What's the Difference Between a King and California King Mattress?

The two largest standard mattress sizes are king and California king. A king size mattress measures 76" wide by 80" long, while a California king measures 72" wide by 84" long. Because of its extra length, the latter size is preferred by taller people. Many people who don't know the exact dimensions of each mattress assume that the California King is bigger. Sleepers of average height do not notice the difference, but in fact, the king size mattress is larger in terms of total area. A king mattress has 6,080 square inches of sleeping surface, while the California king has only 6,048 square inches of space. Both mattresses have a perimeter of 312".

The California king size was developed in 1982 by David Bergeson of Concord, California. He needed a longer bed to accommodate his height, but didn't need a bed so wide as a standard king. Some manufacturers call this bed size the "Western king" and call the standard king the "Eastern king." There is a popular misconception that California king beds are harder to obtain in the Eastern US, but residents of the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast can easy find California king sizes at large mattress stores or online.

Both king and California king mattresses are quite expensive compared to queen and full beds. Due to the miniscule size difference, both types of king size mattress cost about the same. Besides size, the other factors that affect price are materials (foam vs coil), thickness, whether it has a pillow top, and brand. Listed below are some of the most popular king and California king size mattresses.

King Coil Perfect Contour Pillow Top Mattress
Euro Box Top Independent Operatiing Coil Mattress
Sleep Innovations 10-inch Sure Temp Memory Foam Mattress
PacBamboo 11" Memory Foam Mattress

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