King vs California King: What's the Difference?

King vs California King: What's the Difference?

There is a lot of confusion regarding the differences between the king and California king mattress. Most people believe that the main distinction is about size, and they place the California king as the biggest mattress you can find.

However, this is incorrect. The mattresses do differ in size, but it is not just about one being proportionally bigger than the other. It’s about the width and length of the mattress more than the sheer size of them.

A California king mattress is both narrower and lengthier than a king mattress, and that is the main distinction. A king mattress is slightly wider but has a bigger surface area than a California king. 

Both mattresses are quite big, but depending on your personal preferences, one of them might suit you better than the other.

In this blog, we’ll give you all the information you need on the king and California king mattress, so you can make the better choice that adjusts to your needs.

Mattress dimensions: the difference between a king and a California king mattress.

The key element that differentiates the king and California king is the mattress dimensions, so let’s take a closer look at how they differ in that regard.

The California king: the Western king

The California king mattress is a little narrower than the King size. It has a width of 72 inches. What the California king lacks in width, it makes up for in length. It has a length of 84 inches. 

The shape of a California king mattress is more rectangular than squared, which can be pretty useful depending on the sleeper’s size or the shape of your bedroom. 

Regarding surface area, the California king has a surface of 6,048 square inches, a little smaller than the king mattress.

The California king is the lengthiest mattress available in the market. It was developed for Hollywood stars in the 20’s, and that’s how it got its name. Talk about glamour!

A good mattress is nothing without a good sheet set. Take a look at our 1800 Collection Microfiber Striped Sheet Set for a set that will enhance your mattress, regardless of the size. This set is made with double-brushed microfiber and is available in a wide range of light colors and stripes. 

The King mattress: The Eastern king

The king mattress is a little wider than the California king, with a width of 76 inches. What it gains in width it loses in length, at 80 inches long. 

The shape of a standard king size bed is more squared than rectangular, although not a perfect square. 

When it comes to surface area, the king mattress takes the cake with its 6,080 square inches, making it a little bit bigger than the California king mattress.

The king mattress is the widest mattress available for purchase.

If you feel like pairing your mattress with a sheet set that can keep you warm while being famously breathable, give our 100% Organic Flannel Cotton Sheet Set, Heavyweight 180GSM a chance. These sheets are made with ultra-soft cotton and it’s perfect for cold temperatures.

A small tip to remember

If you want a clear tip on how to remember the key distinction, you should remember that California is a very long state, and Cal king mattresses are longer than the king mattresses. 

Measuring the pros and cons: California king vs. king

When you are in the market for a mattress, it is important to be fully informed about the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

So let’s take a closer look at the king and California king mattresses so you’ll hopefully get a clearer idea of which one will suit you best.

The California king

California king size mattresses are a little lengthier and narrower than king sizes, and that presents advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at them.


  • It’s a great mattress for tall people, given its length.

  • Its width makes it a good mattress both for single sleepers and couples.


  • Because of its shape, it is a little bit more difficult to move around.

  • It might be harder to find accessories for the California king mattress.

If you are the proud owner of a California king mattress, you’ll be glad to know that Mellanni offers a duvet that can adapt to this special mattress. Take a look at our 1800 Collection Microfiber Duvet Cover Set, which comes in a wide variety of sizes and is made with the best ultra soft, double brushed microfiber. Check out the oversized king, it might be the best option for your bed.

The king 

The king sized mattress is the widest on the market. It’s made so couples can sleep comfortably, and you might even have extra space. Let’s take a look at the benefits and the drawbacks of this popular size.


  • Great mattress for couples.

  • Its width can also allow for children and pets.

  • Very popular, easy to find and purchase.


  • It’s too short for people over 6 feet.

  • Its size makes it difficult to move around.

Both sizes offer pros and cons, and one thing to consider is also the size and shape of your room. Depending on the bedroom’s length and width, the shape of the California king and king mattress can be both an advantage or a disadvantage. We’ll take a closer look in the following section.

No matter what size you pick, both mattresses will look stunning in our Jersey Knit 100% Cotton 4-Piece Bed Sheet Set. Jersey Knit makes for an amazingly breathable sheet set, both soft and cozy. 

Key aspects to consider when choosing a mattress size

We’ve gone over the qualities of both mattresses, taking a look at their weaknesses as well. Now it is time to go over the things you should have in mind when buying a new mattress.

These tips will help you get the best option for you, and you’ll see it is more about how the mattress adapts to your needs than whether one is better than the other. 

Room dimension

As we stated in the previous section, both the king and California king can be a suitable choice for your bedroom, depending on the bedroom’s dimensions. 

Ideal bedroom for a California king

In accordance to the length and width of California king beds, the ideal bedroom for this type of mattress is one that is longer than wider.

An ideal bedroom size for this mattress would be 12 feet by 12 feet, although it would be better if you could add some feet in length so you have more space to move around.

Ideal bedroom for a king

For a king size mattress, the ideal bedroom is one that has enough width to fit the widest bed. The recommended size would be 13 feet by 13 feet for extra space, but you can get by with just 12 feet by 10 feet.


The California king and the king mattress don’t differ much in pricing. The cost will depend more on the particular brand than on the difference in size.

That said, it is quite important to pay attention to the accessories you might need, because that is where the total cost might diverge. 

The Cal king mattress is growing in popularity, but it still falls short in comparison to the widely known king mattress. Therefore, accessories like California king sheets, duvet covers, mattress protectors and bed frames can be harder to find, and in some cases even more expensive. 

It’s easier to find these accessories when you buy a king mattress, so it is an important aspect to factor in when considering your needs.

Be sure to check our 100% Flax Linen Bed Sheet Set for a sheet set that’s famous for being breathable and light. It wicks away moisture with ease and keeps you fresh throughout the night.

Your family

Another key point to consider is when deciding which mattress to opt for is who is going to be using the mattress. A California king bed can comfortably hold up to two persons, making it ideal for solo sleepers and couples. 

It might be too tight if you want to cuddle with your kids or have a pet sleeping with you.

If that is the case, a king size mattress might suit your needs better. It’s wide enough to fit your children and the dog.

You’ll be glad to know that both sizes are pretty good at handling motion isolation.

How tall are the sleepers

If you or your partner are over 6 feet tall, then the California king size mattress is the one for you. If you surpass that height, chances are you’ll fit too tightly across the length of the mattress, and as you can imagine that doesn’t spell comfort.

If you are under 6 feet, a king mattress will be more than enough, and you can appreciate the extra width.

To conclude

There are a couple of differences you should take into consideration when deciding to buy a California king or a king mattress.

Hopefully, this blog aids you in understanding these differences and helps you make an educated choice to get the mattress that better suits your needs.

We hope you find the mattress of your dreams, and don’t forget to pair them with the following Mellanni products to make it perfect:

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