Should you buy a queen or full size mattress this Memorial Day? Here's how to tell

The Purple Plus mattress on a bed frame in a room (left) vs the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe Cooling mattress on a bed frame in a bedroom (right)
(Image credit: Purple Sleep / Brooklyn Bedding)

Thinking of getting a new mattress this Memorial Day? Don't overlook the importance of choosing the right size. And if you live in the U.S., there's a good chance you'll be choosing between a queen mattress vs a full size bed.

As two of the most popular mattress sizes, every option in our best mattress guide is available as both a full and queen bed. Full sizes are typically recommended for solo sleepers, while queen sizes are best for couples. 

But that's not the only thing to consider when making your choice. In this guide, we'll explore how body type, sleep preference, budget, and bed partners can all affect whether you choose a queen or a full size mattress. 

We're expecting to see some big savings on both queen mattresses and full sizes in the upcoming Memorial Day mattress sales, so this is a great time to shop. To help you out, we've also rounded up some of the best deals on both bed sizes below.

Queen vs full size mattress: Key differences

Full mattresses and queen mattresses are two of the most popular bed sizes in the U.S. A queen bed is one size bigger than a full bed in traditional mattress sizing. A full bed size measures 54 inches wide by 75 inches long, while a queen is 60 inches wide by 80 inches long. 

The best queen mattresses are often used by couples and solo sleepers with bigger builds, while full beds are better for adult solo sleepers. Full beds are also popular for teenagers, and they can make a good guest room bed – though visiting couples will have to snuggle up.

In terms of pricing, as such popular bed sizes, you can find full and queen mattresses to suit a range of budgets. Queen mattresses are more expensive than full beds – we expect to see roughly $100-$250 difference between a full and a queen in the same range. Let's break down the key differences between queen mattresses and full size...

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Full mattressQueen mattress
Best for...Solo sleepersCouples
Recommended room size10' X 10'12' X 12'
Price range$500 – $1,600$700 – $1,800
Mid-range price$650$900

What is a full size mattress?

A full mattress measures 54 inches wide x 75 inches long. They're one of the most popular bed sizes for solo sleeping adults, offering room to stretch out without leaving half the bed empty. A full is longer and wider than a twin mattress, which measures 38 x 75 inches. Twin mattresses are often used by children and teenagers.

Most solo sleepers will find the a full bed has enough room to get comfortable without feeling cramped, but if you're particularly tall or have a bigger build, a full might seem constricting. Consider upgrading to a queen, or, if room space is an issue, try a twin XL. At 38 x 80 inches, a twin XL lacks the width of a full, but has extra length. 

A young person sleeps alone on a small bed

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A full mattress is best suited for rooms measuring 10 x 10 feet, or 10 x 12 feet. Bigger than this, and the bed might look lost in the room. Smaller, and you lose out on space to move around.

You can fit two people on a full size mattress, but it’s going to be a bit of a squeeze, especially if either of you are bigger than average. If you’re a couple who doesn’t mind cuddling every night, then a full size mattress could be right for you. (But it might be worth investing in one of the best cooling mattresses to prevent things from overheating.)

3 best full mattresses to buy today

1. Purple Plus Mattress:$1,799

1. Purple Plus Mattress: full size $1,799 $1,499 at Purple
The Purple Plus Mattress uses a GelFlex Grid to create adaptable pressure relief. Sitting just beneath the surface, this elasticated grid bends and moves to match your body shape, for support in any sleep position. You can learn more about it in our Purple Plus Mattress review. The current Purple sale knocks $300 off all sizes of the Plus, meaning percentage-wise, you're getting the best saving on a smaller size like the full.

2. Siena Memory Foam Mattress: $699

2. Siena Memory Foam Mattress: full size $699 $349 at Siena Sleep
There's an evergreen mattress sale at Siena, so you'll never have to pay MSRP. This also means we don't get bigger discounts at the major holidays, but we're not complaining: $349 is an incredible price for a full mattress, especially one of this quality. In our Siena Memory Foam Mattress review we were impressed by the support and overall build of the Siena mattress. It's ideal for a guest room,  

3. Zoma Boost mattress: $1,549

3. Zoma Boost mattress: full size $1,549 $1,349 at Zoma Sleep
The Zoma Boost has been designed for active lifestyles, combining plush cushioning with fantastic cooling. In our Zoma Boost mattress review we noted that motion isolation could be better, but that shouldn't be a problem if you sleep alone. There's $200 off all sizes of the Zoma Boost currently, taking a full size down to $1,349. 

What is a queen size mattress?

Queen mattresses are wider and longer than full mattresses, measuring 60 x 80 inches. They're best suited for couples and solo sleepers who want plenty of space. Two people can generally fit comfortably in a queen bed without getting in each other's way (and the Scandinavian sleep method can help even couples with different sleep preferences share a queen in harmony).

Queen is one size smaller than a king mattress, which measures 76 x 80 inches – the same length as a queen, but significantly wider. King mattresses are ideal for couples who want extra space, and families who like to cuddle up with the kids. And yes, we’re including pet parents in this. If you want to snuggle up with your golden retriever, it’s probably worth sizing up from a queen and investing in one of the best king mattresses.

Two people lie next to each other in bed

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, if you're particularly tall, your best choice is a California king bed. These measure 72 x 84 inches, making them both wider and longer than a queen – no more feet poking out the end of the mattress. 

We recommend a minimum bedroom size of 12 x 12 feet for a queen. This ensures the mattress doesn't overwhelm the space, while ensuring you still have plenty of room to access the bed. If you have the space for it, a queen bed is also good for a guest room, especially if you regularly have couples to stay.

3 best queen mattresses to buy today

1. Saatva Classic Mattress: $2,095

1. Saatva Classic Mattress: queen size $2,095 $1,781 at Saatva
The Saatva Classic delivers a luxury sleep experience, with three firmness levels allowing you to customize the bed to suit your sleep preferences. The impressive edge support and motion isolation we noted during our Saatva Classic Mattress review makes it good for couples, but this is one queen size bed you might want all for yourself. Saatva mattress sales are semi-frequent, and while this 15% off deal is good, we're hoping for a bigger saving over Memorial Day.

2. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe Cooling mattress: $1,865

2. Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe Cooling mattress: queen size $1,865 $1,398.80 at Brooklyn Bedding
In our Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe Cooling mattress review we found this mattress to be cooling and supportive, even if average motion isolation might be an issue for some couples. As well as queen size, the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe is also available as a short queen – that's 60 inches wide by 74 inches long. In the current 25% off sale, both the queen and short queen sizes are down to $1,398.80. 

3. Helix Midnight Luxe mattress: $2,373.80

3. Helix Midnight Luxe mattress: queen size $2,373.80 $1,780.40 at Helix
The Helix Midnight Luxe provides exceptional pressure relief for side sleepers, while the impressive motion isolation makes it a good choice for couples. Evergreen Helix mattress sales ensure you never have to pay full price, but this 30% off deal is a particularly good one (we're more used to seeing 20% off). Learn more with our Helix Midnight Luxe mattress review.

Queen mattress vs full size: which should you buy?

Buy a full size mattress this Memorial Day if...

✅ You sleep alone: Full size beds are typically recommended for individual sleepers. They're big enough for one person to get comfortable in a range of sleep positions, but they won't leave you with loads of wasted space.

You're shopping for a guest room: With just enough space for two people, full size mattresses are a good choice for guest rooms, especially if you rarely have overnight visitors. They smaller build also means full beds are easier to move than a queen, which is good news if your guest room doubles as storage space. 

You're on a tighter budget: Full size beds are cheaper than queen mattresses, and the difference can be as much as a couple of hundred dollars. If you're looking to save money and you don't mind sacrificing space, a full mattress is a good option.

Buy a queen size mattress this Memorial Day if...

You share a bed: There's enough room in a queen bed for two people to sleep soundly without having to dodge elbows every time some wants to shift positions. And while a queen bed is roomy, it's not overly spacious, so it's still comfortable for snuggling.

You're a solo sleeper with a larger build: The extra width and length of the queen size bed will appeal to single sleepers who love to stretch out, but it also benefits those with bigger builds 

You're shopping for a master bedroom: When choosing a bed size, it's important to consider the room the bed will be in. Queen size beds tend to be the ideal size for a master bedroom, as they won't dominate the space but still offer ample room for the sleeper.

Ruth Jones
Sleep staff Writer

Ruth Jones has recently joined the Tom's Guide team as a sleep staff writer, covering all things mattresses and sleep. Ruth previously worked as a sleep and mattress writer for our sister website TechRadar, and has a deep interest in sleep and how it affects our day to day wellbeing. Ruth is a self-confessed stomach sleeper with a penchant for medium-firm mattresses, and also loves a good eye mask for helping her to fall asleep easier at night.