When it comes to choosing a mattress, size is probably one of the first things you decide. Once you know how big you want to go, the search for the perfect mattress can commence. If you’ve decided to go big or go home, you may find yourself wondering if you should choose the California king size or the Alaskan king bed size, which are two of the biggest sizes on the market. But what’s the difference between these two massive mattresses?
The Alaskan king bed is currently the largest retail mattress size sold in the U.S. Originally, the standard king mattress was the largest until the ‘60s when it was trumped by the California king, Wyoming king, Texas king, and then finally, the Alaskan king. As the largest American bed, it only makes sense it’s named after the largest American state.
What Are The Differences?
The main factor that sets these two mattresses apart is their size. As the largest bed on the American market, the Alaskan king bed is obviously massive. This bed is 108 by 108 inches -– that’s a whopping nine feet each way. The California king is smaller at 84 by 72 inches. This makes the Alaskan king two feet longer and three feet wider than the California king. For reference, a regular king bed is 80 by 76 inches.
Another difference between these two mattresses is their price point. As the Alaskan king is larger, it makes sense it will be more expensive. The Alaskan king generally ranges from about $2,000 to $6,000. The smaller California king is less expensive and can be anywhere from $800 to around $3,500.
Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s touch on some quick pros and cons for each of these bed sizes.
Alaskan King Bed Pros
- Room for the kids: If you have children who love to crawl into their parents’ bed, the Alaskan king may be a great choice. This bed is large enough for every member of the family to have their own space while still being close to one another.
- Family time: This bed can also be used as a quasi-couch for the whole family to assemble on. It’s the perfect place to gather for a family movie night or a family meeting.
- Space for the pets: Whether you have several large dogs or just one bed-hogging cat, the Alaskan king could be the perfect size to give your favorite family member all the room it needs.
Alaskan King Bed Cons
- Not realistic for everyone: As mentioned before, the Alaskan king is massive -– so much so that it can’t even fit into most standard-size bedrooms. Unless your bedroom is at least 16 by 16 feet, the Alaskan king won’t be a realistic option.
- Large bed = large everything: When you order the largest bed on the market, you also have to consider that every other sleep accessory will also have to be custom-made to that size. That includes a bed frame, sheets, and blankets.
- Price point: The increased size of the mattress means the price will increase too. This likely isn’t a good choice for budget shoppers.
California King Pros
- Big but not too big: If you’re looking for a bed that’s larger than a king but still able to fit in your bedroom, the California king may be a good option. It’s big, but not so big that it can’t fit in most standard-sized bedrooms.
- Easy to find accommodating accessories: The California king is longer than a king but is still a standard size for many mattress companies. This means you won’t have a hard time finding a bed frame and bedding that fits your mattress, and nothing will have to be custom-made.
- Room for some co-sleeping: Like the Alaskan king, this bed is large enough to give its occupants more than enough space to sleep. If your child likes to sleep with you, there is likely space for them as well.
California King Cons
- Not big enough for the entire family: If you have multiple kids and pets that want to sleep with you, this bed may not be large enough to comfortably fit everyone, and things may get a little cramped.
- Doesn’t provide as much width: If you’re looking for more width in your mattress, the California king may not be the best option. This bed has more length than a king but not as much width. The Alaskan king has more length and width than both.
- Not every store offers it: While many mattress retailers have a California king option, not every store does. If there’s a particular mattress brand that you just have to own, there’s a slim chance they may not have this size.
Who Are The California and Alaskan Kings Best For?
How Many People Can Fit?
The Alaskan king can typically fit two adults as well as two or three small children and a couple of pets. A California king can usually fit two adults and one child or one pet, but not both. If you need space for everyone, the Alaskan king may be best. If you just have one guest in addition to you and your partner, the California king is a good option. The Alaskan king is likely a better option for families and the California king a better option for couples.
Which Is Best For Your Body Type?
Your body type can be a determining factor for which mattress size is right for you. The California king is a good option for people on the taller side who need more legroom than the average bed provides. However, due to its smaller width, it may not be wide enough for plus-size couples who want to comfortably sprawl out. An Alaskan king is a good option for tall folk who also want a lot of width in their mattress. It’s a known favorite for NBA players, who definitely need the extra length that this mattress provides.
What Can Fit in Your Bedroom?
The California king is able to fit into most standard-sized bedrooms. The smallest room it can fit in is a 12-foot by 10-foot room. The Alaskan king is less versatile, and can only fit in bedrooms large enough to accommodate its size. The smallest room it can fit in is 16 by 16 feet.
How Easy Are They To Shop For?
If quick shopping is your main goal, the California king will definitely be easier. It’s a popular size for many mattress retailers, and you can find bedding online too. While it’s not sold at all mattress stores, it’s easier to find than the obscure Alaskan. The Alaskan king is a lot harder to find, and you’ll likely have to get your bed frame and bedding custom-made.
As mentioned earlier, the Alaskan king may not be realistic for budget shoppers. Both mattresses are large, so they will both be pricier than a standard queen, for example. If you know you want a large bed and price is the most important factor, the California king will usually be the cheaper option.
What is the largest bed you can buy?
Currently, the Alaskan king is the largest bed sold in the U.S.
Is there a bed larger than an Alaskan king?
If you’re talking about area space, then no. The Alaskan king has the largest area on the market (length by width). However, there are mattresses sold that have a larger width than the Alaskan king but a smaller length. The Super Wide king is 120 by 80 inches and the Family Bed is 144 by 80 inches.
What’s the difference between a king bed and a California king bed?
The width and length! Contrary to popular belief, the California king isn’t both wider and longer than the king, it’s just longer. The standard king is actually wider than the California king. The California king is 84 by 72 inches and the standard king is 80 by 76 inches.
Why is it called California king?
There are many different stories circulating about how the California king bed got its name. It is unclear which story rings the truest, but all stories seem to agree that the bed originates in California and was made for luxury and glamorous purposes.