What Are The Pros And Cons Of A King Vs. California King?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Everyone loves the ability to luxuriate on a large, sprawling bed. That’s why both king beds and Cali king beds are so popular. If you’re in the market for a new bed, you probably already know that you want a bigger bed. The question, of course, is which bed size is more suited to your unique lifestyle. Each size has its own perks and pitfalls, so it may make sense to learn more about each bed size.

King beds are easier to find, not to mention easier to match sheets with. They are also marginally taller than California king beds. California king beds are taller and narrower, making them a better match for tall people with smaller rooms.

It’s important to know what you’re in for when you are in the market for a new mattress. Thankfully, we have the important answers for you in this guide.

What Is The Difference Between A Cali King And A Regular King Bed?

The main difference that you will find is in measurements. A regular king bed (sometimes called an “Eastern king”) is going to be 76 inches long by 80 inches wide. California king beds are 72 inches wide by 84 inches long. Aside from the measurements, the two mattresses are generally seen as the same.

What Are The Benefits Of A King Bed?

If nothing else, king beds are remarkably plush additions to a bedroom. They’re a favorite among the most popular bed choices for couples, not to mention people of a larger stature. Let’s take a look at the reasons why they are so popular…

Easy To Shop For

In terms of shopping, you’re not going to have much problem with a king bed. King beds are considered to be one of the four standard ned sizes. This means you will be able to find almost any type of sheets you want, any type of bedframe you want, and also be able to coordinate your sheets easier.

Better For Couples

Because a king bed is wider than a Cali king bed, there’s a little more room to stretch out lengthwise. While this might not be that important for people who are just big n’ tall, it makes a world of difference if you’re half of a couple who enjoys stretching out.

More Affordable

Along with being easier to find on the market, most standard king beds are more affordable. The same can be said about the bedsheets, the actual bed frames, and mattress protectors. Needless to say, if you’re on a budget, then it may be better to deal with a king bed rather than a Cali king.

What Are The Pitfalls Of A King Bed?

While they are popular, king beds do have their problems. Along with being (obviously) heavy to haul up and downstairs, they can also have other issues that make them less than ideal. These two drawbacks below are the most common reasons why people don’t pick king beds over Cali kings.

May Not Be Fit For Tall People

One of the top reasons people choose to buy a king bed is their height. Most other bed sizes, including queen, are not well suited for people who are over six feet tall. King beds, while taller than most others, still aren’t the tallest beds around. If you’re the size of a professional sports player, you may need more length.

May Be Too Wide For A Bedroom

Some bedrooms are not wide enough to accommodate a king bed. A king bed can’t fit in a 10 by 10 room! If your room is notably narrow or doesn’t follow master bedroom dimensions, then you may need to pick a Cali king or a queen bed.

What Are The Benefits Of A California King Bed?

California king beds are definitely a little flashy in their own right. You can’t say that you own a California king bed without sounding like you’re bragging. But, what are the big perks here? We’ll list them out for you…

Great For Tall People

If you have the height of a basketball player, then a California king is one of the best beds you can get. This is one of the longest beds currently being made, making it one of the only truly comfortable bed sizes for people over the height of 6’6″.

Excellent For Smaller Rooms

It’s no secret that a king bed can look disproportionate in a smaller bedroom. This is especially true if you are not installing a Murphy bed that can be tucked away during the day. Since Cali king beds are slightly narrower, they can fit in smaller rooms and also look more proportional than a typical standard king will.

A Sizzlin’ Status Symbol

We’re going to point out the obvious: California king beds are kind of a status symbol. Some people enjoy knowing they have a “special” bed type. If you’re a fan of the status issue, it’s a major perk. Otherwise, it’s not that big a deal.

What Are The Pitfalls Of A California King Bed?

California king beds are rare, and there’s good reason for that. This is a bed type that is known for being difficult, and not just because it’s a larger bed that’s hard to carry, either. If you’ve ever wondered why people don’t choose Cali kings, these pitfalls below have something to do with it.

It’s Hard To Shop For

California king beds are rare, even when it comes to the mattresses and bed sheet sets. Most manufacturers don’t make materials for California king beds simply because there isn’t enough demand for it. This can make it difficult to find bed sets that match your room decor, not to mention find a bed that will fit your mattress.

The Price Ain’t Right

Due to the sheer rarity of the bed type, most manufacturers who do produce California king mattresses, beds, and sheet sets charge a premium price. Sometimes, the price can be more than $20 higher for a single sheet set. This can turn going shopping for sheets into a difficult and costly endeavor.

Feeling Cramped

Width is a problem here. Since a California king isn’t as wide as a regular king bed, you may end up feeling fairly cramped if you are a couple using the bed. As a result of the width problem, most couples prefer a standard king. It’s just not easy having those extra inches docked from your bed.

Which Bed Is Better For You?

If you were looking at a bed for a tall person living in a small room, then you’re the ideal buyer for a California king. This bed is a very niche bed size that only really serves a small handful of the population, with most happy buyers being super tall loners. If you are a couple who wants to have a fuller bed experience with more options, then there’s nothing that would work better than a standard king bed.

What we’re trying to say is, California king beds are often over-hyped. Because they’re rare, people assume them to be special or uniquely status-filled. To a point, there is a little hype in being able to say you have an unusual bed. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are smaller, cost more, and are generally hard to deal with.

Related Questions

What is the biggest bed size on the market?

Believe it or not, there are several bed sizes that are bigger than a Cali king or even a standard king bed. The biggest bed size money can currently buy is an Alaskan king. This square mattress is 108 inches long by 108 inches wide, bringing it over two feet wider than a standard king bed.Alaskan king beds are ideal for families who cosleep in the same room, as well as people who just really enjoy showing how big their home is. These mattresses are not cheap, either. They cost between $2,500 and $5,000 a pop, making them the most expensive on the market. 

Why is it called a California king mattress?

The California king mattress was invented shortly after WWII. The designers of this mattress decided that people who lived in Los Angeles had very large homes, to the point that single people could enjoy extra length and width. Thus, the California king mattress was born.Over the years, there have been other naming options. However, that didn’t stop the mattress from clinging to its name. Even today, the name is a nod to the mattress’s birth state during a time when real estate on the West Coast was cheap and plentiful.

Can you use California king sheets on a king-sized bed?

Because California king sheets are four inches longer and four inches narrower than a typical king-size bed, you can’t use Cali king sheets on a standard king bed. The same can be said in reverse. Standard king sheets cannot possibly be used on a California king mattress without having tears occur.Sadly, this is one of the biggest drawbacks of having a California king mattress. You absolutely have to get sheets that are meant specifically for this obscure size. Otherwise, it just won’t work.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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