Twin vs Twin XL

Written by: Alex Savy
Read 5 minLast updated May 22, 2020

The main difference between Twin and Twin XL is their dimensions:

Twin is 39 x 75 inches, and Twin XL is of the same width but 5 inches longer, which makes it 39 x 80 inches.

But does this slight difference really matter? 

Well, the short answer is yes. And to find out how to pick the right size, check out my detailed Twin vs Twin XL comparison right below!

Brief Historical Reference on Twin and Twin XL Sizes

Brief Historical Reference on Twin and Twin XL Sizes

Before we dive into the comparison, you might want to know how Twin and Twin XL beds first appeared on the market.

With a Twin-size mattress, it’s quite simple:

When the first innerspring bed was made, a Twin mattress was the only option for a single sleeper. That’s why they are also called ‘Single’.

The other option was ‘Double’, which today is known as a Full-size mattress and was then meant for couples.

Things remained this way until the ’60s, when larger beds were introduced to the market and Twin mattresses started to be used as kids’ beds.

However, several outbreaks of the infectious diseases in the US in the late 19th century made Twin beds return to the market because of hygiene and safety concerns (1). The public health officials suggested that couples should maintain social distancing and sleep in separate beds during the outbreaks.

But what about Twin XL beds?

Today, we know extra-long Twin mattresses as a staple for college dormitories around the US. However, their first appearance on campuses was made in the 1970s and is connected to the fact that the average human height was increasing (1).

So, the extra five inches made an outstanding improvement, especially for male students, whose average height today is about 69 inches (2). Twin XL beds allowed the sleepers to make themselves comfortable without having to twist their body into impossible positions on a shorter bed.

Who Will Benefit from a Twin-Size Bed?

Now, there are a lot of standard mattress sizes, and each of them is made for certain kinds of users. So, to understand whether this or that mattress size will work for you, you just need to understand if you are among those kinds of users. 

When it comes to choosing between Twin vs Twin XL, here’s who will benefit the most from the former:

  • Single sleepers.Who Will Benefit from a Twin-Size Bed Obviously, a Twin-size bed offers a sufficient sleeping area to accommodate one average-weight or small adult sleeper. Heavy users might fit in, but generally, they need a bit more space to make themselves comfortable, so I don’t recommend such narrow beds as Twin and Twin XL for larger sleepers.
  • Kids. With the rise of Queen and King mattresses, Twin beds migrated into kids’ rooms. They can offer a fair amount of space and sufficient support for your little one’s growing body and don’t take much of the room, so your child will have enough floor space to play.
  • Owners of small spaces. The compact size of the Twin mattress makes it a perfect fit for tiny bedrooms or studio apartments. With a variety of space-saving bed frames, you’ll be able to get your portion of comfortable sleep without having to install a bulky bed.
  • Those who have a guest room. If you occasionally invite friends or family overnight, then one or two Twin-size mattresses installed in the guest room will solve the accommodation problem. Place two beds apart, and your two friends will have a spot to snooze; or, merge them together for your brother and his wife. Still better than a couch.

“Twin is considered one of the standard sizes and has good market demand, so it might be a bit easier to find mattresses and bedding accessories of this size.”

Who Will Benefit from a Twin XL Bed?

Now, let’s take a look at Twin XL. 

Apparently, extra five inches make quite a difference in terms of comfort.

So, if you’re in doubt about whether you need a Twin XL or Twin mattress for your bedroom, go for the former if:

  • You’re tall. Who Will Benefit from a Twin XL BedIf your height is more than 5’5’’, you’ll probably feel a bit squished on a Twin bed. Or, your legs will hang out. Both of these don’t sound cozy, so do yourself a favor and purchase a longer bed.
  • You have a small and narrow bedroom. Twin XL is of the same width as Twin, so if a Twin mattress fits your bedroom, it’s extra-long brother will do as well. However, a Twin XL bed will look more proportional in narrower spaces.
  • You and your partner have different comfort preferences. Fun fact: two Twin XL mattresses placed side by side are equal to a King-size bed, which is the widest option on the market and can fit two adult sleepers of any body composition (3). However, if you and your bedmate have a different understanding of comfort, you can purchase two independent Twin XL mattresses, each chosen according to your preferences.
  • You want to save money. If the width of a Single mattress is comfortable for you but you need some extra space for your legs, then purchasing a Twin XL mattress will definitely be cheaper for you than buying a Queen or King mattress, which offer the same length as Twin XL.

Now that you’ve read this article, which size do you think will work best for you? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

FAQ

What is the best room size for a Twin bed?

The best room size to fit a Twin bed is 7” x 10” or 8” x 9”. However, you might also be able to place it in smaller spaces, with the minimum room size being 6’6” x 6’6”. 

What is the best room size for a Twin XL bed?

The best room size for a Twin XL is 8” x 10”. If you want to place two Twin XL beds in the bedroom, be sure to have at least 10” x 10” of space.

References

  1. Alia Wong (2019, August 31). How Twin XL Beds Took Over College Campuses. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2019/08/why-twin-xl-beds-dominate-college-dorms/597091/
  2. National Health Statistics Reports  (2018, December 20) Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr122-508.pdf 
  3. Twin XL Dimensions: What Size Is a Twin XL Bed? (2019, November 8) Retrieved from https://purple.com/blog/twin-xl-dimensions

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