It sounds like the insane heatwaves we’ve been having lately are set to stay — thanks global warming. Since we’re a country that still hasn’t embraced air-con, what can we do to not melt?
British institution JML got in touch to offer a couple of solutions, and since I was basically a puddle on the floor, I gladly agreed to review them. Here’s what I thought of the Arctic Air space cooler and the Chillmax pillow insert.
JML Arctic Air review
The JML Arctic Air is a little white cube — an ice cube, if you will — that you fill with water and turn on to chill the air around you.
At £40 and 17cm square, it’s clearly not designed for large spaces, so it’s not going to cool the whole room. What it is brilliant for, though, is cooling the space around you while you work. If you have a cubicle desk or in my case, a ‘Freelance sofa,’ set up the Arctic Air and point it at you, and it’ll do a beautiful job of cooling your fevered brow. The white noise is appreciated too (it’s not noisy as such, but it does obviously make some fan noise — like an active laptop fan at full power).
You can only feel the chill when you’re close to it, so you’ll need to make sure you find a nice, level surface to perch it on where you can feel it on your face with no effort. For instance, on a desk, I found putting it on a pile of books worked pretty well (do beware of potential leaks, though).
The Arctic Air has a flap-covered compartment on the right-hand side that you fill up with water: it holds a decent amount, and don’t be put off by the fact that it’ll get through it incredibly quickly on the first go-round — that’s normal. It’s just getting the filter nice and wet.
My best tip for using the Arctic Air is to put not just water but ice cubes in the compartment. Not only will this make the beautifully chilly breeze even colder, it also means the water lasts longer before it needs filling. Also, don’t forget to leave it running for five minutes or so after it’s empty, because it needs to dry out to avoid mould (grim).
When it’s powered up and working, the Arctic Air glows in different colours, which you can adjust with the button on the top. Not strictly necessary, but it’s a nice touch.
So does it work?
As long as you follow the instructions and use it in a small space, the JML Arctic Air is perfect for keeping you cool on hot days. It’s easy to use, pleasant to look at (DISCO LIGHTS) and the airflow is deliciously wintry.
In fact, you can tell it’s effective because my poor fluffy cat Moose came and sat by it multiple times to cool off:
Verdict: two paws up.
Review: JML Chillmax pillow insert
Trying to sleep when it’s boiling hot is the worst. Flipping your pillow over and over and never finding the cool side — sound familiar?
Chillmax is a flat gel insert that goes inside your pillowcase to keep your head cool on hot nights. You can also put it under a laptop, or on your lap, or as I quickly discovered (again), for cats…
Sigh, I never get to keep anything in this house!
Still, the fact that Mawri was straight on it goes to show that it does make a nice cool spot to lay on, and it became one of her favourite places to lounge while the heatwave sizzled.
The best way to use the Chillmax, in my experience, is to put it in the fridge before you put it in your pillowcase. You don’t have to, and it’s still cool if you don’t, but it’s so cool if you do. Like putting an ice-cold can on your forehead. Ahhh.
In the morning, just pull it out and put it back in the fridge for the next night.
I definitely got off to sleep faster on boiling hot nights with the Chillmax in my pillow case, and I’d be quite tempted to grab one of the XL ones for the cats next heatwave.