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Choosing the Best Home Cold Plunge: Your Complete Guide

Updated: Feb 7

Best home cold plunges

Cold water immersion has become a cornerstone of modern wellness routines, offering benefits like enhanced circulation, muscle recovery, mood, energy, and mental clarity. For those looking to integrate this practice at home, selecting the right type of cold plunge / cold water immersion method is key to success. In this guide, we'll explore various options, from homemade solutions to sophisticated cold plunge machines, helping you find the best cold plunge tub for your needs.

Cold Showers

Starting with the most accessible method, cold showers provide an easy entry into cold water therapy, since almost everyone has a shower.


  • Every person with a shower at home can start here.

  • No setup is required – just turn the dial to cold.


  • Partial immersion limits consistency, effectiveness, and cold therapy benefits.

  • Challenges in achieving a sustained, ideal cold temperature.

  • Uses lots of water, making it the worst option for the environment.

While cold showers are the most readily available method, they fall short in providing a comprehensive cold therapy experience due to the lack of full-body immersion and difficulty in maintaining a consistently low temperature. Additionally, the environmental impact due to high water usage cannot be overlooked, making it less sustainable compared to other methods.

Inflatable Tubs + Ice

For those looking to experiment with cold water immersion on a budget, inflatable tubs + manually adding ice offers full immersion benefits, but require a lot of setup time with each plunge.


  • Affordable

  • Portable

  • Full immersion


  • Time-consuming to prepare (transporting ice & waiting for cooling).

  • Difficult to maintain a consistent cold plunge temperature.

  • Difficult to keep clean.

  • More emptying & filling required.

  • Expensive over time.

Despite being an affordable and fully immersive option, the inflatable tubs filled with ice present significant drawbacks in terms of preparation effort and temperature control. This method is also less hygienic since the water isn't circulating, which requires more frequent & cumbersome water changes.

inflatable cold plunge and chiller

Inflatable Tubs + Chilling System

Inflatable tubs equipped with a chilling system offer better temperature control and convenience, compared to inflatables + ice, but are sort of like putting a Ferrari engine on a wagon.


  • Improved temperature control (maintaining cold temperatures more effectively than ice alone).


  • Similar in cost to high-end cold plunge systems, but with drastically inferior quality (poor value).

While a chilling system improves temperature control, pairing it with an inflatable tub may not provide the best value for money. The mismatch of a high-end chilling system with a less durable tub structure can lead to a compromise in longevity and overall user experience.

Stock Tanks

Stock tanks, traditionally used for farming, have been repurposed by cold plunge enthusiasts for their durability, simplicity, and low cost. Although superior to inflatable tubs + ice in quality, they suffer many of the same disadvantages.


  • Durable

  • Simple setup for a straightforward cold plunge experience.


  • Time-consuming to prepare (transporting ice & waiting for cooling).

  • Difficult to maintain a consistent cold plunge temperature.

  • More emptying & filling required.

  • Expensive over time.

  • May not suit all home environments in terms of aesthetics.

  • Difficult to move.

Stock tanks are durable and straightforward, but they necessitate additional cooling methods, which make them inconvenient & challenging to sustain a consistent routine, compared to cold tub systems.

freezer cold plunge at home

Freezer Cold Plunges

A popular DIY approach, converted freezers are a very dangerous method of cold plunging.


  • Low cost

  • Maintains low temperatures.


  • Very unsafe - Technically, cold plunge freezers should meet several safety requirements. Freezers are not designed with the intention of submerging humans in water. This, combined with the fact that they use dangerous refrigerants and electricity, creates a very dangerous scenario for users, which we do not recommend.

  • Time-consuming to design & build.

  • Prone to leaking.

  • Can be less aesthetically pleasing.

The freezer cold plunge DIY method poses significant safety risks due to the use of electrical components & refrigerants not intended for submersion, alongside the challenges of ensuring proper waterproofing. Moreover, these conversions can be aesthetically unpleasing and may not provide the most reliable seal against leaks. This method of cold water immersion is not recommended.

Cold Plunge Systems

When it comes to finding the perfect home cold plunge solution, convenience, quality, and aesthetics are the most important factors. With this in mind, the best home cold water immersion method is definitely investing in a dedicated cold plunge system.


  • Cold plunge systems maintain ideal temperatures.

  • Enhances home aesthetics, and is always ready for use.

  • Sanitary - Easy to maintain the cleanliness of water.

  • Simple - requiring minimal upkeep time.

  • Best results.


  • Although the initial investment in a cold plunge system is higher, they represent long-term savings in ice & superior results.

best home cold therapy machine

The main disadvantage of dedicated cold plunge systems lies in their higher initial cost. However, when considering the long-term benefits, including superior results, saving time & money without ice, easier maintenance, better aesthetics, and superior experience, they often equate to more value over time.

In summary, although each cold water therapy method has its merits, for those seeking the best overall combination of input (time) vs. output (results), dedicated cold plunge machines, like Canuck Cold’s Cedar Cold Plunge System, stand out as the best. They offer a perfect balance of temperature control, sanitation, ease of use, and aesthetic appeal, making them a superior choice for a cold plunge pool at home.

To integrate the revitalizing power of cold water immersion into your life with a system that fits your style and needs, explore the options at Canuck Cold.


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