A Guide into Choosing the Perfect Ice Bath

Timothy Munene Timothy Munene
A Guide into Choosing the Perfect Ice Bath

Do you want to embark on your ice bathing journey and reap the benefits of cold-water immersion for your mind and body? Before then, read this article to understand how to choose the ideal ice bath for your requirements and expectations. But first, how do ice baths compare to regular cold showers? 

Comparing an Ice Bath to a Regular Cold Shower

A cold shower exposes your body to cool water with slightly lower than room temperature, even though it’s not ice cold. While a cold shower is a mild form of cold exposure, it can help enhance mood, increase alertness, and improve circulation.

Conversely, ice baths involve submerging the body in ice-cold water with temperatures ranging between 10-15 degrees Celsius or lower. Ice baths can have a more significant impact on reducing muscle soreness and inflammation and speeding up recovery after an intense workout.

The colder temperature can compress blood vessels, lower metabolic activity, and temporarily reduce tissue breakdown and swelling. Whether you opt for an ice bath or a cold shower depends on your goal. Regardless of your choice, gradually incorporate cold water therapy into your routine for optimal benefits. Here are factors to consider before choosing an ice bath. 

1.     Is an Ice Bath Ideal for Me?

One of the factors to consider before choosing an ice bath is to determine whether it is suitable for you. Ice baths are ideal for:

·       Fitness Enthusiasts

If you’re a gym enthusiast or athlete, an ice bath can relieve muscle. 

·       Arthritis Conditions

Ice baths help with vessel constriction, which can alleviate swelling and discomfort in the limbs and joints. They also numb pain receptors.

·       Stressed Individuals

Exposure to cold water helps reduce stress and provides great resilience. An act as simple as splashing your face with cold water can refresh and calm your mind. 

·       Restless Sleepers

Immersing yourself in ice-cold water can activate the parasympathetic system, calming your mind and body. Taking an ice bath before going to bed can help you sleep better, which promotes mental health. 

·       Individuals who Practice Mindfulness

Taking an ice bath is a great way of practicing mindfulness and strengthening attention. Dip yourself in ice-cold water after a long day to relax and recharge. 

·       Wellness Seekers

Practicing ice baths is not a preserve of experts like Wim Hof. If you want to add a revitalizing and refreshing practice to your wellness routine to improve your physical and psychological health, then ice bathing can be just what you need. 

Remember to consult your health provider before using an ice bath, especially if you have underlying heart-related complications.

2.    Cost of the Ice Bath

The cost of running an ice bath depends on various factors:

  • Electricity consumption. The electricity consumption of your ice bath depends on the model you buy.
  • Frequency of use. The more regularly you use your ice bath, the higher the running cost.
  • Type of ice bath. Ice baths with inbuilt chillers eliminate the need to buy ice constantly.
  • If you buy a large ice bath tub or barrel, you will need more water to refill it, which will raise your water bill.
  • High-spec ice baths come with smart temperature regulation and efficient cooling systems.
  • Insulated covers block dirt from penetrating inside the unit, reducing the need for cleaning chemicals. Again, they also bar cold air from escaping, lowering the cost of chilling the water to your preferred temperature. 

3.    Manual vs Ice Baths with Inbuilt Chillers

Manual or DIY ice baths don’t feature an inbuilt chiller, meaning users must add ice every time they use them. On the other hand, ice baths with built-in chillers can chill the water to your desired temperature. Here is how they compare.

Convenience: Ice baths with inbuilt chillers are always ready, unlike DIY ice baths, in which you have to keep adding ice blocks to maintain the temperature.

Cleanliness: Ice baths with built-in chillers also feature water filtration and purification systems, eliminating the need to refill them constantly. As a result, you can be assured of crystal-clear water every time you immerse yourself in the ice bath. 

Control: Manual ice baths do not have a temperature control feature, like ice baths with inbuilt chillers. When using ice baths with an inbuilt chiller, you can easily regulate the temperature without adding more ice. 

Sustainability: Ice baths with inbuilt chillers are high-quality and durable. If you want to incorporate cold-water immersion into your wellness routine, consider investing in one. 

4.     The Ice Bath Type

Before choosing an ice bath, establish how often you will use it and how much time you want to spend inside it. Further, ask yourself how much you will spend on maintaining it. As we’ve seen above, an ice bath with an inbuilt chiller can be ideal if you are looking for convenience and comfort. However, this ice bath is usually costlier than a DIY ice tub. The latter is ideal for people looking for budget-friendly options. Here are details of the different ice baths in the market. 

·       Ice pod

Ice pods are affordable and portable but small. Often, they are inflatable. Due to their space constrictions, they may not be the most comfortable. While they are easy to clean, regulating the water temperature can be difficult, as they require regular refilling with ice and water changes every few days. 

·       Stock Tanks

Stock tanks are upcycled troughs. They are costlier than ice pods but affordable. They have no inbuilt seats but are spacious enough for users to stretch out. Stock tank ice baths are sturdy and consume more floor space. When it comes to maintenance, the stock tank is easy to clean and durable even though you must change the water and ice regularly. Further, you have to monitor the water temperature manually.

·       Ice Barrel

The ice barrel is both cheap and inexpensive. You have to use it while standing; getting in and out can be difficult. While they consume minimal floor space, they are heavy, meaning you can only use them in a designated location. They are easy to maintain and clean, but you’ll need to change the water at least once a month and add ice regularly. Adjusting and monitoring the water temperature is a manual process. 

Using the Ice Bath Effectively

After considering these factors and choosing your ideal ice bath, you must know how to use it effectively. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cold therapist, adjust your ice bath to the temperature you are comfortable with. If you are a beginner, immerse yourself in the water for a few seconds to establish your limits.

According to experts, your first few sessions should last five minutes or up to when you start shivering. Gradually work on increasing your duration over time. Doing so allows the body to adjust to the cold temperature, reducing possible risks.  

Cleaning and Maintaining the Ice Bath

Choose an ice bath with a built-in chiller to eliminate the need to refill ice blocks and maintain the temperature during summer. Further, you can enjoy chilled and clean water at any time. If you choose ice baths with a chiller, use sanitizer regularly and change the filter monthly.

If you opt for a barrel or ice pod, stir the water daily, change it weekly, and refill the ice regularly. Whenever you drain your ice bath, regardless of the ice bath type, clean it thoroughly with warm soapy water. Again, close the cover to maintain the temperature and keep debris at bay. 


Before choosing an ice bath, compare its benefits against the time required for maintenance and operational costs. This will help you make an informed choice. Use the tips in this article to determine and choose a suitable ice bath for your needs. 

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