If you’re an athlete with a sports or condition related injury, or someone recovering from a serious surgery like a joint replacement, a cold therapy machine could be a hugely beneficial investment. Designed to decrease swelling and pain and clinically proven to increase recovery times, cold therapy machines are personal medical device that can drastically improve your quality of life.
But finding one that’s going to work, fits into your budget, and won’t malfunction from the get-go can be challenging. There are a lot of considerations to be made before making your final decision, and with so many varieties out there, knowing what features to look for and what to avoid is time consuming. We researched the most rated brands out there, so you don’t have to
Best Cold Therapy Machines Reviewed
Our team gathered a list of the best ice cold therapy machines reviewed to help you pick the perfect brand for a guaranteed compression & fast recovery:
1.Game Ready GRPro 2.1
The Game Ready GROPro 2.1 cold therapy machine is a top of the line unit for musculoskeletal relief and recovery. Utilizing state of the art technology that combines compression and ice therapy, the portable device brings a truly versatile and effective treatment for injuries on any body part. Source Ortho is a company that specializes in cold therapy machines and other personal and home medical devices. Their Game Ready GRPro cold therapy machine is a high-end, superior piece of therapeutic equipment that’s clinically proven to reduce pain and swelling.
Ideal for athletes or for anyone recovering from surgery, the Game Ready cold therapy machine rapidly circulates ice water through the wraps while simultaneously compressing the body part in question to reduce swelling and pain. And the material used in the wraps is made from the same fabric used by NASA to control body temperatures in outer space, so you’ll be sure to get a reliable and consistent temperature throughout the duration of use. Game Ready GRPro 2.1 is the best cold therapy machine on the markets with no competitor, but you still need to choose a high quality compression boots to achieve good results and quicker recovery.
Customization and adjustability are ingrained in every component and function on this unit. The wraps are sold separately, so you can be sure to use it for injury on any body part. The bonus of being able to purchase the wraps separately is that you can have this available for any potential injury down the road. Some people get it for one purpose and need it again for another member of the family or for additional injuries later on.
The Source Ortho Game Ready GRPro 2.1 cold therapy machine is an advanced therapeutic device that’s clinically proven to reduce recovery time, heal tissue, and minimize swelling and pain. If you can get past the sticker shock, you’ll see that this unit is truly state of the art and highly effective. So if your budget allows, look no further for a cold therapy machine that works wonders. It’s medical-grade and physical therapists swear by it.
|Ice and compression treatment technology|
|Wraps provide consistent temperatures|
|Portable and easy to use|
|6-foot connector hose|
|Clinically proven to work|
|2-year limited warranty|
|Adjustable compression settings|
|Wraps sold separately|
The Aquilo Sports cold therapy machine system is a high-end sports therapy device with a proven reputation for helping athletes recovery quickly and thoroughly. The entire pants system can be bought together, but each individual unit (the cold therapy machine, the battery, and the compression pants) are all available separately as well. It all fits into a carry-on sized backpack as well, making it ultra-portable and ideal for traveling athletes.
That being said, for serious athletes who use ice baths frequently, your lower body will thank you for getting this pants recovery system. Not only is it fully portable, but it also allows you to get comprehensive treatment on your entire lower half while staying completely dry. There’s not another product like this on the market, as most of these units employ wraps for targeting smaller and localized regions of the body. Using compression and cold therapy, the Aquila system is an evidence-backed treatment method that really works to speed up recovery and reduce pain and swelling. You can check the Aquilo 2nd Generation Recovery System which includes Aquilo cold therapy machine and a a high quality compression pants for a guaranteed deep and targeted muscles relief.
The rechargeable battery is sold separately, but each charge nets between 6 and 8 full sessions. The sessions last 15-20 minutes, during which ice water is pumped throughout the pants to fully replicate the effects of an ice bath. Meanwhile, compression is used to stimulate blood flow and diminish any swelling throughout the muscles. And since the pants are available in multiple sizes, you can be sure to get a proper fit that promotes effective compression healing.
This cold therapy machine gets high marks for portability and efficacy, but it’s not an all-in-one option. Without the versatility of additional wraps for head to toe injuries, or for more localized treatment with smaller wraps for specific body parts, it’s not the ideal product for everyone. It’s a hefty investment, so you should only pull the trigger if you’re certain that lower body recovery is all you’re going to need.
|Cold and compression treatment|
|Wearable pants system|
|Rechargeable battery (sold separately)|
|Easy to use|
|Only for lower body use|
3.Polar Active Ice 3.0
Ideal for post-surgical recovery, the Polar Active Ice 3.0 cold therapy system is much more budget friendly than some of the more advanced units on the market. Good for targeting specific joints or for more universal purposes, the attached bladder of your choosing is included with the device. This model is renowned for its highly insulated reservoir and long lasting benefits. And since it won’t break the bank, it’s perfect for use at home with injuries or chronic pain.
A huge bonus of this particular cold therapy machine is the insulation on the reservoir. We would highly recommend filling water bottles and freezing them rather than pouring ice straight into the bin. This will result in hours on hours of consistent cold temps without the need to constantly refill after the ice melts. And then when they do melt, it’s super easy to throw them back in the freezer and reuse them over and over. Not all of these units come with reservoirs that are well-insulated, so even with the water bottle trick you’re out of effectively cold water in a short amount of time. That’s certain to not be an issue with the Polar Active cold therapy machine.
Additionally, the pump is quite strong and can even pump effectively to two bladders simultaneously should be utilizing multiple at once. And it’s very quiet, which is a major consideration for a device of this nature, especially if you’ll be using it while you sleep. The pump is also equipped with a hand-held timer that lets you customize your sessions to run at intervals of your choosing and eliminating the need to manually shut the device down when you need a break.
It’s a lot of bang for your buck, and it’s perfect for anyone looking at a lengthy surgery recovery time, like joint replacements. Ditch the bulky, ineffective ice packs and invest in a Polar Active Ice cold therapy machine. The benefits you’ll reap are many, from the consistent temperature control to the long-lasting insulation of the reservoir, you can’t go wrong here. Not only will it speed up your recovery, it’ll provide hours of pain relief without any effort whatsoever.
|Highly insulated to keep ice frozen for hours|
|Easy to use|
|Multiple wrap options available|
|Very quiet pump|
The Ossur Cold Rush cold therapy machine is another effective option for targeting localized injuries and pains. You can choose a wrap to suit whichever body part you need to target, from shoulders to knees to the lower back. And since it’s small and highly portable, it’s painless to travel with. The quiet motor won’t bother you or anyone around you, and the efficiency of the pump isn’t remotely diminished by its discreet size and shape.
However, since it’s small and very lightweight it lends well to portability and travel. The motor is also quite efficient, delivering steady and strong pumping but without much noise. What it lacks in reservoir space it makes up for in silence; this model is really very quiet and not disturbing. And while it is smaller and will need to be refilled regularly, it does boast up to 6 hours of continued use with consistent cooling temperatures.
The Ossur cold therapy machine beats its competitors when it comes to being a risk-free purchase. With a 6-month warranty, you don’t need to fear that any sudden malfunctions will leave you stuck with an expensive piece of useless equipment. It also includes a locking lid to prevent spills, ergonomic pad designs, and insulated tubing to ensure maximum cooling efficacy.
The Ossur Cold Rush cold therapy machine may be a cold therapy device, but it sure packs a lot of heat. Overall, it’s a really incredible value. It’s versatile, adjustable, and proven to work to increase comfort and shorten healing time for injuries, post-op recoveries, and activity-induced strain. While the reservoir is limited in size, it’s a quiet and travel-friendly unit that doesn’t lack any of the therapeutic benefits of larger devices. And with the 6-month warranty, you’re not taking a huge risk investing in one of these.
|Various wraps available|
|Insulated tank and tubing|
The Vive cold therapy machine offers head to toe treatment with its universal pad, and it’s perfect for anyone with chronic pain from inflammatory conditions, surgery, or high-intensity exercise. Since the pad works on most body parts, the unit delivers targeted cold therapy treatment wherever you need it. And without breaking the bank, this product can soon be easing your pain and discomfort far better than ice baths, ice packs, or other sub-par cold therapy machines that purport to quicken recovery and ease pain and swelling.
But for daily use, or even sporadic use, this device is consistent and reliable. The Vive is a great value, considering you won’t need to purchase individual wraps for each body part. The included pad can be used on shoulders, knees, lower back, and really anywhere you need targeted relief. The universal shape is convenient, but the pad technology is also very effective. It stays icy cold throughout use, and the insulated hose helps in this regard as well.
It holds up to 6 liters of water, so it won’t need to be refilled constantly. And it will fit several good-sized frozen water bottles as well. Since the reservoir is clear, it’s easy to see when it needs to be refilled. Another advantage is the super quiet motor, which is also conveniently lightweight for easy transportation. And the 5-foot long hose allows for comfortable, discreet use.
Easy to use, affordable, and effective, the Vive model hits every requirement for a solid cold therapy machine that you can count on. If you’re skeptical about investing in something you’re worried won’t work, that’s perfectly understandable. However, this particular product is highly popular and known for coming through for patients that take the plunge. You’ll be grateful you did.
|Stays extremely cold|
|Holds 6 liters of water and ice|
|Automatic shutoff after 30 minutes|
Coolman’s cold therapy machine is a reliable option with the standard features, like quiet motor, universal pad, and a lengthy and insulated hose. It’s easy to use, durable, and works to reduce pain and swelling. It stays cold throughout use, and the large reservoir holds up to 7 liters of ice and water. And it’s budget friendly to boot!
If the automatic shutoff timer isn’t a deal breaker, then you’ll enjoy the many other pros of this unit. The reservoir is quite large and keeps cold for hours of use without needing to refill. And it’s a clear basin as well, so it’s easy to determine when it’s running low without having to fumble with the locking mechanism. It’ll hold frozen water bottles as well as up to 7 liters of loose ice and water. And it’s designed to stay super cold so that the ice last for a long time.
Its also got reliable seals where the hose attaches, so you won’t be cleaning up spills and leaks. And the universal pad provides targeted healing to just about any part of your body. The motor is quiet and lightweight, and it includes 5 different flow rate settings so you can customize your treatment to meet your specific needs.
Coolman’s cold therapy machine is a low-risk, low-capital investment that relivers results. Aside from the 30 minute shutoff timer, it’s a really great option for anyone looking to upgrade from using ice packs and baths to combat pain and swelling. Cold therapy machines are clinically proven to work in eliminating pain and speeding up recovery time. And the Coolman model is just as efficient and effective as its more premium, clinical-grade contenders.
|Reservoir holds up to 7 liters|
|Insulated 5-foot tubing|
|Easy to use|
|Automatic shutoff after 30 minutes|
The Aircast Cryo cuff cold therapy machine is designed for use on knees exclusively. It’s lightweight, portable, and includes the knee pad/cuff so you won’t need to purchase that separately like with some models of cold therapy machines. It packs a lot of value for a low cost, and we’re pretty sure there’s not another cold therapy machine on the market that works as well as this one for as little an investment.
While the pad that’s included is just for the knee, it does work on both the left and the right knee. It’s also available in various sizes so you can get one that’s sure to fit and provide the added compression you might be wanting from your treatment sessions. The pump uses intermittent cold and compression sessions for maximum therapeutic benefits. And the cuff/pad is flexible, comfortable, and very durable.
The actual cooler itself looks rather unassuming, and resembles a beverage cooler with its cylindrical shape and handle. But don’t let the simplistic design fool you; it works quite efficiently. The water in the basin will stay cold for quite a while, even long after the ice has melted. It’s super easy to use, and the system employs both a motorized mechanism (though a super quiet one) and gravity function for versatile use.
Your first impression of the Aircast Cryo cuff cold therapy machine might not inspire much confidence. It’s simplistic and looks nothing like some of the fancier options on the market. But its appearance is where the differences end. This cold therapy machine is a high-quality, high performing unit that’s definitely going to ease your pain and significantly shorten your recovery time. And it’s far more affordable than most of the other options out there. You really cannot go wrong with this product.
|Stays cold for hours|
|Compression and cooling treatment|
|Motorized and gravity powered pump|
|Included pad for knees only|
The Cryotherapy Arctic cold therapy machine is a solid choice for treating any sports injury, post-operative pain, edema, or other acute, localized pains. With multiple pad attachments to choose from, you can get targeted treatment on just about any body part from head to toe. It works effectively to reduce swelling and ease pain, and it can be used for joints or muscle trauma of any kind. With the compression component, it delivers 360 degree comprehensive therapy.
Aside from that minor drawback, it’s an all-around top of the line cold therapy machine. It uses compression and cold therapy that goes all around the targeted area. And it stays cold for up to 6 hours. The basin is pretty big too, so it’ll fit lots of ice water or standard sized frozen water bottles. The various pads available are pretty diverse, though a lot of people will swear by the large rectangular back pad for use on just about any body part. So it’s versatile and multifunctional.
Moreover, it comes with a timed option for continuous use. Instead of shutting down automatically after 30 minutes, the unit can be programmed to run on a cycle over an extended period of time. That makes it ideal for use during the night. And since the motor is really quiet, you’ll get holistic healing benefits that can be customized for your unique needs.
Portability being the only big downside to this product, it’s a safe purchase overall. The technology is effective and results-driven. So you’re not going to be wasting your money on an appliance that’s just going to collect dust. And the company even covers the unit and pad with a 6-month warranty, so the malfunction will be easily remedied and with solid customer service as well. Whatever you injury, this cold therapy machine will be sure to cut your pain down and speed up recovery.
|Stays cold for hours|
|Large basin for ice water|
|Various sizes and shapes of pads available|
|Compression and cooling treatment|
|Bulky and hard to transport|
The Beluga Arctic cold therapy machine boasts shortened recovery times, enhanced rehabilitation efforts, and all-around holistic treatment for injuries of different varieties. The design is similar to the Aircast model, resembling a water cooler. And the included pad is specifically designed for knees. However, it’s unclear if this is an effective product and if it’ll even do what it’s supposed to do.
For some, this cold therapy machine provided much needed relief. It kept the water cold for 8-10 hours and pumped the water effectively throughout the pad. With the knee pad being the only option, it’s limited in who is able to benefit from it, of course. But for folks recovering from knee surgery or total replacement, it could be a beneficial treatment option.
Since it doesn’t offer an option for continuous use, you’re beholden to manually restarting it after 30 minutes. This wouldn’t be good for people wanting to use it while they sleep. Additionally, for every person who got the relief they were expecting, at least one more found this product to be ineffective and useless. The water doesn’t circulate well or stay as insulated as some more premium or even mid-range models. So constantly refilling it with fresh ice was an added hassle that seems counterintuitive to injury rehabilitation.
We would recommend saving your hard-earned money and investing in a more consistent cold therapy machine. The Beluga model is poorly made and lacks a solid reputation for actually delivering on its claims of healing and pain relief. There are other options that are less expensive and far more effective and reliable than this one.
|Knee pad included|
|Shuts off automatically after 30 minutes|
|Doesn’t keep water cold for long|
The ARS Aqua system is a bit more than a standard cold therapy machine. The device also provides the option for hot water therapy for alternative treatments, so that’s a key benefit that most other models don’t include. And with a universal wrap, it can be used on nearly any injury anywhere on your body. That added bonus of hot water treatment definitely makes this a standout choice among the competitors, and if you’re looking for a dual-function unit, this could be perfect for you.
If you don’t have issues with the pump malfunctioning, then you’re likely to be another one of the many customers who have experienced the holistic healing benefits of this cold therapy machine. The pad can be used on any joint or limb with the aid of the Velcro strap, and there are larger pads available through the manufacturer to target bigger muscle groups.
We do want to note that this unit doesn’t have a handle, and it’s a bit bulky. So traveling with it isn’t convenient. But aside from that, it’s a pretty lightweight device that can be moved throughout the house with relative ease. The hose is only 4 feet long, so you’ll be a bit limited when it comes to mobility. But when the pump doesn’t malfunction, it performs as intended and eases pain and reduces swelling.
Having the option for hot water treatment is a helpful bonus. But the device’s penchant for malfunctioning makes it a hard sell. If you’re only planning to use it for a short time and don’t expect to need it again after your injury is recovered, then it’s probably worth the risk. But for long term or repeated use, we’d recommend steering clear of the ARS Aqua cold therapy machine.
|Heating and cooling functions|
|Large water reservoir|
|Timed continuous use|
|Variety of accessories available|
|Product malfunctions common|
Cold Therapy Machines Buyer’s Guide
The healing benefits of a cold therapy machine are abundant. Whether you’re recovering from a surgery, like a joint replacement, or healing from a sports injury, a cold therapy machine could have a profound positive impact on your rehabilitation journey. Physical and sports therapists often incorporate them into recovery routines for their patients. But buying one for your home can significantly speed up the time it takes you to get back on your feet. And if you’ve got more chronic pain, ice packs or other inefficient pain management tools can be a thing of the past if you’ve got a cold therapy machine.
If you’re looking to buy one, though, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. It’s a serious investment, and out of pocket medical expenses can be burdensome enough. So you want to be absolutely sure you know what goes into the devices and what to look for to be sure you get the best one. We’ve put together this helpful buyer’s guide that covers everything you need to consider before buying a cold therapy machine.
How It Works
First, let’s go over the technology behind a cold therapy machine that makes it such an effective personal medical device. The main components of a cold therapy machine are the basin (also called a cooler or reservoir) that gets filled with ice water, the pad that wraps around the body part you want to target, the tubing or hose that attaches from the basin to the pad, and the pump that circulates the water throughout the pad.
Once you fill the unit with ice cold water and turn it on, it will pump that icy water through the tubing and into the pad. It’ll circulate it constantly through the insulated tube so that your injury gets consistently cool water flowing across and around it. This reduces swelling and tempers inflammation. Ice packs are great for pain and swelling, but they tend to melt quickly and need to be constantly refrozen to be effective. The cold therapy machine eliminates the need for them, while also delivering more comprehensive healing benefits.
How to Use It
In general, cold therapy machines are simple to use. You just plug it into a wall outlet, fill the basin with ice and water, wrap the pad around your injury, and turn it on. Some allow you to set the timer for continuous use, but all of them will shut off after about 30 minutes. Healthy safe use requires this cycle wherein you give your skin and body a good break from the severe cold.
One thing to note is that even with a state of the art unit, the ice is going to melt eventually. And constantly refilling it as needed may become an issue. Instead of running through all the ice your freezer makes (or that you buy), it’s much easier and uses far less water to just fill up plastic bottles and freeze and refreeze them. Pro tip: freeze at least double what you use in the machine at any time so you can rotate them out without having to wait for the bottles to refreeze.
Most cold therapy machines have a variety of options for pads that are designed to target specific parts of the body. Some come with more universal shapes that can be used on any joint or limb. You’ll want to sure to get a pad that’s going to work with the region you’ll be using it. So keep in mind that your shoulders and back may not benefit from a small, universal pad that’s best used on an elbow or wrist.
Length of Hose
Some hoses are long and promote easy mobility, while others are just long enough to reach from the machine on the floor to your body on a couch or chair. So before picking a particular model, think about where the device is going to be sitting in relation to you. That way you can ensure that the unit will have a long enough hose to meet your needs.
Obviously, you won’t want a machine that’s going to be whirring and humming loudly throughout the day and night, so be sure to get a product that boasts a quiet motor. While none of them will be entirely silent, many are super quiet and unobtrusive.
If you’ll be moving the device throughout the house or even from one location to another, you’ll want one that’s designed for easy portability. Many come with handles, and some even come with carrying cases. But there’s also weight and the shape to consider, as some are far bulky and not nearly as easy to lug around as others, even with the help of a handle. But if you plan to post up in the living room or bedroom with the device at all times, portability isn’t the most important factor.
Some devices also include compression therapy, so the pad will compress while it pumps water through. Compression is just going to increase the overall benefits, as it’s known for reducing inflammation and swelling, as well as even diminishing pain. Not all of the cold therapy machines on the market employ compression therapy, but those that do are typically more effective.
Cold therapy machines are clinically proven to aid rehabilitation and recovery, reduce pain, and combat swelling and edema. Instead of relying on the mediocre benefits of ice packs, folks that need a more serious treatment option would absolutely benefit from the advantages of one of these advanced personal medical devices. And while they’re certainly a serious investment, you can use this buyer’s guide to ensure you get one that’s not only going to heal you but that’s also going to last.