The Best Cold Plunges for Small Spaces, Money and More

Discover which cold plunge can complement your exercise routine, improve your mental health, and help boost recovery.

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A cold plunge entails quite literally plunging yourself into bone-chillingly cold water — usually between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. People have been immersing themselves in cold, icy water for centuries to potentially reap various health benefits. The act is backed by years of research suggesting the substantial physical and mental perks — such as quicker recovery, and higher energy levels and attention spans — from the waves of norepinephrine you may receive with each plunge. (1) You can make a cold plunge with as little as a sturdy garbage bag, some ice, and water. Many prefer a more luxurious pool or tub for their cold plunges, however. 

Cold water therapy is becoming even more common as many gyms pair this icy shock with saunas and cryotherapy tanks — but you can also reap the benefits in your own home. Cold plunges can be helpful after putting some miles in on your treadmill, banging out some sets with your dumbbells, or completing a heavy session in the power rack. The potential speedy recoveries and mental health benefits have given rise to a variety of products, from large, self-cooling spa-like plunge pools to pop-up plastic tubs you can throw in your shower. Here are some of the best cold plunges you can put right in your own home.

Best Cold Plunges

Best Cold Plunges Video Review

Follow along with our reviews writer, Jake, as he dives into all of the details of our top-rated cold plunges — and decide for yourself which one is the best for you. 

Best Cold Plunge

Our number one cold plunge pick is both beginner-friendly and versatile enough to keep even the most advanced cold plunge enthusiasts hooked on the ritual.

The Plunge Cold Plunge

If you are on the hunt to find the best cold plunge on the market, look no further than our top pick, The Plunge. This ergonomic tub design sits 24 inches tall, 67 inches long, and 43 inches wide giving users ample room to lay down and relax in a soak. The Plug-and-Plunge design allows users an easier time setting up and filling up thanks to the added water hookup that works with a standard garden hose.

The simple twist and turn valve located on the outside of the tub can help with draining the tub quickly once finished, as well. This advanced plunge pool can cool all the way down to 39 degrees Fahrenheit, and it features circular filtration in addition to UV sanitation. All of this combines to provide a versatile and easy-to-use plunge pool. 

The Cold Plunge
The Cold Plunge
The Cold Plunge

 This ergonomic tub design sits at 24 inches tall, 67 inches long, and 43 inches wide giving users ample room to lie down and relax in a soak. The Plug-and-Plunge design makes setting up and filling up simple — its water hookup works with a standard garden hose.

Who Should Buy The Plunge Cold Plunge

  • Experienced cold plunge customers who want added amenities such as a cell phone holder, skimmer net, and insulated cover options that are included with the Plunge tub. 
  • Anyone who plans to cold plunge more than once daily, as this product features upgraded chillers that cool water three times faster, which means you won’t have to wait long periods of time for the water to reach the temperature you want.
  • Folks who want a plunge pool that offers UV sanitation to keep your water and tub clean. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Plunge Cold Plunge

  • Customers who want to find a plunge pool that is freestanding or without the use of electricity — the Plunge needs to be plugged into a power source for proper use.
  • The tub itself weighs over 165 pounds empty and over 1,000 pounds filled with water, so those wanting a product with easy portability may want to look elsewhere.

The Plunge hits temperatures all the way down to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s great for athletes hoping to hit specific temperatures and those who are willing to dish out a little extra cash for a lasting build.

Read our full review of The Plunge Cold Plunge.

Best Cold Plunge for Small Spaces

If you’re living in a small space, but still want to house a cold plunge under your own roof, this pick can squeeze into narrow spaces, both indoors and out.

Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

This cold therapy training tool could be a perfect match for those who want a product that’s relatively basic. To use the Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge, simply fill it with water and set your tub to your desired temperature using the Chiller. With dimensions of 4’ x 2’ x 2’ or 6’ x 2’ x 2’, this product is fairly narrow, making it great for small spaces — but it can be long at the 6’ length, so you will need room to accommodate that if you choose this option.

It’s made of durable steel, but it does take about two hours for the water to cool if you fill it at around room temperature. The Polar Monkeys Steel Tank comes with an ozone generator that can help keep your water clean, as well as an insulated cover to keep your pool at your desired temperature when not in use.

Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

The Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge is easy to use — simply fill it with water, and set your tub to your desired temperature using the Chiller. You can also choose between dimensions of 4’ x 2’ x 2’ or 6’ x 2’ x 2', as well as three different colors.

Who Should Buy Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

  • Those who want a cold plunge that has temperature control. No need to fill this tub with ice as the product’s Chiller can regulate the temperature for you. 
  • Folks who want a cold plunge that they can squeeze into a small space — the smallest size here is 4’ x 2’ x 2’. 
  • Anyone looking for a more basic option will appreciate that there aren’t many high-tech frills here. This product provides more of a get-in and get-out experience. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

  • Customers looking for a more luxurious experience can find larger, high-tech options out there. 
  • This product is best for folks under 6’6”, so taller folks who don’t want to be in a tucked position during their cold plunge may want to opt for a larger product. 

The product’s narrow design and length options make it easy to squeeze into small spaces. Plus, it comes with a handful of comfort features to make using this cold plunge a breeze without going overboard and driving the price through the roof. 

Read our full review of the Polar Monkeys Cold Plunge.

Best Hot and Cold Plunge

If you want the option of turning your plunge pool into a jacuzzi, this pick is your best bet — it can reach temperatures from 103 degrees Fahrenheit all the way down to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro

You can put this tub indoors or outdoors thanks to its ability to heat up — plunge pools that can only get cold shouldn’t go outside in the winter as their piping may freeze in colder weather. However, the Hot and Cold Plunge Pro can heat to 103 degrees and chill to 39 degrees, so it is safe for outdoor conditions.

The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro
The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro
The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro

This ergonomic tub design sits at 24 inches tall, 67 inches long, and 43 inches wide giving users ample room to lie down and relax in a soak. The Plug-and-Plunge design makes setting up and filling up simple — its water hookup works with a standard garden hose.

It measures 67” x 43” x 28”, so it is fairly large, which is something to be aware of — but that also means it can fit larger users. In fact, one of the designers was 6’6” himself. The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro comes with an insulated cover, as well as a filtration system, underwater lighting, a skimmer net, and a cell phone holder, so you can even stream while you plunge. For all of these cool features, you will have to spend a good bit of money though — this product costs almost $6,500.

The Plunge Pro at the BarBend garage gym
The Plunge Pro at the BarBend garage gym

Who Should Buy The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro

  • If you want a jacuzzi tub, this plunge pool can cool down to 39 degrees and heat all the way up to 103 degrees.
  • Anyone who wants a pool that has its own temperature control and filtration system will like this design. Less maintenance and cleaning? Yes, please.
  • Taller athletes will appreciate that this plunge pool can fit users as tall as 6’6”. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro

  • If you’re just looking for a cold plunge, you do not need the heating options here. The same brand offers a more basic cold plunge pool. 
  • Buyers on a budget may find this high-tech cold plunge a bit pricey. 

For anyone looking to mix their cold plunges with relaxing nights in the jacuzzi, this pick can do it all. However, you will have to dish out a pretty penny for it, so if hot water isn’t on your priority list, you may be better off snagging a more basic tub. 

Best Cold Plunge for the Money

Though this isn’t the cheapest plunge pool we’ve seen, it definitely provides the best value for your money — it has a cooling system, a narrow design, and comes with an insulated cover. 

Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

Made of a durable steel, this tub is not super fancy, but it can provide a better experience than your average trash can ice bath — save those for the raccoons. You can choose from a 4’ x 2’ x 2’ size or a 6’ x 2’ x 2’ size to accommodate taller users. It comes with a Chiller that can take your water temperatures down to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Mr. Freeze, eat your heart out.

Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

The Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge is easy to use — simply fill it with water, and set your tub to your desired temperature using the Chiller. You can also choose between dimensions of 4’ x 2’ x 2’ or 6’ x 2’ x 2', as well as three different colors.

It takes about two hours to get all the way down to plunge-ready from room temperature, but this product comes with a cover to help keep your water at the temperature you need for your plunge. You’ll also find an ozone generator that can help keep your water clean. You will have to pay around $2,600 for this pick, but as far as self-cooling plunge pools go, we think this is a great deal. 

Who Should Buy Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

  • If you’re looking to upgrade your cold plunge to a product that can self-cool, this is a great, affordable option. No more running for bags of ice with this plunge.
  • Anyone who wants two size options to choose from — this one comes in lengths of four or six feet to accommodate athletes of all heights.
  • Those who don’t want to have to think about cleaning their water will like the ozone generator here which can cut down on time spent maintaining and cleaning your plunge.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

  • If you’re looking for a more high-tech, luxurious plunge pool, you can find higher-end options out there. 
  • Anyone who is on a really tight budget is better off looking for a product that isn’t self-cooling

This product isn’t the fanciest on this list, but it’s also not the cheapest. We think this pool offers the most value for your money — you’re getting a self-cooling plunge pool with an insulated cover, a filter, and two size options, all for under $3,000.

Best Ice Bath Cold Plunge

Sometimes, getting back to basics is the best way to go. An ice bath — like the ones in the good ol’ days where you would simply fill a tub up with water, add ice, and hop in — can help kickstart your recovery. That’s exactly what you’ll get from our pick for best ice bath cold plunge, the Ice Barrel.

Ice Barrel

The Ice Barrel isn’t a fancy or sleek futuristic bath. It’s an insulated cold therapy tool that offers an easier and more convenient way to add ice baths to your recovery regimen. Ice Barrel features a lightweight design that makes it ultra-portable, weighing just 55 pounds when empty. You’ll find it to be quite compact, so it can go nearly anywhere at just 42 inches tall by 31 inches wide, with an opening of 25 inches to dunk yourself into.

This convenient cold therapy tool comes with the Ice Barrel itself, a lid, a stand to help keep it steady, a protective UV cover, and a step stool to help you ease yourself in. The Ice Barrel is probably one of the simplest cold plunges to use. Just fill it with water and ice, then plunge in. It can hold 105 gallons of water (though 80 gallons is the recommended amount to fill it with, then the rest should be ice). When you’re finished, utilize the quick and easy drainage system, and you’ll be ready to rock and roll.

$125 Off
Ice Barrel
Ice Barrel
Ice Barrel

To use the Ice Barrel, simply fill it with water and ice, then climb in with the added step-stool to take a dip. With dimensions of 42 inches high by 31 inches wide, this product was designed to mimic the actual size of a barrel. Code: BARBEND

Who Should Buy Ice Barrel

  • If you’re looking for a simple and easy option that doesn’t require any extra hardware or setup, this product is ideal. 
  • Anyone who is working with limited room will enjoy the compact and convenient-to-move nature of the Ice Barrel.
  • Those who are on a tighter budget. The Ice Barrel is priced considerably cheaper than many other options on this list. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Ice Barrel

  • If you’re looking for a more high-tech or luxurious plunge pool with lots of features, you can find higher-end options on this list. 
  • Anyone who is looking for a cold plunge that they can lie down in may want to look for other options. You can only sit or crouch in this one. 

The Ice Barrel may not be high-tech or sport a host of features, but it’s convenient and accomplishes the goal of cold therapy in a straightforward way. This is a great option for people who want a no-fuss and easy-to-use cold plunge that won’t break the bank.

Read our full review of the Ice Barrel.

Best Cold Plunge for Taller People

People come in all shapes and sizes, and your cold plunge should be made to fit you if you’re a taller person. The same cold plunge that works for a gymnast might not quite fit a professional strongman competitor. That’s why we wanted to highlight our pick for best cold plunge for taller people, the Polar Monkeys Brainpod XL.

Polar Monkeys Brainpod XL

Made from durable steel, the Brainpod XL isn’t the fanciest plunge on this list, but it does have some great comfort features that provide a better experience than your run-of-the-mill ice bath. Measuring 31 inches tall by 23.2 inches wide and 67 inches long, this cold plunge will give even taller athletes some much-needed leg room. The included chiller will take the water from room temperature (70 degrees Fahrenheit) down to about 50 degrees in around two hours. While you can set it as low as 36 degrees, Polar Monkeys recommends against that unless you’re very experienced with cold plunges. You can also schedule the times you want to use the Brainpod XL using an app. 

Polar Monkeys Brainpod
Polar Monkeys Brainpod
Polar Monkeys Brainpod

This luxury cold plunge is 5.5 feet long, just under two feet tall, and a little over four feet wide with the plumbing and chiller attached. Polar Monkeys designed the Brainpod out of fiberglass, plus it features water as cold as 36 degrees, and as hot as 103 degrees. 

To keep the water clean, Polar Monkeys includes an ozone generator, which kills bacteria and viruses, so you only have to change the water about twice per month during normal daily usage. You’ll also get an oversized filter, which is large enough to filter out solids and clean the water in regulation-sized pools. The Brainpod XL features more length compared to the other Polar Monkeys cold plunges — this means shorter folks can submerge completely if they want, and taller folks can have some much-needed room for their legs.

Who Should Buy Polar Monkeys Brainpod XL

  • If you’re looking for an entirely self-contained system that can self-cool, filter water, and kill bacteria then this is the cold plunge for you. 
  • Taller folks who want a larger size option will appreciate the extra length on the Brainpod XL.
  • Those who don’t want to have to think about cleaning and maintenance often will like the heavy-duty filter and ozone generator. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Polar Monkeys Brainpod XL

  • If you’re a shorter athlete and don’t need the extra legroom, there may be other options for less that do the same thing in a smaller footprint. 
  • Anyone who is on a tight budget may want to look for a cheaper option that doesn’t include self-cooling. 

Though not the fanciest on the list, the Brainpod XL from Polar Monkeys does indeed have a lot of practical features that make life easier. You’re getting a lot for your money with a larger-than-average tank size, self-cooling system, smart features, and a filter with an ozone generator — you could certainly do worse as a larger person than the Brainpod XL.

Read our full review of the Polar Monkeys Brainpod XL.

Best Cold Plunge Barrel

This pick is fairly basic but offers everything you need for a cold plunge at home — a simple, large barrel you can easily fill with water and ice. 

Ice Barrel

Cold plunges don’t have to be complicated. The Ice Barrel offers a safe place to cold plunge, and an easy-to-use drainage system. This product measures 42” high by 31” wide, and has a 25” opening. It’s just 55 pounds when empty and 750 pounds when filled with water and ice.

$125 Off
Ice Barrel
Ice Barrel
Ice Barrel

To use the Ice Barrel, simply fill it with water and ice, then climb in with the added step-stool to take a dip. With dimensions of 42 inches high by 31 inches wide, this product was designed to mimic the actual size of a barrel. Code: BARBEND

Simply fill the tub with up to 105 gallons of water and ice, use the included stepping stool to hop in, take your plunge, and pop open the drain on the bottom when you’re done. The Ice Barrel is made of 100 percent recycled material, but it will still cost you a decent chunk of change (around $1,000). 

Ice Barrel at the BarBend garage
Ice Barrel at the BarBend garage

Who Should Buy Ice Barrel

  • Athletes looking for a basic cold plunge option. This is just a large barrel you can fill with water and ice. 
  • Anyone who wants a built-in drainage system will like this design. 
  • If you’re looking for a lightweight product you can move around when empty, this barrel only weighs 55 pounds. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Ice Barrel

  • Folks who want a plunge pool that offers self-cooling will want to look elsewhere. 
  • If you want to lie down while you’re taking your plunge, you may want to opt for a different design as this pool sits upright. 

The Ice Barrel is just the tool you need to get your cold plunge done in an efficient way. It’s easy to fill, and easy to drain. Plus, once it’s empty, it’s lightweight enough that you can move it out of your space until you need it again. 

Best Portable Cold Plunge

Your workouts don’t always happen in the same place, but you still need to recover all the same. One day you may be crushing it in your home gym, the next you could be at a friend’s place checking out their sweet new piece of equipment. For people out there that are always on the move, this portable cold plunge may be just what you’re looking for. Check out the Polar Monkeys Inflatable Plunge. 

Polar Monkeys Inflatable Plunge

Polar Monkeys’ latest iteration of their extremely popular cold plunge is the Inflatable Plunge. This cold plunge comes with everything you need to get your recovery on with the inflatable tub, inflation pump, water chiller, pump, filter, and hoses/fittings. The cold pump can take your water down to 36 degrees Fahrenheit and the Inflatable Plunge is available in two sizes — 2’x4’x2′ feet and 2’x6’x2′ feet. Both sizes come with a Polar Monkeys limited edition graphic.

Polar Monkeys Inflatable Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Inflatable Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Inflatable Cold Plunge

Polar Monkeys knows you want to take cold plunges anywhere, so they made the Inflatable Plunge. This unique product is made for portability and space-saving. Able to accommodate any size, this plunge is available in two sizes —24x48x24 inches feet and 24x72x24 inches.

The notable difference between this inflatable plunge and the others from Polar Monkeys is that this one does not come with the ozone generator for purifying the water — though you can purchase one. The price tag on this plunge is about $3,990 before taxes and possible shipping charges, which may seem steep, but this is a unique product without much for comparison. You can finance the plunge through Affirm, depending on credit, if the outright price is too much at once. This inflatable cold plunge comes with a one-year warranty.

Who Should Buy Polar Monkeys Inflatable Plunge

  • Those who want to be able to take a cold plunge anywhere they’ve got water and electricity — this is the portable cold plunge for you. 
  • People who are limited on space (like in an apartment) and don’t have an area they can dedicate to a cold plunge permanently. 
  • Anyone who travels often. You can use this in your rented house’s backyard, at a campsite, or anywhere there’s water and electricity. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Polar Monkeys Inflatable Plunge

  • Anyone who wants a permanent cold plunge that they don’t have to set up and take down often. 
  • Those who want a water filtration and sanitization system to come with their cold plunge. You can purchase one separately here, but it doesn’t come with one standard.
  • Anyone on a budget will find there are cheaper cold plunges on this list. 

If you live your life on the go or don’t have the space for a dedicated cold plunge area, then the Inflatable Plunge is likely a good choice for you. It may not have a water purification system built in, but the inflatable and portable design mean this plunge can be used for a day or two at a time. This inflatable cold plunge packs a punch too, going down to 36 degrees Fahrenheit if you want.

Best Cold Plunge on Amazon

For online shoppers, our favorite Amazon pick is mainly for beginners wanting to test out the benefits of an ice bath, or those who just don’t want to spend a lot of money on a tub — it’s basic, but it can still get the job done.

WEY&FLY Portable Bathtub

This Amazon best-seller is not only portable and foldable, but the set-up takes just minutes since you don’t need to inflate it. The tub itself comes in one color — blue — and might not be the largest, but it does pack a punch with some other key selling points. The round, freestanding design can fit inside any standard shower or room since it stands only two and a half feet tall.

WEY&FLY Portable Bathtub
WEY&FLY Portable Bathtub
WEY&FLY Portable Bathtub

This round, freestanding design can fit inside any standard shower or room since it stands only two and a half feet tall. It is made with durable, safe, and non-toxic PVC materials, and includes 6mm of insulation for use in cool or heated waters.

This plunge is made with durable, safe, and non-toxic PVC materials, has alloy steel rings for a secure structure, and also includes 6mm of insulation for use in cool or heated waters. It comes with padded sides and a cushioned bottom for extra comfort during use. This tub includes not only an exterior valve for draining but also a bottom drain hole to help empty the tub after each use. 

Who Should Buy WEY&FLY Portable Bathtub

  • Customers who want an easy set-up and breakdown since this product pops up and is ready to go once out of the box without any need for tools or inflation devices.
  • Anyone looking to move the tub indoors or outdoors without hassle may find this option a good choice since it weighs less than seven pounds.
  • Buyers on a budget who want to try a cold plunge without committing to a more expensive pool just yet. This product is less than $100. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy WEY&FLY Portable Bathtub

  • This option may not be ideal for those who want a cold plunge pool ready to go at all times. In order to keep the lining from tearing on this tub, you need to preheat it, which means the water in the pool won’t be cold right away. 
  • Customers who are tall or those who might get claustrophobic easily in smaller, crouched spaces as this product is only 29.7 inches in diameter and requires adults to sit cross-legged for the duration of the soak.
  • Anyone looking for a larger, more lasting find. While this is great for a budget buy, it’s not going to provide as much comfort or last as long as some of the more expensive products on our list. 

As a best seller on Amazon, this product features ease of use, portability, and simple accessibility for most body sizes and shapes — plus, it’s the least expensive pick on this list, which is great for budget shoppers.

Best Customizable Cold Plunge

For our favorite customizable cold plunge immersion, the Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge takes the cake. With a sleek design, and size and color options, this pick can easily morph into what you want/need to meet your fitness goals.

Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

One of the best parts about this product is that you can pick both your color and size. The Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge comes in sizes of 4’ x 2’ x 2’ and 6’ x 2’ x 2’ to accommodate different sizes. You can also choose between basic steel, black, and even a tub with a limited edition Monkeyverse illustration along the side.

Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge
Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

The Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge is easy to use — simply fill it with water, and set your tub to your desired temperature using the Chiller. You can also choose between dimensions of 4’ x 2’ x 2’ or 6’ x 2’ x 2', as well as three different colors.

Outside of these customizations, this product comes with a Chiller that can bring your water temperature down to 36 degrees, as well as an insulated cover to help keep your temperature where you want it until it’s time to hop in. The different colors and sizes vary in price, but even the lowest starts at just over $2,600 — while this isn’t a cheap option, it’s also not the most expensive option on this list, and it provides great value for your money. 

Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge at the BarBend garage
Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge at the BarBend garage

Who Should Buy Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

  • Customers looking to have a hand in picking and choosing their own specific build since this product emphasizes the multiple colors and sizes you can choose from.
  • Anyone who wants a durable product that self-sanitizes and self-cools.
  • Folks who want a tub that comes with an insulated cover, so they can cool their water earlier in the day, and use the cover to help keep the temperature down until they are ready to hop in. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge

  • Folks who want something lightweight for portability might not find this pick ideal since it is made of a heavy steel, and comes in a long, narrow shape.
  • Those who don’t want to pay extra for the aesthetic customizations this product offers. If you don’t care what your plunge pool looks like, you can find much less expensive options out there. 

This cold plunge comes in different sizes and colors, all of which come with a Chiller and insulated cover. The additional customizations on this product are great for those looking for a cold plunge to match their zen home gym aesthetic. 

The Benefits of Cold Plunges

Cold plunges have been around for years in different varieties — from use in ancient rituals to more recently, athletic recovery. Cold plunges have proved to help with mood, immunity, recovery, and weight loss

Mood Enhancement and Mental Clarity 

The research and benefits behind taking a cold plunge begin on a small scale, and even though we may not see it after one use, the results can come with consistency. Cold water immersion can trigger stimulation of the dopaminergic transmission in the mesocorticolimbic and nigrostriatal pathways in the brain. All that means is that as you sit and soak, your body can start working to bring on a rush of dopamine, the mood-boosting neurotransmitters, in your brain that can produce a calming effect on your body, to help your worries melt away. (1

Improved Immunity

The studies behind bodily health after cold water immersion have shown major immune benefits to taking a plunge. According to a relatively recent study, cold showers and baths show significant improvement in the immune and lymphatic systems in our bodies. Cold water can boost white blood cell count over time — the more plunges you take, the more your body can adapt to the conditions and changes, potentially producing more infection-fighting cells with consistent plunging. There are claims that those who partake in any type of cold water immersion therapy have a higher chance of not getting sick. (1

Physical Recovery 

Not only can cold plunges help internally, but the aftermath of cold plunging on the physical body can be positive as well. As athletes train, their bodies, including ligaments and joints, may feel wear and tear as their muscles adapt to vigorous exercise. Their muscles may begin to create minuscule tears, which in healing, can promote muscle growth.

Man Dunking In Cold Plunge
Image via Shutterstock / Michele Ursi

But beforehand, they may experience the muscle fatigue that comes along with muscle breakdown. Studies conclude that jumping into an ice bath for a few minutes can provide improvement throughout the body, showing improved blood circulation, muscle recovery, and skin appearance. (1)

As far as recovery from exercise and sport is concerned, cold water immersion or cold plunges seem to be an effective way to enhance recovery speed, especially when recovering from contact sports, such as rugby or football. (2) Another useful application is for those partaking in repeated competitions in a short period of time — such as a tournament. Cold water immersion seems to help decrease muscle damage resulting from competing hard. (3) That said, the biochemical and physiological pathways by which the recovery process is enhanced still remain somewhat unclear, and more research is needed to study what exactly is going on in the body when an athlete undergoes a cold plunge. (4)

Weight Loss

Many studies on cold plunges show that cold exposure can potentially increase brown adipose tissue activity leading to an increased caloric expenditure, which can encourage your body to begin the fat-burning process. (5) Other studies have shown that subjects exposed to “cold stress” underwater had an 80 percent increase in their metabolism. (6) While cold plunging doesn’t promise weight loss, combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, it can be helpful in the process. 

How We Chose the Best Cold Plunges

There’s a lot of cold plunge tubs on the market, which means there’s also a lot of statements claiming each one is the best of the best. We know that the best product will vary from person to person, so we considered factors like size, durability, price, features, and more to create a comprehensive list that appeals to a wide range of consumers looking to find what works for their individual lifestyles.

Size and Durability

Some tubs are bigger than others, as some buyers have more room than others for these tubs in their house or yard. We included various sizes to suit these individual needs — our picks range from sizes smaller than a barrel all the way up to sizes more similar to a jacuzzi tub. In general, the bigger options tend to be better built and more durable, but the smaller options can be durable as well with proper care. We’ve included both lasting builds with customizable base and deck options, as well as plastic tubs that may cost less, but probably won’t last as long. 

Features

Depending on how much money you are willing to spend, you can find plunge options with additional accessories, technologies, and features, as well as basic options that include none of these. Some people may be keen on finding a plunge pool to match a specific backyard aesthetic, while others may just want something they can pop open in the shower. 

Man Dunking In Ice
Image via Shutterstock / Dudarev Mikhail

While there are those who may be looking for a fully customizable, automated cooling system, others may just want a simple barrel option that keeps electricity costs low — we’ve included both high-tech and no-tech options on this list. If you have the space, we have large tubs that can function as both hot and cold baths, clean themselves, and keep the water at the exact temperature you like. If you’re working with a smaller space, we also have foldable plastic options, as well as barrel options that feature drains, but require more manual sanitization. 

Price

We know money can be a major deciding factor in many situations, especially when making a large equipment purchase. We were dedicated to finding plunge tubs that had the best bang for your buck without compromising on effectiveness. Those who need the extra legroom may love a higher-end option that offers room to accommodate for height, while other people may be happy trying a less expensive Amazon product to see how they like the overall experience first. No matter your price point, there’s a cold plunge option for you on this list.

How Much Do Cold Plunges Cost?

Cold plunges, especially non-inflatable ones, are generally quite pricey and considered a luxury recovery tool. That said, most companies offer some sort of financing, so the price is a bit easier to pay when broken up over installments instead of as one lump sum — depending on credit, of course. 

Best Cold Plunge Overall The Cold Plunge Starting at $4,990 before upgrades or add-ons
Best Colge Plunge for Small Spaces Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge Starting at $2,690 before upgrades or ad-ons
Best Hot and Cold Plunge The Hot and Cold Plunge Pro Starting at $4,990 before upgrades or add-ons
Best Cold Plunge for the Money Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge Starting at $2,690 before upgrades or ad-ons
Best Ice Bath Cold Plunge Ice Barrel $1,199 before add-ons 
Best Cold Plunge for Taller People Polar Monkeys Brain Pod $4,390 before accessories
Best Cold Plunge Barrel Ice Barrel $1,199 before add-ons
Best Portable Cold Plunge Polar Monkeys Inflatable Plunge Starting at $3,590 before upgrades or accessories
Best Cold Plunge on Amazon WEY&FLY Portable Foldable Bathtub $51.99
Best Customizable Cold Plunge Polar Monkeys Steel Tank Cold Plunge Starting at $2,690 before upgrades or ad-ons

Some inflatable or pop-up style cold plunges can be purchased for under $100, but we would caution that these are not likely to last very long or hold their temperature as well as higher-end models. If you just want to see if cold plunging is for you or not, then these are a good starting point. Once you decide to invest in a high-quality cold plunge, you can expect to spend somewhere between $1,200 on the low end for a basic barrel-style cold plunge where you provide the ice, to over $5,000 for a plunge that can self-clean and provide both hot and cold plunge options.

What to Consider Before Buying a Cold Plunge 

Cold plunges come in many shapes and sizes. It’s important to weigh your individual needs — like space, features, and price — before diving into the buying process. 

Space

Everyone is working with different-sized spaces for their cold plunge. Some may be cold plunging within the confines of their shower, while others may have a large portion of their outdoor deck they can use for a bigger pool. Before you decide which plunge pool is right for you, consider the amount of space you are working with, make your measurements, and weigh them against the different options available on the market before buying a pool you just “think” will fit in your space. 

Features

The many tubs, tanks, and pools you can choose from also come with varying features. Those who only have the time to plunge when the sun goes down may look into pools with extra underwater lighting, while early risers may love the automated cooling system to get things moving quickly. 

Ice Barrel In the Woods
Image via Shutterstock / Anton Belo

Others may not want to deal with something so high-tech and would rather just have a barrel for an ice bath. List out the features you want to prioritize in your cold plunge before hitting the market to make sure you’re able to find a pool that will suit all of your technological (or lack thereof) needs.

Price

Price is often a huge deciding factor for many customers. Some people may be able to dish out thousands of dollars with no problem, while others might find solitude in more affordable options — we’re talking price tags less than $100. Before purchasing your first plunge tub, determine what budget works for you, and find out what types of cold plunges fall into that price range before biting off more than you can chew. 

Final Word

While there are many ways to adhere to the standard cold plunge, we suggest a full body immersion method, at least neck down, to potentially see the best long-term results. Cold plunges can expose the musculoskeletal system to the numerous benefits the cold can offer — like improved recovery, mental clarity, and weight loss, to name a few. No matter if you are a beginner, an avid cold plunger, an athlete, or even someone who just loves a cold shower every now and then, we have a pick on this list that can help bring the cold plunge experience to your home or gym.

Before buying your own cold plunge, be sure to consider the space you’re working with, the features you want in your product, and the price point you’re looking for. Whether you want the most advanced, customizable, self-sanitizing cold plunge on the market, or just a foldable tub you can fill with water and ice, this list has you covered. When you’re ready to tackle your options, go ahead and dive in. 

FAQs

Is taking a cold plunge better than taking a cold shower?

Both options are close in process and have strikingly similar outcomes on both physical and mental health. Cold water immersion is simply that, immersing yourself into cold or icy water for a short period of time. Cold showers, however, are more likely universally accessible. Those with access to a shower can experience a quicker, less daunting idea of submerging your body under water while still reaping the benefits that a cold plunge could offer.

How much do cold plunges cost?

Cold plunges vary in price from the inflatable ones you can pick up for under $100 to the high-end permanent fixtures that can cost upwards of $5,000 and come with all kinds of bells and whistles. Ensure you do your homework to select the right cold plunge for your needs and budget.

What is the best cold plunge?

That depends on your budget, available space, and individual needs. Right now, our favorite cold plunge is The Plunge Cold Plunge thanks to its ergonomic design, comfort and convenience details, and self-sanitizing features.

What should the temperature be for each immersion?

Depending on experience, most cold plunges take place around at least 59 degrees Fahrenheit or below to trigger your body into a state of readiness. Remember: You can always make the water colder. Go at a comfortable pace, adjust, then work down from there.

Do I need to consult with professionals before using a cold plunge?

For first time users and those with any medical red-flags, consulting with your doctor beforehand is always a good choice. Cold plunges may seem like a harmless practice, but exposing your body to extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can take a toll on key organ systems and their functions if not cautious.

References

  1. Baijze, G. A. (2016, Sept.). The Effects of Cold Showering on Health and Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Plos One. Retrieved Dec. 7 2021, from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161749
  2. Pointon, M., & Duffield, R. (2012). Cold water immersion recovery after simulated collision sport exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 44(2), 206–216. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e31822b0977
  3. Daniel Rojas-Valverde, Carlos D. Gómez-Carmona, Jose M. Oliva-Lozano, Sergio J. Ibáñez, Jose Pino-Ortega. (2020) uarter’s external workload demands of basketball referees during a European youth congested-fixture tournament. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport 20:3, pages 432-444.
  4. Bleakley, C. M., & Davison, G. W. (2010). What is the biochemical and physiological rationale for using cold-water immersion in sports recovery? A systematic review. British journal of sports medicine, 44(3), 179–187. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2009.065565
  5. van der Lans, A. A. J. J., Hoeks, J., Brans, B., Vijgen, G. H. E. J., Visser, M. G. W., Vosselman, M. J., Hanseon, J., Jörgensen, J. A., Wun, J., Mottaghy, F. M., Schrauwen, P., & van Marken Lichtenbelt, W. D. (2013, July). Cold acclimation recruits human brown fat and increases nonshivering thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Retrieved Dec. 7 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3726172/
  6. Ouellet, V., Labbé, S. M., Blondin, D. P., Phoenix, S., Guérin, B., Haman, F., Turcotte, E. E., Richard, D., & Carpentier, A. C. (2012, Winter). Brown adipose tissue oxidative metabolism contributes to energy expenditure during acute cold exposure in humans. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Retrieved Dec. 7 2021, from https://www.jci.org/articles/view/60433