Are budget ice baths good? Things to consider

Ice baths can bring a whole range of benefits including changes to our physical and mental wellbeing. With ice baths becoming more popular by the day, there are endless products to choose from. There is such a range of costs between the expensive products and budget choices. This begs the question, are budget ice baths good?

In this article, we’ll be covering why ice baths are beneficial, whether budget ice baths can be effective for cold water therapy, and some affordable recommended products.

Why ice baths are beneficial

Regular use of ice baths have a wide list of impressive benefits:

Physical recovery

Cold water therapy has shown to be a powerful tool for muscle recovery. This study shows decreased muscle soreness and an improvement in muscle power and perceived recovery. Wait at least 4 hours after exercise (6-8 hours is best) to use cold water if you’re concerned with strength and muscle gains. Not doing so can limit hypertrophy and strength improvements. Precooling exercise with ice baths can also potentially increase our testosterone.

Increased dopamine and energy

Cold water increases the levels of neurochemicals that make us feel more focused and awake. This feeling of focus and energy can last throughout the day.

Cold water therapy has also been shown to increase the levels of dopamine in our body. This happy hormone is extremely important for the mind and body and can give us the feeling that we have achieved something. The surge of dopamine can have a lasting effect throughout the day on our mood and energy.

Developing mental and physical resilience

By forcing our mind and body to endure the cold and the stress on our body. We are training our minds to stay calm and composed when dealing with the daily stressors of life. This ability to be resilient is transferable to many aspects of our lives when dealing with hard times and enables us to power through.

Increased metabolism

Regular cold water increases our levels of brown fat. Exposing ourselves to cold water, the body is forced to warm up to attempt to increase our core temperature. This burns calories and trains our body to adapt to the cold.

Cheap vs expensive ice baths

It can be tough to justify the cost of an expensive ice bath, with some of these costing more than £4000. For what is essentially a large bucket of cold water, let’s find out what the main differences and considerations are between cheap and expensive ice baths.

Quality and finish

Unsurprisingly, the quality and finish of the more expensive ice baths are more likely to be superior to the cheaper alternatives. Typically the high-end ice baths will be finished with better and more durable materials, including stainless steel or top-quality wood. High-cost products may even come pre-assembled so you don’t have to do anything after delivery.

Cheaper alternatives will typically be made from a TPE (thermoplastic rubber) and PVC material. Although the cheaper alternatives are made from durable materials, it’s very likely the stainless steel and premium wood ice baths will last longer. But does that justify the 20x price increase?

Weight and portability

The expensive products are usually solid and fixed, e.g. stainless steel tubs or fixed wooden barrel-type plunges. These are of course heavy vs cheaper plastic alternatives. Depending on the weight and size you may want to think carefully about where you want to place the ice bath. Relocating a heavy ice bath can be difficult.

A big positive with the cheaper ice baths is that when emptied, they can easily be moved or de-assembled if you want to take it somewhere else.


Typically, the cheaper ice baths will make more of an effort to use more insulating material. This is because the more expensive products typically have chiller units that keep the water cold. The budget options don’t have this luxury out of the box so the more insulated the material, the colder it will stay for longer.

Expensive features

As I mentioned above high-end products typically come with chiller units, but a lot of them come with some other useful features.

Check out this Ice Plunge XL from BrassMonkey for example, it’s able to get so cold it makes its own ice! As well as this it comes with permanent UV & filtering. This particular model is over £15,000 which is a huge amount of money for an ice bath. But a lot of the features I’ve just mentioned such as chiller unit and filtering can be found on ice baths around the £2000 mark.

Are budget ice baths good?

If you’re just looking to get into the world of cold water therapy, then a budget ice bath is the perfect way to accustom yourself without spending too much. At the end of the day, to practice cold water therapy effectively, all you need is cold water.

An important consideration when choosing a budget ice bath is that its capacity is enough, this is generally not an issue unless you are extremely tall.

The great news is that the budget options can be found for well below £100.

Here are some recommended products for an effective and affordable ice bath.

  • UK Based
  • Highly reviewed
  • Suitable for people up to 6ft7
  • #1 Bestseller
  • Arguably more product-tested and reviewed
  • Suitable for people up to 6ft7

Keeping your ice bath clean

Although the budget ice baths do not come with all the equipment that the expensive options come with, you can retrofit these for a fraction of the cost. Such as;

Important cleaning compounds to consider are bromine tablets and hydrogen peroxide, which are cost-effective ways to prevent contamination and bacteria build-up in your ice bath.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *