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Last Updated December 30, 2023
California king and queen-size mattresses are the larger variants of mattresses that are best for couples and small families. Queen size is excellent for single adult sleepers as well as couples, but it is not for small families. On the other hand, the California king is so broad that it can accommodate a family of 3 and a pet without running out of space. But the cal king can be too big for a single sleeper and can induce feelings of loneliness when people sleep alone.
We will start exploring the two mattresses, starting with their size differences.
The table lists the vital differences between the two large-size mattresses.
|6048 sq inches
|4800 sq inches
|Number of Sleepers
|12 ft x 12 ft
|10 ft x 10 ft
|Cheaper than California king
Now we will move on to the comparative study of the two mattresses, California king vs. queen, and present a gist of their pros and cons.
After World War 2, when the US emerged as the international superpower and people’s lives began to flourish, Americans started buying properties in California. A clever west-coast based mattress manufacturer thought that most California houses were big enough to have master bedrooms that could accommodate a 6 ft by 7 ft bed - that’s when California king beds started to be manufactured.
The name is derived from the place of origin - California. Since California is on the west coast, the Cal king bed is also called the Western King, while the standard king-size mattress is called the Eastern king.
At 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, the queen mattress is just perfect for single sleepers. They get a lot of space to move around, and if another person joins them - maybe a friend, partner, or spouse, even then, adding another person to the sleeping arrangement will not cramp the space. So, the Queen mattress is the smallest size that fits two sleepers nicely.
The California king-size mattress has a larger surface area than the queen mattress - it is approximately 1104 sq inches bigger than the queen size. A larger surface area means more materials are used to manufacture a single piece of Cal king mattress as compared to the queen mattress.
All king mattresses are bigger than the queen, so their prices are also on the higher side. Surely enough, if you want to go for even more specialized options like split mattresses, latex mattress, memory foam, or mattresses with cooling technology, then the price of a Cal king mattress will again be higher than a queen.
However, the price of a mattress depends on the brand as well. Some brands can manufacture budget mattresses that won’t disappoint you but may have a smaller lifespan. Ideally, you can easily get a queen or a king mattress within $1000 if you are on a budget; if money is not worrying you, then you can get a good quality mattress within $2000 and ensure a good night’s sleep.
Queen mattresses require less room than any variant of king-size mattresses. Ideally, the recommended room size for a queen mattress is 10 x 10 ft, and that of a California king mattress is 12 ft x 12 ft.
But why is it so? We can fit a mattress in any room as long as the room is bigger than the mattress itself. That’s correct, but then again, you want your bedroom to have a couple of pieces of furniture and a bit of space to walk about, right?
It is best to keep at least 3 feet of space around your bed - this is enough space to ensure you can install furniture in any spot around the bed, or if you change the aesthetic in the future, you can go with a different style and thickness as well.
Or if you have a small room space and the bed is stacked against a wall, keep the minimum recommended gap between the bed and the adjacent walls, and you will not stub your toe every time you try to walk around the bed.
Bed sizes are generally bigger than the mattress itself - we have to factor in the thickness and sturdiness of the frame, as the bed frame is the supporting pillar of the mattress and your weight.
All varieties of mattresses you see are made to fit their unique bed sizes, that’s a given. But in some special cases, the beds are made in a way that they are thicker than a traditional bed to fit the same mattress.
E.g., twin and twin XL beds that are installed in children’s rooms and college dorms can sometimes be installed in dorm beds.
You all have seen dorm beds, right? They are double-tiered beds that accommodate two kids, each kid on each level. The dorm beds are thicker than traditional beds as they have to support greater mass.
While choosing a mattress, know that the mattress will be there with you for at least a decade. So, if you are someone who shifts places frequently, make sure that the next house you rent has a bedroom as big or bigger than your current one - else, fitting a mattress that is a tad bit too big for your room will be inconvenient.
Lugging a heavy mattress around can be tiring, and you will expose the mattress to wear and tear, due to which it will disintegrate sooner than you expected it to. So, if you have a steady house, our advice will be to pick a room and keep the mattress in the space you have chosen without moving it too often.
Large mattresses made with natural latex or foam latex are great for supporting a wide range of body weights.
People within the height range of 6 to 6 ft 4 inches will get quality sleep on a queen-size mattress, with a lot of legroom to spare. But if you are as tall as the next NBA player, then the California king mattress should be your choice - the California king is great for people in the range of 6 ft 4 inches to 6 ft 8 inches.
A queen size bed is great for single adults who like the space. It is also suitable for couples as it is the smallest size of mattress where two people can sleep together. But, even then, space can get cramped in the middle of the night - disrupting quality sleep.
The California king bed is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, with a mattress area of 6048 sq inches. On the other hand, the queen-size mattress is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, giving you a surface area of 4800 sq inches.
The measurements show that the California king-size is wider than the queen by 12 inches (1 foot) and longer than the queen size by 4 inches. Due to the extended width and slightly bigger length, the California king is a large mattress that is much better for big families when compared to a queen size mattress.
If we stick with the size comparison, the king-size is 80 inches long - the same length as the queen mattress, and 76 inches wide - 4 inches wider than the California king mattress.
And the California king is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long - 4 inches longer than the king-size bed. However, the available sleep surface area of the king-size is 6080 sq inches, while the California king delivers only 6048 sq inches.
This straightforward comparison of their dimensions shows us that the king-size mattress is bigger than the California king, despite the common misconception that the Cal king is bigger than the standard mattress size.
Other king-size variants make the California king mattress look like a crib mattress. They are:
Wyoming king - 84 inches wide by 84 inches long
Texas King - 80 inches wide by 98 inches long
Alaskan King - 108 inches wide by 108 inches long
These beds are bigger than the California king-size; therefore, they will also be bigger than the king-size mattresses.
The California king is a big mattress that requires a big room. It is about 6 feet wide (72 inches wide) and 7 feet long (84 inches long). The Cal king bed frame will be even bigger than the mattress by a few inches at most.
So, considering the space, you will use to move around and store furniture, the minimum master bedroom size that can house a California king bed is a 12 x 12 feet space.
Let us see what the dimensions of two queen mattresses look like. A queen mattress is 60 x 80 inches big, so the size of a conjoined queen will look like 120 x 80 inches - we are simply doubling the dimensions of a single queen here. By doing so, we get a jumbo mattress that can bed Charlie’s entire family in Wilie Wonka and the Chocolate factory!
In comparison, the California king has a humbling size of 72 x 84 inches. Thus, it is apparent that the California king is not equal to two queen mattresses. If you crave a mattress as big as two queens, you have to buy them separately and install them in a custom-made bed that can contain the size of dual queens.
A double or a full bed is 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. Two doubles will be equivalent to a size that is 108 inches wide but 75 inches long.
Seeing that the California king is only 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, we can safely say that it is smaller than two double mattresses. However, a family of 5 - a couple, three kids, and a pet can sleep on two doubles comfortably, but the tallest person cannot be any taller than 6 feet.
Tall people and moderately big families can rest on the Cal king bed.
Yes, the California king sizes are also available in split king variants.
A queen size bed easily fits a room that is at least 10 x 10 feet big. So if your bedroom is already bigger than this space, a new queen-size mattress will fit nicely into your room. But if the room size is smaller than 9.6 x 10 ft, it is better to buy a smaller mattress.
Is your bedroom at least 12 feet long and 12 feet wide? Then a California king bed should perfectly fit your bedroom. Any space, even slightly smaller than 12 x 12 feet, can house a Cal king mattress, but in doing so, you will have to get used to a cramped bedroom space.
If the largest room in your house is 12 ft x 12 ft, and you are thinking of turning it into your master bedroom, then yes, California king is the best bed that money can buy in your situation.
However, if space is not an issue (clearly money isn’t), then there are superior mattresses of bigger and smaller variants than your money can buy. If you are open to splurging, fine-tune into your deeper requirements after deciding on a size.
Do you have pain, are you a hot sleeper, do you have allergies, or are you a nostalgic person who is looking to buy a mattress that you would like to collect and not sleep in?
In that case, check out our How to Choose a Mattress blog, where you will get introduced to many parameters that will help you buy a mattress for your money’s worth.
The smallest mattress for adults is the twin-size mattress which is 38 inches wide and 80 inches long. The twin XL size mattress is the next larger variant for adults. So, if we keep the twin-size mattress side by side, we get a big mattress that is 76 inches wide and 80 inches long.
Now the queen is only 60 inches wide and 80 inches long. So, placing two twin sizes side by side creates a size more expansive than a generic queen but has the same length as the queen.
To answer your question: no two beds can match the dimensions of a queen, which is a unique-sized mattress by itself.
Queen beds are 80 inches long, which means they are 8 inches longer than 6 feet (72 inches).
Ideally, some space should be left as wiggle room at the head and foot of the bed - in this case, we keep 4 inches of wiggle room for tall people.
So, tall sleepers - adults, teenagers, and young adults alike - who are taller than 6 feet but are within 6 feet 4 inches, can sleep quite comfortably stretched out on a queen-size mattress.
Related blog posts:
Choosing between a California king vs. queen mattress should not be hard if you are hard-pressed for space and budget. But if they are not your primary constraints, our blog will help you sieve the buyer’s dilemma and buy the mattress of your dreams!
Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.
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