Twin vs. Full Size Mattress: Which Mattress Size is Right for You?

Twin vs. Full Size Mattress: Which Mattress Size is Right for You?

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Mattress Comparison
Read Time: 6 minutes

Twin and full size mattresses are fairly close in size and price and often recommended for single sleepers, so it’s natural that some shoppers will feel indecisive when choosing which is the better one for their needs. Both options fit well in a small living space, leaving plenty of room for other necessities.

What is a Twin Mattress?

A twin size mattress is the smallest standard size after a crib mattress, measuring 38 inches wide and 74 to 75 inches long. Parents often buy a twin bed for a young child after they graduate from a crib or toddler bed, which usually happens by age 2.

However, just because a twin mattress is a common feature in a children’s room does not mean they’re reserved for kids and teens. Many adults under 6 feet tall still find a twin mattress comfortable for sleeping.

Sometimes mattress brands refer to a twin mattress as a “single,” though this term is less common now. Originally, “twin” referred to a mattress that was part of a pair, often used as mattresses for bunk beds or placed side by side, while “single” referred to one mattress used on its own.

Twin Mattress Variations

A twin mattress has only one size variation, the twin XL size mattress. As the name suggests, a twin XL mattress is longer than a traditional twin, measuring 38 inches wide and 80 inches long.

Twin XL mattresses are often chosen over a regular twin bed because they accommodate taller people better. Parents may pick a twin XL bed so their child won’t outgrow the mattress during their last growth spurt as a teenager.

A small guest room may contain a twin XL mattress to suit the varying heights of visitors. Many college dorm rooms contain twin XL size bed frames to suit different students.

What is a Full Mattress?

A full size mattress is larger than a twin, measuring 54 inches across and 75 inches lengthwise. If a college dorm room doesn’t have a twin XL mattress, it’s likely to contain a full size bed.

Full mattresses are sometimes known as double beds, a lingering nickname from when they were used as a mattress for couples. Despite this, we only recommend full mattresses to single sleepers. When two people squeeze onto a full size mattress, each has a sleeping area roughly the size of a crib mattress.

Full Mattress Variations

Like the traditional twin, a full size mattress also has a longer variation known as the full XL. The bed size is 5 inches longer than a standard full mattress, bringing the mattress’s total length to 80 inches. A full XL mattress is a good choice for anyone over 6 feet and 2 inches tall, ensuring they don’t have to scrunch up their body to sleep on the bed.

While the majority of mattress brands carry twin XL mattresses, full XL mattresses are less common. You may have to reach out to a custom mattress maker to obtain a full XL bed. Alternatively, you could buy a queen size mattress, which is the same length as a full XL and offers 6 more inches of width.

Choosing Between Twin and Full Mattresses

Both twin and full mattresses are excellent for single sleepers. The best mattress for you depends on your:

  • Budget
  • Room size
  • Comfort preferences

Budget is often the deciding factor between a twin and full size mattress. As the smaller size, a twin mattress usually costs less. Matching accessories like sheet sets, blankets, and bed frames also cost less for a twin than a full mattress.

Twin vs. Full Size Mattress

Room size can be a significant consideration if you have a small bedroom. A full mattress can slip into a room roughly 10 feet by 10 feet, so if your living space is much smaller than that, a twin mattress is the better option.

Lastly, there are comfort preferences to consider when debating between a twin and full mattress. Even if some people have space and money for a full mattress, they might prefer a twin mattress because it frees up more bedroom space. Conversely, some people choose a full bed over a twin because the extra space lets them sprawl and stretch out their arms.

If you’re a taller person and need a mattress at least 80 inches long, a twin XL mattress is usually easier to find and costs less than a full XL mattress.

There’s also the impact a mattress’s weight has on maintenance. Naturally, a full size mattress weighs more than a twin bed because of its larger size. This can make setting up a full bed and changing and washing the sheets more laborious than doing the same for a twin bed.

Other Standard Mattress Sizes

We’ve discussed the standard mattresses suitable for single adults—twin, twin XL, and full beds. However, if you plan on sharing the mattress with a partner, you need to consider a larger bed. Queen and king beds are excellent choices when it comes to mattresses for couples.

Mattress SizeDimensions (IN)
Twin38 inches by 75 inches
Twin XL38 inches by 80 inches
Full54 inches by 75 inches
Full XL54 inches by 80 inches
Queen60 inches by 80 inches
California Queen60 inches by 84 inches
Olympic Queen66 inches by 80 inches
Split QueenTwo mattresses, each 30 inches by 80 inches
King76 inches by 80 inches
California King 72 inches by 84 inches
Split KingTwo mattresses, each 38 inches by 80 inches

Queen

A queen size mattress measures 60 inches wide and 80 inches long. It’s typically considered the most popular bed size because it’s affordable, fits in the average bedroom, and can accommodate one or two sleepers.

Naturally, the standard queen mattress’s popularity has led to a few different size variations. Many of them are difficult to track down and might require a custom order. It’s also difficult to find bedding and other accessories for a specially ordered mattress.

A split queen mattress has the same dimensions as a queen bed, just cut in half. Dividing the mattress often allows customers to pick a different firmness on each side, making it more comfortable to share the mattress with a partner. Split queen mattresses also pair well with adjustable beds, letting each partner set their side at the angle and elevation they prefer.

A California queen mattress is 4 inches longer than a regular queen bed, offering taller sleepers needed legroom. A California queen is helpful if you’re over 6 feet tall and don’t have space in your bedroom for a Cal king mattress.

An Olympic queen mattress is 6 inches wider than a typical queen, bringing the bed’s dimensions to 66 inches by 80 inches.

King

A king size mattress measures 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. It’s the largest size most mattress companies carry, featuring more personal space for couples than a queen size bed.

Like the queen mattress, a king mattress has numerous size variations. Perhaps the most common is the California king size mattress, measuring 72 inches wide and 84 inches long. The extra four inches of legroom keep a person’s feet from hanging over the edge.

Less common than a California king mattress but usually considered a standard size is the split king mattress. A split king is just as wide and long as a standard king. However, it consists of two twin XL mattresses pushed together. Separating a king mattress into halves also promotes greater freedom of movement on an adjustable bed frame.

Split California king mattresses are another option, though it may take some hunting to find one. It’s also more difficult to find bedding for a split California king bed than a regular split king mattress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get a queen or full bed?

When it comes to a queen vs. full mattress, the easiest way to decide is to ask yourself how many people will use the bed. If you plan on sharing with a partner, the wider queen mattress is a better option. Two people often find themselves too cramped to move on a full size mattress.

If you’re a single sleeper, the question of which mattress is better for you will probably come down to budget and room space. A full bed costs less than a queen mattress and takes up less floor space.

Can I put queen sheets on a full bed?

Yes, you can usually slip a sheet of queen sheets over a full size mattress. Since a queen is a larger size, you may have to tighten the fitted sheet with elastic sheet straps. Many companies sell items like comforter sets with a “full/queen” label, considering them suitable for either size.

Are two twin beds a queen?

No, if you push two twin beds together, they would measure 76 inches by 74 inches, wider and shorter than a regular queen mattress. Nor do two twin mattresses equal a standard king size bed, which is 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. Two twin XL mattresses do equal a king size bed.

What age is a twin bed for?

While they’re often bought to serve as a mattress for kids, a twin size mattress is perfectly acceptable for adults with limited means. Twin beds are inexpensive and can be squeezed into tiny bedrooms and studio apartments. Twins are too small for two people to comfortably share, so we only recommend them for people who plan on sleeping alone.

What size bed is smaller than a twin?

There are only a few beds smaller than a traditional twin mattress.

  • A crib mattress is about 27 inches by 52 inches, providing too little space for the average adult sleeper.
  • A small single measures 30 inches by 74 inches. It’s often used as a toddler bed, though an adult under 6 feet may be able to comfortably sleep on a small single.
  • The dimensions of an RV bunk mattress vary widely, but often they’re narrower and slightly shorter than a standard twin mattress.

What is the Right Mattress Size for You?

Both twin and full mattresses are excellent for single sleepers who don’t have a lot of room space. The twin mattress size is better for budget shoppers, while a full mattress is an excellent choice for sleepers who want to stretch out and move around the bed.

No matter what mattress size you get, remember that a sleep trial offers security and the freedom to return the bed if it’s not right for you.

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