What is reflex foam?

Reflex foam is a term you may hear on your journey into finding the perfect mattress. Reflex is a support foam used for either support or firming up upholstery layers in mattresses. There is more to it than that, so read on to find out the specifics on reflex foam.

castellated foam john ryan

What is reflex foam?

Reflex or the base foam (the part of the mattress under the memory foam) is the denser and firmer supportive part of the mattress. We use British Vita foams reflex branded foam.  These come in a different density rating, usually 30kg (Soft) to 33kg (Firm). Very few manufacturers give you any detail on this part of the mattress, but we do! The British Vita foam reflex foam we use is solid filler free, unlike cheaper PU foams which are a mix of different foams.

The highlighted area in the image below is the Reflex layer of the mattress, shown as a white foam.  See our data sheets for all the foams here.

Reflex foamA standard memory foam mattress comprises of the memory foam top layer and then either one or more layers of memory Foam or reflex foam. The best way to imagine it, because we really like old fashioned cakes, is that memory foam is the soft icing on a fruit cake, and the reflex foam is the firm fruit cake base that supports the icing.

There maybe other ‘marzipan’ layers present but the reflex foam is the base, and this offers you your support.


Foam GradeDensity Min KG/M3Density Max KG/M3Hardness Min (n)Hardness Max (n)
Reflex 3003032100130
Reflex 300F3032130160

Density and hardness are quoted according to in-house test methods based upon BS EN ISO 845 and BS EN ISO 2439 respectively.

Reflex can also be used to firm up upholstery layers such as in our Origins Pocket Reflex 1000 model. It can help provide a firmer consistent top layer when matched with softer elements such as polyester.

Support Foam

There is also another set of foams used in Mattresses and these are identified by a V rating and a number. These foams are high support foams used in seating, car seats and mattresses that must offer support for heavier sleepers such as 22-30 stone sleepers.

These V support foams are excellent at both resilience and support and can be coupled together to make a superbly comfortable yet supporting mattress for heavier sleepers or those who want an ultra firm mattress. As these V foams have such a high hardness and tolerance for resilience against heavier weights they can provide a much stronger mattress in terms of longevity.   Our resilience range features V38 a firm support foam and V39 a medium support foam that can handle repeat pressure whilst still keeping its shape. For more information please see our two Resilience models made specifically for a heavier sleeper or someone wanting a much more resilient support.

An example of support foams can be seen below.

Support Foam V38 Mattress


Reflex foam is the undersung hero of support in an entry level/foam based mattresses. Whilst there is nothing super advanced about it, it does do a great job to provide support in a foam construction mattress. It is an entry level priced component and will be found in entry level mattresses. However if you are looking for a handcrafted high-end mattress, then you should be looking for more natural advanced construction methods.

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  • Lesley says:

    Hi there

    Your site is extremely informative – brilliant.

    We are trying to get a more comfortable mattress for the fixed bed in our caravan (it is an ‘inner spring’ model but feels like an unsupportive brick). We have tried various toppers – we have a full size 5cm deep 60kg memory foam topper and also some single size toppers in 55kg and 60kg memory foam – neither really help on top of a mattress that is fundamentally cheap. Both my husband and I like a soft feel mattress but with some support (we are 10st and 12st respectively).

    We recently slept on a KoseeSleep Countour Supreme mattress at my sister’s house and were astonished by how comfortable it was when we found it was just memory foam on top of a reflex foam base – far more comfortable than most sprung beds we’ve slept on. KoseeSleep are discontinuing the mattress – I phoned and of course they don’t make caravan mattresses. I asked about the density of the foams and they told me that it has ‘550’ memory foam but didn’t have the spec of the reflex foam.

    So my question is do you make mattresses for a caravan fixed bed? I think your Genesis looks closest to the KoseeSleep – weight is an issue in the caravan and I would need to know the total weight of a double mattress.

    Thanks for any advice you can give,


    Hi Lesley, Thanks for getting in touch. Thanks for your positive comments on our site, we’re glad its proved useful for you!

    I’ve looked into the Kozee sleep contour supreme you’ve trialled. I too can’t find any detail about the density of the foam but would hazard a guess its at the medium end of the spectrum. There are very few high density memory foam mattress suppliers in the UK that use UK manufactured foam, i.e. top quality foam.

    If you like that style of bed the Genesis would be suitable for you Lesley, based on your weights either the Genesis 1 soft or Genesis 2 Medium would be fine. It depends on whether you want a soft or more medium mattress. Without the Kozee sleeps density I can’t for sure make an exact comparison.

    The weight of the genesis in a double is 24-26kg for the core and an additional 10-12kg for the topper making 34-38kg. I may need some more help as I’m not a caravan specialist Lesley, but is a fixed bed simply a platform base thats non moveable? If its a special size or what not you may need to use our bespoke service.

    The Genesis 1 is £350 and the Genesis 2 £400. Please give us a call if you need more help. Hope that helps. Lee

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