3 Best Simple and Cheap DIY Cold Plunge Tubs of 2023

Are you looking to dip your toes into the world of cold therapy but need help knowing where to start? Or you’re an ice bath enthusiast looking for a more affordable and convenient way to enjoy your cold plunges. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll explore three of the best DIY cold plunge tubs that are easy to set up and friendly on the wallet. Let’s dive in.

What is a Cold Plunge Tub?

A cold plunge tub, also known as an ice bath, is filled with cold water and often ice used for cold therapy or cryotherapy. Cold therapy has been used for centuries to help reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and boost recovery after intense physical activity. Having a DIY cold plunge tub at home allows you to enjoy these benefits at your convenience and a fraction of the cost of commercial cold plunge tubs.

The Benefits of Cold Exposure Therapy

Cold exposure therapy, or cold plunging, has been shown to have numerous benefits. A recent study found that cold exposure can enhance mitochondrial respiration and improve whole-body glucose homeostasis. Cold therapy, therefore, is particularly beneficial for those looking to improve their metabolic health.

Furthermore, cold therapy is effective in treating a variety of conditions. For instance, it can help alleviate symptoms of arthritis and chronic pain, reduce high blood pressure, and even alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. The benefits of cold therapy are vast and varied, making it a worthwhile addition to your wellness routine.

Indeed, the psychological benefits of cold exposure therapy are becoming increasingly recognized in the scientific community. For instance, a study on whole-body cryotherapy, a form of cold exposure therapy, found it a promising add-on treatment for depressive disorders. The study noted significant improvements in depressive symptoms, suggesting that cold exposure can profoundly impact our mental health and aligns with the broader understanding of cold therapy’s potential to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions.

Advantages of DIY Cold Plunge Tubs

  • Cost-effective: Building your cold plunge tub can be significantly cheaper than buying a commercial one.
  • Accessibility: With a DIY tub, you can enjoy cold therapy at your convenience without leaving your home.
  • Customizability: You can customize your DIY tub to suit your needs and preferences.
  • Fun project: Building your tub can be a fun and rewarding DIY project.

Disadvantages of DIY Cold Plunge Tubs

While DIY cold plunge tubs have their advantages, they also have some drawbacks:

  • Poor temperature regulation: Maintaining the ideal temperature can be challenging with a DIY setup.
  • More expensive in the long run: If you’re using ice for your cold plunges, the cost of ice can add up over time.
  • Limited space: DIY tubs may not be as spacious as commercial ones.
  • Time and effort: Building and maintaining a DIY tub requires time and effort.

Despite these drawbacks, the benefits of cold plunging make it a worthwhile investment. Whether you build your tub or invest in a manufactured one, the important thing is to start experiencing the benefits of cold therapy. If you’re considering buying a commercial tub, check out this list of the best cold plunge products.

Cheap DIY Cold Plunge

Creating your ice bathtub is one of the most affordable ways to start cold plunging. With a budget of just $120, you can set up your cold plunge therapy at home. This YouTube tutorial provides a step-by-step guide on how to build a budget ice bath. The process is simple, cheap, and requires no specialized equipment.

One advantage of this DIY cold plunge is that you can leave it full of water for several weeks before emptying and replacing it, making plunging convenient and can help save on water usage.

A disadvantage is that it is not aesthetically pleasing, and the water may get dirty and must be replaced more frequently.

The cost over time will vary depending on how you fill the tub with ice, water, and any add-ons you may purchase. The tutorial offers a clever money-saving technique by purchasing cases of water bottles and freezing them. Use the water bottles in the cold plunge and then collect them afterward, refreeze, and reuse them.

Easiest DIY Cold Plunge

If you’re looking for an easy DIY ice bath, consider turning your bathtub into a cold plunge tub. According to MUD\WTR, all you need to do is fill your tub halfway with cold water, then pour in one-to-two bags of ice. It’s an easy and convenient way to experience the benefits of cold therapy without any major setup or costs.

The upfront cost for this setup is minimal, as you’re using your existing bathtub. The ongoing cost would be the cost of ice, which would be around $700 per year if you’re using your tub daily and buying ice. Again, this cost is less if you can make your own ice or use cold water instead of ice.

As mentioned above, a money-saving option is to buy cases of water bottles and freeze them. You can substitute the frozen water bottles for ice and then collect and reuse them once your cold plunge is done. It takes more effort but may be worth it in the long run.

Best DIY Cold Plunge Tub

For those who want a more professional setup, consider building a cold tub from a chest freezer. This YouTube guide shows you how to build a cold tub for less than $400. It requires more effort and investment, but the result is a durable and effective cold plunge tub that you can use for years.

The video also offers helpful consideration and insights into plunging, including progressively increasing the length and/or decreasing the temperature of your plunge over time.

The upfront cost for this setup is around $400. The ongoing cost would be the cost of electricity to keep the freezer running, which would be around $150 per year, making it the most expensive option upfront but the cheapest option in the long run.

Key Considerations For Successfully Building a DIY Cold Plunge Tub

When building your DIY cold plunge tub, it’s important to consider the size of the tub, the insulation, and the temperature regulation. Ensure the tub is large enough and well-insulated to maintain the cold temperature comfortably. You’ll also need a reliable way to regulate the temperature, whether that’s through ice or a cooling unit.

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Enhance Your Cold Plunge Experience

Once you’ve set up your DIY cold plunge tub, you can enhance your experience by adding essential oils to the water, practicing breathwork during your cold plunge, or even incorporating meditation into your routine. These practices can help you get the most out of your cold therapy sessions and turn them into a holistic wellness experience.

Alternatives to DIY Cold Plunge Tubs

Plenty of alternatives are available if a DIY cold plunge tub isn’t for you. You could invest in a commercial cold plunge tub, which offers better temperature control and convenience. Alternatively, you could try cold showers, which offer some of the same benefits as cold plunges. Consider joining a gym or wellness center that offers cold plunge facilities.

Wrapping Up and My Experience With DIY Cold Plunge Tubs

Building a DIY cold plunge tub can be rewarding and offers numerous health benefits. From reducing inflammation to boosting recovery, the benefits of cold therapy are well worth the effort. Building my cold plunge tub was a fun DIY project and allowed me to enjoy cold therapy at my convenience. Whether you’re a seasoned ice bath enthusiast or a cold therapy newbie, I hope this guide helps you on your cold plunge journey.

In 2020 I was training for my first marathon (I’ve run two full marathons btw), and I filled my tub with water as cold as possible. Luckily, where I lived, the tap water was very cold. After each run or workout session, I would soak in the cold tub for 10-20 minutes. Though I didn’t couldn’t afford all the bells and whistles that come with the commercial tubs, I noticed a significant difference in my recovery. The muscle soreness that usually accompanies long sessions lessened, and I feel it helped improve my endurance and strength. I would recommend a cold plunge for anyone to recover from training.

Additionally, I suffer from restless leg syndrome and aching hip pain. I have noticed a significant improvement in my restless legs and pain. My sleep has improved, and my overall feeling of well-being has improved!

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