Twin vs. Twin XL — How to Pick the Right One for You

published Feb 28, 2024
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Choosing a bed is an important decision — after all, people spend about one third of their lives sleeping. It’s not just the style of frame or mattress brand that you have to pick; it’s also the size of the bed. There’s plenty of advice on how to pick between a full and a queen and which type of king bed would work better for your space.

But what about a twin bed? And what’s the difference between twin vs. twin XL? If you’ve ever been to college or helped set someone up for their freshman dorm room, you’ve probably wondered this very thing. Read on to find out!

What’s the difference between a twin vs. twin XL bed?

Twin beds are the smallest size out of kings, queens, fulls, and the like, and they’re the most common bed size for a single person. There are two twin mattress sizes: a standard twin and a twin XL. At 38” wide, a standard twin bed is plenty big for a child or adult to use comfortably all night long. As the name suggests, a twin XL (an extra-long twin) is longer than a standard twin mattress. Because they are the same width, it can be hard to choose between the two. Here’s how those size differences net out:

  • Standard Twin: 38” x 75”
  • Twin XL: 38” x 80”

Twin XL mattresses are five inches longer than a standard twin mattress. Both are 38” wide, but a standard twin is only 75” long, while a twin XL is 80” long. Because of their narrow width, standard twin mattresses are typically used in a child’s bedroom, but they can also be a great option for any small bedroom or guest room.

With their extra length, twin XL mattresses are better suited to tall adults who could use the additional legroom when sleeping. Twin XL mattresses are also the standard mattress size in most on-campus dorms. Additionally, two twin XL mattresses can be combined to form a split king mattress. A split king mattress is the same exact size as a king mattress (76” x 80”), but because it’s actually two separate mattresses, each sleeper can choose their desired firmness and other bedding preferences. 

How to Choose Between a Twin and a Twin XL

When it comes to choosing between a standard twin mattress and a twin XL mattress, it ultimately is a matter of personal preference. That being said, there are a few factors to keep in mind. 

Both mattresses would fit comfortably in a small bedroom, but what about for the person using the bed? If you’re taller than 6’, then it probably makes more sense for you to go with a twin XL mattress for extra comfort. Alternatively, a standard twin bed is a safe choice for young children or for a cozy guest room with limited floor space. 

If you’re planning on combining two beds together to form a split king bed, then a twin XL is the way to go. That way, the mattresses will fit perfectly on a split king bed frame, and you and your partner can enjoy sleeping in the same bed while retaining your own personal sleeping space and sleeping comforts. 

Cost-wise, twin XL mattresses are slightly more expensive than standard twins. So, if staying on a budget is important to you, then keep in mind that a standard twin mattress — which is an adequate bed size for an individual — will be cheaper than an extra-long mattress. If you do have to buy a twin XL, you can still save on sheets — most stores consider the sizes interchangeable and sell sheets as Twin/Twin XL, meaning no matter which mattress you get, you’ll still buy the same set of sheets. 

Where to Get Twin/Twin XL Mattresses

Our editor-tested favorites have a variety of great mattresses at various price points in both Twin and Twin XL sizes that can give you a great night’s sleep.

1 / 5
was $595.00

The Casper Mattress is a reasonably affordable pick that’s designed to give you a comfortable rest while keeping you cool. It has four layers designed to prevent sagging, support your joints, and keep the temperature comfortable, finishing off with a cozy knit cover that’ll make it all but impossible to leave the bed in the morning. Starting at just $505 for a twin, it’s the perfect pick if you want one of the best on the market without breaking the bank.

2 / 5

If you tend to run hot, the Molecule Mattress is the one for you. It topped the “Best Cooling” category in our list, and comes with a specialized moisture-wicking cover which works great for hot sleepers and stuffy rooms alike. Starting at $699 for a twin, it’s still in the affordable range, and definitely worth it if you find yourself sweating through the night.

3 / 5
was $919.00

If you plan to use a twin or twin XL in a guest room, then this memory foam mattress is just the ticket. This innovative mattress has a firm half and a medium firm half, and if you flip it over, you get medium soft and soft half. Your guests can get whatever softness profile they prefer with a flip or rotation — and as a bonus, flipping and rotating will keep your mattress feeling fresh as well! Starting at $671, it’s pretty good in the price category, too.

4 / 5
Big Fig Mattress
was $1499.00

If you’re plus-sized, Big Fig will work out great — and you can opt for a twin XL if you’re taller. Its three layers prevent sagging and keep you cool all night. It can support up to 550 pounds and has increased edge support as well. Starting at $999, it’s a good mid-range option for most people.

5 / 5
Pillow Cube

If you’re a side sleeper willing to shell out a bit more for the perfect mattress, the Pillow Cube Deluxe should be your pick. The top third is super soft to allow your shoulder to sink in, with the rest being a little firmer to support your hips at night. It’s got five layers designed for support, breathability, and coziness, and starts at $1499 for a twin.