Twin vs Twin XL Mattress

By Sheryl Grassie

Choosing the right mattress size can be a confusing decision. When you’re making an investment in buying a mattress that will last 7-10 years, you want to be sure you make the right choice. 

Unique to the twin mattress, there is also an extra-long version. Popular in guest rooms, children’s rooms, and college dorms, the twin and twin XL mattresses are convenient, cheaper, and easy to move. But which one should you buy? 

We’ll go over the differences between twin and twin XL mattress and the advantages/disadvantages of each. 

Twin vs Twin XL Mattress Comparison

The primary difference between a twin and twin XL mattress is five extra inches of length on the XL version. Twin mattresses are great for kids and small spaces, but they’re quite narrow for adults and certainly not ideal for couples. 

Twin XL are ideal for older children, teens, young adults, and college students who need extra length for their extra height. 

Twin Twin XL
Dimensions 38” x 75” 38” x 80”
Pros Ideal for kids or small spaces More leg room for taller people or older children/teens/young adults
Cons Narrow for adults Narrow for adults
Good for… Kids Kids and college students

History is a little vague on exactly where and when the first twin XL arrived on the scene, but it is commonly believed it was in relation to college dorms. Many students, and especially athletes, needed a longer bed frame for comfort. Twin XL beds appeared on college campuses and garnered the name “dorm beds.”

It is worth noting that with some companies, the width for both twin and twin xl mattresses can vary. Some companies cite 38 inches, and that does seem to be the most common, but others describe the twin and twin xl mattress as 38.5 inches or 39 inches wide. 

For a frame and sheets to be an exact fit for a mattress, double check the measurements of the items you are buying.

Should I Buy a Twin or Twin XL Mattress?

Deciding between a twin vs twin xl mattress is primarily a matter of who will be sleeping on the mattress and the size of the room that the mattress will be in.

  • Kids: If you are buying the mattress for a child transitioning out of a crib, then a twin may work wonderfully for years to come. 
  • Guest Room: If you are getting it for a guest room and the guests are taller adults, they might be more comfortable on a twin XL. 
  • Dorm Room: College students typically sleep on twin XL mattresses.
  • Single Adult Sleepers: Even though it’s narrow, adults can fit on a twin. A twin XL will be more comfortable, though, to account for extra height.
  • Split King Setup: If you and your partner decide you want to go the route of combining two twin mattresses in a king or split king frame, so you can each have separate mattress densities or mattress firmness, then the twin XL is perfect.

Read More: Best Twin Mattresses, Best Twin XL Mattresses

The most common places twin beds are used is in children’s rooms, dorm rooms, guest rooms, and master bedrooms; quite a few places if you stop and think about it. 

Establishing what size will work in a room requires a little measuring unless the room is very large. The standard determinants are a minimum of 30 inches of space around three sides of the bed for ease of movement. The last thing you want is a bed too big to shuffle around. 

In the case of the twin vs. twin XL, you are primarily assessing the length of the bed and a few inches can make a difference in how well it works in a room.

Other Considerations


The twin is generally cheaper than a twin XL. This is true of bedding accessories such as sheets, pillows, toppers, and bed frames as well.

If you are on a budget and the length doesn’t matter, you may want to go with the standard twin. If the cost difference, which is generally not substantial, is not a concern, you may want the extra length and to go with a twin XL.


Standard twin mattresses are easy to come by along with standard twin bedding. When you move up to the twin XL, things get a bit more difficult. 

Many, but not all, mattress manufacturers make a twin XL, and bedding availability is varied. Some linen companies offer twin XL sizes and others do not. So, if you don’t want the extra work of finding who carries those perfect organic sheets in a twin XL, you might go with the standard twin.

Durability and Longevity of Use

One further consideration is how long you want the bed to be viable. If you want the bed to last your child through their adolescence and beyond, you may want to just start out with a twin XL, so when your basketball-playing, 6-foot 2-inch son needs a longer bed, you don’t have to buy a new one.

Maybe you are buying a mattress for your daughter who is only 5-foot 2-inches and could get by with a standard twin, but you plan to move that bed to the guest room when she leaves for college. Then, you might want a twin XL, so it can be used for other adult guests who would be more comfortable in a longer bed.


Deciding between a twin vs. twin XL mattress? The only difference is five extra inches of length. 

Which will work best is predicated on several variables including the size of the person sleeping on the mattress, the room it will be used in, if the cost difference is worth it, availability of bedding, and how long you plan to use the bed. 

Having size options is a great way to find a mattress that is more comfortable, especially for the taller individual.

FAQs about Twin vs Twin XL Mattresses

Can twin sheets fit on a twin XL? 

No – a twin XL has an extra 5” of length, so twin-sized sheets will not be able to stretch around a twin XL mattress. However, twin XL sheets will fit on a twin-sized mattress, though the extra fabric may bunch up.

Is a twin XL the same as a full mattress? 

No – a twin XL is the same width of a twin mattress with an extra 5” of length. The dimensions of a twin XL mattress are 38” x 80”. A full mattress is larger, with the dimensions 54’ x75”. 

Read More: Twin XL vs Full Mattress

How long is a twin XL mattress? 

A twin XL mattress is 80” long. Compared to the standard twin mattress which measures 75” inches long, a twin XL has five extra inches of length. 

Do 2 twin XL mattresses make a king size mattress? 

Pretty much – King mattresses are 72” x 84”, so combining 2 twin XL mattresses that are each 38” x 80” takes up the same amount of space. Why would you do this? It’s far easier to transport 2 twin XL mattresses than one large king mattress.

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