Note: This comparison of the best home cold plunges for longevity is the second article in our series on cold therapy. Make sure to check out our first article: a deep dive into the science behind cold therapy and the possible benefits of cryotherapy for longevity if you haven’t read it already!
Are you interested in reducing inflammation, decreasing post-exercise muscle pain, improving your mood, burning fat, accelerating your immune system, and enhancing your metabolic health, all in as little as nine minutes a week?
I know it sounds like a particularly bad infomercial. Still, there’s a lot of compelling science suggesting cold therapy—specifically cold water immersion—can do every one of those things.
And you can get most of those benefits by practicing cold plunges for just 2-3 minutes, 2-3 times a week!
So, if you’ve looked at the research and are now excited to try ice baths at home for yourself, we’ve put together a list of different home cold plunge options for you to consider.
Important: As discussed in the “risks of cold therapy” section of our prior article, people with heart conditions or a family history of heart conditions may be especially at risk from ice plunges and cold therapy. Please talk to your doctor before starting a cold therapy routine for longevity and always do cold plunges with someone else around to supervise and watch over you.
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Table of Contents
Best home cold plunges for longevity
If you want to do cold therapy at home, there are a few things to remember and several options to consider before buying a cold plunge tub or barrel.
If you recall from our previous article, you only really need the water temperature to be in the 50° F to 66° F (~10° C to 19° C) range. It’s unlikely you’ll get additional benefits in terms of respiratory cold shock response from going any lower than 50° F, and the risks to skin and soft tissues, in addition to your heart, increase around 41° F (5° C).
You also likely don’t need to be in the ice bath for longer than 2-5 minutes to see the benefits, including those on your mood and brown fat activation.
So before investing in a purpose-built home cold plunge, it’s worth starting out with cheaper or DIY ice bath tubs.
DIY cold plunges
There are some DIY cold plunge options, typically using chest freezers, and several good longevity Facebook groups can help you get those set up including the DIY Chest Freezer & Chiller Cold Plunges group and the DIY Cold Plunge | Free Plans! group.
The downside of this home ice bath method, especially if you’re doing cold plunges two to three times weekly as recommended, is that the cost (and inconvenience) of buying 90 lbs+ of ice each week can really add up over time. It also gives you less precise control over the exact temperature of the water, and you’ll likely wait a good bit of time for the ice to chill the water to your desired temperature.
This is where commercial cold plunges come in.
Once you’ve built up a consistent habit of doing cold plunges at home using a cheap or DIY option and find you want something more purpose-built, it’s time to consider buying an off-the-shelf cold plunge product.
Most of the below cold plunge tub or barrel options have built-in cooling functionality to get you the exact cold water temperature you want, and many can also filter the water in your tub automatically so you don’t need to empty it after each ice plunge. Several also offer different sizes for those of you who (like me) are too tall to fit your whole body into a standard cold tub.
A little smaller than Edge Theory’s more expensive “Elite” tub (but still big enough for a 6’4″ person to fit comfortably) and with only a cooling option (the “Elite” can also heat water up to 105° F), the Legacy is an inflatable cold plunge tub that packs down small enough to fit in a backpack. With an accompanying chiller machine that can cool water to 37° F within five hours and the ability to set an exact temperature using their wifi-enabled app, it’s not surprising the Edge Theory ice tub is popular among professional athletes in the NFL, MLB, and more.
- Built-in filtration system.
- Rapid cooling system.
- Smartphone app integration.
- Premium pricing might be out of reach for many spanners.
- Some users report difficulties with the filtration system.
- The accompanying motor only cools water and does not allow for heat therapy options.
Definitely not a budget option, the Chilly GOAT cold tub is a cold plunge for spanners wanting a more plug-and-play experience. The Chilly GOAT’s water chiller machine is built-in and can cool the water down to 40° F or heat it up to 104° F. Like the Edge Theory’s tub, the Chilly GOAT comes with a wifi-enabled smartphone app letting you set the exact water temp you want for your cold water plunge. A UV filtration system, water circulation pump, and built-in seat and armrests complete the offering for this luxe cold plunge tub.
- Both hot and cold therapy capable.
- Built-in features for a plug-and-play experience.
- Sturdy build and high-quality materials.
- Water circulation pump keeps water moving, preventing a thermal insulation layer from forming around you even if you sit still.
- High-end pricing may be prohibitive for many potential buyers.
- Built-in motor may be more difficult to maintain and replace than an external option.
- Size and weight pose challenges for installation and make it less portable.
This inflatable cold plunge tub is similar to the Edge Theory Legacy mentioned above but trades some of the size of that tub for the option to do both hot and cold therapy at a similar price point. Like the Edge tub the Inergize plunge tub has a chiller motor that can get the water temperature down to 37° F. Unlike the Edge, and similarly to the much more expensive Chilly GOAT, the Inergize can also heat the water up to 105° F. Also included is the now-standard wifi-enabled temperature control app and a cleaning and filtration system.
- Dual functionality with both hot and cold plunge options.
- High-quality construction and durability.
- Compact footprint for those with smaller spaces.
- High cost may make it less accessible to budget-conscious spanners.
- Maintenance costs for dual functionality could be higher.
- Smaller size means taller people will have to sit with knees bent while plunging.
4. The Plunge
The Plunge, by Plunge, is a… plunge, a cold plunge (has that word started to sound weird in your head like it has in mine by now?). Similar to the Chilly GOAT, the Plunge is a more permanent cold plunge tub if you want something a little more durable but also less portable (it clocks in at a hefty 150 lbs even without any water in it). With an attached chiller motor that can get water down to 39° F and an endorsement by longevity expert Andrew Huberman, Plunge is a popular choice for spanners seeking a home cold therapy tub. A heater can be added for an additional $600 if you’d like the option for heat therapy as well. The “All-in” version is Plunge’s luxe version for those ice bathers with a lot of space, but it costs about twice as much.
- Built-in lights for nighttime use.
- Durable fiberglass and acrylic design allows extended use indoors or out.
- Easy setup and maintenance.
- Low portability and high weight (150 lbs even before adding water).
- Standard size won’t comfortably fit someone over 6′ tall, and XL size is $2,000 more.
- Can increase your electric bill significantly if run continuously.
Coming in both ice bath barrel and tub options (if you’re looking for a smaller footprint), the Coldture inflatable cold plunge line of products has a fair amount of customizability. Rather than requiring you buy their proprietary chiller motor, for instance, you could opt for the tub or barrel alone, for a cost of $1,105, and either buy your own chiller motor elsewhere (Coldture sells theirs by itself for $3,430) or just use ice bags from 7-11. With a PVC construction similar to the Edge Theory Legacy and Inergize cold plunge tubs, the Coldture cold plunge barrel/tub is portable and lightweight. Its added chiller can cool water to 37° F and comes with a wifi-enabled smartphone functionality. The chiller motor also comes with a filtration system.
- Lots of product customizability for DIYers.
- Lightweight and portable, barrel option minimizes footprint for those with limited space.
- Durable construction for long-term use.
- One of the few cold plunge barrel options with added water filtration.
- Pricing may still be a bit steep for those on a tight budget.
- The basic design lacks comfort features like built-in seats.
- No heat therapy options included with the chiller motor.
Price: $399, plus $2,999 for the optional chiller.
Similar to the Coldure ice bath products above, the Freein comes in both tub and barrel versions, and is also sold with or without a chiller (which will add about $3,000 to the cost of whichever option you combine it with). The chiller can cool water down to 37° F and has built-in ozone disinfection functionality as well. Even with the expense of a chiller, the Freein is one of the cheaper cold plunge options on this list, and like the Edge Theory tub, it can be broken down to be small enough to fit into a backpack, making it lightweight and portable.
- Barrel design for a smaller footprint.
- Customizable mix-and-match product options.
- Competitive pricing for the features offered.
- Lacks some of the high-tech features found in premium models, like built-in lights.
- Barrel design may not appeal to those seeking a more traditional look.
- Chiller motor can only do cold, not heat therapy.
For the spanner who wants an ice plunge barrel that’s a little more sturdy than the inflatable versions, the Ice Barrel 300 is a good option. It includes a built-in seat and can fit people up to 6’2″. If you’d like a roomier option, the Ice Barrel 400 can fit people up to 6’6″ for the same price as the 300. While neither the Ice Barrel 300 nor the 400 comes with a chiller, the company says they are releasing one soon, and if you’re interested, you can sign up for the waitlist to learn when it launches. Both do come with built-in ports, so you can plug in other companies’ chillers in the meantime.
- Barrel design for a smaller footprint.
- Built-in seat for comfortable plunging.
- Built-in port to accept chiller machine if desired.
- Made of durable, medical-grade recycled plastic.
- Doesn’t come with a chiller.
- The barrel design, especially for the taller 400, can be difficult to enter and exit (but comes with a footstool).
- Doesn’t break down for transport.
An inflatable cold plunge tub similar to the Edge Theory or the Inergize, the Sun Home Saunas Cold Plunge unique selling point is its size. Big enough for a 6’8″ person to ice bathe comfortably (well, it’s still ice-cold water, so not comfortably, but you get what I mean) or even two smaller people if you fancy a couple’s plunge, the XL tub comes with all the other features you’d expect at this price point. A chiller that can both cool the water to 37° F and heat it to 104° F, a built-in sanitization system and filter, wifi-enabled temperature app, plus a circulation pump round out the offering.
- Big size, especially for the price of comparable tubs.
- Ability to heat the water as well as chill it.
- Circulation pump to prevent build-up of a thermal layer while plunging.
- Inflatable, breaks down to be portable as needed.
- No fancy options like lights or a built-in seat.
- No barrel or smaller option for those with limited space.
Despite the somewhat cheesy, Web 2.0 naming convention, the PolarPod CHAMBRR (yes, all caps) is a solid cold tub option that can supposedly fit users up to 6’9″. Similar in construction to the other inflatable cold plunges on this list, the CHAMBRR also comes with a chiller motor capable of cooling water to 37° F and heating it to 105° F. Built-in UV and ozone filters keep the water clean, and Wi-Fi app lets you set the temperature. PolarPod also sells a budget option plunge bath for just $69.99, which is less durable and resistant than its more expensive brother (and doesn’t include the chiller machine), but also breaks down easily and compactly if you only plunge infrequently and don’t have a lot of space.
- Able to fit taller-sized people.
- A chiller motor with both hot and cold therapy options.
- Inflatable and portable.
- Lower pricing than some comparable options.
- Larger size may be an issue if you don’t have that much space.
- No premium features like built-in seating.
The Ice Pod is a cold plunge barrel with an optional chiller motor attachment (without the chiller motor the Ice Pod is only $109-$199 depending on insulation level). The “Pro” chiller motor can get the water down to 39° F, and the standard barrel size can fit a 6’5″ person, while the “Pro” size will fit a person up to 6’9″. Both chiller options come with filtration and water circulation functionality.
- Compact design suitable for limited spaces.
- Affordable compared to other options.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Doesn’t have a heat therapy option.
- No built in fancy options like seats or lighting.
- No UV sanitization feature.
- Limited stock can increase delivery times.
The Viking is a “sleek” (they use that word twice in their product description) home ice plunge barrel, which is deep enough to fit a 6’5″ person. The included chiller can get the water temperature to 38° F, and its small footprint means it can fit on most decks or even smaller indoor areas. It weighs 60 lbs empty, so it’s not as portable as some of the inflatable options on this list, but it’s definitively more aesthetically pleasing. The chiller includes a filtration and ozone system.
- “Sleek” design with a Scandinavian touch.
- Efficient insulation for temperature retention.
- Customization options for accessories.
- The price might be on the higher side for many spanners.
- No heat therapy option.
- No built-in seats or lighting (though their FAQ claims “The buoyancy of the water allows you to sit in [a] comfortable squatted position without putting any pressure on your joints.”
Honorable mentions: best budget home cold plunges
Not quite ready to shell out $2,000+ for a cold plunge habit you’re not 100% sure you’ll stick to?
Luckily there are some cheaper options in-between doing it in your bathtub and the $8,000 celebrity-endorsed luxe tubs. While they may not last as long, or come with fancy chiller motors or slick apps, here are a few more budget home cold plunges to consider.
- The PolarPod: $69.99
- The Cold Pod Ice Bath Tub: $119.96
- Clim8 Cold Water Therapy Tub: $135.00
- NAICID Cold Plunge Tub: $81.99
Any top home cold plunges we missed?
How are you currently doing cold water therapy at home? Got any great tricks for DIY, or awesome cold plunge tubs we missed?
Add them in the comments below!
And remember: As discussed in the “risks of cold therapy” section of our prior article, people with heart conditions, or a family history of heart conditions, may be especially at risk from ice plunges and cold therapy. Please talk to your doctor before starting a cold therapy routine for longevity and always do cold plunges with someone else around to supervise and watch over you.
I’m the co-founder of Longevity Advice and have been passionate about radical life extension ever since I was a teenager. Formerly I was a content marketing director in the B2B software space. I’m also a sci-fi novelist, wargame rules writer, and enthusiast for cooking things in bacon fat. My sister once called me “King of the Nerds” and it’s a title I’ve been trying to live up to ever since.