#9 Ways to Make a DIY Cold Plunge For CHEAP!

Want to try the cold plunge experience without the price tag?

Experiment with a new way to improve your health by trying out a DIY cold plunge. Being submerged in chilly water helps reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and better control blood pressure — just to name a few benefits! 

Whether you decide to buy a nicer ice bathtub down the road or use your own cold plunge as a more permanent fixture time without breaking the bank, one of these options will do the trick. Plus, it promotes relaxation through mindfulness and self-care activities.

Now let’s get started!

Our Pick
blue cube ice bath logo

Blue Cube Ice Baths

If you would rather buy your own cold plunge instead of making one, this is my absolute recommendation.

Built with durability in mind, this ice bath tub ensures long-lasting performance. He recommends it because of its high flow rate, which is a vital yet uncommon feature for an ice bath to have. The Blue Cube Ice Bath guarantees a satisfying and invigorating ice bath experience, promoting wellness and recovery.

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Here I’ll talk about the best frugal choices for a DIY cold plunge, and talk about some of the most important features of the best ice baths.

I’ve experimented with many of these #9 Ways to Make a DIY Cold Plunge for Cheap myself, so I’ll be able to share the pros and cons of each one from experience. Some of the important factors include:

  • Size
  • Durability
  • Insulation
  • Drainage
  • Comfort

I will also teach you about the ways that ice baths can benefit your health, and some basics about using them for those of you that are new to ice baths entirely.

Here Are the Different Ways to Make a DIY Cold Plunge for Cheap


Chest freezer as a diy cold plunge

Chest Freezer

Often times people give away old chest freezers for free, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Either way, it might make the perfect DIY Cold Plunge!

You can repurpose an old chest freezer to use as an ice bath, but you can also convert a working one to keep your ice cold and ready to use all year round.

However, there are a few things you need to consider beyond just sealing the chest freezer and adding a liner. Keeping it clean and sanitized can be a challenge, especially if you use it frequently. Plus, you need to make sure you have a way to monitor the temperature of the water inside.

If you’re going to plug in the chest freezer to keep it cold, safety should be your top priority. Make sure you’ve done something to prevent electrocution. This could easily be the coolest, or the most dangerous option on the list.

Before you take the plunge (pun intended), make sure you’ve done your research on how to properly set up and use a chest freezer as DIY Cold Plunge.

Pros and Cons

  • Has a Built in Chiller
  • Insulated
  • Sometimes Free
  • Potentially Dangerous (risk of electrocution)
  • Requires the Most Skills


bath tub on icy lake

Your Bathtub

One of the easiest methods for a DIY cold plunge is using your own bathtub. Its obviously extremely convenient, and is the pretty obvious method to use if your not sure if your going to continue to use an ice bath for the long term, and are just dabbling with the possibility of becoming someone who does ice baths. Cold showers are also a great option for building up some momentum.

The thing about using your bathtub is that they are often too shallow and short for most people. If you have a clawfoot bathtub those are often deeper, however unless you are a smaller person you still likely wont be able to submerge yourself fully.

Pros and Cons

  • Free
  • Little to No Setup
  • Has a Drain
  • Hard to fully submerge
  • Have to Refill Every Use


stock tank DIY ice bath

Stock Tanks

Stock tanks are affordable, versatile, and easy to fill and drain, which makes them a fantastic option to turn into a DIY Cold Plunge.

Not to mention, they come in all sorts of materials and sizes, so you can even find one big enough to accommodate a few people, so if you’re working out with teammates or friends, you can all soak together. Plus, the sturdy construction of a stock tank means you won’t have to worry about it falling apart.

Unlike inflatable ice baths or other makeshift tubs, they are actually meant to hold water. There are also a lot of online tutorials that are easy to find if you want to upgrade your stock tank to make it easier to fill and drain and sanitize. Converting them into pools has been fairly popular in recent years, so they can sometimes be hard to find.

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to Upgrade/Convert
  • Meant to Hold Water
  • Variety of Options Available
  • Can Sometimes be Hard to Find
  • No Insulation


inflatable kiddie pool filled with ice for a diy cold plunge

Kiddie Pool

Not only is this option highly portable and easy to set up, but it’s also a cost-effective way to cool down sore muscles.

However, it’s worth noting that a kiddie pool requires regular maintenance to prevent mold growth and potential popping. This is especially true if you’re planning on taking it down and putting it back up frequently. You’ll want to make sure it’s dried out to prevent bacteria and mold from growing.

Pros and Cons

  • Portable
  • Easy to Fill and Drain
  • Easy Setup
  • Might Not be Able to Fully Submerge
  • Might Need More Maintenance


Natural Body of Water

This is often the preferred method in Finland, where natural bodies of water are easy to access. The high flow rate of natural bodies of water means that the temperature will be consistently cold – perfect for an ice bath.

Here in Vermont, this is also a fairly easy choice, especially since the natural boundary between the state and its neighbor New Hampshire is the Connecticut River.

It’s free and can easily be enjoyed with friends or family, and it’s probably best to not go alone. However, keep in mind that this activity is location and climate-specific. It’s essential to choose a safe location and take necessary precautions before attempting an ice bath dip in a natural body of water.

Pros and Cons

  • High Flow Rate
  • Free
  • Plenty of Room for Friends
  • Location Specific
  • Can be Unsafe


Rain Barrel

Rain barrels are built with typical features that could make a really excellent affordable ice bath. Not only is it a simple way to drain and clean, but it also offers debris protection that might make it feasible to leave the same water in for 2-3 days or longer with some additional precautions.

However, it’s important to note that rain barrels may not be as sturdy as you’d like for prolonged use, and many come with a slightly tapered top. This would be similar to using the ice barrel.

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to Drain
  • Debris Protection
  • Could Use for Multiple Days
  • Might Not be as Sturdy
  • Tapered Top


black trashcan with wheels

Roll-Out Trash Bin

With its convenient lid and wheels, it’s easy to relocate and set up wherever you please. Plus, its sizable shape allows for full submersion, giving your muscles some TLC. Although it might be difficult to drain and prone to tipping, a little stabilizing effort can go a long way in ensuring a safe and comfortable dip.

Pros and Cons

  • Has a Lid
  • Wheels for Easy Relocating
  • Can Fully Submerge
  • Could be Difficult to Drain
  • Might be Prone to Tipping


black plastic storage tote with a blue lid

Storage Tote

Ice baths provide a range of benefits ranging from recovery to pain relief, but can be uncomfortable and expensive. One option that negates these issues is using a storage tote as an ice bath. Not only does it provide a cost-effective solution, but the totes come in many shapes and sizes, making them perfect for any body type.

Additionally, their durability means that they can be used long-term, even after you decide to stop taking ice baths. The one downside is that, unlike some commercial ice baths, these totes don’t have insulation, but this doesn’t affect their effectiveness.

By choosing a tote, you’re investing in a long-term solution that’s both practical and customizable to your needs, helping you achieve optimal results without breaking the bank.

Pros and Cons

  • Many Options
  • Durable
  • Can Reuse for Something Else
  • No Insulation
  • Uncomfortable


woman resting on side of a waterbirth tub

Waterbirth Tub

Water birthing tubs can be a clever option for those looking for making their own cold plunge.

With a cushioned bottom, they provide a comfortable surface for your body to rest against while submerged in cold water. These tubs are wide and deep enough to accommodate even a pregnant belly, making them a great option for room to submerge.

The sides are typically stronger than other types of tubs, allowing for leaning and movement without worrying it will collapse. Some water birthing tubs even come with handles for added support.

While maintenance is necessary to prevent mold, many of these tubs come with extras like liners or pumps.

Keep in mind that this option may not be ideal for taller individuals, but overall, a water birthing tub can make for a refreshing and convenient DIY ice bath option.

  • Often has a Cushioned Bottom
  • Wide and Deep Enough to Submerge
  • Sides are Strong
  • Not Great for Tall People
  • Maintenance to Prevent Mold
Like This One

Important Factors When Making a DIY Cold Plunge

When it comes to creating your DIY cold plunge tub, several important factors should be taken into consideration. One of the most essential factors that need to be considered is the size of the plunge, as it is important to ensure there is enough room to comfortably submerge your body.

Durability is an important consideration, as you’ll want your plunge to be able to withstand consistent use over time. Insulation is also crucial, as it will help ensure the water stays cool and refreshing. Proper drainage is essential to avoid water buildup and potential damage to the area surrounding the plunge.

Last but not least, comfort is an important aspect to keep in mind, as you want to enjoy your DIY cold plunge experience as comfortably as possible. By considering all these factors, you’ll be able to create a DIY cold plunge that meets your individual needs and preferences.

Level Up: Tips and Tricks for Your DIY Cold Plunge Tub

However, before you dive in, there are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind.

For instance, keeping water bottles filled and frozen can help you maintain a chilly temperature, even if you don’t have easy access to ice. Additionally, using the Wim Hof method can help you increase your tolerance to cold water and improve your overall health.

Lastly, invest in a cheap digital thermometer so you can monitor the water temperature and adjust accordingly. With a little preparation and patience, you can enjoy the benefits of a DIY cold plunge right from the comfort of your own home.

Final Thoughts on DIY Cold Plunge

While DIY cold plunges have been linked to several health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and stress, it’s important to remember that they can be dangerous if not done properly. Always start with short dips and gradually increase your time in the cold water. And as with any new health regimen, be sure to consult with your doctor first.


Absolutely! Making your own cold plunge is a great way to reap the mental and physical benefits of cold exposure therapy. Cold plunges provide many health benefits, including boosting the immune system, increasing energy levels, reducing inflammation, improving sleep quality, and even aiding in weight loss.

Cold plunge is traditionally used for health and therapeutic benefits including improving circulation, reducing muscle soreness, and boosting immunity. However, if you don’t have access to a cold plunge, you may be able to substitute it with regular sauna use. Saunas provide many of the same benefits as cold plunges without having to expose your body directly to freezing temperatures. Studies have found that regularly using dry heat or infrared saunas can improve cardiovascular health, help detoxify the skin, support lower stress levels and reduce inflammation in the body.

Yes, you absolutely can turn your bathtub into a cold plunge! Cold plunges have become increasingly popular recently thanks to their health benefits and the convenience of being able to do them in the comfort of one’s own home. Generally speaking, it is recommended that one use a temperature slightly above freezing (33-35° F) for around 10 minutes at a time.

The first step in cold plunging at home is finding a suitable place for your cold plunge bathtub. Your bathtub should be large enough so that you are able to comfortably submerge yourself in water up to your neck while keeping your head above water at all times. Fill your tub with cold tap water or spring-fed or mineral well water. Add ice cubes until the temperature reaches between 50°F (10°C) and 55°F (13°C). Make sure that this temperature does not drop further than these levels when you start entering into it!

Yes, a cold shower can work similarly to a cold plunge, but it’s important to note that there are both physiological and psychological differences between the two. Physiologically, taking a cold shower will put your body into mild shock, triggering an autonomic reflexive response mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. This response causes blood vessels in your skin and other tissues to constrict which helps promote recovery from fatigue or soreness. Additionally, it can reduce inflammation and improve mental clarity. For best results, let the cold water hit your neck and upper back.

After 30 days of taking cold showers, you will notice a wide range of positive benefits for your physical health and well-being. Cold showers have been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation and improve circulation throughout the body by improving blood flow to the muscles and tissues. This can help with muscle spasms, soreness from exercise, tension headaches, fatigue associated with illness or injury, as well as improved cognitive function.

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