Being one of the most venerable mattress brands in the industry, Serta enjoys a lot of popularity among consumers for its diverse line of mattress products. However, they have had their throne challenged more recently by a number of (relatively) fresh, small mattress companies that have taken the market by storm with their economically priced yet luxuriously built offerings.
Saatva happens to be one of these newcomers, with their memory foam / innerspring hybrid mattress quickly becoming extremely popular thanks to the balance it strikes between economy and quality. Consequently, Serta have had to rethink their lineup, and as a result, they have offered a similarly priced and featured mattress called the iComfort Applause II.
This Saatva vs Serta comparison will focus on these two products and will help you decide which one to choose between them – the fresh challenger or the established veteran.
The Saatva mattress sports a hybrid innerspring / viscoelastic design, with a clear bias towards the use of springs for comfort and support which is evident from its dual coil composition and rather sparse use of viscoelastic foam in the comfort layers.
The Saatva boasts a fully organic cotton cover. This material is well known for its supple, breathable feel and the fact that it is neutral as far as skin conditions go. Organic cotton is considered a high-end material as far as bedding products go, and its inclusion into the Saatva’s construction is a reflection of the quality that it embodies.
Euro pillow top
Right beneath the cover is a layer of soft memory foam built into a Euro top structure – this provides your body with initial contouring and absorbs some of the impact made by your weight coming into contact with the bed.
The Euro top is designed to fit perfectly with the actual mattress layers, so it doesn’t appear awkwardly sewed on like a regular pillow top would.
This is the first proper layer of the mattress – and is simply a thin 3/8” memory foam slice. The slimness ensures that the mattress does not hug you over much (which can be sticky and unpleasant). However, despite this minimal presence, the memory foam prevents your body from feeling the stiff steel coils directly on your back.
Next up is a spring layer made from 4”, 14-gauge pocketed coils. These coils are completely independent of each other in terms of responding to pressure, so that they offer customized intermediate support and pressure relief for your body that ordinary interconnected springs cannot achieve. Furthermore, the manufacturer has wrapped them in edge support foam to strengthen the edges of mattresses against pressure, so they don’t sink underneath your bodyweight.
The second spring layer is comprised of 5.5” long and 13-gauge thick interconnected spring coils. The extra robustness of this layer affords greater deep support for holding your spine in correct alignment overnight after the upper layers have absorbed all of the immediate impact. The interlinked mesh architecture ensures that the mattress is able to offer reliable back support for many years.
Edge Support Boundary
In order to keep sinkage at the sides to a minimum, the Saatva supports a stiff edge support boundary that goes around the mattress and bolsters its sides. This is besides the aforementioned edge support encasement that is present in the pocketed coil layer. These features yield a solid seat at the side of your bed – even for an innerspring mattress (that is already quite sturdy to being with!).
Firmness and Feel
The Saatva comes in three distinct firmness levels, and each of them yields a unique blend of pressure relief and bodily support. Their firmness levels are illustrated on a simple 1 to 10 scale on which 10 is the hardest (akin to a hard wooden surface) and 1 is the softest (similar to quicksand).
Comfort and Support
This is the softest variant that the Saatva is available in, and this is reflected in its lowly ILD rating of 18. The manufacturer has awarded it a 3 value on the aforementioned 1 to 10 scale. This variant tries to highlight the soft, contouring response of the upper viscoelastic mattress, and downplays the resilient springiness of the coil-on-coil structure that is at the core of the mattress.It can be hypothesized that this level of firmness could be comparable to the firm variant of the iComfort Applause II, but it might still be more resilient than the latter since it still has two spring layers compared to the Applause II’s solitary one.
This is the most popular model of the Saatva and attempts to cater to the needs of the widest possible segment of the market by placing equal emphasis on the contouring plushness of the upper layers and the supportiveness of the coil structure. In this way, the mattress becomes highly compatible with practically all manners of sleep styles; it is thus a good compromise when sleep partners have diverging sleep preferences.To prevent others from copying their flagship formula, Saatva does not explicitly mention the ILD value of this model, and even on their own scale, gives it an ambiguous 5-7 ranking. However, considering that the ILD rating for the Plush variant is 18 and the Firm variant is 30, you could estimate this model’s rating to lie somewhere in the middle of this range.
The Firm model offers the opposite of what the Plush model does – a greater emphasis on the firm, supportive response of the two steel coil layers, with minimal contouring afforded by the upper viscoelastic layers. In this way, this variant is almost as stiff as a traditional innerspring mattress, with the majority of the conformity yielded by the independent compressive action of the intermediate pocketed coil layer.
The Saatva’s upper viscoelastic layers (and, to some extent, the pocketed coil layer too) assist it in blocking out motion transfer into the surroundings. Of course, the dual spring construction means that there will always be some resilience present in the response, but it won’t be unpleasant for most people.
Compared to the Serta iComfort mattress though, the Saatva may have more bounciness in it – this can be deduced simply from the fact that the former has just one spring layer which translates into lesser resilience.
I’ve already discussed the edge support boosting mechanisms in the Saatva at length above, so it should come as no surprise that this mattress is able to yield superb edge support across the board (with respect to the different firmness levels). That said, you should expect the Plush model to have a slightly plusher edge response than the Firm model, because of the inherent variation between the degree of support offered by the two firmness levels.
Thanks to the dual innerspring layers, there is plenty of air flow in between the layers of the Saatva. Of course, the memory foam present in the Euro top and the comfort layer does retain some heat, but this mitigated by the constant ventilation for the most part. The organic cotton cover also helps in this regard thanks to its breathability.
Variable mix of conformity and resilience
The hybrid nature of the Saatva enables it offer both adaptive contouring for your specific sleep posture and stiff support for your overall spinal structure. The pocketed coil layer, too, ensures a nice transition from comfort to support by offering a mix of both. Furthermore, the fact that it is available in three firmness levels as opposed to two in the case of the Serta, means that it is applicable to a much wider consumer demographic.
Organic cotton cover
The pure natural cotton cover of the Saatva gives it a distinct edge over the Serta in terms of surface luxury. It is simply designed yet incredibly comfortable to sleep on and ensures that the sheets don’t heat up too quickly on a warm summer night.
Euro Pillow Top
This is again a feature that exudes both luxury and utility – it looks sleek and something out of a five-star hotel suite, but also, since it made primarily from viscoelastic foam, it yields plush cushioning for your body as soon as you lie down – as if you were resting on a cloud.
Better Edge Support
Thanks to the dedicated measures taken to improve edge support, the Saatva has markedly better edge support than the Serta. This is also the case because the Saatva has a coil-on-coil design that is inherently stiffer than the single coil layer that is present in the Serta.
The Saatva has a 15-year warranty while the Serta has 10 years one. This is quite impressive considering that the Saatva is also cheaper and comes from a less established brand and speaks volumes about the confidence that manufacturer has in its product.
That said, in most cases, it is quite unlikely that any mattress will be in a warrantable shape after it has crossed the 10-year mark, so the practical difference is negligible in my opinion.
Bang for the buck
The Saatva costs a full $300 less than the Applause II and is laden with a ton of extra features – dedicated edge support, multiple steel coils, organic cotton cover and a longer warranty. It is a no-brainer as to which one is the better choice for budget bound consumers.
The Serta iComfort Applause II is available in two firmness levels, with the differences in firmness being accommodated by slightly different constructions. I’ll discuss both under their own sub-headings to keep things clear.
It goes without saying that the multiple plush foam layers incorporated into the ‘Plush’ variant yield a decidedly softer and more yielding response than the ‘Firm’ variant does. Since the actual spring support core is identical in both variants, you can expect a comparable level of deep support from the Applause II ‘Plush’ though. The thin layer of memory foam present in the intermediate layer ensures that the foam is able to adapt to the contours of your body.
Also, because the ‘Plush’ model is comprised of softer materials, it will offer marginally better motion absorbency as compared to the ‘Firm’ model. Compared to the Saatva, the Serta might have slightly less motion transfer since it uses one spring coil instead of two (springs are the chief cause of motion transfer in a bed).
The ‘quilt layer’ of the Applause II plush actually consists of several sub-layers of different materials. The first sub-layer is FireBlocker® Fiber fill, a special blend of natural and artificial materials (not harmful ones though) that prevents the spread of flames to the rest of the mattress in the event of an emergency.The next sub-layer is made from Pillo-Fill®, which is just a fancy way of referring to a polyester based cushioning material that fluffs up the initial response. Following this, there is a 1” layer of Serta® PillowSoft® Foam, an extra soft polyurethane foam material that enhances the cushioning capability of the mattress.
The ‘upholstery layer’ of the plush variant also starts with a 1” PillowSoft® foam sub-layer, followed by a thin layer of ½” EverFeel® Triple Effects™ Gel Memory Foam – a proprietary viscoelastic material that incorporates gel-beads to provide a three-pronged effect: pressure relief, spinal alignment, and temperature regulation.
The ‘support system’ of the mattress is comprised of 952 Duet® Edge Individually Wrapped Coils that are bounded by Best Edge® Foam Encasement. These coils react to the deep pressure exerted by your body mass independently from each other, and thus yield accurate, customized support for your posture that regular interconnected steel coil systems simply cannot achieve.The Edge Support Encasement ensures that they don’t crunch under your weight when you sit on the edges of the bed.
Because there is only a small amount of memory foam present in the Applause II alongside a significant amount of spring coils in the support core, one cannot expect total motion isolation from the mattress. However, it is worth noting that the spring coils are of the pocketed variety, so they respond to your motion independently, which does help in restricting the motion to a local neighborhood of the primary impact zone.
Being a hybrid pocketed coil / foam mattress, the Serta is able to generate a respectable degree of support to counter any pressure applied to its edges. The pocketed coils are encased in edge support foam, similar to the Saatva, which is especially effective in this regard. That said, it may not be as good as the Saatva because the latter has two spring layers to make the response even stiffer.
Serta has experienced some issues with cooling in the past, but the EverFeel® Triple Effects foam they’ve incorporated into the Applause II uses gel beads to dissipate heat more effectively that traditional memory foam does. It should also be noted that the use of memory foam is kept to a minimum, so its heat trapping effects are also minimized.
Furthermore, the underlying individually wrapped spring coils set up a decent amount of air flow that further assists in keeping the temperature down.
Greater foam content
While both the Saatva and the Serta can be termed as hybrid foam / innerspring mattresses, the latter uses a significantly greater amount of foam in its construction as compared to the former. Regardless of the firmness level, this translates into a higher degree of initial cushioning.
Single innerspring layer
The Serta uses just one spring layer to provide your body with deep support, instead of the dual coil-on-coil structure implied by the Saatva. This means slightly less springiness in your mattress. In spite of this, you should bear in mind that the Applause II is quite springy in its own right (just less so than the Saatva).
On a related note, the inclusion of less springs in the structure of the mattress also enables the Applause II to suppress motion better compared to the dual spring layered Saatva.
FireBlocker fiber lines the surfaces of the Serta Applause II – this provides targeted flame resistant properties to the mattress, which in turn enhances the fire safety of your house / establishment.
Serta is a considerably more venerable brand, having been in the sleep industry for decades. This translates into a more expansive experience with regards to consumers’ sleep needs, which could translate into not just products that can target core issues better, but also into greater bragging rights!
Which One To Get?
Here are reasons why you should go for the Saatva:
- You’re on a budget: Budget bound consumers tend to go after products that offer the greatest value for the least cost, and in this regard, the Saatva is the clear winner. I’ve already detailed the extra features it incorporates – and these features are meaningful, mind you, in terms of enhancing your overall sleep experience.
- The fact that it costs less and also has a higher warranty to boot means that it will appeal quite a bit even to those who are not bound by a tight budget!
- You want more choices: The Saatva is available in three firmness levels compared to the Serta’s two, so you’ve got more freedom to choose a combination of comfort and support that is closely aligned to your preferences.
- You want higher resilience: Because of the dual coil construction of the mattress, it offers more springy resilience to push back against your weight (across all three firmness levels) as compared to that offered by the Serta.
- A longer warranty is important to you: While I’ve already stated that any warranty greater than 10 years is usually not that significant, if you see an extended warranty as an indicator of product durability (and in this particular case, this may well be true, considering that the Saatva is actually cheaper than the Serta), you may want to go with the Saatva.
- You want lots of edge support: The Saatva has decidedly better edge support than the Serta for reasons that have already been discussed above, so if you’re going to be sitting on the edge of your bed frequently (to care for a sick family member or read to a child, for instance), the Saatva could be a more useful choice.
Serta Applause II
Alternatively, you could consider the Serta Applause II if:
- You want less springiness in your mattress: As mentioned before the Applause II has just one spring coil layer to achieve its supportive functionality. This means it achieves the support without exposing you to excessive bounciness / resilience (which may result from the coil-on-coil structure that the Saatva incorporates).
- This is an especially important factor for light-weight / side sleeping individuals who may find it difficult to make the bed contour to the sleep position when they have to deal with two spring layers!
- You want a greater amount of surface cushioning: The greater amount of foam content of the Serta enables it to offer higher levels of initial cushioning – the kind that you experience as soon as you rest your body on the bed. While the Saatva does have more memory foam content, its effects aren’t as quickly perceptible as those of dedicated cushioning foam layers.
- Fire safety: The FireBlocker lining present in the Serta means that the mattress is less susceptible to catching fire and contributing to catastrophic damage. If you have a serious fire safety concern in your home, it may be wise to consider the Serta. Alternatively, if you want to meet a fire safety rating for a commercial business (inn / bread-and-breakfast), you may have no choice but to go for the Serta in any case!
- Bragging rights: Although this shouldn’t be a serious factor for consideration, if you are one of those consumers who sets a lot of store by how famous the brand is (and isn’t averse to bragging about it to guests), the Serta should be your go-to choice hands down because of its more extensive history.
Hopefully, you found this comparison between a newcomer and a venerated elder educational, and now have a clear idea of which one you’ll choose for your bed. Remember to share this post with others who are also on the lookout for a new mattress. Leave any questions or feedback in the comments section, and I’ll address them pronto.