What Is A California King Mattress: Is It For You?

The answer to what is a California king mattress is that it’s a slightly longer bed compared to a king. We will discuss its dimensions in more detail below, and you should be ready to decide if this is the perfect size for you. This article also includes the pros and cons of this mattress size.

Are you interested in knowing the best Cal king beds in the market? Then, discover the top four brands if this article ended up convincing you to get this mattress size. 

what is a california king mattress


Everything To Know About California King Mattresses


What is a California king mattress?

A Cal king mattress is a size that is slightly longer than a standard king bed but also slightly narrower than it. Therefore, the dimensions of a California king mattress are 84 inches long and 72 inches wide compared to the 80-inch long and 76-inch wide king mattress. These numbers also mean that a Cal king has a slightly smaller surface area at only 6,048 square inches than a regular king bed with a surface area of 6,080 square inches. 

Nowadays, you can find Cal king among the standard sizes offered by mattress brands. It is typically offered along with the king-size bed at the same price point. However, please consider checking the mattress dimensions regardless to ensure that you get your expected size upon ordering.


Why is it called a California king mattress?

According to the LA Times, a mattress merchant from Los Angeles realized that the houses in California are big enough for more oversized mattresses. So he built a mattress size of 6 by 7 feet that he believes also accommodates the needs and lifestyles of those in California. This mattress invention after World War II is what we now see as the California King.


California king mattress pros

  • The 80-inch length of a California king mattress will accommodate tall individuals comfortably. If you and your partner are both tall and the Cal king’s width still provides enough space, then it’s worth getting this mattress. But even if you’re tall, you might also allow your pets to sleep in the bed for you, and the extra length can accommodate them at your feet
  • Everyone would love a bed as big as a king, but their room might be too limited in space. If this is the case, the narrower California king makes an excellent choice for smaller rooms. Furthermore, this mattress size is big enough for bedrooms, prone to having too much negative space
  • While the California king bed is certainly not the most accessible bed to move and transport, you’ll save bulk on width and make an entry in tight spaces easier with it being narrower than a traditional king mattress. You can also fold some mattress materials to make moving much more comfortable. Nonetheless, please measure your house pathways before buying a bed or opt for bed-in-a-box mattresses for more convenient transport. 

California king cons

  • Even if the California king mattress is getting more and more popularly offered among the standard sizes such as twin, king, and queen, it might not be as readily available if you want specific mattress types.
  • The lesser availability of Cal king beds can also make it harder to find accessories and beddings. You will need the right size of sheets, foundation, and other accessories to avoid setting an uncomfortable bed. However, it’s common to see a Cal king’s accessories as pricey as a king bed, even if they’re smaller.
  • People who share the bed and families with kids might feel limited with the 72-inch wide California king bed. But if you want to upgrade from a queen-size mattress that accommodates most couples, then a Cal king is a good investment. And if you have a big bedroom, to begin with, invest in a king mattress to make the space look more coherent. 

What Is A California King Bed Equivalent To?

A mattress that is equivalent to the California king bed is the split Cal king mattress. You’ll get the exact dimensions, but that’s because you’re combining two mattresses side by side. They each are 36 inches wide and 84 inches long, so placing them together creates a traditional California king bed. 

The advantage of a split California king over a Cal king is related to transport and sharing the mattress. It can feel awkward to sleep on a bed with demarcation in the middle, but if you’re sharing it, you and your partner can get the ideal mattress feel on each side. Furthermore, you can deconstruct the split California king when moving or transporting the bed. 


Can King Sheets Fit On A California King Bed?

You can’t use the bedsheets of a king mattress on a Cal king bed because it is shorter and wider. You won’t get the correct fitting, which can be annoying since it will move around at night. This is also the same reason why you can’t use a topper or even a frame meant for a king bed for a California king mattress. 

If you want to compare the two bed sizes in more detail, here is an article for California king vs king mattress



Was this article helpful? We answered what is a California king mattress, and it is a bed longer but narrower than a standard king. It is ideal for narrow rooms, tall sleepers, or those sharing the bed with their pets. 

If you have more questions about this size, feel free to leave them below. 

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