Review: The Cold Plunge Tub for Cold Immersion Therapy at home

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Medically reviewed by:
Dr. Steve Kim, MD

About Dr. Steve Kim, MD

Physician Advisor

Dr. Kim received his BA in Human Biology at Stanford University, before receiving his M.D. degree (Primary Care Track) from UC Davis School of Medicine in 1989. Dr. Kim completed his Internship & Residency in Family Practice from Glendale Adventist Hospital and is Board-Certified in Family Medicine via the American Board of Family Medicine. He has re-certified multiple times; and is currently Board-Certified through December 2030. He has served as Sr Medical Editor for Healthline, and has held faculty appointments at Stanford & UCSF medical schools. He is also a decorated, retired Flight Surgeon from the US Air Force Reserves.

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If you’ve been in the health and wellness space for even a minute, you’ve heard of all the supposed benefits of cold water immersion therapy

Pain reduction, improved recovery and metabolism, reversing tissue inflammation, and mental health benefits only scratch the surface. Specifically, cryotherapy appears to reduce inflammation by influencing norepinephrine and endorphins, thereby telling your body to stop the inflammatory process.

Legends like Joe Rogan, Tony Robbins, and Wim Hof swear by it. And the best part, too, is that the research that backs these claims is strong.

The problem until now(ish), though, has been that the main barrier to entry for normal people has been finding a way to actually implement cold immersion therapy into their lifestyles. Like, yeah, you can fill up a trash can with a sh*t ton of ice, but that’s more of a one-and-done solution.

Professional athletes have had it good for years. Not only are they hot, but they’ve had access to cold plunge tanks at training facilities for years. But fear not, because…

Enter: at home cold plunge tubs. 💥  Companies like Plunge have turned vision into reality by designing cold immersion tubs that are not only as good as the ones you’d use in an athletic facility, but they’re also pretty damn affordable.

We’re gonna start off by looking at the Cold Plunge (because that’s why you’re here), and then we’ll talk about the benefits of cold immersion therapy and dig into the scientific research that backs up these claims. All to see if investing in a cold plunge tub is right for you.

Let’s get it.

Table of Contents

What is cryotherapy / cold immersion therapy?

As a California kid who hates the cold, it pains me to say this, but: the cold is good for us.

You know that feeling you get when you’re out in snowy weather with an irresponsible lack of layers on? It’s like a switch flips in your body; your brain is like WTF, your body starts to go numb, and suddenly you’re wide awake. Your body responds by starting to shiver.

Cold causes stress to our bodies. Maybe it’s just my San Diego talking, but why would anyone WANT to expose themself to extreme cold? Well as it turns out, a controlled and managed burst of exposure to extreme cold has a ton of benefits. In practice, this calculated exposure to the cold is known as cryotherapy.

When our bodies are exposed to the extreme cold of cryotherapy, our bodies experience what’s known as
hormetic stress. Basically, it’s our bodies’ response to an environmental stressor. If you’ve ever fasted, done an intense workout, or felt the extreme heat of a steam room, you’ve felt this hormetic stress. And in
studies, it’s been found that this is exactly what fights off inflammation and boosts the mood and immune system.

We’re gonna cover all the research and benefits in a sec, but let’s start off by looking at the best cold plunge tubs on the market, so you can compare and contrast.

Which is the best cold plunge tub for me?

First off, there’s really no avoiding the fact that cold plunge tubs are a pretty significant purchase. Even at the low end of the market, buying a Cold Plunge will run you about $5,000. I don’t know your income or whatever, but my guess is that you’ll want to put in significant research buying smashing that buy button; I know I did. So that’s why I’m sharing.

And secondly, remember that price ain’t everything. Just like with any product, one brand is gonna offer a premium (and expensive) product than others. And each cold immersion tank will be a reflection of the qualities of their brand and what they care about. Take a look at the major cold plunge tanks on the market:

The Best Cold Plunge Alternatives​

Plunge logo 200x60 Renu Therapy logo 200x60 Morozko logo 200x60 Ice Barrel logo 200x60

The Cold Plunge vs Renu vs Morozko vs Ice Barrel

The Cold PlungeRenu Cold StoicMorozko Filtered ForgeIce Barrel
Starting Price$4,990$9,700$12,850$1,200
Promo codeUse code Zenmaster for $150 off
MaterialsAcrylicTreated WoodCedar frame, stainless steel tubLightweight, durable plastic
Minimum Temperatures39°F39°F33°F32°F if all ice
Ice required?
Light included?No (+$320)
Easy to install✔ (lol it's a barrel)
Filtration
Sanitation
Exterior Dimensions43" x 24" x 67"33" x 34" x 64"60", 66", and 72" versions available.
(Footprint dimensions are 32" wide x 82-94" long, depending on model)
42" high, 31" wide
Tub Dimensions31" x 24" x 67"36" x 24" x 30"N/a42" high, 25" wide
Website

It really does seem like Plunge is the most budget-friendly, “universal” option, when it comes to at home cold plunge tanks.

But if you’re someone who maybe doesn’t care so much about budget, and would be fine paying a premium for a luxury, wooden tub that matches your sauna, the Renu Cold Stoic or Morozko Forge are excellent choices. 

Ice Barrel has some really mixed reviews online. On one hand, it’s way cheaper than anything else on the market. On the other, it’s not really comparable. At the end of the day, it’s just a (you guessed it) barrel that you fill with ice.

If you’re serious about choosing the right cold plunge tub for you, I’d encourage you to think about each of the following criteria:

  • Price
  • Design
  • Energy efficiency
  • Materials and build quality
  • Filtration
  • Ease of installation and maintenance
  • Durability (indoors vs outdoors)
  • Tank size

☃️ Cold Plunge Benefits

Athletes have long used cold plunge tanks as a way to speed up muscle and injury recovery. But it can also help with lymphatic circulation, cardiovascular health and increase red blood cell and growth hormone levels.

Let’s roll through all the benefits and dig into the supporting evidence.

How do cold plunge tubs work?

No surprise here, but the main point of a cold plunge tub is to mimic the extreme cold and promote your body’s cryotherapeutic response.

With a cold plunge tub, you instantly unlock the ability to easily/quickly reduce the temperature of a “bath tub” down to 39°F. This is the industry standard temperature, btw, for achieving the desired effects. As a point of reference, athletic training facilities’ tubs run at 42-50°F, and ice baths at 50-59°F for 10 mins. 

Traditional cold immersion therapy used water and ice. But as you can imagine, this process involves using a considerable amount of water and ice. Cold plunge tubs, on the other hand, work by circulating the same water in the tub, pumping it in and out, and cooling it with a chiller.

Sitting in moving water actually draws heat out of your body, which means that you’ll feel colder far sooner. And those cold plunge chillers are a piece of tech that uses refrigeration to cool water to your desired temperature and then recirculates it. Most cold plunge tubs should also have high-quality filtration systems that let you keep filter the same tank of water – and therefore reduce water usage.

Before Plunge, it used to be that, on average, installing a home cold plunge pool would cost around $12,000. But thanks to increased demand and economies of scale or whatever, costs have come down a lot – to around $5k with Plunge.

A rave review of a cold plunge tub from TheColdPlunge.com

TheColdPlunge.com Review

The Plunge is a smart-looking white acrylic tub. It stands at only 24 inches, so it’s easy to get in and out of and simple to clean. While many users could be concerned about the dangerous combination of water and electricity, the Plunge is designed to keep the electrical components hidden away, so there is no risk of electric shock.

Another welcome feature of the Cold Plunge is the covered lid that keeps the water clean when not in use. It comes with a 15-ft cord that powers the chiller and filtration system. However, if you choose to keep your Cold Plunge outdoors — which you absolutely can — you can add an extension cord. The Cold Plunge is also super efficient: you can keep your tub full of water cold all day long for around a buck a day. Not too shabby. 

The Cold Plunge is easy to drain, thanks to a 1-inch outtake value that sits at the side and bottom of the tub. Finally, it also has beautiful interior side lighting to create a relaxing ambiance.

The Cold Plunge offers four different models, each with slight variations.

top down view of cold plunge indoors
As you can see, the Cold Plunge fits quite nicely in the indoor gym

Cold Plunge tubs compared

Cold Plunge Cold Plunge Pro Hot and Cold Plunge Hot and Cold Plunge Pro
Starting Price$4,990$5,490$5,290$6,490
Promo codeUse code Zenmaster for $150 offUse code Zenmaster for $150 offUse code Zenmaster for $150 offUse code Zenmaster for $150 off
Rate of water cooling 2.5°F per hour9°F per hour2.5°F per hour9°F per hour
Rate of water heating 4.5°F per hour4.5°F per hour
Minimum temp39°F39°F39°F39°F
Maximum tempN/AN/A103°F103°F
Link
which cold plunge should i buy
Breakdown of TheColdPlunge tubs
Two men using the Cold Plunge
Plunge Pro dimensions and components
A man using the Cold Plunge

is best for people who don’t want to deal with ice, but also don’t need the bells and whistles.

The Cold Plunge is the classic model. It has a cooling and filtration system, which means you just need to fill up the pool with your hose. The Cold Plunge also keeps the water clean and re-usable because of the sanitation system. This tub cools the water down by around 2.5F per hour. Easy to set up and install, this option also comes with a cool UV light.

A man using the Cold Plunge PRO

is best for people who:

  • Expect to use it often. Like, 5 plunges in an hour.
  • Want flexibility in being able to cool it down very quickly

The Cold Plunge Pro comes with all the excellent features of the Cold Plunge, but it is far more efficient at cooling water. While the Cold Plunge cools water at 2.5F per hour, the Pro achieves speeds of 9F in the same time. That’s over 3x as fast cooling. 

Recommended for people who expect to use it a lot (over 5 plunges an hour) or want flexibility in being able to cool very fast. 

A woman using the Hot & Cold Plunge Pro

is best for people who want a built-in hot tub, without a huge investment in space or money

It’s also NECESSARY for those who live somewhere with below freezing weather to avoid ice forming in pipes 

As the name suggests, the Hot & Cold Plunge can also be a hot tub. This versatility is a nice extra. It heats water up at around 4.5F per hour, so if you want to use it as both a hot and cold tub, you’ll need to use some forward planning. Water cooling is done at a rate of 2.5F per hour.

Goes up to 103F. 

Takes 12 hours to go from 50 to 103. 

If you live somewhere with below freezing weather and want to keep this outside, you’ll need to upgrade to the Hot and Cold Plunge (or Pro) to prevent ice from forming in the pipes.

A woman using The Hot & Cold Plunge PRO

is best for people who:

  • Want a built-in hot tub, without a huge investment in space or money
  • Expect to use it often. Like, 5 plunges in an hour.
  • Want flexibility in being able to cool it down very quickly

NECESSARY for those who live somewhere with below freezing weather to avoid ice forming in pipes 

The Hot & Cold Plunge Pro is the complete offering from Plunge. Its advanced chilling system allows water to be cooled down at 9F, while users can also take advantage of its heating facilities to make it a hot tub.

The entry-level model comes in at a little under $5,000, while the most advanced version is almost $6,500. These prices are far more affordable than your average plunge pool. Additionally, the ability to cycle between cold and hot is a good option. However, the Cold Plunge model is designed to be compact. As a result, they lack the space or social nature of a traditional hot tub, which is something to consider.

🥶 Plunge Reviews: What are people on social media saying?

Conor McGregor has a Cold Plunge. Tony Hawk, too. Or how ’bout my personal favorite, Dr. Rhonda Patrick? Obviously I’m mostly kidding, and we shouldn’t make our purchasing decisions based on the number of celebrities that back a specific product. 

But my point is that Plunge has created a cold plunge tub that’s being used by some of the greatest athletes and minds in the world. And that’s pretty cool.

But I also dug around to see what Averages Joes and Janes think about their Plunge. Because I’m pretty average. 🙂 And to be honest, it’s pretty tough to find negative reviews of the Plunge. I imagine that some people probably return it within the 30 day full refund period.

Walt Mueller
Read More
I absolutery love, love, love my plunge tub. Mine is indoors. They did a great job with the design of this tub, it's super convenient & maintenance is super easy! Way, way more convenient than carrying ice. Approaching 2 month of use now. 1 to 2 times daily 5 minutes. Between 5/6 days a week. Temperature at 44 degrees, currently. I would like to see more on healthy trainning routines.
cericbarry
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Currently have received my cold Plung tub, sits next to my clearlight sauna, best of both worlds, my transformation is well underway.
karenadawn
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You may have seen in my stories that Bobby & I put a cold plunge tub in our backyard and I'm obsessed! We dip in it several times a week after a workout, at night, or on weekend mornings. It's intense when you get in, but it feels amazing! Kinda like an instante hit of 3 espresso shots mixed with CBD and coming out of a deep meditation.
thatburpeechick
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We are OBSESSED with ours! I've already got 2 of my cliens to order one and another one on the way! Thanks for the amazing product!
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❄️ The Cold Truth: Are The Cold Plunge tubs worth it?

If you’re sold on the research pointing to the seemingly endless benefits of cold water immersion therapy, and you’re serious about looking for a way to implement it into your life, The Cold Plunge is probably the best option on the market. It’s got a beautiful, minimalist design that not only looks great anywhere (indoors or out), but it’s a top-of-the-line tub that’s priced way better than others on the market.

Like, half the price of competitors’ models like the Renu Cold Stoic and the Morozoko Filtered Forge. In my opinion, it looks better too. Don’t get me wrong, the wooden models these companies sell have a lovely rustic feel. But the clean, smooth acrylic of the Cold Plunge says, “I mean business.”

Another dope thing about the Cold Plunge is that it’s designed to make the most out of the space it uses. Other systems’ filtration and cooling systems are pretty bulky, which means less tub space. The Cold Plunge is just way more streamlined.

I’ve always been super into health and fitness, but I’ve never been a D1 athlete or anything. So I never really had the chance to use a cold plunge tub. But now with Plunge, that’s not the case. For a pretty reasonable price, I finally have the chance to achieve all the benefits of cold water immersion therapy.

The Cold Plunge offers more value for the price than Renu or Morozko, and it does the job just as well, if not better. So for that reason, I’m team Plunge.