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Description for SoothSoft Chillow
This heavy duty enclosure is filled with a special foam/gel. Just add water to the fill port and place it in your pillow case with the medical-grade cloth face up. The Chillow pulls heat away from you
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Here is what you really need to know...
It STAYS COOL - Yes, it really does work. Any reviewer that says this thing does not stay cool is either using it wrong (not enough water) or is going to sleep with their head in flames. In fact, at first I found it to be downright COLD and had to get used to it. However, it does not stay cool all night long. It will warm up after an hour or so and then you can turn the Chillow around and use the other side of it where it is still cold. People say it is small but no ones head is taking up more than half of this thing, I guarantee it. If you sleep with your shoulders on it that area will still be cool when you turn it around.
It DOES NOT GET HOT - As mentioned above The Chillow gets warm after some continued use. But it does not get hot the way regular pillows do. So, if you are like me, and flip your pillow to the cold side repeatedly through out the night, sometimes only minutes after you just flipped it, then this will reduce your countless flips to 2-3 turns a night, depending on how often you wake up.
It's HEAVY - The Chillow is filled with water so yeah, it is pretty heavy. It probably weighs several pounds, though I have not weighed it. You can add 7-9 cups of water so it would depend on what you choose. When you put this on top of your pillow it will flatten it unless you are using a thick, firm pillow. This will not work so well over a fluffy down pillow.
It's FIRM - I almost found The Chillow to be too firm for me and it took some getting used to. After using it for a couple of weeks I have noticed that it gets more and more comfortable every night. My body heat seems to make it a little more malleable (If that is the right word for it). It slowly contours to the shape of your head/face, etc. So after a few minutes I can hear the foam inside start to shift (sounds like snow compacting into itself, like when you make a snowball) and my ear will sink into it. At that point it starts getting more comfortable for me (and the noise stops). It only takes a minute or so. If you can't handle a firm pillow then The Chillow is probably not going to be comfortable for you. But again, I don't usually like a firm pillow and I am getting used to this. Typically firm pillows make me wake up with sore ears (yes, sore ears). The Chillow doesn't do that to me.
It's AWKWARD - The Chillow has a felt like material on the backside of it, which I presume is to keep it from sliding around, and it works for that. However, this combined with the weight of it makes it really difficult to get into a pillowcase as it "sticks" to the fabric as you slide it in. I have been putting it in the same case as my standard pillow and occasionally the weight of The Chillow causes it to flip my whole pillow over if it is not perfectly centered on top of it. So if its hanging off the bottom of my pillow and I sit up, the whole thing comes flying towards me and flops over onto the bed, Chillow face down. I like it hanging off because I am using it to keep my neck and face cool, so it's a bit difficult to get it right in the correct position. I tried it with it's own separate pillowcase and this just negates the felt material on the back and the thing starts sliding all over the place and gets bunched up.
Chillow makers... If you are out there, please make a separate pillow with a fitted pillowcase that will hold The Chillow. I think this would solve a lot of problems.
It's NOT TOO BIG, NOT TOO SMALL - As mentioned above, some reviewers say this is too small. It is smaller than a standard pillow but I honestly can't imagine it being any bigger. If it were bigger the weight of the water would make this even more cumbersome. Likewise, if it were smaller it would be short on cool spots when you do need to rotate it. However, there is a Chillow Plus for those who want a bigger Chillow.
It has a faint SMELL - It smells like a pool float. You know, that plastic, vinyl smell when you open something made of plastic/vinyl? It's not terribly over powering, and it does fade. I've had it 2 weeks and I haven't thought about it for longer than a few minutes this whole time. I really had to press my nose to it to smell it at all. I realize you're basically doing just that when you sleep on it, but it has faded and I really haven't noticed it at all after a couple of days.
It is EASY TO SET UP - Don't listen to the reviews that say this thing is a pain to set up. It's really simple and you only have to do it ONCE. It has an opening, like an air mattress, that you pour water into. You then close it and let it sit for 4 hours. After that you need to roll the air out of it. The problem is that the directions say to roll it and then after it's rolled up 2/3 of the way you press the rest down to squeeze the last bit of air out of it. Reviewers are saying at this point that all the water comes out of it. Yes, this is true IF you have already squeezed the air out of it. Really the directions should say that once you roll it enough that water starts coming out you should stop. Common sense tells you that if water is coming out when you press on it that you likely got all the air out already. So, just close it and let it rest again until it settles. At this point you will see there is a nice seal and it is clear there is no air left. Simple...1...2...3...
So let's recap the set up... 1) fill with water, 2) wait 4 hours, 3) squeeze air out and stop once water starts coming out... done. Technically you let it sit at that point until it lays flat again but you are done doing anything with it.
It takes some TRIAL AND ERROR to get used to it - I am so desperate to cool off at night that I have tried this a number of ways. If I had just given up on it after the first couple of nights I would have given this 1 star and returned it. But I tried it a number of different way. I am a 2 pillow sleeper so for me the best set up was to put my memory foam pillow on the bottom, then my standard pillow, with The Chillow on top. For a while I tried a down pillow instead of the memory foam, or The Chillow in it's own case, or The Chillow between the two pillows (Interestingly, this seemed to keep my standard pillow slightly cooler than usual and when I flipped it the pillow was really cold, which may be one solution for someone out there). So give it a little time before giving up on it.
So, all in all I would say The Chillow is not for everyone. Some will like it, some will hate it. If you like firm pillows you will probably love this. If you can't stand them you will probably hate it. But the reviews that describe this thing as some sort of miracle or as a total nightmare are not entirely fair to those reading the reviews. It is neither. The Chillow is middle of the road and if heat is your biggest obstacle to getting a good nights sleep then this will probably help you. If there are other bigger issues then this may not satisfy.
I am giving this 3 stars. Yesterday I would have given it 2 but last night I slept on it really well, and the night before that it was better than the previous night. It just keeps getting better. If I fall in love with it, I will update. Likewise, if I start to hate it I will update that as well.
Hope this helps...
UPDATE 11/13/13: After nearly a year using the chillow every night, I have finally given up on it. While it does do it's intended purpose, keep you cool, I ultimately found it to much of a pain to keep using. Here are a few of the issues that started getting on my nerves:
It is extremely cumbersome. Keeping it on top of your pillow in a flat position is next to impossible. It constantly slides off and ends up in a slump at the side of the pillow. If you leave it like that for too long it kind of gets stuck in the weird shape and it's difficult to fix. It ends up with wrinkles that ruin the flat surface and disrupt sleep.
The chillow doesn't stay cool all night, as mentioned in my original review. The spot that you are laying on can get fairly warm. However, you can turn it around to use the other side. I didn't mind that I had to turn it to get a cool spot but lifting up my pillow and chillow to turn it around in the middle of the night was not easy. The chillow is heavy and awkward so it takes some fidgeting to get it to stay where you want it and sometimes it took too long. It was never a simple process and who wants to be dealing with that in the middle of the night?
The mildew smell inside that I discovered when I changed the water (mentioned in the comments) also really bothered me. The idea of it just grossed me out. Additional, other than my first time filling it up, I was never able to get all the air out again. Doing the tricks other people suggested didn't work. It was simple the first time. I'm not sure why I can't seem to repeat the process. Guess I'm eating my words here... :)
Lastly, I never completely got used to the firmness of the chillow. It got better but I never was that comfortable. It was just more comfortable than being hot. Which is not really good enough in my opinion.
I finally started to look for a new pillow and I found the Z® by Malouf Z-Gel Infused Dough® Memory Foam + Liquid Z-Gel Pillow with Removable Velour Cover 5-Year Warranty and ordered it. It has a liquid gel layer on the top of the pillow that stays cool. It's replaced my chillow and it is much better so far. No fumbling to keep it in place, no water to change, no mildew/mold growing inside, and best of all it's soft and comfortable, the way a pillow should be.
I will say that the Z pillow does not get quite as cool as the chillow, so it may not work for someone who gets very hot at night. Still, I had to turn my chillow at least 2 times a night and dealing with it would often wake me up because it was such an ordeal. I have to turn my new pillow too, but it stays cool long enough for me to fall asleep and then it's one quick turn and done, back to sleep. It's a vast improvement over a regular pillow which got too hot for me in about 5 minutes and I had to turn it 10-15 times overnight. It's also an improvement over the chillow, mostly due to ease of use and comfort.
I lowered my rating of the chillow to 2 stars for all of the above reasons. Since it does work (it's just a pain and too firm) and since I can also see it being useful for cold therapy or very hot summer days, I do intend to keep mine. So I didn't think it deserved only 1 star.
I highly recommend looking at the Z pillow here on Amazon. It's much pricier but worth the investment in my opinion. Or check out another gel pillow.
Hope this helps...again.
I just received my other Chillow and it is NOT the same one as my first one. It's smaller and it doesn't look like the original one. I am therefore returning it. I still love the original Chillow. Not sure where I can get another one just like the first one I got.
I do, however, judge it harshly for a couple of other things.
First of all, the way this thing works is that it's basically a big foamy sponge covered with plastic. You fill the sponge with water and "Voila!", your pillow retains it's coolness longer. There are a couple of problems with this though.
First of all, eight ounces of water means it weighs roughly 5 pounds at room temperature. 5 pounds isn't that much but it is when you're talking about a pillow! It makes for a REALLY HEAVY pillow! Because it's a sponge inside, the water doesn't really slosh around but it's still very awkward to move the thing. It's floppy and cumbersome and kinda hard to get it to be where you want it to be.
Secondly, it's not in any way a pillow replacement - it's more of a pillow topper (that is next to impossible to keep on top of a pillow). It's roughly an inch and a half to 2 inches thick at most. This means that you really have to use it WITH your regular pillow. Since it actually has very little in common with a pillow if you consider a pillow to be soft or supportive (even if you consider a pillow to be firm and supportive), I found it to be a disappointment. Maybe if it could be sewn onto a regular pillow somehow? I know this is unrealistic but it really is a pain. It's made of a thick fairly slick plastic (like the stuff that inflatable mattresses are made out of) on one side and a very heavy duty suede (also like an inflatable mattress) on the other. Putting it suede side-down on top of a pillow inside a pillow case makes it usable but it's not very comfortable.
As far as doing what it's supposed to and staying cool, well it does do that to a point. I keep my room highly air conditioned at night which means that this thing is distractingly cold when I go to bed so I don't start with it. I leave it on the other pillow until I wake up with the inevitable night sweat. At that point, it's quite nice to heave (did I mention that it's 5 freaking pounds?) the thing over and put it under my head. It also definitely stays cool longer than a typical pillow although hardly all night. Usually, within a couple of hours, I wake up and it's lost all it's "chill". Occasionally, I can move to another part of the Chillow but it depends on how long I've slept - at least half the time, the whole thing has caught up with my body temperature and there's no cool left to it. When that happens, I shove it back over to the other side and go back to my regular pillow.
In the end, I think I'll miss it a little but not enough to replace it. The weight and the fact that it really has to go on top of a regular pillow (and yet will not stay on top of the pillow) make it just not worth the effort. I felt like I constantly had to be lugging the thing back up onto the pillow (it always slid down to rest on the mattress of course) and trying to man-handle it to where I wanted it to be.
If you decide to go for it and you have cats? Keep it UNDER the pillow until you're using it.