Recovery is an essential component of any fitness or sports activity. And if you are a wellness enthusiast, you probably tried all sorts of recovery devices, from massage guns to compression boots to heated mats.
But have you considered giving cold-water immersion a go? Studies show that this treatment method has several health benefits.
One systematic review published in the Sports Medicine journal noted that cold-water immersion 24 hours after high-intensity exercise led to positive outcomes (Moore et al. 2022). Specifically, the research participants showed improvements in muscular power and perceived feeling of recovery after treatment. It also addressed muscle soreness.
A JMIR Formative Research article also reported that cold stimulation can reduce stress (Jungmann et al. 2018).
While deemed effective and beneficial, getting cold-water therapy is not very convenient. This treatment has to be in a spa, a full-size tub at home, or a body of water.
Thankfully, portable ice baths are now available. Some of them are collapsible and space-efficient. Best of all, you can skip the spa and enjoy your cold therapy anytime at home.
These recovery devices are relatively new. So, you probably have questions like, are they worth the investment? How do you use it, and which one should you get?
Don’t worry. Our team tested some of the best portable ice baths in Australia to help you understand the pros and cons of these devices.
We’ll then cap the review with more product details from our buying guide and FAQ section.
Top 3 Portable Ice Baths (Tried & Tested)
- Best Value for Money: Endurance Recovery Boots Portable Ice Bath
- Best Insulation: Alaskey Ice Bath
- Best Compact: HOMEFILOS Portable Bathtub with Tray (Small)
- Comparison & Reviews of the Top 3 Portable Ice Baths:
- The Winner – Endurance Portable Ice Bath
Comparison & Reviews of the Top 3 Portable Ice Baths:
Here’s a table summarising the vital product features of the portable ice baths we tested. Scroll down for the in-depth reviews.
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|Dimensions (WxH)||7 modes/3 intensities|
|Water Capacity||230 L|
|Best Features||Insulated and easy to assemble; budget-friendly Australian-made product|
|Dimensions (WxH)||127 x 70 cm (85 cm inner diameter)|
|Water Capacity||397 L|
|Best Features||Good insulation; includes an electric pump and floating thermometer|
|Dimensions (WxH)||4 modes/3 intensities|
|Water Capacity||189 L|
|Best Features||Light and compact; multiple water drainage options|
1. Best Value for Money – Endurance Recovery Boots Portable Ice Bath
Are you new to ice baths? Or are you looking for a portable hot or cold tub you can travel with during on-location training? If yes, then consider giving this product by Endurance a closer look.
The Endurance Portable Ice Bath is one of the best in Australia, especially if you’re still figuring out whether cold therapies are for you. On top of being budget-friendly, this inflatable ice bath is also multipurpose.
Built-In Insulation System
Along the sides of the Endurance Recovery Boots Portable Ice Bath is a built-in insulation system that keeps your water cold or hot for longer. You’ll be using this tub constantly, whether it’s to cool off during summer or warm up on colder days.
It also includes a cover lid to maintain the water temperature and keep it clean until your next bath session.
Compared with other portable baths tested by the team, this one is a happy median. Its 70 cm width and 75 cm height are not too small or big for most bathrooms.
It can hold up to 230 L of water, too. Users with short or tall body sizes can comfortably sit inside the tub while enjoying a good soak.
I’m 163cm tall and had no issues getting in and out of the tub. However, you might need a stepper if you’re slightly shorter than me.
Despite its generous capacity and versatile size, the Endurance Recovery Boots Portable Ice Bath is compact and lightweight.
You can deflate and fold it after use to save space, pack it for your next camping trip, or take it outside to set up an instant outdoor bath.
But I wish the product came with a carry bag, like the other portable baths, for convenient storage or transport.
Also, it would have been nice if the package included a thermometer for easier temperature monitoring. A hose that fits the pipe could have made it easier to direct the water towards the drain, too.
Easy to Set Up
Nonetheless, it’s an excellent solution for your hot or cold bathing needs. Even first-time users will have no problem setting this up, considering it has everything you need for assembly plus a helpful instruction card.
It even has a refillable ice bag that you can reuse, so you won’t have to fill the cold plunge tub with bags of ice. The other portable ice baths we tried didn’t have this accessory, and I think it is very convenient and economical.
Due to its multipurpose quality, investing in an Endurance Recovery Boots Portable Ice Bath is well worth it. You can use it in any season or bathroom size.
It is also the best solution if your bathroom doesn’t have a built-in bathtub. Athletes or people who do intense workouts like me will surely appreciate this reasonably priced recovery device.
The Endurance Recovery Boots Portable Ice Bath is also from an Australian brand with a local office. That means it is easy to get after-sales or repair service if necessary. We liked its efficient shipping service, too!
- Smooth and durable plastic material
- Insulated design for optimal temperature
- Good for hot or cold baths
- Holds up to 230 L of water
- Includes sturdy poles, manual pump, drain tap, and cover lid
- Has a refillable ice bag and patch kit
- Functional indoors or outdoors
- Australian brand with local office
- Affordable, easy to set up, and versatile
- Lacks a carry bag and thermometer
- Lacks built-in handles
2. Best Insulation – Alaskey Ice Bath
We consider the portable Alaskey Ice Bath one of the best in Australia because of its top-notch insulation design. Aside from keeping your ice bath session at optimal temperature, it also keeps the water cold enough for a few days, which saves refilling time and money.
The design of the Alaskey Ice Bath reminds me of a double-walled tumbler or an insulated flask. It has a width of 127 cm, a height of 70 cm, and an inner diameter of 85 cm.
It has a slightly bigger width compared with the other portable ice baths we tried, and it’s because of its thicker rim or outer edge.
While this design takes up more space, it makes the portable bath more resistant to hot air.
That means your bath water stays cold throughout your session and for a few days with the help of its zip-on cover.
It’s an excellent feature when sharing your portable bath with others or saving time and money from constantly refilling the cold plunge tub.
Another thing that impressed us is Alaskey’s cloud-like appearance. Once assembled, the portable bath looks super comfy, thanks to its four-inflatable ring design.
You can comfortably sit inside the ice bathtub, lay your back against the air-filled PVC, and enjoy your bath indoors or out. The Alaskey includes a floating thermometer, too, so you can monitor your bath’s temperature.
This construction is not only for relaxation and comfort, though.
While it looks soft outside, this Alaskey unit is pretty tough inside. Specifically, its 0.6-mm eco-friendly PVC material can withstand -10 to 50°C temperatures – perfect for hot or cold therapy sessions.
It also remains solid and stable when filled with water and ice. We didn’t encounter any deforming or deflating issues while testing.
Note that this portable bath can hold up to 397 L (105 gallons) of water and 18-27 kg (40-60 lbs) of ice.
Also, storage after use is a breeze. Inside the four inflatable tubes is a spiral air valve system that enables efficient and fast inflation and deflation.
With the help of the electric pump provided, assembly takes less than 10 minutes. It also has a 1-m drain pipe to direct the water from the tub to your desired location.
Once done, wipe the tub dry, fold it, and slip it into its carry bag.
The Alaskey is excellent overall. But of course, there are a few downsides.
For instance, while the bubble-like design is comfortable and appealing, it makes the tub prone to tears or holes.
When using it outdoors, set it up in an area free from sharp objects or edges. Alternatively, you can use the patch kit to handle minor damages.
Also, it would have been nice if the tub had handles so you could move or drag it from place to place.
The Alaskey Ice Bath is easy to set up and quick to store, making it ideal for users who need a cold plunge more than once a week.
Its excellent insulated design can also help reduce your expenses from constant water and ice cube refilling.
People who prefer versatile devices or products will be happy to have this in their wellness space at home. Plus, the cushion-like interior makes tingly ice baths more comfortable.
- Stable and eco-friendly PVC material
- Insulated design for optimal temperature
- Good for hot or cold baths (-10 to 50C)
- Holds up to 397 L of water and 27 kg of ice
- Spiral air valve system for fast inflation and deflation
- Includes an electric pump, floating thermometer, 1-m drain pipe, and zip-on cover
- With a carry bag for storage or transport
- Functional indoors or outdoors
- May be prone to tears or holes
- Lacks built-in handles
3. Best Compact – HOMEFILOS Portable Bathtub with Tray (Small)
If you think the best portable ice bath in Australia is functional yet space-saving, I suggest giving this HOMEFILOS Bathtub a go. Design inspired by small New York apartments, this aesthetic tub will surely add class to your hot soaks or ice baths.
Bathrooms in apartments, condos, or tiny homes have one thing in common: they are too small for a full-sized bathtub.
But thanks to innovative creations like the HOMEFILOS Portable Bathtub, you won’t have to settle for regular showers.
With this in your bathroom, you can soak those muscle strains away in hot or cold water.
We did not find the temperature capacity for this portable bath, though. And there was no thermometer included in the package.
But judging from the tub material and customer reviews, the HOMEFILOS also works for cold plunge sessions. You would have to purchase a separate thermometer for accurate monitoring, though.
I especially liked the look of this portable tub more than the other baths we tested.
The warm grey and ivory white have that modern and classy appeal. The neutral shades also make the tub blend in with any bathroom interior.
The product package also includes a clip-on bath tray for holding things like a small towel, mobile phone, or a relaxing drink!
However, one thing to note about this bath is that it takes a while to set up and disassemble. As first-timers, it took us about 15 minutes to set up the poles and hose and then fill the tub with water.
2 Sizes Options Available
We tried the smaller tub that fits people 5’10” tall (178 cm) or less. But you can also get the large tub variant for users 6’2” (188 cm) or under if you prefer more legroom.
I cannot say how long it takes to assemble the large tub. But one of the hurdles we encountered with the small tub was there were lots of parts to put together.
So, if you plan to use it as your bathtub for daily use, it is more practical to set it up in a dedicated space rather than reassemble it again.
Still, other than the setup challenge, everything else is smooth sailing with this portable bath. We especially appreciate that its drainage system suits most bathroom layouts.
You can position the water valve near your bathroom drain or use the hose if the drain is too far.
Alternatively, there’s also a centre drain plug inside that you can use if the valve-and-hose technique doesn’t work for you.
The bottom of the tub is also soft, so sitting while soaking is comfy and relaxing. Also, the plastic tub interior has no sharp edges or corners, making it safe to use or wipe down if needed.
Unlike the inflatable tubs, the HOMEFILOS Portable Bathtub is smooth and flat. So, there is little to no risk of tearing, puncturing, or leaking.
The package also includes a few bathtub liners (you can purchase more from the product site) for easy bathtub sharing.
The HOMEFILOS Portable Bathtub is ideal for homeowners with small bathroom spaces. While you can use it for cold plunges, we find this product more suitable for users who want regular, nightly soaks.
It’s a little challenging to set up. However, the compact size and multiple drainage systems make the HOMEFILOS an adaptable and versatile bathing partner.
- Smooth and durable plastic material
- Has multiple drainage options
- Aesthetic design and colours
- Good for hot or cold soaks
- Holds up to 189 L of water
- No need to inflate or deflate
- Includes sturdy poles, liners, and bath tray
- With a drawstring pouch for storage or transport
- Functional indoors or outdoors
- Available in small and large sizes
- Challenging to set up
- Lacks insulation
- No ice or temperature range capacity
- Lacks a cover lid and thermometer
The Winner – Endurance Portable Ice Bath
We had fun testing out (and plunging in!) some of the best portable ice baths in Australia for you.
The design and functionality of these baths were truly exceptional. We love that these are now available, so we won’t have to spend for a permanent tub or try to fit one in a small bathroom.
But ultimately, we all awarded the Endurance Portable Ice Bath as our #1 choice. This one has the most balanced features and specs compared with the other baths we tested.
It is quick to assemble, meaning you can fold and set it up again with ease. Its size and capacity are mid-range, so it suits most people, short or tall.
While it lacks a few extras or accessories, the Endurance Portable Ice Bath has the essential components for a good ice bath (i.e., insulation, drainage, cover lid, ice pack).
Best of all, it’s an affordable product from an Australian brand. Endurance Recovery Boots is a Sydney-based company that has been manufacturing wellness products in support of Aussie athletes.
All these features convinced us that their portable ice bath is a worthy investment and a perfect solution for your hot or cold bathing needs.
What Are the Different Types of Portable Ice Baths?
Aside from these best portable ice baths in Australia, several other options are available on the market.
The inflatable or folding bath type we featured in this review is the most affordable. They are comfortable and portable. Also, these do not require large and permanent spaces.
But their softer material is not as durable as other ice baths. Also, you would have to refill the tub after some time.
If your home has enough space, consider getting a solid bath type. This one is slightly more expensive than inflatable tubs.
However, these have heavy-duty plastic construction, making solid baths more durable and longer lasting. Moreover, their water-draining capacity works better and faster than inflatable types.
Solid baths may also come in horizontal form, allowing you to immerse your body in a more comfortable reclining position.
The spa bath types are your high-end options. These semi-permanent tubs may be the most expensive, but these also have the durability and functionality fit for avid ice bath users.
Most spa-type baths have built-in filters, so you won’t have to change the water or refill the tub as often.
Also, some premium tubs can quickly switch between hot and cold baths, depending on your preference.
Note that these ice bath types may fall under two general classifications: one that needs ice cubes and the other that requires a power source for its chiller unit.
How to Choose a Portable Ice Bath
Brand and type are some of the essential things to consider when choosing your portable ice bath. But if you want the very best, make sure to check these factors as well:
- Usage and purpose. Athletes who need cold-water immersion therapy several times a week should consider getting a heavy-duty tub. On the other hand, casual users who want ice baths occasionally will be happier with inflatable tubs that don’t take up space.
- Size or dimensions. What is your body size, or is your bathroom big enough for a portable ice bath? These tubs come in various sizes, but they generally take up space. So, check the product measurements to ensure they comfortably fit your body and area.
- Portability. If you plan to move or transport your ice bath often, it’s best to pick one with a lightweight design. Materials like PVC or plastic are light yet durable enough to withstand repeated use. Also, choose ice baths with handles or straps and a carry bag.
- Cold regulation system. Portable tubs with an internal temperature regulator are more user-friendly. With this feature, your water stays cold and at the ideal temp throughout your session. However, if you prefer to add ice to your portable tub, check the material and its insulation properties. It’s also best to choose one with a thermometer for temperature monitoring.
- Filter and drainage system. Remember: you should change the water and refill your tub after some time. So, consider tubs with a built-in UV light, ozone, or particle filter. That way, you don’t have to refill yours frequently. You can also opt for a portable ice bath with an efficient drain to make water changing easier.
- Warranty. Inflatable tubs usually belong to the budget category, so their warranty coverages are not as extensive. However, if you plan to buy a premium ice bath, pay extra attention to this factor. Choose one with at least a 1-year warranty. Ideally, go for brands with a local office and repair service.
- Customer reviews. As portable baths are relatively new, it helps to check the feedback of their actual buyers. You can also check product demos to see how to assemble, clean, or store the tub.
- Price. You can get the best portable ice bath in Australia for around $100. But if you want premium construction and features, expect to spend around $7000. It’s a huge price gap, so study the specs well before buying.
What Are Our Evaluation Criteria?
For this review, we evaluated and picked the best portable ice bath in Australia based on four factors we think are valuable for all users.
Dimensions. We chose units with a similar barrel-shaped design to test whether these options allow users to sit comfortably. We also noted their product dimensions to help you decide if these portable baths suit your space and body size.
Design. We assessed how stable each portable bath can hold water and ice. We also checked if they insulate cold or hot water well and considered tool inclusions and other extras for ease of use.
Temperature range. We checked whether the portable baths tested can withstand temperature levels that encourage optimum benefits (around 10-15C). We also evaluated if the tubs allow hot water therapies.
Assembly time. We identified which portable bath allows effortless setup, cleaning, and storage. Fast assembly and draining time also helped us assess if the portable tub is ideal for frequent ice bath sessions.
FAQs on Portable Ice Baths
Is a portable ice bath worth it?
A portable ice bath is worth it for those who need to reduce muscle soreness or inflammation post-workout. It is also ideal for people who do frequent strenuous training and need faster muscle recovery. Some studies also note that cold water therapy can reduce stress and encourage better sleep, benefitting those with high anxiety levels.
When is the best time to have my ice bath?
In a systematic review by Wang and colleagues (2021), the researchers found cold-water immersion most effective in treating DOMS 24 hours after exercise. As to duration and frequency, it is best to follow the instructions from your product manual or therapist. However, most ice bath experts suggest that 2 to 5 minutes is optimal per session. They also recommend 11 minutes (or about two to three sessions) per week.
Which is better: an ice bath or a cold shower?
Researchers Søberg and colleagues (2021) noted that you need to fully submerge your body in cold water up to the neck to reap the benefits of ice baths. Under this condition, you subject your body to a consistent 15C temperature, which is hard to achieve in a cold shower. However, cold showers for a few seconds still have some benefits. You can also do it for a few days to condition your body before trying the cold immersion method.
Is using a portable ice bath safe?
It is always best to consult a healthcare professional before trying cold water immersion, especially if you are a first-time user. Once you get the thumbs-up, always follow the ideal temperature, duration, and frequency. Pay attention to your body, and get out of the tub immediately if you feel uncomfortable. Also, note that people with open wounds, heart conditions, diabetes, hypertension, or poor circulation should avoid ice baths.