Edge Theory Labs’ top model – the Edge Tub Elite – bridges the gap between portable ice baths and in-situ cold plunge tubs.

The premium option in Edge Theory Labs’ two-tub line-up comes in two sizes, with the XL model capable of full submersion. The Edge Tub Elite also adds hot-tub functionality, and a new app with remote control features – giving some of the best ice baths a run for their money.

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Edge Tub Elite beats even pricier plunge tubs for storage and portability and is far superior to most inflatable ice baths. Hot tub functionality and app control are the icing on the cake.
  • Easy set-up and transport
  • Rapid, ice-free chilling
  • Can heat water
  • App adds easy connectivity and remote control
  • Expensive / app content behind paywall
  • External chiller only minimally waterproof/sunproof
  • Screen is reflective in sunlight
The control panel of an Edge Tub Elite ice bath
The chiller’s control panel is reflective and can be hard to read in direct sunlight

Sometimes as a reviewer, I seek out products I’m most curious to try – especially if it’s luxury item like Edge Theory Labs’ Edge Tub Elite, which had been heartily recommended by a friend.

Cold water immersion has become a mainstream recovery and wellness routine. The science of ice baths and their perceived benefits are well documented and I’m into it.

I’d cold plunged in ice baths for guided breathwork sessions during my yoga teacher training and wanted to expand my practice at home. The Ice Pod and Lumi Recovery Pod Max are great examples of affordable solutions for under $200. However, I live in South Florida and wasn’t keen on buying so much ice.

Edge Tub Elite features

I was hoping the Edge Theory Labs Edge Tub Elite (buy now), with its powerful chiller component, would give me that pro-level experience with fine control over temperature. With a $5,490 RRP it’s a serious commitment, but more affordable than the near five-digit stationary Renu Therapy and Plunge All-In models with integrated chillers.

Edge Theory Labs’ inflatable model is a great middle ground with the bonus of portability and storage when not in use.

The Elite model is Edge Theory Labs’ most advanced chiller, with two benefits over the Legacy ($4,490).  There’s more horsepower (1.0hp vs 0.8hp) so it can chill water to 37°F / 3°C in under 3 hours (vs 5 hours with the Legacy). Secondly, it can heat water – up to 105°F / 40.5°F in the same timeframe. As a bath-loving Brit frustrated by tiny American tubs, this is a brilliant option.

The chiller unit is substantial but relatively compact

Edge Tub Elite set-up

Setting up the Edge Theory Labs Edge Tub Elite is straightforward. I’d been advised it’d take about 30-40 minutes or, as a friend put it, “it’s a 2-3 beer job.”

I was pleasantly surprised by the tub’s compact size when broken down. It comes rolled-up in a backpack, making it easy to transport and store. The chiller/heater is still relatively compact. It’s heavy (78lb / 35kg) but has two back wheels for ease of movement.

I inflated the tub to 10psi with the included hand pump before video instructions guided me through attaching hoses and filters, ensuring valves were correctly aligned (I triple checked as I was so nervous about causing damage) and a quick power safety test.

Next, I filled the tank and powered the chiller on. The unit took a couple of minutes to go through opening procedures. Then I was able to set the target temp on the touchscreen.

I sterilized and oxidized the water as guided, which is necessary each time the tank is filled. However, you won’t have to empty and refill often if you perform the weekly water maintenance. That will keep water clean and clear and ensure pH levels are within the optimal range.

This balance can be achieved with the sterilizer, but testing strips will tell you when additional chemicals (not included) are necessary to restore balances. Performing this maintenance and cleaning or changing filters will ensure the same water is good for three months. That’s with regular use too (1-2 times per day).

Edge Tub Elite tub

For an inflatable, the Edge Theory Labs tub felt very sturdy, like an inflatable stand-up paddleboard. The external materials felt grippy too. When empty, the tub weighs just 22lb / 10kg and there’s a soft cover that clips over the tub when not in use, with combination locks for security. Users of the XL tub have complained the cover is too tight to fully close – an issue the company is aware of.

Edge Theory Labs sent me the standard size (L x W x H: 45.5 x 25.5 x 24.1in / 115.6 x 64.7 x 61.3cm) tub designed for people up to 6ft 4in / 1m 93cm tall. I’m 6ft 2in and my feet were against the tub with my knees bent at 45 degrees and I was able to submerge myself up to the neck. So mission accomplished. The tank feels soft and comfortable inside.

However, I’d recommend the XL tub (L x W x H: 56.5 x 30.5 x 25.8in / 143.5 x 77.5 x 66.5cm), which accommodates people up to 6ft 7in and doesn’t cost extra. It holds 50 gallons / 190 litres more water so will take longer to cool and will take up more space. But you’ll be more comfortable, and the hot tub functionality is great for more than one person.

A covered ice bath in a garden
The tub can be covered and locked; the chiller shouldn’t be left in direct sunlight

Edge Tub Elite chiller

Once underway, the temperature dropped 12°F per hour on average. It took less than the advertised 3 hours to fall from 79°F to 50°F during the first use.

This will vary depending on your climate. My initial test took place on a sunny day with an outdoor temperature of 80-85°F. Even my hose water started out at 80°F, but keeping the cover on aided chilling.

As for the noise, I set up outside in a shady spot around 20 feet away. With the door open I could hear the chiller working as it recirculated the water. It wasn’t overly loud, but more like an air conditioning unit than a refrigerator.

There’s IPX4 weather resistance, which means the chiller can handle light water sprays (likely when getting in or out) but not torrential rain. It can be stored outside, provided there’s shelter, as direct sunlight is bad for the long-term health of the unit.

I don’t have that shelter outdoors, so I had to power off and bring the chiller inside after each use. That was annoying and not very energy efficient. It also meant I was unable to have the perfect temperature available whenever I fancied a dip.

Water temperature

When the water hits target temperature, the chiller powers off and doesn’t automatically reactivate until a 3°F change is noted. The reverse is true when in heated mode. This again enhances the longevity of the unit.

However, once I reached 50°F and the unit kicked off, the temperature rose by a mere 0.4°F in 30 minutes during the hottest part of the day. Some 20 hours later it had risen 10°F, so chilling back down was possible within an hour.

It was a similar story when heating the unit to its maximum temperature of 105°F and I felt it operated largely within the promised timescale. I reached peak warmth in just over three hours, and it sounded like the unit was working much harder to accomplish this. I was able to go from cool (59°F) to hot (104°F) to cold (48°F) between 9am and 6pm on the same day.

The screen is a little disappointing. It’s reflective and difficult to see in sunlight. The touch surface also feels hit-and-miss. However, the user interface and controls are simple. I could monitor the current and target temperature, water circulation rate (usually it’s 17.5L to 18.5L/m), and there’s also a child lock.

The new Edge Theory Labs app

The new Edge Theory Labs app came out midway through my test and it was eye-opening to have the before and after experience.

It’s perfect for newcomers thanks to the guided audio sessions that prepared me for immersion through breathwork and encouragement. It also ensured I followed the “pre-warming, post-cooling” protocol, which involves a lot of jumping jacks and squats to restore proper blood flow.

Cold water immersion is hard and audio guidance from real-world coaches like Arkell Mokler helped significantly. The reassurance and reminder to reconnect with smooth breath when my sympathetic nervous system had me gasping made everything feel achievable, even when my body was screaming “get out!”. By guiding me to introduce small movements to break-up the thermal layer I was gaining optimal benefits from the immersion.

App subscription

Most of this coaching content is only accessible via a $70 a year subscription fee. It’s early days, but that price seemed reasonable, provided the content is regularly refreshed.

The added Wi-Fi connectivity with the chiller meant less going outside to check or adjust the temperature. I could set a schedule so the unit was ready at 48°F when I got in from my morning hot yoga class. I didn’t need to wake earlier to chill the water, or waste energy by leaving the unit active all night.

A minor complaint was the absence of a notification when the target temp was reached, but I’m sure the app will be improved upon. The Wi-Fi connection only works with 2.4GHz networks and it took moving the router into line of sight to make the initial connection.

Should you buy the Edge Tub Elite?

The Edge Theory Labs Edge Tub Elite is the ideal middle ground between ice tubs and in-situ luxury cold plunge tubs with integrated chillers.

The $5,490 asking price for the Edge Tub Elite is still enough to chill the blood, but if your budget allows and you plan to integrate cold plunging as part of your daily wellness routine, it’s an undeniably sound investment. Its portability makes this far more versatile than units carrying almost double the price tag.

Easy set-up and maintenance, rapid ice-free chilling, and the option to heat water are huge ticks in the Pro column. The new app experience, which brings everything together with coaching and connectivity, is the cherry on the cake that pushes my score to a perfect five.