The Propel by Brooklyn Bedding is a mattress with a lot going on (Just what is “European performance fabric”? Does the Propel’s “Upcycle™” technology really deserve that “™”?) The construction of the Propel is one of the more interesting in its class, and I am excited to see just how much of the Propel’s hype is real.
Are we dealing with a bed that truly gives you a “smarter way to sleep”? Just why does the inside of the Propel have so many layers? We will cut through all of the layers of this bed (quite literally) answer all of these questions and more.
My full review of the Propel bed is below. I also have a quick and dirty version for those of you who may be in a hurry. Click here for that!
Brooklyn Bedding Brand Snapshot
Family-owned Brooklyn Bedding opened its doors in 1995, but really got things going around 2008 when it began selling its first bed-in-a-box. Since then, the brand has grown into one of the most popular on the market, selling everything from mattresses to pillows, sheets, foundations, and more!
The Propel claims to have many proprietary technologies in its six layers. The product actually says that it can use your body heat to create a better night’s sleep for you. This is good news for those of us who generate a lot of body heat at night, but is the Propel the mattress that actually cracked the code here? We’ll find out by first looking at the materials inside of the Propel and moving forward from there.
What is the Propel Made of?
Let’s take a look at the six layers of the Propel before we take a close look at how the bed performs overall.
Cover – Phase change material makes the cover of the Propel cool to the touch. This is usually great news for folks who tend to sleep hot.
Comfort – The comfort layer has a softer latex foam alternative known as CopperFlex™. The latex has a quick response to pressure while the copper infusion moves heat away from the sleeper.
Transition – Energex™ is another latex foam alternative that is breathable and also has a quick response to pressure. Like the Copperflex™ layer above it, this layer is also placed near the sleeper to help with heat dissipation.
Buffer – The next layer of memory foam has a slower response to pressure, but it’s difficult to feel its contouring effects this far down in the mattress. It should provide a bit of pressure relief if you push down far enough into the Propel, which is usually good for heavier sleepers. This memory foam isn’t really for the sleeper directly. It’s really a buffer layer between the softer top layers and the extremely bouncy pocketed coils directly underneath.
Support – Pocketed coils give the sleeper support and provide spinal alignment. You might also say that these coils give the Propel its name, because they are quite bouncy. The layer of memory foam directly above does keep the mattress from feeling like a trampoline, however.
Base – High-density poly foam forms the bottom layer of the mattress, providing structure to the Propel and durability to its other layers.
Thoughts: The Propel uses a relatively advanced mix of materials in its top layers to provide a unique balance between comfort and mobility. Although you may sink into the mattress at first, you don’t lose mobility when changing positions. The comforting pressure relief is usually good for strict side sleepers, while combo sleepers should find the mobility advantageous!
What Does the Propel Feel Like?
Now that we know the reality behind all of the tech talk, let’s take a realistic look at how the Propel actually feels.
Body shape, size, and weight all contribute to how you’ll feel on a mattress. You’ll be hard pressed to find two people with the exact same assessment of any bed! Keeping this in mind, I tested the Propel with coworkers large and small. What you see below is the average of how the Propel felt for all of us.
Firmness is the first thing we test for on a mattress. We rate firmness from 1 to 10 with 10 being the firmest ranking and 1 being the softest. For us, 6.5 is the median — the industry standard for medium firmness. We found the Propel to be a hair to the softer side of the midpoint, so we gave it a 6/10.
When lying on my back, I immediately felt myself sinking into the mattress. Even so, I did not get the “huggy” contour that I usually expect when this happens. As mentioned above, the Propel does not have a memory foam comfort layer that would provide this kind of effect.
Rolling around to my side showcased one of the more interesting features of the Propel. The comfort layer’s quick response to pressure and the springs in the mattress create a surprising level of bounce. I definitely didn’t expect this considering how soft the mattress felt when I first laid down.
My shoulders and hips got a good bit of pressure relief, which is usually important for strict side sleepers. However, this give caused my hips to sink into the mattress a bit too much when I rolled over onto my stomach. As a result, I cannot recommend the Propel for strict stomach sleepers. In most cases, when the hips sink into the mattress too much, the back bends in a way that moves the spine out of alignment with the rest of the body. This can lead to aches and pains when you wake up. The total support level may not be enough for heavier sleepers as well (I weigh 190 lbs. and found myself quickly sinking into the mattress on my stomach and back).
Testing Out the Propel
No matter what materials are in a mattress, performance usually breaks down to just a few tests. We have all of those tests ready for you — Bounce, Pressure, and Motion Transfer.
We put a real-time pressure map on top of the Propel that allows us to view how the mattress is interacting with the body. The map is color coded with blue representing low/no pressure, green and yellow for medium pressure, and red for high pressure. We lay down in various positions to emulate what would happen to different types of sleepers.
Back – I expected to see all blue here, because the body generally has an even weight distribution when lying on the backside. This is what I saw with the Propel. Had to make sure!
Side – I get a lot of blue when rolling over to my side, which is a good sign for strict side sleepers. There may be small spots of green depending on the nuances of your body, but this is generally nothing to worry about. Because the Propel is generally soft, there should be more space for a sleeper’s shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress for some all-important pressure relief in those areas.
Stomach – The Propel gives me all blue across the board when lying on my stomach, but this is only half the story. The hips can sometimes fall out of alignment with the spine if there is not enough support here, causing a bow in the back that can be painful over time. I felt my hips sink into the Propel almost immediately when rolling onto my stomach. This lack of support may end up being a problem for strict stomach sleepers and heavier sleepers.
We’ve already briefly described the Propel as a bouncy mattress. To test this, we drop a 10 lb. steel ball on the Propel to emulate a sleeper jumping into bed and observe the effects. I was impressed with the level of bounce in the mattress. The Energex™ and CopperPlex™ layers along with the coils provide good mobility, which is great for combo sleepers who change positions frequently.
If you sleep with a partner, pay attention. This Motion Transfer test lets us know if your significant other will disturb you if they get in and out of bed a lot at night.
Dropping the 10 lb. steel ball from heights of 4”, 8” and 12” gives us a good indication of how the Propel responds to a partner’s movement. The ball is dropped on one side of the bed while the seismometer is positioned on the other side (where a partner would sleep). I was impressed with the isolation of motion in the Propel. This is not common for bouncy mattresses, meaning that most couples will probably have a good experience with the Propel.
We’ve discussed the unique features of the Propel, from the construction to its feel and performance. Now, let’s sum everything up with a few pros and cons that should help you decide if it’s the mattress for you.
- This mattress sleeps really cool because of the phase change material in the cover, the latex alternative top layers and its hybrid structure.
- If you are a side or combo sleeper, the soft-medium firmness and great mobility will likely be good for you.
- Couples should find the Propel attractive because of its ability to isolate motion.
- If you are a strict stomach sleeper, you may not get the support that you need for your back with the Propel.
- If you are a heavier sleeper (above 250 lbs.), this mattress may simply be too soft for you.
Brooklyn Bedding Product Reviews
If the Propel is not for you, Sleepopolis has reviews of Brooklyn Bedding’s other mattresses.
- Brooklyn Signature Mattress
- Brooklyn Aurora Mattress
- Brooklyn Bowery Mattress
- Brooklyn Titan Mattress
- Brooklyn Spartan Mattress
- Brooklyn Bloom Hybrid Mattress
- Brooklyn Latex Pillow
- Trial – 120 Nights
- Warranty – 10 Years
- Shipping – Free and Compressed
How Much Does the Propel Mattress Cost?
|Twin||39” x 75” x 13.5”||58 lbs||$499|
|Twin XL||39” x 80” x 13.5”||60 lbs||$749|
|Full||54” x 75” x 13.5”||85 lbs||$799|
|Queen||60” x 80” x 13.5"||110 lbs||$999|
|King||76” x 80” x 13.5”||135 lbs||$1,249|
|California King||72” x 84” x 13.5”||120 lbs||$1,249|