Sleeping in the same bed as someone else can be delightful and comforting. It could also disrupt your sleep quality — especially if you sleep next to someone who perpetually tosses and turns.
Not to mention, choosing a mattress that fits both you and your sleeping partner’s needs can pose a huge challenge. If you love a firm sleep surface and your partner prefers a soft, cushiony bed, you might have a hard time finding a compromise.
A split king mattress could be a great solution. Read on to learn more about split king mattresses and discover our top picks.
A split king model boasts a king mattress’s jumbo size — split right down the middle to allow for customization on either side. Essentially, it’s two twin XL beds pushed together, typically with a special connector in the middle.
You’ll need to buy new fitted sheets to fit this mattress size because of the split configuration. Your old king-size fitted sheet won’t work.
If you decide to invest in a split king, you’ll have a variety of models to choose from, from adjustable models that let you customize every aspect of the mattresses’ firmness and feel to ones made with organic materials.
Anytime we put together a “best of” list of mattresses, we do some major vetting to ensure we recommend quality products. In creating this list, we prioritized mattress brands with the following:
Solid company policies: All mattresses on our list come with an in-home trial that allows you to really “sink” into the mattress. Mattresses should come with a warranty of at least 10 years, too. As you shop, it also helps to make sure the mattress will be easy to return if you don’t love it.
A good reputation and transparent practices: We pick mattresses from brands with good reputations. This means they haven’t been involved in recent lawsuits, their products aren’t on recall, and they have transparent business practices.
Positive customer reviews: Ultimately, it all comes down to the customer. If everything else seems solid, but people consistently have issues with a mattress, we can’t recommend it in good faith. In short, we search for mattresses with positive reviews. If several reviewers seem unhappy about the same issue, we’ll mention that so you have all the info at your fingertips.
Mattresses vary widely in price, but a split king mattress will typically cost more than any other size.
Also, factor in the cost of extras, including a bed frame if you don’t already have one. Couples who want the ultimate customized sleep experience might consider a bed frame that allows for independent adjustments on either side.
In this guide, we give prices for a split king mattress — unlike our other mattress guides, which list prices for a queen mattress.
Sleeping with a partner who goes to bed later than you do, or who tosses and turns, can affect your sleep quality — and a 2013 study suggests that low sleep quality can contribute to conflict in relationships.
If you and your partner are having sleep troubles, you might even wonder whether it might help to move to a different room altogether. Some people go this route to help keep their relationships healthy.
Hold on, though. According to a 2020 study, the participants who slept in the same bed as their partners improved their sleep quality by increasing the amount of time they spent in REM sleep.
So, if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep next to your partner and don’t want to sacrifice closeness, a split king mattress may offer a great solution.
When shopping for a split king mattress, here’s what to keep in mind:
One of the main perks of buying a split king lies in customizing your sleep experience from your partner’s. If you and your partner have the same preferences, you may not want to pay more for a split model.
Firmness level is a personal preference, but it can affect the performance of the mattress. To someone with more body weight, a medium-firm mattress might feel softer. Likewise, someone with less body weight might find that a medium-firm mattress feels ultra-firm.
Support has more to do with the construction of the mattress. For instance, foam does a great job relieving pressure points, but springs and coils provide more support.
Memory foam also has more of a sinking feeling than an innerspring or hybrid mattress. If you want something with more bounce, opt for a mattress with coils or springs.
However, choosing a responsive surface can also mean it doesn’t perform as well in terms of motion isolation. Foam does a much better job absorbing movement than springs (for if you or your partner move around a lot).
Make sure you buy from a brand that offers an extended trial period. This is especially important if you buy online since you won’t have the opportunity to test out your mattress in a store.
Even so, you won’t get a feel for a mattress until you sleep on it for a few weeks. Check that the retailer offers free returns without any complicated processes. Your mattress should also come with a warranty of at least 10 years.
Buying a split king means you’ll likely have to buy new bedding and possibly a new bed base. Some companies offer extras as add-ons to your purchase. They may even offer a discount if you bundle your purchases in the same order.
If you’re not so concerned about cost, opt for a one-stop shop experience to make your life easier.
Do I need a special bed frame for a split king mattress?
No, you don’t necessarily need a special bed frame for a split king mattress.
A regular split king mattress can fit in any king-size bed frame. However, you’ll need an adjustable base if you purchase an adjustable split king mattress.
Since a split king mattress is made up of two individual pieces, it’s possible for the sides to separate. Using a nonslip mattress pad or mattress connector can help keep them from moving.
Another more expensive option is to invest in a bed frame specifically designed for a split king.
Can you cuddle on a split king mattress? Is there a way to fill the mattress gap?
Even if there’s a small gap where the mattresses meet, you can still cuddle on a split king mattress. If you find the gap uncomfortable, try filling it with a mattress connector or blanket.
Can you feel the split in a split king bed? How do you make a split king mattress feel like one bed?
To fill in the gap in a split king mattress and make it feel more like one bed, you can purchase a mattress connector, also called a gap filler, or one mattress topper to cover the whole bed.
What kind of sheets fit a split king mattress?
You’ll need to replace your bedding if you decide to replace your king mattress with a split king. You’ll need two fitted sheets for a twin or twin XL — depending on whether you opt for a California king or not — and a single king-size flat sheet to cover the entire width of the sleep surface.
Some California split kings, though, aren’t two twin beds, so some twin sheets won’t fit.
Jamie Elmer, project manager for Healthline’s Copy Edit team, found that she needed to get custom split king sheets that tend to be more expensive for her California split king.
If you have an adjustable base, this setup will allow you to raise and lower each side separately.
Are your partner’s sleeping habits keeping you lying awake? Can’t agree on the right firmness for your king size mattress? You may want to opt for a split king instead.
A split king makes a great choice for couples who can’t find a suitable king-size mattress to fit each individual’s needs. You can each choose your preferred mattress type and feel without having to sleep in separate beds.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.
Last medically reviewed on June 27, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
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