Thermal effects, such as cooling power and thermophysiological responses initiated upon application of a personal cooling system, can be assessed with (i) humans, (ii) a thermal manikin and (iii) a thermophysiological human simulator. In order to compare these methods, a cooling shirt (mild cooling) and an ice vest (strong cooling) were measured using human participants and a thermal manikin. Under all conditions, cooling was provided for 45 min, while resting at a room temperature of 24.6-25.0 °C and a relative humidity of 22-24%. Subsequently, the thermophysiological human simulator was used under the same conditions to provide data on thermophysiological responses such as skin and rectal temperatures. The cooling power determined using the thermal manikin was 2 times higher for the cooling shirt and 1.5 times higher for the ice vest compared to the cooling power determined using human participants. For the thermophysiological human simulator, the cooling power of the cooling shirt was similar to that obtained using human participants. However, it was 2 times lower for the ice vest when using the thermophysiological human simulator. The thermophysiological human simulator is shown to be a useful tool to predict thermophysiological responses, especially upon application of mild cooling intensity. However, the thermophysiological human simulator needs to be further improved for strong cooling intensities under heterogeneous conditions. © 2010 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.