What’s the Difference? King vs. Queen Bed

Seeking the perfect slumber solution? The size of your bed—a king versus a queen—can make a big difference in the amount of shut-eye you get.
Donna Boyle Schwartz Avatar
king vs queen bed

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Nearly all experts agree that getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to overall health and well-being, as well as for helping people achieve their peak performance during work or play. But while many of these same experts offer advice on how to choose a mattress, selecting the proper pillow, or creating a soothing sleep environment, they might overlook one important component to sleeping comfort: the size of your bed.

The choice of a king versus queen bed can have a major impact on your ability to get a good night’s sleep, especially if you share slumber space with a partner, children, or pets—or some combination! This guide to a king versus a queen bed can help make the right choice for your lifestyle.

The queen mattress is 60 inches wide, whereas the king mattress measures 76 inches in width.

When evaluating if to purchase a king vs. queen bed, note both the differences between and the similarities in the two sizes to make an informed decision. The primary difference between king and queen beds is the width: a king-size bed measures 76 inches wide, while a queen-size bed measures 60 inches wide. That translates into an extra 16 inches of width, or 8 inches more room per person when sleeping with a partner.

You get a better sense of what that extra room might mean when you look at the total sleeping area. The surface area of a king bed measures a whopping 6,080 square inches, versus the 4,800-square inch area of a queen bed. That translates to a king-size bed offering about 21 percent more overall surface area than a queen size.

king vs queen bed

Both queen and the king mattresses have the same length, which is 80 inches.

An interesting fact about both king and queen mattresses is that they measure exactly the same in length—80 inches. This gives both king and queen beds an extra 5 inches in length over twin- and full-size beds, which measure 75 inches long. The 75- to 80-inch lengths typically accommodate sleepers of normal heights best. This length also is suitable for people who sleep on their sides, because most side-sleepers lie slightly curled, with bent legs, so width is more of a factor than length.

Taller people, and those who sleep stretched fully out on their backs or stomachs, usually can sleep comfortably on king or queen length but might want to consider a California king-size bed, which measures 84 inches long. California king beds—also known as Western kings—are 4 inches narrower than conventional king-size beds, which also are known as an Eastern king beds.

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The king-size bed is preferred in a master bedroom while the queen best suits the guest room or smaller bedroom.

You might feel that “bigger is better” when it comes to the size of your bed, but the amount of real estate it takes up can play an important role in your decision to choose a king versus a queen. A common rule of thumb is to have at least 2 feet of space on both sides of the bed, and  2 to 5 feet of space at the foot of the bed. This ensures that you have adequate space to walk around the bed without feeling cramped.

To put it another way, the recommended room size to house a king bed is at least 12 feet by 12 feet, a more likely size in a master bedroom. The minimum recommended room size for a queen bed is 10 feet by 10 feet. Of course, this all takes into account how much other furniture will be in the room. Most people also have dressers, nightstands, quilt racks, occasional chairs, and other furnishings and décor.

Another consideration is access to the bedroom. It can be very challenging to maneuver king-size beds up stairs, around tight corners, and through doorways. Queen-size mattresses generally are easier to handle.

king vs queen bed

King mattresses have a more expensive price tag.

A number of factors influence the prices of beds, including the type of mattress selected (conventional coil/innerspring, foam, hybrid, air), the type of frame and foundation (box spring, platform, etc.), and choice of an adjustable versus nonadjustable base. In general, however, when other factors are equal, you can expect to pay more for a king bed than a queen bed. The amount can vary greatly depending on the bed’s features, mattress, and foundation.

Another consideration is the price of accessories. Sheets, blankets, comforters, and pillows for a king-size bed all cost more than for a queen-size bed, so over time, owning a king bed costs more money.

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The queen mattress is more suited for a single sleeper than the king mattress.

How you sleep—and with whom—is a key factor in choosing a king versus a queen bed. Larger, heavier sleepers, people who sleep on their backs or stomachs, and sleepers who toss and turn a lot might prefer to sleep alone in a queen bed. A queen bed is both wider and longer than a full-size (double) bed, which measures 54 inches wide by 75 inches long.

Queen beds also are plenty comfortable for single people who occasionally share their sleeping space with a pet or a child. When single sleepers begin to share with a partner plus kids or pets, they might prefer the space afforded by a wider king bed. However, considering the difference in footprint in a room, a queen-size bed often makes more sense for single sleepers.

king vs queen bed

The queen mattress is more popular than the king mattress.

The versatility of queen-size beds to fit in rooms and accommodate one or two sleepers likely adds to their popularity among American consumers. Almost a half of American adults revealed in 2017 that they sleep on queen-size beds, and only 19 percent on king beds, according to Statista, a provider of market and consumer data.

Similarly, a 2016 study from the Better Sleep Council (BSC), the consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), found that 47 percent of consumers sleep on a queen mattress and 25 percent sleep on a king-size bed.

King mattresses offer more comfort than queen mattresses.

Comfort, as with beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. Deciding on a king versus a queen bed comes down to several factors, including how many people and pets will be sharing the bed; the size and weight of the sleepers; preferred sleeping positions (side, back or stomach); and the overall size of the room for the bed’s location.

Couples generally won’t go wrong with either a queen or king bed but couples who might be sharing their bed with a pet or child will probably be more comfortable with a king. Larger, heavier individuals might need more room in the bed, and therefore should opt for a king size when sharing. This prevents one sleeper from having to lie up against the bed’s edge or allows some nighttime stretching of arms and legs.

People with smaller rooms or smaller individuals might opt for a less-expensive queen-size bed, which also is easier to move and therefore a more versatile choice for apartment dwellers.