What Is the Difference Between California King and King?

Updated on May 20, 2018
melbel profile image

Melanie was born and raised in New Buffalo, Michigan (a jaunt from Chicago) and has been living in the Midwest ever since!

What is the difference between a king and California king?

A king size bed (sometimes called an Eastern King) is the widest mattress with dimensions of 76 inches wide by 80 inches long.

A California king-sized bed, on the other hand, has dimensions of 72 inches wide by 84, which makes it the longest mattress.

You've probably heard of both a king sized mattress and a California king, but what you may not be aware that there are some differences between the two.

So what's the difference between these mattresses? Is one larger than the other? What are the reasons to choose one over the other?

Let's explore the differences between the king (also known as an eastern king) and the California king (also known as west coast king, Cal king, western king or WC king.) You will learn why some folks prefer one type over the other, the pros and cons of both mattresses, and how to find sheets to fit (and why finding sheets for one of these mattresses can be a pain.)

A king sized mattress equals a king sized desk!
A king sized mattress equals a king sized desk! | Source

Choosing a Mattress for Your Height

If you've guessed that a king and Cali king differ in size, you're correct! These two mattresses differ in their dimensions. One is longer but narrower than the other. A regular king sized bed is 76 inches wide and 80 inches long, while the California king is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long.

A standard king may be too short for tall people (you don't want to sleep with your feet dangling off the end!) Since the California king is narrower (but longer than a regular king), this bed is much better for tall folks.

Don't be turned off by the narrower width of the California mattress! A queen-sized bed is 60 inches wide, and the Cali king is 12 inches wider, so it's still a huge bed! This bed is also great if you're putting it in a room with dimensions that would better suit a more narrow bed than the standard king.

If you're not super tall, you might want to consider opting for a standard king. This is because of one big issue: bedding.

Dimensions of Common Mattresses

39 in (99.1 cm)
75 in (190.5 cm)
Twin (extra long)
39 in (99.1 cm)
80 in (203.2 cm)
54 in (137.2 cm)
75 in (190.5 cm)
60 in (152.4 cm)
80 in (203.2 cm)
California Queen
60 in (152.4 cm)
84 in (213.4 cm)
76 in (193 cm)
80 in (203.2 cm)
California King
72 in (182.9 cm)
84 in (213.4 cm)
(Mattress sizes for North America)

Quick Poll

Which would you prefer?

See results

Finding Sheets to Fit a California King

Sheets for a king-sized mattress are a cinch to find. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to the California king is that it can be hard to find sheets that will properly fit. It's almost impossible to find sheets in a department store in the correct size and sheets for a regular king bed won't fit (they're way too short.)

If you have a Cali king bed, your best bet is to shop around in-store for sheets that you like. Get a feel for the fabric and thread count and then see if the company makes sheets specifically for your mattress size. If the store doesn't carry them, you can usually special order them in-store or even write down the brand/type of sheets and shop online when you get home! Alternatively, you could have sheets custom made to fit your mattress.

Since finding sheets for a California king can be so problematic, it might serve you better to get a standard king (unless the length of the bed is a big issue.)

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Melanie Palen


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image


        10 months ago

        Hey I just need something as an addition so my 2 over 50 lbs dogs do not run me out of our bed. Oh also have another 20lbs small dog. Not counting my husband. But already in a regular king. Any solutions?

      • profile image


        11 months ago

        I have found sheets that say they fit both king and cal king.....I'm strongly considering purchasing them because I can never find cal king sheets.

      • profile image


        14 months ago

        I have a Cal king, and have been offered a king for just the cost of shipping. My cal king bed frame is expandable, but can I just go to a lumber yard and buy longer slats?

      • ElizaDoole profile image

        Lisa McKnight 

        6 years ago from London

        When it comes to beds the wider the better. I'm going for the king size. Voted up and interesting!

      • Clayton Fernandes profile image


        6 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

        AHA a cali-king size is what i'm after then. Thank you melbel, I'll feel less of a fool and know what to ask for now!

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 

        6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Hmmmm I'm not sure if I have a King or. Cali King - it's BIG! Lol. My husband is 6'2" and about 250 so...we are not gonna be fitting in the twin:) haha!

        I have one of those fancy beds with all the bells and whistles ... Remote control - movable head and foot boards - an alarm! Lol. It's taken me like two years to get used to memory foam. I finally like it. It's nice to be able to move the headboard any which way while I work in my p.j.'s or watch t.v. I love having a huge bed!

      • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

        Marcy Goodfleisch 

        6 years ago from Planet Earth

        I've always wondered about the different sizes of these beds! I'd heard California Kings were longer, but I didn't realize they were not as wide. And I agree - sheets would be difficult to find. I rarely see them anywhere. Very helpful information here! Voted up, useful and interesting.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)