California King vs. Twin Beds – What You Should Know

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Both Twin and California King beds are popular in the bedding and mattress world. While you may not find yourself choosing one over the other for the same bedroom, they both have their place in almost every house. We’ve put them side by side so you can see which one might be right for your next big bed purchase.

The Basics

California (Western) King:

CA King

Who is this ideal for?

This bed is called a California King because of its popularity on the West Coast, according to the Better Sleep Council. It’s narrower than a Standard King by 4″ and longer by 4″.  This bed is typically a good fit for people want more width than a Queen but are really focused on extra length – they may have a narrow but long room or be an especially tall person or couple.

Standard Twin


Who is this ideal for?

A Standard Twin is also known as a Single bed. Twin mattresses and beds are often the next steps for children who have outgrown their cribs. They’re also a great option for smaller bedrooms like Guest Rooms. Bunk beds also traditionally come in Twin size.

Other Size Options


Standard (or Eastern) King:  A King bed tends to be best suited for couples. In fact, it is the equivalent of each person sleeping in their own Twin XL bed (pushed together). The King bed offers each person 8” more space than a Queen sized bed. This makes it ideal for Master Bedrooms. It may be too large for some individuals.

Standard King
Width Per Person38"

Tuck Mattress ReviewTuck King mattress – to read the full review, click here.

Split King: Similar to a Standard King (but 2” wider) and split down the middle.

Split King
Width39" (each half)

Twin XL

Twin XL: The Twin XL is the same width as a Standard Twin but it’s about 5″ longer, making it the same length as a Queen or King. It is a nice option for college dormitories or taller children who may have smaller rooms. You will also see them in hostels where multiple beds are in one large room.

Twin XL

You Might Choose

California King If…

  • You’re shopping for a Master Bedroom that is longer than it is wider. If you are really looking for the most space between you and your sleep partner, the King is a better choice because it is 4″ wider than the CA King. However, the CA King will give you 4″ in additional length, which may look better in a narrower but longer Master Bedroom.
  • You or your partner is tall. California King beds allow taller individuals and couples to have a sleep experience that doesn’t involve their feet dangling off the edge of the bed. If this is a priority (and who can blame you) the CA King could be a great choice.
  • You don’t mind spending money on your bed.  CA King beds and mattresses aren’t rare but they aren’t as popular as the Queen bed. You can usually find a CA King size mattress with most brands, but you will also need to get bed sheets that fit specifically to that mattress, a regular King size set of sheets won’t fit the bed.

Twin If…

  • You’re a smaller adult or child. As we mentioned earlier, Twin-sized beds are sort of the next step up from a crib mattress. A Standard Twin is 38″ x 75″ (sometimes it’s measured at 74″). This could be a tight fit in both directions for an average adult and nearly impossible for a couple to sleep comfortably together.
  • You need a bed for a smaller room. A Twin bed will look pretty small in a Master Bedroom, which are usually one of the biggest bedrooms in a house. A Twin will probably fit well as a replacement for a crib in a nursery or a smaller room that maybe two people share – like a kid’s room.
  • You are looking to save cash.  After a crib, the Twin bed is the next step up and will the least expensive option for a bed. Some people consider skipping a Twin and heading straight to a Full/Double or even a Twin XL for the extra length, but you’ll save the most money going with the standard Twin.


Things To Consider

Below are some tips and things to think about before you make your next purchase.

  • Measure your space and leave room for movement. If you are thinking about making the jump from a crib to a Twin or you’re ready to go big and get a California King bed,  make sure it fits it in your bedroom. Duh, right? This may seem obvious, but with so many options and so many mattress deals out there, it’s actually pretty easy to get caught up in an impulsive shopping moment and end up with a bed that you didn’t measure for. An articles from Th!ngz Contemporary Living says that most designers will recommend 30″ of space around your bed for movement.
  • Consider how you’ll get your bed into the room. Twin beds and mattresses won’t be too difficult to get through doorways or upstairs, but a CA King mattress and bed frame is no joke and may take some maneuvering – and another set or two of hands – to get into a bedroom.
  • Shop seasonally if you can. There are times during the year that mattresses and beds will go on sale. If you’re on a budget but want to upgrade to a bigger bed, it might be worth waiting to make a purchase during that time. Back-To-School sales might be the best time for Twin beds and sheet sets or bundles. For mattresses, Labor Day weekend is often a good time for sales.

Mattress Dimensions Guide


The reasons to buy a Twin bed and a California King bed do not often overlap. One is better suited for smaller adults and children, the other is the best bet for taller individuals and couples who have space and the budget. No matter what you choose, if you measure your space and leave room for nightstands and other furniture, you will surely enjoy your new bed.


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Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news.She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.