Twin vs. Twin XL: What’s the Difference?

Twin vs Twin XL

Bed size is probably one of your first considerations when mattress shopping and many decide on the twin or slightly larger twin XL as the best fit for their living space. Both options avoid taking up too much room while still providing a single adult with enough sleeping space.

What is a Twin?

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A twin size mattress, sometimes called a single, is 38 inches by 75 inches. It’s the smallest standard size available for adults.

Twin mattresses are a common choice for children’s rooms, whether it’s just one in a basic bed frame or two in a bunk bed. They’re also an excellent fit for small studio apartments and bedrooms.

What is a Twin XL?

A twin extra long mattress is 38 inches by 80 inches. It offers 5 more inches of legroom than a regular twin mattress.

Many people keep a twin XL mattress in a small guest bedroom to better accommodate single sleepers. Similarly, most college dorm rooms have twin XL size bed frames to minimize the chances of a college student being too tall for their bed. And some parents buy a twin XL mattress for their children in case of a growth spurt.

Which is Right for Me?

To decide whether a twin or a twin XL is the best mattress for you, you should consider your height, your budget, and your room size. If you plan on pairing it with an adjustable base, you might also need to see what sizes your chosen bed frame comes in.

Your Height

For many, the deciding factor between a twin and twin XL mattress is how tall the sleeper is. Single adults taller than 6 feet may find their feet hang over the edge of a regular twin, while the extra length of a twin XL mattress offers plenty of legroom.

If the new mattress is for a child that’s outgrown their crib mattress, you might want to opt for a twin XL mattress. The 5 extra inches can better accommodate a growth spurt when your child reaches their teen years.


Twin XL mattresses cost more than a standard twin bed, as they require more material to produce. However, the two have similar prices—for example, a twin size Zoma mattress costs $450 and a twin XL mattress $550.

However, bedding accessories for a twin mattress are usually cheaper and easier to find. Some bedding brands may not even produce twin XL size sheets and blankets.

Room Size

Twin and twin XL have similar sizes, with only 5 inches of difference between them. Both fit well in rooms that are at least 7 feet by 10 feet. However, if you need more floor space, a standard twin mattress might be the better choice.

Twin Mattress’ shorter length allows for more flexibility in furniture placement, making it easier to fit into smaller rooms. Commonly used in bunk beds, making it a space-efficient option for shared bedrooms.

Twin XL Fits well in longer rooms where the extended length can be accommodated without cramping the space. Despite the extra length, the width remains the same, ensuring it doesn’t take up much additional space.

Using an Adjustable Base

Double-check which sizes of adjustable bed frames are available before you buy a mattress. Some companies only sell twin XL adjustable bed frames.

Two twin XL mattresses also work well with a king size adjustable base. Having two separate mattresses lets you customize each half—so you could go to bed while your partner sits up to finish a chapter in their book.

If you’re considering a mattress for an adjustable base, we recommend a memory foam, hybrid or latex mattress. The coils of a traditional innerspring mattress don’t bend and fold as well as a foam mattress, which is likely to cause you discomfort.

You can save a great deal by choosing the best adjustable bed and mattress combo for your needs.

Suitability and Use Cases

Understanding who can benefit most from each mattress size is essential for making the right choice:

  • Twin Mattress:
    • Children: Ideal for young children transitioning from a crib or toddler bed. Its size fits well in smaller bedrooms and can accommodate bunk beds.
    • Small Bedrooms: Suitable for rooms where space is limited, allowing for additional furniture and play areas.
    • Guest Rooms: Works well in guest rooms meant for single visitors.
  • Twin XL Mattress:
    • Teenagers: Perfect for growing teenagers who need more legroom. The extra length accommodates their height as they grow.
    • College Students: Commonly found in college dormitories due to its compact width and extended length, which fits standard dorm room dimensions.
    • Taller Adults: Suitable for single adults who are taller than average and need the additional length for comfortable sleeping.


The availability of each mattress can also influence your decision. Twin mattresses are easier to find in stores and online due to their popularity and standard use in children’s furniture.

Twin XL may require purchasing from specialty stores or online retailers, especially for college dorm needs.

Other Bed Sizes

Maybe neither twin size is what you’re looking for in a mattress. Perhaps you have a master bedroom you want to shop for, or a guest room big enough for a larger mattress than a twin. If so, there are other mattress sizes you can consider.


A full size mattress features 16 more inches of width than a standard twin. It’s a good choice for single sleepers who need more sprawling space than a twin can provide. Some college dorm rooms have full-size beds instead of a twin XL mattress.

If you’re tall, you might want to look for a full XL mattress—like a twin XL, a full XL mattress offers 5 more inches of legroom. A full XL is not a standard size, so your best chance of finding one is by looking online.


A queen size mattress measures 60 inches by 80 inches, excellent for one person to sprawl out on or for two to share. Its versatility is one reason why queen mattresses are the most popular bed size.


A king size mattress is the widest standard mattress available at 76 inches by 80 inches. If you want to upgrade your master bedroom, a king size bed might be the way to go.

If you’re sharing with a partner who likes the bed firmer or softer than you do, you might want to compare a split king to a king mattress. Split king beds are actually two mattresses that each the size of a twin XL, so both of you can sleep comfortably.

California King

A California king size mattress is 4 inches longer than a standard king mattress, although it’s also 4 inches narrower. If you’re too tall to lie down on a standard king mattress without leaving your feet dangling off the edge, a California king can help you sleep comfortably.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fit twin size sheets on a twin XL bed?

The five inches of difference between a twin and twin XL mattress will make it difficult to place a twin fitted sheet over a twin XL mattress—you might be able to slip it on, but it’s unlikely to be secure enough to stay on the mattress. However, you can sleep with a loose twin size blanket on a twin XL mattress.

And remember to wash your sheets weekly to prevent dust mites from settling.

Do two twins make a king bed?

No, it’s two twin XL mattresses side by side that are equal to one king size bed. This is known as a split king mattress, and it can help couples with different sleep needs get a better night’s sleep.

Can a twin bed fit two adults?

It’s unlikely that two adults would sleep comfortably on a twin mattress. For couples, we recommend a queen or king size mattress.

Did We Help?

A standard twin and a twin XL are both excellent choices for a children’s room, guest room, small bedroom, or studio apartment. Which is the better mattress for you will primarily depend on your height and budget. If you’re looking to share the mattress, you should consider a queen or king size bed instead.

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

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.

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