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What is the Difference Between an Eastern King and a California King Size Mattress?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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Shopping for a mattress can get a little confusing with all of the different sizes available. Aside from standard twin, twin long, double, full and queen beds, there are two types of king size mattresses that each have two different names. The difference between an Eastern king size mattress and a California King size mattress is that the California king is 4 inches (10.2 cm) longer and 4 inches (10.2 cm) narrower.

Eastern King

The Eastern king size mattress, also known as a standard king, is the widest mattress that is commonly available. At 76 inches (193 cm) wide and 80 inches (203.2 cm) long, it is the mattress of choice for many large adults or couples who want a lot of room for spreading out in their beds. It is 18 inches (45.7 cm) wider than a queen bed and allows each person 38 inches (96.5 cm) of room — about the same amount of room that pushing two twin beds together would provide. An Eastern king size mattress typically comes with two twin box springs that fit side-by-side for easy transportation.

California King

The California king size mattress, also called a Western king, is the longest mattress that is commonly available. At 84 inches (213.4 cm) long, it is 4 inches (10.2 cm) longer than the Eastern king and is preferred by many people who are more than 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. Like an Eastern king, it typically comes with two twin box springs. For some people, the drawback of this mattress is that, at 72 inches (182.9 cm) wide, it is 4 inches (10.2 cm) more narrow than the Eastern king.

A Matter of Preference

People who want a king size mattress for its length more than its width often choose the California king. If the extra length is not required, such as for people who are shorter, the accommodating width of an Eastern king size mattress is often preferred. To get the length of a California king and the width of an Eastern king, a custom-made mattress is likely to be needed.

Sheet Shopping

The difference between an Eastern king and a California king can be a factor when a person is shopping for a set of bed sheets. Someone who knows that he or she needs king size sheets but doesn't know whether the bed is an Eastern king or California king — or doesn't even know that there are two types of king size mattresses — could end up with sheets that are too short and wide or too long and narrow. If the type of king size mattress is not specified on its label, it might be necessary for its owner to measure the mattress before shopping for sheets.

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Discussion Comments

By anon991616 — On Jul 04, 2015

Can you use a California king bed frame for an Eastern king mattress?

By anon990512 — On Apr 25, 2015

The key to remembering (and what various sites get wrong) is that the foundation of an Eastern King bed is two Standard Twin Box Springs (each 39 x 75) side by side. This means the Eastern King mattress sitting on top of them must be 78 x 75 to fit correctly.

By anon266176 — On May 04, 2012

There is a grand king sleep number bed. Sleep Number is the only one that makes this size of bed.

By anon222850 — On Oct 16, 2011

Thanks, Post 14, for that info! I'd love to have a Grand King. Sounds divine.

By anon159411 — On Mar 11, 2011

What I see online as info a lot of times is wrong!

I have been in the bed business nine years.

To answer a lot of the questions here: 1.) there are only 2 sizes of king beds King and Cal-king. (measurements are 76x80 and 72 by 84. These sizes are approximate and can be off a little.

Cal-king mattress come in all depths-measure, European mattresses are metric and do not fit here. There are only king and cal-king sheets in the US. Most headboards adjust from king to cal-king. Some do not.

By anon154665 — On Feb 21, 2011

I have a California King mattress, 72in x 84in. I buy standard king sheets all the time. No, they don't fit "like they should", but they do fit the bed just fine. The whole mattress is covered. The only weird thing is for the top sheet, on some of my sets, I have to turn it side-ways so it tucks into the bottom of the bed.

By anon139814 — On Jan 05, 2011

Can anyone please tell me where I can buy Eastern King bed sheets?

By anon137119 — On Dec 26, 2010

how thick is a california king mattress?

By anon88526 — On Jun 05, 2010

Where would I look for grand king sized bed sheets and duvets? --slim

By anon82953 — On May 08, 2010

I believe there is also a super king, which matches the European style, but seems hard to find here in the US, that measures approx. 72 x 78 inches (180 x 200 cm metric).

By anon81868 — On May 03, 2010

There are actually four different size king beds: The Eastern King (78 x 80), Standard King (76 x 80), California King (72 x 80) and what is called a Grand King (80x98).

By anon77239 — On Apr 13, 2010

Can anyone please tell me the difference between a California King and a Eastern King Bed Frames? I found a website and I love their prices but I'm confused about the difference in these two sizes.

By anon48520 — On Oct 13, 2009

Yes, European mattresses are generally longer and not as wide. (does that say something about Europeans vs. Americans? lol)

By anon39850 — On Aug 04, 2009

what is the size of california king ruffle/bed box cover?

By anon31309 — On May 03, 2009

*Thank you!* For *finally* answering our questions about the differences between the 4 King Beds. The sales people *never* know themselves!! Gosh - I've missed out on so many sales and pretty colors. Thank you for posting this easily understood and excellent needed information.

By maryw — On Mar 09, 2009

Will a headboard made for a king size bed fit my cal-king mattress?

By somerset — On Jan 20, 2008

I think some European mattress sizes differ from the American measurements mentioned in this article.

By malena — On Jan 20, 2008

So then, compared to a Queen Sized mattress (58 x 80 inches), the Eastern King affords a wider (by 16 inches) but just as long mattress, whereas the California King affords a longer (by 4 inches) and wider (by 14 inches) mattress.

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