If you’re shopping for a new mattress for the first time in a while, it’s easy to get confused by the different sizes of mattresses that are available. Most people are generally familiar with basic sizes like twin, queen, and king, but what about more speciality sizes, such as a split king? Let’s dive into what exactly a split king mattress is.
Split King Mattress vs King Mattress
To put it simply, a split king is a king size mattress split into two mattresses. Another way to think about it is two twin XL mattresses put together to form one mattress the same size as a king. A king size mattress is generally 76 inches by 80 inches, so two twin XL mattresses — 38 inches by 80 inches — put together is equivalent to a regular king. Usually, the two smaller mattresses will be placed next to each other on a king bed frame or platform so that they are connected closely enough to look like a normal king mattress.
What is the purpose of having a split king instead of just a regular, conjoined king mattress? The main reason is to allow couples to customize their bed to be comfortable for both partners. It’s no secret that sharing a bed can present issues for couples, particularly those with different sleep habits and preferences.
There are plenty of solutions to try — including trying a “sleep divorce,” in which partners sleep completely separate from one another — but a split king mattress can offer a middle ground between sharing a bed and splitting up completely.
Pros and Cons of Split King Mattresses
Split King Pros:
- Couples can meet their unique sleep needs while still sharing a bed
- Reduced motion transfer
- Allows couples to use adjustable bed frames with customizable sides
- Easier to move than a king size mattress
Split King Cons:
- More expensive than a traditional king size mattress
- Split kings have a split down the middle of the bed, which may be uncomfortable to some sleepers
- Not all brands offer split kings or twin XL mattresses
Benefits of Split King Mattresses
Different Firmness Levels
With a split king, partners who prefer different feels from their mattress can each have a bed that suits them. One partner can have a softer mattress, while the other can opt for a firmer one. This can be helpful, for example, if one partner is a stomach sleeper and the other is a side sleeper — stomach sleepers tend to need a firmer sleep surface, while side sleepers need plush, pressure relief for their shoulders and hips. Or it could be beneficial if one partner is significantly heavier than the other and needs a firmer, more supportive mattress.
Reduced Motion Transfer
Another benefit of split king mattresses is they can have less motion transfer than traditional king mattresses. Motion transfer refers to movement spreading from one side of the bed to the other. If you’ve ever been woken up by your partner’s tossing and turning causing the whole mattress to jiggle, you’ve experienced motion transfer. Because the beds are disconnected, you are less likely to experience that transfer of motion on a split king.
Split King Adjustable Bed Frames
Split kings are also commonly used on adjustable bed frames so each partner can independently adjust their side of the bed — for example, if one partner wants to raise their side of the bed to sit up and read, while the other wants to sleep in a reclining position.
How Much Does A Split King Bed Cost?
A split king mattress will generally cost more than a king mattress, as you are purchasing two individual twin XL mattresses instead of just one king size mattress. But the price difference between a split king and a king can vary quite a bit between brands.
For a general estimate, the average difference in price between a split king and king of the mattresses on our best mattress page is $363. Split king mattresses can range in price from around $700 to $4,000.
What Is The Best Split King?
As with all mattresses, which split king is best for you depends on your individual preferences and needs. However, you can take a look at our best twin XL mattresses and best mattress page to see some of the Sleepopolis teams’ favorite options.
Mattress Sizes and Dimensions
Curious about how a split king compares to other mattress sizes? Here’s a breakdown of different mattress sizes and the dimensions they generally abide by. For more information, take a look at our mattress size guide.
|Twin||38″ x 75″|
|Twin XL||38″ x 80″|
|Full||54″ x 75″|
|Queen||60″ x 80″|
|King||76″ x 80″|
|Split King||38″ x 80″ (each mattress)|
|California King||72″ x 84″|
Frequently Asked Questions about Split King Mattresses
Is a split king the same as two twin XLs?
Yes, a split king is basically two twin XL mattresses pushed together to form a king mattress. Twin XL mattresses are generally 38 inches by 80 inches. Putting two twin XLs together forms a split king mattress, which is 76 inches by 80 inches in total.
Can you feel the split in a split king bed?
How much you can feel the split largely depends on the design of your split king mattress. However, shoppers should be aware that there will naturally be a gap between the two mattresses. Some people utilize bungee cords or straps to reduce the gap between the two mattresses. You could also add a mattress topper or mattress pad to add a solid layer over the two mattresses for a more conjoined feel.
Can you cuddle on a split king mattress?
Yes, you can definitely cuddle on a split king mattress! While there is a small gap between the two mattresses, it is definitely still possible to snuggle up with your partner.
Is it hard to put sheets on a split king bed?
Putting sheets on a split king bed can be one of the more frustrating parts of adjusting to this way of sleeping with your partner. Some sleepers opt for twin XL fitted sheets on each mattress, with a king size flat sheet over both. This is the method you will want to use if you have an adjustable bed frame. However, you can also use a regular king size fitted sheet over both mattresses.
How do you keep a split king bed together?
Split king mattresses can consist of two twin XL mattresses on one king bed frame or two twin XL mattresses on individual frames, pushed together to form a king size mattress. In both scenarios, it's possible for the mattresses to shift around. You can use straps, bungee cords, or a product called a split king connector to keep things secure. You can also use a bed frame with a headboard and footboard to hold the mattresses more securely in place. Or a non-slip mattress pad can help reduce slippage, as well.
What is the point of a split king?
A split king can serve a variety of purposes, but the main one is to allow couples to customize their bed to their individual needs, but still sleep together.
Can you sleep in the middle of a split king bed?
A split king mattress will naturally have a gap in the middle, as you are putting two mattresses together to form one bed. This gap likely won’t be the most comfortable spot to sleep, so you may want to consider adding a mattress pad or topper to make it cozier if you want to sleep across a split king bed.
Can you use king sheets on a split king?
Yes, you can use king sheets on a split king. There are also specialty split king sheets if you prefer individual sheets for each mattress.
Is A Split King Right For You?
Wondering if a split king is the right mattress for you? Here are a few final considerations.
How big is your bedroom? It’s important to get the measuring tape out and make sure that your desired mattress will actually fit into the space you have. If you already have a king size bed, it’s a safe bet that a split king will fit just fine. However, if you are upgrading from a full or queen to a split king, make sure your bedroom will accommodate the entire 76 inches by 80 inches comfortably before finalizing your purchase.
Your sleeping position is always an important consideration when shopping for a mattress. In every position, you want to ensure you are receiving proper support and that your spine is aligned. In certain positions, you may also need additional pressure relief.
- Side sleepers generally need a mattress that offers more pressure relief, as their weight is supported on sensitive joints like shoulders and hips.
- Stomach sleepers generally need a firmer, more supportive mattress that will keep their hips from sinking. Sunken hips can cause the back to bow, leading to lower back pain over time.
- Back sleepers fall more in the middle ground, so they have more flexibility when it comes to choosing a mattress. However, back sleepers want to ensure they have enough support to maintain spine alignment. Some back sleepers may also want pressure relief around the shoulders or lumbar area.
- Combination sleepers, or those who switch between two or more sleeping positions, typically need a mattress that’s responsive and easy to move around on. We recommend thinking about your primary sleeping position when choosing a mattress, but we generally recommend a medium-firm bed for these sleepers since it can accommodate a variety of sleeping positions.
One of the great benefits of a split king mattress is that you and your partner can choose mattresses of different firmnesses. If you prefer a softer bed, but your partner prefers a firmer one, you can each choose the level that is best for you with a split king. If this is a high priority for you, try to find a brand that offers the same model of mattress in different firmness levels, as they will fit together better than beds of two different brands.
For mattresses that are available in multiple firmness options, take a look at the Saatva Classic, the Nolah Evolution, and the WinkBed.
As mentioned above, split kings tend to be more expensive than king mattresses. Be sure the price difference will be worth it for you and your budgetary needs before committing to a split king. Additionally, some brands specifically offer a split king deal, which may be less expensive than simply purchasing two twin XLs, so be sure to compare all possible options.
For budget-friendly mattress options, take a look at our best cheap mattresses.
Many mattresses come with a sleep trial and warranty, which are important to take note of before purchasing. A sleep trial allows you to test the mattress out at home and return it if it’s not a good fit. Sleep trials can range from 30 nights to over a year long. Be sure to read the fine print regarding the time period and how the return process works (is it completely free or are there hidden fees?) before purchasing.
A warranty will cover manufacturing defects on your mattress after you have purchased it. Warranties can range from one year to a lifetime. Again, read the fine print closely to be sure you understand what is covered in the warranty and what is not. Some companies will replace your mattress if it is defective or starts sagging significantly, but most warranties do not cover regular damage caused by everyday wear and tear.