ChiliPad is a device that uses water to control the surface temperature of your mattress, improving the quality of your sleep by helping you fall asleep quicker and stay comfortable in bed throughout the night.
I tested the chiliPAD for my roundup of the best bed cooling systems, but I decided to write this dedicated review so I could go into more detail about why I think it’s an attractive entry-level gadget for people who care about optimizing their sleep (and who don’t need all the bells and whistles provided by more expensive solutions).
If you’re new to bed cooling systems and aren’t yet convinced that temperature has a significant impact on your sleep quality, I highly recommend you check out this article first. It explains the science behind bed cooling solutions and outlines why you should sleep in a cool environment.
In a nutshell, thermoregulation is an “expensive” biological process that takes away resources from some of the other restorative and regenerative processes that the body is engaged in during sleep, such as digestion, muscle recovery and memory consolidation.
Additionally, being too warm during sleep likely results in disturbances (like waking up) that negatively impact your sleep quality and further hamper your recovery.
That’s why the Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping in a cool environment.
chiliPAD Cooling Mattress Pad
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of chiliPAD, I should point out that ChiliSleep (the company that makes the device) offers two versions of its bed cooling solution: the classic chiliPAD and the Ooler.
Both versions use the same underlying cooling technology, but one has an updated design and extra features that some people find useful. I’ll talk about the differences between the two versions later in the article.
- Great value
- Low-profile design
- Works with many types of beds and mattresses
- Works for one side of the bed or both
- No electronics inside the mattress topper
- Requires regular maintenance
- Supports manual temperature changes only
- Doesn’t come with a mobile app
- No sleep and biometrics tracking
- No vibration alarm
How The chiliPAD Works
The chiliPAD sleep system consists of a control unit (the cube) and a soft mattress topper (called the Chili Cool Mesh Pad) that features microtubes made out of medical-grade silicone.
Based on your desired temperature settings, the control unit pumps water through those microtubes to cool or heat the surface of your mattress.
Setup and Maintenance
Setting up the chiliPAD is relatively straightforward. All you have to do is fill the control unit with distilled water, position it next to your bed, and plug in the power cord.
The control unit measures 9.5 x 10.5 x 7.5 inches, and should be placed next to (not under) your bed to ensure sufficient ventilation. The tubing connecting the control unit to the mattress topper is eight feet long, which gives you a decent amount of flexibility in terms of where you position it in your bedroom.
The mattress topper with the built-in water tubes goes on top of your mattress but under your sheet, and is secured using two elastic straps that wrap around your mattress.
Each chiliPAD covers one side of the bed. That means you need two chiliPADs (including two control units) in order to cool both sides of your mattress. The company sells “WE” bundles for such cases.
Once everything is set up, you can use the control buttons on top of the chiliPAD cube or the included remote control to turn on the device and set your desired temperature.
As far as maintenance is concerned, once per month you have to:
- Empty the control unit’s water tank.
- Refill it with a mixture of distilled (or filtered) water and the special chiliPAD System Cleaning Solution that comes with the unit.
- Drain the cube again.
- And finally, refill it with clean water.
Completing these steps on a consistent basis prevents the growth and buildup of mold and mildew inside the silicone tubes of the mattress topper.
What’s interesting is that with my Eight Sleep Pod Pro (another mattress cooling solution I highly recommend), I can add two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to the water tank instead of having to run through a monthly cleaning cycle.
I’ve reached out to ChiliSleep to ask why that’s not an option for the chiliPad, and I’ll update this article as soon as I have an answer.
Temperature Regulation and Cooling Performance
The chiliPAD has a fairly simplistic temperature control mechanism. That means you can set the desired temperature using the two on-device buttons or via the battery-powered remote control.
chiliPAD remembers the last temperature setting you used and defaults to that temperature every time it’s powered on.
The advantage of this approach is that it’s straightforward and there’s virtually no way to mess anything up. But the downside is that the chiliPAD will stay at whatever temperature you’ve set prior to falling asleep.
In other words, it does not offer dynamic temperature control.
That can be an issue because your body temperature naturally changes over the course of the night, decreasing as you fall asleep and rising as you approach your normal wake time.
Unfortunately, the fact that chiliPAD doesn’t take that into account is a limitation that could prevent you from achieving your optimal sleep performance.
ChiliSleep has tried to reconcile this shortcoming by including an hour-by-hour sleep scheduling feature in its Ooler*, which I consider the upgraded version of the chiliPAD.
With all of that said: I still strongly believe that using the chiliPAD to reduce the temperature underneath the sheets is a major upgrade for many people who struggle with getting enough quality sleep — even without the ability to dictate individual temperature settings for the various stages of sleep.
If you’re a hot sleeper and struggle with body heat getting trapped under the sheets, and you just want to feel cooler for better sleep, I’m convinced you’ll love the chiliPAD.
I gave mine to my buddy Bryan, who is an incredibly hot sleeper, and he told me that the device was a game-changer for him. In fact, he liked it so much that he ended up keeping my review unit! I didn’t mind that he kept my chiliPAD because we had just got our Pod Pro from Eight Sleep a few weeks before that, and didn’t see a need to change devices.
What I should mention is that while the cooling performance of the chiliPAD is good, it doesn’t get as cold as some of the other solutions I’ve tried, including the Pod Pro by Eight Sleep.
For most people, that shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’re a side sleeper, suffer from serious night sweats, or sleep in a fairly warm environment with no AC, you might have to run the chiliPAD on its lowest temperature setting to get enough temperature relief.
That’s a minor problem, because running any electric device at full-capacity can shorten its lifespan and increase its energy consumption.
One thing I love about the chiliPAD is that it fits on pretty much any size mattress.
Officially, the chiliPAD is available for queen, king and California king mattresses, including single-user versions that fit half of those mattresses.
What’s cool is that the “half queen” pad fits a regular single mattress, and the “half king” fits a twin XL mattress. In reality, you can make a half queen or half king chiliPAD work for you on pretty much any mattress, regardless of the size.
For example, I’ve used my half king chiliPAD on both a king size bed in my master bedroom and a queen size mattress in my guest bedroom.
I really appreciate that flexibility, because it means you can easily take your chiliPAD with you. I’ll expand on that idea further down, so keep reading.
Price and Value
|Single Zone (ME)||$499||$599||$599|
|Dual Zone (WE)||$999||$1,199||$1,199|
The single-zone chiliPAD (the company calls it the “ME” version) starts at $499 and covers half a queen bed. For $100 you can get a larger version, which covers half a king or California king bed.
If you’d like to cover the entire surface of your mattress while retaining the ability to control the temperature of each side individually, you can get the WE version of chiliPAD.
Practically, the WE version consists of two single-zone units. So you might as well get two ME versions and spend $1 less.
Either way, I consider the single-zone chiliPAD an easy and relatively inexpensive way to dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. In comparison, the Pod Pro Cover* for a queen mattress starts at $1,595, and the Pod Pro (which includes a memory-foam mattress) starts at $2,845.
If you want to give chiliPAD a try, make sure to use code Chilipad20 to get 20% off your purchase of a full sleep system consisting of either a control unit and a Cool Mesh Mattress Pad or chiliBLANKET.
The latter is a weighted blanket that can be attached to the control unit instead of a mattress pad. In other words, you can have either the mattress pad or the blanket cooled, but not both at the same time.
Power Consumption vs. Energy Savings
It might seem counterintuitive, but I’ve heard from multiple people that using a bed cooling system has lowered their energy bills by reducing the need to crank up the AC at night.
Think about it: the annual power consumption of a single-zone chiliPAD is approximately 500 kWh per year (171 W per hour), as opposed to the 3,500 W a central AC unit consumes per hour on average.
So increasing the temperature settings on your AC unit by even a few degrees at night (causing it to run less frequently) will result in significantly lower energy consumption and a lower electricity bill.
As an example, if you can reduce the runtime of your AC unit by three hours each night, you’d save approximately $32 per month in electricity based on the relatively low energy prices in Georgia. In other states, such as Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut and Rhode Island (which all have relatively higher energy prices), your savings could be twice that.
What’s the Difference Between chiliPAD and OOLER?
The chiliPAD is the company’s original mattress cooling solution, and OOLER is the more advanced and upgraded solution.
Besides the differences in design (OOLER is wider but slimmer to better fit under bed frames), the OOLER has the following additional features:
- Mobile app support, with the ability to set sleep schedules.
- Automatic cleaning routine using a built-in UV lamp.
- Smart alarm that uses heat to gently wake you up in the morning (instead of sound, like traditional alarms) .
- Variable fan speed to incorporate white noise into your sleep routine.
As you might have expected, these additional features come at an additional cost.
For example, the half queen, single-zone version of OOLER starts at $699 and is thus $200 more expensive than the original chiliPAD.
If you think the OOLER is the right bed cooling system for you and want to give it a try, make sure to use code OOLER15 to get 15% off your purchase. In the event you don’t like it, you can return the product within 90 days.
Personally, I think the chiliPAD offers the best value of any entry-level bed cooling solution. If you want more advanced features that you’re willing to spend more money on, I’d recommend checking out the Pod Pro Cover by Eight Sleep*.
How We (Will) Use chiliPAD
I got my chiliPAD right after we started using the Pod Pro by Eight Sleep. Since the latter has been working really well for us and requires only a single control unit to cover our entire king size bed, we didn’t want to replace it.
However, for the purpose of testing the chiliPAD, I turned off the cooling feature of my Pod Pro cover (on my side of the bed) and placed the chiliPAD on top of it. While that was certainly not the most elegant solution, it worked really well.
After my two-week review period, I decided to move the chiliPAD to our guest room and help future guests sleep better. But then my buddy Bryan wanted to give chiliPAD a try, so I loaned him my review unit for a while.
He loved it so much that he decided to keep it.
The other day, my wife and I were talking about how long it’s been since we’ve visited our families in Austria and Costa Rica, and that we can’t wait to be able to travel and see them again.
But we also remembered how brutally hot the nights can get during the summer in both of those places, since most homes aren’t equipped with air conditioning units.
That’s when we decided to bring chiliPADs on our next trip. They’re relatively easy to transport in a suitcase, and you can move them from mattress to mattress without any issues.
That’s particularly important because we don’t always sleep in the same bed or mattress when visiting family, depending on who we stay with.
Thinking back to some of the hot and sweaty summer nights we’ve spent in those countries made us wish we had known about chiliPAD before. It would have been a game-changer as far as sleep quality is concerned.
Frequently Asked Questions
chiliPAD offers a two-year limited warranty. The company also offers a 90-night sleep trial policy, so you can return the product within that time frame for a full refund if you don’t like it. The company even pays for the return shipping!
The temperature range of the chiliPAD is 55-115° F (13-46° C).
No, unfortunately the chiliPAD does not offer any sleep or biometric tracking features. If that’s important to you, you might want to check out the Pod Pro by Eight Sleep.
On the bright side, the lack of sleep tracking sensors means there are no wires or electronics built into the mattress pad, which results in lower exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) and electromagnetic radiation.
I’m mildly concerned about exposure to EMFs (learn why in my post about how electromagnetic radiation affects your health), but I accept the potential risk in order to improve my sleep — which I consider a foundational aspect of my overall health.
No, the chiliPAD doesn’t come with a mobile app (only the upgraded Ooler does). To control the chiliPAD, you can use the buttons on top of the control unit or the remote control.
You can, but only if you have sufficient space around the control unit to ensure proper airflow and ventilation. Otherwise, the company recommends positioning the control unit next to your bed.
Yes, you can machine wash the mattress pad (but only in a front-loading washing machine).
You don’t have to, but if you choose to use a mattress protector, make sure to place it underneath the chiliPAD rather than on top of it to maintain the best-possible cooling performance.
Yes, chiliPAD is relatively thin and should easily fit under most fitted sheets. We have not had any issues with the fitted sheets we tried.
Most people sleep best in a cool environment that prevents the body from overheating and spending energy on regulating its temperature.
In our house, we turn off the heat in the winter and let the temperature in our house cool down to 60° F. In the summer, we actively cool the house to 67° F.
Personally, I sleep best with the chiliPAD set to 65° F, while my buddy Bryan (who is a really hot sleeper) has set it to 55° F — the lowest the chiliPAD can go.
My recommendation is to set it to 68° F and then make gradual adjustments until you’ve found the temperature that works best for you.
If you have a reliable sleep tracker, such as the WHOOP strap that I use, you can even monitor how different temperature settings affect the quality of your sleep.
There are several factors that influence the rate of water evaporation, including the ambient temperature. As a rule of thumb, you can expect to refill the water tank every couple of weeks, or when you clean the control unit.
The chiliPAD cube has a single-speed fan that you can hear, and which produces “white noise.” It’s not terribly loud, but you can certainly hear it in a quiet environment. Based on the official specifications, chiliPAD produces noise in the range of 51-56 dBA at one feet distance with 40 dBA ambient noise.
For comparison, a quiet dishwasher registers at around 50 decibels and a washing machine at around 70 decibels.
My wife and I sleep with a white noise machine on at night, so we weren’t disturbed by the fan noise. But if you’re used to sleeping in a totally quiet environment, you might find the fan noise bothersome.
While there is no limit, weight plays a role in the overall performance of the system due to the compression (caused by weight) of the silicone tubes that circulate the cold water throughout the pad.
Based on information from ChiliSleep, chiliPAD performs best under a net weight of 250 pounds (90kg).
For reference, I weigh approximately 210 pounds and my buddy Bryan clocks in at 240 pounds. Neither of us have noticed a degradation in performance.
To learn how chiliPAD compares to other bed cooling solutions, such as the Pod Pro by Eight Sleep and the BedJet, check out my in-depth comparison article.
When you purchase a complete chiliPAD sleep system, you get the control unit (cube), the poly-cotton mattress pad, a wireless remote control with two AAA batteries, a drain tool (to drain the water from the cube) and a cleaning solution.
Yes, absolutely. The chiliPAD is safe for children of all ages. However, I wouldn’t use any mattress cooling solutions for babies who still sleep in a crib, because of their inability to control their body temperature.
Why You Should Consider Buying the chiliPAD
Incorporating a bed cooling solution into our sleep routine has been an absolute game-changer for both me and my wife.
It has measurably improved our sleep quality, and we no longer wake up in the middle of the night because we feel too hot or too cold.
Actively cooling the surface of our mattress has also helped us to save money on electricity by allowing us to increase the room temperature by a few degrees Fahrenheit.
While there are several bed cooling solutions on the market that can help you achieve your ideal sleeping temperature, chiliPAD is one of the most attractive entry-level solutions due to its combination of pricing, performance and flexibility.
Are you a hot or cold sleeper, and what temperature do you have your bedroom set to? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
I’m a healthy living and technology enthusiast.
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