Single vs Twin Bed: Is There a Difference?

You just moved to your dream apartment. Kudos to you! 

Single vs Twin Bed: Is There a Difference?
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And while you were shopping online for a bunch of furniture, you stumbled upon single and twin beds. 

In your head, the mattresses looked almost identical. But they have different terms, so that can only mean they’re unrelated, right? 

Well, spare yourself the overthinking because, in this article, we’ll unravel the famous mystery of the single vs twin bed.

Difference Between Single and Twin Beds

Single and twin beds are two sides of the same coin. Both have dimensions of around 75 × 38 inches. So, they’re 22 inches narrower and 5 inches shorter than queen beds. 

However, single and twin beds differ a bit function-wise. A twin bed refers to one single bed that comes in pairs. For instance, if you have two kids, you could say that you’d get them a set of two twin or single beds.  

But why do they have different terms even though they’re identical? People only used the name “single bed” until hotels started putting two single beds in a room, calling them “twin beds.” Ever since that, “twin bed” became the more popular term.

As the name suggests, a single or twin bed carries one person. But you can join two twins to leave room for an extra fellow. 

In short, if you’re on a budget and want a small and compact bed, a single or twin mattress is a choice worth considering! 

For your convenience, check this quick comparison between twin beds and single mattresses. 

Point of comparison Single bed Pair of twin beds
Dimensions 75 × 38 inches Same size but in pairs
Ideal for Guestroom Kids’ room
Benefit Ideal for one kid Can fit an adult or two kids
Drawback Uncomfortable for adults Uncomfortable for couples

Which One to Choose: Two Twins or a Single?

After finding out what a single or twin bed means, you either need to get a pair of twin beds or a single mattress for your room. To simplify things, here are three factors to help you make an informed decision.

Sleeper Age

Thinking about transitioning your kid to an adult-sized bed instead of a crib? Consider moving him to a single mattress—as long as the kid is at least five years old. This is because single mattresses are spacious and comfortable enough for kids to sleep in.

But if you’re getting the bed for yourself and are on a budget, you should consider joining two twin beds together and sleeping on them. Sleeping on only one won’t give you high sleep quality, especially if you’re an active sleeper.

Number and Size of Sleepers 

Who will sleep in the bed, a couple, a child, or an adult? In a single bed, only a kid can sleep with ease. Meanwhile, a pair of twin mattresses are appropriate for two young siblings. But for two adults, fitting in a twin bed is guaranteed to be impossible. 

If you’re a couple on a limited budget, you can fit in a pair of twin beds pushed together as a temporary solution.

Room Size

Single vs Twin Bed: Is There a Difference?
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Single beds are the smallest standard size, making them ideal for rooms as small as 70 square feet. In fact, some people prefer placing bunk beds to leave more space for the nightstands, wardrobe, etc. 

If you have two kids in a crowded room, we recommend placing a pair of single beds separated by a bedside table to benefit from the remaining space. 

In general, whether you want to place one or two twin mattresses, a small dorm is spacious enough.  

Other Forms of Twin Beds

While twin mattresses are ideal if you’re on a budget, they come with drawbacks like narrowness. So, here are modified versions of twin-sized beds to tackle these downsides.

Twin XL

While the classic twin bed is 75 inches long, the actual sleeping length is less than that. This is due to the space a pillow takes away from the length, so people over 6 feet might struggle to sleep. 

As an alternative solution, twin XL beds have the same width as the classic single beds. Except the former are 5 inches longer, which makes them great if you’re tall. 

In fact, those extra inches made twin XL beds a staple in every college dorm due to the added comfort. 


  • Affordable but slightly pricier than twin beds
  • More comfortable for adults since it’s lengthier than twin beds


  • Can’t fit two people
  • Takes more space than twin beds

Best For:

  • Tall people
  • Solo sleepers

Junior Twin Bed

Single vs Twin Bed: Is There a Difference?
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Junior twin mattresses, or youth beds, are a hybrid between cribs and twin-sized beds. Their dimensions are around 33 × 66 inches, making them bigger than a crib. 

If you’re struggling with transitioning your toddler from a crib to a bed, try to move him to a junior mattress. That’s because even though a junior twin bed is larger than a toddler mattress, it’s still small enough to make the toddler feel at ease.

On a side note, junior mattresses lack surrounding rails, so they mean less safety. However, youth beds hang low to the ground, which protects kids from falling.


  • Protects toddlers from accidents
  • Facilitates transitioning to an adult bed
  • Doesn’t take space


  • Toddlers outgrow junior beds quickly
  • Not worth the money since it’s used short term

Best For:

  • Toddlers who aren’t ready for a bed yet

Split King Bed 

A split king mattress has the dimensions of a standard king-size, so around 76 × 80 inches. But the only difference is that the bed has a gap in-between; hence the name split king. 

You can make a split king bed by joining two XL twins. That’s why it’s considered a large form of the standard twin mattress

If you and your partner have different sleeping habits but don’t want a sleep divorce, getting a split king mattress is ideal. This bed will give you the roominess of a king bed and the freedom of customizing your mattress—the best of both worlds! 


  • You can customize it
  • More portable than a regular king bed
  • Partners can sleep in any position without disturbing each other


  • Assembling the bed is tricky
  • The split makes the bed unsuitable for kids or pets. 
  • Comes with a price tag higher than king-sized mattresses
  • Takes up more space than the traditional twin bed

Best For:

Twin Bed Cost 

Due to the reasonable price of twin beds, they became the go-to choice for every broke college student or person on a budget. 

But the cost of a twin mattress can vary widely—around $150 and up—depending on factors like mattress material and bedding type. So, we listed out the main points you need to consider when buying a twin mattress

Material Type 

Are you a heavy sleeper or a light one? Do you love the comfort of a soft memory foam mattress or the firmness of an innerspring one? Or, maybe you want something in-between, such as a hybrid mattress

The options are endless, so I made a comparison between mattresses from a cost standpoint.   

Material type Firmness level Price category Best for
Memory foam Soft Mid-to-high price Side sleepers
Innerspring Firm Low-to-mid price Stomach and back sleepers
Hybrid Medium Mid-to-high price  Combination sleepers
Latex Medium-Firm High price Back and side sleepers

Bed Sheets

Single vs Twin Bed: Is There a Difference?
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There are a variety of bedsheet types in the markets—linen, cotton, microfiber, and whatnot. Since they affect sleep quality, you might spend more time picking the right bedsheet than buying the twin bed.

People prefer cotton bedsheets the most because they’re soft, durable, and hygienic. And even though they’re one of the most expensive—right after linen and bamboo bedding sets—they’re worth every penny. 

There are several types of cotton bedsheets, like Egyptian cotton, Pima, and Upland. If you fancy a luxurious bedsheet, Egyptian cotton will fit the bill. That’s because it’s handpicked into durable, extra-long fibers.  

However, bedsheets like Pima or Upland are going to be more suitable if you’re on a limited budget. 

For newlyweds and couples, a romantic satin or silk bedsheet is what we recommend. But keep in mind that the former is more affordable than the latter.

Conversely, if you prefer durable bedsheets that won’t empty your pockets, buying a microfiber bedsheet is your best bet. 

Mattress Thickness 

The thickness of a mattress can contribute a lot to your sleep quality. But thicker mattresses come with higher price tags. Check the table below to see how the various thicknesses compare. 

Thickness Price category Best for
Low profile (2-5 inches) Cheapest Elderly sleepers
Slim (5-8 inches) Affordable Guests, kids, or disabled sleepers
Standard (8-12 inches) Moderate Average-sized sleepers (130-230 pounds)
Thick (12-20 inches) Expensive Side sleepers and couples
Extra thick (>20 inches) Most expensive Large sleepers (>230 pounds) 

Bed Frame 

Bed frames are affordable and won’t have a huge effect on the price of a twin bed. But getting low-quality ones will give you low sleep quality. To help you make a sensible choice, check these two main frame types. 

Wood Bed Frames

Most people prefer to opt for wooden bed frames because they come in customizable shapes and sizes. However, the high-quality, handmade ones are the most expensive frames. 


  • Customizable
  • Easy to recycle and clean
  • Stylish


  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Metal Bed Frames

A metal bed frame is another viable option since it can handle heavy weights. In fact, we suggest you get them for single and twin XL beds as a cost-effective alternative to wood bed frames.


  • No need for maintenance
  • Don’t get physical damage
  • Easy to paint on
  • Cheaper than wood bed frames


  • Susceptible to rust
  • Hard to recycle
  • Don’t look as good as wooden frames
  • Noisy


Twin beds are superior when it comes to compactness, but what makes them even better are the accessories that accompany them. 

For example, some twin-sized mattresses have built-in storage or a three-piece drawer. This storage helps you save even more space by keeping clothes or documents inside. 

Of course, twin mattresses that come with attachments are pricier than regular ones, but they’re worth the money if you live in a crowded room.

Final Thoughts

Single vs Twin Bed: Is There a Difference?
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In a nutshell, single and twin mattresses are identical, with dimensions of about 75 × 38 inches. But some people prefer to use the term twin bed when it comes with another pair. 

With their narrow width, single mattresses are the preferred solution for rooms as small as 70 square feet. They’re also suitable for people on a budget. But if you’re taller than 6 feet, an XL twin bed will be more comfortable.

As for pairs of twin beds, they’re ideal if you have two young kids you want to put in the same room. They also work for adults if pushed together.

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