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 may be 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 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.