Reviews

6 Best Budget Cold Plunge Tubs in 2024

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Cold bathing is a well-known practice in physical therapy. Whether recommended by a healthcare professional or explored on your own, there are plenty of physical and mental benefits you can draw from it.

Today, we’ll help you choose the best budget cold plunge tub based on cost, size, and available space, allowing you to enjoy a healthy and affordable ice bath experience at home.

best budget cold tubs

Top 6 Best Budget Cold Plunges Reviewed

  1. Ice Barrel 300 – Top Pick
  2. Fire Cold Plunge – Cold Plunge Tub with Internal Cooling System
  3. DeepDive Wellness Cold Plunge Bath – Best Foldable Tub
  4. Lumi Recovery Pod MAX Insulated Ice Bath – Best Water Capacity
  5. The Cold Pod Portable Ice Bath – Most Heavyweight Ice Bath
  6. Spartan Willpower® Portable Ice Bath Tub – Most Lightweight
ProductTotalMaterial
Quality
CapacityDurabilityComfortFeaturesPrice vs. Quality
Ice Barrel
300
59109.510109.510
Fire Cold
Plunge
58.51010109109.5
DeepDive
Wellness
57.599.59101010
Lumi
Recovery
5710109.59.599
The Cold Pod56999.59.5910
Spartan
Willpower
5599.599.599
TOP PICK

1. Ice Barrel 300

Ice Barrel 300
  • Dimensions: 35.5” W x  30.5” H
  • Weight: 61 lbs
  • Material: Recycled plastic
  • Shape: Cylinder
  • Installation type: Place anywhere
  • Capacity: 77 gallons
  • Package: Tub, lid, chiller plug, user manual, warranty
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Extra features: Built-in seat, chiller port, drainage port

Starting our best budget cold plunge list is the Ice Barrel 300. This simple-to-use and compact cold therapy tub will slot well into homes or fitness centers. It has a good blend of features, build quality, and design, and comes at a moderate price point for this type of product.

The Ice Barrel 300 is a great choice for both cold plunge beginners and long-time enthusiasts. Its cylinder shape saves up space and allows it to fit into corners, too, with an easy step-in and step-out design. It also has a built-in seat to elevate your comfort while plunging. It’s very convenient to use thanks to a built-in drainage port for quick and easy emptying, though there are some tubs with higher water capacity.

ice barell 300 instagram
Photo by @mickschaer

Additionally, a built-in chiller connection port (with an included attachment) further adds convenience, allowing you to maintain optimal temperature. The tub is fully insulated, ensuring the water stays fresh and cool for prolonged periods. It’s also UV-resistant, preventing light from heating it up. The carry handles make it easy to move around, though it’s a bit heavier since it can’t be dismantled. Plus, each purchase is backed by a lifetime warranty.

59 EXPERT SCORE

The Ice Barrel 300 is a great choice for both cold plunge beginners and long-time enthusiasts. Its cylinder shape saves up space and allows it to fit into corners, too, with an easy step-in and step-out design.


Material quality:0
Capacity:0
Durability:0
Comfort:0
Features:0
Price vs. Quality:0

Positives:

  • Made in the USA
  • Built-in drainage port
  • Built-in chiller connect port
  • Built-in small seat
  • Lifetime warranty

Could be better:

  • A bit heavy when empty, not as easy to move
  • Can take up to 5 weeks to ship according to the manufacturer
Cold Plunge Tub with Internal Cooling System

2. Fire Cold Plunge

Fire Cold Plunge
  • Dimensions: 33”H x 26.5”W x 44”L (Small); 32”H x 28.5”W x 54”L (Medium); 33.5”H x 29.5”W x 60”L (Large)
  • Weight: 90-160 lbs
  • Material: Faux wood, carbon, cotton
  • Shape: Rectangle
  • Installation type: Place anywhere, requires electricity
  • Capacity: 120 gallons
  • Package: Tub, user manual, warranty, accessories
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Extra features: 15ft hose, plunge skimmer, hose filter, GFCI outlet extension, bilge pump, minute timer, hydrogen peroxide

Although its name can be a bit confusing, the Fire Cold Plunge is the type of ice bath you’d find in professional therapy centers. An excellent choice for those who don’t mind spending a little more or for use in public facilities.

The Fire Cold Plunge is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large for users up to 6’, 6’ 3”, and 6’ 7” respectively. The sleek faux wood design provides a furniture-like outside appearance that blends well into any room, from homes to spa centers and gyms. It’s also feature-packed, albeit a bit pricey. That said, the undetachable lid and angled shape make entering and exiting a bit trickier.

It’s easy to control the temperature thanks to a built-in Wi-Fi regulating system. It can be self-regulated down to 37 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 3°C) for the maximal ice bath experience. The package also includes an array of attachments to get you started, such as a 15' hose, a skimmer for taking out debris, a hose filter, an outlet adapter, and a bilge pump. The built-in timer allows you to relax without the need for additional devices nearby, such as phones or clocks.

58.5 EXPERT SCORE

The Fire Cold Plunge is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large for users up to 6’, 6’ 3”, and 6’ 7” respectively. The sleek faux wood design provides a furniture-like outside appearance that blends well into any room.


Material quality:0
Capacity:0
Durability:0
Comfort:0
Features:0
Price vs. Quality:0

Positives:

  • Available in three sizes
  • Wi-Fi temperature control
  • Build-in timer
  • The faux wood design fits well into homes
  • Various accessories included

Could be better:

  • On the expensive side
  • A 1-year warranty is underwhelming for the price
Best Foldable Tub

3. DeepDive Wellness Cold Plunge Bath

DeepDive Wellness Cold Plunge Bath
  • Dimensions: 30” H x 30” W
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Material: PVC
  • Shape: Cylinder
  • Installation type: Place anywhere
  • Capacity: 80 gallons
  • Package: Tub, lid, attachments, user manual, warranty
  • Warranty: 6 months
  • Extra features: Hand pump, waterproof cover, carry bag, hand pump, drainage hose, repair patches

Next up, we have the inflatable, portable, and inexpensive cold plunge tub by DeepDive Wellness. If you’re shopping on a budget, lack space, or simply want the option to effortlessly move it around, this is an excellent choice.

The DeepDive Wellness Cold Plunge Bath is surprisingly spacious despite a minimalist-looking design, accommodating individuals up to 6’9” tall, though the 80-gallon capacity is a bit lower in comparison to other large tubs.

The cylinder-shaped design allows for easy placement anywhere, even in corners, and helps with easy entry and exit from all sides. The package includes a range of attachments for added convenience, including a hand pump, drainage hose, and repair patches.

deep dive instagram
Photo by @icoldplunge

The most appealing feature of this tub is, of course, the ability to deflate and easily fold and carry it away when not in use. Naturally, a foldable and lightweight material is not the peak of durability. Think of it as one of those foldable inflatable backyard pools: some applied force or a sharp object can easily puncture it.

Luckily, it’s not the end of the world thanks to the included repair patches, which are also easy to find in DIY stores. Overall, it is a very beginner-friendly cheap cold plunge that over-delivers on the price.

57.5 EXPERT SCORE

The DeepDive Wellness Cold Plunge Bath is surprisingly spacious despite a minimalist-looking design, accommodating individuals up to 6’9” tall, though the 80-gallon capacity is a bit lower in comparison to other large tubs.


Material quality:0
Capacity:0
Durability:0
Comfort:0
Features:0
Price vs. Quality:0

Positives:

  • Foldable, easy to store
  • Lightweight, easy to carry
  • Affordable
  • Useful attachments included
  • Repair patches included

Could be better:

  • Short 6-month warranty
  • The outer material is not as durable
Best Water Capacity

4. Lumi Recovery Pod MAX Insulated Ice Bath

Lumi Recovery Pod MAX Insulated Ice Bath
  • Dimensions: Around 30” H x 35.5” W (officially 90x75cm)
  • Weight: Around 7.7 lbs (officially 3.5kg) 
  • Material: Rip-stop polyester
  • Shape: Cylinder
  • Installation type: Place anywhere
  • Capacity: Around 110 gallons (officially 420l)
  • Package: Tub, lid, attachments, user manual, warranty
  • Warranty: 1-year warranty (extendable)
  • Extra features: Dry bag, cover, thermometer, foot pump, drain hose, repair patches

Similar to our previous entry, we have the Lumy Recovery Pod MAX. It’s very similar in build and design, with slightly better material quality and higher water capacity,  though a bit pricier. Still, it is an affordable cold plunge compared to other choices.

The Recovery Pod MAX stands out with its rip-stop construction. Rip-stop is a durable layered polyester that is difficult to tear or puncture, especially compared to rubber or polyester baths in this price range. On top of that, a couple of repair patches are included in the package if the need arises.

Assembly and disassembly are easy: insert the support legs into their slots and then inflate the top ring. And yes, a foot pump is included for convenience's sake. The package includes a drain hose, too, though a simple drain exit would be a nice improvement. When disassembled, it can be folded away and carried around thanks to the insulated carry bag.

The tub has an impressive 5-layer insulation system all around, including on the lid, ensuring the water stays chill longer even in the outside heat. Additionally, the all-weather cover lets you leave the tub outside without fear of falling debris or rain. Initially, it comes with a 1-year warranty, though it can be extended by purchasing additional coverage. Overall, it’s higher quality than other portable tubs, though a bit pricier.

57 EXPERT SCORE

The Recovery Pod MAX stands out with its rip-stop construction. Rip-stop is a durable layered polyester that is difficult to tear or puncture, especially compared to rubber or polyester baths in this price range.


Material quality:0
Capacity:0
Durability:0
Comfort:0
Features:0
Price vs. Quality:0

Positives:

  • Large capacity
  • Made from rip-stop, durable for the price
  • Foot pump included
  • Great value for money

Could be better:

  • Has to be manually drained 
  • Additional warranty must be purchased
Most Heavyweight Ice Bath

5. The Cold Pod Portable Ice Bath

The Cold Pod Portable Ice Bath
  • Dimensions: 29.5" H x 29.5" W x 29.5" L 
  • Weight: 11.77 lbs
  • Material: PVC, nylon, foam
  • Shape: Cylinder
  • Installation type: Place anywhere
  • Capacity: 85 gallons
  • Package: Tub, lid, attachments, user manual, warranty
  • Warranty: None
  • Extra features: Pump, drain hose, repair kit

Another cheap ice bath worth checking out comes from the Cold Pod company. It’s inexpensive and available on-demand — an easy solution if you want to get something ASAP.

The Cold Pod Portable Ice Bath is made from a PVC inner, a Nylon outer, and a foam middle layer. Although cheaply made compared to pricier options, it’s surprisingly durable when compared to products in its price range. It’s engineered for use between 3°C and 15°C (37.4°F and 59°F respectively), offering a decent range of temperatures.

The Cold Pod Portable Ice Bath instagram
Photo by @thecoldpod

The pod is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, with easy assembly and disassembly. At just over 11 lbs in total weight when empty, it can easily be carried around. Thanks to a built-in drainage system, it’s easy to empty and refill when necessary. An air pump and repair kit are also included for convenient maintenance, although that’s as far as attachments and tools go.

56 EXPERT SCORE

The Cold Pod Portable Ice Bath is made from a PVC inner, a Nylon outer, and a foam middle layer. It’s surprisingly durable when compared to products in its price range.


Material quality:0
Capacity:0
Durability:0
Comfort:0
Features:0
Price vs. Quality:0

Positives:

  • Available on-demand
  • Cheapest on the list even at full price
  • Built-in drainage system
  • Repair kit included
  • Worldwide shipping

Could be better:

  • No warranty
  • Cheap build
Most Lightweight

6. Spartan Willpower® Portable Ice Bath Tub

Spartan Willpower® Portable Ice Bath Tub
  • Dimensions: 29.5” H x 29.5” W
  • Weight: 6.61 lbs
  • Material: Polyester, plastic
  • Shape: Cylinder
  • Installation type: Place anywhere
  • Capacity: Around 80 gallons (officially 300l)
  • Package: Tub, lid, attachments, user manual, warranty
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Extra features: Hand pump, drain hose & spout, repair patch

Last but not least is the Spartan Willpower® Portable Ice Bath Tub. A good choice for a mid-sized, portable, cheap cold plunge.

The main body of the tub is made from polyester fabric, covering three layers of TPE insulation — it holds the heat well enough but is a cheaper build. The inside of the tub is covered with UV-resistance PVC inner lining, so it won’t absorb heat even in direct sunlight, keeping it skin-friendly.

It’s easy to change the water or drain out thanks to the included drain hose and built-in drain spout. Once again, it can be inflated-deflated and folded up for easy carrying by removing the support legs. Each package includes a hand pump and one repair patch. There’s also an option to purchase an all-weather cover, though other tubs give this for free.

55 EXPERT SCORE

The main body of the tub is made from polyester fabric, covering three layers of TPE insulation — it holds the heat well enough but is a cheaper build. The inside of the tub won’t absorb heat even in direct sunlight, keeping it skin-friendly.


Material quality:0
Capacity:0
Durability:0
Comfort:0
Features:0
Price vs. Quality:0

Positives:

  • Super lightweight when empty
  • Drain hose included in purchase
  • Built-in drain spout for easy emptying
  • UV-resistant PVC lining

Could be better:

  • The weather cover has to be bought separately
  • The price does not reflect the quality: there are cheaper options of a similar quality

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What Is a Cold Plunge?

A cold plunge is a therapeutic practice that involves immersing the body in cold water for a specific time to achieve varying physical and mental responses. It can be done in various ways, but some popular methods include cold showers, swimming in cold water, or lying in a specifically designed cold plunge tub, like the ones mentioned above. People use cold plunges both for medical purposes and as a way to relax. They are most commonly employed by athletes and fitness enthusiasts for post-exercise recovery.

Benefits of Cold Plunges

Bathing in cold water has been used in physical and mental therapy for thousands of years. Recorded usages date back to ancient Greece, Rome, India, Egypt, and China, but it’s assumed the practice has been around for way longer. Here are some of the known benefits of taking cold baths:

Woman is taking a cold bath outside

✅ Cardiovascular Improvements

Research looking at the effects of water immersion at different temperatures found that cold water (14°C or roughly 57°F) has significant effects on various cardiovascular parameters, which include increased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate (calorie burn), among other benefits.

Additionally, Cold Water Immersion (CWI) increased diuresis (urine production). Regularly urinating is an important aspect of regulating fluid intake, detoxifying our blood, and maintaining kidney health.

✅ Muscle Recovery

CWI is a known post-exercise muscle recovery method. For example, a study conducted on elite athletes demonstrated that 15 minutes of CWI at 10°C (approximately 57°F) reduced signs of inflammation and muscle damage after an intense exercise session.

Additionally, a meta-analysis comparing nine studies comparing CWI to passive recovery (regular resting) showed that CWI sped up the recovery rate. This is especially helpful for those who exercise often, e.g. professional athletes, and need to maximize their recovery time. It also highlights the ideal temperature and immersion time to be 10-14°C (roughly 50-57°F) & 10-15 minutes, respectively.

✅ Improved Immune System

Cold water immersion is also being explored as a way to activate the immune system without infectious stimulus. The idea is that triggering an immune system response without getting sick could make the body more resilient in the future. A study done on athletic men found it plausible, with some positive improvements being seen in as few as six weeks.

In addition to an increase in certain immune cells, the study also observed changes such as elevated plasma concentrations of some acute phase proteins (haptoglobin and haemopexin) and a trend towards increased plasma concentrations of various immune components (IL6, total T lymphocytes, T helper cells, activated T and B lymphocytes)

✅ Mind-Muscle Connection

CWI triggers physiological and psychological responses associated with sudden temperature changes. This elevated level of stress triggers hormones such as Epinephrine (Adrenaline), Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline), and Endorphin. Epinephrine is a major component of our “fight-or-flight” response: in case of cold exposure, it raises our heart rate and mobilizes energy reserves. Norepinephrine works in tandem to conserve our body temperature and increase alertness. Meanwhile, Endorphin acts as the body’s natural painkiller, working overclock to keep our mood in check.

Continuous exposure to cold water helps the mind get used to this elevated state. Thus, CWI can help you level up your mind-muscle connection, including increased resilience, awareness, and self-control.

✅ Stress Release

Research investigating CWI demonstrates significant and immediate improvements in mood. Participants completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire, assessing their self-perceived mental state, both before and after a 20-minute CWI (13.6°C or 56.5°F). The questionnaire results reveal a self-reported decrease in negative feelings and an increase in positive feelings, providing additional support for the effectiveness of CWI as a mood-regulating therapy.
Similarly, hydrotherapy has started to come up more and more as a mental health remedy. For example, some preliminary studies showed that cold showers can relieve symptoms of depression by activating the sympathetic nervous system and regulating hormone levels.

Tips From the Champ

Like any form of physical therapy, taking a cold plunge should only be done barring approval from a healthcare or therapy professional. People with certain medical conditions, such as cardiovascular issues, should avoid using them at their peril.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Budget Cold Plunge Tub?

Here’s what you should consider to get the best cold plunge for the money spent:

1. Size

Before selecting a cold plunge, you should first make sure it measures up both to you and your chosen space.

2. Capacity

Similar to size, the plunge capacity you choose should vary based on your measurements. A tub that is too small for you might fail to keep the water cool for long enough periods, reducing the chilling effect of a cold plunge. This can force you to use more ice or employ the water chiller for longer, stacking up the cost of use.

A man taking a cold bath

3. Material Quality

Naturally, the higher the cost of the tub, the higher quality material will be employed in its construction. High-quality tubs will be able to insulate the water for longer and with less outside effort. That said, cheap cold plunge tubs can strike a good balance of value for money, so it’s valuable to weigh out all options.

4. Chiller Features

Some affordable cold plunge tubs come with a built-in or purchasable water chiller. While it does remove the need for manually cooling the water with ice, it does have a higher upfront cost. We recommend getting chillers for more experienced cold plungers who indulge in the activity more frequently.

5. Temperature Range

The usual temperature range used in CWI therapy is 10-14°C or roughly 50-57°F. A purpose-built affordable ice bath can keep this temperature with no problem thanks to insulation, but it’s important to keep in mind if you want to draw on the benefits of cold plunges.

Taking ice bath at home

6. Extra Features

Extra features like a built-in seat, steps for easy entering and exiting, built-in water chillers, etc. can lead to an elevated user exercise with your tub, but they also drive the cost up. It’s responsible shopping to not buy something you won’t use simply because it sounds cool to have.

7. Comfort In Use

You want to get an appropriate bath for your size so you can have an easy time getting in and out, especially if you’re going to use it regularly. Make sure you can place it somewhere with easy access to water, ice, or a plug for your chiller to avoid the inconvenience of spillage and water waste.

FAQ

How Much Does a Cold Plunge Bath Cost?

That would depend on factors like size, build quality, insulation, but also the way you regulate the temperature. An inexpensive cold plunge tub that you have to fill, regulate, and clean manually can be as cheap as a few hundred dollars. Meanwhile, a specialized cold plunge tub with built-in heat regulation, self-water filtering, programmable timers, and other advanced features can cost a few thousand dollars.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Have a Cold Plunge at Home?

If you have a bathtub in your home, you can use it for a fairly cheap ice bath. Fill it with cold water and add ice or use a temperature regulator (chiller). Alternatively, some people use actual plastic barrels (meant for food/liquid storage).

Can I Use My Pool as a Cold Plunge?

You can use your pool for a cold plunge bath, but it might take more time and money compared to getting a cold plunge tub, depending on your pool's size. First, you'll need a lot more water. Second, keeping the larger pool cool might require more ice or a stronger temperature regulator, which means using more electricity. Third, real cold plunge tubs have lids that keep the water cool for longer, while a pool might need more frequent water changes to stay fresh.

Conclusion

Now you know how to give yourself the best budget ice bath. Cold water immersion is an excellent post-exercise recovery method or simply a healthy and relaxing way to start or end your day. The benefits it carries are both mental and physical and will result in better well-being and quality of life.

While you can create a DIY cheap ice bath at home using something like a bathtub, frequent cold plungers may want to invest in a specialized tub. Overall, the Ice Barrel 300 proved to be the best budget cold plunge tub, combining a decent size and quality build for a moderate price.

We’d love to hear from you as well. Let us know if you’ve tried cold bathing before. If so, how did it make you feel? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and remember to follow us on social media for more valuable fitness content.

Also read:

References

  1. Aryane Flauzino Machado, Paulo Henrique Ferreira, Jéssica Kirsch Micheletti, Aline Castilho de Almeida, Ítalo Ribeiro Lemes, Franciele Marques Vanderlei, Jayme Netto Junior, Carlos Marcelo Pastre, “Can Water Temperature and Immersion Time Influence the Effect of Cold Water Immersion on Muscle Soreness? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Sports Medicine 46 (2016): 503-514.
  2. Endorphins, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23040-endorphins (accessed Dec. 6, 2023)
  3. Epinephrine (Adrenaline), Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22611-epinephrine-adrenaline (accessed Dec. 6, 2023)
  4. Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline), Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22610-norepinephrine-noradrenaline (accessed Dec. 6, 2023)
  5. H. Russell Searight, Kaitlyn Montone, “Profile of Mood States,” Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences (2020): 4057-4062.
  6. Herve Pournot, Francois Bieuzen, Rob Duffield, Pierre-Marie Lepretre, Christophe Cozzolino, Christophe Hausswirth, “Short term Effects of Various Water Immersions on Recovery from Exhaustive Intermittent Exercise,” European Journal of Applied Physiology 111, no. 7 (2011), 1287-1295.
  7. John S. Kelly, Ellis Bird, “Improved Mood Following a Single Immersion in Cold Water,” Lifestyle Medicine 3, no. 1 (2022): e53.
  8. L. Janský, D. Pospísilová, S. Honzová, B. Ulicný, P. Srámek, V. Zeman, J. Kamínková, “Immune system of cold-exposed and cold-adapted humans,” European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology Vol, 72, no. 5-6 (1996), 445-450
  9. Nikolai A. Shevchuk, “Adapted Cold Shower as a Potential Treatment for Depression,” Medical Hypotheses 70, no. 5 (2008): 995-1001.
  10. P. Srámek, M. Simecková, L. Janský, J. Savlíková, S. Vybíral, “Human Physiological Responses to Immersion into Water of Different T,” European Journal of Applied Physiology 81, no. 5 (2000): 436-442.

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All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Jason Li avatar

Author: Jason Li
Personal Coach, Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist

Experience: 10 years

Jason is an NYC personal training expert and National level Olympic Weightlifting Coach with over 10 years of experience training everyday clients to high levels of performance. He has trained everyone from youth (13 years old and under) to masters (60+ years old) to regional and national rankings for powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Short distance (up to 200m) sprinting, discus & hammer throwing.

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