Split king mattress

King vs. Split King: What’s the Difference

I never understood why they didn’t make the California King the same width as a standard (Eastern) King. The Twin and Twin XL are the same width, just one is longer. Should be the same thing in King beds.

What is a Split King Mattress and Is it Worth It?

These days, you’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to buying a mattress. Firm or plush? Innerspring or hybrid? And just when you think you have it all figured out… you realize there’s an entire size option you’ve never even heard of: the split king. So, what exactly is a split king, anyway? We’re glad you asked.

Simply put, a split king mattress is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a king-size mattress (76” x 80”), but it’s “split” in half—made up of two twin xl mattresses (38” x 80”) set side by side. So while you still get the same large sleeping area that a king provides, you get the flexibility of two separate mattresses.

Here, we’ll explore the pros and cons of buying a split king mattress, and whether it’s a good choice for your sleeping needs.

Overview: What is a Split King Mattress?

A split king mattress is a popular choice for couples who want a customizable sleeping experience. It consists of two twin XL mattresses (each 38″ x 80″) that are placed side by side to create a king‐sized bed. This unique design allows each partner to select their preferred level of firmness, providing personalized comfort for a good night’s sleep. A split king mattress is also compatible with an adjustable base, which allows each partner to independently adjust the bed’s position for optimal comfort.

Split king mattress


4 Big Benefits of a Split King Mattress

First, let’s talk about the pros. Here are just a few of the reasons we love split kings.

1. Accommodates Separate Sleep Preferences

Buying a mattress can be very subjective. There are a ton of different factors at play, including your weight and sleeping style. So what do you do if you want a bed as firm as a rock, but your partner wants a plusher top to sink into? Simple: a split king allows for these individual preferences. Options include choosing two different mattresses (if your needs are drastically different) or adjusting the feel of one side with a mattress topper.

2. Reduces Motion Transfer

The split king bed is also perfect if you have a partner who tosses and turns throughout the night. With a single king mattress, restless partners may disturb even the best sleepers. A split king means that you and your partner have your own mattress, so you won’t feel any movement from the other side of the bed.

3. Makes for Easy Moving

If you’ve ever tried to move a large king mattress, you know what we mean—especially if you’ve had to maneuver in and out of a small doorway. Hope you’re good at puzzles! A split king mattress, on the other hand, is much more manageable since it’s just two separate twin XL mattresses. Having a split base also makes moving your bed a breeze.

4. Pairs Perfectly with an Adjustable Base

To really kick your sleeping arrangements up a notch, your best bet is to put your split king mattress on top of a split king adjustable base.

Here’s why: with an adjustable base, you and your partner can also position your mattress any way you like, at any time. Is your spouse going to bed early, but you want to stay up and watch TV? Do you want to sit up to read, but your partner wants to zone out in zero-gravity mode? With a split king adjustable base, you can each relax in style. When you’re ready to snuggle, sync your settings and cozy up.

Is a Split King Adjustable Bed Worth It?

Couple sleeping on a split king mattress with adjustable base

Thinking about making the upgrade to a split king adjustable bed, but haven’t made up your mind yet? We may be partial, but we say yes—split kings are definitely worth it! Out of all the mattress sizes, it’s the one that provides the most space as well as the most customization for couples.

Plus, with all the added benefits of an adjustable base, you’ll enjoy great sleep and total customization, all at the touch of a button.

FAQs About Split King Mattresses

Now that you understand some of the main benefits of a king-sized bed with two mattresses, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Do You Need Special Sheets for a Split King Bed?

A split king bed will need slightly different bedding than a traditional king mattress. The two separate mattresses that make up the one bed will each need their own fitted bed sheet. On top of the fitted sheets, you can then layer on a single king top sheet along with a single quilt and duvet.

Shopping for bedding? Check out our Split King GhostSheets! Made with premium Supima cotton and cooling TENCEL, you’ll get that luxury hotel feel right at home. Our split king size comes with two twin XL fitted sheets, one king-size top sheet and two pillowcases.

Is a Split King the Same as Two Twin Mattresses?

At this point you might be wondering: can’t I just put two twin XL mattresses next to each other to create a split king? The answer is… yes and no! Technically, a split king isn’t really a size—it’s just two separate twin XL mattresses. But it’s so much more than that, too! With two twin XL mattresses, you’ve got plenty of options:

  • Choose two different mattresses
  • Choose two of the same mattress type
  • Place on one regular king size bed foundation
  • Place on a split king foundation
  • Place on two twin XL adjustable bases
  • Pair with a stylish headboard

See what we mean? Plenty of choices to personalize your bedroom and your comfort.

Is a Split King Mattress Comfortable?

You’ll have to try it to decide, but most people say a resounding yes. Many couples who compare a split king mattress to a traditional king consider the split king mattress just as comfortable, if not more so, because each partner can customize their mattress based on their sleeping needs.

Hint: Here at GhostBed, we’ll give you 101 nights to try out your split king mattress and decide for yourself!

Can You Feel the “Split” in a Split King When You’re Sleeping?

While there is a gap in a split king mattress because it is two mattresses joined together, most sleepers can’t feel it because the mattresses are designed to fit so closely together. If you prefer not to feel the gap at all, options include:

  • Using a bungee cord to strap the legs together
  • Purchasing a “gap filler,” which is typically a piece of foam you put between your mattresses
  • Using a king-sized mattress topper on top

Keep in mind that some of these solutions, such as using a king-sized topper, may impact the functionality if you’re using an adjustable base. That is, you wouldn’t be able to raise one side of the bed up if you’ve got a split king adjustable underneath the mattresses.

What Other Problems Are Common with Split King Adjustable Beds?

The most common split king problem that people wonder about is the gap in the middle, as we mentioned in the last FAQ. Beyond that, some people worry about the mattress sliding down when you’re elevating your head. To combat this, look for an adjustable base with a retainer bar at the foot and non-skid material beneath each leg.

Another common complaint to note: as you raise the head of some adjustable bases, the entire bed moves forward and can leave you far from your nightstand or anything else by the side of your bed. Some companies add “wall-hugging” or “wall-aligning” technology to their base to help with this; others (like our GhostBed Adjustable Base) are simply designed to keep you close even as the bed adjusts.

In my experience, there’s not a huge difference between bases with wall-hugging features and without. It’s typically about a 4” difference, so it’s not a lot! Even with wall-hugging features, you may not end up as close to your side table as you might think.

What Size Headboard Do You Need With a Split King?

Adding a headboard is a great way to protect the wall behind your bed—plus, the right headboard can add a stylish and upscale backdrop! All you need is a king-size headboard and the right headboard brackets to connect it to your adjustable bed.

Shop GhostBed’s Split King Mattresses

At GhostBed, we make it easy to build your dream sleep setup! All 4 of our mattress models are available in the split king size, but our top sellers are the cooling GhostBed Luxe and our latex and memory foam GhostBed Classic. Pair it with our Adjustable Base, pillows, mattress topper and luxury bedding to complete your bedroom.

Still have questions? Call, chat or email our friendly Sleep Experts, and we’ll be happy to help!

King vs. Split King: What’s the Difference?

Split king mattress

A king size mattress offers couples plenty of personal space, and split king mattresses let couples customize their bed. The main difference between the two is that a king bed is one mattress, while a split king bed is two mattresses pushed together. If you’re looking to upgrade your master bedroom, you might wonder which is the best mattress for you—the regular king mattress, or a split king mattress?

What is a King Size Mattress?

A king size mattress, also known as an eastern king, is the widest standard bed size. It’s 76 inches by 80 inches, ideal for couples who want space to spread out. A king mattress fits best in a master bedroom that’s at least 12 feet by 12 feet, to leave enough walking space and room for nightstands and dressers.

Split king mattress

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Pros of a King Mattress

  • At 6080 square inches, a king size mattress offers couples plenty of personal space. There’s even enough room to co-sleep with a child.
  • King mattresses are compatible with adjustable bed bases. However, you must set up the base to move the mattress as a whole— otherwise the base will try to move each half independently.

Cons of a King Mattress

  • It’s difficult to move because of its size and weight—some king mattresses weigh close to 200 pounds!
  • A king size mattress is not meant for an average-size bedroom. If you place it in a bedroom smaller than 12 feet by 12 feet, you may feel cramped and claustrophobic.

What is a Split King Size Mattress?

A split king mattress is a king size mattress split in half, with each side equal to a twin XL size mattress. Split king mattresses let couples personalize their side of the bed to their preferences, preventing sleep disturbances. If one partner is a side sleeper who needs a soft mattress and the other a stomach sleeper who needs a firm mattress, a split king lets them prioritize their sleep health while still sharing a bed.

Pros of a Split King Mattress

  • Split king mattresses accommodate each partner’s sleep needs.
  • A split king mattress is easier to move than a king mattress since it’s essentially two twin XL beds.
  • Split king mattresses eliminate motion transfer because each partner has a separate mattress.
  • Each half of a split king mattress moves separately on an adjustable bed frame. One partner can sit up and read, while the other relaxes lying down.

Cons of a Split King Mattress

  • Split king mattresses need specialized bed sheets—twin XL fitted sheets and a king size cover sheet. Split king sheet sets exist, but they are easier to find online than in stores.
  • Like a standard king mattress, split king mattresses fit best in bedrooms that are 12 feet by 12 feet.
  • The halves of split king mattress can’t interlock, leaving a noticeable line between the two. This gap may cause discomfort if you or a partner tend to roll toward the middle.
  • Split king mattresses sometimes cost a little bit more than a regular king mattress, although the prices are still comparable.

Other Mattress Sizes

Perhaps a king size mattress is too big for your bedroom, or too costly for your budget. You could consider another mattress size, such as a queen size mattress.

Size Name Dimensions in Inches
Twin 38 x 75
Twin XL 38 x 80
Full 54 x 75
Queen 60 x 80
King 76 x 80
Cal King 72 x 84
Split King Two twin mattresses (38 x 80)


A twin size mattress is the smallest standard bed size, perfect for kids’ rooms and single sleepers short on living space. If you have two children sharing a room, consider a bunk bed with a pair of twin mattresses. A twin bed also offers guests a comfortable night’s sleep without taking up too much space.

Twin XL

A twin XL size mattress is 5 inches longer than a regular twin. You might want to consider giving your child the extra space of a twin XL mattress to grow into after they’ve graduated from cribs and toddler beds. A twin XL mattress is also standard in most college dormitories—students can bring their bed and later use it in their first apartment.


A full size mattress, sometimes called a double bed, is 16 inches wider than a twin size mattress. The extra width offers single sleepers more room to spread out. A full mattress fits well in a studio apartment, children’s room, or guest bedroom.


A queen size mattress is the most popular mattress size because it’s suitable for almost anyone. It’s great for couples and single sleepers who want the room to spread out. A queen mattress fits in an average bedroom or a master bedroom. If you have a spacious guest room, a queen mattress is a perfect bed for visitors.

Like a king bed, queens are also available as split mattresses—each half is 30 inches wide and 80 inches long.

Cal King

A California king size mattress, or a western king, is 4 inches longer a traditional king, with the tradeoff that it’s also 4 inches narrower. If you’re more than 6 feet tall or share a bed with a tall person, a Cal king mattress might be the perfect mattress.

You can find split versions of Cal king mattresses if you and your partner have different sleep needs. Each half of a split Cal king mattress is 36 inches by 84 inches.

More Buying Considerations

Material Type

You have four different mattress types to look at when shopping.

Memory foam mattresses feature excellent pressure relief and motion isolation. Memory foam can retain too much heat, which is why many manufacturers add gels or other cooling materials.

Latex mattresses, like memory foam beds, can relieve pressure. However, natural latex is made from rubber tree sap, making it a more eco-friendly material than memory foam. Latex mattresses are some of the more expensive beds available.

Innerspring mattresses contain steel coils, with padding to provide a comfortable sleeping surface. Some people, particularly side sleepers, find innerspring mattresses don’t provide enough pressure relief.

Hybrid mattresses pair innerspring coils with a 2 or 3-inch foam layer for greater comfort. The foam layer offers pressure relief, while the coils promote airflow.


Your body weight and sleeping position affect what firmness level is right for you.

A mattress for side sleeping should have a soft to medium feel.

A stomach sleeper’s mattress should be firm. However, we recommend stomach sleepers switch to side sleeping or back sleeping because stomach sleeping overextends the spine and causes back pain.

A mattress for a heavy person over 230 pounds should have a firmer feel. A mattress for a petite person under 130 pounds should have a softer feel.

If you need a mattress for back pain, look for one with a medium-firm feel. Studies have found a medium-firm feel promotes a neutral spine alignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a king size bed the same as two twins?

No. Two twin XL mattresses equal a king size bed. This is known as a split king mattress and can allow couples to sleep more comfortably.

What kind of sheets do you put on a split king bed?

Each half of a split king mattress takes twin XL fitted sheets, with a flat king sheet on top. No need to buy two sets of twin XL sheets and a king size sheet—a split king sheet set should cover your mattress. If you’re using an adjustable base, look for extra stretchy sheets to better stay on the mattress.

What is a split California king?

Like a regular split king, a split Cal king mattress is separated into two halves—each half is 36 inches by 84 inches. Dividing the mattress allows each side to move independently on an adjustable foundation and allows partners to customize their side of the mattress to their firmness preferences.

Did We Help?

A standard king and a split king mattress are both excellent choices for any master bedroom and are usually both options in an adjustable bed and mattress combo, for couples who seek maximum comfort. The best mattress size for you depends mostly on you and your partner’s sleeping preferences.

Can the two of you compromise with a medium-feel king mattress, or do you need a customized split king to sleep soundly? The answer will lead to a better night’s sleep for both of you.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Sarah Anderson , Certified Sleep Science Coach

Sarah Anderson is a sleep, health, and wellness writer and product reviewer. She has written articles on changing and improving your sleep schedule, choosing the right mattress for chronic pain conditions, and finding the best pillow for you. Sarah Anderson has her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to working for Zoma, she wrote for a variety of news publications. Sarah’s work has been featured on Bustle, PureWow, and other publications.

I never understood why they didn’t make the California King the same width as a standard (Eastern) King. The Twin and Twin XL are the same width, just one is longer. Should be the same thing in King beds.

I would like an adjustable side, my partner has no interest and is fine with a non adj. mattress. Can we buy two twin XL one adj. and one not? Will the be the same height?
I’ve seen the strip that cover the seam of the two beds are those comfortable so you don’t feel the separation between beds? Thx