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Polar Monkeys Review: My Unfiltered Take On The Brainpod 2.0 After 2 Months

Ciara Ciez
Author:
June 08, 2024
Ciara Ciez
mindbodygreen Paid Media Marketing Manager
By Ciara Ciez
mindbodygreen Paid Media Marketing Manager
Ciara is the Paid Media Marketing Manager at mindbodygreen.
polar monkeys cold plunge tub review hero with tester in tub on background
Image by Ciara Ciez / mbg creative
June 08, 2024
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

My partner and I never struggle to get in our daily movement. He walks about 20,000 steps per day at his job, while I typically tackle nightly runs, Lagree reformer classes, or strength training sessions after work.

But as much as we love staying active, our bodies feel the price. I spend at least 20 minutes with a heating pad on my knees every night, while he struggles with foot and back pain. So when an opportunity to do a Polar Monkeys cold plunge tub review appeared, we jumped on the chance to be testers.

Cold plunges cause blood vessels to constrict, which can reduce swelling and inflammation in the body. (And that's just the start of cold plunge benefits—research links cold water exposure to a stronger immune system1, improved mood2, better metabolic health3, and more restful sleep.)

Eager to see whether a cold plunge tub could solve our body aches, we started plunging daily in the Polar Monkey's tub. Two months later, I can confidently say this tub is one of the best things I've done for my health. And my aforementioned knee pain? It's entirely gone.

Polar Monkeys Brainpod 2.0

Polar Monkeys Brainpod 2.0 acrylic cold plunge tub in white

Our testing process

My partner and I cold plunged nightly for two months after work. I spend 3 minutes in the tub, while my partner does 4 minutes at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is Polar Monkeys?

A quick search of the best cold plunge tubs unveils a long list of brands, with most of the models appearing within the last year. Polar Monkeys is an exception—we initially included the brand in our original cold plunge tub guide in 2021.

Now the company offers four tub models: the Brainpod 2.0 ($5,980), Portal 2.0 ($4,350), Cyber Plunge ($7,100), and Star Treatment 2.0 ($5,990). At least two designs are available for commercial use (which means a more powerful chiller and a correlating cost increase).

Regardless of your preferred tub shape and material, your order will come with the brand's 0.8 HP Pro chiller, which both heats and cools water. If you want a higher flow rate for a more efficient plunge, you can opt for the 1 HP chiller instead.

What you need to know about the Brainpod 2.0

While Polar Monkeys offered a few different models, I would categorized the Brainpod 2.0 as their mid-tier option (i.e. the best bang for your buck). Unlike the Portal 2.0, the acrylic tub is fully insulated. This helps keep your water cool (or warm) to keep your water at the optimal temperature without wasting electricity.

Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the sleek tub is comparable to the Plunge's original design (though far more affordable). Available in a few different designs—including artist-made prints—he tub has a modern silhouette with underwater lighting.

empty polar monkeys braindpod 2.0 on stone ground next to shipping palette
Image by Ciara Ciez / mbg creative
Polar Monkeys Brainpod 2.0 Highlights
  • Tub dimensions: 67 x 31.5 x 23.5 inches
  • Chiller: 0.8 HP with hot & cold capabilities or 1 HP cooling
  • Holds: 85 gallons of water
  • Weight: 110 pounds empty; 568 pounds filled
  • Electric: 120V/60hz power supply
  • Warranty: 1-year chiller
  • Tub material: Acrylic
  • Temperature range: 37 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit

Setting up the Polar Monkeys Plunge Tub

Setting up the Brainpod 2.0 was unbelievably easy; the brand says it will take about 15 minutes but I'd argue it takes even less. When the tub is delivered it's on a palette, though it only weighs 110 pounds when empty.

My partner and I could easily move the tub to our desired location on the side of the yard. From there, we simply had to fill the tub and plug it in. We set up the smart app straightaway, which allows us to control the temperature when we're not at home.

We paid close attention to where we wanted to place the chiller. It's not waterproof, so we purchased an air conditioner cover to help keep it protected against the elements. We also opted to turn the tub off between uses to conserve energy.

We love how quickly the chiller works; it cools water to our desired temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit within 20 minutes (even in the hot Nashville heat).

Polar Monkeys cold plunge tub empty braindpod 2.0 design with blue monkey on side next to chiller
Image by Ciara Ciez / mbg creative

Summary

Although the durable tub is made with acrylic, it weighs just 110 pounds and is easy to move around your backyard. Plus, it plugs into a standard 120V plug (no extra electricity or plumbing necessary).

My experience testing the Polar Monkeys Brainpod 2.0

Following the advice of Stacy Sims, PhD, I opted to set the cold plunge tub to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. We started by plunge for just one minute per day until working ourselves up to 3 minutes (me) and 4 minutes (my partner).

At 5'2", I found the tub was the perfect length for me to comfortably lounge during my 3-minute dip. My 6'3" boyfriend struggled slightly to fully submerge; either his knees or shoulder have to be out of the water. [Editor's note: The brand recommends the tub for those up to 6'2"]

We were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to stay full underwater when sprawling out. Some cold plunge tubs cause your body to lift or rise out of the water, but it was easy to stay relaxed and reclined.

While it was brutal getting used to the water, I've found it's gotten easier with time—and we're still playing with ways to increase our time spent in the water.

While we mostly use the tub at night to improve recovery, we've also used it a few times after weddings to help with hangovers. Although not it's primary purpose, we've been shocked at how quickly it helps restore your body and kill a hangover headache.

After plunging in the tub for the past two months, I have a few key takeaways:

  • The tub is extremely roomy and the insulated wall and foam cover do a wonderful job of keeping the water cool between uses.
  • The ozone sanitizer and water filtration do a phenomenal job of keeping out small debris. As mentioned, we don't have a cover for our tub and these components work together to keep the water feeling fresh.
  • We're still in shock at how quickly the chiller works. As mentioned, we don't keep the unit on 24/7 and instead turn it on about 30 minutes before our nightly cold plunge.
  • My body feels so much better after incorporating the Brainpod 2.0 into my routine. I've not only stopped doing hot therapy on my knees at night, but the arthritis on my fingers hasn't reappeared since I started plunging.
Tester laying fully in tub with full image of tub plus tester sitting in tub
Image by Ciara Ciez / mbg creative

Maintaining the Polar Monkey Brainpod 2.0

Let's face it: Water maintenance is just a part of having a cold plunge tub. Luckily, Polar Monkeys makes it incredible easy. Not only does the chiller have a built-in water filtration system, but the brand offers a sanitizing kit that makes upkeep so simple.

The 6-month kit costs $169 and includes sanitizer, oxidizer, test strips, and two pH balancing solutions. This allows you to keep up a proper protocol without constantly changing your water.

That being said, we've found that putting our cold plunge tub outdoors means we often drag in dirt and other debris. We've had to drain our tub a few times to get out these unwanted particles.

The tub's drain is right in the middle of the tub, which is great for fast (and complete) drainage—but it also means the water floods a set area. In hindsight, we wish we would've factored in the location of the tub with the drain in mind.

Finally, the water only stays clean with proper filtration; a 3-pack of filters will run about $19 or $6 per month. I highly recommend changing these monthly.

Polar Monkeys Brainpod 2.0 tub with insulated cover
Image by Ciara Ciez / mbg creative

How much do Polar Monkeys tubs cost?

Polar Monkeys tubs start at $4,350 and go up to $7,100 for the brand's luxury stainless steel design. The Brainpod 2.0 is a mid-tier option and the brand's signature offering, with a starting price of $5,580.

All cold plunges are available with 24-month financing with 0% APR directly from the brand. The tubs are also HSA- and FSA-eligible via Truemed.

Polar Monkeys warranty, shipping & returns

All Polar Monkeys ship free within one to two weeks of your ordering. And yes, international shipping is available.

Every model includes a 1-year limited warranty, which covers workmanship and material defects. You can purchase additional coverage directly from the brand with either a 3-year protection plan ($461) or 5-year plan ($767).

It's worth noting Polar Monkeys has a 15% restocking fee for returns. This covers the return shipping, processing, and testing by the brand. Be warned: Your product must be in its original condition and packaging.

There are no refunds for accessories or supplies.

Comparing Polar Monkeys models

ProductCostMaterialInsulatedGood forWeight FilledGallons
Portal 2.0$4750Galvanized steelNoOutdoor1000125
Brainpod 2.0$5980AcrylicYesIndoor/Outdoor56885
Star Treatment 2.0$5990Stainless steelYesIndoor/Outdoor1050110
Cyber Plunge$7100Stainless steelYesIndoor/Outdoor1515140

The takeaway

Aches and pains were just a part of my daily life before I got my Polar Monkeys Tub. I plunge for 3 minutes daily and experience way less inflammation, including fewer arthritis flare ups. This allows me to push myself harder in workouts (and I do them more frequently).

The spacious tub offers enough room for me to fully sprawl out, and the powerful 0.8HP chiller is strong enough to cool down the water with 20 minutes of turning it on—even in the Nashville heat. My only regret? Not getting a tub sooner.

Polar Monkeys Brainpod 2.0

Polar Monkeys Brainpod 2.0 acrylic cold plunge tub in white

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