California King vs. King Size Bed

California King Size
King Size

A California king size bed, or "Western king," is narrower and longer than a standard, a.k.a."Eastern," king size bed. Though California king beds have become more common over time, they are still rarer than standard king size beds. This means California king beds and their accessories are usually more expensive than standard king beds.

Comparison chart

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California King Size

King Size

Width 72 inches (183 cm) 76 inches (193 cm)
Length 84 inches (214 cm) 80 inches (203 cm)
Width per person 36 inches (91 cm) per person 38 inches (96.5 cm) per person
Space economy A California king size bed is larger than a queen size bed. It is longer but narrower compared to a regular king size bed. A king size bed is fairly large compared to the queen or full size bed.
Cost California kings may cost a little more than king size beds and their accessories (e.g., sheets) may be harder to find and therefore more expensive. Since a king size bed is larger, it is more expensive and mattresses in this size may also cost more compared to queen beds.
Usage California king size are usually found in master bedrooms. King size beds are usually found in master bedrooms.

Contents: California King vs King Size Bed

edit Dimensions

A standard "Eastern" king bed is 76 inches (193 cm) wide and 80 inches (203 cm) long. Standard California ("Western") king beds actually have the same area, but they are narrower and longer, measuring 72" x 84" (183 cm x 214 cm). They essentially trade four inches (10 cm) in width for an extra four inches in length.

edit Non-Standard Dimensions

A graphical representation of the various standard bed sizes available in the U.S.
A graphical representation of the various standard bed sizes available in the U.S.

edit Uses

There should be at least two feet (61 cm) of walkable space around a bed frame in a room. As such, neither king size beds nor California king beds are very practical for the bedrooms found in most apartments and small homes, where queen or full size beds tend to be more appropriate.

Ultimately, California king beds are not too different from standard king size beds, but some may appreciate their slightly different dimensions. For people who are over six feet (183 cm) tall, the extra length of a California king can feel nice. California king beds may also function and look better in rooms that are long and narrow.

For couples who want to stay close while sleeping, a California king is the better option. Those who like their space should buy a standard king bed.

edit Cost

Though more common than they once were, California king beds are not as common as standard kings. This can make purchasing box-springs, bed frames, and even sheets and comforters for a California king bed more difficult and costly. If affordability is more important than the dimensional differences between these two types of beds, stick with a standard king.

edit History

California king beds date back to the 1960s in Los Angeles, California, where they were found in luxurious mansions. In more recent years, the California king has become competitive on an international level. In Europe, these beds are often known as Western king beds and compete with the standard Eastern king bed. Though the common naming conventions are slightly different, the dimensions of these beds are the same as those found in the U.S. that are known as standard kings and California kings.

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Comments: California King Size vs King Size

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Anonymous comments (7)

February 4, 2012, 2:42am

I agree on location dependent. Having just moved from CA where cal king sheets were very easy to find and now living east of the Mississippi we can only find standard king sheets etc.

— 166.✗.✗.197
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January 29, 2014, 9:50pm

Yes its very hard to find cal sheets i been looking i have a bed that no sheets fit.

— 108.✗.✗.220
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October 8, 2012, 10:31pm

Sometimes Ross has both the King and the Calif King sheets, I live in Oregon and we have alot of California folks move here with the Ca. King beds, I even bought a Calif King headboad here in Oregon at a local furniture store, also Ross has great prices on linens, my son comes up here from California and buys his household linens and clothes here, he is a bachelor and likes to save on sales tax. Ross also has the high thread count sheets, I like the 500-600 the best otherwise they are too thin and shrink.

— 65.✗.✗.182
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January 24, 2012, 7:54pm

Availability of various King sized sheets seems to be location dependent. Std. King is readily available in the east, but Cal King seems to be almost all I can find in stores in CA. My best bet? Shop online.

— 204.✗.✗.40
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June 17, 2010, 7:35pm

I own an Eastern (Standard) King. If you are under 6'2" there is really no reason to get a CA King. The extra width is actually very enjoyable. You will use and appreciate that width much more then having extra length.

The downside is: CA King is much more common. So finding sheets for an Eastern King is much tougher. But thanks to the Internet, ordering sheets is really not that big of a problem. How often do you buy sheets anyway?

— 169.✗.✗.98
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January 29, 2009, 5:32pm

Thank you, this is very helpful information in my deciding what size bed to get.

— 71.✗.✗.100
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August 6, 2010, 12:11am

You are backwards on the sheets; CA King sheets are much harder to find in retail stores. But to your point, the internet makes it very easy to have a wide selection.

Reference: I own a CA King bedset

— 65.✗.✗.180
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