Buying a new mattress can be a daunting process. Besides the different brands and styles, there are several different sizes and other scales that manufacturers use to rate their products. In terms of size, bigger may not always be better. Larger beds take up more space in the bedroom and require larger, more expensive linens. Understanding the basic mattress specifications and sizes is the first step to making a good purchase.
The smallest standard mattress is a single, also known as a twin. A single measures 39 inches wide and 75 inches long, making it perfect for one person. Single beds are common in children’s rooms and are the standard size for most daybeds. They are also useful whenever space is limited. Some single beds are "extra long" and feature an 80-inch length.
A full-sized bed measures 53 inches or 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. Full beds are appropriate for either one or two people, but some sleepers find them cramped when shared. According to The Better Sleep Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes the importance of quality sleep, when two people share a full bed, each sleeper has about the same width as if they were sleeping in a standard-size crib. Since it is still only 75 inches long, a full bed is likely to fit into most rooms. Full beds are also close enough in size to a queen that they may be able to share some of the same linens.
A queen bed is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long. This size is large enough for most adults to share the bed with a partner. The 80-inch length translates to 6 feet, 8 inches, making it sufficient for even taller people. The 60-inch width, when shared, is still less than the 39 inches each sleeper would have in an individual single bed.
A king-size bed is 80 inches long (like a queen) but 76 inches wide. This is very close to the size of two single beds, but with 5 inches more in length. The king bed is also known as an Eastern king. It may be too large for some bedrooms but most couples find that it offers enough space for a comfortable night’s sleep. Some king beds use a split box spring to make them easier to transport and install in a room, but the large mattress may pose a problem in a narrow hall or doorway.
The California king, also called a Western king, is the longest standard bed size that most manufacturers produce. It is also usually the largest size of linens offered. California kings measure 84 inches long but only 72 inches wide. This is 4 inches longer than an Eastern king, but 4 inches narrower as well. It is ideal for taller adults and generally wide enough for two sleepers. Like the Eastern king, a California king usually comes with a two-piece box spring and may be a tight fit in some bedrooms.