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Guides Mattress Sizes: Which Bed Size is Best for You?

Published on February 29th, 2016 | by Mattress Journal


Mattress Sizes: Which Bed Size is Best for You?

Choosing the right bed size is one of the most “foundational” aspects of buying a new mattress, but how do you know which mattress sizes are best for comfortable sleep? There are a few things to consider before you make a selection, and knowing the basics is a smart move.

In this guide, we’ll be covering the common dimensions of mattress sizes you should know, and looking at which bed size is best for different needs. (If you already know your size, have a look at this recent guide to 2016’s top mattresses by Best Bed Reviews.)

An Introduction to Mattress Sizes

First things first, let’s uncover the main bed sizes in the U.S. market. Manufacturers have standardized mattress size templates to make things easier for shoppers, though some may vary slightly.

The primary ones you’ll see are Twin, Full/Double, Queen, and King, with a few variations in each size group. Whether memory foam beds or innersprings, sizes generally don’t vary more than an inch or so between different brands and types.

mattress size chart

Twin Size Bed Dimensions

  • Standard Twin: 38” to 39” wide by 74” to 75” long
  • Twin XL: 38” to 39” wide by 80” long

The regular twin mattress size is the standard for children’s beds, and the smallest of the bed sizes. The XL (or long) twin mattress size is common in college dorms and bunks, offering longer sleeping space more suitable for taller sleepers. Twin XL is also popular for adjustable base beds, and is exactly half of a king size bed, thus the size used for “split king” frames.

Full Size Bed Dimensions

  • Standard Full: 53” to 54” wide by 74” to 75” long
  • Full XL: 54” wide by 80” long

Full size bed dimensions offer a little more width than twin beds. Long ago, full size mattresses where the common standard for couples, but today they are more likely used for individuals, teens or in rooms where space is an issue. The XL version of a full size bed is most likely to be found with adjustable beds, and offers added length for taller people. Full size may also be referred to as a double.

Queen Size Bed Dimensions

  • Standard Queen: 60” wide by 80” long
  • California Queen: 60” wide by 84” long

Queen is the most popular bed size currently, and queen size bed dimensions offer a decent amount of space for both individuals and couples. Queens are as long as a standard king, but more narrow. There are also a couple variations in this size range, for example the California queen is a longer waterbed frame size and RV’s might have slightly different dimensions.

King Size Bed Dimensions

  • Standard King: 76” wide by 80” long
  • California King: 72” wide by 84” long

The largest bed size, king, is often seen as ideal for couples since it allows for plenty of room. The standard or eastern king size bed dimensions give both people more width than a queen, but the same length. A California king mattress is a narrower but longer, designed for taller individuals and as a common size for waterbed frames. If you don’t need the added length, a standard king will give you more sleep space.

So, Which Bed Size is Best?

If you don’t already have a bed frame or are considering a change, here are a few considerations that may help you determine which of mattress sizes to pick. The table below outlines the most popular ones and who they’re most suitable for.

Twin Size39″ x 74″Children, Adults <5'5"
Twin XL Size39″ x 80″Teens, Dorms, Individual Adults
Full Size54″ x 75″Teens, Adults <5'5" Guest Rooms
Queen Size60″ x 80″Most Adults and Couples, Smaller Rooms & Budgets
King Size76″ x 80″Most Adults and Couples, Larger Rooms & Budgets
Cal King Size72″ x 84″Taller Adults >6’0″

Individual mattresses and models may vary slightly in size. Mattress height varies greatly among mattresses. Make sure you know the exact dimensions of your bed frame and space before you make a purchase.

How many people will be using the bed?

If two people will be regularly using the space, you will likely want to opt for at least a queen size bed.

Pro Tip: To make sure you both have enough room, lie down on your backs in your typical spot. Then, place your elbows on your hips with your arms flat and elbows out. You should have enough room for both of you to assume this position without bumping into each other or hanging off the bed at all.

If it’s for only one person, the best bed size will depend more on room size, budget and sleep habits. 

  • One Person: Twin, Full, Queen
  • Two People: Queen or King

What are their body types and sleep styles?

People under 5’ 5” generally can sleep fine on standard twin and full size bed lengths, so these sizes can be suitable for most guest rooms if you want to save space. The majority of adults should be comfortable on any XL, queen or king bed. Individuals over 6’ 0” might want to opt for the four-inch longer California king mattress, however, if they find they can’t fully stretch out. 

Larger-framed people will generally be more comfortable on larger beds, since there is more space to support their weight. If you are heavier, you should get a mattress that has at least a 10-inch profile so you have enough mattress to keep from bottoming out. Also, consider if the sleeper tends to spread out and move around at night. For couples, do you generally prefer to cozy up, or do you sleep best with more personal space? Do you like having the option of both?

How much space does your room have?

Whichever one you choose should fit comfortably in your room, with plenty of space around the perimeter. Refer to the sizes listed above, and check your room’s dimensions before you go shopping. You should generally have at least three feet or more of additional space on each side that’s not against a wall. Make sure you can walk around it comfortably without hitting anything.

The “long” versions of twin and full size beds can be ideal for older teens and single people with limited space. Queen size beds are most applicable to couples with smaller rooms, and king mattresses when space isn’t an issue.

What’s your budget?

The other factor to consider when choosing between mattress sizes is the price. We’re generally told to get the best bed we can comfortably afford, and bed sizes can vary quite a bit on cost. Twin beds are usually the least expensive. Full and queen beds are often very close in price, making the main consideration personal size needs. King and California king mattress sizes are most expensive, and sometimes cal king beds are priced slightly higher than regular king.

If your budget is limited and you’re deciding between a higher quality queen and king size of slightly lesser quality for the same price, you might get better sleep in the long run going with the queen. Higher quality materials will generally yield better support and comfort over time; however if you’re cramped on that queen then the king size might be the better option.

Latex and memory foam mattresses can be more comfortable for couples in smaller sizes, since they have less issues with motion transfer or hammocking compared to coil beds. Shopping wisely by comparing online and checking out holiday sales can also net you more bed for your buck.

Once you’ve got mattress sizes down and have selected the right bed size, it’s time to compare different types and brands of beds to find your best sleep match!

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