King vs California King – Which Bed Size is the Best for You?

Last Updated on February 18, 2021

When it comes to bed sizes, one of the most common questions to pop is – Which is bigger – King or California King?

And in this King vs California King, what is surprising is that most people tend to think that California King is the bigger one. I too believed the same, until I googled it.

The fact is that even though California King is longer than the King size, the actual surface area of this bed is actually less than the King size bed.

So, let’s talk about the main difference between the two beds…

King vs California King

California King size is also known as the Western King, while the King Size is also referred to as the Easter King. 

Let us begin with the specifications…

Size Specifications

First and foremost, let me put all your doubts at rest with regards to which one of these is bigger.

California King is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long. What it means is that the surface area of the best is 72 x 84 which turns out to be 6048 square inches.

King size, on the other hand, is 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. This makes the surface area of a king-size bed to be 70 x 80 which turns out to be 6080 square inches.

Now, it stands clear that the surface area of a King size bed is 32 square inches more than a California King bed.

California King/Western King King/Eastern King
Width 72 inches 76 inches
Length 84 inches 80 inches
Surface Area 6048 in² 6080 in²
Best For Taller People Couples
Drawback Finding accessories is difficult Moving the bed is difficult

Deciding Between California King or King Size Bed

Dimensions

First and foremost, you need to take the dimensions of the room where you to place the bed into consideration. The room should be big enough to have at least 2-3 feet space around all the 3 sides of the bed or mattress so that you can move around freely as well as move in and out of the bed with ease and comfort.

This also allows a more aesthetic appeal to the room and kind of avoids making it look crowded.

Moreover, you should also have some space in the room for additional furniture to sit or just relax throughout the day. If the bed that you choose is too big, this is not going to be possible and even if you put some additional furniture there would not be enough space to move around freely, making things rather clumsy.

In the light of the above, if your room is more in terms of length then you can opt for the California King size and it is bigger in terms of width, then you may consider placing a King size bed.

Cost of the Mattress

Now, there are two main factors to consider here:

  • the price of the mattress itself and
  • the price of accessories that you need to put along with the bed.

As far as the price of both the mattresses is concerned, there’s no much of a difference and more often than not, most brands sell them at the same price.

However, things change when you compare the prices of the bed accessories that go along with each of these bed-sizes.

When it comes to the King size, bed frames, box springs, bed sheets, comforters, toppers, etc, are easily available. On the other hand, it is not easy to source these accessories for a California King size bed. They are not just scarce and hard to find but may also be expensive and you might up end spending more sourcing them.

Uses

Even though there’s no much of a difference between these two bed sizes, California King seems to be a better choice for taller people who want to have more leg-space. Moreover, such beds tend to look good in a room that is narrow and long.

King size bed, on the other hand, is a better option for couples or people that sleep with a partner with each of the partners wanting his/her share of space. Having said that, if partners like to cuddle up or sleep close to each other then California King may be considered as an option. It is entirely up to the sleepers to see what suits them the best.

Moreover, a King Size bed looks good in a room with conventional dimensions.

Sleeper’s Height

As you can make out from the chart above, there’s a slight difference in between the dimension of both mattresses. While King size is supposed to be 80 inches long, California King is known to be 84 inches in terms of length.

Thus, if you are someone over and above 6 feet tall, then a California King or Western King may be the idle option for you, lest you might have your feet hanging in free air. The extra length of this bed is going to allow more head-t0-toe space so that you can sleep comfortably.

Having said that, there are some tall people who like to have their feet hanging off the bed. So, it all comes down to your personal preference. At the same time, there are some people who want enough space so that they can stretch their bodies completely and lack of space can make them uncomfortable.

Sleeping with a Partner

As the chart above shows California King is 4 inches than the King size in terms of width. Now, this is a factor that has to be given due diligence in the case of people who sleep with a partner, kids, or even a large pet.

King Size with 4 inches of extra width definitely allows more space and should be the preferred choice of people who want to have their own space while sleeping as against those that prefer to sleep close to each other.

Another issue is that hot sleepers generally want to avoid sleeping close to a partner and this is why an Eastern King is a better option for such people.

California King Suits
  • People who are more than 6 ft taller
  • People who sleep with pets at the foot of the bed
  • Couples who sleep close to each other
  • People that have bedrooms that are more narrow
King Size Suits
  • Couples who need their own space while sleeping
  • Hot sleepers who do not prefer to sleep close to their partner
  • Parents who share their bed with small children
  • People looking for a big yet budget-friendly option

FAQs

Do California King Size Sheets for the King Size Bed?

If you buy sheets for a specific bed then they are not going to fit the other size.

Having said that, you can buy regular flat sheets that have dimensions of 108 x 102, which can fit both the beds.

Is a California king bigger than a regular king?

This is the most common misconception. As a matter of fact, King size with an area of 6080 inches² is 32 inches² bigger than the California King size that has an area of 6048 inches².

How much bigger is California king than a queen?

This is where you can say with confidence that California King Size is much bigger than a Queen.

California King is 72 inches by 84 inches whereas, a Queen is 60 inches by 80 inches. The surface area of a California King is 6048 square inches while a Queen size bed has an area of 4800 square inches. Thus, a California King gives you 1248 square inches of more sleeping space.

What is the point of a California king bed?

There are two main scenarios wherein people might need a California King.

First of all, it is a great option for people who are taller than 6 feet and need more room to stretch. Secondly, it’s great for tall sleepers or couples who have a narrow bedroom wherein a King size would leave little space to move around.

What is an Alaskan king bed?

An Alaskan King is a huge 9 feet by 9 feet bed. So, first of all, you need a big hall or from to put it in. Since there are not many takers for this size, most mattresses and bed companies do not make them. People who have a lot of kids and want to sleep with them on a single bed, usually go for them. And if they decide to have an Alaskan kind, they have to get one specially made for themselves.

Why is it called a California king?

The answer to this question lies in the question itself. It was first made in California and hence the name. The manufactures started producing them thinking that most people in California had houses and rooms big enough to put larger beds in there.

To Conclude

You can clearly see that there is no much of a difference between California King and the King size bed but whatever difference is still there can play a defining for certain people.

At the end of the day, it is your personal preference but what is certain is that a Western King turns out to be an expensive option even though it gives more foot space and is a great choice for taller people. An Easter King, on the other hand, is a great option for most people who are of average-height and turns out to be cheaper too.

I am the content director at SleepOnBest and responsible for reviewing various mattresses and other products. Over the years, I have reviewed more than 100 mattresses. When I am not busy doing reviews, I love to spend time with my beautiful daughter and lovely wife.

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