An index to evaluate noise propensity of the brake friction material is introduced. The noise propensity index (NPI) is composed of the mechanical properties and surface topography of the friction material after burnish, which was closely related to the stick-slip profile found at relatively low velocity. The correlation between the noise occurrence and NPI was evaluated using commercial brake linings. Test results showed that the mechanical properties such as the ratio between surface stiffness and matrix stiffness and the surface properties such as the fraction and distribution of contact plateaus determined the noise propensity of brake friction materials with a good correlation of the noise occurrence and NPI. The analysis of the friction force profiles during stick-slip indicated that the mechanical properties were associated with the characteristics of the friction force oscillation after the onset of vibration, while the surface properties were correlated more to the triggering of friction oscillation. This study suggests that the robust design of the friction material can be effectively accomplished by preventing the formation of large contact plateaus on the sliding surface of the brake friction materials.