Why cold tubs are replacing DIY ice bath options

Why cold tubs are replacing DIY ice bath options

The only thing more popular than taking an ice bath might be talking about how people manage to even get into the cold water to start with.

Isn’t the water freezing? 

How long do they stay in the cold water?

Isn’t it terrible?

And the answers? Sometimes, it depends, and not once you get used to it.

While hopping into a tub of chilly water is not likely to be the next attraction at an amusement park, cold water therapy can be a way to reach your goals and improve your overall well-being. Regular cold water immersion can relieve muscle soreness, reduce inflammation, increase energy levels, manage anxiety, and boost your metabolism.

But how do you take an ice bath at home? Sure, it can be as simple as adding cold water and ice to your bathtub. However, as cold water immersion has grown in popularity, so have the at-home options.

Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tubs by Master Spas makes it easier to take that much needed cold plunge. A powerful chiller keeps the water at your preferred temperature, and a water care system helps keep the water clean and clear. And it was designed with input from the GOAT himself so you can achieve your greatest without sacrificing comfort.

cold tub vs ice bath

What is a cold water immersion?

Ice baths are a form of cold water immersion, and they have become a popular way of helping your body recover from intense exercise. They can help you fight inflammation, prevent injuries and soreness, and even improve performance in the future.

Cold-water immersion is the practice of soaking in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. However, the length of time can vary depending on the temperature of the water. The colder the water, the less time you will spend in the tub. For example, if the water is between 50 degrees and 59 degrees, you can soak for up to 15 minutes. 

When you are taking an ice bath, there are a couple things to keep in mind. It’s OK to feel cold but you don’t want to feel numb. Many proponents also encourage you to have your extremities fully submerged — including your feet, legs, and hands. If you feel comfortable, you can also go under the water — briefly — to get your head wet.

cold tub vs ice bath

At-home cold plunge options

Cold water therapy has been used by everyone from professional athletes to wellness seekers as a way to improve health. But ice baths have become increasingly popular, as more people discover the benefits of cold water immersion.

And as popularity grows, so do the options for at-home ice baths. But not only options are created equal. From the creative to the comfortable, these options allow you to benefit from cold water immersion.

Ice bath

The most obvious and way to take an ice bath at home is to put ice in your bathtub. Just run cool water and then add as much ice as you can withstand. For some, it’s preferred to get in the tub of cool water and have someone add the ice.

Your indoor bathtub is convenient and easy to drain, too. 

However, depending on the size of your indoor bathtub, you might need more than 50 pounds of ice. That’s a lot of ice! And your refrigerator’s ice maker might not be making that much. For this reason, many people will choose to buy ice at a convenience store for their post-workout ice bath.

This option can be impractical if you have a small tub or just a shower or there are multiple people using the bathtub within a given time frame. 

Can you picture your partner standing in a tub full of ice and trying to take her morning shower? Probably not.

DIY cold tub

Have a garbage can? You might just have a DIY ice bath. Stock tank? You could turn it into your next plunge.

More and more people are going the DIY route to incorporate cold water therapy into their routines. These options can be an affordable way to take a cold plunge outdoors. 

Often used to feed livestock, stock tanks are often seen as affordable, easily accessible,  and durable. Some are made from a weather-resistant foam and even have a drain. 

But a 300-gallon stock tank, likely the size you’ll want to soak comfortably, might not be the budget option you expect it to be. The tank itself can be more than $300. And then there’s the cost of ice. Since the tank is not insulated, you’ll likely need to add ice each and every time you want to soak. 

A lot of ice. Like, lots and lots of ice. To get started you might need 50 to 100 pounds of ice and then refresh the tank every use. You could be spending hundreds of dollars on ice each month.

A downside of the DIY options are that they do not have a water filtration system, like the Chilly GOAT. Without a filter and UV light, you will need to regularly drain, clean, and refill the tank.

Chest freezer

From Wim Hoff followers to professional CrossFit athletes, a popular ice bath hack has been converting a chest freezer into a cold tub.

Yes, people are using chest freezers for ice baths. Some DIY’ers have taken their chest freezer baths to the next level with ozonators and filtration systems. But taking your DIY cold tub to the next level is an additional investment in time and money. 

But the combination of water and electrical components comes at a risk — electrocution.

So how did this garage or basement staple become a wellness hack then? Chest freezers are insulated, designed to keep things cold. They are also easy to find, whether you are buying new or searching online marketplaces. In addition, they are roomy enough for someone to stretch out — even if you are taller than 6 feet.

But just like most at-home bath options, most people will find that they will have to drain the water and clean the freezer quite frequently. With regular use, bacteria and other microorganisms will begin to grow. You’ll not only start to notice a film or layer of gunk on the water but a smell, too.

Foldable tub

There’s something incredibly nostalgic when you think about a backyard pool with collapsible sides. 

Popular in the 1980s and 1990s (sorry to all the Gen Z’ers who might have missed out), these wading pools had colorful seascapes on the outside and just enough room on the inside for you and your best friend. And, at any given moment, the side could give way and the water could rush out onto the lawn.

And the foldable cold tubs are a little like that — except they are designed with a bit more structural integrity and enough for an adult.

Foldable cold tubs are often made from PVC and might even have an insulation layer, helping to keep the water cold. There is a side drain pump to help you remove the water after you’ve soaked.

(Yep, you will need to refill the tub and add ice for each cold plunge.)

Keep in mind that the PVC can rip or tear and you should be careful when setting it up on a non-smooth surface. In addition, the sides of the foldable tubs are not rigid, and it can make getting in and out a chore.

cold plunge vs ice bath

The no-ice ice bath

There are only so many bags of ice you can buy before you start to wonder if there is a better way to take an ice bath at home.

For some, it might be 100. Others, it might be 10. (Seriously, you have to wonder what the attendant is thinking when you start filling your trunk with ice every week.)

A Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas makes it possible to soak up the benefits of cold water immersion without making it a chore. Simply fold open the cover and hop in.

With a built-in chiller and filtration system, you can set the water to your preferred temperature.  There’s no secret “recipe” to getting the water just right — it’s ready when you are.

What’s the temperature range of the Chilly GOAT? With two modes (cooling and heating), you can lower it to 40 degrees or turn it up to 104 degrees.

The Chilly GOAT has a spacious seat with hip width of 25 inches and ample leg room, giving everyone — even Michael Phelps — room to stretch out. There are also built-in armrests and SoftTread non-slip flooring, which make the experience more comfortable (or as comfortable as you can doing a cold plunge).

While you might be tempted to take on a DIY approach to cold water immersion, a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas can be a game-changer for your recovery routine.

cold plunge tub

How to buy the best cold tub

Do you want to enjoy the benefits of cold water therapy without buying bag after bag of ice? Having a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas allows you to realize the impact of cold water. Enjoy clean, clear, cold water on demand.  You can click here to find out more about the benefits of incorporating a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT cold tub into your routine. Start your journey today!

Safety information

Please note that all information, content, and material provided on this website is for informational purposes only.

Cold water immersion can be beneficial for most individuals, but it is important to be aware that it can impact circulation, heart rate, and blood pressure. If you have an underlying health condition related to any of these areas, seek medical advice before exposing your body to cold water.

Prolonged exposure to cold water should be avoided. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

If you are new to cold water therapy, ease into the practice. Start with warmer water and shorter durations of exposure. As you adapt, be cautious when lowering the temperature or extending the duration of your cold soaks. Avoid deliberate hyperventilation before and during cold water immersion.