I’ve been holding back, unwilling to jump into cold water immersion (see what I did there?) without a healthy dose of scientific backing. So, after scouring published studies for a few years, I finally hit my threshold of supporting data to take the plunge (sorry, these are too easy.)
I started the old-school way with a stock tank from my local feed store and a chest freezer. I bought 20-pound bags of ice weekly. It wasn’t very convenient and took a lot of time in total since I was doing it five times a week. So, I started researching cold plunge systems.
So many cold plunge brands have sprung up lately. I picked one that was local to me in Austin, Texas: Revive Plunge. The brand was also in its early stages, and I signed on to receive one of its initial offerings.
I tested the brand’s Cold Plunge Tub and Chiller Combo (starting at MSRP $4,999) for 5 months on my back porch. I immersed myself in the incredibly cold water at least five times per week.
When I started testing, the highs were in the 70s and 80s. During the last month of testing, the temperatures soared to over 100, sometimes as high as 107. And, being in Central Texas during the summer, the humidity was always high.
In short: If you’re a fan of cold plunging, it can’t get any more convenient than a tub with a chiller. You don’t have to buy and stockpile ice or wait for the water to reach your desired temperature. And the water stays clean and fresh for longer than with old-school methods. With a system like Revive Plunge, filtered and purified water at the temperature of your choice is ready whenever you are. The Revive Cold Plunge Tub and Chiller worked amazingly well — if you can stomach the considerable investment.
- Tub dimensions 53" x 31.5" x 24"
- Chiller dimensions 19.8" x 11.4" x 15"
- Chiller weight 60 lbs.
- Chiller power 0.8 horsepower
- Chiller low temperature 37 degrees Fahrenheit
- Incredibly convenient
- Water constantly filtered and sanitized when powered
- Tub felt comfortable for 6' tall person
- Chiller can be controlled via app
- Cooling efficiency drops dramatically at 95 degrees Fahrenheit
What’s in the Box and Setup
The Cold Plunge Tub and Chiller Combo showed up in two boxes. One box, which was armored with wood and plenty of padding inside, contained the chiller. The other box contained the inflatable tub and lid.
The chiller weighs 60 pounds but wasn’t a problem to manage by myself, as it has two handles on top. It’s a clean-looking unit for something I consider an industrial water cooler.
The front of the unit housed the upward-angled display and control screen, while the back contained a filter housing that is cleanly tucked away in a cutout. Two hose connections are also on the back.
The 65-gallon tub and cover have the same drop-stitch PVC construction as inflatable paddle boards, down to the inflation valve. Revive Plunge also includes a zippered storage bag for the tub, hoses, and pump.
Everything had an industrial, heavy-duty feel to it. Nothing struck me as flimsy or cheaply made, including the water lines, aluminum and metal hose connections, and silicone hose gaskets.
The setup was straightforward and only took about 10 minutes. I inflated the tub and cover to the recommended maximum (10 psi) and connected the two hoses to the color-coded, 90-degree angled connectors. Then, I threaded on the other end of the hose to the proper outlet on the back of the chiller.
All that was left to do was install the included filter, screw-on filter housing, and plug the chiller into a standard outlet.
I filled the tub with a garden hose, opened the valves at the back of the tub, and fired up the chiller. It primed itself, and then started filtering and cooling water immediately. Lastly, I had to connect the chiller to my Wi-Fi and the chiller app.
The app controls every aspect of the water chiller. Not only can you set the desired temperature and allowed deviation from that temperature, but you can also set the unit to power on or off at certain times — even set a weekly schedule.
You can also set the duration of the water ozone treatment, and you can toggle the unit to only chill, or use both chilling and heating to keep the water at a set temperature.
Revive Cold Plunge Tub and Chiller Combo Review
When I first started testing in April, the chiller brought the water temperature down about 10 degrees per hour, with the brand stating 37 degrees as the limit.
I elected not to set a schedule in the app and instead moved the “thermostat” down about 2 hours before I planned to do cold-water immersion (CWI) for 5 minutes at 45 degrees. Then, I raised the temperature setting to 57 and left the unit filtering and ozonating the water. I chose 57 because a pool service professional friend told me things started growing at a much higher rate at about 60 degrees. This worked consistently until August when the highs reached over 100.
When the late afternoon highs topped triple digits, the water chiller struggled. On a brutal 104-degree day, starting at 57 degrees, the water chilling rate slowed to 2 degrees an hour and never dipped below 47. This triggered a test at the manufacturing plant, along with units from other brands (with sequential photos of the various unit readouts as proof), and the results were similar.
The tests demonstrated that the chilling efficiency takes a steep dive when the ambient air is over 95 degrees. It exponentially drops further when the air temperature exceeds 100. I surmise this is an issue with all water chillers, and I considered the 100+ degree days as extreme conditions. I started chilling at dawn and doing CWI in the mornings for the remainder of the atrocious heat wave.
Since the tub and lid house dead air space, I’m sure it was an effective insulator, especially when I placed it on bamboo deck tiles to prevent mold (which had started to form underneath the tub from condensation).
I didn’t test the optional water heating function, and I’ll only need it to prevent the water from freezing in the unit. At best, for where I live, that may be a few days per year. It would be easy enough to turn the water off at the tub hose connectors and bring the chiller inside.
Revive Plunge says the heater can bring the water up to 105 degrees.
The tub is 53 inches long, 31.5 inches wide, and 24 inches tall. I am 6 feet tall, 168 pounds and felt comfortable sitting with the water up to the base of my neck. I never felt cramped and could easily dunk my head from the seated position. Revive Plunge claims the tub fits people up to 6’8″.
The inflatable tub cover attaches with four buckled straps. There were no gaps between it and the tub, with a reasonable amount of tension put on the straps. It kept debris out, and I was sure it also helped insulate the water against heat.
The brand offers a 70-inch-long acrylic tub, but acknowledges it’s less efficient due to a larger volume. It does look much more contemporary and slick, but also costs an extra $1,000.
And for those desiring the ultimate, Revive Plunge also sells an all-in-one “Luxury Plunge” that would set you back $7,999.
Water Filtration, Purification
The Revive Cold Plunge Tub and Chiller Combo uses common, inexpensive 20-micron filters and a stainless steel inlet screen for filtration. The chiller filtered at a rate of 16 to 17.5 L per minute, depending on the condition of the filter element and the amount of debris on the inlet screen.
An internal ozone generator emitting 40mg/hour handles sanitizing duties. The chiller releases ozone into the water in short bursts, and the duration is set in the app. The brand recommends a minute of ozone in each 30-minute cycle; more can acidify the water and make it cloudy.
Revive Plunge also recommends Sirona Spa Care, which is a two-step chlorine and bromine-free water care system. I experimented with the Sirona products and tried standard chlorine (which Revive Plunge approves) and decided with the latter. Judging by the discoloration of the filter, for my very alkaline water, use pattern, and conditions, chlorine (after balancing pH with dry acid) was superior.
My routine was to use standard test strips weekly and add dry acid or chlorine as needed. Normally, I didn’t have to touch the pH once it was set. And I only had to add a tiny amount of chlorine once a week. I also added pool enzymes weekly. Despite getting the water dusty and sweaty at least five times per week, I kept the water sparkling clean for just over 3 weeks.
If debris got in the water, I skimmed it out with a standard pool net. I have seen others use an aquarium fish net, too. But with the tub cover, finding debris in the water was rare.
Other duties to keep the Revive Cold Plunge Tub and Chiller Combo purring along were minimal. Once a month, Revive Plunge recommends removing and cleaning the inlet screen, which is housed in the chiller incoming water connection. The brand also states to inspect the filter and change it at a slight discoloration. Using chlorine, I ended up changing the filter monthly.
Other than the above, which took less than 5 minutes combined, cleaning the exterior of the tub, cover, and chiller unit was all there was to it.
Revive Cold Plunge Power Consumption
Although my rough calculations had me spending less on power per month than I was spending on ice, that isn’t enough for bean counters. The only value I could get out of Revive Plunge was that the unit draws 780 W with the compressor engaged and 92 W when it’s just filtering.
I realized I could save more money using the app to toggle the power on and off on a time schedule. However, I chose to keep the filter and ozone running at all times to try to extend how long the water stayed clean.
It’s too complex for me to calculate a straight ROI on a $5,000 investment and savings on purchasing ice. But it saved me countless runs to my grocery store, which was incredibly convenient. The water was exponentially cleaner and fresher than ever in my stock tank. And I kept it for so much longer.
If I kept the thermostat set to my personal CWI temperature of 45, then the convenience factor would rise considerably. I can see doing this if the unit was indoors, as the amount the compressor ran would be drastically reduced.
Five grand is a lot to pay for what is essentially cold water to immerse yourself. But over the long haul, I was spending significant time and effort to do this in other ways. And to have clear and fresh cold water at any time without prior setup was an amazing luxury.
For this purpose, the Revive Plunge system was a peerless solution. Cold plunging turned from a chore into a quick and easy dip I could do multiple times daily if desired.
The filtration and sanitizing functions of the chiller ensured my water was not only pleasant but also safe. And with outside temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the unit consistently brought my water down in temperature at a reasonable rate. Right up to 90 degrees, I could count on 10 degrees an hour.
Of course, there is the option to maintain the water at the desired cold plunge temperature.
If cold plunging and the purported physical and mental benefits are important to you, then a unit like the Revive Cold Plunge Tub and Chiller Combo can be an incredible upgrade to your daily self-care.