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When comparing a King vs. California King bed size, there is no difference between them regarding their respective functionality as beds. Let’s forget the mattresses meantime because you will obviously be purchasing a mattress to fit the dimensions of your bed.
The two terms refer to dimensions only. The California King bed is so-called because of its popularity on the west coast of the USA. They refer to it as a whopping large bed yet it is narrower than a standard King size bed. You will sometimes see the California King known as the Western King, after California being on the west coast of the US. Likewise, the regular King is otherwise known as the Eastern King.
Table of Contents
- California King Bed is Longer but Narrower
- Which Bed Size is Best For You California King or Standard King?
- California King vs. King Bed: Pros and Cons
- How Room Dimensions Can Help Resolve the King vs. California King Question
- Frequently Asked Questions
California King Bed is Longer but Narrower
Most people will believe that a California King bed is larger than a standard King. That would be a wrong assumption to make! Sure, a standard Cal King bed is longer than a standard King – that’s likely in order to accommodate these tall Californian cowboys and film stars! In the area, however, in the King vs. California King bed size competition, the winner is. . . the King!!
A standard King size bed is 76 inches wide by 80 inches long. That equates to a surface sleeping area of 6,080 square inches. A California King bed size is 72″ x 84″ – a surface area of 6,048 square inches. So the standard King sneaks it!
Which Bed Size is Best For You California King or Standard King?
With this information, you should be able to decide which bed is best for you. For most people, the surface area is irrelevant. If you need a longer bed then the California King wins. If you need a wider bed to accommodate you and your partner, then the King wins. Simple – or is it? Let’s consider the various factors involved in this. Although you may believe that the choice is going to be easy to make, it may not be that easy!
There are a few important factors involved in making this decision. These can basically be summarized as the respective sizes of two partners and the dimensions of your bedroom. Size is a significant factor in bed, and the ideal length of the bed relates to the height of each person.
The width depends on the room each partner needs for a comfortable sleep and also to their girth – or wideness. Two large people may prefer the extra 4″ width of the standard King.
Importance of Length and Width in Your Bed
If you are 6 feet or over in height, then you will have around 8 inches to spare with a standard King – not as much as with the 7-foot long California King. So your height is the first factor – unless you lie sleeping with your feet dangling over the end of the bed. Some do!
Regarding width, if you and your partner like to sleep snuggled up against each other, then the Cal King would suit you. However, many couples like a good gap between each other when sleeping. In that case, the extra 4″ of a standard King would be the better choice – assuming you are not too tall for it.
California King vs. King Bed: Pros and Cons of Western and Eastern King Beds
California and regular King mattresses are often referred to as Western and Eastern beds. Each of these bed sizes has its own benefits – but also its own drawbacks. Many people wonder why manufacturers cannot make beds with the California King length and the standard King width – or even longer and wider.
The answer is that they can – but you need to commission the manufacture of one. There is just not enough demand for outsized beds to make it worthwhile manufacturers designing and fabricating them for the main market. For that simple reason, the California King vs. King bed debate will continue, with many unsure of which is best for them.
California King Beds
- Good 7-foot length for the taller person.
- Otherwise this size of bed has no benefits over a standard King.
- Not the most popular bed size.
- Narrower than standard King. In fact – some couples find the 72 inches too narrow.
- It is not so easy to find bedding (sheets, quilts, mattress protectors etc.) for a California King as it is for a regular King size bed.
- While mattresses are available in the California King size, they tend to be more expensive than other sizes.
- Suitable only for rooms big enough to comfortably accommodate them.
Regular King Beds
- Good width of 6ft 4 in – an excellent choice for couples who like a bit of space when they are sleeping
- A popular size, for which most bedding stores stock sheets, duets, protectors, toppers etc.
- A good size for most bedrooms.
- 4-inches shorter in length that a Californian King, but also 4-inches greater in width. Your choice may depend on which of these dimensions is the more important to you.
- Taller people might find it too short – keeping in mind the pillow takes up a good part of its 6ft 8in length.
How Room Dimensions Can Help Resolve the King vs. California King Question
When selecting a bed, you ideally need at least two feet between the bed and three of the walls of your bedroom. The bed can rest against the fourth wall with no free space. This enables you to walk around the bed without obstruction. It also allows you to have a nightstand at each side. Without adequate space, a bedroom with a California King bed can look crowded.
If your room is long and narrow, it might well suit the longer and narrow profile of the California King bed and mattress. As explained earlier, if you like to snuggle up close to your partner then this is the better bed size for you. The mattress may also be an issue to be truthful. Not all manufacturers provide California King mattresses, although there is still a good choice of both California King and King size mattresses.
Some Want Specific Mattress Brands
If you have a specific mattress brand in mind, it may be worthwhile you checking that it offers this size in its range. As we have stressed above, this may not be the case. When everything is considered, the choice between a standard King and a California King is not a difficult one to make. Long and narrow or short and wide? The short and wide King offers more sleeping area than the long and narrow California King – 32 square inches more. The same area as a 6″ square handkerchief!
King Bed vs California King Bed Size FAQs
Many people are unsure of the difference between a King bed and a California King bed size. Here are some questions we are often asked regarding these two sizes.
The King size bed is 4 inches wider than the Cal King, which is 4 inches longer.
The King size provides more space for a couple – they can spread out more on a King size. it is particularly preferred by larger couples who are relatively short in height. However, statistics showed that Californian men were tending to be taller than average, so manufacturers tended to design beds and mattresses to be longer. There is also the bedroom size to consider. Another factor is that large Californian homes tended to come with large bedrooms that could accommodate longer beds.
Yes there is! The sheets, comforters, toppers and mattresses of California King beds tend to be more expensive than the hitherto standard King size which are standardly priced.
Generally no, but it could! If you are single, then a twin or other size of smaller bed would save you money. However, if you are a couple, or if you want to impress or hope to have a partner then much depends on your height and width. The King gives you 4 inches more in width while the Cal King gives you 4 inches more in length. That’s when the size of your bedroom might matter. The California King is 72” wide and 84” long, while the Standard King is 76” wide and 80” long. You also have to take any other furniture in your bedroom into consideration.
It doesn’t make much difference regarding your room size unless it is a small bedroom. However, 4 inches can make a difference to couples, particularly to those who are particularly tall in height. Check your own bedroom and use a rule to determine the difference an extra 4 inches in width or length would make. Many couples tend to prefer more width in their bed, while taller people tend to prefer more length, so that their feet don’t stick out of the end of the bed. You can check it by marking out the perimeters of a king bed vs a California king bed on your floor then lying out on the floor and deciding which would be best for you.
King vs. California King Bed Size What’s the Conclusion?
So, what’s your conclusion in the King vs. California King bed size argument? It’s a pity we cannot have a California King bed the same width as a standard King. And a standard King sized bed at the same narrow width of a California King size bed!
The former would suit everybody and the latter would be a good option for small bedrooms. Is this too much common sense, or would it spoil the market for these bedding options? Which one is the bigger? As explained above, the regular King size is – by 32 square inches in area.
Keep Reading: King vs. Queen Bed Size Comparison: The Best Option »
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