Your Guide to Building 5 DIY Cold Plunge Tubs

DIY cold plunge guide

Take the plunge and experience the invigorating effects of a DIY cold plunge at home! Cost-effective and adjustable, you can begin experiencing the benefits with minimal effort. Cold plunging helps boost your immune system, enhance mental well-being, and provide faster physical recovery.

Cold plunging may just be exactly what you need for total health without ever visiting a spa.

The Benefits of Cold Plunge Therapy

A person sitting in a cold plunge tub surrounded by ice, experiencing the physical and mental benefits of cold therapy

Immersing yourself in temperatures ranging from 40°F (4°C) to 60°F (15°C) can bring a host of impressive advantages, such as decreased inflammation and muscle soreness relief.

Regular use of a DIY cold plunge tub may result in increased focus and even mood improvement for those affected by depression. And don’t forget the bonus reward – enhanced immunity when you take advantage of cold plunging routinely.

Physical Improvements

Research has found that submerging oneself in ice-cold water can help reduce inflammation by decreasing blood flow and numbing nerve endings, while also aiding injury recovery. Cold exposure – such as adding some cubes of ice to the tub – could even be effective for chronic autoimmune issues involving high levels of swelling.

Regularly engaging with an icy dip once or twice weekly may maximize these physical benefits from plunging into frigid waters!

Mental Health Benefits

Cold water immersion activates the body’s response to cold temperatures, which boosts concentration and alertness while releasing hormones like endorphins that uplift moods and amplify cognitive performance.

Several studies provide promising evidence for its potential in treating chronic autoimmune inflammation, anxiety, or depression issues. Although more research is necessary here too, it clearly showcases how advantageous a regular practice with these cool waters can be on our psychological wellbeing.

Immune System Boost

The advantages of engaging in cold plunge therapy are quite remarkable. Regular cold water therapy helps strengthen your immune system by increasing the production of defense cells, and there is also evidence that this type of activity helps reduce chronic autoimmune inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity as well.

Reports from individuals who regularly partake in swimming or other activities involving submerging their bodies into cold water suggest various benefits such as increased energy levels and mental clarity, decreased rates of catching a common cold, and improved overall health.

A DIY Cold Plunge Tub at home offers an efficient way to benefit from exposure to colder temperatures through its powerful effects on improving one’s immune system function while reducing inflammation simultaneously.

DIY Cold Plunge Options

Repurposed freezers, oak barrel conversions, stock tank transformations, or even an inflatable tub set up – there are plenty of ways for you to get started on crafting that perfect experience. Whatever you choose, ensure that the container is large enough to submerge your body (and vagus nerve in the neck) comfortably. Additionally, it should be made of a durable material that can withstand temperature extremes.

Let’s delve deeper into these choices so we can make sure they meet all your needs before trying them out yourself. Freezer chests provide excellent insulation against the chill as well as offer ample storage space. Meanwhile, barrels filled with icy water can be easily adapted for use, though keep in mind it won’t maintain temperature like chest coolers do. Stock tanks offer more features such as steps or jets too, but remember to buy one big enough! Inflatable tubs present portability advantages over other alternatives while still giving off much-needed frigid temperatures when needed.

Nowadays getting access to a customized version of cold plunge therapy has become easier than ever thanks to these ingenious DIY ideas. This is your opportunity to create your own cold plunge! Let us know what works best for providing optimum relief.

Repurposed Freezer Chest

A DIY cold plunge setup with a repurposed freezer chest, showcasing the process of creating a personalized cold plunge experience


Free – $300


  • Well insulated


  • Heavy

A repurposed freezer chest is a popular solution for a DIY cold plunge.

It can offer complete temperature controller and using silicone sealant with caulking guns ensures watertight seals so you can submerge safely. As an added bonus, frozen water bottles help to keep your desired level of chill in the water.

For just around $200 on average, these chests provide all the health benefits without breaking your bank account.

Remember – Anything that combines a tub of water and electricity, you have to be super careful. Or just use ice as a chiller and your risk of electrocution goes way down.

Oak Barrel Conversion

a picture of a Jack Daniels oak barrel


Free – $180


  • Inexpensive
  • Looks nice


  • Wood degrades
  • Cramped space
  • No insulation
  • If used, odors may still exist
  • You’ll need a ladder or other device to enter/exit the barrel

An oak barrel conversion is budget budget-friendly and easy-to-build DIY cold plunge option. This usually consists of a 55-gallon barrel (I prefer closer to 75-gallon if available) or an oak barrel, making it a rustic yet cost-effective alternative for chilly plunging therapy.

Oak barrel transformations provide not only inexpensive alternatives when compared to more sophisticated setups but are also easily assembled without too much fuss involved during assembly or post-maintenance upkeep thereafter.

You will need to install a spigot for draining and cleaning purposes. To do this simply drill through the container’s walls with an appropriately sized hole before sealing off the tap securely in place. Caulk around the spigot to ensure a watertight seal.

With a few simple preparation steps, transforming your humble old barrel into an exhilarating therapeutic bath can be completed quickly.

Tip: Some wineries sell their old barrels. Call them up to see if this is an option.

Stock Tank / Horse Trough

Two stock tanks that can be used for a DIY cold plunge


$120 – $200


  • Solid
  • Some come with a spigot installed


  • Heavy
  • No insulation
  • Lids are typically extra

These durable containers, usually used to store water for livestock, are spacious enough for multiple people or friends so that they may benefit from the therapeutic benefits of this type of therapy together.

We like the Rubbermaid 100 gallon stock tank or the Agrimaster 103 Gallon Galvanized Stock Tank. Both are well made and should last a very long time. The Rubbermaid has a spigot already installed so modifications will be minimal when you get it home.

To ensure an ideal temperature in these large stock tank tubs, additional insulation might be required as well as climate control systems.

A DIY cold plunge with a stock tank allows you to enjoy all the advantages that come along with it, including increased size and robustness, enhancing your overall immersion into its icy waters!

Trash Can Conversion

96 gallon trash can be used as a DIY cold plunge




  • Solid


  • Feet area is cramped
  • No insulation
  • You’ll need a ladder or other device to enter/exit the barrel

A large, 96-gallon trash can will already be watertight, and typically comes with a lid that will keep out leaves and other debris.

While they don’t have any insulation, you could wrap them in a DrumQuilt or similar solution to keep the water colder when not in use.

Due to the large wheels that come on trash cans this big, the “foot area” is smaller. It’s not a big inconvenience but people with larger feet may be crouching in a “toe down” position.

Also, I have seen some outside edges near the opening that are very sharp. Be aware of this and sand them down in order to avoid any cuts.

Inflatable Tub Setup

Two portable cold plunge tubs


$100 – $1,000


  • Portable
  • Space saving
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight


  • May not last as long as other materials

For a DIY cold plunge, an inflatable tub provides the perfect solution for those with limited space or mobility. These are easy to set up and store away when not in use and are convenient options if you don’t want to do a lot of customization. With an inflatable tub, adding ice baths to your wellness routine is both simple and practical.

To begin, inflate the tub to the desired pressure (typically around 10 PSI which takes about 5 minutes) and make sure that it is placed on level ground.

Fill the tub using a garden hose then cool the water along with any desired additional temperature adjustments using ice or ice packs.

With so many benefits available through this form of therapy such as improving circulation, pain relief, immune system boost, etc., investing in an inflatable tub makes good sense, easily creating a unique cold plunging experience at home.

Check out our list of the best inflatable cold plunge tubs.

Creating Your DIY Cold Plunge

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

a picture of a deserted porch deck

Ideally, you want a spot that is level and offers privacy, as the cold plunge is often a deeply personal experience. It should also be easily accessible, ensuring you can seamlessly transition from the cold plunge to a warm shower or cozy robe. If you have a spacious backyard or patio, that could be an excellent location.

You’ll want to make sure you can add or drain water easily.

Once your tub is full of water, it will be too heavy to move (It can weigh up to 1000 pounds). Make sure the location is structurally sound to hold this much weight.

Step 2: add a Spigot

You need to drain the water from time to time for hygienic purposes. The easiest way to do that is by a spigot.

The EarthMinded “Add a Spigot Kit” works in most situations and will provide a professional look and feel to your own cold plunge tub. It is inexpensive and comes with the drill bit that will be needed during installation.

Step 3: Waterproof and Sanitize the Container

Your container is the heart of your DIY cold plunge. It has to be watertight and clean when you use it.


Woman caulking her cold plunge tub making it watertight

Before filling your container, make sure it’s completely watertight. Seal any potential leaks or gaps using a waterproof sealant (aka caulk). This will not only prevent water from escaping but will also ensure that your cold plunge maintains its desired temperature more efficiently.

You may not know what areas will leak initially, so be ready to fill the tub and look for problem areas to fix. You’ll need to drain the tub in order to seal it. Waterproof caulk is what we use and it’s important for you to seal from the inside of the tub, not from the outside.


Clean the container thoroughly before the initial use and establish a routine for periodic cleaning. A mixture of mild soap and water can work wonders in eliminating any bacteria or impurities that may accumulate over time.

You’ll want to invest in pool-safe cleaning agents and chlorine tablets to maintain water quality without harming the integrity of your container.

Step 4: Consider Insulation

To maintain the cold temperature of your plunge, consider insulating the container. This is especially crucial if you plan to use your cold plunge throughout the year, including colder seasons.

Without insulation, you will get wild temperature swings that will cost you time and money from purchasing and transporting ice all the time.

Insulation can be achieved using foam boards or insulation blankets, creating a more energy-efficient setup. DrumQuilt makes insulated sheeting that can be used to wrap your tub when not in use.

Step 5: Add a Chilling System

Coldture Chiller can be used in your DIY cold plunge tub

The secret to a successful cold plunge lies in the temperature. While some enthusiasts go for the simplicity of ice bags, a more sophisticated approach involves a chilling system. This can range from a standalone pool chiller to a modified HVAC system.

Check out our list of the best chillers for your cold plunge tub and select one that suits your budget and technical expertise.

Step 6: Monitor and Maintain Temperature

Invest in a thermometer to monitor and regulate the water temperature. This will ensure that your cold plunge is always at the optimal temperature for reaping the full spectrum of benefits without being overly harsh on your system.

Step 7: Create a Relaxing Atmosphere

Enhance the overall experience by paying attention to the surrounding environment. Consider adding plants, soft lighting, or even calming music to transform your DIY cold plunge into a personal oasis of relaxation.

Step 8: Safety First

Safety should be at the forefront of your DIY project. Ensure that the container is stable and securely placed. If you’re incorporating any electrical components for temperature control, consult with a professional to guarantee a safe setup.

Especially during your first few cold plunges, make sure a partner is with you in case any health issue arises.

Step 9: Gradual Adaptation

If you’re new to cold plunges, it’s crucial to start gradually. Begin with shorter sessions and milder temperatures, allowing your body to adapt over time. As you build tolerance, you can increase both the duration and intensity of your cold plunges.

Maintaining Your DIY Cold Plunge

Just like a swimming pool, proper maintenance will prolong the life of your cold plunge. Keeping your plunge hygienic and in full operation is crucial both from safety standpoints as well as enjoyment purposes, all of which contribute to the success of any type of cold plunge.

Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it.

Sanitization Methods

Utilize sanitizers such as chlorine to make sure that the water remains clean and free from bacteria. Cleaning your tub regularly is an effective measure for enhancing efficiency levels when taking part in a cold plunge experience.

Safety and hygiene should be at the forefront of any concerns around this activity, continual monitoring of water quality while using appropriate sanitation agents will ensure everyone has all benefits with no reservations on its condition.

Be sure to drain and replace the water routinely (at most every month or so). If you use a chiller motor, they have filtration methods that allow longer periods between cycling periods.

Temperature Control

For DIY ice baths, the ideal temperature range for cold plunge therapy should be between 45°F (10°C) and 60°F (15°C).

Insulation will help maintain this temperature point and remote monitoring systems can provide an effective way of regulating it with precision through using a dedicated temperature controller device (chilling system).

This helps maintain the right level of coolness within your plunge so that you’ll always get the full rewarding results from each session!

Leak Prevention

Leak prevention is done by properly sealing all seams, caulking drain plugs, and routinely checking your tub for damages to guarantee secure use of the system.

Always be on the lookout for leaks. Fast responses to repair any issues are important.

Safety Tips and Precautions

For a successful and safe cold plunge experience, proper safety tips must be followed when setting up your own DIY cold plunge. Electric shock protection, monitoring of the activity for limited time intervals, as well as health concerns are important elements to consider in order to guarantee an enjoyable session.

Electrical Safety

It is essential to be aware of electrical safety when setting up and caring for a DIY cold plunge. To ensure the security of your homemade contraption, take into account these important procedures:

  1. All electrical components need to be installed properly with proper grounding far away from water in order to avoid accidents due to electric shocks or other risks associated with it.
  2. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are necessary tools that guard against any danger related to electricity exposure.

Regular examinations and maintenance must also be done on all equipment involving electricity in good working condition to guarantee comfortability during usage while ensuring security matters as well.

In short, if you are using a chilling unit to cool your DIY cold plunge tub, make sure it’s electrically sound. Also remember that if a leak occurs, a lot of water may go elsewhere and come in contact with some electrical device.

Just be safe.

Supervision and Time Limits

Sessions should be limited to a duration of 2-3 minutes for starters. As your body becomes more accustomed, you can increase this length accordingly.

It’s recommended that you have a partner monitor your plunging to make sure you don’t inadvertently spend too long under such freezing temperatures, ensuring an enjoyable and safe experience.

In short, if you properly supervise all participants within set periods, there won’t be any potential risks.

Health Considerations

Chat with your doctor or other healthcare provider in order to guarantee optimal safety. Make sure any conditions you may possess won’t be put at risk due to the chilly environment of this unique form of treatment.


Cold plunge therapy is an invigorating and powerful form of cold therapy that offers a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. There are many easy-to-implement DIY cold plunge setups available, ranging from freezer chests to inflatable tubs – providing endless ways for people to incorporate this type of treatment into their own home environment.

Of course, if you’re looking for a ready-to-go solution, check out the Ice Barrel reviews we did.

To ensure safety while still reaping the rewards, it’s important that individuals maintain their DIY plunger correctly and exercise caution at all times during use. So go ahead, dive in head first, and unlock its remarkable advantages!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest way to make a cold plunge?

Making a cold plunge at home doesn’t have to be expensive. You can take an existing tub or basin and add ice, allowing the water to become as chilly as desired for your own private dip!

How do you make a homemade cold plunge?

Start with an existing tub, freezer, or unused commercial trash can, then eventually add ice to reach colder temperatures. To make it a permanent installation, purchase a freezer chest, seal the seams, spread sealant, and install a temperature controller, then fill the plunge with water.

Is it safe to cold plunge by yourself?

Especially for the first few times, engaging in a cold plunge alone is not advised. There’s the potential danger of going into shock due to intense exposure to frigid temperatures. It would be wise to make sure a friend is around when taking part in this activity so help can be provided if any health challenges arise.

Is tap water cold enough for cold plunge?

A cold plunge is possible with ordinary tap water since water temperatures need to range between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Tap water rarely gets below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do I maintain the perfect temperature in my DIY cold plunge?

Take full advantage of insulation, chillers, and remote monitoring for your own DIY cold plunge to make sure the water temperature is ideal every single time. It will provide a reliable consistency in terms of how ‘cold’ it should be so that you can enjoy its benefits on each use.

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