Ever tried Chilipad (Cooling Mattress) To Help You Sleep Better? Here Is Our Review
The Chilipad Sleep System is a mattress pad that connects to a temperature-regulating cube via a long, flat tube. Check out our review here.
Sleeping was never much of a problem for me for most of my life. I was going to tuck myself in, close my eyes, and go off to the Land of Nod. But my previously unencumbered sleep faced an unexpected obstacle last year: occasional sweating at night.
It doesn’t make me special here. According to the American Osteopathic Association, many people deal with nightly transpiration for a variety of reasons. Ranging from excessive heat in the bedroom to eating too many spicy foods before bed, According to the American Osteopathic Association. In addition, I have a decent air conditioning system that kept the humidity at bay, that is until I got a new job and move to a 50-year-old house in Cambridge, Mass. Which lacked central air for all its vintage charm.
This is how the Chilipad Sleep System landed on me.
What is the System of Chilipad Sleep?
The Chilipad Sleep System is a mattress pad that connects to a temperature-regulating cube via a long, flat tube. You pour water into the cube to use it (more information about that in a moment) and set a temperature from a dial on the cube or from a remote control that comes with it.
The temperature range of the cube is 55 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (or 13 to 43 degrees Celsius). So while you sleep, you can make it cooler or hotter. Before pumping the temperature-control water through the pipe into the pad, which is fill with smaller silicone tubes. The cube is where the magic happens, heating and cooling water (depending on what the user wants when they sleep).
“On its website, the producers of Chilipad claim that sleeping on it improves the quality of sleep. Makes users refreshed during the day banishes night sweats. And restores “natural rhythms” (this is from a video testimonial by a guy who wrote a book called “Paleo Manifesto”).
For a half of a queen-size pad that covers one side of the bed, for when only one-bed partner suffers from temperature-regulation problems. And up to $1,199 for a California king with two separate temperature settings. The price for all this was what I thought was a rather steep $499. Armed with a company budget specifically designed to buy products in order to test them, I decided to order one, half the queen size, so that we could see for ourselves.
How do you get the Chilipad set up?
The setup, thanks to a sparse instruction manual, was time-consuming and a little confusing. For a mattress pad, I had to peel off my sheets from the bed, place the pad on the side of the mattress I usually sleep on, then re-make the bed. Then, from under the mat, I had to fish out a thick, wide tube (in a sense, an umbilical cord) and plug it into the control cube, about the same size as a space heater.
It was here that I ran into a problem. The way my mat was packaged, the tube was tucked along the underside of the mat and I thought it was supposed to stay that way, base on what I saw in the instruction manual.
So, the portion of the tube that projected from the head of the bed was too short when I connect the pieces to allow the cube to rest on the floor without tipping over. I needed a way to lift it. My bedroom is not small. But I don’t have a ton of surface space, my nightstand is full and my dressers are quite high. So I improvised by bringing my desk chair to the foot of my bed and putting the cube there. It worked fine, but it didn’t look great, and it made my room difficult to navigate around.
Final step: fill the cube with water. This part is slightly tedious because you pour 12 ounces of water first. Then plug the cube into a power outlet. Wait for a little, then pour in small amounts until the raindrop that flashes on a screen stops flashing atop the cube. For “optimum performance,” which I didn’t have on hand, the instruction manual recommends distilled water.
I used water from a Brita filter instead, which has yet to make the cube combust so far. (Due to the potential mineral deposits in tap water that could eventually obstruct the machine, Chilipad probably recommends distilled water. I think most people do not have a stash of distilled water. And the company probably figures that, considering that it also sells a cleaning solution for the cube.) Then the water from the cube travels through the cord, which snakes through a series of small.
What does it feel like in the Chilipad?
How easy it is to customize the temperature is something that struck me. On top of the cube there are two buttons, a snowflake and a flame, to make the temperature go in the direction you want and, for good measure, when you press a button, the temperature in degrees flashes on a small screen.
I am pleasantly surprised by how responsive it was when I sat down on my bed and flipped through the temperatures. Even if I just made a couple-degree adjustment (it should be, but such things are not guaranteed). Instead of the outside air, it felt a little strange to have a cold feeling coming from under me. Which is what I use to feel in the fall and winter. But it felt fantastic once I got used to where the cooling came from, or, at least, I believe it did. Moments after lying down, I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I felt less and less awesome. I was sweat-free, but in the night, the tube that kept the cold water running under me. Which felt as nice as I had drifted away, pressed into my lower half (or rather, my lower half had pressed into them).
It wasn’t painful, it was just cramping around my hips and thighs. Like the feeling, you get too long after you leave your legs cross. I entered a routine of falling asleep on the pad and waking up with a dent on my leg or hip or curled up in a ball on the (sweater) side of the mattress that was not covered by the Chilipad if I had the subconscious foresight to save myself some aches and pains.
Due to the way I left the tube tucked under the pad during the setup, this was a user error. I turned to a YouTube video to figure out how to set it up correctly after a few days of sleeping in discomfort. It reduced the comfort problem once I did so and rotated the mattress pad and yanked out the tube. Although I can’t help but think it should have been a little easier to figure out. It would have been enough for a “head” and “foot” label on the mat (to identify how to orient it).
I still didn’t love the way that the pad felt on the bed, either. It wasn’t actively uncomfortable, but I could still feel the shape of the “capillaries” of water beneath me. That said, people appear to like the feeling of the pad in reviews on Chilipad’s site, so I could be alone in not being wild about it. But if you’re anything like the princess and the pea, it may not be your jam.
Is there a reason why you should get the Chilipad?
A few steps away from becoming something phenomenal, this product is. It works clearly for its intended, commercialized purpose: to maintain a bed as you sleep at a certain temperature. But I didn’t like the feeling of the mat. Even, when I got the pad, set up the right way. Nor did I like having a cube connects to my bed and taking up floor space. It’s not huge, but if you already have stuff like a dehumidifier, fan, or space heater in your room. It could create a cluttered look by adding it to the Chilipad cube. These two things make it hard for me to justify its price tag of $499-plus.
So, if the company finds a way to simplify the setup of the cooling cube and streamline it, I’d be all in. Until then, I think it depends on three things to decide whether or not to buy one. Whether you have air conditioning, whether you’re a hot sleeper, and whether you and your bedmate agree on a room’s ideal sleeping temperature.
You don’t need this pad if you have central air (or even an effective window unit). Just a cooler setting on your present system. But if you have only a fan and an open window at your disposal, like me. And often discover that your bed becomes bog-like in the night with sweat, it could change your life, or at least the way you sleep.
Chilipad As Per Sleep Experts
Todd and Tara Youngblood, a husband and wife duo with totally different sleep preferences, invented The Chilipad in 2007. He likes sleeping cool, she likes sleeping hot, according to them, so they came up with a solution that would keep both of them comfortable. That’s why the Chilipad comes for couples with a “WE” option, and a “ME” model for solo sleepers.
I am concentrating specifically on the WE Chilipad in this review (Dual-Zone). So follow along as I show you all there is to know about this unique accessory for sleep. And whether or not it really worked for me.
The Chilipad is similar to a regular mattress pad in that it has a thin layer of cushioning covering your bed. But its ability to regulate the temperature of your bedding while you sleep is what makes it totally unique. I am ready to tell you all there is to know about it after personally testing the Chilipad. But if you are short on time or just want the basics you need to know, take a moment to explore the key features of the Chilipad below:
The primary purpose of the Chilipad is to regulate the surface temperature of your mattress by circulating water through a microtubing network. Temperature Regulation Sleepers can set the water to be as hot as 115 degrees. Or anything in between, as cool as 55 degrees.
ME vs. WE! The “ME” is a single-zone option that is probably the right fit for you if you sleep solo or want to control only one side of your bed. In contrast, couples who want to control each side of the bed simultaneously might want to opt for the “WE” dual-zone model.
Control Units- By adjusting the control units after you fill them with water, the temperature can be controlled manually. Relatively small, cube-shaped devices that can be placed at the foot of your bed are the control units. Again, two control units come with WE models, and ME Chilipads come with one.
Radio Frequency Remote-Using radio frequency remotes that are sync to the control units. The temperature of the Chilipad can be adjust. This allows you to make it from the comfort of your bed warmer or cooler!
Machine Washable The Chilipad is machine washable and dryable, believe it or not. It is best to use large or industrial-sized machines, however, and dry them in a low-heat environment.
All right, let me detail my personal experience of snoozing with the Chilipad with these key features in mind.
I’ll tell you what I liked about the Chilipad in this section. What I did not like, and give you an overview of how to set it up. I will also dive into the details of what it’s made of. How it feels, and when it’s up and running, how it sounds.
Let’s talk about the set-up before I discuss the ins and outs of the performance of the Chilipad. Be sure to have AAA batteries (two for the ME, four for the WE) and some distilled water to get started. The batteries are for the remote controls and the control units are for the water. And although it is not technically mandatory. It can guard against sediment build-up within the tubes of the Chilipad using distilled water.
Place your Chilipad on top of your mattress once you have all the supplies you need and continue to make the bed as you normally would. Then, connect the control units to the tubes of the pad. Plug the control units into an outlet, and fill them with water. I suggest pouring the water into each unit slowly, but it will take about 24 ounces for each unit.
Next, synchronize each remote to its respective units (you’ll have two with a WE again, one with a ME). And that’s it! Officially, you’re ready to set your Chilipad’s temperature and climb into bed. It will take about 20 minutes for it to warm or cool, the people at Chilipad say, and I’ll talk more about that later. Ultimately, I found the set-up to be quite easy. But take comfort in the fact that a User’s Manual comes with every Chilipad.
Capability for Warming & Cooling
I tested the WE Chilipad, as I said. Which features a dual-zone design that can separately heat or cool each side of the pad. So the first thing I did, naturally, was crank one side all the way up to 115 and set the other side to 55 degrees. Personally, I believe this is the best part of this sleep accessory. Which allows you to control the temp on your bedside and your partner can control theirs.
I was a bit frustrated, however, by how long it took for each side to really reach those temperatures. I set both sides as high and low as they would go. But it’s important to note that it took about 40 minutes to get there (but they got there!). If I were you, I would have set your Chilipad’s temperature about half an hour before you went to bed so that it would be ready by the time you settled in.
That said, once they reached their temperatures, I was super impressed by how warm and cool each side felt. While the warm side felt like a toasty electric blanket, the cool side felt like it had been refrigerated. And what really amazed me was how one side didn’t seem to affect the other! I’m not sure how much use I would get out of the warming function as a hot sleeper. But I can see how it would come in handy for cold running folks.
But, in my opinion, the true gem is the cooling function. I set the whole Chilipad to be a cozy 60 degrees after I played around at various temperatures. And as I rolled around the mattress, the cooling caress of the bedding against my skin genuinely calmed me. Some of you may already know this, but it can actually help you fall asleep faster by keeping your body at a cool temperature and the Chilipad definitely did that for me.
Noise & Materials
The pad itself feels quite soft, aside from how warm or cool, the Chilipad can get. Your skin is not meant to come into direct contact with the Chilipad. But it’s made of a cotton and polyester blend that seemed to give my mattress a little extra cushion.
Another thing I appreciate about the construction of the Chilipad is that you can’t feel the microtubes flowing through the fabric… but you can hear the water flowing a little bit. This was not a big deal for me, and actually kind of soothed me. This is something to consider, though, if you’re a light sleeper or might be disturbed by the faint sound of running water.
In addition, It’s not very loud, and it kind of sounds like a box fan’s white noise, but it might bother sleepers who need total silence at night.
I really enjoyed my experience testing the Chilipad, ultimately. I sleep very hot and my partner is always cold, on a personal note, so I have a feeling that couples might be most beneficial. However, the primary caveat to consider is that it makes a whirring noise that could disturb light sleepers. In addition, I think the Chilipad is a luxurious sleep accessory, ideal for curing the atmosphere of your sleeping room.
Should I purchase a Chilipad?
Let’s recap the highlights now that we’ve taken a close look at the Chilipad, so you can decide if it really fits you:
Couples-I believe the WE Chilipad is ideal for couples running at different temperatures, as I said. I can see how the ME version would also be great for solo sleepers, but the ability to control each side of the bed separately is really special, in my opinion.
Easy Set-Up-The Chilipad is simple to set up and requires no Internet at all. Take comfort in the fact that this one runs on old fashioned battery power if you shy away from Bluetooth-enabled devices or equipment that needs to be charged frequently.
Machine Washable- Just like a regular mattress pad, the Chilipad can be thrown into the washing machine, which makes maintenance nice and easy. You might want to use a larger machine, however, and secure the extension tubes with a rubber band to prevent them from mid-cycle flailing.
90-Day Trial-To test all Chilipad products, you have 90 full nights, which could ease the buying pressure a little bit.
Complaints from Chilipad
Of course, before you make your purchase, there are a few things to consider:
Noise-This device could be a bit too noisy for some, between the water flowing through the Chilipad and the whirring of the control units. This might not be the best fit for you if you’re a light sleeper or are easily disturbed by nighttime sounds.
Batteries Not Included-Keep in mind that you will have to buy distilled water and AAA batteries separately, as your order does not include these items. It’s not a huge deal, in my opinion, but I’ll admit that as soon as my Chilipad arrived, I was very eager to set everything up. So, before unboxing your Chilipad, I suggest gathering all the required supplies.
Time & Patience: It is important to note that as soon as you click your remote, the temperature of the Chilipad will not change. Generally speaking, it’ll take about 30 minutes to heat up or cool down your Chilipad, so it’s best to plan around that.
Something else that I should know?
Sizing-Full-California King; only available for Queen, King, California King; WE Chilipads
Pricing, depending on size and model, $499-$1,119
Wash Care-Wash the Chilipad with a mild detergent in an industrial-sized washing machine. Maintain secure extension tails with rubber bands. On a low-heat cycle, dry.
Maintenance-Fill control units with distilled water to prevent sediment build-up. Refill once a week, approximately.
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Is it loud on the Chilipad?
While the Chilipad is not necessarily loud, when it’s running, it does make a faint whirring noise. I personally found it to be rather soothing, but it could disturb light sleepers.
How long does the Chilipad take to cool down?
Depending on the temperature you’re trying to reach, the Chilipad can take anywhere from 15-50 minutes to get warm or cool. The closer you get to the limits of its temperature, the longer it takes to get there.
What temperature am I supposed to set for my Chilipad?
As low as 55 degrees, or as high as 115 degrees, the Chilipad can be set. It is largely a matter of personal preference to choose the right temperature, so I suggest gradually experimenting with different temperature settings until you find the right fit.