queen vs california king mattress dimensions illustration

Queen vs. California King: What’s the Difference?

The queen size bed is the most popular mattress size—that’s because its dimensions comfortably accommodate two adults, and it fits into most bedrooms. But it’s not the only option you have if you’re looking to upgrade to a more spacious sleeping situation. The California king may be a good alternative to a queen, especially if you or your partner are tall.

Is a queen size mattress or a California king mattress the right mattress size for you? Our California king bed vs. queen size mattress guide will help you determine just that.

queen vs california king - queen size mattress dimensions illustration

Queen mattress size

A queen size mattress measures 60 inches wide by 80 inches long.

Benefits of a queen

There are plenty of reasons to choose a queen size bed. Here’s why you should consider one for your bedroom:

  • It’s versatile, making it an outstanding option for couples and solo sleepers alike. Each sleeper gets about 30 inches of space to themselves. This gives couples plenty of room to move around. “A queen size mattress is ideal for many people because it offers generous sleeping room for a single sleeper, yet the size is still ample and comfortable for two people,” says Mary Brennan, interior designer and founder of House of Fine Design in New Jersey. If you’re a combination sleeper—someone who switches positions throughout the night—you should have enough room in a queen size bed so you won’t disturb your partner.
  • You’ll have enough room for kids and pets as well. Although a queen size mattress isn’t quite as large as California king, you should still comfortably be able to snuggle with your family.

Why a queen may not be right for you

While there aren’t really many drawbacks to a queen size bed, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind before buying one:

  • Naturally, a queen size bed doesn’t offer as much room for couples and/or families as a California king size bed. You’ll have 12 inches less width in a queen size bed than you would in a California king.
  • If you have a very small bedroom, a queen size bed is still sizeable enough to cramp your space. You should only choose a queen size mattress if your bedroom is at minimum 10 feet by 10 feet.

queen vs california king - california king size mattress dimensions illustration

California king bed size

A California king mattress measures 72 inches wide by 84 inches long.

Benefits of a California king

Here are three reasons to think about choosing a California king bed:

  • The California king is a good option for taller people because it’s longer than a queen size mattress. Generally, those over 6 feet tall will be best suited by this mattress size as a California king is 7 feet in length. (A Cal king is 4 inches longer than a standard king, making it the longest mattress size.)
  • You’ll have plenty of room for children and pets to pile into your bed. It definitely has that “the more, the merrier” feel. A California king is a foot wider than a queen, giving you extra space for your family to comfortably get into bed with you.
  • It helps fill space. If your bedroom is very large, a Cal king might look better than a queen.

Prudence Bailey, founder and principal designer of Prudence Home + Design in Connecticut, agrees with these benefits: “California kings are good if you or your partner is tall, as there is more foot room,” she says. “They’re also good for people with large bedrooms since they are longer—it will fill the space better.”

Drawbacks of a Cali king

The California king does have a few drawbacks. Here are the biggest ones to take into account:

  • It’s not quite as roomy as a standard king. While a California king offers more space than a queen size mattress, it’s not the roomiest option—that’d be a king. With a California king, you get 36 inches of space per person, vs. 38 inches per person in a king size bed.
  • Because it’s not as common as a standard queen size, it may be challenging to find properly fitting bedding. Because it’s not as common as a standard king, finding a headboard can also be a little trickier, adds Bailey. (Here’s what you need to know about special mattress sizes before you buy one.)
  • A California king size bed is tough to navigate through tight spaces. Since it is so big, you may not be able to get it up a narrow staircase or around corners. A queen size mattress is much easier to maneuver.

Our Best Mattresses That Come in Queen and Cal King Sizes

How much bigger is a California king than queen?

A California king is 12 inches wider and 4 inches longer than a standard queen mattress.

Most popular size

While a California king offers more room for couples and tall people, a queen size mattress remains the most popular mattress size, for all the reasons listed above. That said, sometimes a California king mattress will be the best option for you—so weigh the pros and cons of both mattress sizes before making a decision.

More Great Saatva Mattresses Available in Queen and Cal King

How does a California king differ from a standard king? Read our California king vs. king guide to find out.