Serta Perfect Start Crib Mattress Review
A comfortable but not quite perfect start for your baby, with features and quirks.
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The Serta Perfect Start is a very competitively-priced crib mattress, offering a firm polyester fiber core, a waterproof cover, Greenguard GOLD certification, and proudly made in the USA. For only about $70, it looks like a decent deal! But is it the perfect start for your nursery?
We put the Serta Perfect Start crib mattress through our hands-on testing and came away with a decent impression. Rather than making you read through the entire article, here are the main things we liked and disliked about it:
✔️ Made in the USA.
✔️ Greenguard GOLD certified.
✔️ Polyester fiber core.
✔️ Waterproof surface.
✔️ Squared corners.
✔️ Fits crib tightly.
✔️ No foam core.
✔️ No toxic flame retardants.
✔️ Ships flat!
✔️ Very well-priced.
❌ Vinyl cover.
❌ Not breathable.
❌ No dual-firmness.
❌ A bit firm for a toddler.
❌ Gets hot in summer.
The Serta Perfect Start is not one of the best crib mattresses we've tested, but it certainly offers decent bang for the buck!
Coming in at about $70, it leaves room to purchase a mattress cover, sheets, and maybe one of the best cribs of the year! It's not perfect, but we give it a 3.9 out of 5.
Click the below image to check prices at Amazon.
Want to learn a little more about this crib mattress? Keep reading!
Serta Perfect Start Crib Mattress Review
The Serta name is trusted for producing reasonably-priced mattresses with ample features and quality. This crib mattress is no exception!
Coming in at only about $70, it's on the lower end of the crib mattress price continuum. While there are definitely cheaper foam crib mattresses available, they tend to be thinner (5" thick) and use polyurethane foams.
The Serta Perfect Start is a bit different. Rather than using polyurethane foam, they use a polyester fiber core made from recycled (up-cycled!) plastic bottles. Not only that, but they made it a nice 6" thick mattress to provide greater support and comfort.
It's not the first crib mattress to use this type of fiber core, with the most popular being the amazing Newton crib mattress.
But the Serta Perfect Start has a lot of other great features:
The Greenguard GOLD certification ensures that the materials used in the mattress meet or exceed chemical emissions standards, to promote clean air and your baby's health.
While we prefer not having a vinyl cover, it's at least waterproof and stain resistant - common features of any vinyl surface.
The mattress is also made in the USA and has a 7-year warranty to protect you against any defects related to craftsmanship. Good luck getting Serta to honor that warranty (you'll have better luck returning it to a retailer; trust us, we tried!), but it's a nice sentiment.
Serta Perfect Start versus Perfect Start Deluxe
The Serta Perfect Start we tested is dual-sided but not dual-firmness. This means both sides have the same firmness level. By "dual-sided" they simply mean that both sides are a suitable sleeping surface. Usually dual-sided crib mattresses like this will be relatively firm on both sides; this is because they need to meet firmness requirements for infants on both sides.
The Serta Perfect Start Deluxe, however, is dual-firmness. This means that one side is relatively firm (for infants) and one side is relatively soft (for toddlers).
The regular Perfect Start is about $70, and the dual-firmness deluxe version is about $80. In our opinion, all things being equal the Deluxe version is worth the extra $10.
Out of the box (it ships flat!), there were a few things we noticed.
First, the cover is a traditional vinyl material, for better or worse.
For better, vinyl mattress surfaces are waterproof, easily cleaned, and cheap. For worse, vinyl always contains some chemicals you may not want your baby's skin coming in contact with (such as phthalates).
Vinyl also tends to get dried out and weaken over time, and might be a little noisy when your baby moves around on it - making that classic crinkling crib mattress sound.
Second, the size of the Perfect Start fit our two test cribs perfectly, a DaVinci and Nestig crib, without excessive gaps along the sides.
Note that the cover is not removable, but it can be wiped clean. And it is definitely waterproof!
Third, the mattress did have some plastic odor when we pulled it out of the box and plastic bag.
We hate off-gassing from mattresses, but also realize that most inexpensive crib mattresses have this issue. With the Perfect Start the odor wasn't terrible, but definitely worth mentioning. After a couple days, it was undetectable.
We aren't worried too much about the odor given the Greenguard GOLD certification, which means it has relatively low chemical emissions.
Finally, the mattress was pretty heavy for a foam core, coming in at about 15 pounds. That's not as bad as some of the bulky innerspring mattresses, but also not as lightweight as something like the Newton (which uses a similar core as this one). Heavier mattresses can make it more challenging to flip over or change sheets, so keep that in mind when picking a crib mattress.
The Perfect Start crib mattress measures about 51.75" long, 27.1" wide, and just under 6" thick.
One of the nice things about a foam core mattress is that there are no bouncy springs. Your little one can't use it as a trampoline, and it's impossible for springs to break and stick out of the mattress (it happens!). Another bonus is a relatively uniform core surface without any hard spots. There are a few downfalls with a foam core, which we'll discuss in the Cons section, below.
Overall, we think this is a decent option for families looking for a great deal on a crib mattress that doesn't use a polyurethane core. It definitely has some considerable limitations, which we review below, but at this price it's a decent deal.
The Serta Perfect Start crib mattress is usually about $70 (check it out at Amazon).
Serta Perfect Start Crib Mattress: Cons
While we were impressed with the overall mattress features, including its Greenguard GOLD certifications, waterproof surface and low price, we also found some considerable shortcomings.
First, because the vinyl cover is not removable or washable (and a little noisy), you will likely want to invest in a separate crib mattress cover. If there is ever an accident or spill you cannot simply remove and wash the cover or core (you can only wipe it clean). For a good crib mattress cover, this will run you another $50 or so. Keep that in mind when considering the price relative to other options. Also, vinyl is definitely non-preferred, and the cover and core do not appear to be breathable.
Second, the mattress not dual-firmness, and the entire thing is relatively firm. In other words, while your infant will be safer with the firm mattress (and the ability to flip it over is certainly convenient), your toddler might be slightly uncomfortable. We suggest considering the Deluxe model, which adds a softer toddler side.
Finally, we found that the foam core gets a bit hot during the warmer months. Because the vinyl surface is not breathable, and there is no good airflow through the core, babies tend to wake up with a sweaty back. This is common for foam core mattresses, only improved by breathable batting and covers. A high quality breathable mattress cover will help, but not solve, this situation.
A few other small things: the off-gassing was concerning, the edge support around the perimeter was lacking, and vinyl covers tend to get old and crack with time.
To be fair, we're talking about a $70 crib mattress here, so some of these cons are totally understandable.
Overall, we give it a 3.9 out of 5, and think it offers some decent capability and quality at a reasonable price.
Interested? You can check out this Serta Perfect Start crib mattress here.
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