Pros: Feels great for the few hours that it works, nontoxic solution, novel concept.
Cons: Plastic smell, clammy feel, time-consuming set up, too heavy, does not stay cool long.
PROS: Feels great for the few hours that it works, nontoxic solution, novel concept.
CONS: Strong plastic smell, damp clammy feel to touch, time-consuming set up and maintenance, too heavy, difficult to slide into pillowcase, does not stay cool long enough, bunches up and requires daily maintenance (smoothing/pounding/rechilling).
The Chillow is a great concept and has a cute and memorable name. I wish it fully lived up to its promise as the solution for overheated sleepers.
I never saw the TV ads or anything (to my recollection), so I must have read about it somewhere. Somewhere I got the notion that it replaces a pillow to keep a person cool at night, but that's not the case at all. It's simply a water-filled plastic insert that fits inside your pillow case. Simple enough concept.
As someone who is repeatedly awakened at night by being too hot, I thought this might be the perfect solution to my discomfort.I also thought I could just go down to the local pharmacy chain or a Walgreens/Walmart/CVS and pick it up for a trial run.
However, the Chillow was hard to find (at least where I live in the Midwest.) I called a number of stores, including the national chains listed on the Chillow Web site that supposedly carry it, and in each case the managers of the local stores told me they had discontinued carrying it.
I finally ended up directly calling the manufacturer, and a nice lady answered, though she sounded like somebody's grandma working out of a home office. Very informal and chatty, not much like a corporate professional. Anyway, I found out I could order directly from them via their Web site, but I was trying to locate the Chillow quickly and also factor in some savings on shipping.
Eventually I found a retailer on eBay who offered two new Chillows for the price of one with free shipping. I decided this was the best route to go - in case one was defective I'd have a backup, and/or if I really loved it then I'd have a spare. The Chillows arrived fine but then I had the first unpleasant surprise, which was reading the instructions for set-up.
The initial steps to set up the Chillow are more involved than I expected or wanted to deal with (I had not read other epinions or may have passed on this product altogether!) I thought it was just something you pulled out of the box and used like another pillow, not that you had to complete a lot of steps simply to use it the first time. My husband helped and did the messy part the filling, removing air bubbles, etc. which probably took about 20 to 30 minutes or so. The water must be poured very slowly in small quantities into the Chillow. You can't just turn on a tap and stick it under the faucet. It has to be kneaded like dough, left to "set up" - so don't expect a quick and easy solution the moment you get it home. (Am I lazy? Yes like many Americans I want a quick fix, hey I figure that's what I paid $30+ for...LOL)
Initially I tried using my Chillow every night.It is very heavy as others here mentioned, plus it's hard to slide into a pillowcase no matter which side is put up/down. It's smooth plastic on one side, a flocked vinyl fabric on the other. The worst part to me is the smell. The plastic odor is strong and icky (even through a pillowcase) and if you're at all sensitive to smells (like me), it may bother you quite a bit.
The Chillow coolness feels good at first; however, I'm one of those people who need the extra kick that chilling it gives the product, so I had to remember to put it in the fridge for a half hour before bed on nights I decided to use it. Sometimes I forgot and then I just ended up not using it, because a room temperature Chillow is worthless in my case.
For the first couple of hours, the extra-chilled Chillow felt great, and if I fell asleep quickly enough and didn't move much, then I didn't have to wrestle with the warm, heavy-as-lead insert. But like others have mentioned, the Chillow insert loses its cool too quickly, and often I was left with a heavy, hot, stinky plastic pillow by morning. Then the insert had to be dragged out again, pounded back into shape, and the cycle repeated.
My Chillow bunched up too easily and had to be laid out, kneaded and pounded like dough, and restored to its flat rectangular shape every day. I had to do this every day because my Chillow got squished up. I think I'm a pillow clutcher/kneader in my sleep so it probably got a beating in that regard. Your mileage and elbow grease may vary.
I found on average that my Chillow's coolness lasted about four hours, or only half the night.I considered firing up the spare one and switching them off in the middle of the night to circumvent this problem, but the hassle factor (having to tromp down to the kitchen in the middle of the night, half asleep) and the Chillow "rule" in the instructions that it cannot be kept in the fridge more than half an hour made this impractical. I don't know why the instructions say it can't be chilled more than half an hour, but there must be a reason. Perhaps it weakens the plastic material.
I used the Chillow once against my cheek when I had some sinus pain, and that did help, but a bag of frozen vegetables would have had the same effect and cost a lot less.
Final Call: I wish the Chillow was the miracle solution it is touted to be, but in my case it's a disappointment. In the end I think I must concur with the reviewer who said it's just easier to keep flipping your pillow over. Maybe a silk pillow and pillowcase would be cooler but at around $200 retail apiece, I should hope so.
Frankly, like other reviewers here I got tired of hassling with the Chillow for minimal and too-brief relief. The concept and the catchy name are brilliant, but I think the company needs to send their engineers back to the drawing board.