The Best Ice Baths to Try in 2022

Ice baths are a brave man’s pursuit—and a healthy one!

Cold water immersion (also known as cryotherapy) offers a lot of pretty remarkable health benefits for athletes, weekend warriors, and fitness nuts. 

Whether you’re training for a marathon, recovering from an injury, or prepping for the next Polar Plunge, you’ll want to have the best home ice bath handy for those occasions you can summon up the courage to submerge in freezing cold water.

Check out the collection of the best ice bath tubs below to find the option that suits your needs best. 

What are the benefits of ice baths?

The scientific jury is still out on just how beneficial ice baths are. Preliminary research  hasn’t yet found conclusive evidence on the best way to take an ice bath, how cold the water should be, or even what an ice bath can do.

But the “potential benefits” uncovered through anecdotal evidence and small-batch studies include:

  • Reduced inflammatory response after exercise
  • Easing your aching and sore muscles, decreasing post-workout pain
  • Mitigating the effects of high humidity and heat
  • Stimulating your central nervous system
  • Improving sleep quality and decreasing fatigue
  • Training your vagus nerve and strengthening your parasympathetic nervous system

All pretty awesome benefits of spending time in that ice bath!

Top Ice Bath Brands

Best Overall: Plunge

The Portal

Ice Barrel 

PEAKn Ice Bath 

What are the best ice baths to try in 2022?

If you’re ready to take the plunge and dive into an ice bath, here are the top ice bath tubs for you to consider:

1. PLUNGE

Maker: PLUNGE

Top Key Features:  Plug-and-plunge, safe for indoor and outdoor use, included chiller, upgradeable to hot tub

Returns: 1-year manufacturer warranty, 30-day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Price: $4,990

What’s Good about PLUNGE:  Not only is the Plunge a sleek, elegant-looking indoor/outdoor bathtub, but it comes with a included chiller that makes setting up your ice bath a breeze. Just plug it in, fill with water, and switch it on. In a matter of minutes, the bath will be cooled to down to 39F, and you can add ice and jump in. 

The tub can be upgraded to add a hot tub feature (heating your water up to 103F). Also in the package are an insulated spa cover, a cell phone holder so you can keep your phone handy while plunging, a skimmer net to scoop out debris, and a hose filter to keep the water pure and clean.

What’s Not So Good: There really aren’t many downfalls with the Plunge. Plunge is the best product on the market by far. It is certainty a little bit more expensive than some of the others on the list but it is worth the investment as it is a far superior product. 

The Verdict: Beauitiful design and industry-leading functionality make the Plunge the top pick for anyone wanting a premium ice bath tub to improve their health.

Shop Plunge Ice Bath

2. The Portal

Maker: Polar Monkeys

Top Key Features: Sturdy steel tank, comes with included pump and filter, high-capacity tank

Returns: 1 year warranty

Price: $2,170

What’s Good about The Portal: If you’re looking to keep your ice bath tub on the more affordable side but still want advanced cooling features, the Portal by Polar Monkeys is a decent option. The stainless steel bathtub comes in two lengths (4 and 6 feet) and is sized for athletes, with plenty of room to soak in the freezing cold water.

The chiller will get your ice bath ready in under 15 minutes, and all that’s left is to add ice and climb in. The included pump, filter, and hoses will ensure your water stays clean and clear through multiple uses. The sturdy stainless steel tub can also be moved around without fear of breaking or chipping. 

What’s Not So Good: The stainless steel exterior gets very cold to the touch, and the tub’s straight-walled, no-seat design makes it less-than-comfortable for extended baths. There is also no Satisfaction Guarantee, so if you don’t like the tub, it’s far from easy to return it. 

The Verdict: If you want an ice bath that can be moved around your house or even taken to the gym, this stainless steel tub is the solution for you. Though it’s not the most high-tech, it does the job of keeping the water cold for as long as you’re in the bath.

3. Ice Barrel 

Maker: Ice Barrel

Top Key Features: Barrel-shaped, portable, easy to submerge your entire body, super sturdy

Returns: 100% Satisfaction, 30 Day Money Back Guarantee (though some fees apply)

Price: $1,199.97

What’s Good about the Ice Barrel: The Ice Barrel is exactly what it sounds like: a barrel you can fill with water and ice, and jump in for full-body cryotherapy. Thanks to its high-walled shape, it holds up to 150 gallons and makes it easy to submerge your entire body.  The top opening is more than wide enough for even bigger and heavier bathers, and the sturdy structure will support your weight with ease.

The included drainage system makes it easy to empty the barrel between plunges, and the 55-pound weight means you can move it around with ease. Throw it in the back of your truck or SUV to take it on vacation with you, or carry it from the back patio to your bathroom without strain.

What’s Not So Good: The Ice Barrel is a simple device, with no included chilling motor or filtration system. Its shape caters to full-body plunges, but it’s far from comfortable to sit for long periods of time. Also, you will have to spend a lot of time and money filling this with ice regularly. 

The Verdict: Durable, compact, lightweight, and cool-looking, the Ice Barrel is a good solution for anyone (especially taller/heavier bathers) who wants a quick plunge but doesn’t plan on lounging in a tub. However, you are going to have to constantly be filling this up with water and ice which is a costly burden. If that sounds like a hassle you should invest in a more premium product like the Plunge.

4. PEAKn Ice Bath

Maker: PEAKn

Top Key Features: Inflatable, ultra-lightweight and portable, affordable, made from high-strength PVC

Returns: Returnable via Amazon Customer Service

Price: $68.50

What’s Good about PEAKn Ice Bath: If you’re trying to save big on costs, this inflatable ice bath is your best bet. It costs a fraction of its competitors, and it’s portable enough you can take it literally anywhere you go. Just empty, deflate, and stow it in your trunk, RV, or backpack. When the time comes for a bath, unpack, inflate, fill, and enjoy.

The tub is made from sturdy, extra-thick high-strength PVC and manufactured specifically to withstand freezing temperatures. The inflation process is beautifully easy thanks to the wider-than-average nozzles, and you can use a hand pump, foot pump, or electric-powered pump to inflate the tub as desired.

What’s Not So Good: There are no included chilling options, no drainage solutions, and no provided pump to inflate the bath. Though it’s sturdy and holds its shape, it’s far from durable—expect to get many years of regular use out of this inflatable tub. 

The Verdict: Anyone looking to start ice bathing on a rock-bottom, bargain-basement budget will love this portable, inflatable tub. It’s not a long-term solution, but great for ice bathing newbies taking their first plunges.

Questions about Ice Baths

Want to know more about ice baths? Take a look at these FAQs below: 

Are ice baths good for you? 

There isn’t an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence to back up the claims that ice baths are great for your health. However, there is enough research proving that ice baths relieve sore muscles, reduce inflammation, lower your core body temp, activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and may even help you sleep better.  

How often should I take an Ice Bath? 

That depends entirely on your level of activity! Professional athletes will sometimes take ice baths twice a day during periods of high-intensity, prolonged training. Others will bathe once every day, once every two days, or 2-3 times per week.  

Really, bathing more than once per day is unnecessary unless you’re a high-level athlete engaged in ultra-high-intensity training. For the average athlete and resistance trainee, 2-3 times per week is more than enough. 

During your “off periods” when you’re not training regularly, once every 10 days can still provide the ice bath benefits. 

Is there any prep work or techniques before going in the ice bath?

Other than stripping down to your bathing suit, underwear, or birthday suit, not really! 

Some people like to take a cold shower beforehand to accustom their body to the chill. You can also start off with the tub filled with warm water, and add in ice to chill the water while you’re already fully immersed (which makes for potentially easier adaptation to the cold). You can also jump right in or submerge slowly, whatever works best for you.

Just make sure to practice breathing before you hit the water. The cold water gasp reflex will cause your cardiovascular system to constrict, and you may feel like you’re hyperventilating. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths until your body adapts to the cold.

What is the difference between an Ice Bath and Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy refers to the use of any form of cold—it could be water, or it could merely be cold air. Ice baths only use very cold water and ice for the treatment. 

Cryotherapy is also more surface-level-focused, while ice baths are more immersive and focus on treating deeper in your body: your joints, muscles, and connective tissue.  

How long should an ice bath be?

NEVER exceed 15 minutes in an ice bath! You can start off with just a few seconds and work your way up to 5-10 minutes, but after 15 minutes, you risk hypothermia. 

Are ice baths dangerous?

Typically, ice baths aren’t dangerous. You’re in a small bathtub that you can easily climb out of, and typically around people who can help you if necessary. 

However, for people with certain conditions, it can be a danger. These people include anyone with:

  • A history of frostbite
  • Recent surgical wounds, or any open wounds
  • Circulatory problems (such as peripheral vascular disease)
  • Raynaud’s disease (a sensitivity to cold)
  • A heart condition (as the cold-water shock can trigger cardiovascular problems) or high blood pressure

As you’re sitting in the bath, pay attention to your limbs. There should be some tingling from the cold, but any sign of numbness or sensation loss means it’s time to GET OUT.

Where to buy an ice bath?

The list above features the best ice baths on the market, the ones most worth your investment and most likely to provide you with a pleasant, effective Cold Water Immersion treatment! As stated above, if we had to pick one the Plunge is our top pick everytime.

About The Author:

Joe Sanfilippo has spent his entire life playing and training for sports. He was a 3 sport athlete growing up and finished his athletic career as a 4-year captain for the Elmhurst University Football Team. Joe now serves as a business consultant and manager for some of the world’s best professional athletes and fitness experts through his company Upper Edge Sports. Based on his experience, it’s safe to say that Joe knows his way around an ice bath.

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