July 3, 2014
Disclosure: This site receives a payment from Amazon when you purchase a product using any links to that company in this article.
One frustratingly common misconception that I run into at least once a week is the size difference between a California King and a regular (or Eastern) King mattress. A California King mattress is smaller than a regular King mattress. A California King is 72″ x 84″, while a standard King is 76″ x 80″; in other words, the California King is 4 inches longer, but also 4 inches narrower. That means a King mattress has more overall surface area and more space between the partners than a California King does. Despite this, I often hear people state that they think a California King is the larger size. It’s not. It’s smaller by most metrics.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at some reasons why you might prefer to get one over the other.
Reasons to get a King over a California King
A regular King mattress is the “standard” version of the size, so there are a lot more reasons to get a regular King sized mattress instead of California King:
- It’s a little easier to find sheets and other accessories for King mattresses. You’ll have a lot more choices and an easier time getting them. (Though this is not as big of a problem as it used to be with the internet. Amazon has a big selection of Cal King accessories for example.)
- Mattress stores stock King mattresses a lot more than California Kings. Whereas you can usually get a King mattress immediately, a California King might take a few weeks to arrive. (Note: This won’t necessarily be true in California. Hence the name.)
- As mentioned before, a King is bigger than a California King, so you have more space. If two people are sleeping in the bed, there will be less partner disturbance in a King.
Reasons to get a California King over a King
With all that said, there are some reasons you might consider getting a California King instead of a regular King:
- A California King is great for tall people. If you’re taller than about 6’3″ or so, your feet might hang off of a regular King. A California King gives you an extra 4 inches.
- “King” sized waterbed mattresses were actually California King, so if you want to replace the waterbed mattress and keep the platform, you’ll need a California King mattress.
- If you have a long, narrow bedroom, a California King might fit into the room a little better.
- This one’s a bit of a stretch, but sometimes you can get a great clearance deal on California King mattresses. Some people get a California King special ordered, only to realize that they needed a regular King. That California King mattress might sit in the store’s warehouse for months, because California King is such a rare size. I’ve seen somebody get a $3500 California King mattress for under $600 because it was discontinued for so long that the store just wanted to be rid of it.
For most people, a King sized mattress is the correct size to get. Don’t get a California King unless you have a very specific reason to do so (e.g. you’re exceptionally tall, you’re replacing a waterbed, etc). I hope this has cleared up this common misconception.
Thanks for reading.