models. In some cases, Twin and Twin XL mattress models share the same price-point.
  • Wide availability: Most mattress models sold today are available in a Twin-size option, although this may not be offered for models that are thicker than average.
  • Lightweight: Due to its relatively small size, a Twin-size mattress can usually be moved without assistance.  
  • Kid-friendly: A Twin-size mattress will fit into most standard bunk beds, and may also be suitable for young children using standalone beds.

Some drawbacks of a Twin mattress include the following:

  • Too narrow and short for some: A Twin-size mattress does not offer much extra room as far as width goes, and it is five inches shorter than a Twin XL. Sleepers should only consider this mattress is extra sleeping space is not a top priority.
  • Not couple-friendly: A Twin-size mattress will not be suitable for most couples due to relatively narrow sleep space.

Pros and Cons of a Twin XL Size

A Twin Extra Long, or Twin XL, measures eighty inches (80″) long, which is five inches (5″) longer than a standard Twin; both a Twin and Twin XL measure roughly thirty-eight inches (38″) wide. For reference, a Twin XL is roughly equivalent to one-half of a standard King-size mattress (76W” x 80L”).

Benefits of a Twin XL mattress include the following:

  • Extra length: A Twin XL can accommodate anyone who stands under 6’8″, including those between 6’3″ and 6’7″ that are too tall for a standard Twin-size mattress.
  • Lightweight: Though they often weigh more than a Twin, Twin XL mattresses are still fairly light and easy to move without assistance for most people.
  • Kid-friendly: A Twin XL mattress is suitable for many children who use standalone bed frames, and may also fit into select bunk beds.

Drawbacks of Twin XL mattresses include the following:

  • Takes up more space: A Twin XL may not fit in shorter bedrooms that are large enough to accommodate a standard Twin.
  • Higher price-point: Although the difference in price is rarely excessive, a Twin XL mattress will normally cost at least $50 more than a Twin — though in some instances, both sizes will be priced the same.
  • Too narrow for some: While a Twin XL offers more length than a standard Twin, both sizes have the same width — thirty-eight inches (38″) — which may not be adequate for sleepers that like extra space.
  • Not couple-friendly: Like the Twin, a Twin XL will be too narrow for most couples to sleep comfortably, and is typically suitable for single sleepers only.

Is a Twin or Twin XL Size Right for You?

When comparing the Twin and Twin XL sizes, here are a few important questions to keep in mind:

  • How tall is the individual who plans to sleep on the mattress?
  • What are the dimensions (specifically the length) of the bedroom where the owner plans to use the mattress?
  • What is the shopper’s mattress budget?
  • Is the bed intended to accommodate a child using a bunk bed?

Conclusion

Because Twin and Twin XL mattresses have similar dimensions and tend to have comparable price-points, the decision to choose one over the other often comes down to length. A Twin XL will comfortably accommodate anyone who stands at 6’7″ or shorter, while a Twin will be suitable for anyone who stands 6’2″ or shorter. A Twin-size mattress may be the better option for children who sleep in bunk beds that are too short to accommodate Twin XL mattresses, but if the child is not using a bunk bed then either size will usually suffice. It’s important to note that neither the Twin nor the Twin XL will accommodate most couples, nor do they provide extra width space for single sleepers.

These findings are quite subjective. If you can’t decide which size is right, we suggest testing out Twin and Twin XL mattresses in brick-and-mortar stores to see which length feels best. You can also sleep on both sizes for a prolonged period of time by selecting brands and models with sleep trials. Simply return the mattress that is less satisfactory before the trial period ends in order to receive a full refund.

For more information on mattress size comparisons, please visit the following Tuck pages: