Not counting a crib mattress, a twin mattress is the smallest standard size available. It’s an affordable mattress for sleepers who don’t need much space or are trying to make the most of a studio apartment or small bedroom.
A twin size mattress is usually 38 inches wide and 75 inches long, for a total surface area of 2,850 square inches. The dimensions can vary slightly by companies, with some selling twin size mattresses that are 39 inches wide instead. We recommend a twin size mattress for any room that’s at least 7 feet by 10 feet.
Twin and Twin XL Mattresses
There’s only one variation of the standard twin mattress— a twin XL size mattress. It is as wide as a twin bed, but with 5 extra inches of length for a total of 80 inches. That makes the surface area 3,040 square inches.
A twin XL mattress is an excellent choice for a child’s first bed that should last well into their teen years. The extra 5 inches can accommodate most growth spurts, and a young adult will likely be able to bring their twin XL bedding with them to college. Most college dorms contain twin XL size bed frames and mattresses.
A twin mattress may be the better option for those who are shopping on a tight budget or are trying to make the most of a small space.
Twins, Singles, and Doubles
When shopping for a twin size bed, you may be confused by references to single size mattresses or double size mattresses. A single mattress shares the same dimensions as a twin size mattress.
The difference between the two is that a single mattress is just that, a single mattress. A twin mattress is supposed to refer to one of two mattresses, such as a matched pair of twin beds for a guest room. Companies and customers often use the two terms interchangeably, so you might see an unpaired mattress referred to as a twin bed.
You may also find references to a small single mattress, which measures 30 inches by 75 inches. A small single mattress is often used for a toddler bed, transitioning the child from a crib to a larger mattress.
A double mattress is not the same thing as a twin size mattress. Instead, a double bed is another name for a full size mattress, which is 16 inches wider than a standard twin. Double beds were once a popular option for couples, but now, they are usually only recommended for single sleepers.
Who Should Sleep on a Twin Mattress?
A twin or a twin XL mattress is a natural fit in any child’s bedroom. Whether it’s just one mattress or two for a bunk bed, growing children will be able to rest comfortably on a twin mattress for many years. If you invest in a high-quality twin mattress, the bed can last a child until they’re ready to leave home and buy a new mattress.
Twin mattresses are also a good choice for adult sleepers who have limited space in their home. A twin mattress fits in most smaller rooms, just don’t forget to factor in 2 to 5 more inches for a twin’s bed frame dimensions. Plus, a twin bed is more lightweight than larger sizes, making it easier to take your mattress with you if you move.
A twin bed is also an excellent mattress for a guest room. While small, it’s able to provide most single sleepers with all they need for a good night’s rest.
You don’t even have to use a twin mattress for sleeping. If you want to set up a daybed (a mattress made up like a sofa for daytime relaxation) a twin mattress is the perfect size.
Other Bed Sizes
A twin size mattress isn’t the right bed for everyone, particularly if you’re looking for a bed large enough to share. You have four other mattress sizes you can consider as you shop for your perfect bed.
Dimensions: 54 inches by 75 inches
A full size mattress is an excellent choice for a single adult who wants room to sprawl but is short on living space. A full bed feels more luxurious than a twin but doesn’t take up as much space as a king or queen. If a college dormitory doesn’t have a twin XL size mattress, it’s likely to have a full size bed instead to accommodate most sleepers.
Taller sleepers might want to consider a full XL size mattress, which is 5 inches longer than a standard full size bed. Be aware that it might take some hunting to find a full XL mattress since it’s not a standard size. Your best chance of finding one is by looking online.
Dimensions: 60 inches by 80 inches
A queen size mattress is the most popular mattress size because it suits a wide range of sleepers and fits in many bedrooms. Are you shopping for a good mattress for couples, or do you just want a mattress you can sprawl across before you drift off to sleep? In either scenario, a queen mattress is an excellent choice.
You also have more to consider than just the standard queen size bed. If you need a mattress with a little extra width, an Olympic queen offers six more inches of sleeping space. And a California queen is 4 inches longer than a regular queen, giving sleepers over 6 feet tall some needed legroom.
Both of these variations are nonstandard, so you may have to custom order one if you’re interested.
Dimensions: 76 inches by 80 inches
A king size mattress is an excellent way to complete any master bedroom. It’s the largest standard size mattress available and provides two people with about the same amount of sleeping space that they would each have on a twin XL mattress.
There are many variations of a king size mattress. Aside from a California king, which we cover below, there is also the split king and nonstandard plus-sized options such as the Wyoming king, the Texas king, and the Alaska king.
A split king mattress has the same dimensions as a standard king, but it’s cut into two mattresses to let couples customize their side of the bed. However, a split king is typically more expensive than a standard king, which is already a costly mattress size. Read our king vs. split king article if you’re interested in learning more about the pros and cons of a split king.
California King Mattress
Dimensions: 72 inches by 84 inches
A California king size mattress is 4 inches longer than a standard king. In exchange, the bed is also 4 inches narrower than a normal king. A California king mattress is a good choice for a tall sleeper who wants the space to lie down without having to curl up or let their feet dangle over the edge.
A king and a California king mattress usually cost about the same, but California king size bedding and bed frames are often more expensive than the equivalent accessories for a standard king. Be sure to check out our king and California king comparison guide if you’re undecided between the two.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the terms “single” and “twin” are both used for a mattress that measures 38 inches by 75 inches. The two terms exist because a single is meant to refer to one mattress, while a twin is intended to refer to one of two mattresses, such as a pair of mattresses for a bunk bed. It’s become more common to call a single bed a twin mattress, so this distinction has become lost.
It’s highly unlikely that two adults would be able to share a twin size mattress comfortably. With only 38 inches of width, that would leave roughly 19 inches of sleeping space for each partner. Even if two people managed to settle on a twin size bed, with so little room to maneuver, one of them might roll off the bed as they sleep.
While commonly used as a children’s bed after they graduate from their crib or toddler bed, a twin bed is suitable for all ages. Since it’s 75 inches long and 38 inches wide, it can usually accommodate an adult who’s under 6 feet tall. A twin XL mattress has an added 5 inches of length to keep a person taller than 6 feet sleeping comfortably.
A twin size fitted sheet will not stay on a twin XL bed. The extra five inches of length means that even if you slip the sheet over your twin XL mattress, the covering will likely slip off because of your movements. However, you can use a twin size blanket or comforter with a twin XL mattress.
You can also use twin XL size sheets with a twin mattress, though the sheets may have a baggy fit and won’t lie as flat as proper twin size sheets.
Yes, if you were to shove a couple of twin XL mattresses together, they would equal the dimensions of a king mattress. Two separate twin XL beds for each partner is even the basis for the split king mattress.
The idea behind a split king mattress is that each person can sleep on their desired firmness, instead of couples compromising on a mattress that isn’t 100 percent comfortable for either of them. Split king mattresses are also an excellent choice for anyone who plans on using an adjustable bed.
Whether or not you need a box spring depends on the type of mattress you have, not your mattress size. Memory foam mattresses don’t need a box spring, nor do other types of foam mattresses.
If you place a foam or hybrid mattress on a box spring, the box spring’s inconsistent support can damage your mattress. The internal springs are usually spaced too far apart, letting the mattress sag between the coils. Innerspring mattresses can feel more comfortable when paired with an innerspring.
Did We Help?
A twin mattress isn’t the best mattress for everyone, but it is an excellent option if you’re shopping for a smaller bedroom or studio apartment. Most single sleepers can rest comfortably on a twin mattress. Even if you’re interested in a bigger mattress for your bedroom, a twin mattress can let you unwind during daylight hours as part of a daybed.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.