Ooler is an advanced sleep system for precise temperature regulation for your bed. With a thermal range from 55-110°F (13-43°C). Ooler is a water-based system consisting of a control unit and mattress topper which incorporates thin circulation tubes for accurate climate control throughout the night.
Available in configurations for one or two sleepers, Ooler incorporates smart features including sleep scheduling, smart alarm and Bluetooth control. At a fraction of the cost of air-conditioning, Ooler is designed improve your sleep experience by providing an optimal climate in bed, whether you’re suffering from night sweats, dealing with illness, joint or muscle pain, recovering from sports activities, or just want to find a way to improve your overall sleep and health.
Ooler – the back story
Ooler is the latest product innovation from Chili Technology, leaders for over a decade in cooling and heating systems for your bed.
Founded in 2007 by husband and wife team Todd and Tara Youngblood, the company’s first product, the Chilipad – water-based system consisting of a control unit and a mattress pad lined with thin circulation tubes – was the first truly convenient and efficient consumer device for accurate and reliable temperature regulation for beds.
Over the years, Chili Technology’s products have gained support and endorsements from a range of celebrities, pro-athletes and health advocates including productivity guru Tim Feriss, biohacker Ben Greenfield, Wellness Mama Katie Wells, pro basketball player P.J. Tucker and more.
After three generations of Chilipad, including the award-nominated Chilipad Cube, the company announced the 2016 launch of the Kryo Sleep Performance System which went on to raise nearly $1/4 million via a successful Kickstarter campaign.
With new features including Bluetooth connectivity and a more compact form factor, Kryo was later rebranded as the Ooler Sleep System and eventually launched to the public in May 2019.
Benefits of using Ooler
Core temperature is one of the key biological factors for ensuring good quality sleep. Sure, you could just buy an electric blanket, a fan, or install an AC unit in the bedroom, but Ooler has lots of additional benefits over these simpler solutions.
First off, cooling and heating using a water-based system is much more thermally efficient than air cooling, which means heat transfer between your body and the Ooler’s mattress pad is much less likely to be affected by things like ambient room temperature.
An AC unit works by bringing affecting the climate of the whole room, so to reach a target temperature, it’s going to be working much harder, and hence using more power and energy. An electric fan will just circulate air at room temperature so there’s no active cooling happening at all.
Ooler is also beneficial if your bed partner has different temperature needs at night. Maybe you like the bed toasty, but your partner suffers from night sweats or hot flashes. With a dual sleeper configuration Ooler brings independent temperature control for both sides of the bed.
Overall, Ooler main benefits derive from being able to precisely pinpoint a bed temperature that works best for you, in a convenient, reliable manner, and with the added benefits of smart features like app control, scheduling, and simple everyday use.
Ooler Technical Specifications:
Cooling heating range: 55-110°F (13-43°C)
Dimensions: 15” L x 10” W x 6” H
App compatibility: iOS and Android
Power: 100~240VAC, 50/60Hz, 140W
Energy consumption: ~500kWh/year
Noise levels: Silent ~ 51-56 dBA, Regular ~ 58-63 dBA, Boost ~ 61-66 dBa
Warrantee: 2 years, 90-day satisfaction guarantee
Material: high-loft jacquard stretchable-top TENCEL™ Lyocell fabric
Available sizes: 6 sizes to fit any bed (see table below)
- Consistent, accurate all night temperature regulation for your bed
- Noticeable improvements in subjective sleep quality on hot nights
- Schedule temperature changes throughout the night
- Variable fan settings for noise control
- Warm-Awake feature replaces your alarm clock
- EMF-free, no radio frequencies emitted at night
- Slimmer form factor for better under-bed storage
- Maintenance-free UV-light cleaning system
Not So Good:
- Takes a while to achieve large temperature changes
- ‘Silent’ mode is not really silent
- No dedicated remote control (only smartphone)
- My Sleep feature is underwhelming
- Quite pricey if you’re buying for two sleepers
Price & Availability
Configurations available from $699 (for one person) to $1499 (two persons)
Flexible Finance options available from $32.26/ month
Chilipad vs Ooler
If you’re thinking that Ooler and Chilipad are very similar, you’d be right. The devices share the same core tech, honed by Chili Technology over the past decade.
Hence both units offer heating or cooling between 55-110°F (13-43°C), and both offer a range of mattress pad sizes, and options for single and dual sleepers.
The most obvious distinguishing factor is the physical footprint of the Ooler – it’s only 6″ tall so it will fit under more beds than the cube-shaped Chilipad ( 7.5 “).
Other notable differences between Ooler and Chilipad are the former’s smartphone-related features, including programmable sleep schedules, sleep optimisation system, UV cleaning system and noise control.
All in all, both devices excel in delivering precise temperature control of your mattress, but Ooler is the more sophisticated device. Here’s a summary of the main differences.
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Unboxing, Design and Ergonomics
Inside the box I received, there was the control unit, a power cord, the plastic draining tool and the mattress pad, which comes in a nice branded drawstring bag for storage.
The control unit
The control unit weighs in at around 4kg without being filled with water and the overall impression is of a solid, well-engineered piece of kit. All of the buttons and components feel high-quality and built to last. Flimsy it is not.
Even though this is a gadget which is likely to remain permanently hidden under your bed, it’s nice to see Chili Technology have gone to some efforts with the packaging and the overall design. Ooler’s curvy aesthetics differ from its predecessor, Chilipad Cube’s square utilitarianism. Whilst I wouldn’t say Ooler is a beautiful object, its form is much more suited to blending into the bedroom of the 21st century.
One of the more important design consideration over Chilipad is that Ooler is much slimmer, meaning that at only 6 inches tall, it should fit under the majority of beds.
The design is pretty minimalist, there are only 3 buttons, power, and temperature up and down controls. Whilst you can certainly use the device on its own, pretty much everything on Ooler is controlled via the app. More about the app later.
There’s also a large LED display which gives you a readout of temperature, Bluetooth connectivity and also a warning alert when the water level runs low.
At the back of the unit we’ve got and IEC mains socket, and the all important proprietary connector for the mattress pad. The connector has two water outlets, one to send water to circulate through the pad, and another to return water back to the unit for temperature regulation. The connector feels very sturdy, to connect/release the tubing system simply press the grey button, push (or pull) and wait for the satisfying click.
The Ooler mattress pad
I received the ‘ME’ size mattress pad, which is made for a single sleeper. Fortunately you can still use the single size mattress pad with a double mattress. Ooler’s hydronic mattress pad is made of “high-loft jacquard stretchable top fabric” with a polyester waterproof bottom coating. The top of the mattress pad has a pleasant stitched geometric pattern whilst underneath, attached to the grey fabric are several elasticated straps that you use to secure to your mattress.
The design is such that it will fit any mattress and the whole thing is machine washable. Attached to the pad is a 7 foot hose with two tubes to circulate water in and out of the pad via the control unit.
Before I received the unit I was a little concerned that the network of small tubes that circulate water around the device would be noticeable when you lay down on the pad, but the slightly padded fabric top makes these thin polyester tubing almost imperceptible. You would have to have a real princess and the pea complex to actually feel the tubing once it’s on top of your mattress. Overall
Sizes and Configurations
Like the Chilipad, the Ooler mattress pad comes in a range of sizes and configurations. Individuals should opt for the ‘ME’ version, whilst couples can go for ‘WE’ which provides two independently controlled climate zones for each side of the bed.
You need a separate control unit for each side of the bed, hence the WE configuration contains two Ooler control units and the larger mattress pad. Here’s a chart and diagram that shows the exact sizes and corresponding prices for all the available configurations.
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Other features and specifications
Before we dive into the actual user experience, it’s worth noting a few other specifications which mark incremental, rather than radical improvements on Chili Technology’s previous offerings.
Ooler contains a 900ml water tank which is recommended to be filled with distilled water to prevent limescale build up due to mineral contents in regular tap water. On the LED display there’s a handy indicator which flashes whenever the water level is getting low and needs topping up.
The display itself is quite minimal giving readouts of both actual and target temperatures (in degrees Fahrenheit or Celcius), a Bluetooth indicator when pairing the device with your smartphone/tablet, plus the low-water indicator. Rather helpfully, Ooler’s display has a blue-light blocking lens. Although you can set the display to be permanently off, or to auto-dim, even when it’s on, there are none of those nasty melatonin-blocking blue light frequencies which can disturb your sleep.
UV Cleaning system
Another improvement in Ooler is the water cleaning system. Whereas with previous Chili Technology offerings it was recommended to systematically empty the control unit, flush out and refill with water, Ooler has a built in ultraviolet light cleaning system that works by periodically zapping the interior of the control with UV light which kills any bacteria which may over time build up in the network of water pipes. This is a really nice touch and makes the whole experience of using Ooler less time consuming, user friendly and ergonomic.
Noise is another area that Ooler have also worked on. In anectodal evidence the noise emitted by Ooler was comparable to a standard domestic air conditioning unit. We’ll be publishing a separate video on this topic so watch this space for more details. However rather intriguingly, Ooler describes itself as featuring ‘ambient noise control’.
What this means in practise is that in the app you’ve got three different power levels to operate your device; Regular, Boost and Silent. From what I gather this will give the pump and cooling systems varying degrees of power and subsequently this affects the ambient noise levels emitted from the device.
The thinking I guess is that some people like to use white noise sounds to fall asleep, so Ooler’s background noise could be a substitute for a dedicated sleep sound machine. However, two important points of note are that ‘Silent’ mode is definitely not silent, and secondly, because Silent is using reduced power, it may not be able to reach your desired target temperature, depending on the ambient temperature in the room.
So, we’ve established that Ooler is a neat smart piece of sleep tech, but what’s it like in real life to use?
The first night
Once I’d set everything up, and was ready for my first night’s sleep, I fired up the device and just for laughs set it on its lowest temperature setting to see how I would sleep. Now if you’re expecting the sensation of lying on a bed of ice-cubes, then you’ll be disappointed – but there’s a reason for this.
Here’s the science part…. To sustain life, every living organism needs to achieve a delicate biological balance, and it does so using a process called homeostasis. Core body temperature plays a huge role in the homeostatic process and if your body doesn’t stay within relatively narrow limits—roughly between about 95∘F () and 107∘F (41.7) for any sustained period of time – the results can be dangerous or even deadly.
So Ooler’s mattress pad is designed to work within a safe range of temperatures to optimize your whilst definitely cooler than the rest of the bed’s surface, is quite a subtle experience. Thankfully you don’t really feel the pad underneath, despite the network of circulation tubes.
But, what seems to happen is that even though you might not experience an icy sensation, Ooler’s benefits stem from the fact that during the night, continuous temperature regulation keeps the hydronic pad at a defined temperature. Which means that the heat that’s normally transferred from your body to your mattress is dissipated via the water cooling system. Hence your bed doesn’t warm up due to the heat transfer between your skin and the mattress/bedding materials.
So what happened is that the first night using Ooler – I had an extremely deep night’s sleep, waking up full of energy, refreshed and wondering why on earth I slept so well! Now of course, this is purely anecdotal, I didn’t track my sleep that night so you’ll have to take my word for it. My hypothesis is that I’m quite a ‘hot’ sleeper naturally, and it was a balmy summer’s night so I can only surmise my lowered core body temperature had a direct impact on sleep quality.
Bottom line is, I felt a noticeable difference in sleep quality on that first night. Now, I don’t have any particular sleep issues, such as insomnia, night-time awakenings, or hot flashes, but I would imagine that if you did suffer from any of the fore-mentioned, you would notice the benefits of sleeping with Ooler.
A small gripe – reaching target temperature
Before using Ooler, I had the impression that the cooling mechanism would be such that switching the device just before I went to bed would be sufficient to achieve my desired temperature. But as I discovered, for a number of reasons this might not always be the case.
To explain, the temperature setup you select on the control unit or app determines the temperature in the control unit, not the mattress pad itself. Hence, as the water circulates into the mattress pad, heat transfer naturally occurs, which means the water temperature will move closer to the ambient room temperature.
In addition, as soon as you lie down on the pad, further heat transfer occurs via your body and the water tubing network, causing the control unit to work even harder as it attempts to correct the temperature differential.
As I was using Ooler on an uncharacteristically warm night, this meant that it took quite a while, up to half an hour to reach the temperature setpoint (admittedly I had set the unit on it’s coldest setting).
This caused some frustration until I delved a bit further to understand the reasons why this was happening. Fortunately Chili Technology make some recommendations on how to mitigate these issues.
The obvious point would be to switch on your Ooler a good while before you go to bed. This gives the unit a head start before you hit the hay, and the nice thing is, you can do this easily from the app, without having to venture into the bedroom and switch the device on manually.
But the other thing the manufacturer recommends is to place a dense blanket or comforter on top you when you sleep, which acts as an insulation layer to the pad and improving the efficiency of the cooling system.
Good news is, once Ooler reached its set temperature, it seemed very good at maintaining a stable temperature and I didn’t have any problems at all with fluctuations in the night.
A small caveat is that if you’re using the ‘Silent’ setting, because of the reduced power output the company states that you may not be able to reach your target temperature if there’s a big differential between your temperature setpoint and the ambient room temperature. The takeaway being, if it’s a heatwave outside, and you’re trying to use the lowest temperature setting, then you’ll need to either use the Regular, or Boost settings.
I’m can tolerate most conditions, but I’m quite a light sleeper and particularly sensitive to noise when I’m sleeping, and often use a pair of foam earplugs when I want to guarantee an undisturbed night’s rest. So I was interested to see how it would be have an Ooler running all night.
I made a little video to try and demonstrate real-life conditions – you can see it in the clip below. The bottom line is Ooler noise levels are pretty comparable to that of a standard air-conditioning unit. If you use the ‘Silent’ mode then the fan noise from Ooler is pretty negligible, and as it turned out, my fears were allayed and I didn’t experience and sleep disturbances due to the noise. In fact, if you’re someone who likes to use white noise to help you sleep, you may even find Ooler’s fan noise helpful at night.
Another point to mention is that the noise levels will depend on the acoustic characteristics of your bedroom. What I mean is that if you have a deep pile carpet and lots of soft furnishings in the room, the noise will be considerably less than if you sleep in a ‘reflective’ room with just a steel bed frame, high ceilings and a tiled floor. Something to bear in mind if noise is of particular concern to you as you sleep.
The Ooler app
Chili Technology has worked hard on making Ooler very much a ‘smart’ device. Their earlier products were standalone devices that gained great support and popularity, but lacked any of the features that are becoming de rigeur in the burgeoning sleep technology market like IoT integration and the ability to store and monitor data about your sleep.
Ooler address these issues with it’s mobile app available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Setting up the app was very straightforward. Download from the Google Play or the App Store, create the obligatory user account and then you’re ready to pair your phone to the Ooler. Happily I didn’t encounter any hiccups along the way and soon I was ready to explore what the app could do.
The main screen is on the Device tab. Here you have a large temperature dial (which you can choose to display Fahrenheit or Celcius), an On/Off button, and the three Power/Noise modes, Silent, Regular and Boost which control the fan speed of the unit.
As we mentioned before Silent mode may not meet your target setpoint, so I stuck to using Regular. Boost mode can also be used to achieve your desired temperature setpoint in a shorter time, but it will of course make more noise.
Here you can also turn off the display light, add and remove your device, and also start the Deep Clean function, which is essentially a 1 hour long version UV water cleaning program when the automatic cleaning program isn’t enough.
Scheduling & Warm Awake
Next there’s the Schedule tab. This is something I personally didn’t try, but I could see lots of applications where folks might find this really useful. For instance, if you suffer from hot flashes or any particular condition that tends to wake you at a particular point during the night, you can set Ooler to automatically change your mattress temperature at a specific time.
Or for instance you might want to get into a warm bed, but then gradually reduce the temperature to ensure you maximize your chances of getting the most deep sleep. You can set as many temperature changes as you like and also schedule these on a daily or weekly basis.
But also you can use Ooler as a substitute for an alarm clock by enabling the ‘Warm Awake’ function. Essentially you enter your desired wake time, and then 30 minutes beforehand, Ooler will slowly warm the mattress pad, mimicking the effects of a rising sun. We’ve seen this method used before in the Moona Smart Pillow system and users testify it’s a much more natural way to wake than having a blaring alarm jolt you out of deep sleep.
The next tab is My Sleep, which to be perfectly honest feels like either an afterthought, or a function which has yet to be fully implemented. Essentially it’s a tab where you can give your night’s sleep a star rating from 1-5, and then, the thinking goes, you’ll be able to see which nights you slept better. Personally I can’t see any use at all in using MySleep, but perhaps this might be a feature in the future whereby the developers would be able to collect your data and use an algorithm to tailor your night’s sleep to your specific needs. Who knows….?
The last tab is Settings which include a menu to access firmware upgrades, notifications, unit preferences and various other admin tasks.
Notice: IFTTT integration with Ooler has been discontined. Please see this link for more details:
IFTTT and the smart home One feature that’s not readily apparent is integration with IFTTT, which essentially allows you to build small scripts to connect and automate hundreds of types of internet-connected devices, applications and platforms. For instance there are IFTTT scripts to do things like integrate Alexa with Ooler, automatically heat up your bed when it’s cold outside using the Wu weather app and no doubt as time progresses Ooler will be able to access more connected services.
Chili Technology has clearly learned a lot in the past decade. Instead of reinventing the wheel, they’ve retained the best elements of the Chilipad but made significant improvements in design, functionality and ergonomics to make Ooler into their flagship product.
Ooler is extremely easy to setup, virtually maintenance free, smaller, quieter and more efficient than anything that’s gone before.
The new app-based control system offers useful features such as scheduling and wake-up functions, and whilst the smart-home features are limited at present to a few services like Alexa and Google Voice, no doubt more will roll out as the platform matures.
Small but significant features like the blue-light blocking LED display and EMF-free operation demonstrate a concerted effort to appeal to those who are seriously concerned about sleep health, whether you’re a hot sleeper, a pro-athlete, or dealing with illness, the health and recovery benefits of sleeping at the optimal temperature are easily realised with a system like Ooler.
One the downside it’s not the cheapest solution on the market, especially with dual configurations for two sleepers. And although Ooler is no louder than a conventional AC unit, fan noise may also be a concern if you need your bedroom to be completely silent.
The last thing to mention is that, depending on the ambient room temperature, it may take a while to reach your target temperature, however this is easily remedied with Ooler’s scheduling functions.
But all these gripes aside, Ooler feels and operates like the flagship product it represents. A high-quality, high-performance sleep technology product, Ooler is an innovation that’s unrivalled in its product class, and comes highly recommended.
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