King vs. Twin XL Beds – What Should You Know?

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Fun Fact: If you put two Twin XL beds together, you’ll get the same dimensions as a King bed. The Twin XL is the same width as a Standard Twin that you might be familiar with, but it’s 5″ of additional length make it the same length as a King. What else should you know about these two types of beds? Read on for our full comparison.

The Basics

Standard (or Eastern) King:

Standard King
Width76"
Length80"
Width Per Person38"

Who is this ideal for?

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.

Twin XL

Twin XL
Width38"
Length80"

Who is this ideal for?

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.

Related: Mattress Size Guide

Other Size Options

Kings

California (Western) King: Fairly popular and is narrower and longer than a traditional King size mattress.

CA King
Width72"
Length84"

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

Split King
Width39" (each half)
Length80"

Twin

Standard Twin: 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.

Twin
Width38"
Length75"

You Might Choose

King If…

  • You’re upgrading your Master Bedroom. King sized beds tend to be the best fit for larger master bedrooms, where there is plenty of space not only for your bed but all your additional pieces of furniture and accessories.
  • You want to stretch out. While it comes down to personal preference, many couples opt for a King size bed over a Queen (or a Full for that matter). In a King, each person gets 38″ of space on each side. That makes it comfortable for couples person to spread out or for the youngest family member to hop in during the night.
  • It’s in your budget. Everything adds up when you’re shopping for a new bed. If you are moving from a Queen or something smaller to a new King bed, keep in mind that you’ll more likely than not need to purchase a comfortable mattress, as well as a sturdy bed and bed frame and some comfortable King-sized sheets as well.

Tuck Mattress ReviewTuck mattress (King) – check out our review, here. 

Twin XL If…

  • You’re a young adult or child. As we mentioned earlier, Twin-sized beds are sort of the next step up from a crib mattress. A  Twin XL is 38″ x 80″ and could be a good fit for a child’s room or even a teenager who could use the extra length.
  • You’re trying to save money. If you have room for a Full/Double bed but can’t afford the frame, mattress, and sheets, you can consider a Twin XL. The bed will definitely be more affordable since you are saving on space and you’ll get extra 5″ in length. Many Back-To-School sales offer bedding bundles in Twin Xl size.
  • You need a bed for a smaller room. One Twin XL bed will look very small in a Master Bedroom (unless it’s a smaller bedroom). Instead, it will probably be a good fit as a replacement for a crib in a nursery or a smaller room that maybe two people share – like a kid’s room.

Koksharov Dmitry/Shutterstock

Things To Consider

Here 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 XL or you’re ready to go big and get a King bed,  make sure it fits it in your bedroom. Duh, right?  Just know that it’s easy to get caught up in an impulsive shopping moment and end up with a bed that doesn’t fit. An article from Th!ngz Contemporary Living says that most designers will recommend 30″ of space around your bed for movement. That means that a King size will be best for a large Master bedroom.
  • Consider how you’ll get your bed into the room. While Twin XL beds and mattresses won’t be too difficult to get through doorways or upstairs,  a King mattress may take some maneuvering (and another set 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 is an excellent time to shop for Twin XL beds as they’re very common in college dorm rooms. For mattresses, Labor Day weekend is often a good time for sales.

Overall

There are good reasons to go with either a Twin XL bed or a King bed. It’ll depend on your sleep needs, room size and – of course- budget! One hack that might be worth investing is seeing if the cost of two Twin XL beds is cheaper than a King bed. You can even put two Twin XL mattresses on a King frame for a Split King mattress (always check dimensions first as some brands may change theirs).

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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.

7 thoughts on “King vs. Twin XL Beds – What Should You Know?”

  1. Help!! My husband needs firm and I need soft. Sleep Number bed was expensive and it broke. Waste of time. So we are thinking of getting 2 twin XL and put them together with the wrap thingamajig…question is: can we use a King bottom sheet over it?

    • Two standard-sized Twin XL should be the same dimensions as a King so it should work provided they’re lined up right next to each other!

  2. I am looking to purchase 2 extra long twin mattresses for ease of flipping every 6 months. Any suggestions on best coil mattresses?

  3. We’re going with two twin XLs to make a King-each one will have its own box spring. We are looking to minimize movement.
    What do you recommend for sheets-King Fitted to cover both mattresses and a King flat on top? Or separate Twin XL Fitted for each half.

    Thanks!

  4. Can you mix and match two twin XL’s to make a King mattress? My wife and I cannot agree on a King mattress; I like foam and she likes traditional coils. E.g. I liked the Amerisleep foam and she likes Saatva, so we cannot agree!
    My thought was to combine two Twin XL’s; one Amerisleep AS2 and one Saatva coil spring twin XL’s and combine to make a bed each one of us would like.
    I know the heights differ by 1/2″, but I could put a 1/2″ plywood under the shorter (Saatva) to get the heights even, then strap the two together?

    Your thoughts? Would this work…?

    • Hi Joel, I’ve seen people put two Twin XL’s together to make a King, allowing each person to have their own personal mattress. You’re smart to look at the dimensions of each brand’s Twin XL, because they can be slightly different. Sounds like you’ve got the height issue covered but one additional thing to consider is the type of base/support each mattress requires. Traditional coils might need a box spring and a foam might not. You’ll want to make sure both mattresses are properly supported and that your “King” feels seamless at the same time.

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