Cal King vs King Size Mattress

October 8, 2020

Not sure what the difference is between a Cal king vs King size mattress? You’ve come to the right place. There’s a common misconception about these mattress sizes. Many shoppers believe that the California king bed is the largest, with the standard king coming in second place. The reality is a little more complicated than that. California kings are longer, while standard kings are a bit wider; and actually, the standard king mattress has a greater overall surface area.

So which one is right for you? That all depends on your body type, sleep preferences, and of course the wishes of your sleep partner. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the key distinctions of the Cal king vs king size mattress.

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Size and Specs

First, let’s outline the physical dimensions of the regular king mattress versus the Cal king.

California King


Dimensions: 72” x 84”

Surface Area: 6,048 square inches

Suited for: Tall people

Dimensions: 76” x 80”

Surface Area: 6,080 square inches

Suited for: Couples who share a bed together

California King vs. King Size Mattress Side-by-Side Comparison

California King Sized Mattress

  • Space: The extra length makes Cal kings (also called a Western King) ideally suited for taller people who really want to stretch out.

  • Price: Compared with other mattress sizes, the Cal king can be a little more expensive.

  • Shopping for accessories: The dimensions of the Cal king also make it a little harder to find things like bedsheets, mattress protectors, and other sleep accessories.

King Sized Mattress

  • Space: A good king mattress will offer enough space for couples to sleep together comfortably.

  • Shopping for accessories: This is a very standard bed size, making it easier to find the right fitted sheet, pillowcases, standard king sheets, etc.

  • Easy to fit into master bedrooms: While the king mattress (or Eastern king, its alternate name) offers a larger total surface area than the Cal king, the mattress dimensions are ultimately easier to fit into your bedroom.

  • Price: King mattresses are sometimes priced lower than Cal Kings, but they are still quite a bit pricier than a queen size mattress, full-size, twin XL, etc.

  • Harder to move: Your king bed may make for an ideal sleeping space, but its bulkiness makes it challenging to move.

Mattress Considerations

Room and Space

The length of the California king may make it tough to fit into your bedroom. Then again, even the king size bed dimensions can be a tough fit sometimes. You’ll definitely want to measure the space in your room and make sure you have the right bed frame before springing for a new bed.




When shopping for a new mattress, you’ll naturally want to account for the comfort of your partner, not just your own personal preferences. Generally speaking, a standard king size mattress will be more accommodating to couples who share a bed.

Mattress Cost

These are the two most expensive mattress sizes, with most mattress brands charging a little more for the Cal king size than the standard. (This isn’t an ironclad rule, however, so always check the pricing for specific brands for the best mattress deal.)



Body Type

Your body type is another major factor when considering a new mattress. Note that California king dimensions are tailor-made for individuals who are exceptionally tall, and who want a few extra inches to stretch out (without their feet dangling over the edge of the bed).

Mattress Setup

Some mattress companies will offer white-glove setup for your new bed. Given the bulkiness of the king or Cal king bed, having someone come and install the mattress for you may be a significant perk.


Best California King Size Mattress

As for specific mattress brands, here are three of the best California king mattress options.

Saatva Classic Mattress

The Saatva classic is a hybrid mattress that offers supple foam and durable steel coils; it’s a five-star sleep experience with the added bonus of free white-glove delivery and setup.

Helix Midnight Luxe Mattress

Another outstanding hybrid mattress, the Helix Midnight Luxe scores well in key performance categories like cooling and pressure relief. Read more in the full Helix mattress review.

Nectar Mattress

For those seeking a memory foam mattress at a reasonable price point, the Nectar represents an incredible value.


Best King Size Mattress

Next, we’ll review some of the best king mattress picks.

DreamCloud Premier

The DreamCloud Premier offers the perfect balance of comfort and support. And, it’s designed to promote airflow and help with temperature regulation. Learn more in the DreamCloud mattress review.

Casper Original Mattress

The Casper is a universally-appealing option, well-suited for side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and back sleepers alike. And, it’s one of the best memory foam mattresses available today. Read more in the Casper mattress review.

Layla Mattress

Can’t decide whether you need a firm mattress or a plush one? With the Layla, you can literally flip back and forth between the two, deciding which option is best suited for your body type and sleep position. Find out more about this flippable mattress in the Layla mattress review.


Summary of California King vs. King Size Mattress

When deciding between a king vs California king mattress, there are a number of critical considerations to make, including your body type, your room size, and the needs of your partner. Our general advice? The extra space at the end of the Cal king makes it ideal for tall folks, but most everyone else will probably prefer the extra width of the standard king. No matter which size you choose, there are plenty of outstanding bed in a box mattresses to ensure you get great value and a peaceful night’s sleep.

About the Author Josh Hurst

Josh Hurst lives and writes in Knoxville, TN. A recovering insomniac, he has a long-standing appreciation for the power of a good night's sleep.