The ultimate guide to comparing at-home cold tubs

comparing at-home cold tubs

The polar plunge is no longer something that you do once a year, gathering your friends on New Year’s Day to rush into a frigid lake. The plunge is now something you do on the regular, whether it’s taking a cold shower, filling your bathtub with ice, or investing in an at-home cold tub. 

In fact going cold has become so popular that it might be the hottest wellness trend of the decade. 

The practice of cold water immersion has gained significant attention for its potential health benefits. Among these benefits are enhanced circulation, decreased inflammation, and stress reduction. In addition, cold water immersion can help you recover faster and perform better. 

At-home cold tubs, also known as ice baths or cold plunge pools, have become increasingly popular among health enthusiasts, athletes, and those seeking natural ways to boost their overall well-being. 

With numerous options flooding the market, choosing the best at-home cold tub can be a daunting task. This buying guide aims to help you compare at-home cold plunge tubs and make the best choice for your lifestyle.

comparing at home cold tubs

Benefits of cold water immersion

Cold water immersion is the practice of taking a brisk dip for a specific period of time. The water temperature can be 50 degrees to 60 degrees — or even lower.  You might stay in for 2 minutes, 3 minutes, or even 5 minutes. 

A form of cryotherapy, deliberate exposure to cold water has been used to help people feel better physically and mentally. Athletes, actors, performers, and maybe even your next door neighbor are getting in cold water because they see the benefits.

Reduced inflammation: Cold water immersion can help reduce inflammation, alleviate muscle soreness, and aid in post-workout recovery.

Enhanced circulation: Cold water exposure stimulates blood circulation, which can have a positive impact on cardiovascular health.

Increased energy and alertness: Cold water immersion is known to boost energy levels, enhance mood, and increase mental alertness.

Supports immune function: Regular exposure to cold water might strengthen the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells.

Stress relief: Cold water immersion triggers the release of endorphins, which can help alleviate stress and anxiety. One study found that people who took cold showers resulted in less symptoms of depression. An article in the North American Journal of Medicine and Science supported the idea that cold water immersion can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety.

comparing at-home cold tubs

Factors to consider when comparing cold tubs

Whether you are an athlete, weekend warrior, or someone who simply wants to live life better, cold water can be a game-changer for your health and well-being. Benefits of cold water immersion include reducing inflammation, promoting recovery, and potentially enhancing circulation and immune function. 

There isn’t a strict rule about how often you need to do cold plunges to see benefits. However, research is showing that 11 minutes a week can help you optimize your recovery and being. 

Investing in an at-home cold plunge tub can help you make cold water a part of your wellness routine. By carefully considering factors such as size, build quality, temperature control, and more, you can find the perfect cold tub to integrate into your routine. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the benefits of cold water immersion conveniently in the comfort of your own home. 


Cold tubs come in various designs. There are barrel-style ice baths, stock tank designs, and models made of wood. Some cold plunge tubs look more utilitarian while others seamlessly integrate into the design of your space.

When choosing an ice bath tub, you want to choose a design that aligns with your aesthetic preferences and complements your outdoor or indoor space.

Size and capacity

When it comes to the size of a cold plunge, there are two things to consider — your space and, more importantly, you. 

Not only do you want to consider how the cold tub will fit into your backyard or gym, you want to consider whether you can comfortably get in and out of the water. 

Most cold tubs are designed to be used by a single person. However, if you are tall or have an athletic build, you might not be able to fully submerge yourself in the cold water. Or, you might feel cramped.  

Build and quality 

A well-constructed cold tub is going to help you build in cold water therapy into your daily routine. Not only will a quality plunge have a longer lifespan but it will provide you with consistent performance and value for your investment. 

Insulation is a key feature of a quality cold plunge tub. Efficient insulation helps maintain your desired water temperature, reduces energy consumption, and keeps the cold tub operational without significant temperature fluctuations. In addition, a well-insulated cold tub can be installed outdoors, even in climates that experience harsh winter conditions.

Temperature control

The key to cold water therapy is, well, cold water. And each plunge achieves that cold status differently. Some cold tubs have built-in chiller systems to get the water to your desired temperature. Others require bag after bag of ice. 

When comparing the best cold tubs, it’s important to find a model that can get the water cold and keep it there. You don’t want to wake up excited for your cold plunge only to find that the water is at a lukewarm 70 degrees. You don’t want to have to buy bag after bag of ice at the convenience store. A plunge with a more powerful chiller will be able to maintain the water temperature and avoid fluctuations.

Maintenance and cleaning 

If you want to maintain your ice bath routine, you also need to maintain your tub. Just as there are a range of cold plunge tubs on the market, there’s a range of water care systems. Some models rely on cold water being more sanitary and some recommend adding chemicals. Other tubs have a filter or ozone systems. The best cold tubs will have a combination of filtration and UV light to trap and kill impurities in the water, providing a safe and enjoyable cold water immersion environment.

Cold water is considered to be cleaner because the water temperature can slow the growth of certain bacteria and other microorganisms. But chemicals are still essential to maintaining the water of your cold plunge. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines can help you maintain the pH and sanitizer levels of the water.


You want your cold plunge to be more than cold water in a tub. You want it to be a space that helps you feel revitalized. The features of a cold tub can help improve the overall ownership experience.

Among the features to consider when comparing the cold tubs are how you operate the cold tub. Make sure that it’s easy to adjust the temperature. It’s a bonus if the cold tub has WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to adjust the water temperature conveniently from your phone or smart device.

LED lights can add ambiance and jets can help keep the water moving, preventing a thermal barrier. It’s important to decide whether those features will enhance your daily cold plunges.

But there’s another question that more and more cold tub buyers are asking — can the cold tub go hot?

A cold tub with a heating mode provides versatility in terms of therapy options and allows you to tailor your sessions to your specific needs.. While cold water immersion offers its own set of benefits, warm water is incredibly therapeutic. It can help relax muscles, improve blood circulation, and promote overall relaxation. 

Having a heating mode in your cold tub extends its usability throughout the year. In colder months, you can enjoy warm water therapy without the need to heat a larger traditional hot tub, saving energy and costs.

Warranty and customer support 

The design, water care system, and features are all important when you are comparing cold plunge tubs. But there’s more to the buying decision than the look and operation of the product.

You should also consider the manufacturer’s warranty and the quality of customer support offered. The warranty and support can reflect the manufacturer’s commitment to the quality of their product and their dedication to customer satisfaction. 

The warranty provides peace of mind for your investment. If any unexpected issues arise with the cold tub within the warranty period, you can have them addressed without incurring additional expenses.

A strong customer support team can help you troubleshoot minor issues over the phone or through online communication, potentially resolving problems without the need for a service visit.

comparing cold plunges

Choosing the best cold tub

Do you have chills just thinking about having your own at-home cold tub?

After researching and comparing, you are feeling better equipped to make a decision. And you have found one product that’s taking the cold tub competition to a new level — the Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas.

Known for its commitment to quality and innovation, Master Spas collaborated with swimming legend Michael Phelps to create a new cold tub that combines modern design and premium components.

And those components? They are built-in to the cold tub so that the design complements your backyard, gym, or wellness room. 

The Chilly GOAT has a powerful 2.1-horsepower chiller to get the water to your ideal temperature. The system, along with full foam insulation and cover, help the cold tub maintain its chill. The temperature range is 40 degrees to 104 degrees. 

Crafted with comfort in mind, the Chilly GOAT has a wide seating area and built-in arm rests. The spacious interior enables a relaxing plunge, allowing you to fully submerge yourself in the water. The cold tub also features a non-slip flooring system, adding a unique combination of comfort and traction.

There are also two dual flow jets, which keep the water moving. People who go for the GOAT notice the difference the jets make in the cold plunge experience. More than that, moving the water helps keep it clean and filtered. A UV light and filter also help keep the water cold and clear.

From the customer-focused design to the sleek design, the Chilly GOAT Cold Tub elevates the at-home cold tub market.

Important note

Cold water immersion might not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as heart problems or cold sensitivity, should consult a healthcare professional before attempting cold water immersion. Gradual exposure and not pushing the body to extremes are also key factors to consider when practicing cold water immersion safely and effectively.