Best Ice Baths and Plunge Pools For Cold Water Recovery (2021 Comparison)

best ice bath tubs review

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Looking to take your home recovery to the next level? Or perhaps re-set your mental focus?

It’s time to talk ice baths and plunge pools…

Even if the very mention of dipping your toes into ice cold water gives you goosebumps and a shiver, the mental and physical benefits are too enticing to ignore anymore.

From reducing muscle soreness after a workout, to improved mental focus, ice baths could hold the key to unlocking newfound health and wellbeing. If you’re serious about these benefits, plunge pools makes cold water therapy simple and convenient.

In this buyer’s guide, we outline the best ice baths and plunge pools currently on the market, and highlight what we like about them, don’t like, and ultimately which ones are worth the money.

Best Home Ice Baths – Our Top Picks

ICE BARREL

Ice Barrel is quite a new brand in the market but has quickly established itself as the first choice pick for anyone looking for a quality ice bath, at an affordable price.

Ice Barrel is made from 100% recycled plastic (which we love), in the shape of a traditional whiskey barrel. The barrel itself only weights 55lbs when empty, so it’s light enough to move around your home or garden (or even take down to your local gym or friend’s house).

Ice Barrel comes with simple yet purposeful features, such as easy drainage, steps and a lid.

ice barrel review
credit: Ice Barrel

Compared to some of the other premium choices out there, Ice Barrel’s shape means that you can take a full body plunge with ease, without it taking up a big chunk of your garden/home.

We also love the small details like having decent insulation in the barrel so the water stays cold for days. This means if you’re looking to use it frequently, you can often reuse the water or just top it up with a bit of ice (instead of needing to replace it all). This just adds to the user-friendliness of Ice Barrel.

Whether you’re just looking to improve your muscle recovery, or want to gain the mental health benefits from cold water therapy, Ice Barrel makes taking the plunge simple, fun and effective.

PEAKn

Based out of Australia, PEAKn wanted to create a lightweight, portable ice bath that could appeal to the masses. They’ve definitely achieved this and at a very reasonable price too.

PEAKn is inflatable so that does mean it’s naturally not as sturdy as a durable plastic or wooden structure. Nevertheless, the shape is very well designed, making it easy to plunge into the water.

Being inflatable brings advantages, namely how easy it is to transport, as well as being able to pack it away when not in use. Perhaps you only need your ice bath during the sports season, or during summer, in which case PEAKn’s ability to pack away is very useful.

credit: PEAKn

For us, PEAKn is ideal for events or travel. Having a PEAKn tub waiting for athletes to finish a run or sporting event, for example, would offer a very practical and easy option.

Due to the tub being inflatable, it just won’t be as durable as heavy duty plastic/metal, so if you want something to last the test of time, inflatable tubs probably won’t cut it.

ICE ONE

The IceOne comes with some interesting features… namely, the ability to create ice cold water without the use of ice! They have cooling units that can attach to the tub, meaning you can control the temperature very accurately. The caveat is that the cooling units are considerably more than the tub itself, so although this feature is impressive, it may not be the most practical in terms of costs and an investment.

The tub itself is very durable, yet very portable and easy to transport. The structure is inflatable, but the use of specific materials means it feels very sturdy and quality once inflated. The sides become rock hard when inflated and ready for use.

credit: iCoolsport

Created by iCoolsport, IceOne is just one of many ice baths available from the company. As well as IceOne, iCoolsport offers all sorts of tubs, including multi-person tubs, ideal for sports teams.

If you want a more durable ice tub that is practical for travel, then IceOne is worth considering too.

MURO

The MURO is the cheapest of the tubs on this list and is ideal for anyone on a tight budget.

It’s inflatable, and the material choice isn’t likely to compete against the other tubs, but for the price, it offers a practical solution that won’t break the bank.

credit: MURO

The tub itself is slightly on the smaller side but the bonus is that it could fit in small spaces. The material probably isn’t designed to be left outside and exposed to the natural elements though, so again, this is where something like Ice Barrel really offers the ultimate home cold therapy solution.

PLUNGE

With their fair share of celebrities and athletes endorsing the product, PLUNGE is unapologetically creating the ultimate cold plunge experience.

PLUNGE opt for a built-in filteration, cooling and cleaning system, which means taking a cold plunge has never been easier. Whenever you want to take a cold bath, everything is basically ready and waiting for you. The built-in filteration for better sanitation is also a great feature and something that will definitely appeal to those who are looking for that very premium option.

credit: PLUNGE

The ability to set the temperature also means your experience can be much more controlled.

For such features, it does come in at a higher price range but if you’re serious about cold water therapy, then it’s hard to look past PLUNGE as your best option.

RENU THERAPY

RENU is another high end luxury tub, built using quality materials and to a very high finish.

It’s offering is similar to that of PLUNGE and you definitely feel like you’ve got a luxury spa product in your home.

credit: renu

The ability to set the temperature as well as a very practical yet stylish design, RENU will make your cold plunge an exciting part of your day.

With plenty of athletes as fellow customers, you’d be in good company.

Things to Consider When Buying an Ice Bath Tub

Understand the Science

Before you invest in a cold plunge pool, it’s important to understand the science.

Ice Barrel‘s website has lots of good guides on the science behind cold water therapy and links to scientific research.

There may be reasons why certain individuals, perhaps with underlying health issues, would not be recommended to use ice baths. As a result, it’s worth consulting with your doctor to ensure you can use it with confidence and enjoy the benefits without worry.

Price

From cheaper inflatable options to high end tubs fit for a luxury spa, there are ice baths for every price range.

The main consideration is really on how often you think you’ll use it, your own realistic budget and the features you want.

For us, we rate Ice Barrel so highly as it is within most people’s budgets, yet offers a very effective solution that is easy to use.

Convenience

The convenience between different tubs is worth noting and considering. Firstly, some tubs get cold by adding ice, whilst other (more expensive) options use a power system to cool the water.

Similarly, some inflatable options may not be suitable to leave outside all year round, so they may be less convenient to use if you need to pack them away after use.

Commitment

Before buying an ice tub, you want to make sure you are fully committed to the science and benefits. The last thing you want is for it to go unused.

Purpose

Cold water therapy brings with it so many benefits, from physical to mental.

If you are really just wanting a specific benefit, such as muscle recovery, there are other options such as massage guns that may be worth looking into.

Having said that, the combination of all the benefits is really why we love cold water therapy so much.

Bottom Line

It’s not for everyone, but for many, having an ice cold bath will become their secret weapon. From better muscle recovery to improved mental wellbeing, the power of a cold plunge can be second to none.

As far as home plunge pools, the market is starting to heat up (metaphorically of course!) and we’re excited to see how things progress.

At this moment in time, our top choices are:

Related Articles:

Benefits of Wild Water Swimming

Taking the Plunge with Ice Barrel

How to Prevent DOMs and Improve Muscle Recovery

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