What Is the Difference Between UK & US King Size Sheet Set?

There’s no greater joy in life than finally finding the softest King size sheet sets for your bed. After painstakingly scouring through catalogs for a sheet set that is not only comfortable but also matches your room’s color palette perfectly, you’re finally ready to adorn your bed with it.

That is until you realize that the sheets don’t fit.

It doesn’t matter how much you pull from one side and hold down the other. You simply can not make the sheets cover your bed. Unfortunately, the laws of physics are against you on this one.

So, where did you go wrong?

Like with other standards of measurements, the UK and the US have a stark difference in the way they denote their bedding sizes. Of course, these varying standards of measurement can be a constant thorn in your sides.

But after reading this guide, you can pull out that thorn for good.

The Difference Between the UK and US King Size Sheets 

You might think that “King Size” is a standard label that is consistent throughout the world. But if you’re an American living in Britain, or a Brit living in America, you’ve probably learned the hard way that this is far from true. 

In fact, the UK and US King Size Beds aren’t even in the same ballpark. 

So, how can we understand the differences between UK and US King size sheets? When referring to the bed frame alone, we typically only consider the length and width of the bed. 

However, your softest King size sheets need to be tucked into the bed, which you need to compensate for through the width. For this reason, the height of your bed is a crucial measurement while shopping for bedding. 

Moreover, numerical measurements give us a more explicit idea of bed and bedding sizes than non-numerical labels. However, UK beddings will be given in inches, whereas US beddings will be given in centimeters. 

Now that we’ve laid down the groundwork, let’s take a look at how King size bedding differs between the two countries: 

  • UK King Size Bed— 60” × 78”; 5’ × 6’6”; 152 cm × 198 cm
  • US King Size Bed—76” × 80”; 6’3” × 6’3”; 193 cm × 202 cm

As you can see, the UK King size bed is smaller, both in length and width, than US King size beds. But what about the height? 

The thing is, a King size bed can come in a variety of heights. In fact, this applies to all bed sizes. The standard height for a box spring mattress is 25 inches or 63.5 cm, though it can go as high as 36 inches or 91.44 cm. 

Luckily, there is a way to circumvent this problem, but more on that later. 

Other Bedding Sizes In UK and US

As you may have guessed already, the variance in bed and bedding sizes don’t just end with King size beds. Not only do the same nomenclature mean different things, but there are certain labels that exist in only one country. 

Standard US Bed Sizes

  • Twin— 39” × 75”; 3’3” × 6’3”; 98 cm × 189 cm
  • Twin XL—  39” × 80”; 3’3” × 6’8”; 98 cm × 202 cm 
  • Small Double—  48” × 75”; 4’0” × 6’3”; 122 cm x 190.5 cm
  • Full or Double—  54” × 75”; 4’6” × 6’3”; 136 cm × 189 cm
  • Queen— 60” × 80”; 5’0” × 6’8”; 152 cm × 202 cm
  • King—  76” × 80”; 6’4” × 6’8”; 193 cm × 202 cm 
  • California King—  72” × 84”; 6’0” x 7’0”; 183 cm × 212 cm 

Standard UK Bed Sizes

  • Small Single— 30” × 75”; 76 cm × 191
  • Single— 36” × 75”; 3’0” × 6’3”; 91 cm × 191 cm
  • Small Double (also known as a three-quarter or four-foot bed)— 48” × 75”; 122 cm × 191 cm
  • Double— 54” × 75”; 4’6” × 6’3”; 137 cm × 191 cm
  • King— 60” × 78”; 5’0” × 6’6”; 152 cm × 198 cm
  • Super King— 72” × 78”; 6’0” × 6’6”; 183 cm × 198 cm
  • Emperor—6'6”× 6'6”; 200cm × 200 cm 

You may also like: Where to Buy Bamboo Pillowcases? Best Places to Buy with EXTRA Discounts!


Comparison

If you haven’t already noticed, US bed and bedding sizes tend to be significantly larger than their UK counterparts. Let’s take a look at a few examples to better understand this: 

  • There is no “Queen” size bed in the UK. Instead, a King size bed in the UK is equivalent to a Queen size bed in the US. 
  • What Americans refer to as a twin bed is more commonly known as a double bed in the UK. 
  • The largest mattress size in the UK— the Emperor mattress— is bigger than the largest mattress size in the US— the California king. 

Another thing to note here is that bed sizes don’t just end with these two countries. Granted, some countries that have been under British imperial influence will use UK standards, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. In these situations, it is best to refer to the numerical sizes rather than these labels. 

How to Buy the Right-Sized Sheets No Matter Where You Live

Everyone wants the softest King size sheets for their bed, but finding the right one isn’t an easy endeavor. Unfortunately, we can’t “try on” bedding the same way we would with clothes to make sure they fit. So here’s the next best thing: 

Step 1: Take Off the Sheets and Pillows 

The first thing you need to do is strip the bedding off your mattress so that you can get as accurate of a measurement as possible. 

Sometimes, the bedding is so padded and thick that it can deceive you into thinking your mattress is larger than it actually is. 

Step 2: Measure the Length and Width 

Using a tape measure, take the measurements of your mattress’s length and width. 

Keep in mind that mattresses are typically concave, that is, they slightly curve outwards in the middle. Therefore, take both the measurements from the center of your bed instead of the edges. 

Step 3: Measure the Height

You can only measure the height along the edges, but this won’t pose much of a problem. Simply place the tape on the upper seam and measure the height until the lower seam. 

Step 4: Refer to the Sizes Mentioned Above

Now that you know the dimensions of your bed, you can cross-reference these dimensions with those mentioned above. Subsequently, you’ll be able to identify which category your bed falls into depending on where you live. 

Step 5: Compensate for the Height 

If you have extra padding or cushioning on your mattress, you need to account for this added depth when buying sheets. 

A foolproof way of doing so is by using the following formula:

  • Minimum Sheet Width= Mattress width + mattress height + 5 inches or 13 cm

Keep in mind that there is such a thing as overcompensation. In fact, oversized sheets can be just as troublesome as undersized ones. 

How to Keep Bed Sheets from Sliding

What happens when you’ve gone above and beyond to find the softest King size sheets for your bed, yet they still shift around? In this case, the problem might not be the sheet size. Rather, the problem is that the sheets keep slipping.

To prevent this, you can: 

  • Use an undersheet to provide more friction. This is especially helpful when your bedding is made from silk, satin, or other slippery materials. 
  • Utilize rug corners. Rug corners are typically sold in hardware stores to help you keep your rug in place. However, you can use all-surface-friendly rug corners to keep your sheets from shifting. 
  • Use bed sheet suspenders. These are similar to pants suspenders, and they can hook your bedsheets into place. 
  • Attach safety pins to hold your bedding in place. Moreover, you can use this method to salvage ill-fitted sheets instead of throwing them away. 

How to Keep Bed Sheets from Shrinking

Shrinkage is a common yet avoidable problem when it comes to all fabrics, and your softest King size sheets are no exception. 

Of course, the typical washing rules to avoid shrinkage apply to bed linen as well: wash your sheets separately, avoid using harsh detergents, use low temperatures while washing and drying, and so on. 

But you can nip the problem in the bud by ensuring that you don’t have to wash your sheets as frequently. 

High-quality bedding such as the Mizu Hardcore Silver Sheets Set minimizes the number of times you have to throw your sheets in the washer. This is largely thanks to its anti-bacterial and self-cleaning properties. Additionally, the sheets are thermoregulated, which means minimizes sweat build-up, which in turn minimizes washing. 

Conclusion

The best beds and the most comfortable mattresses can fall short if you don’t have the right bedding to complement them. Apart from purchasing the softest King size sheets, you need to make sure you buy the correct size as well. 

Unfortunately, there truly is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to King size beds, especially among different countries. 

To make things simple, keep in mind that UK King size bed dimensions are smaller than those in the US. Another helpful rule of thumb is that the former’s King size is equivalent to the latter’s Queen size. 

Now, getting a good night’s sleep will never be a problem again— no matter where you live!