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Can You Make a DIY Cold Plunge?

Apr 24, 2024
image of an iceberg with a hole cut into it and a man swimming in the frigid water


In late 2023, a trend began among Americans. Taking a quick plunge in icy water skyrocketed in popularity, and it has carried over into 2024. Cold plunging (which is also known as an ice bath or cold water immersion, is deliberate cold exposure in water. Typically, these plunges happen in water that is below 60°F and as low as 38°F, and the health trend continues to sweep the US for reasons beyond completing a somewhat challenging trend. The health benefits that participants are seeing from their daily cold plunges are well worth it.

Anyone who has lived or traveled in Scandinavian countries could probably tell you that ice baths and cold showers have long been appreciated for their positive health impact. However, those of us living in a warmer climate probably don't have a fjord running through our backyards. So, how do we go about having a cold plunge accessible to us so that we can experience all these health benefits?

The best way to do it is to make your own. That's right. It can certainly be done, but keep in mind that it needs to be done correctly or you run the risk of losing some of those benefits that make it all worthwhile.

Is It Easy to Build Your Own Cold Plunge?

The process often seems incredibly unachievable for the typical homeowner with no construction experience, but it's not. With the right assistance, you can easily build your own cold plunge and start enjoying a happier, healthier lifestyle.

While it is easy, there is quite a bit to keep track of. Approaching a project such as this blindly could get you in trouble. You need to take several things into consideration to make sure you find that sweet spot between functionality, design, and safety.

How Much Does it Cost to Build Your Own Cold Plunge?

People have been known to spend as much as $10,000 on their build, but that is not a requirement of a fully functioning cold plunge. Much of what you spend will be based on materials and size.


We all wish it was as simple as putting cold water in a big bucket, but in order to retain cold temperatures with a water temperature controller, have a properly functioning drain plug, and so on, it's important to have all the correct components. You will need to consider the tub, pumps, chillers, filler housing and filters, ozone generator, insulating spray foam, venturi injector, etc., depending on how comprehensive you want your cold bath to be.


As it goes, the larger the cold plunge, the more expensive it will be. You can have a fairly compact tub and still get all the health benefits of cold water exposure, but a larger one will be more comfortable. This is one of those factors where you really have to discover your balance point between budget and convenience.

What are the Health Benefits of Cold Plunging?

We mentioned above that cold plunging has risen in popularity largely because of the health benefits. Let's take a closer look at some of the improvements you'll see by partaking in this trend.

Boosted Immune System

We have this idea that wet + cold = sick. This is true in many uncontrolled environments, but a study in the Netherlands showed that people who were exposed to cold water via cold showers had fewer sick days taken at work. There were over three thousand participants randomized into two groups, split between only warm showers and warm showers that ended with 30-90 seconds of cold tap water.

While this study wasn't conducted with traditional cold plunges, it still showed that the 30-90 seconds of cold showering resulted in 29% fewer sick days compared to the other group. Even though it was done without a cold plunge tank, the benefit of cold water exposure is still there.

Great Way to Manage Stress

Placing yourself in a water chiller is placing your body in a state of stress.

Imagine you're suddenly being hugged by a bunch of ice bags. Initially, your body and mind wouldn't know what to do in that situation. Cold plunges are similar. It takes some time for the body to learn how to manage that physical stress. The cold water acts as a safe, controlled lab where you can focus on your breathing and on remaining calm while your body experiences something it perceives as stressful.

This process helps build mental fortitude that will translate to real-world situations, your mental health, and your entire life, not just to your cold plunges.

Boosted Metabolism

Metabolism during a cold plunge has been known to increase by 350%. Sure, a short, one-time increase like that isn't likely to burn a lot of calories, but repetition will yield results. One of the things participants see is an increase in the body's production of brown fat, which regulates body temperatures and burns calories.

Consistent cold plunging can lead to improved overall metabolism, but there have also been reports of improved blood sugar regulation.

Better Mood and Focus

Even if cold showers made you grumpy, you might consider that cold plunging could be for you. One study showed a cold plunge at 57°F, causing an increase of 250% in dopamine levels and an increase of 530% in noradrenaline levels. These results lasted for several hours.

Dopamine (AKA the "feel-good" hormone) is associated with feelings of motivation, focus, happiness, and alertness. Noradrenaline is a large part of your body's emergency response system. You might recognize it as the term "fight-or-flight." Some things you'll notice as a direct result of this hormone are attention, memory, and alertness. Also, low levels of noradrenaline can cause anxiety and depression.

Another study compared two groups of people: one who took a 20-minute cold plunge into the ocean and the other who watched contentedly from the shore. The mood questionnaire taken at the end show improvement only in the cold plunge group. They reported decreased feelings of depression, anger, tension, and fatigue, as well as increases in self-esteem and vigor.

Inflammation and Soreness Management

If you have ever preemptively used an ice pack to calm your muscles after a workout, you know the amount of discomfort such a simple thing can prevent.

Cold plunges have been known to be very effective in reducing inflammation and preventing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which is the muscle soreness that happens 1-2 days after an intense exercise. Not having to suffer the post-workout physical stress will allow you a lot more freedom when planning exercise in your life.

Better Physical Performance

Researchers, eager to find out what other benefits there were, have done studies into the effects of cold plunges on strength, power, and aerobic endurance. Results showed a significant improvement in power, but no change in strength or endurance.

Power is what controls explosive movements such as sprinting, or jumping. The improvement in that area will greatly benefit your workouts as well as your day-to-day life.

Can't You Just Use Your Bathtub for an Ice Bath to Save Money?

You can, technically speaking. However, it's very difficult to do. It is nearly impossible to get the fresh water to the right temperature, and unless you have a deep tub, it will be very hard (potentially impossible) to immerse your whole body, which is the point. You'll also go through a lot of ice.

All in all, it is possible, but it's not recommended just due to inefficiency and a less beneficial experience.

How Can I Learn How to Build My Own Cold Plunge?

DIY Pools and Spas has a wholesale plunge kit and DIY cold plunge program exactly for this. The course walks you through the entire process in great detail. It doesn't matter if you have any background in building things, you will still be able to follow along without difficulty.

The DIY plunge kit is easy to assemble when you have the program guiding you. You can enjoy your own cold plunge from the comfort of home in no time.

Why Should I Choose Brandon's Cold Plunge Kit?

Brandon, the creator of the course and co-owner of DIY Pools and Spas, didn't just dream something up and start selling it. He actually bought all the parts to a cold plunge, built it himself, and kept the cost and time down to where it was efficient and effective.

His passion truly is people. Bandon has seen firsthand how pools and spas bring people together in a unique way. Whether it is all that time spent in the sun or the health benefits that come from a cold plunge, he knows what it is to create something that matters. This is what makes his DIY cold plunge kit stand out from the others. His interests are your interests.

The point of the DIY cold plunge kit is that you can come to it with no prior knowledge and seamlessly build a cold plunge suited to your specific needs. No cookie cutter, no stress.