California King vs. King Bed: Difference, Similarities, Pros and Cons

We spend on average eight hours a day sleeping. To ensure comfortable sleeping and good health it is vital to have the perfect bed, but what’s the difference between king and California king beds?

In essence, a California king bed is not quite so wide as a king bed, but is extra-long, perfect for taller people or those who like to stretch out, or even for those who prefer to have a little extra lengthwise space.

California King vs. King: Comparison Chart

For an easy reference, let’s explore our comparison table:

California KingKing
Dimensions (Width x Length)W72″ x L84″W76″ x L80″
Size Difference4 inches longer4 inches wider
SpaceCreates a longer space to stretch outProvides a wider space
RoomShorter rooms might struggle to fitNarrower rooms might struggle to fit
Bed AccessoriesSheets etc. will be more expensiveAccessories are standardly priced

King vs. Cal King: Definitions

As you can see, both beds are large enough for two to sleep together in comfort, but the king is perfect for people who prefer more width or for whose bedrooms are too short to comfortably fit a longer bed; whereas a California king is better suited to anyone preferring length or for who has a narrower, longer room.

King vs. California King: Pros and Cons

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of California king vs king-size beds.

California King Bed Pros

  • More length means better stretching out.
  • Perfect for people with decorative blankets, cushions and pillows which can comfortably sit at the foot of the bed.
  • A good suit for very large bedrooms, to avoid the bed appearing tiny in comparison.
  • A nice bed for those who like to socialize in the bedroom, as there is plenty of space for friends or family to sit while chatting or watching movies.

California King Bed Cons

  • Because it’s a specialist size, sheets, duvets and well-fitting blankets will be costlier.
  • In some areas, it is more difficult to find.

King Bed Pros

  • The largest standard size bed.
  • Great for couples who want a little extra space to sleep comfortably together.
  • Easier to find.
  • Easier to get bed accessories.
  • Perfect for shorter, wider rooms.

King Bed Cons

  • Can be too wide to comfortably fit in bedrooms, particularly when taking into account bed-side tables. 

California King and King Bed: Similarities

Cal King vs King size beds aren’t hugely different. If you’re comfortable sleeping in one, you’ll likely find the other quite comfortable after a little getting used to it. However, if you have a king bed and find you’re a little uncomfortable with the width, you’ll be disappointed in the California king vs Eastern king. The Eastern king bed, sometimes called a small emperor bed, is 79’ square. This makes it a little shorter than both beds, but considerably wider, especially when comparing a cal king vs eastern king.

Key Differences Between King and Cal King

The key difference is of course in the dimensions of California king vs king. Ultimately, you must consider whether you need extra width or extra length. You must also consider the size and shape of your bedroom, and pick the bed that will be most aesthetically pleasing for the dimensions of your room. 

California King vs King Bed Comparison Chart
Difference, Similarities, Pros and Cons

Size of California King vs. King Mattress

When looking at the California King vs King mattress, consider that there is no use in purchasing a different size bed frame without also purchasing the mattress. A king size mattress will stick out at the sides of a California king bed frame, and you won’t benefit the California king’s extra length because the mattress will not reach. You must not use the wrong mattress for your bed frame, because the fit will be incorrect and you’ll have an uncomfortable night’s sleep. Consider the cost of both the frame and the mattress, as well as the accessories such as duvets and sheets. This is important to keep in mind, because a new frame won’t be much help without the mattress to fit it, and the mattress is no good if you don’t have the sheets and duvets to go on top. 

When switching from one to the other, you must ensure you have the funds to purchase everything you’ll need. Of course, you can always donate your old sheets (which no longer fit your bed) to the less fortunate, or even as an emergency set of sheets for a friend. Old, ill-fitting sheets are perfect for arts and crafts, particularly if you have children.

Comparison Video

What is the difference between California King and a Regular King Bedding?


To conclude, when discussing the king versus California king beds and the California king and king differences, the key is the four inches. King beds are four inches wider, but four inches shorter. California king beds are four inches narrower, but four inches longer. Four inches may not sound like a lot, but if you’re on a bed that isn’t perfect for you and your sleeping partner, you’re sacrificing your sleep quality. Don’t worry about paying for a new bed which may not be the perfect fit! Explore bed- and mattress-stores and experiment with the different size beds!

Check out our related articles about other bed sizes:

Image Courtesy:

  • Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
  • Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash

Author & Researcher @ Difference 101 Master in Philosophy & Data Analysis, Sorbonne Université (Graduated 2011) Lived in New York City

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