California King vs Twin XL Bed Sizes – What Makes These Beds Stand Out?

We receive free products to review and participate in affiliate programs. See our disclosure page for more information.

In the wide-ranging world of bed sizes, it’s simple to go straight for the Standard King or Standard Twin and neglect other specialty sizes like the California King and Twin XL beds, which could possibly be great options for people who require extra length on their mattress.

In this comprehensive guide, we cover everything consumers need to know regarding the differences between the California King vs Twin XL bed sizes.

Not sure what size bed you need? Check out our complete mattress size guide.

California King vs. Twin XL

For a quick summary of the differences between California king and twin XL beds, check out our comparison chart below.

Criteria California King Twin XL
Size 72″ x 84″ 38″ x 80″
Best for Couples that want a slightly longer mattress Children, taller individuals, college students, those looking to build a split king bed
Price $900 – $2,500 $400 – $700
Ideal room Master bedrooms Children’s rooms, smaller bedrooms, college dorms
Pros Comfortably sleeps two people, fits taller individuals Affordable, can be used to customize a split king bed, comfortably sleepers taller individuals
Cons More expensive, difficult to move Too small for couples

twin xl vs. California king mattress size comparison

California King Bed

This bed is called a California King because of its growing popularity on the West Coast, according to the Better Sleep Council. This mattress size is narrower than a Standard King by 4″ and longer by 4″, which makes this bed an exceptionally good fit for sleepers who want more width than a Queen but are especially focused on extra length, or may have a narrow but long room, or be an especially tall person or couple.

California king-size mattress graphic with dimensions

Width 72″
Length 84″

Pros

  • Great for couples
  • Is longer than a traditional king-sized bed, which allows taller individuals to sleep comfortably
  • Fits in a narrow but long room

Cons

  • Can be pricey
  • Can be difficult to move

Additional King Mattress Sizes

The Standard (or Eastern) King bed size is traditionally considered to be best suited for couples. In fact, it is the equivalent of each individual sleeping in their own Twin XL bed (pushed together). The King bed offers each person 8” more space than a Queen sized bed, which makes it ideal for Master Bedrooms, but may be too grandiose for some individuals.

Width 76″
Length 80″
Width Per Person 38″

King mattress bed

Split King Size Dimensions are similar to a Standard King (but 2” wider) and divided down the middle, which makes them ideal for couples who like their own individual space.

Width 39″ (each half)
Length 80″

Twin XL

The Twin XL has the identical width as a Standard Twin but it’s about 5″ longer, making it the same length as a Queen or King size bed. This mattress size is an ideal option for college dormitories or taller children who may have smaller rooms. Travelers will also see this mattress size in hostels where multiple beds are in one large room.

Some folks that are looking for a bed that caters to two people’s preferences opt to instead get two twin XL beds. When combined, two twin XLs are the same size as a king-size bed. Couples sometimes purchase different twin XL mattresses and combine them into a split king bed to allow each individual to better meet their sleep needs.

twin xl mattress graphic with dimensions

Width 38″
Length 80″

Pros

  • Fits in college dorms
  • Comfortably sleeps taller children
  • Fits in smaller bedrooms
  • More affordable option
  • Can fit multiple twin XL beds in one room
  • Can be used to create a custom split king bed

Cons

  • Does not comfortably sleep two people

Additional Twin Mattress Sizes

A Standard Twin is also known as a Single Bed and is typically the smallest mattress size you’ll find in store and online.

Twin mattresses and beds are often the next steps for children who have outgrown their cribs and need to transition to something different. They’re also an economical option for guest rooms or smaller bedrooms, as well as rooms with bunk beds, which are traditionally manufactured in the Twin size.

Width 38″
Length 75″

What Size Is Best?

Who will like the California King?

  • For people who are looking for a Master Bedroom mattress that is longer than it is wide, a simple and effective way to compare the differences between a King and CA King is to remove 4″ of width on a king and add 4″ of length to the bottom of the bed. And since the CA King is longer than the King, it’s a great option for narrow bedrooms, where people want as much width as possible but prefer a little additional length for their space.
  • Sleepers with a dedicated budget for this size might find the California King worth the money. King beds and mattresses aren’t rare but also aren’t as popular as the Queen bed. Interested buyers can usually find a CA King size mattress with most brands, but they won’t be able to re-use their King-size frame, sheets or protector – the dimensions are different and they won’t fit, so shoppers will need to purchase new ones.

Who Will Like the Twin XL?

  • People looking for a bed for a young adult or college student. 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, but the Twin XL offers 5″ of additional length which gives everyone room to grow making it a popular bed for college dorms or hostels.
  • Those who need a bed for a smaller room, will find that Twin XL beds are usually a good fit for a second bedroom (not a Master) because they tend to be smaller and save space for additional furniture. This mattress size can also be preferable to a Full because there’s additional length.
  • Buyers who want to save money will find the Twin XL to be affordable. After the Twin, the Twin XL bed is the next step up and is typically the second 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, where they can save more money on the Twin XL over a Full bed.

two twin beds with pink and blue beddingVereshchagin Dmitry/Shutterstock

Things To Consider

Below are some tips and things to think about before shoppers make their next mattress purchase.

  • Since mattress shopping can get overwhelming quickly, be sure to measure the space before hand. Shoppers can feel pressured to make a purchase in order to get a good deal, so be sure to have all the measurements of the room and know what size is required before heading out to shop. It’ll pay off by being a less stressful experience once the purchase is made and the bed is in the room!
  • An article from Thingz Contemporary Living says that most designers recommend 30″ of space around the bed for everyday movement, so be sure to leave room for movement around the bed.
  • Considering how the bed will be moved into the room, Twin XL 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 to find the best deals. There are times during the year that mattresses and beds will go on sale. Back-To-School sales might be the best time for Twin XL beds and Twin XL sheet sets or bundles since they’re popular dorm room beds. For mattresses, Labor Day weekend is often a perfect time to capitalize on sales.

Overall

The California King and the Twin XL are both great options if for people considering a King or a Twin bed. They both offer extra length that might be perfect for those with either narrow bedrooms or longer legs. It’s always worth measuring the bedroom and considering furniture placement before venturing out to shop for a new mattress.

Gravatar for Katie Golde

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.

STAY IN TOUCH!

Can’t keep up with all things sleep? Our email newsletters gives you the latest on upcoming deals, giveaways, and sleep health articles.