Plunge Review: Is Cold Water Therapy Worth Dipping Into?

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by  Chris Illuminati | Last Updated: 

If you’re here, you’re probably sold on the numerous physical and mental benefits of cold water plunges such as elevated moods, boosted energy, chronic pain reduction, and better sleep.

But with plenty of cold tubs on the market at all ends of the quality and price spectrum, you’re not yet sold on the best device for the job. In this Plunge review, you’ll find out whether this revolutionary system is the answer to your cold water therapy prayers.

Ready to take the plunge?
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: Plunge

Plunge

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Bottom line: If you have the space to house it, Plunge is a worthy purchase for any level of athlete who takes their recovery as seriously as their training. The set-up is effortless, maintenance is minimal, and the mental and physical benefits are numerous.

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Pros:

  • Drops to temp as low as 39 degrees
  • Designed to run in any environment and works indoors/outdoors
  • Comes with an insulated spa cover and straps with clips to lock the cover in place
  • Uses roughly 4Kw, which works out to less than $1 per day

Cons:

  • You'll need to have the space in your home or backyard
  • Changing from cold to hot (temps around 103 degrees) takes about 12 hours

I’ve run one thousand miles every year for the last three years.

In 2021, I came close to missing my year goal.

Many factors came into play to explain my slow down, the reduction in the average number of miles run each week and the amount of time between each run. 

I’m getting older, and I’m officially middle-aged (my god, that was hard to type).

The years of running were starting to take a toll. I rarely warmed up properly or stretched after every run. In other words, I did everything wrong when it came to rest and recovery. 

treadmill running GIF

In October 2021, already slogging along on runs and feeling rundown in general, I added another leg-heavy activity to my workout rotation—I started training in Muay Thai. Running every other day, coupled with the intense leg, glute, and core training involved with kickboxing, caused a come to Jesus moment on a morning jog. 

My legs decided to stop working in the middle of mile two, and screams came from my glutes, calves, and quads in the form of intense tightness and shooting pain. 

“OK, jerk, listen up! It’s either running or kickboxing, but it’s not both!” 

We didn’t speak for the rest of the walk home. 

The Benefits of Cold Water Therapy

I refused to give up either pursuit but resolved to take my recovery as seriously as my training. I researched the best recovery methods for athletes, and every sign pointed to cold water therapy.

There were only two hurdles left—no gym or rehab center within fifty miles offered cold water therapy options, and the idea of filling up my bathtub with water and ice made my skin crawl. I hate baths, and I’ve always hated baths because the practice is gross and freaks me out. 

It was time to get serious about recovery—enter Plunge.

commercial Plunge next to Sauna

Plunge uses powerful cooling, filtration, and sanitation is a far superior option to the standard ice bath or chest freezer. 

I’d read about the benefits of cold water submersion for months. Cold water plunges have been proven to elevate moods, boost energy, and increase the body’s resilience to extreme temperatures. The practice also helps support the immune system, increases blood flow, boosts your metabolism, reduces chronic pain, and helps people sleep better.

Not to mention soaking in a cold tub make a person feel like a total badass. And let’s not forget the mental health benefits of submerging the body into frigid water. 

jay alverez 2 in the Plunge

A cold water plunge is a fantastic way to practice self-discipline. Once you can talk yourself into submerging yourself in ice-cold aqua every day, there’s really no limit to what you can talk yourself into.

Armed with all this knowledge, I decided to get a unit of my own. Keep reading for my full thoughts on this beast.

Things to Consider Before Buying Plunge

Model standing next to Plunge XL Pro

Plunge starts at a hefty price tag of $4,990 (as of June 2022), so you’re going to want to crunch some numbers and do some measuring before bringing a world-class cold water tub into your home or onto your property. 

Much like purchasing a high-end piece of workout equipment, the first question is, “how often will I really use Plunge?” If you’re constantly pushing your body to the limits and feeling the effects of those efforts, then you’ll likely use Plunge often. 

You’ll also want to consider the amount of space Plunge will occupy either in your home or on a deck. You’ll need a completely flat surface inside or outside that must be close to a GFCI outlet. 

commercial Plunge in room next to sauna

Plunge weighs about 150 lbs. when empty and approximately 1,000 lbs. when filled with water. If you’re planning on setting up Plunge on a deck or balcony, make sure the surface can support the weight.

Plunge

If you have the space to house it, Plunge is a worthy purchase for any level of athlete who takes their recovery as seriously as their training. The set-up is effortless, maintenance is minimal, and the mental and physical benefits are numerous. 

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Plunge Review

Set-Up

Plunge took about 8 weeks to arrive, which may be a frustrating amount of time for some. Set-up is so straightforward that at one point, I remarked, “that can’t be all it takes” because, well, it felt as though I just couldn’t be done already.

The only real hassle during set-up was due to my own issues of forgetting that I put the hose away for the season. 

The Plunge Setup in Gym

Luckily, the company created a three-minute video to guide users on setting up Plunge and how to use the unit and videos to warm up your body pre- and post- plunge into the coldness. 

I didn’t bother to watch the video because I was too excited to get into the damn thing, but here it is if you’d like to check it out:

Usage

I made sure to work double hard at the gym that morning, and the unit was cooling up (cooling down?) during my workout. I was more than ready to take my first submersion into Plunge

Getting into the Plunge

First, I needed to get over my issue with baths. Getting into Plunge wasn’t as bad as getting into an indoor bathtub. The reason could be that the unit is outside. It tricked my mind into thinking I was getting into a cold pool and not a gross tub stationed four feet from a toilet. 

You’ll want to sit down for this revelation, but the water is COLD, but it’s a productive cold. A rejuvenating cold. It’s not a pointless cold. My kid’s dragging me into a glacial pool in early June. That’s a pointless cold. That’s a miserable cold. This is a relaxing cold.

Sitting in the Plunge

Well, it eventually gets relaxing. At first, the submersion was slightly unnerving, and I asked myself more than a few times, “umm, why the hell am I doing this again?” 

I had to start slowly, building up the amount of time in the unit each day. On the first day, I fought through the first three minutes and cursed myself every second.

Eventually, your body grows accustomed to the cold. I won’t say the body “gets used to” the cold because that’s a stretch, but each dip does get a little easier. The tub is comfortable, with enough room to spread your body out or even keep it moving around to stay warm and keep the blood flowing.  

Relaxing in the Plunge

The unseasonably warm March day made getting into and out of Plunge a cinch. A few days later, with the temps dipping into the 40s, convincing myself to just walk outside in a bathing suit took about ten minutes and two David Goggins YouTube clips.

My Thoughts Overall On Plunge

What I Like

  • I’ve become a huge fan of cold water therapy. I just feel better after cold water immersion. I was doing the cold shower daily, but the act grew boring. Plunge is fun to use, and I definitely felt an overall sense of well-being after each dip and felt a sense of accomplishment each day.
  • I like how easy Plunge was to set up, how quickly the water gets cold—or warms up—and that there’s not much upkeep. I get in, get out, cover the unit and come back and do the same the next day. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Honestly, it’s tough to find any negatives about Plunge. If I’m being forced to provide some negatives, delivery time is slightly frustrating—though that might just be me being an impatient human. Another slight negative is finding the proper spot for Plunge.
  • Once settling on a location, it will stay there for good. You can’t just drag this unit around looking for the best spot. It’s not exactly portable. 

  • Getting into the tub obviously causes the water to splash around and occasionally escape the tub. This isn’t a big deal for outdoor use, but I could see this being an issue for users looking to install Plunge in their homes.

Who Is The Plunge For?

Plunge is perfect for the “part-time warrior.” I hate using that term, but I’m describing the man, woman, or family of athletes who train 6-7 days a week in various athletic endeavors. It’s the ideal unit for people who take their recovery just as seriously as their training. It’s excellent for the individual—much like myself—who doesn’t take recovery as seriously as they should and just needs to do something to keep their body from breaking down. 

If you’re a personal trainer who trains clients in your home, Plunge is also a smart purchase. Being able to add a cold or hot plunge after a home training session is one way to keep clients coming back and a way to up the price of your service just a bit.

The Verdict

Practicing cold water immersion therapy every day is a big commitment. You either have to spend a lot of time hauling ice for an old fashioned ice bath or invest into a premium cold tub unit like Plunge.

But If you’re serious about practicing cold water therapy and making it a daily routine then it’s worth investing in Plunge. The convenience of having your own personal unit at home makes it a lot easier to build this into your routine. 

Plunge is certainly not cheap but it is more affordable than other premium cold tubs going which can go for over $8,000.

Plunge provides the perfect combination of power, convenience and affordability.

Plunge

If you have the space to house it, Plunge is a worthy purchase for any level of athlete who takes their recovery as seriously as their training. The set-up is effortless, maintenance is minimal, and the mental and physical benefits are numerous. 

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Does Plunge work for tall people? 

Plunge was designed for people of all sizes because it was invented by a pretty big dude. Michael Garrett, Plunge creator, stands 6’6″, and he fits comfortably fits into Plunge. If the standard Plunge isn’t big enough, the company offers a Plunge Pro XL, which is 3″ taller, 6″ longer, and 1.5″ wider than the standard model. 

How often do I need to change the water on Plunge? 

The good news is that you don’t have to change the water in Plunge very often. Each unit comes with a top-of-the-line filtration system, including a UV, ozone, and a 5-micron filter. With Plunge maintenance pack, the water in the unit will stay crystal clear water for about 6 months or more.  

Is Plunge loud? 

The makers of Plunge ran a test on noise using a microphone in front of the unit. Plunge measured 53 decibels, and Plunge Pro measured 61 decibels. The average air conditioning unit is 60 decibels. Basically, you’ll hear the sound of a fan when the tub is running.

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