The Plunge Cold Tub Review, Tested & Medically Reviewed
As researchers learn more about the benefits of cold exposure, at-home ice baths have soared in popularity. Featured in our roundup of the best cold plunge tubs, The Plunge is one of the most popular at-home cold tubs on the market today. We’ve researched a lot of cold plunge options, and now our team is putting each one to the test. In this review of the Plunge, we’ll cover everything you need to know, plus a firsthand account from our tester. Let’s dive right in!
Don't have time to scroll? Watch our video review:
How does the Plunge work?
The Plunge is a rectangular tub that looks a lot like a standard bathtub. It’s made with acrylic and fiberglass and is insulated—so you can use it both indoors or outdoors.
Best of all, there’s no need for a plumbing hookup, as the Plunge comes with its own filtration system. The water circulates constantly, keeping the tub at its optimal temperature (as low as 39° Fahrenheit).
How to set up the Plunge
When the Plunge tub arrives, the delivery team will help you get it out of the box and into your space (a huge perk since the tub is quite heavy).
- Use the provided hose filter to fill the tub with water from a hose. The filter helps remove any impurities in your water. Note: this is the most time consuming part of setup.
- Plug your tub into a standard 110 volt outlet.
- Set the temperature using the tub’s control panel.
- Wait until the temperature has reached your desired chilliness—then plunge!
Maintenance on the Punge
As we mentioned, the Plunge comes with a built-in filtration system. This includes an ozone sanitizer for super small particles, and a 5 micron filter for larger things like hair, dirt, and skin cells.
The Plunge also comes with a skimmer (which is especially helpful if your tub is set up outside) and an insulated cover that snaps on using attached buckles.
In terms of regular maintenance, the Plunge is not so different from a hot tub. The brand says you’ll be able to use the same water for 6 months with the proper care, which calls for a monthly filter change and added alkalizers and oxidizers to keep the water healthy (you can purchase those through the brand's website).
What our tester says about the Plunge
Mindbodygreen’s head of video, Andreas Von Scheele, tried the Plunge himself. Here’s what he had to say:
“It has a very sleek modern design, made from a sturdy and insulated acrylic—so you can use it inside and outside. The tub is very easy to use and set up. It has a water flow and filtration system, which helps clean out contaminants and is very useful if you’re using the Plunge outside in below freezing temperatures so the water doesn’t freeze. I also love the insulated cover. It fits on really nicely and keeps the water clean. And I appreciate the horizontal format so you can really stretch out.”
On the con-side, Andreas says he wishes the Plunge was available in a color that would allow it to blend in more with his outdoor space. “For outdoor use, the white really stands out—it would be nice if it came in a clay or forest green color,” he suggests.
You can watch Andreas unbox the Plunge and test it himself in our full review video:
Plunge models and pricing
While the Plunge tub is only available in one shape and color, it is customizable in a few ways:
Size: Choose between the Standard Plunge (67” x 43” x 24”) or the larger model called the “XL” (73” x 47” x 27”).
Style: Both the Standard and XL models are available as either a strictly cold tub or a cold and hot tub. The hot tub feature costs an additional $500.
Cooling speed: The Standard Plunge is available at a standard cooling speed or a “Pro” speed, which the brand says cools the water three times faster and is a better fit for hot climates. The Pro cooling feature costs an additional $1,000 for the Standard Plunge, whereas the XL Plunge automatically includes the Pro cooler (at a higher price).
As you can see, pricing varies by the features you choose. Here’s how everything breaks down:
- Starts at $4,990 for a cold-only tub with standard cooling speed
- Addition of optional hot tub feature brings the total to $5,490
- Addition of the Pro cooling speed brings the total to $6,490
- Starts at $6,990 for a cold-only tub with Pro cooling speed.
- Addition of optional hot tub feature brings the total to $7,490
What comes with the Plunge?
A purchase of the Plunge includes:
- An insulated cover to keep things cool and clean
- A hose filter to remove impurities from your tap water
- A tablet/cell phone mount so you can stay entertained during your dip
- A skimmer net to catch floating debris (especially helpful for outdoor use)
- A rubber ducky—because why not?
What's not included in your purchase of the Plunge?
As mentioned, keeping your Plunge in top shape requires a little maintenance. To do this, you’ll need to purchase additional alkalizers and replacement filters (which can be found on the brand’s website).
The Plunge shipping process
The brand makes all of the tubs at its factory in Lincoln, California and ships to the lower 48 states for free. At the time of publishing this article, lead time on a Plunge tub is about 4 weeks (shipping from California to New York).
When your Plunge is ready to ship, you’ll receive a message via email and SMS to schedule a delivery window. Again, someone will help bring the tub into your home and take all excess packaging away. However, the team will only deliver to the first floor. If you’re building a basement sanctuary, or you have a serious set of patio stairs, you may want to call for backup.
The Plunge warranty
While Plunge tubs are designed to last for the long haul, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for any potential mechanical or electrical issues. The brand offers a one-year manufacturer warranty, which covers workmanship defects in the tub’s plumbing, electrical functions, and shell structure.
We’ll note: a yearlong warranty is not a very long time, especially for this hefty of a purchase. That said, the brand offers an added protection plan through its warranty partner, Clyde. You’ll have the option to choose a 3-year protection plan for $339 or a 5-year protection plan for $677.
The Plunge pros & cons
- Easy setup
- Can be used indoors or outdoors
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Continuous water filtration, insulated shell, and sturdy cover mean it’s suitable for year round outdoor use
- Doesn’t require ice or regular water changes
- Only one color available
- Requires hot tub-level maintenance to keep the water clean and plumbing functioning properly
- Prices are steeper than several other models (although not unreasonable for this level of technology and plumbing)
The benefits of ice baths
Once reserved for athletes and hardcore wellness enthusiasts, hot and cold therapy techniques have become increasingly popular over the last decade or so. To better understand the benefits of cold plunges, we spoke with Seema Bonney, M.D., founder and director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia.
“The cold plunge is a great biohack that can (and does) benefit us in so many ways,” says Bonney. “It has several effects on your neurotransmitters1, such as increasing both dopamine (which improves focus and motivation) and norepinephrine levels (which reduces inflammation and chronic pain symptoms). It can also lower cortisol levels, which decreases stress and improves sleep2.”
Research shows that the benefits of super cold water can even extend to our hair and skin. And, of course, athletes of all levels have used ice baths for decades as a muscle recovery3 tool post-workout.
Who shouldn't use a cold plunge?
“While cryotherapy is a great tool for most of us, I recommend that patients with high blood pressure avoid it due to the cold shock response,” Bonney advises. “When you plunge your body into cold water, your blood vessels constrict. This triggers an involuntary sudden increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and even your respiratory rate. This is not an issue if you're able to compensate—but if you have high blood pressure or are on meds for high blood pressure, or a history of cardiovascular disease, then you may not be able to compensate normally.”
Bonney adds that pregnant people should also avoid cryotherapy. “A temperature drop in the body can provoke fetal growth restrictions, preterm birth, and other complications,” she explains.
If you’re not sure whether cold plunging is a good idea for you, it’s always wise to speak with your doctor.
Is the Plunge loud?
According to the brand, the Standard model produces 53 decibels of sound, while the Pro model produces 61. What does that actually sound like? Our tester says the Standard model is about as loud as a running refrigerator.
Should I get the Plunge XL?
The brand recommends the XL model for anyone over 6 feet tall. The XL is 6 inches longer, 3 inches taller, and one inch wider than the standard model.
How long should you stay in a cold plunge?
The goal of a cold plunge is to put your body through a short period of stress (yup, on purpose!). If you’re just getting started, your goal should be to stay in as long as you can—whether that’s 30 seconds or 3 minutes—a few times a week. From there, work your way up to longer sessions as your body adapts.
The Plunge is a sleek, insulated tub that stays cool and is very easy to maintain. While it does come at a relatively high price tag, the cost is not unreasonable for the technology and quality—and it’s definitely one of the more aesthetically pleasing options on the market. Whether you opt for the standard cold model or choose to incorporate a hot tub into your routine, the Plunge is a great way to bring a spa-like experience straight to your home, with tons of health benefits to boot.
Jamey Powell is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. Previously the senior market editor at Healthline.com, she has years of experience scouring endless product reviews and testing out the latest and greatest products in the sleep, fitness, and nutrition markets. Her past gigs include copywriting for Daily Burn, teaching cycle classes at Swerve, and covering fitness for Greatist. She's obsessed with running, movies, and her dog, Bonnie.