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King vs. California King Mattress Size

Updated on March 26, 2015

Mattress Size Chart

Bed Sizing Chart:  King, California King, Queen, Full, Full XL, Twin and Twin XL
Bed Sizing Chart: King, California King, Queen, Full, Full XL, Twin and Twin XL | Source

What is the difference between a California King and a Standard King Mattress?

The California King, sometimes called a Western King, is longer and narrower than the Eastern King, usually referred to as a King or Standard King.

The Standard King is 4" wider while the California or Western King is 4" longer.

Both sizes come with two box springs and one mattress.

Mattress Size: King vs. California King vs. Queen

California King
Standard King

Why Buy a California King Bed?

  • You're Very Tall. The California King is the longest bed available and is the best option for very tall people. My husband, who is 6'7", would have to sleep diagonally on a Standard King but can sleep straight on our California King.
  • You have a Long and Narrow Room. Some rooms that may not comfortably hold a Standard King could hold a California King.

Why Buy a Standard King Bed?

  • More Space to Spread Out. Unless you're very tall, most people opt for the Standard King, since extra width is preferable to extra height.
  • Bedding is Easier to Find. Standard Kings are more popular and so you have more options for bedding. Also, while fitted sheets are made in California King size, flat sheets and blankets are not, meaning they may be a bit too short.

Should I buy King or Cal King Sheets?

When you buy sheets for your King mattress, make sure you buy the correct size. Your flat sheet can fit both the California and the Standard King, but the fitted sheet needs to fit your specific mattress size.

Unless you're very tall, most people go with the Standard King bed. Bedding is easier to find and the extra width is preferential over the extra length.

What kind of mattress do you have?

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Questions & Answers

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        Scot 14 months ago

        This is a great video for king sizes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsB5xB2hqRE and more information to read here http://www.wyckes.com/california-king-vs-king

      • profile image

        Debra 20 months ago

        I have two, crib to college, full size, sleigh beds purchased in California. They had mattresses and box springs that fit in 2005. The beds have been in storage for 6 years and now they have been shipped to Virginia and put together. The new mattress DO NOT FIT! Is there a difference in full size beds. I need 51-1/2 " all the charts show 54'. Can anyone tell me where I cn get a 51 to 51-1/2 inch box spring and possibly mattress.

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        Dee 2 years ago

        I can't find (non-Cali) King sheets anywhere! I've looked at Costco and Target and they both have all sizes except King. They don't even have price tags for King size (meaning, they're not out of stock). What the heck!!

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        Puba 4 years ago

        I have a waterbed frame and I am putting a traditional Simmons pillow top mattress inside . The frame has 2 x 8 wood side rails the mattress was delivered today and it is a snug fit in the waterbed frame do you think this will cause a problem in the future

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        Jean 4 years ago

        Thanks for clarifying why people buy california king beds and their difference. My husband and i own a calif. king now and want to purchase a new bed. I wanted to buy a reg. king and he wanted a cal. king again. But thanks to you I now explained to him the difference, and what's best for us

        snce we are both under 6 feet tall. I got we king.

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        5 years ago

        So, if the mattresses are exactly 4 inches different each way, cant you just rotate the mattress on the frame to change it from a king to a california king?

      • kmaskreations profile image

        kmaskreations 5 years ago

        Thanks for sharing. Very helpful and just what I needed to know.

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        Paula 5 years ago

        I have been searching the internet for a cotton California King blanket. The king blankets just aren't long enough if you have a thick mattress. Does anyone know of a manufacturer who actually makes California king blankets (not comforters or duvet covers, just blankets)? Thanks!

      • profile image

        Jeremy 5 years ago

        Shela, yes a king and cal king blanket will work the same 99% of manufactures wont make different ones so its all the same to them...

        Nicole Nope sorry, 72"*84" vs 76"*80" even turnes side ways you cant cet the inch #'s to match.... but pretty close. enjoy

      • profile image

        Shela 5 years ago

        Cannot find a cotton blanket for a California King mattress that is not overly priced. Will a King size one fit okay??

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        Nicole 5 years ago

        So relly u can make a king into a cal king just by turning the matteress

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        Keith Woodard 5 years ago

        Great. This is my first time to visit your site. You've done an informative article. I agreed that organic baby crib mattress is really safety. Maybe next time I will purchase an organicmattress soon. Thanks for the information.

        Sleepys Mattress Co

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        ly 5 years ago

        can you use a standard king mattress on a california king bed

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        ines 6 years ago

        thanks!! very helpful!!

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        Dan 6 years ago

        If you really want the ultimate you can look into the Grand King by sleep number. It measures 80X98 inches!!! It used to be hard to find bedding for it even through sleep number but it seems that bedding is becoming more available. The salesman in the sleep number store told me that macys will soon be offering bedding for this HUGE bed.

      • PiaC profile image

        PiaC 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

        I had no idea that a regular King was wider than a Cal King! Thanks for sorting out my confusion.

      • profile image

        jOnO 7 years ago

        Hmm...I have a california king, I thought that it was wider, but am finding out that it is actually longer, I have just been sleeping on it wrong. Oh well.. I like it

      • RamonB profile image

        RamonB 7 years ago

        Thanks for the info, I didn't realise the subtle difference in the sizes of the 2 mattresses. I'm in the UK and we sleep on what we call a 'super-king' sized bed which I thing is the same as an Eastern King.

        Unless you are very tall, The wider bed is always the better option IMHO......

      • profile image

        Best Mattresses Size ? 7 years ago

        I always wondered what the difference was between those. Thank you great article. Love it!

      • deelark profile image

        Denise Larkin 8 years ago from United Kingdom

        This is a great hub. Thanks for sharing.

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 8 years ago from San Francisco

        Thanks, James. I'm surprised you're not in an extra long twin. I know there are a few in the family. ;) Paul and I slept in a Queen for years. It was quite snug. xo R

      • jamestedmondson profile image

        jamestedmondson 8 years ago from San Francisco

        Glad to see you hubbing again Rob.I will never get confused about king size beds again!

        Right now, I sleep on a full, and let me tell you, for someone 6'6", it's far too small.

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 8 years ago from San Francisco

        I think you're right, George. It's a lot easier to find California King bedding on the West Coast. I actually prefer the Cal King because of the length, but I've heard from friends on the East Coast that they've never heard of a Cal King. Interesting. Thanks for the comment!

      • gredmondson profile image

        gredmondson 8 years ago from San Francisco, California

        Robin, this is so good. It has been my experience that the California King (or Western King) is much more available in (surprise!) California. Years ago, Eastern King sheets were not even carried in the stores I shopped in. Both sizes of sheets are widely available now, and since many people shop online (accessible to the whole country) both sizes are marketed.