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Cold plunging is all the rave right now in the health and wellness space. I personally have been doing the practice for years now and love the added benefits I get from it. In this article, I break down a couple of ways on how to cold plunge at home on any budget!
How to Cold Plunge at Home
Cold Plunge at Home Step-by-Step:
Fill the Tub up with cold water. Fill the tub up with ice (should have enough ice to get the water temperature to around 50°F)
Get Post plunge clothing ready
Set an alarm
Enter the ice bath
Soak in the plunge for as long as you can
Get out and warm up
Cold Plunging at home can be done in a couple of ways. The first way you can cold plunge at home is in your own dedicated cold plunging device, doesn’t seem too much of a stretch of the imagination to find that one out. The other way you can cold plunge is by turning a regular bathtub into an ice bath and buying ice at your local gas station (or wherever you buy your ice).
You can get the same results by going the make-shift cold plunge route but if you want to build a consistent habit with the practice it will be a huge waste to go back and forth buying ice all the time. Time is everything for me personally and I am not a fan of DIY devices, so going the route of having my own dedicated cold plunge device just makes the most sense.
If push comes to shove, you can go to a local wellness center that has a cold plunge and start going there. You probably will end up saving money in the long run.
Cold Plunge With a High-Quality Tub
High-quality cold plunge tubs are worth the investment. If you are going to do something that is good for your health (like cold plunges) invest in to it, don’t sell yourself short. I really do think the budget cold plunge options are just a waste of money because most of them don’t have a chiller to keep the water cold or don’t have the jets to keep the flow rate of the water high.
Seriously… whats the point of cold plunging if you don’t get what you are paying for!
How to Cold Plunge without Spending Thousands
Again, we won’t stop you from going the DIY route, Shoot, I will even go as far as telling you how to do it, but I personally will not.
You can cold plunge by buying a chest freezer, a separate chilling unit, and the necessary valves to make the whole system work, or even just buy a bunch of ice and turn your tub into an ice bath. At the end of the day, you’re going to end up spending around $1,200 on the make-shift system in most cases.
Top Cold Plunges on a Budget
I believe the best budget cold plunge device is the one made over at Ice Barrel. While there are other options that are less than the Ice barrel, the Ice barrel is truly the first (and most affordable) option for a real cold plunge device. It is made with high-quality material and is a legitimate device.
Again, the best cold plunge tubs on the market are priced the way they are for a reason, they get the job done, are made with high-quality material, and help you reap the full benefits of cold plunging. Now, if you read this and still say “Yeah but I don’t want to spend all the money”, fine, I get it, here are the budget options you are begging me for!
Probably the most accessible cold plunge on the market is coming in from Nurecover. These cold plunge devices are extremely affordable sitting at just $100. No more having to drive to that wellness center or waiting to save up money to buy an expensive cold plunge, Nurecovers got you covered.
To make your life even easier, Nurecover even sells ice trays that can hold up to 96 ice cubes to you don’t have to always run out to buy bags of ice to keep the water temperature cold. Nurecover has two sizes for their portable cold plunge devices and have thousands of reviews on their products.
Cheap and accessible to everyone
Easy to set up
Comes with a free thermostat
Easy to drain
100% body coverage
No chilling unit to keep water cold over time
No flowrate on the water
Not suitable for more than 1 person
The ice barrel is the first step into the big leagues of cold plunging but is still on the list of being a budget cold plunge. The Barrel is probably one of the most recognizable cold plunge devices on the market because, well, it’s a giant barrel that you fill with ice and water.
The Ice Barrel is an excellent option when compared to its super-affordable counterparts. Everything tells me to tell you to buy this one if you are looking for a budget option because at least you are getting something that feels like quality when you buy it versus what you may get with the cold plunges that are only $100.
The ice barrel is durable and built to last. There are two versions to choose from (which is really a preference thing if you ask me) the Ice Barrel 300 or the Ice Barrel 400. The only difference in the two are the shapes/size and that the Ice Barrel 400 does not have quick connect port for a chiller. So if you end up deciding to buy a chiller in the future, the Ice Barrel 300 is probably the better option for you for now.
Slender design and does not take up too much floor space
Comes with a lid, step stool, stand, and protective UV cover
Can go inside or outside
Does not require electricity
You plunge in the upright position which a bit more comfortable
Still have to buy ice to use it
No electric cooling or heating mechanisms
Hrad to get into for shorter people
Heavy when filled
Best Cold Plunge Tubs
Best Overall: Cold Plunge
Best Inflatable: Polar Monkeys Inflatable
Best Ice Bath: Ice Barrel
Best Portable: Inergize Cold Plunge Tub
Most Affordable: Nurecover
Best Splurge: Bluecube Cold Plunge
Best Design: Odin Cold Plunge
Best For Small Places: Ice Barrel
Best On-Price Inflatable: Redwood Outdoors
Our favorite Way to Get Cold Exposure
If we have not made it clear at this point, we love cold plunge devices, specifically the devices that are crafted to last and give us the full experience of cold water immersion. The best overall cold plunge in my eyes is the device made by Plunge or the devices made by Bluecube. We have reviews for both products on our site that can be found here (Plunge) and here (Bluecube) and what we can take away from examining them closely is that they are both excellent options to choose from.
My first cold plunging experience was in a plunge tub but the one we have had the most exposure to was the Bluecube tub at a local wellness center in my hometown.
What is the optimal temperature for an ice bath or cold plunge?
The optimal temperature range for a cold plunge is between 45°F and 55°F. Now, some people can go much lower on the range but that comes with ample amounts of experience. If you are new to cold plunging work your way to colder temperatures and stay on the higher end of the range.
Do you plunge earlier in the day or at night?
Easy, cold plunge first thing in the morning, and do not do it at night. Cold water immersion shocks your systems and puts your body in fight-or-flight mode, meaning that if you do this at night you will be up all night
How to cold plunge in the shower
Cold showers are not exactly cold plunges but it definitely is a way to get your feet wet with getting your body used to cold water exposure. If you can get your shower to the right temperature you can see some common benefits from cold water therapy from a cold shower!
Is there any risk associated with cold plunge tubs?
Cold plunges are not as risky as they are made out to be but I would not say it is completely risk-free for a group of people. People who are pregnant, elderly, or have underlying health conditions should consult with medical professionals before diving into the cold water in a cold plunge.
How long should you stay in a cold plunge tub?
Cold plunges do not have to be long. You can stay in a cold plunge for as little as 30 seconds or as long as 5 minutes. The ideal thing you want ot accomplish in this exercise is to push your limits but be careful to not go overboard. Cold plunging is best when you are putting yourself out of your comfort zone.
Are cold plunge tubs the same as ice bath tubs?
Kinda of. The materials are different and the insulation is better in cold plunge tubs but other than those two things they are pretty much the same. Ice baths are typically steel tubs while cold plunges are either made of plastic or ceramic.