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When it comes to mattress purchases, a person can get overwhelmed by the sheer number of relevant factors and properties to consider. Prices often draw the eye before anything else except for surface appearance, but how long a bed lasts and how much support it offers is also near the top of the priority list. Once these initial qualities are satisfactory, it is wise to direct your attention to less obvious ones. While size isn’t exactly subtle, it tends not to factor in until the shopper is satisfied with the price and quality.
Depending on who is making the purchase, size can be a significant limiting factor. Larger mattresses tend to cost considerably more, and it may not be possible to fit them every size in your bedroom. Some manufacturers offer size customizations and unique size options, but that’s not what you normally see on the market. Out of the main six size options (Twin, Twin XL, Full/Double, Queen, King, California King), we will focus on two in this article – Full/Double and Twin XL. Hopefully, by the end, you will know enough about these two sizes to choose what fits the best. We will look into both sizes individually before making comparisons and conclusions. Let’s get into it.
The Pros and Cons of Twin XL Mattresses
Twin XL stands for Twin Extra Long, which means these models boast solid length. While a standard twin-sized bed is around 75 inches long, the XL version is five inches longer, at 80 total. It has the same width as a normal twin-sized model, clocking in at 38 inches wide. Compared to a king-sized model, twin XL has the same length, but exactly half the width, making them ideal for tall single sleepers. It can be quite difficult for two people to share a single twin XL, as the width doesn’t support it.
Twin XL comes with several noticeable benefits. For one, they’re much easier to fit into a room than full/double mattresses, despite being five inches longer. A single twin XL takes up roughly 3,120 square inches, 930 square inches less than most full/double mattresses, which measure in at 4,050 square inches. If you’re scrambling to find space in your bedroom, a twin XL might be the more suitable size of the two.
Because XL models are overall smaller than full/double beds, their price point is often less scary. In most cases, the price difference ranges between $50 and $350 in favor of the XL mattresses. Depending on the brand in question, you may find XL models that cost the same as a full/double version.
If you’re taller than 6’3”, the twin XL should be much more appealing. Full/double options may be double the width, but their length may not be comfortable for a taller person. Twin XLs are also often the cheapest size option that still supports taller sleepers.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. Twin XLs have a handful of downsides that may scare some people off, but it’s worth getting informed about them. For example, while a twin XL is perfect for people up to 6’7” in height, you lose around 16 inches in width compared to a full mattress, and if you’re someone who prefers extra space to move around, XL models leave something to be desired. On that same note, XL mattresses are definitely not couple material, because they don’t have enough room for two people to position themselves comfortably. Another concern is the potentially limited availability. Twin XLs aren’t super difficult to find, but they’re considerably less common than full/double mattresses, so you may need to invest extra effort.
The Pros and Cons of Full/Double Mattresses
Full-sized (or double-sized) mattresses are the choice of people who prefer a wider sleeping surface. Measuring in at 54 inches wide by 75 inches long, these beds have plenty of space to maneuver around and establish a comfortable sleeping position. They’re one of the most versatile yet affordable size options, and as such, they’re used in a variety of establishments, such as hotels, hostels, hospitals, and college dorms. A subtle advantage here is that because they’re so widespread, you know what you’re getting in advance in terms of size, as long as you’ve spent at least one night at a hotel or something. Still, there are benefits and disadvantages to look into here, so let’s examine these sizes.
The main advantage of owning a double-sized mattress is the extra width you get that you wouldn’t have with a twin XL. If you tend to toss and turn during the night, this extra space can be a valuable selling point. It’s also usable as a short-term bedding solution for couples, although the width still isn’t enough to let both sleepers move around freely. Not only that, but full/double mattresses can be found almost anywhere, and this accessibility makes them easy to try and popular among the general public.
The downsides should be obvious at this point, especially compared to the twin XL options. Full/double mattresses almost always cost a bit more, and while the price doesn’t suddenly skyrocket into crazy unaffordable territory, the extra $50-350 can make all the difference if you’re on a tight budget.
While full-sized models are much more suitable for couples than twin XL ones, they’re still not ideal. It can be manageable if both of you sleep just fine without lots of room to move around, but people who prefer extra space for their limbs may find it hard to adjust. If your choice is narrowed down to these two categories due to budget constraints, full/double mattresses are still superior.
If you’re tall (hovering around 6’4” or taller), full/doubles may not be suitable for you, as your legs might end up hanging, which can be uncomfortable. In those situations, a twin XL is a better option, especially if you’re single and don’t need to share your bed with anyone.
Which One Should You Go For?
Now that you understand all the necessary things about mattress sizes, we can ask the right questions. Which size you end up selecting can depend on a number of preferences and situational factors, and we will go through them one by one to help you find what fits you best. The questions you should be asking look something like this:
What Is Your Body Type?
Personal comfort is possibly the single most important factor when it comes to choosing a mattress, and in this case, you want to match the size of your bed to your body type. While a twin XL can support people of various weight levels, it doesn’t offer much space to stretch out in. A full/double size is often great for large-bodied sleepers, but the decreased length can be a dealbreaker for taller individuals. It comes down to a trade-off between length and width in this situation.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
Money doesn’t grow on trees, and you may end up being forced to purchase an inferior model simply because it is more affordable. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck, however – you often still have a choice between sizes, as neither one of these size options ends up costing more than $800. The larger a bed is, the more likely it is to be expensive. Be warned – if a mattress comes with a suspiciously low price, that often means costs were cut somewhere during production. Be careful when making your purchase, and if possible, try out every model that interests you.
What Is Your Preferred Sleeping Position?
Not every sleeping position demands the same amount of space. Back sleepers tend to position their body in a way that justifies narrow mattresses because their arms are often close to their chest and stomach. Stomach sleepers often have to improvise when it comes to limb positioning, so they may want the extra space that a full/double provides (assuming they’re not too tall for one). Side sleepers often want the most space, as they tend to spread out their arms and legs to achieve optimal comfort. In their case, a full/double mattress might be more appropriate even if they’re tall, depending on how much extra width they want.
Do You Sleep Alone?
The sad truth when it comes to these mattress sizes is that they’re not couple-friendly. If you frequently sleep with another person in the same bed, then a twin XL mattress is especially ill-suited for your needs. While full/double mattresses aren’t ideal for couples, they’re the better option of the two. To a lesser extent, the same applies if you have pets that like to jump into bed with you regularly. Full/double mattresses help you avoid feeling cramped unless you’re too tall for them.
How Big Is Your Bedroom?
Many people have more possessions in their home than what their space can comfortably support. When it comes to picking a mattress, the overall size in square inches can be a deciding factor if your room lacks space in some way. Twin XL mattresses are longer but thinner, and take up less space overall. However, you may find that you don’t have room for a bed that long, in which case a full/double mattress is better.
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Tanya is a professional writer and editor with a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago. Tanya has been fighting insomnia for most of her adult life, and she knows firsthand how vital a good night’s rest can be for people with sleep problems.