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Best California King Mattress

Austin Meadows

Written by

Austin Meadows, Sleep Product Tester

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Methodology

We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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After recent testing, we named the Luxury Firm WinkBed as our best overall pick for California king mattresses.

Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

The California king is one of the six standard mattress sizes. Most models measure 72 inches wide by 84 inches long. These dimensions make it the longest mattress size. While many think of the California king as the largest size option, standard kings – which measure 76 inches wide by 80 inches long – technically offer more surface area. A California king is ideal for couples who want a spacious sleep surface, including those who share their bed with children or pets. King and California king models usually share the same price-point.

A single sleeper may enjoy the roominess of a California king, but we primarily focused on criteria that matter most to couples when choosing our top picks for this list. These factors include durability, edge support, motion isolation, temperature control, and responsiveness for sex. Value is another key consideration, since California king sizes are one of the most expensive options for any given model.

The Best California King Mattresses

If you’re in the market for a California king, keep reading to see a detailed profile of each top pick that highlights its strengths and standout attributes. You can learn even more about our best California king mattress selections by clicking the links to our onsite reviews. Scroll down further to find our guide for first-time California king buyers. We’ll discuss pros and cons of this size, how California kings compare to other sizes, and who should consider purchasing one.

Product Details

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Best Overall

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Luxury Firm WinkBed
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who prioritize support
  • Sleepers who prefer a springy mattress
  • Those who sleep hot
Highlights:
  • True medium firm feel cushions the body without sacrificing support
  • Euro-top provides plush comfort
  • Pocketed coils offer responsive support
Luxury Firm WinkBed

Get $300 off all mattresses

The WinkBed is a versatile hybrid available in four firmness levels. We’re profiling the Luxury Firm WinkBed due in large part to its balanced construction and medium firm (6) feel. These qualities make the mattress a great choice for sleepers with back pain seeking a combination of surface-level cushioning and strong overall support.

What It’s Made of

A true hybrid, the Luxury Firm features a Euro-top padded with adaptive foam. The foam is infused with cooling gel intended to disperse body heat. High-density polyfoam beneath the top layer provides additional contouring and support. The base layer contains pocketed coils arranged in a zoned layout, which ensures extra reinforcement for the midsection and minimal sinkage along the perimeter. The entire mattress is encased in a Tencel cover.

How It Performed

During our tests, the Luxury Firm was one of the WinkBed’s most popular styles. The mattress earned rave reviews from back and stomach sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds, as well as side sleepers weighing 130 to 230 pounds. Many of our testers attributed the mattress’ exceptional comfort to its mid-level firmness and ultra-supportive feel.

Edge support is a key strength due to the zoned coils. Temperature control is another highlight thanks to the breathable Tencel cover and strong airflow throughout the support core.

WinkBed mattresses ship for free to the contiguous U.S. Customers may purchase White Glove delivery and old mattress removal as well. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Simply put, the Luxury Firm WinkBed is one of the most supportive mattresses we’ve tested. The zoned hybrid design kept my body on a perfectly even plane.”

Nectar Mattress

Best Value

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Value seekers
  • People who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Couples and co-sleepers
Highlights:
  • Competitive price-point
  • Memory foam contours closely
  • All-foam construction excels at isolating motion
Nectar Mattress

$599 off! $100 off + $499 in free accessories included.

The all-foam Nectar Mattress is a premium option without the high-end price tag. This model features polyfoam and memory foam that work together to provide even support and deep contouring that’s well suited to multiple sleeper types. Back, side, and stomach sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds will most enjoy this medium firm (6) mattress, while people over 230 pounds may prefer one that’s firmer.

What It’s Made of

The Nectar Mattress’ top layer is made from gel-infused memory foam that’s designed to sleep cool and hug your body. It rests on a transitional polyfoam layer that acts as a buffer between the memory foam and core, which is crafted out of supportive high-density polyfoam. The no-slip cover ensures that your mattress and its components stay put.

How It Performed

The high-quality foams featured in the Nectar help it excel in several categories, most notably motion isolation and pressure relief. Instead of allowing motion to transfer from one side of the bed to the other, the foam absorbs any movement. It also helps prevent pressure points by cradling areas like your hips and shoulders.

Nectar offers sleepers a generous 365-day sleep trial as well as a lifetime limited warranty. The Nectar is one of our best “mattress in a box” picks for sleepers who enjoy the feel of memory foam. Shoppers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Nectar is essentially a solution for people who haven’t been satisfied with memory foam beds in the past. This mattress is fairly firm and very few of our testers reported excessive sinkage, and it also sleeps relatively cool.”

Saatva Classic

Best Luxury

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who prefer very responsive mattresses
  • Those who need help setting up the bed
  • People who run hot at night
Highlights:
  • Three firmness options
  • Coil-on-coil design allows ample airflow and cooling
  • Free White Glove delivery
Saatva Classic

Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off.

The Saatva Classic is a luxury innerspring model featuring a dual coil design and multiple customization options. Customers have the option to pick between two mattress heights, with no difference in feel.

What It’s Made of

Sleepers can choose between three firmness levels: soft (3), medium firm (6), and firm (8). All three models have a Euro-top followed by two thin layers of polyfoam and memory foam, which provide some cushion as well as lumbar support. A transitional layer of individually pocketed minicoils provides extra support while creating minimal motion transfer. Below, the hourglass coil support core has a foam encasement reinforcing the perimeter, helping provide support right up to the edge of the bed. The entire mattress is wrapped in a tufted organic cotton cover with a natural thistle fire retardant.

How It Performed

The dual coil system provides excellent relief for sleepers who experience pressure buildup at night. Side sleepers in particular will benefit from the mattress since this position tends to put pressure on the shoulders and hips. The mattress may also appeal to people who run hot during sleep. The top layer of coils is situated close to the sleeper, so this layer goes a long way toward promoting airflow and helping maintain a cool sleep surface.

Saatva offers a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. Orders in the contiguous U.S. include free White Glove delivery and old mattress removal.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Saatva’s balanced feel earned rave reviews across the board. Plenty of support and a nice bounce on the surface, but more cushioning and pressure relief than most traditional innersprings.”

DreamCloud Mattress

Most Comfortable

DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Couples
  • People with painful pressure buildup
Highlights:
  • Thick foam layers offer excellent motion isolation
  • Plush surface cushions sensitive pressure points
  • 365-night sleep trial
DreamCloud Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on DreamCloud mattresses

The DreamCloud Mattress is a hybrid model with a thick comfort system that excels in plush comfort. While some beds sacrifice support for soft cushioning, this model manages to offer the best of both worlds.

What It’s Made of

The DreamCloud has a cashmere blend cover that feels soft against the skin. The cover is quilted with foam to create an exceptionally plush surface. The cushioning is further enhanced by a layer of memory foam beneath, which conforms closely to the body. A transitional layer of polyfoam offers additional contouring but is firmer than the comfort layers to prevent you from sinking too deep into the bed. A support core made of pocketed coils is zoned to offer enhanced support and pressure relief to different areas of the body.

How It Performed

With a medium firm (6) feel, the DreamCloud should be comfortable to people with different sleep positions and body types. Side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds may receive the most benefit, offering just the right amount of contouring and support to relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips while also supporting the lower back. The bed is also a great option for anyone who enjoys the strong motion isolation and pressure relief of foam surfaces but without the excessive “body hug” that foam is known for. The coil system provides ample support and responsiveness to balance out the plush comfort layers.

The DreamCloud Mattress comes with a generous 365-night sleep trial and free returns. Those who keep the mattress after this period will also receive a lifetime warranty on the bed. Shipping to the contiguous U.S. is free.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Between the thick foam comfort layers and the cashmere blend cover, the DreamCloud feels incredibly comfortable to lie on. And the coils ensure that you won’t sink uncomfortably deep.”

Helix Midnight

Best for Side Sleepers

Helix Midnight

Helix Midnight
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers looking for a bed that balances cushioning and support
  • Side sleepers and others with sharp pressure points
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Foam comfort system offers above-average conforming and pressure relief
  • Proprietary Memory Plus Foam has more bounce than traditional memory foam
  • Reinforced support core provides good edge support for easy movement
Helix Midnight

Get up to $350 off + 2 free Dream Pillows

The Helix Midnight is a hybrid mattress that offers a responsive feel and a well-cushioned foam surface. This design is beneficial for side sleepers who need a bed that supports the body but also cradles areas with pressure buildup.

What It’s Made of

The comfort system in the Helix Midnight is made of two foam layers. The top layer is Memory Plus Foam, a proprietary memory foam that cradles the body to support the spine and reduce pressure but also offers more bounce and retains less heat than traditional viscoelastic foam. This springiness is complemented by an underlying layer of transition polyfoam that fortifies the comfort system against an excess amount of sinking or sagging. The support core is made with individually wrapped coils that are strengthened around the edge.

How It Performed

The Helix Midnight has a medium firm (6) feel that should be comfortable for a broad swath of sleepers. With ample contouring from the Memory Plus Foam, this model is excellent for most side and back sleepers, especially those between 130 and 230 pounds. The contouring cushions the shoulders, hips, and spine while the coil system amps up responsiveness to support the lumbar region. The responsive surface also makes it easy to change positions and move on the mattress.

At an accessible price-point, the Helix Midnight is a solid choice for people who want a quality bed but are working with a tight budget. For those who have a bit more to spend, the Helix Midnight Luxe adds another layer of memory foam plus an enhanced coil core with a zoned support system.

After delivery, customers have 100 nights to try out the Helix Midnight with the option to return it for a full refund. A 10-year warranty protects against mattress defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Some beds with strong pressure relief tend to lack support, but that’s not the case with the Helix Midnight. The side sleepers on our team enjoyed a very even balance of support and cushioning on this bed.”

Leesa Sapira Hybrid

Best for Back Pain

Leesa Sapira Hybrid

Leesa Sapira Hybrid
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Those who normally sleep hot on mattresses with foam layers
  • Side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds
  • People who prefer sleeping close to the edges of their bed
Highlights:
  • Aerated foam and coils that promote airflow help the mattress sleep cool
  • Perimeter reinforcement in the support core protects the edges from excessive sinkage
  • Above-average pressure relief compared to other hybrid models
Leesa Sapira Hybrid

Up to $500 off mattresses + 2 free down alternative pillows

The Leesa Sapira Hybrid is designed with balanced comfort in mind. Thick foam layers over a sturdy support core of pocketed coils allow the mattress to excel in several key performance areas, including pressure relief, edge support, and temperature control.

What It’s Made of

The Leesa Sapira Hybrid’s comfort system contains a top comfort layer of polyfoam over a secondary memory foam layer. The polyfoam is punched with large holes intended to promote air circulation near the surface of the mattress. This layer has a lightly responsive feel, whereas the memory foam molds to your body’s contours as you sink into the surface. This creates a feeling of both sleeping “in” and sleeping “on” the mattress.

The Sapira Hybrid also features a transitional layer of dense polyfoam over a pocketed coil system and a foam base layer. The coils are zoned for added reinforcement along the perimeter to provide push-back and reduce sinkage. A knit polyester cover encases the entire mattress.

How It Performed

The Leesa Sapira Hybrid is considered medium firm (6), so sleepers should expect gentle contouring and strong overall support. Among our testers, the mattress received the most positive ratings from side sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds, and back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds.

The Sapira Hybrid also scores points for temperature control, thanks in large part to the aerated foam layer and steady air currents flowing through the coil system. Other major strengths include edge support and ease of movement. The responsive coils ensure most people can move across the surface without feeling trapped by the mattress, while the perimeter feels exceptionally sturdy.

Leesa offers free ground shipping for customers in all 50 states. Sapira Hybrid orders include a 100-night sleep trial with free returns after a 30-night break-in period, and those who keep the mattress also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Leesa Sapira Hybrid’s thoughtful design elevates it over many competing models. Most of our testers had good things to say about the mattress in terms of pressure relief, temperature control, or easy movement.”

Nolah Evolution 15

Best for Couples

Nolah Evolution 15

Nolah Evolution 15
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who experience pressure points
  • Shoppers looking for a choice between firmness levels
Highlights:
  • Available in three firmness levels
  • Proprietary cooling foam and ample airflow through coils provide excellent temperature control
  • Zoned coil system with perimeter reinforcement offers strong support
Nolah Evolution 15

Get an additional $30 off the Nolah Evolution Mattress for total savings of $730 with code: SF730OFF

The Nolah Evolution 15 is a pressure-relieving hybrid mattress that’s available in three firmness levels. You can choose between medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) options, which Nolah has named Plush, Luxury Firm, and Firm, respectively. While materials and specifications vary a bit between models, all three feature several cooling features and a foam comfort system that hugs pressure-prone areas.

What It’s Made of

The support core is built from pocketed coils that are zoned and reinforced at the edges. A layer of polyfoam rests above the core and prevents sleepers from sinking too deeply into the mattress, even when using the softest model. Proprietary graphite-infused polyfoam called AirFoamICE gently cradles your body and helps draw excess heat away from you while you sleep.

How It Performed

Each model features a quilted Euro-top that cushions without affecting the support level. In addition to the AirFoamICE, the Evolution 15 includes a heat escape gusset, thermal conductive fabric, and a layer of wool and cotton that are all included to help regulate temperature. A carrying handle and non-skid base allow for easy use. The zoned coil layer provides more robust support around your lower back and midsection while allowing more give beneath your shoulders and legs.

Nolah provides a 120-night sleep trial as well as a lifetime warranty, though you can opt out of the free trial for added savings. Free shipping is available to shoppers in the contiguous U.S. and you can choose to add old mattress removal and set up at checkout.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“We noticed a distinct feel on the Evolution 15 that you won’t find with most hybrids containing memory foam. The AirFoamICE contours to the body, but without a close hug or deep sinkage. I preferred the mid-level firmness.”

Bear Hybrid

Best Cooling

Bear Hybrid

Bear Hybrid
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who prefer firmer foam mattresses
Highlights:
  • Responsive polyfoam layers and reinforced perimeter coils help sleepers move across the surface with ease
  • Celliant-blend cover designed to wick away moisture
  • All orders include a 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Bear Hybrid

30% off sitewide, plus 2 free Cloud Pillows with mattress purchase

Most hybrid models sleep fairly cool, but the Bear Hybrid offers better temperature control than many of its competitors. Breathable foam layers, a coil system that generates constant airflow, and a moisture-wicking Celliant-blend cover make this mattress a great choice for hot sleepers, people who sweat in their sleep, and those who reside in humid places.

What It’s Made of

The Bear Hybrid begins with a layer of adaptive polyfoam quilted into the cover, followed by layers of memory foam and polyfoam. The mattress is medium firm (6) but the foam adapts to the body, creating a plush feel when you get into bed. The memory foam is infused with copper intended to dissipate heat from the surface.

Pocketed coils with reinforced edges and a polyfoam base layer comprise the support core. The cover is made of a proprietary fabric blend that integrates Celliant, a material engineered to wick away moisture to keep you dry during the night. The Bear Hybrid measures 14 inches thick, making it a high-profile mattress.

How It Performed

During our sleep tests, the Bear Hybrid’s best ratings came from people who weigh up to 230 pounds. In particular, side sleepers weighing 130 to 230 pounds and back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds found the mattress comfortable and supportive in equal measure. The deep foam layers alleviate pressure and isolate motion well.

The Celliant-blend cover effectively keeps the surface cool by offsetting heat retention from the foam layers. Steady airflow through the coil layer provides additional thermoregulation. Our testers also found the Bear Hybrid easy to move across without sinking or feeling stuck. This can be attributed to a coil system that makes the surface feel responsive and reinforces the perimeter.

Bear’s 120-night sleep trial gives you ample time to test out the Bear Hybrid and decide whether it meets your needs. Should you decide to keep the mattress, you’ll also qualify for a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. Shipping is free for all orders in the contiguous U.S.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Bear Hybrid’s Celliant cover is the real deal when it comes to regulating temperature. The fabric is cool to the touch and overheating was a non-issue.”

Layla Hybrid

Best Pressure Relief

Layla Hybrid

Layla Hybrid
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Reversible: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: 10 year, Limited
Warranty: 10 year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers whose firmness preferences tend to fluctuate
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Reversible design with a distinct feel on each side
  • Copper-infused memory foam sleeps relatively cool
  • Zoned pocketed coils protect the edges without making the mattress too stiff
Layla Hybrid

Get $220 off + two free pillows!

The Layla Hybrid is a standout choice for California King shoppers due in part to its reversible design.  One surface has a thicker comfort layer and a medium soft (4) feel, while the opposite side’s surface has less foam and feels firm (7). Both sides offer different benefits for couples, with the softer side isolating more motion and the firmer side offering responsiveness for sex.

What It’s Made of

Both sides of the mattress are cushioned with memory foam. One layer is infused with copper engineered to conduct heat away from the body. Another layer is aerated to facilitate airflow and regulate temperature. A layer of pocketed coils is sandwiched in the middle and serves as the bed’s support core no matter which surface you use. These coils are zoned to reinforce the edges against sinkage without compromising your comfort with excessive firmness.

How It Performed

Each side has unique strengths. The softer surface excels at motion isolation and pressure relief, and should be most comfortable for people who weigh less than 130 pounds. The firmer side offers more support for people weighing over 230 pounds, especially back and stomach sleepers.

The coils help the mattress remain temperature neutral by circulating air throughout the interior. For added breathability, both memory foam layers are infused with copper, which is thought to have natural cooling and antimicrobial properties.

The Layla Hybrid’s price-point is in line with the average hybrid model, but all customers in the contiguous U.S. will receive free ground shipping with their order. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Since the Layla Hybrid has two completely different surfaces, all of our testers felt comfortable and adequately supported on at least one side of the mattress. The coils deliver lots of support, even on the softer side.”

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team at Sleep Foundation relies on rigorous hands-on evaluations as well as years of experience in the sleep product industry. We understand that mattress comfort is largely dependent on individual needs and preferences, so our team includes all sleeping positions with different body types. This way, we can be inclusive of as many sleepers as possible in our California king mattress picks.

How We Evaluated These Mattresses

To find the best California king beds, we performed various tests using special tools to measure pressure relief, temperature neutrality, and motion isolation. Our testers also sit, lie down, and move around on the mattress surface to evaluate firmness, support, and edge support. The top performers in our tests are reflected in the list of picks above.

If you’re interested in learning more about our evaluation criteria, read our product research methodology below:

  • Motion Isolation: Motion isolation refers to how well a mattress’ materials absorb and reduce motion transfer across the surface. Mattresses with high marks in this category are most beneficial for couples and other co-sleepers.
  • Temperature Control: Temperature neutrality is most important for hot sleepers and those living in warmer climates. Many mattresses use breathable materials that circulate more air, like coil support cores, latex, and cotton to combat overheating
  • Pressure Relief: Mattresses can reduce pressure buildup in a sleeper’s joints using thicker comfort layers to cradle pressure points. Comfort layers made from foam and latex tend to perform well in this category.
  • Off-Gassing: Off-gassing refers to odors from volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions or other material smells. These odors usually release after a new mattress is unboxed, but they are temporary and relatively harmless.
  • Ease of Movement: Sleepers may prefer mattresses that allow them to change positions without restriction. Mattresses with more responsive materials like latex tend to facilitate more effortless movement throughout the night.
  • Edge Support: Edge support refers to the sturdiness of a mattress perimeter. Lack of reinforcement along the perimeter forces sleepers to lie closer to the center to avoid slipping.
  • Sex: Responsive mattresses made with latex comfort systems or coil support cores typically rank highly for sex. These components also circulate more air, making them a good option for couples who tend to overheat.
  • Body Weight: Body weight is crucial to determining your firmness and support needs, but sleeping position and general preferences are also important factors. Our picks based on body weight are subjective, so we encourage sleepers to test multiple firmness levels.

What are the Main Differences Between a King and a California King?


King and California king size beds differ in terms of their measurements and how much space they take up. The two beds have the following measurements:

  • King: 76 inches x 80 inches
  • California king: 72 inches x 84 inches

Taller people who tend to sleep stretched out might prefer the California king since it measures 7 feet in length. People with pets might also prefer the additional length, so pets can sleep comfortably at the end of the bed.

The size and shape of your bedroom can also influence which king size you prefer. The beds take up the following square footage:

  • King: 42.22 square feet
  • California king: 42 square feet

Bedding is another factor to consider when choosing between a standard and California king. The standard king mattress is more common, so there are more bedding options for that size and it’s likely easier to find low-cost bedding.


What to Look For in a Mattress

Different people need different characteristics in a mattress depending on their preferences, sleep position habits, and body weights. The following factors determine how a mattress feels to you, how long it will last, how well it supports you throughout the night, and more.

  • Price: Most mattress companies offer king and California king sizes at the same price, so mattress cost isn’t usually a differentiating factor between those two sizes. Mattress prices often differ based on the quality of materials used. Online retailers have been able to offer lower prices by cutting costs associated with showrooms and stores.
  • Sleeping Position: Your preferred sleep position influences which mattress is best for you. People who sleep on their backs might prefer firmer mattresses that offer adequate lumbar support. Side sleepers often need softer mattresses so they don’t develop pressure points in their shoulder and hip areas. Bodyweight also factors in, with heavier folks needing firmer mattresses.
  • Mattress Type: Mattresses come in multiple constructions: innerspring, all-foam, hybrid, latex, and airbed. Each mattress type has its own feel. Innerspring and latex mattresses tend to be bouncy, while hybrid and foam beds are more conforming. Of course, there is also quite a bit of variation within each mattress type.
  • Contouring: Contouring is the degree to which a mattress conforms to or cradles weight placed on top of it. Memory foam is the mattress material known for providing the most contouring. Memory foam can “hug” the body, providing a sensation that many sleepers enjoy. Contouring mattresses tend to cushion the body well and relieve pressure. All-foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses with memory foam are most contouring.
  • Quality Materials: Each mattress material, from steel coils to memory foam, comes in a range of quality levels. Often, but not always, higher-quality materials come with a higher price tag. When it comes to memory foam and polyfoam, higher density is generally higher quality. In the world of latex, typically the more natural the product, the higher the quality.
  • Firmness Level: The mattress firmness scale ranges from 1 to 10 and provides a standardized measurement according to which the firmness of different mattresses can be compared. Most mattresses fall between 3 and 8 in terms of firmness, while most sleepers prefer mattresses in the 4 to 6 range.
  • Edge Support: Edge support refers to how firm the edges of a mattress remain when weight is put on them. When a mattress has strong edge support, sleepers can use the full surface of the bed without fear of rolling off due to buckled edges. Innerspring mattresses are known for superior edge support.
  • Temperature Neutrality: When a mattress is truly temperature neutral, it doesn’t cause a person to feel too hot or cold throughout the night. Sleeping hot is a problem many people face. Foams and other materials that contour closely also tend to trap heat. There are many efforts manufacturers make to counteract this and achieve temperature neutrality.
  • Noise: Some mattresses, particularly those with innersprings, can make noise when weight is put on them or movement occurs. Individually-encased pocketed coils are generally quieter than innersprings, which can squeak. All-foam mattresses tend to be the quietest of all and are virtually silent.

Types of Mattresses

There are five major mattress constructions on the market today: innerspring, foam, latex, hybrid (a combination of coils with foam or latex), and airbed. Generally, since the mattresses within each category are constructed similarly, they share commonalities and features.

That being said, there is plenty of variation within each mattress type category as well. Individual models of mattresses within a larger group fall across a spectrum in terms of quality, materials used, and performance.

Hybrid

Definition: Hybrid mattresses are an attempt to combine the best characteristics of different mattress types into a single bed. Hybrids contain a coil support core and comfort layers of either memory foam or latex. They are usually cooler and have stronger edge support than all-foam beds while providing more cushion than the average innerspring mattress.

Widely Comfortable: California king mattress shoppers often share a bed with a partner, kids, or pets. Hybrids can be a good choice for bed sharing because they tend to stay temperature neutral due to airflow through the coil layer. Their feel is often a mix of responsiveness and conforming, which can be a good compromise for people with different preferences.

Innerspring

Definition: Springs make up the support core of innerspring mattresses and create a bouncy, responsive bed. Innersprings tend to remain temperature neutral and provide a firm sleeping surface. As one of the oldest mattress technologies, innerspring mattresses are some of the most affordable beds available.

Cooling Firmness: Innerspring mattresses allow for a lot of airflow and, as a result, remain temperature neutral throughout the night. People who sleep hot or share a bed will find that an innerspring mattress doesn’t trap heat the way some all-foam or hybrids might.

Latex

Definition: Latex is made from natural or synthetic rubber and can be used in a mattress’s support core, comfort layers, or both. Latex mattresses tend to be the longest lasting and can potentially last decades. Sleepers who enjoy a soft yet responsive mattress surface will be happy with a latex mattress.

Responsive Comfort: Latex provides cushion and contouring without sinkage. People who share a bed can enjoy the softness of latex without worrying that they will sink too far into the bed or into each other.

Airbed

Definition: Airbeds, not to be confused with inflatable air mattresses, are beds that use air chambers instead of coils, foam, or latex as their support core. Often, the air levels in the mattress can be controlled, allowing sleepers to instantly make their mattresses softer or firmer to meet their needs.

Adjustable Support: Many airbeds have separate, adjustable firmness levels on each side of the bed, which is a major benefit to people who share a bed. If you fall in a different weight group or have different mattress preferences than your sleep partner, you could adjust only your side of the bed in many airbeds.

Foam

Definition: Foam beds are known for the “hugging” sensation of memory foam, though not all foam beds are extremely conforming. Foam makes up both the support core and comfort layers, although some beds have additional comfort layer materials as well. Foam beds can tend to trap heat, so many are constructed with infusions of cooling material to help sleepers stay temperature neutral.

Contouring Relief: Foam mattresses can be a good choice for people who share a bed with someone who prefers a different sleep position. Memory foam tends to provide the most cushion and pressure relief, and a well-constructed foam bed will be supportive of all sleep positions.


Last Things to Consider When You’re Buying a California King

  • Bed Frame: Since California king mattresses are less common, bed frames might be harder to find. For simplicity, you could purchase a mattress from a manufacturer that also sells bed frames.
  • Sheets and Bedding: California king size sheets and bedding are less common than standard king size sheets and bedding. As a result, you may have to do more searching and deal with having fewer bedding options.
  • Doorways and Room Size: California king mattresses run 4 inches longer length-wise and 4 inches shorter width-wise than standard kings. Anyone interested in buying a California king should take this into consideration when measuring their spaces, because it could make the mattress easier or more difficult to install.
  • Mattress Weight and Setup: California king and standard king mattresses have nearly identical weights, though California kings might weigh slightly less since they are slightly smaller in terms of square footage. Both mattress setup processes are generally identical. White Glove delivery services include in-home assembly, which may be worth it if you need assistance setting up a larger mattress.

Still have questions?

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Austin Meadows

Sleep Product Tester

Austin is a professional writer and researcher who has covered sleep science and sleep products for over a decade.