Twin vs Twin XL Mattress Comparison Guide

Twin beds in a shared bedroom.

Andreas von Einsiedel/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Did you know the average person spends a whopping 26 years of their life sleeping? And who wants to spend years of their lifetime on a lumpy, uncomfortable mattress? Considering most mattresses last seven to 10 years—and can be big financial investments—it's important to choose the right mattress for your body weight and preferred sleeping positions, as well as your budget and bedroom square footage.

There are a number of considerations to make when shopping for a new mattress: Do you want firm or pillow-top? Memory foam, latex, or a traditional spring mattress? Do you prefer an eco-friendly mattress or traditionally produced one? Regardless of the questions you grapple with, step one should be determining the right-sized mattress for your body type and the space available in your home. Mattress sizes range from small singles to California kings, but this comparison guide will look at twin and twin XL mattresses. They share many similarities, but there are, in fact, some key differences you should know about before you head to your local mattress retailer or start shopping online.

Read on to learn about the differences between twin and twin XL mattresses, including their dimensions, cost differences, must-have bedding, and more.

Twin vs Twin XL Mattresses

Although they share the name "twin," twin and twin XL mattresses are actually two different sizes. While a standard twin mattress measures 38 inches wide by 75 inches long and totals 2,850 square inches, a twin XL mattress measures 38 inches wide by 80 inches long, totaling 3,040 square inches.

Twin mattresses are typically used in kids' rooms or smaller guest rooms, while twin XL mattresses are often found in college dorm rooms and smaller guest or master bedrooms. Both twin and twin XL mattresses are very versatile, but twin XL uses can sometimes be more creative: Oftentimes, homeowners will place two twin XL mattresses on a king-sized bed frame; they add up to the same measurements as a king, but allow sleepers to choose their preferred mattress firmness. What's more, a twin XL mattress may be a better pick for tall people: Although 5 inches may not seem like a substantial amount of extra space, it can be much more comfortable for people who are 6 feet or taller.

Twin mattresses have been a bedding staple for decades, but twin XL mattresses are relatively newer. It's believed that many colleges first introduced twin XL mattresses to give collegiate athletes roomier bedding. Since then, many people have adopted the roomier—but space-saving—option for their kids' beds at home, too.

In addition to your body type, it's important to consider your room's size when purchasing a new mattress. Generally, you want at least two feet of space around all sides of the bed that aren't against a wall. For a twin mattress, your room should be about 7 feet by 10 feet, and 7 feet by 11 feet for a twin XL mattress. You'll have to take other pieces of furniture—like dressers, nightstands, desks, and chairs—into account as well.

Cost

Depending on the type of mattress you choose, as well as its features (such as eco-friendly production), mattress costs can vary greatly. When it comes to twin versus twin XL mattresses, however, you can expect to pay an additional $100 for the roomier twin XL right off the top.

If you choose a twin XL mattress, be aware that some bedding manufacturers may produce different sized sheets, comforters, and quilts for twin and twin XL mattresses. Although most twin-sized bedding can fit on a twin XL mattress, be sure to check the exact measurements before you buy. Twin XL-sized bed frames may also be more difficult to find and cost more than a standard twin bed frame.

Lifespan

Depending on use and care, most mattresses can last between seven and 10 years. Mattresses that are used less often and are rotated every six months tend to last longer than mattresses with high usage. If your mattress begins to sag, feel lumpy, or cause joint pain, it may be time to consider purchasing a new one.

Because twin and twin XL mattresses share all of the same characteristics—except dimensions, of course—you can expect a similar lifespan from both options.

The Verdict

Ready to get shopping? We say, go for the twin mattress if it's going to be used in a child's room, a smaller guest room, or a bedroom with two beds. If you're over 6 feet tall, furnishing a smaller master bedroom or dorm room, or placing two mattresses side-by-side in a king-sized bed frame, a twin XL mattress is likely the right pick for you.