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If you’re lucky, you spend about one-third of your life sleeping. And if you don’t already get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye per night, a good mattress may help.

Research suggests that sleeping on a mattress that’s comfortable can improve your sleep, thereby improving your health and quality of life, too.

If your mattress is noticeably sagging or damaged, or you’re regularly waking up with aches and pains, those are good signs that it’s time to replace your mattress. Another telltale sign is if you find yourself getting a better night’s sleep in a family member’s guest room or at a hotel.

If you’ve already made the decision that it’s time for a new mattress, you might be debating whether you should go with a king or a California king mattress. While the latter is often thought of as the mattress with the most room to spread out, that’s actually a misconception.

To help you decipher which mattress is best for you (and which size you should go with), we broke down the difference between a king mattress and a California king and rounded up the seven best models in each category.

Many people think that a California king is bigger than a regular king-size mattress, but that’s not the case. The biggest difference between the two mattresses is the size: A regular king mattress actually has a slightly larger surface area, at 76 inches wide by 80 inches long. A California king is narrower and longer, measuring 72 inches wide by 84 inches long.

In other words, a California king is the longest mattress available to consumers, but a regular king is the widest.

If you’re tall, a single sleeper or you share your bed with a pet who sleeps at your feet, you may want to opt for the California king. On the other hand, if you’re of an average height and you share the bed with a sleeping partner, you may prefer the extra width of the regular king-size mattress.

Another way to determine which one is right for you is by the size of your room. If you have plenty of space, you can go with either size, but if your room is longer and narrower, a California king may be a better fit.

In addition to thinking about the size, you also want to consider your individual needs. Here are some things you’ll want to look for when shopping for a new mattress:

Firmness level

Mattresses are typically rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for firmness, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Mattress companies will often give you this number, or describe the mattress as plush, medium, medium-firm, or firm.

The firmness level is a personal preference, but it’s an important consideration when mattress shopping. If you have back pain, you’ll likely want a medium-firm to firm mattress. If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll want something a little softer.

Sleeping position

Your sleeping position is also important. Side sleepers need a medium mattress that has little give to relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders. Back and stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress to keep their spine aligned.

When shopping for a mattress, make sure you’re choosing one that’s compatible with your sleeping position.

Materials

There are several different types of mattresses out there. Memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid are among the most common. One material isn’t better than the other; it comes down to personal preference.

If you like the feeling of sinking into your mattress rather than lying on top of it, you’ll want memory foam. If you don’t like the sinking feeling, you should opt for hybrid or innerspring instead.

The materials also make a big difference in how cool the mattress is. While the technology has come a long way, memory foam is notorious for trapping heat. If you’re a cool sleeper, this might not bother you, but if you’re a hot sleeper, you may want to look for a memory foam mattress with advanced cooling technology or a hybrid model.

There are a lot of mattresses out there. This is how we narrowed them down:

  • Materials. We chose a variety of mattresses, from memory foam-only options to hybrids with several layers.
  • Sleep preferences. While most people sleep on their side, we also made sure to include mattresses that are designed for back, stomach, and combination sleepers.
  • Trial period. Because you can’t try a mattress before you buy it online, a really great trial period is an important consideration. Our picks come with trial periods of at least 120 nights, while some go up to a full year.
  • Company reputation. Customer service and company reputation are also important considerations. We only chose brands that have mostly happy customers.
  • Consumer reviews. While mattresses can be subjective, we picked those that were highly rated by most sleepers.

Pricing Guide:

Mattress prices vary widely, from under $1,000 to over $5,000. This pricing guide can help you visualize where each pick falls in that range.

  • $ = under $1,000
  • $$ = $1,000–$2,000
  • $$$ = $2,000–$3,000
  • $$$$ = over $3,000

Best king mattresses

Best overall king size mattress

Avocado Green Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: King
  • Considerations: Works for all types of sleepers, though side and combination sleepers should add the pillow top, while back and stomach sleepers will probably do better without it

The Avocado Green Mattress checks all the boxes. It’s a true hybrid mattress, with layers of pocketed coils combined with organic latex foam that’s durable, comfortable, and eco-conscious. The mattress is split into 5 ergonomic zones that offer targeted support and pressure relief. Plus, it’s made with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic materials.

The optional pillow top gives the mattress a more plush feel, but if you prefer a firmer sleeping surface, you can go without. With the pillow top, the mattress is ideal for side and combination sleepers, while the regular mattress is a better option for back and stomach sleepers.

Shop the Avocado Green Mattress online.

Best king size mattress for back pain

Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress

  • Price: $$$$
  • Size: King
  • Considerations: Best for those with back pain, those who prefer a mattress with adjustable firmness options, or couples

All of Saatva’s mattresses are highly rated by reviewers, but the Solaire Adjustable Mattress is a clear customer favorite. This adjustable mattress is on the pricier side, but the additional cost gives you the ability to independently adjust each side of the mattress to 50 different firmness levels with the touch of a button.

It’s constructed of 5 layers with a combination of gel-infused memory foam, ergonomic latex foam, and a plush Euro pillow top covered in an organic cotton cover.

The king size is available in the Solaire Upper-Flex, which gives each sleeper the power to adjust the head of the mattress independently, or the Split King, which allows both the head and feet to move independently. (Note that the Split King costs an additional $700.)

Shop the Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress online.

Best king size mattress for stomach sleepers

Helix Dawn

  • Price: $$
  • Size: King
  • Considerations: Best for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, or hot sleepers

Stomach sleepers need a mattress that’s firm enough to keep the midsection from sinking too low, but still soft enough to relieve pressure and conform to the body. The Dawn Mattress from Helix fits that bill.

It has firm top layers that sit on top of comfort and transition layers that offer proper spinal alignment with adequate cushioning. A true hybrid, the Helix Dawn also has a layer of individually pocketed coils that help minimize motion transfer.

The mattress is wrapped in a breathable cover that allows air to properly flow through it, helping to regulate your temperature and keep you cool throughout the night.

Shop the Helix Dawn online.

Best king size mattress for side sleepers

Puffy Lux Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Size: King
  • Considerations: Best for side sleepers and hot sleepers

The Lux Mattress is Puffy’s mid-range model. It’s a hybrid mattress that combines 6 layers of various foams, including proprietary plush Cloud foam and temperature-regulating foams, with an adaptive coil base that moves with and contours to your body, offering extra support, stability, and motion isolation.

Because it’s on the softer side — Puffy describes it as medium-plush — it’s ideal for side sleepers. It has enough give to reduce strain on key pressure points, while still properly aligning the spine when you’re lying on your side.

Shop the Puffy Lux online.

Best king size mattress for people with more weight

Helix Plus

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: King
  • Considerations: Best for people in larger bodies or those who prefer an extra deep mattress

Most standard mattresses have a weight limit of 250 pounds. If you’re a person in a larger body, you may want to opt for the Helix Plus, which is designed with extra layers and a 4-inch foam layer that prevent sinkage. This bed offers comfort, contouring, and durability.

It’s categorized as a medium-firm mattress but may feel a bit softer since the foam compresses slightly under body weight.

One heads up: Since it’s deeper than standard mattresses, you may have to use deep pocket sheets to prevent them from popping off the corners.

Shop the Helix Plus online.

Best firm king-size mattress

Plank by Brooklyn Bedding

  • Price: $$
  • Size: King
  • Considerations: Best for people who like a firm or ultra-firm mattress. May not be a good choice for side sleepers

The aptly-named Plank mattress from Brooklyn Bedding is a dream for people who prefer firm mattresses. While it does have a 2-inch layer of comfort foam, the bulk of the mattress is a high-density base foam that keeps the mattress stable and prevents sinking to create a neutral spine position that’s better for your back.

This mattress is also flippable. The top side is considered ultra-firm, while the bottom side is a traditional firm, so if you know you like a firm mattress but you’re just not sure how firm, you can test out your options with this mattress.

Shop the Plank by Brooklyn Bedding online.

Best king-size mattress under $1,000

Dreamfoam by Brooklyn Bedding Arctic Dreams Cooling Gel Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Size: King
  • Considerations: Best for all types of sleepers, has advanced cooling technology

Finding a king-size mattress under $1000 isn’t an easy task, but Dreamfoam by Brooklyn Bedding delivers with its Arctic mattress. One of the most budget-friendly mattresses available, the Arctic is designed with 4 advanced layers that don’t skimp on comfort.

A 2.5-inch layer of gel memory foam sits on top of a 6-inch base of coils that, together, contour your body, offer deep compression, and help minimize motion transfer. As the name suggests, the Arctic mattress also has a cooling panel that helps regulate temperature to keep you comfortable.

Because it’s available in a medium firmness level, it’s an excellent choice for all types of sleepers.

Shop the Dreamfoam by Brooklyn Bedding Arctic Dreams Cooling Gel Mattress.

Best California king mattresses

Best overall California king mattress

Saatva Classic

  • Price: $$
  • Size: California king
  • Considerations: Best for most sleepers, a great option for those with back pain, comes in three firmness levels

Handmade to order, the Saatva Classic offers luxury at a still-affordable price. This mattress has a plush sleeping surface with enhanced back support thanks to a specialized middle layer that’s designed to take pressure off your lower back.

It’s available in 3 firmness levels: plush soft, luxury firm, and firm. The luxury firm, which is categorized as a 5 to 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale, is preferred by 82% of customers, according to Saatva.

You’ll also get a plush Euro top that adds up to 3 inches of extra comfort to the surface of the bed, depending on which firmness level you choose.

Shop the Saatva Classic online.

Best California king mattress for side sleepers

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Size: California king
  • Considerations: Best for side sleepers, couples, or those who like the feel of 100% memory foam

If you’re strictly a side sleeper, you’ll probably need a mattress that has a little bit of give for your hips and shoulders, but not so much that it throws your spine out of whack. Classified as medium-firm, the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress combines comfort and support to relieve pressure points while encouraging proper spinal alignment.

This mattress is made with 3 layers of memory foam — a base layer that supports your weight, a dynamically adjusting layer that contours to your body, and a gel-infused layer that regulates and adjusts to your body temperature.

Since it’s made of only memory foam, it has minimal motion transfer, making it a great choice for couples, too.

Shop the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress online.

Best California king mattress for couples

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Size: California king
  • Considerations: Best for couples with different sleeping preferences, has almost no motion transfer

One of the biggest compromises in any relationship is agreeing on a mattress, but the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress makes things a bit easier. This hybrid mattress is made of 5 layers, including gel memory foam and support foam that provide targeted support and custom relief for all different body types.

The foam layers rest on top of a base of coils that adapt to your body and help minimize motion transfer, so you won’t feel it if your partner tosses and turns at night. Plus, everything is wrapped up in a quilted foam and cashmere cover that adds a bit of softness for ideal pressure relief in any sleeping position.

Shop the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress online.

Best value California king size mattress

Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Size: California king
  • Considerations: Best for those on a budget, hot sleepers, and anyone who doesn’t like the “slow sink” feeling of memory foam

The Original Mattress from Tuft & Needle isn’t the least expensive mattress out there, but you get a great value for the price. This foam-only mattress is made of Tuft & Needle’s proprietary Adaptive foam, which is designed to relieve pressure points while also regulating temperature by pulling heat away from your body.

The adaptive foam is also designed to bounce back more quickly than traditional memory foam, so you don’t get that “stuck in the mattress” feeling of other similar mattresses.

Shop the Tuft & Needle Original Mattress online.

Most comfortable California king mattress

The WinkBed

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: California king
  • Considerations: Comfortable for most sleepers, comes in 3 firmness levels, has an option for people of size

While there isn’t a single mattress that can please everyone, the WinkBed comes pretty close. It has a Euro pillow top that’s infused with pressure-relieving gel that’s designed to cushion your back and ease muscle tension. The top sits on coils that are divided into separate zones that provide greater pressure where you need it and light pressure where you don’t.

It comes in 3 firmness levels — softer, luxury firm, and firmer — plus an option for people of size, so you can find the one that works best for your sleep style and body type.

Shop The WinkBed online.

Best split California king mattress

TEMPUR-ProAdapt

  • Price: $$$$
  • Size: California king
  • Considerations: Best for couples, combination sleepers, or hot sleepers

Split kings are technically two twin mattresses pushed together to make a king, but the advantage is that you can control each side independently on top of an adjustable base. There are many split kings out there, but the TEMPUR-ProAdapt from fan-favorite brand Tempur-Pedic offers advanced pressure relief, expert body contouring, and high-performance cooling technology to give you a great night’s sleep.

It’s made of 2 layers of foam — a comfort layer that relaxes your body and a support layer that eases tension — on top of a coil base that reinforces the edges and makes it easier to move around, a quality that combination sleepers will appreciate.

Shop the TEMPUR-ProAdapt online.

Best California king mattress for back pain

Casper Wave Hybrid

  • Price: $$$$
  • Size: California king
  • Considerations: Best for people with back pain and hot sleepers

Casper may be one of the most well-known names in the online mattress industry. While the retailer now offers 4 highly-rated mattress models, the Wave Hybrid is a great choice for back pain.

It has zoned support that creates separate ergonomic areas that allow shoulders to sink, aligning the spine and offering full-body relief from aches and pains. There are 86 gel pods embedded into the mattress that cushion your waist and back and add even more support.

While the original mattress has perforations that allow air to flow through, you can also opt for optional Snow technology if you’re a hot sleeper. This extra cooling technology adds heat bands and an advanced cooling cover that pulls heat away from your body and helps you sleep more comfortably.

Shop the Casper Wave Hybrid online.

When should I buy a new bed?

If your mattress is noticeably sagging or damaged or you’re regularly waking up with aches and pains, those are good signs that it’s time to replace your mattress.

Even though some mattresses come with an up to 25-year warranty, it’s also a good idea to replace your mattress every 8 years or so.

Who should buy a king bed? Who should buy a California king bed?

King size mattresses are the widest mattress type, while California kings are the longest. If you’re tall or sleep with a pet at the foot of your bed, you’ll probably appreciate a California king. If you’re average height or sleep with a partner, you’ll likely want to opt for the extra width that a regular king-size mattress has to offer.

How can you choose which type of bed to buy?

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing which bed to buy. You’ll want to think about things like firmness level, your sleeping position, and the mattress construction. While much of this comes down to personal preference, there are certain mattresses that are better for certain types of people.

For example, side sleepers tend to do better with medium firmness, while back and stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress. If you have back pain, you’ll likely want a medium-firm to firm mattress.

A good mattress can make all the difference in your sleep and quality of life. If you’re debating between a king and a California king, think about your body type and your sleeping habits. Once you’ve made your choice between the different sizes, you can use this guide to choose the best mattress for you.

Lindsay Boyers is a functional nutritionist, licensed esthetician, and health and commerce writer. She’s also written more than a dozen books and cookbooks and created over 1,000 original recipes. Her work has appeared on Forbes, CNET, CNN Underscored, mindbodygreen, The Spruce Eats, and The Spruce, among others.