Ice Barrel review: is this premium ice bath worth the price?
The Ice Barrel 400 looks like a farm-friendly stock tank, but it was specifically designed for cold-water therapy (ie, ice baths), with ample room inside to submerge a fully-grown human.
Sounds like a simple job, but if you’ve ever tried drawing yourself a bonafide ice bath, you already know how challenging the practice can be – especially if you’re on the lankier side.
Our reviewer TJ Fink braved the cold to bring you this review…
BUY IT NOW:
- Makes cold-water therapy easier.
- Great for most body types.
- Rock-solid construction.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Premium price tag.
- Not meant for the indoors.
- Extremely heavy when filled.
Ease of use: 4/5
While there are a variety of tried-and-true health benefits to cold-water therapy, the science of ice baths suggests that such benefits are maximized with full submersion, which isn’t exactly easy in the average bathtub. Are the potential perks worth the premium price of entry? That all depends on your lifestyle, living space, and lankiness.
Ice Barrel 400 price and availability
You can pick up the Ice Barrel 400 on the company’s website for a hefty $1,199. Measuring 42 inches high and 31 inches in diameter, it resembles a lifesize version of that old Barrel of Monkeys game from my youth, except now I’m the monkey. As an affront to its own name, this giant tank is rated to hold 397 liters of water, as opposed to the full 400 liters one might expect. According to Ice Barrel, this elevated tub is designed for folks up to 6 feet, 6 inches in height (and up to 300 pounds).
In addition to the barrel itself, the Ice Barrel 400 comes with a lid (to keep out debris), stand (to keep it level), stepping stool (to get in and out with), and protective cover. The Ice Barrel is covered by a lifetime warranty.
If you’ve got a smaller frame, the newly released (and identically priced) Ice Barrel 300 measures a more modest 35.5 x 30.5 inches, and the 292-liter bin is much easier to climb into. (It also has thicker insulation.) Shorter folks who live in warmer climates might prefer this model.
Ice Barrel 400 design (and ease of use)
I’ve been using the Ice Barrel for the past year and a half to introduce cold water therapy into my fitness routine…from my New York City apartment, which is a challenge in itself. Since I live on the fourth floor of my building, I checked with my superintendent to make sure the floors were strong enough to handle 930 pounds of centralized deadweight – which the Ice Barrel weighs when filled to capacity. (Plus my own body weight.) No need to inadvertently create a Turn Down for What situation with my neighbors, after all.
Thanks to my metropolitan digs, I have to fill up my Ice Barrel 400 bucket-by-bucket from the bathroom tub whenever I use it, which is tedious as hell, and far from ideal. (The whole process is a workout in its own right, and takes about 30 minutes.) Anyone using this thing outdoors, however, will have no problem filling it up via garden hose, and it’s a cinch to drain; there’s a built-in spigot on the bottom for the purpose. In short, the Ice Barrel 400 was definitely meant for the great outdoors.
Good news: at roughly 185 pounds, my 6-foot, 3-inch frame has no problem achieving a full, bone-tingling dunk with plenty of room to spare for my lanky limbs, which bodes well for literally anyone smaller than me. The stepping stool is useful for clambering inside the barrel, and downright essential for getting out – especially since everything was soaking wet. (Some built-in grips along the outside of the barrel might have been nice.)
Ice Barrel 400 portability (or lack thereof)
The Ice Barrel 400 weighs a reasonable 55 pounds when empty, which is easy enough to move from point A to point B if you’ve got a flatbed truck and a loading buddy. As mentioned above, however, this bad boy clocks in at 930 pounds when filled with water, so it’s not exactly balcony-friendly. Once you figure out the ideal spot for your Ice Barrel 400 (ie, close to a hose with decent drainage nearby), you’ll probably want to leave it there.
Should you buy an Ice Barrel?
Cold water therapy is the bees knees, and if you’ve got the (outdoor) space to spare, the Ice Barrel 400 might be the perfect post-workout tool your old bones – and brain – have been waiting for. Apartment dwellers will have some compromises to make to use it indoors, but anyone with a back porch and garden hose should have a much better experience.
If your pockets are deep enough, the Ice Barrel 400 may well be worth the investment. Just make sure you’ve got the proper space for it first.