So you’re thinking about getting a cold plunge tub, huh? Listen, I get it. The idea of submerging yourself in frigid water like some kind of polar bear might sound a little nuts to the uninitiated. But believe it or not, humans have been doing this icy dance for centuries.
Ancient Spartans did it. So did the Japanese with their “misogi” purification rituals. My grandpa from Germany did it in the winter “cause it’s good for you”. Joe Rogan, Lex Fridman, Andrew Huberman, David Goggins, and all those famous podcasters do it. And these days, everyone from Silicon Valley execs to elite athletes are singing the chilly praises of cold plunges.
This isn’t just another fitness fad, folks. We’re talking about a vessel—basically a high-tech bathtub—that’s designed to keep water at temperatures that would make even a penguin second guess. Imagine that icy shock to your system, right there in your own backyard or luxury bathroom. Yeah, we’re about to dive deep into this frigid topic, exploring the good, the bad, and the bone-chillingly cold.
But hey, let’s not just jump in without testing the waters. Is this cold plunge tub worth the hype and the hefty price tag? Or are you better off sticking to good ol’ ice baths or your local wellness center’s plunge pool
Buckle up, it’s about to get chilly in here.
Alright, let’s get into the meat of it. You hit the gym hard, your muscles are sore as hell, and now you want some relief.
Forget foam rolling for a sec; think about dunking yourself in icy water like a human popsicle.
Science says it can help. Cold exposure triggers vasoconstriction, which basically means your blood vessels tighten up like a nervous prom date. This reduces inflammation and can accelerate the healing process. It’s like sending a cavalry of tiny ice warriors to help your muscles recover.
Mental Health Enhancement
Jumping into cold water can jolt your nervous system, leading to the release of endorphins—the feel-good hormones.
Plus, let’s not forget about norepinephrine, another neurochemical that’s linked to mood regulation. This cocktail of hormones can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even symptoms of depression. So you’re not just soaking your body; you’re literally bathing your brain in a sea of positive vibes.
Do you drag your ass out of bed in the morning like a zombie craving caffeine? A cold plunge might be your new best friend. Cold water immersion can stimulate the production of mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses responsible for generating energy.
So instead of slogging through your mornings, you could come out of a cold plunge feeling like you’ve been shot out of a friggin’ energy cannon.
So that’s the rundown on the benefits. Sounds like a miracle tub, doesn’t it? But before you start googling where to buy one, let’s pump the brakes and get into some of the gritty details you need to consider. Because, trust me, there are some.
Okay, so here’s the thing: these icy bad boys aren’t cheap. We’re talking anywhere from a couple grand to the price of a used car. Yeah, you heard me right. “The Plunge” costs almost $5k (and that’s for their cheapest model). The PolarPod CHILLR costs $3,500. The Cold Stoic Classic by renu starts at $9,699.99 (and of course also offers some costly upgrades). The Viking by Nordic Wave comes in just under $6k.
(If your curious, the spruce has reviewed many of the most popular models, and also some cheap alternatives on their site.)
So before you go swiping that credit card, think about whether you’re ready for that kind of financial commitment.
This isn’t a pair of running shoes you can toss in the closet and forget about; it’s a big, expensive tub that’s going to stick around, kind of like a pet, but colder and less cuddly.
And speaking of sticking around, where the hell are you going to put this thing? It’s not like a yoga mat that you can roll up and slide under your bed.
Cold plunge tubs require space—sometimes a lot of it. Think carefully about where it could fit in your home, and remember, you’re going to need an electrical source close by to power the cooling unit.
Unless you’re planning on filling it with ice cubes every time, but let’s be real—that’s not sustainable.
You’ve probably got enough on your plate without adding “tub custodian” to the list, but yeah, maintenance is a thing. Water quality needs to be kept in check to avoid bacteria and nastiness, filters need changing, and the cooling unit requires its own TLC.
It’s not a ton of work, but it’s not zero either.
So, to sum up the considerations, ask yourself: “Is my wallet, living space, and schedule ready for this icy relationship?” If you’re still on board, awesome. But if you’ve got doubts, don’t sweat it (because, you know, you’d be cold). There are other ways to get your chill on without going all in on a plunge tub. Let’s explore those next.
Old-school but effective as hell—ice baths are the rugged, no-nonsense granddaddy of cold exposure. Just fill your regular tub with cold water, dump a crap-ton of ice in it, and voila! Instant cold plunge.
The downside? You’re constantly buying or making ice, and let’s face it, sitting in a melting pool of ice cubes isn’t exactly the epitome of luxury.
But if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to dip your toes (and everything else) into the cold exposure game, ice baths are a solid start. In fact, before you make a major commitment like buying a legit cold plunge tub, I highly recommend you first get into the habit with this low-cost alternative.
DIZ Cold Plunges
You can save a lot of money if you’re willing to do some research, labor, and make some concessions on how cool the thing looks.
Here’s just one way of going about it:
I bought a chest freezer and put a timer on it, so it’s only on 2 hours a day. Keeps it really cold. Change the water in it every 2 weeks. Just make sure you shower before every use. Alternatively, before I bought my chest freezer, I’d freeze 2 10 liter buckets (stainless steel plastic breaks) the night before and put them in the bath.Some guy on reddit
If you live in an area that’s cold most of the year anyway and have a backyard, then this is a simple $120 solution.
If you want something more sophisticated and are willing to pay a higher price, Andrew Conner’s DIY plunger is the place to go.
Public Cold Plunge Facilities
If you’re lucky enough to live near a spa or a gym that offers a cold plunge pool, then give yourself a high five.
You can enjoy all the benefits without any of the fuss. No worrying about space, no fretting over maintenance, and no forking over large sums of money upfront.
The catch? You have to share it with other people, and you might have to book in advance or wait your turn. But hey, communal suffering can be a bonding experience, right?
I personally have a love-hate relationship with ice baths.
Two decades ago, I plunged into an ice bath like some polar bear who’d mistaken a sauna for the Arctic—shocking, yet exhilarating. Back then, I dipped into icy bliss every other week or so. Over the years, I kept it up sporadically, throwing cold showers into the mix. In Japan, I became an onsen junkie, always chasing the yin-yang of near-boiling and freezing water.
But listen, public ice baths? They’re the major leagues of cold immersion. You think a chilly shower tests your mettle? Try shivering through 40 seconds in an ice pool. I thought I’d breeze through it, but reality slapped me with frozen gloves.
Why endure the frozen torture chamber? For me, it’s joint relief, a jolt of sheer vitality, and the sleep of an infant, untouched by insomnia. So, are these icy rituals worth the freeze-burn? Hell yeah.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the icy. On one hand, you’ve got this seemingly magical tub that could help your muscles, mind, and overall mojo. On the other hand, you’ve got the steep costs, space considerations, and the time you’ll have to put into maintenance.
I’d really encourage you to NOT buy a cold plunge tub at first, and instead start with simple habits: cold showers. A tub full of ice-cubes. Public ice baths. Once you’ve gotten into it and you feel you really want to level up, that’s when I’d consider buying a cold plunge tub.