California King Mattress vs. King Mattress

Looking for a bigger bed but not sure which size to choose? Read on to learn about the California King and King-sized mattresses.

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For sleepers wanting to invest in a larger mattress, it’s definitely worth considering all available options. However, what sleepers may not know is that the King-size mattress isn’t the only size bigger than a Queen. So, let’s talk more about the California King and King-size mattresses.

KingCalifornia King
Surface Area42.2 sq ft42 sq ft
Average Cost$1,200$1,200
Best ForCouples with petsTaller sleepers
Mattress OptionsBest King MattressesBest California King Mattresses

California King and King Similarities


Since the King and California King mattresses have a comparable design, their average prices are more or less the same. This is because, while the King offers more surface area, the California King tends to be slightly thicker and is a more uncommon mattress size.

Shoppers should remember, however, that while these mattresses, on average, have the same price, some vendors may charge more for the California King because its more rare, and other vendors may not even carry that mattress size at all. So, while both mattresses are about $1,200, shoppers on a budget will be a little safer with a traditional King-size bed.


While some shoppers may think that a California King is an upgrade in terms of size from a King mattress, this is incorrect. In fact, while the King and California King aren’t exactly the same size (6048 sq inches to 6080 sq inches), they’re well within the same ballpark of surface area. So, while each mattress size has its own niche, both beds are great for couples, larger sleepers, and sleepers who want to share their bed with pets too.

California King and King Differences


Because the King-size mattress offers an extra four inches of width over the California King, sleepers sharing the bed with a partner or even some pets may be looking for an extra room they can get. So, if that sounds like you, the regular King is probably the way to go.


While not always the case, California King mattresses tend to be thicker, with the lower end of mattress height being an inch taller for this size. In terms of how this actually feels, sleepers may find that California Kings with this extra inch are more supportive and dense, a possible bonus for heavier sleepers.


However, extra elbow room isn’t the end-all-be-all of mattress selection. For taller sleepers, having four more inches of legroom can be just as important. Or, if your pets tend to sleep by the foot of the bed, those extra four inches still might be better off as length. 

Considerations When Mattress Shopping

That’s the basics of these two beds, but this battle of the Kings is far from over. Let’s go over some major points you should consider when choosing your next bed.

Height and Weight

The California King is the definite winner when it comes to tall-friendly beds, but there’s an argument to be made that, in some cases, the California King might be a great fit for heavier sleepers too. While the traditional King offers a few more inches of width and overall surface area for couples and larger sleepers, the California King, when coupled with an extra inch of thickness, may be more comfortable. Overall, however, height likely won’t be as big of a deciding factor for many sleepers unless they’re well over six feet tall.


For many mattress vendors, California King and King-size mattresses are the same price. However, there are a lot of exceptions to this rule, so you can’t expect for this similar price to be a guarantee across the board. And, even when the California King mattress has the same cost as the King, bedding and accessories still tend to also be more expensive at this size, due to the rarity of the California King.


For senior sleepers, it’s worth noting that the California King can be as much as an inch taller than the standard King, and that’s several inches more narrow. While both beds should offer plenty of space for sleepers of an age to spread out, sleepers with mobility concerns may find it easy to move around on the more narrow California King.

Sleeping Partner(s)

The great thing about both of these mattress sizes is that they’re both easy to share, with sleeping partners and pets. Ultimately, when it comes down to square inches per dollar, the King is the clear winner here, but it’s worth noting that taller individuals or couples may get more use out of four inches of extra length as opposed to width with the Cal King.

Which Bed Is Best For You?

TLDR: If you’re looking to choose your next mattress size in a hurry, here’s some quick points from the article above to help you decide between the King-size mattress and the California King-size mattress.

The California King Is Best For

  • Taller sleepers—For sleepers taller than six feet, or sleepers with pets at the edge of their mattress, it’s definitely worth considering a California King, which offers an extra four inches of legroom (adding up to seven feet in total length).
  • Senior sleepers—The right bed for sleepers of any age depends on a variety of factors, but California King beds can offer up to an inch of extra height (corresponding to slightly better edge support), plus they’re less wide (a possible bonus for sleepers with mobility concerns).

The King Is Best For

  • Budget shoppers—A King and California King bed will have similar price points, but the King mattress will rarely be more expensive. Plus, the King is much cheaper to buy bedding and decorations for. And lastly, just in terms of the mattresses themselves, budget shoppers should note that the King is the clear winner in terms of square inches per dollar.
  • Couples—For couples who can spare four inches of length, extra elbow room can be a deciding factor in itself. If you’re planning on sharing your mattress with a partner and some pets, the King size’s extra four inches might make all the difference.