King vs. California King: What’s the Difference?

May 23, 2022 | Casper Editorial Team

What’s the difference between a California King and a King?

There are many misconceptions around King vs. California King mattress sizes. Many people believe that a California King is the largest mattress option on the market. However, that’s not exactly true — Kings and Cal Kings just have different widths and lengths.

A California King (72 x 84 inches) is four inches narrower (side to side) and four inches longer (head to toe) than a King (76 x 80 inches). A California King may be narrower and longer, but a King is wider and has a slightly larger surface area. Cal Kings are great for tall sleepers or those with large but narrow bedrooms. 

A king bed sits to the left of a california king bed. Illustration.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the difference between King and California King mattresses, and what else to consider when comparing the two.

Our innovative king and California king size mattresses are made from multiple layers of cooling foam. Then they’re squeezed down into a tiny box, which magically appears on your doorstep within a few days.

King vs. California King Dimensions

  King California
Length 80” 84”
Width 76” 72”
Surface Area 6,080 square inches 6,048 square inches
Also Called Eastern King Western King

A standard California King is 72 inches wide by 84 inches long and a standard King mattress is 76 inches wide by 80 inches long. The standard King resembles more of a square shape while the Cal King looks more like a rectangle. The California King is the longest mattress available to buyers. The King mattress is four inches wider than the Cal King, making a King the widest mattress available to buyers.
The California King has less surface area than a King. The California King has a surface area of 6,048 square inches while the King mattress has a surface area of 6,080 square inches.
Tip: A good way to remember the difference between these two is by their name. The state of California is one of the longest states and the California King is longer than the King.

Whether you’re deciding between memory foam vs. spring or King vs. California King, it’s always important to weigh the pros and cons of your choices before making a final decision.

What Is a California King Size Bed?

The California King, also known as the “Western King,” is about four inches taller and more narrow than a King-sized mattress. It’s considered the tallest mattress on the market, but it also sacrifices a few inches in width.

  • Great for taller people
  • Better for long and narrow rooms
  • Ideal for single sleepers or couples


  • Difficult to move
  • Harder to find accessories for

The California King is ideal for taller people and single sleepers or couples. However, any more than this can make the space feel cramped.

Casper’s California King Beds

Our Cal King mattresses offer a luxurious amount of space. They’re perfect for couples or those who like to sprawl out.

Our cooling, open-cell memory foam makes up the sumptuous layers of the California King Bed. It lets excess hot air escape to keep you breezy and fresh all night long. Multiple layers of proprietary memory foam cradle you weightlessly, relieving pressure and lulling you gently to sleep. With its premium materials and precision design, the Cal King delivers this rejuvenating support for years to come.

What is a King Size Bed?

A standard King mattress, also known as the “Eastern King,” is the widest mattress on the market. It’s designed to fit two sleepers perfectly, as well as a few additional family members.

  • Great for couples with children or pets
  • Better for shorter and wider rooms
  • Widely available


  • Difficult to move
  • Too short for people over 6’ tall

The King mattress is great for couples with children or pets. It’s also ideal for shorter or wider rooms. However, if you’re over 6’ 2”, your feet may hang off the mattress.

Casper’s King Beds

Our King Mattresses easily accommodate couples — plus, there’s room for a small child or a dog for maximum cuteness.

With multiple layers of breathable, feathery-soft memory foam, our king mattresses deliver a cooling, weightless sleep. Our Zoned Support™ design cradles you weightlessly for night after night of cloud-like slumber.

A chart outlining the details below.

Things to Consider When Choosing

Both mattress sizes carry an air of luxury with them. A mattress fit for a King should be perfect for you, right? However, there is much more to consider than status and stature. Take a look at your sleeping environment. Will your room fit a California King bed? Will your partner’s feet hang off the edge? Before buying into prestige, take the below into account.

Room Size

A king and a California king bed in two seprated rooms of the different sizes. Illustration.
When considering your sleeping space, the California King is going to be better for rooms that are longer rather than wider. This can include guest rooms and master bedrooms that are about 12 feet by 12 feet, though it is recommended for rooms about 12 feet by 14 feet so you have some extra space to walk around.
The King mattress is also great for guest rooms and master bedrooms, however, if the room is too narrow, the mattress won’t fit. The King mattress is perfect for bedrooms that are 12 feet by 10 feet, though 13 feet by 13 feet is recommended for more space.
Tip: It’s always best to get the dimensions of your bedroom before choosing a mattress.


The price of King vs. California King mattresses will largely depend on the brand you’re buying from. However, they’re usually around the same price point. It’s also important to factor in the accessories you will need.
The California king has risen in popularity, but it’s still not as common as the King. Therefore it can be slightly harder to find the correct bed frames, box springs, mattress protectors, and sheets for the mattress size. This can result in it being more expensive. The King-sized mattress is a lot easier to find and buy, which means you will be able to find a variety of price points to compare and consider.

Your Family

kA king size bed holding a family next to a California king size bed holding a different family. Illustration.
The California King can fit two people comfortably. However, any more than this can make the space feel cramped. If your kids like to jump into bed with you, you may want to opt for the King. Kings are a bit wider and offer more space, especially if your dog likes to snooze with you. When it comes to motion isolation, both mattress sizes are great at limiting motion transfer. To ensure your mattress has motion isolation, choose a mattress made with memory foam.

Your Height

Because the California King is slightly longer than the King, the Cal King is better for people who are really tall. If you are over six foot, a California King sized mattress will ensure your feet aren’t hanging off the edge. For those that are about six feet and under, a King sized mattress is a perfect fit.

Bed Base and Foundation

When you buy a new mattress, you’ll need a bed base and foundation that matches the size of the mattress. King and California king beds work with adjustable bases, foundations, platform beds, and more. Just make sure to pick the correct bed base for your mattress type


Why is it Called a California King?

There are various origin stories of the California King, but it’s generally agreed-upon that the California King mattress was created in California in the mid-twentieth century. They became popular in California and were associated with large celebrity homes in Los Angeles. 

What is Bigger Than a King Mattress?

A California King is longer than a king but less wide. There are also other oversized mattresses that are bigger than kings, though they are rare to come by and usually impractical for normal homes. They are:

– Wyoming King (84 inches by 84 inches)
– Texas King (80 inches by 98 inches)
– Alaskan King (108 inches by 108 inches)

How Much Bigger is a California King Than a Queen?

A California King is 4 inches longer and 12 inches wider than a queen mattress.

What Is the Point of a California King Bed?

A California King is a large, long bed that is often comfortable for tall people who find that their feet usually hang off the end of their bed. Because Cal Kings are long beds, they also fit well in narrow rooms.

Which Is Bigger, a King or California King?

While a California King is longer than a King, it has less surface area. The width of a King bed is larger than a California King. 

Which Is Better, a King or California King?

While a California King may be more comfortable for tall sleepers and may fit better in a long and narrow room, a King may be better suited to short and wide rooms and families that share a bed.

Do California King Sheets Fit a King-Sized Bed?

A standard King-sized bed is four inches shorter and four inches wider than a standard California King bed. Therefore, California King sheets will not fit a King bed. Cal King sheets will be too long and not wide enough for a King mattress. You’ll need to shop for king-size sheets separately.

A man lies in a California king bed, but the sheets are too small and he is worried. Illustration

Now that you have weighed the pros and cons of each mattress size and considered your sleeping environment, you should have enough information to make an informed decision. At Casper, we offer King mattresses and California King-size mattresses for the same price, so you don’t have to worry about your budget when comparing the two. Once you know what size mattress you want to buy, make sure to pair it with the correct bedding size.