Contrasting hot and cold therapy now come in one device. The Hyperice X, billed as a thermal recovery device, gives you app-controlled knee therapy at home or on the go. There’s no need for a freezer, a microwave, or any other heating or cooling method.
Releasing in October, the Hyperice X debuts as a knee-brace-looking contraption, able to apply ice-cold or plenty-hot (think heat pack) temperatures to users’ knees.
The rationale? Rapidly alternating cold and hot temps are meant to create a localized vasoconstriction cycle between cold and hot, delivering improved blood flow for recovery and rehabilitation. Hyperice says the benefits of icing and heat in one device are better circulation, increased inflammatory management, and decreased sensitivity to pain and pressure.
We tested out the $399 Hyperice X model — a test sample was sent to us and then returned to the company — on our own knees to see just how well the device worked and how user-friendly it was.
In short: The Hyperice X impressively delivers a rapid change between hot and cold. But its knee-only limitations gave us pause for the price. Still, eliminating the use of a freezer or heat packs brought an ease of use we found refreshing.
What’s the Device All About?
Think of a knee brace, just a space-age-looking one. The three straps on the back of the brace hold it into place (and the device comes with extenders if you need to make the straps longer).
On the front, five circular pieces generate the electric heat and cold and distribute it across the front of the brace. The power supply is located on the top of the device. The 2-pound Hyperice X has a battery life of 1.5 hours and comes approved by TSA for carry-on.
Getting Started and Setup
Expect a fairly seamless and basic setup process. Out of the box, the device comes ready to serve. The only on-device management capabilities are the power button and the charging port. Everything else runs through the Hyperice app (for iOS and Android).
A QR code on a card within the box easily leads you to download the correct Hyperice app. Once you create a short profile, the device nearly instantly pairs, and you’re ready to start your recovery process.
The app runs all your recovery “sessions” for you. You control whether you want a “heat session,” “cold session,” or “contrast session.” Each comes with options for a 10-, 15-, or 20-minute length. And you can choose from five different temperature levels for cold or hot — although the app doesn’t display exact temperatures.
The medium selection of each was sufficiently cold and hot, respectively, as you’d expect. The ability to lower and raise the temperature helps with individual sensitivities.
How Did It Work?
When operating, the device sounds like a small fan whirring. Although the fit isn’t exact — we had some trouble getting it properly tight in some areas — the Hyperice X does a solid job of distributing the temperature across the entirety of the front and side of the knee. But there’s no thermal help on the back, where the straps are located.
Apart from removing the hassle of switching between hot and cold devices that need prepping, one of the benefits of the Hyperice X is mobility. The device works just like a brace, so you can put it on and go about your business.
For some, being able to wear the device while driving home from the gym, or for a cooldown after a workout, will be key. At the same time, the device isn’t highly comfortable, so it may not be something you’d want to go for a walk in.
The product gets to the desired temperature quickly, and it holds it constant. But where the device really shines is its contrast therapy. Hyperice says it can switch between hot and cold within 60 seconds, and our testing proved that to be a conservative estimate. The device went from cold to a touch of warmth within just 10 seconds and fully heated in about 30 seconds.
Should You Buy the Hyperice X?
If you want an easy-to-use contrast thermal therapy product, the Hyperice X simplifies the practice. The mobility offered with the brace-like device can help limit interruptions in your daily life.
That said, comfort isn’t the calling card of the Hyperice X. Instead, it’s about providing rapidly alternating hot and cold therapy in an easy-to-use, mobile package. And it accomplishes all that easily.
If that’s worth the $399 price tag for your knee, opt for the brand-new Hyperice X.