Anyone who’s ever slept on a King bed knows how indulgent sleeping on a bigger mattress can be. It’s hard to imagine a sleep surface larger than the expansive King, yet there in the size options is one most of us have never seen up close – the California King. Well, we’re here to clear up some misconceptions about this seemingly monstrous mattress and clarify just who might find it to be the best bedding option.


The square King Mattress, nearly as wide as it is long, is the widest mattress on the market. Though many people expect the Cal King to be bigger in this dimension, that’s just a misunderstanding. A King bed is 76 inches wide, a whopping 18” larger than a Queen. When shared, that gives two sleepers 38” of personal space apiece – nearly as much as they’d have in a twin bed. The King is perfect for those who move around in their sleep, as well as families with pets or children who make their way into the bed at night. A California King is 72” wide – still more than a foot wider than a Queen, but 4” narrower than a King.


What the California King is missing in width (which isn’t much), it makes up for in length. The Cal King is the longest bedding option on the market at 84 inches in length – 4” longer than a King or Queen, which are both 80” long. Since the reduced width trims away valuable space from each sleeper in a couple, the benefits of the California tend to be enjoyed primarily by individuals whose height leaves their feet hanging off the end of a regular King.


Depth is the mattress dimension few people ever consider. That’s odd since it has the greatest impact on which sheets will fit. Pocket depth is the reason your sheets have too much slack or don’t quite fit even though the King or Queen designation matches your mattress model. A standard mattress depth runs 7 to 9 inches, a deep pocket stretches 10 to 15 inches, and an extra deep pocket can measure up to 22 inches.

In Sum

It’s worth noting that the California King originated on the West Coast and is sometimes called a “Western” King. Thus, standard King mattresses got the moniker “Eastern” King. Cal Kings are a relatively new development that grew out of a Los Angeles company that made custom over-sized beds for celebrities and athletes.

The “Eastern” King is easier to accessorize. Fewer companies make products in the Cal King size, so the pickings can be slimmer. Fortunately, online shopping is evening the playing field.

A little-known fact is that King waterbed mattresses had California King dimensions, so if you’re looking to replace such a mattress, you’ll need a Cal King.

We’re here to help solve all your mattress mysteries!

If you’re considering a switch to a King or California King mattress, we can help you decide. Just hop on a chat with one of our sleep experts or give us a call at 1-855-GO2SLEEP. Once you’ve made your choice, you can’t go wrong with price matching, free shipping, and a great return policy at A Goodnight Sleepstore.

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