Is it good marketing to associate your mattress with the word “plank”? Some sleepers may not think so, but there is definitely a market for firmer mattresses out there. People with back problems, heavier sleepers, and folks who just like to sleep on supportive surfaces – rejoice! The Plank is here.
But I don’t want to walk the plank; I want to sleep the plank. Is this bed the right move for people looking for more back or hip support? What’s the deal?
I’ll now embark upon a full review the Plank, but I also have a summary for people who don’t have the time right now. Click here for the summary. Other than that, away I go!
The Plank Brand Snapshot
Brooklyn Bedding (the company behind the Plank) has an expansive inventory of mattresses, and has been in the bed-in-a-box game since 2008. This is a company that can afford to cater to a niche. And there is definitely a niche audience for people who want firm bedding.
The Plank is not quite at the “budget” price point, but it is not in competition with luxury mattresses, either. This means that Brooklyn Bedding probably wants the Plank to target people with back problems specifically. That being said, let’s dig into this bed’s construction to see if it does just that.
What is the Plank Made of?
The Plank is a flippable mattress, so the five layers in the Plank work double duty. The support layers on one side become the top layers when the mattress is flipped. When the logo is right side up, the firmer side is facing you.
I will take apart the Plank with the extra firm side up.
Extra Firm Cover – I tested the Plank with the optional cooling panel that uses phase change material in the Plank’s cover is cool to the touch and helps dissipate body heat. It’s a nice addition for those that sleep a bit hot but does add between $200 and $250 to the price of the Plank. PCM does have a slick feel that may cause your sheets to slide a bit, which some sleepers complain about. Additionally, the cover is quilted with 1.5” of foam, which provides a little bit of pressure relief before hitting the extra firm support layer.
Extra Firm Support – Up next, you’ll find 7” of high-density poly foam, which has a quick response to pressure intended to provide instant, firm support. The Plank is unique in using HD poly foam in a top layer as it’s usually found farther down in a bed, providing shape and support through a softer support layer. However, the Plank is meant to give ultra firm support, so this build actually gave us exactly what I expected. Strict back and stomach sleepers who need more support for spinal alignment should find a good night’s sleep here.
Firm Support – Below the beefy support layer, you’ll land on 2” of Titanflex foam (a latex alternative) known for sleeping cool and providing a quick response to pressure. It was not as firm as the HD poly foam, so you’ll likely get a bit of sinkage when flipping the mattress on its firm side. (This was a non-factor on the extra firm side, because the 7” of HD poly foam was all I felt.) Regardless of which side the Plank was on, I didn’t feel stuck in the mattress, nor did the Plank lose any of its mobility.
Firm Cover – The cover on the other side of the Plank is virtually identical to the top cover except for its quilting. There was only 0.75” of foam quilting on this side because when the bed is flipped, the Titanflex is less . The slickness of the cover was still there, so you won’t get away from it by flipping the bed.
Thoughts: The Plank gives two distinct options for sleepers who want a firm mattress. However, the firm and the extra firm side mostly appeal to the same type of person. Strict back and stomach sleepers will probably love the support for the spine and hips. Strict side sleepers may need a bit more pressure relief in sensitive areas. Combo sleepers will likely enjoy the firm side more than the extra firm side.
Is “Sleeping the Plank” Comfortable?
Yes, the Plank is flippable, but both sides are designed to give a firm feel. Keep this in mind when you look at our firmness and feel tests below. In terms of firmness, our 1 to 10 scale does not represent “good” to “bad,” but rather “soft” to “firm.” 1 is the softest rank and 10 is the firmest.
Firmness is different for everyone. Body type and body size can make the same mattress feel differently. With this in mind, I tested the Plank using a group of people with different body types. The results you see below are the average of how the Plank felt to all of us.
I found the Plank to be a 7/10 on the firm side and an 8.5/10 on the extra firm side. For reference, the industry standard for medium firmness is 6.5/10. The firm side is slightly firmer than most, and the extra firm side is much firmer (especially for a foam mattress).
The description below is with the extra firm side up.
On my back, I felt like I was lying on top of the mattress. I didn’t sink into the Plank at all, which was great for keeping my hips in alignment with the rest of my body. The Plank also shoId itself to be relatively bouncy. It was easy to change positions, because there was a lot of mobility in the mattress.
The firm nature of the mattress did not quite feel the same on my side. Here, the body’s sensitive areas for many people change from the hips and loIr back to the shoulders. I didn’t feel much give in the mattress in my shoulders, which caused the joints to feel jammed up.
As I rolled over onto my stomach, I found a good deal of support for my hips. Strict stomach sleepers usually need more support in the hips to keep the back from bowing. The firm support of the Plank provided that support, keeping my hips in alignment with the rest of my back and upper body.
Overall, strict back and stomach sleepers have a lot of support to lean on. Side sleepers who need a little more give in the shoulder area should probably look to one of the softer options that Brooklyn Bedding offers.
Flipping the mattress gave me more of a medium firm feel (about 7/10). The medium firm Titanflex served as the comfort layer here instead of the ultra firm HD poly foam. On this side, the Plank should still perform well for strict back and stomach sleepers even though it is a tad softer.
Testing Out the Plank
I measured the performance of the Plank through Bounce, Pressure Relief, and Motion Transfer tests. All three of these tests are essential for different reasons. I expected the Plank to respond in certain ways because of its firm nature, but there are some details that you may want to know. Read on!
I recorded pressure relief on the Plank in real time by putting a pressure map on top of its cover. The map is color coded for low pressure blue, medium pressure green and yellow, and high pressure red. I slept on my back, stomach, and side to see how the mattress might feel for different kinds of sleepers.
Back – Bodyweight was evenly distributed across the Plank when lying on the back, so I expected to see all blue and I found just that, which is a good sign. The Plank performs up to standard for foam mattresses here, so strict back sleepers should be fine.
Side – Side sleeping on the Plank gave us green across the board. Green represents points that may cause problems over time. Strict side sleepers should look to the hips and shoulders especially. When there is green (which there was), sleepers may sometimes experience aches and pains upon waking. This is especially true for people with broad shoulders. The quilted cover may keep the mattress from feeling like a plank, but the pressure map is a better indicator of what happens over 8 hours of sleep time. Strict side sleepers may want to pick a mattress with a bit more pressure relief.
Stomach – Lying on the stomach gave us blue across the board. On the stomach, it’s just as important to check the support in the hips for spinal alignment. Strict stomach sleepers should feel added support in the hips on the Plank, which will keep the back from bowing.
The Bounce test speaks to the mobility of a mattress. Good bounciness ensures that sleepers don’t feel stuck in a mattress and that it is easy to switch positions. For this test, I bounce a 10 lb. steel ball off of the mattress cover and note the response. I was impressed with the bounciness of the Plank. This mattress doesn’t need any coils to keep sleepers from falling into its layers or experiencing slow motion shift.
I used the same 10 lb. ball for Motion Transfer, bouncing it on one side of the Plank from heights of 4”, 8”, and 12”. On the other side, I placed a seismometer to measure the transferred motion. This is a great test for couples, because it emulates what you might feel with a partner getting in and out of bed.
I was impressed that the Plank was so good at isolating motion with such a firm build. Usually firmer mattresses will transfer quite a bit of disturbance, but the Plank did a great job of dampening that motion. Couples with restless partners should be able to have a good night’s sleep, because the Plank doesn’t transfer too much motion across itself.
So I’m done walking the Plank! Is it right for you? Only you can ansIr that question! I have gone through the company behind the mattress, the layers in the mattress, and the feel of the mattress. Here I sum it all up so you can make an informed decision about the Plank on your own.
- The Plank sleeps cool. The phase change material in the cover helped the Plank to sleep cool regardless of which side it was on.
- Strict stomach sleepers should find a great deal of support for the sensitive loIr back and hip areas.
- I was surprised with the Plank’s ability to isolate motion transfer across the bed, which is usually a good feature for couples. People with restless partners should be especially happy!
- If you are a strict side sleeper, you may feel that your shoulders and hips are jammed up when on your side. There is very little give in this mattress regardless of which way you flip it.
- The Plank’s cover can be somewhat slippery, which may keep you from getting into a comfortable position and staying there!
- Trial – 120 Nights
- Warranty – 10 Years
- Shipping – Free and Compressed
How Much Does the Plank Cost?
|Twin||38” x 74” x 11.5”||$699|
|Twin XL||38” x 80” x 11.5”||$749|
|Full||53” x 74” x 11.5”||$799|
|Queen||60” x 80” x 11.5"||$999|
|King||76” x 80” x 11.5”||$1,249|
|California King||72” x 84” x 11.5”||$1,249|