Selecting the ideal mattress isn't always easy. There are several types, materials, and features to choose from, but before that, you have to pick a size. Still, it's worth doing your research and putting some thought into the decision.
If you're like lots of people, you might be wondering about twin versus twin XL mattresses. Are they the same thing, and if not, how do they differ? While the sizes look pretty similar to the untrained eye, they're not actually interchangeable.
Read on to learn about the difference between twin and twin XL mattresses, including the exact dimensions, benefits, and considerations for each, along with tips for buying the right mattress.
The Difference Between Twin vs. Twin XL Mattresses
With twin versus twin XL sizes, the primary difference has to do with length. Twins and twin XLs are the same widths, though twin XLs are five inches longer. This makes twin XLs a better choice for tall sleepers who sleep alone, or for young sleepers who will likely grow in the next few years.
Find a breakdown of the dimensions below, along with information about what type of person may benefit from each mattress.
What Is a Twin Mattress?
A twin mattress is 38 inches wide and 75 inches long. Aside from toddler and crib mattresses, it's considered the smallest size. Due to the narrow width and relatively short length, twin mattresses are intended for only one sleeper. They also tend to be an affordable option compared to larger sizes.
Who Is a Twin Mattress Good For?
Due to the small size, a twin mattress is often seen as an ideal choice for a child. Twin bed frames are relatively compact and fit well in small rooms, and both the mattress and the bed are typically affordable. Most bunk beds use twin mattresses as well.
This mattress size can also work for tweens, teens, and college students under six feet tall. (The 75-inch length comes out to about 6 feet 3 inches.) Some people also place twin beds in guest rooms or multi-use spaces that double as offices, guest rooms, playrooms, or dens.
Designing a multifunctional space? Check out these 29 Home Office/Guest Bedroom Ideas.
What to Consider When Buying a Twin Mattress
Of course, a twin mattress is definitely not the right choice for everyone. The small size isn't ideal for most adults, especially taller people over six feet. Design-wise, it may also look out of place in a larger room that could accommodate a bigger bed.
What Is a Twin XL Mattress?
A twin XL mattress is essentially a longer version of a twin. Short for twin extra-long, it's 38 inches wide and 80 inches long, which is five inches longer than a regular twin-size mattress. Two twin XLs placed side by side come out to the same width and length as a king mattress (76 x 80 inches).
Who Is a Twin XL Mattress Good For?
The length of a twin XL mattress comes out to about six feet eight inches. This makes it an ideal choice for people who are short on bedroom space but too tall for a standard twin bed.
Twin XL is typical for dorm room bed sizes. Why? College students are adults, and when they live on campus, their bedrooms are often small and shared with a roommate.
Though dorm dwellers are known for making exceptions, twin XL mattresses are essentially big enough for only one sleeper. Since a twin XL mattress is exactly half the size of a king, it's also a go-to for split king beds.
What to Consider When Buying a Twin XL Mattress
Twin XL mattresses are a little less common than regular twins in that there are fewer bedding and bed frame options. However, it's not usually very hard to find what you need, especially in the age of online shopping. This size is also sometimes slightly more expensive than a standard twin.
Benefits of Twin and Twin XL Mattresses
Twin and twin XL mattresses are excellent space-savers, a perfect solution for small rooms, compact guest rooms, and dorms. They're ideal for certain life stages and transitional periods, like childhood, the teenage years, and college.
One of the main draws is that these mattresses are relatively affordable. While saving money shouldn't be the primary reason to get a small size, it's undoubtedly a benefit of buying one.
Frequently Asked Questions About Twin vs. Twin XL Mattresses
Find answers to frequently asked questions about twin and twin XL mattresses below.
Does a twin XL mattress fit a twin bed?
No, a twin XL mattress won't fit on a twin bed frame. At 38 x 80 inches, XL mattresses are the same width as twins (38 x 75 inches), only five inches longer. In other words, the width would work, but you'd have five extra inches hanging off the foot of the bed.
Is twin XL the same as twin?
Many people get twin versus twin XL mattresses confused — and understandably so. But a twin XL is not the same as a twin. A twin XL mattress measures 38 x 80 inches, whereas a regular twin mattress is 38 x 75 inches.
How much bigger is a twin XL than a twin?
When it comes to twin versus twin XL dimensions, there's really only one difference. Both mattresses are 38 inches wide, but twin XLs are five inches longer (80 inches versus 75 inches for a standard twin).
Is twin XL the same as full?
It's common for people to be confused by twin XL versus full-size beds. While both are on the smaller side for adult mattresses, they're not the same thing. A twin XL mattress is 38 inches wide and 80 inches long, whereas a full is 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. So twin XLs are the narrower, longer option, and fulls are wider but shorter.
Can adults sleep on twin XL beds?
In some cases, yes. Measuring 38 inches wide and 80 inches long, twin XL beds are generally big enough to accommodate one adult, even those taller than six feet. But the keyword here is one. If two people will be sleeping in the bed, a queen or king is ideal.
Background on Twin-Size Mattresses
Twin beds used to be the size of choice for most adults. From the late 19th century until the mid-20th century, having small, separate beds was common for married American couples. The sleeping arrangement was considered more hygienic and dignified, which was appealing to modern, forward-thinking households at the time.
But by the 1960s, the trend was on its way out. At that point, it was criticized as a sign of a failing relationship — or at least one with intimacy issues — and many couples began making the switch to a larger shared bed.
Today, most adult couples sleep on queens or kings. Twins are generally viewed as beds for children, teens, and college students. They're also a popular option used by adults in temporary housing or during transitional life stages.
Other Mattress Sizes to Consider
Now that you know the difference between twin versus twin XL mattresses, let's go over a few other common sizes. Find mattress dimensions and other considerations below.
The next size up after twin and twin XL is full. Full mattresses measure 54 x 75 inches. They're wider than both twin sizes but five inches shorter than twin XLs.
This is a good option for teens, single adults, guest rooms, and couples who don't mind cozying up with slightly less space than a queen would provide. A full mattress can also work well for a trundle bed or an extra-deep daybed.
Queen is the most popular mattress size among both single adults and couples. At 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, it offers enough space for one or two people.
A step up from queens and twice the size of a twin XL, king mattresses are 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. The large size is considered a luxurious option. It's often a go-to for hotel suites, spacious bedrooms, and those who just want the opulence of more space to spread out while sleeping or lounging in bed.
Then there's the California king (aka Cal king) mattress, which measures 72 inches wide and 84 inches long. While it's 12 inches wider than a queen, it's four inches narrower than a regular king. On the other hand, it's also four inches longer than a regular king, making it a top choice for very tall people who don't want their feet to hang off the bed at night.
Lastly, a split king mattress is essentially two twin XL mattresses. The overall dimensions are 76 x 80 inches. It's a good option for those buying beds with dual adjustable settings. This lets each person customize their sleeping experience, whether it's the angle or the temperature of their mattress.
Tips for Buying a Mattress
If you're in the market for a new mattress, these tips can help you select the right one.
Determine the Right Size and Thickness
The first thing to do is determine the proper size: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king, or split king. Next, think about how thick you want your mattress to be. Thicker designs typically provide more support, though thinner models may be more practical and affordable.
See our Mattress Size and Dimensions Guide for more detailed insight.
Consider Bedroom Size
If you're still unsure what size to get, consider the size of the bedroom where the mattress will be placed. This probably goes without saying, but twins and twin XLs are generally better for spaces with limited square footage, whereas they might look out of place in larger rooms.
Want more tips? Read our blog on Bed Frame Ideas: How to Choose the Best Bed Frame for Your Room.
Don't Overlook Age and Life Stage
Age and life stage are important considerations when choosing a mattress. While twins are a top choice for children, they could end up being too short for a teenager who hits a growth spurt.
On the other hand, twins and twin XLs are more affordable than larger mattresses. This makes them a reasonable option for temporary living situations and life stages, like living in a small dorm room or studio apartment.
Research Mattress Types and Materials
You'll also want to do your research on the different mattress types and materials. The most popular options include innerspring, foam, and hybrid which combines spring coils and foam or wool.
Consider Your Sleeping Position and Arrangement
Your preferred sleeping position and arrangement can also help you figure out what type and size mattress to get. Those who sleep with a partner or like to sprawl out in bed will likely need a queen or king. But a twin XL or full may work for folks who sleep alone in a relatively straight line on their side or back.
Have a Budget in Mind
It's good to have a budget in mind before shopping around. Since mattress prices vary significantly, you should have a rough idea of how much you're willing to spend and what you can afford.
For additional guidance, see our Decision-Making Guide for Buying the Right Mattress.
Considering the Lifespan of the Mattress
A high-quality mattress will last about 10 years. However, cheaper options may need to be replaced more often. You definitely don't need to buy the most expensive model, but investing in a high-quality mattress will help you avoid having to replace it prematurely.
Ready to swap out your old one? Here's How to Donate, Recycle and Dispose of Old Mattresses.
High-Quality, Comfortable Sleeping Essentials From Parachute
Now that you're up to speed on twin versus twin XL mattresses and know how to find the best option for your unique needs and preferences, you're ready to explore your options. If you're looking for a high-quality hybrid model that combines the pressure relief and support of innersprings with the plush and insulating breathability of New Zealand wool, you can't go wrong with the Eco Comfort Mattress.
Parachute also has an impressive selection of bed linens loomed from natural fibers, including Belgian linen, long-staple Turkish cotton, and organic cotton. Shop the bedding collection today!
Lancaster University. The curious history of the rise and fall of twin beds. 2019. Web.