The Ultimate Cold Plunge Ice Bath Guide

Everything you need to know before taking the plunge to buy your first ice bath.

Supertub 0.6

Buying your first cold plunge tub can seem like a big undertaking—especially since these don’t come cheap. You want to know you’re getting the best, but there are so many questions. What does horsepower mean? What types of sanitation systems are there? Does it use a lot of electricity?

These are just some things we’ll cover in this article in addition to sharing how we came up with the best cold plunge tub. Finally we’ll compare popular options available on the market.

The goal is to give you the confidence to choose the right tub for you. Let’s jump right in

Disclaimer: The information presented here is entirely factual at the time of publishing based on our research and intended to be educational.

What makes a good
cold plunge tub?

Before potentially dropping thousands of dollars on a cold plunge, it’s important to know what to consider when choosing the best one. And what we’ll share are the things we found were crucial while we worked on our very own cold plunge: the Supertub.

It’s our latest offering in a long line of premium, simple recovery essentials. We are committed to high-quality yet affordable products to help you recover better.

Supertub cold plunge

1. Chiller cooling power

Chillers are used to cool the water in cold plunge tubs, and their cooling power is measured in horsepower. The higher the horsepower, the faster the water cools to ice-cold temperatures.

Most cold plunge tubs have chillers with 0.6 or 0.8 horsepower. Some options have lower horsepower like 0.3hp, and others have higher horsepower like 2hp. Having higher horsepower means faster cooling, but it also comes with a higher price.

Weaker chillers take longer to cool the water from room temperature to ice-cold, sometimes even taking days. As the water gets colder, weaker chillers struggle to maintain the desired ice-cold temperatures needed for a cold plunge.

On the other hand, higher horsepower chillers cool the water faster, but the improvement in cooling time might not justify the higher cost for some people. Once the water reaches the desired temperature, a chiller with 1hp does not offer much advantage over one with 0.8hp.

That’s why the Supertub comes in two optimized variants:
the 0.6 Supertub and 0.8 Supertub.

Supertub Permafrost™ Chiller

The first one features a 0.6hp Permafrost chiller which is great for temperate climates, where ambient temperatures average above 10°C in their warmest months and above −3°C in their colder months. It can efficiently cool the water without overworking

Supertub Permafrost™ Chiller

For warmer climates, with ambient temperatures averaging between 25 to 28 °C (and sometimes even above 30°C), the 0.8 Supertub is great. The stronger chiller allows it to chill the water more quickly while still being energy-efficient.

2. Materials used to build the tub

There are different types of tubs available, like steel and fiberglass for solid tubs, and vinyl or cheap PVC for inflatable tubs. But when it comes to using a tub for ice baths, there are some important things to consider.

Left to right: tubs made of steel, fiberglass and cheap PVC

First, the tub needs to be well-insulated to keep the water cold. Thin-walled inflatable tubs might not stay cold enough for an ice bath.

Next, the material of the tub matters too. Some materials, like steel, can cause condensation on the outside and create water pooling around the tub over time.

Lastly, it's best to have a durable and strong tub, especially if you use it frequently. You might accidentally scratch or damage the tub during use or maintenance.

The Supertub is an inflatable built with double-walled military-grade marine vinyl, making it durable and tear-resistant. We put it through rigorous tensile, tearing, and adhesion strength tests to ensure its strength. It’s also SGS-certified and ISO-certified for safety and quality.

3. Chiller IP water resistance

You would think that a product dealing with water should be water resistant, right? But some chillers, especially the budget options, don't have enough waterproofing. That's because they were not originally made for cold plunge tubs, but they were adapted from other products.

To make sure, you can look for proof of IP water resistance. The Supertub is powered by the Permafrost chiller, which is certified IPx4. This means it can resist splashing water, which is helpful when you're getting in and out of the tub. So, you can trust that it's safe and won't get damaged by water.

4. Sanitation and filtration system

A good cold plunge tub should be easy to maintain and keep the water fresh. But leaving the water sitting all day can lead to microorganism growth. Plus, when you use the tub, the water can get dirty with dust, dirt and hair.

To keep the water clean, it's important to have a cold plunge tub with a good sanitation and filtration system. There are two common types of systems: UV and ozone. Ozone is better because it not only kills germs but also cleans up other things that make the water cloudy and smell bad.

The Supertub uses a commercial-grade ozone system to keep the water really clean. Many budget tubs use UV, which is not as good at cleaning.

A good cold plunge should also have a good filter to remove tiny particles from the water. Most mid-range tubs have a 20-micron filter, which doesn't work as well. Budget tubs usually don't even have filters.

The Supertub is better than its competitors because it has a 20-micron filter, which can remove even tiny things that we can't see, like pollen and dead material.

5. Ease of setting up

Setting up a cold plunge tub can be really tough, especially for bigger premium tubs and if you live in an upper floor apartment. You might need help to make space and move the tub into your home. Once it's set up, it's hard to move it again without help.

There are inflatable tub options that are much easier to set up. The Supertub and Permafrost chiller come in small packages, so you can transport them easily. You can even set them up by yourself in just 15 minutes. And if you need to move it to another spot, you can do it alone without any trouble.

6. Warranty

Having a long warranty is proof of a company’s confidence in and commitment to their products. After all, electronics and appliances are prone to breakdowns with frequent use. That’s why a good cold plunge tub would come with a strong warranty policy. Most brands offer a 1- to 1.5-year on their cold plunge electronic parts.

The Supertub comes with an irresistible offer: 30-day free returns on all orders and a generous 2-year warranty for complete peace of mind.

7. Price

Ice baths can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars for cheap “kiddy pool” tubs to $20,000+ for high-end luxury builds. While premium construction and features can drive up the costs, a huge portion of the price comes from shipping and taxes. Some cold plunge brands keep the extra costs hidden until the last minute, so it’s important to check exactly how much you have to fork out by including shipping and taxes.

8. Lead time

Besides the price, another thing to consider when choosing a cold plunge tub is the lead time. Lead time is the waiting time from when you order the tub until it leaves the warehouse, and it's different from the delivery time.

Many brands have long lead times for various reasons. Some tubs are custom-built to order, which takes time. Other brands consolidate orders to save on shipping costs, which can result in longer lead times. Some brands may even be dropshipping from another country, which involves slower delivery partners.

However, if the brand has inventory and a good distribution system, the lead time should be much shorter, typically 1-2 days to ship out the tub after you place your order.

Hydragun has warehouses located worldwide in the United States, Australia, Korea, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. That means there’s no lead time when you order, we are ready to ship out the next day so you can get a cold plunge as soon as 7 days from purchase.

9. Accessories

While a cold plunge tub and chiller are all you need for the experience, there are some extra additions that can make it even better. These include skimmer nets, underwater lights, bath mats, timers, phone holders, and even rubber ducks! Some brands offer these extras for free, while others may charge for them.

Although these additions are not necessary for cold plunging, they can enhance the overall experience and make it more enjoyable. They are like "nice to haves" if you want a complete and hassle-free experience.

The Supertub goes above and beyond by providing a free complete accessories kit (worth $500+) with every purchase. It includes an automatic air pump, skimmer net, anti-slip bath mat, flexible phone grip (for sharing your cold plunge experience online), and a water-balancing kit for maintaining pH balanced and fresh water. With these extras, you can get the best cold plunge experience possible.

Every purchase comes with:

Free 2-year international warranty

30-day risk-free guarantee

Order the Supertub now

Types of cold plunges
on the market

Supertub cold plunge

Now that you know what makes a good cold plunge, let’s look at the four types of ice baths: tub only, budget, high-end luxury/commercial-grade, and consumer range.

1. Tub only ($100-$1,300)

The first group, tub only, usually includes only the tub without a chiller. To get cold water, you have to fill it with water and add bags of ice. These tubs are often made of cheap PVC and have flimsy legs, so they are sometimes referred to as "kiddy pools" because they are similar to children's pools. Some brands even market plastic barrels as ice baths, but they are just overpriced oil drums or stock tanks.

Using bags of ice to cool your ice bath has some problems. First, you need to buy and transport a lot of ice every morning when you want to cold plunge. Also, you can only use the water once because of hygiene concerns.

filling a tub with ice for each use.

Having to fill and drain the water every day is costly and can be a significant obstacle to forming a habit. It's easy to procrastinate when a simple 5-minute immersion requires so much effort. Ideally, you want to use the cold plunge tub and then continue with your day without any hassle.

2. Budget range ($800-$2,000)

If you're considering buying a cold plunge tub for the first time, you might be tempted to go for a budget option to see if you like it. However, using a budget cold plunge may not give you the full experience.

Budget tubs often have weak cooling power, which means they may not be able to reach the optimal temperatures needed for a proper and beneficial cold water immersion session. Powerful cooling systems cost more, and without enough cooling power, the tub may not be able to counteract the warming effects of the environment and your body temperature while you're in it.

Another issue with budget tubs is their sanitation system. High-quality chillers use ozone generators, which not only eliminate harmful microbes like mold and bacteria but also purify the water by eliminating odors and cloudiness, keeping the water pure, clear, and fresh. Cheaper chillers, on the other hand, use UV sanitation, which only deactivates bacteria and viruses without fully purifying the water, making it cloudy over time.

Cloudy tub water due to lack of ozone generator

Many budget cold plunge tubs also lack filters because they may have originally been designed for cooling electronics and hardware, and then repurposed for human use without proper filtration.

While budget tubs may be tempting, they may not provide the optimal experience and benefits of a high-quality cold plunge tub with robust cooling and sanitation systems.

3. High-end luxury /
Commercial-grade ($6,000-$20,000)

At the upper end of the spectrum are luxury cold plunge tubs that cost over $10,000. These tubs are not only beautifully designed but also highly functional. Some use special technologies, allowing them to chill water to 0°C or even create ice sheets. Others have custom-built or smart features, contributing to their high price.

However, for most people, these expensive features may not drastically improve the cold plunge experience. The recommended temperature for cold plunging is between 3-5°C, and colder temperatures may not necessarily be better.

Additionally, many high-end luxury tubs are bulky and require multiple people to transport and install them, adding to the overall cost and complexity.

While luxury tubs may have impressive features, they might not be necessary for a satisfying cold plunge experience. A well-designed and efficient tub within the recommended temperature range can provide the benefits you seek without the need for extreme costs and complexities.

4. Consumer range ($2,500-$5,000)

This range is where most cold plunge brands on the market fall within. Consumer range tubs attempt to balance the best specs at an affordable price. And some do it more successfully than others (we did).

In our opinion, this is the best option for the average consumer. They are relatively easy to set up and maintain, and do not cost an arm and a leg. For most people, what they’re looking for is a premium, affordable cold plunge that can last them a long time. This is where the Supertub falls under.

Every purchase comes with:

Free 2-year international warranty

30-day risk-free guarantee

Order the Supertub now

Supertub vs alternatives

Purchasing a cold plunge tub can be very risky when you have to fork out thousands of dollars.

There are some brands out there who are selling their cold plunge tub at even lower prices.

But this might come at the expense of

  • Compromised hygiene: UV sanitation methods do not adequately clean the water
  • Poor quality service: Companies which are quickly set up to capitalize on the booming cold plunge market are often ill-equipped to handle product-related problems
  • Low confidence: Many brands lack faith in their own products and are unwilling to offer free returns and longer warranties

Can you really trust these other brands to deliver on their promise?

Here at HYDRAGUN, we offer the best deal at the most competitive prices, without compromising on product quality and customer service.

So, where does the Supertub stand amongst the alternatives? We did the research for you so you don’t have to.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is entirely factual at the time of publishing based on our research and intended to be educational.

Try the Supertub,

At the end of the day, getting a cold plunge is an investment worth making to improve your life. And what better choice than a cold plunge ice bath that is going to be simple, worry-free and last you a long time. When you choose Hydragun, you’re choosing peace of mind and a high-quality, premium product.

So, if you’re ready to start your cold plunge journey as soon as one week from now, then try the Supertub today. Click the button below to check availability.

Every purchase comes with a 30-day guarantee and 2 year warranty so you can try it worry free before you commit.